Author: Xai Ly
On June 27th 2010 my parents dropped me off at the University of Minnesota to catch the bus to Greenbay, Wisconsin for the Regional Center for Math and Science (RCMS) program. The RCMS program was a 6 week long program and we would be taking classes and the University of Wisconsin Greenbay. It was going to be the longest time I’ve been away from home. I told myself that I was just going there to learn and for the experience. I left Minnesota with only 3 people that I knew (Josh, Tan, and Brandon) and not knowing that to expect. There were nine of us headed to the program and by the end of the 6 hour ride I knew everyone’s name; Xai (Me), Josh, Tan, Brandon, Rainy, Emily, Adrianne, Hemen, and Missy.
We spent our first night in the Roy Downham dorm with 2 other staff. The next day all of the other 40 students arrived at the dorms. They were all crowded together and greeting their old friends, I felt so left out that I just hid in my dorm room. For the first few days Josh, Brandon, Tan, and I just stayed close together. After a while they started making new friends and left me so Emily, one of the girls who was on the bus with us, invited me to hang out with her friends; Meng, Tony, Richard, Celina, and Mai Lee. They were really nice.
We had required classes; Science, Math, College Readiness, and Academic skills. We also had to pick two electives and a grad mentor class. I chose Sign Language and Psychology for my electives and Animal Science for my grad mentor class. As the weeks went on I also made friends with other people; Jared, Jade, Jason, Quran, Emily R., Breezy, Becky, Amanda, Max, and many more people. I didn’t really get to know them until July 17 when our program headed to Hunt Hill, Audubon camp, for our one week long camping trip. There everyone got a chance to really bond. We shared a room with 12 people, tented out, played games, and did many other activities. My favorite activity was the canoe trip. I didn’t know how to swim and was scared or water and that our canoe would tip but my canoe partner, Justin, assured me that we would be fine and I had a lot of fun. On the last day of camp we had a circle talk. Everyone crying and was telling about their experience at Hunt Hill. I had a speech prepared in my head but once it was my turn to talk I could barely talk because I was crying so much. I rarely cried in front of people but at RCMS, they were like family and they taught me that it was ok to cry. I told them about how I never trusted anyone since my best friend, Aron, died but that when I was at the program I learned that I could trust people like Emily Y., Emily R., Justin, and Jason.
Going to RCMS was better than any other trip I have been on. It an amazing program and gave me an amazing experience. It was more than I expected. As stated earlier, I told myself that I was only going to RCMS for the experience, but when I got there I made many new friends. The trip made me more open and trusting. I am currently still at RCSM and we only have a week left. I know I will be sad to see the second years leave and become a second year myself next year, but I will be there for the new first years and make their experience as good as mine, if not better.