My Trip to Atlanta | My Family Travels

 The summer following my sophomore year of high school proved to be an unexpectedly pivotal moment in my life. In the last few months preceding the summer break I received a letter from the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine–it explained that I had been nominated by a teacher at my school to attend a prestigious medical camp. Located on a college campus in Atlanta, Georgia–this trip had promise written all over it.
 I have always been part of a close-knit family and time spent away from home was always uncomfortable. Although I was excited for this trip, my level of anxiety increased rapidly with each day leading to my departure. The day arrived sooner than I expected, and in a matter of hours we arrived in Atlanta. I found the registration area and quickly learned that over the next ten days I would be entirely self-sufficient. I was handed a schedule, a room key, and a large map that highlighted my building. This, more than anything so far, was a bigger shock than I was prepared to handle. The thought of taking care of myself was frightening. Eventually, my family and I located my room and unpacked my suitcases together. The time abruptly came when they had to leave. This was, perhaps the most difficult thing I had ever done. I was barely sixteen and had never been separated from my parents for such a time or distance in my life. After they had left and I returned to my empty room I realized that more than anything else I dreaded being left alone.
 The initial loneliness was becoming almost too much to bear by the time of my first meeting. I walked a long distance to a building filled with people my own age, already sitting in pairs or small groups. I felt as though I was the only solitary person in the room and my despair began to worsen. After some time, though, I decided that my poor attitude would not help me feel better and it definitely would not win over any friends. I tried unsuccessfully to speak to a few people–receiving mostly one-worded responses and shrugs. It was not until that evening that I had an actual conversation with someone other than my spontaneously disappearing roommate. Speaking to this individual gave me just a bit more confidence, and maybe that showed because more people came over to talk. When I came back to my room that night, I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders. Perhaps this wouldn’t be as hard as I expected. My loneliness was relieved a little and I was able to sleep–a feat that I thought impossible on that first worrisome day.
 As the days passed and I became more familiar with the people and my surroundings, I felt surprisingly comfortable. I had progressively made a group of friends who I felt at ease around. The campus no longer imposed upon me like some enormous and confusing maze, but had such a normality about them that I felt almost at home. The most shocking transformation that I noted in myself, however, was my new sense of responsibility. For the duration of the camp, I was entirely responsible for myself. I had developed my own schedule of making myself ready for the day and arriving to all events on time, I kept track of my assignments and books, and made my own purchases. I realized at this point that I was capable of more than I had ever given myself credit for. I had developed greater social skills and most importantly–responsibility.

Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.

Comment on this article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.