Speeding through GRACE
By July 12, 2021, the halfway point of my time in the Groton Accelerate Challenge and Enrich (GRACE) program, time had flown by. It seemed as though just yesterday I had been introduced to the thick humidity of a Massachusetts summer.
When I first arrived on campus in late June, I did not anticipate the major differences between the campus during the school year and Groton during the summer. This adjustment from a dry, Los Angeles June to a sultrier Groton July was facilitated by the beauty of the town at this time of year. With only a few dozen students and some faculty present throughout the days, things were more peaceful, more relaxed. The bustling halls of the Schoolhouse that used to bear a striking resemblance to a busy interstate were silent. The Circle, which is usually home to seemingly perpetual games of Spikeball and Frisbee, had stayed empty.
With that said, an uninhabited campus has its perks. In our free time, my friends and I were able to capitalize on the open gym, pool, weight room, trials, and so much more on campus. Having the opportunity to view the campus in this new light formed a newfound appreciation for the marvelous campus I get to call home for so many months of the year.
The majority of my time at GRACE was spent studying chemistry, whether inside the classroom with Dr. Kelly or during the evenings with my peers and teaching assistants. As introductory courses go, this chemistry class is rather challenging. Despite this, as a student who has always been STEM-oriented, I enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of the class. The labs we carried out were mesmerizing, connecting the concepts learned in class with the real world around us. Chemistry more than fulfilled my expectations this summer, and I look forward to hopefully taking the AP Chemistry course at Groton this fall.
Off campus, GRACE did not disappoint. Several times each week we left campus for group activities, my favorite of which was an escape room. One weekend we camped overnight at an outdoor facility. There I had my first taste of ziplining (an exhilarating experience to say the least). This was quickly followed by a whitewater rafting trip the next morning. For hours, battles against wild currents were mixed with serene, picturesque images of the nature around us. I am certain Bob Ross has, at some point in his career, painted those exact mountainsides. With time passing so quickly, I found myself back in California before I knew it.