There’s a joke around Boston College that once you get on the campus you never want to leave “the Heights”. Just like Michael Corleone in the Godfather III, every time I’ve tried to leave I get pulled back in. I spent my third consecutive summer on campus not only celebrating my third birthday in Boston but working for the same program I was a participant of two years ago. When I was an incoming freshman, I needed to do a six week transitional summer program called Options Through Education where I took classes for credit, went on trips every weekend, and learned about all of the resources offered at Boston College before the fall semester started. I really admired the hard work of the student leaders, which are known as preceptors, and had such a bond with other past participants that I wanted to be apart of the program and do my part of helping incoming freshmen of color transition to Boston College. I wanted to be the kind of role model my preceptor was for myself, but wanted to have the opportunity to spend two more years as an informal mentor to my students being that my preceptor had already graduated and wasn’t on campus to help guide my journey on campus.
While there were forty students in the entire program that I was responsible for with my staff, I personally was assigned a group of five students to supervise. Throughout the program, I would have meetings with my group of students designed to share my wisdom as an upperclassman, answer any questions they had as students of color in a predominantly white institution, and planning activities to help them socialize. At the same time, I spent just as much time socializing with all forty students on weekend trips to Martha’s Vineyard and Six Flags to name a few, watching movies in Downtown Boston, and sharing some laughs over some of the most ridiculous conversations. Once the program ended, I jumped straight into my second year of RA training which is still happening as I type this post.
Speaking from my own personal opinion, my summers aren’t that different now that I’m entering my third year in college versus even in high school being that I spent each summer doing something productive. I’ve spent every summer since I graduated 8th grade either participating in a program or working though as I’ve gotten older it’s become less about filling up my resume with something that sounds cool to figuring out what I actually enjoy doing in terms of not just a career but a vocation. I chose to spend my summer before junior year working with Options Through Education to see if I would enjoy a career in higher education which is something I began to seriously consider near the end of my sophomore year. While I may look for an internship more so in the corporate sector next summer to weigh my options, I’ve come to realize that I kind of enjoy working with college students and may look into higher education as a possible career path maybe down the line after a stint in the corporate world.
Spending so much time away from home also makes me contemplate the things I miss versus the things I don’t about being home. While New England is supposed known to be a “cold-hearted” area full of rude people, I’ve had so many positive interactions walking around the city of Boston that I’m convinced that Bostonians are way nicer than New Yorkers. Though I may stay in New York for the short term once I figure out whether or not to go straight to graduate school, I know that in the long term I would much prefer to leave New York permanently once I’m financially and emotionally stable enough to part ways with the only city I knew before coming to Boston. If I needed to describe what I spent most of my summer doing I would have to say “soul-searching” or discerning some of the big questions for that other big stage of my life that’s fast approaching. As a philosophy major, I may just spend too much time in my own head, but ideally this type of critical examination of one’s current state should be what differentiates summers in college versus the high school days fantasizing about college parties. The summer should be a time to do fun things while at the same time giving you the free time to ask those big life questions about careers and lifestyle where you freely think about these topics before the school year.