Before the Medill cherub program, I hadn’t been away from my parents for more than five days in a row. Suddenly I was in an environment where I couldn’t yell for my mom or drive to a friend’s house. I was homesick and scared. I felt like I was thrown into the deep end.
I started counting down the days. I would check off the days on a calendar when it reached midnight. Another one down and however many more to go. I knew I would make it through the camp. Quitting was never an option. I accepted the misery as if it were just part of the description.
It got better, just like everyone said it would. I made friends and became adjusted to my creaky bed and wearing shoes in the shower, but I still couldn’t wait for the day my parents would come pick me up.
I’m not sure what it was — science, magic, fate — but at 12 a.m. on Wednesday, July 13, the official halfway point of the program, something changed. As I danced with the other girls on my floor and sang along to “No Air” by Jordin Sparks, I no longer wanted to leave. I felt so comfortable with the people around me and who I had become that for the first time, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pack my bags. I no longer checked off the days when midnight rolled around. Instead, when I finally went to bed at 2 a.m., I couldn’t believe how fast the day had gone.
I was upset it had taken me so long to get comfortable, but I knew it was my personality. I’m not someone who can be immediately comfortable in a new environment. So instead of dwelling on my past, I chose to take advantage of the future. I embarrassed myself too many times to count, and I tried to make friends with everyone I encountered.
The second half of the program flew by. Even when I felt like I was going to pass out in a lecture and when I continued to stay up until 4 a.m. the next morning, I was grateful for every second. It took me a while to adjust, 17 days to be exact, and with the 17 left I tried to make the most of everything. I am so incredibly grateful for cherubs and all of my days here, uncomfortable or not.