Stevens Institute of Technology, a name that once caused my heart to beat furiously as soon as it was spoken. However, the name itself was not what frightened me, it was the idea that I would have to live and interact with seventy one complete strangers for the next twelve days. You see, I was accepted to participate in a biotechnology program called E.C.O.E.S or Exploring Career Opportunities in Engineering and Science at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. E.C.O.E.S allows high school students like me to experience college life, everything from living in dorms to attending college level classes. I found the program on the college’s website under future students- pre college programs and the application process was simple; just fill out the application, write an essay and obtain a letter of recommendation. Although, enthused that I had been chosen for such a prestigious program; I worried about what was to come. I worried that I would not make any friends; worried that I would have to endure too many awkward silences, and also, that perhaps I would not fit in among the other applicants.
Upon arrival at Stevens, my breathing quickened and thoughts engendered too fast in my mind for me to process them. I reached for the car door and my moist hands slipped off the handle; I clumsily made my way out of the car and stared out at what was to become my new home for the following two weeks. My breathing never slowed, only sped up as we approached the dorm halls. I held the keys to my dorm room in sweaty shaking hands and looked down at the ID sticker that read, “Kimberly Facen Davis Hall Room 304”. I diverted my eyes to the brown bricked building before me with “Davis Hall” engraved along its side. Apprehensively entering, I passed several unfamiliar faces timidly and continued to my room, where voices coming from within the room could be heard from the outside. With my parents supportively at my side, I pushed the door open to find a beautiful blond girl and her mother and father.
“Hi, I’m Alexa,” she said excitedly. I’m proud to say that’s where the best experience of my life began. The first day was as to be expected, too many icebreaker games and a bit awkward, but being in a room full of strangers for over two hours usually is. The consequent days were filled with countless informative engineering classes such as naval, civil, mechanical, and my all time favorite biomedical engineering. These classes mostly involved group work to strengthen our ability to cooperate with others while teaching us about that particular type of engineering. E.C.O.E.S. also included a research project, in which the student could choose from one of the four options: Robotics, Biochemical, Computer Technology, and Truss. I chose the Biochemical project that attempted to grow luminescent bacteria from a Petri dish (mine never glowed). By merely being in the laboratory, I began to see more clearly that I want to be a Biomedical Engineer and that I want to attend Stevens as well.
As the days passed by the people that I worked, learned and lived with soon became my closest friends. We bonded strongly because without our parents we had to rely on ourselves to take care of one another; therefore, we became a family. So many memories were made with such wonderful people and the friends I made at Stevens will never be forgotten and I’m glad to report that we are scheduling an E.C.O.E.S reunion.
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