It was my first flight by myself, though it was a quick, painless one, only a short puddle hop, from the Los Angeles to San Jose airport. From there we would go to Stanford University, I was traveling to attend a law and trial conference that was being held there. For these 10 days, we would live the life of college students: eating in the cafeterias, sleeping in the dorms, fighting for showers, the usual. I was to get in at 10:30 am, though the introductions wouldn’t start until 5 pm, which, even after the buses finally arrived at 2:00 pm, left considerable time to mull over my present and uncertain situation.
After checking in, I worked my way to my dorm, which, as we all know, are similar in size to shoe boxes, and the solitary confinement rooms in Alcatraz’s D-block, yet can become comfortable, and really work well with the cooperation of a roommate, and my roommates were perfect. One was from Baltimore, the other from Oregon, it was remarkable that we came from such different places, yet could gel together instantly and talk as if we had known each other our entire lives. These girls, became for those 10 days, my little family that I had the privilege of returning to every night after the day’s activities. From the dorms, we met our “Teams,” and my team, not only met, but raised the bar set by my roommates, adding many more personalities and regions to our Breakfast Club-esque “melting pot”. It was with these people that I was to not only sit with during lectures, work with on our mock trial case, and eat with, but also learn from. We attended lectures, worked as a team as part of a trial, visited San Francisco, and funnily enough, Alcatraz, as well as the State Superior Courthouse, and the greater Stanford campus. It was an incredible experience, though not without a few bumps in the road. More than once there was friction between some of the team leaders and the students caused by sleep deprivation and some imbalance in perspective, but there was nothing that understanding and quality communication couldn’t fix.
From this experience, I have realized that one, despite my squishy and sheltered life, staying away from home is not to be feared, but rather, embraced. Two, an overstated yet underrepresented thought, there are many different people out there that come from all over not only the United States, but the world, who are amazing, wonderful people, who you can learn so much from, and all you really need to do is just talk to them. My third realization is another overstated maxim, but nonetheless true, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” there were several people that I met and ordinarily would have labeled as “immature,” etc, and never talked to again. But after spending ten days with them, I came to the realization that they were truly lovely people; possibly being locked in an air-conditioning deprived room brings out the best in a person, I can’t be sure. And lastly, that we are all just getting through life and experiencing things for the first time, and really, we are all very similar on the inside.
Although to most, this will just appear like some girl’s first trip to some summer camp, but, personally, I found it to be much more that that. I not only got to look at other people differently, but see myself in a new shade of light as well, for which, I can be nothing but grateful.
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