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What Summerfuel has Meant to Me: A TCE Student Reflects

Claudio Colonna, 17, had not expected the amount of fun and drive he would receive from attending Summerfuel at Tufts’ Tufts College Experience (TCE). With this only being his second time in the United States (and his first time flying alone), Claudio had worried about whether he would bond with students or staff, but was pleasantly surprised when he got to do both. For Claudio, and most students who attend Summerfuel TCE, the fear of making no or very few friends could prove a source of angst. However, the reality quickly sets in that this is not the case and students ease up shortly upon arrival to the campus when they participate in orientation activities with their Resident Assistants (RA’s).

Though it was a learning curve at first, Claudio quickly recognized the benefit and took full advantage of relating to his RA. RA’s are present and easily reachable to give students guidance, leadership opportunities, mentoring, positive study habits, friendship, and so much more. They also serve as authority figures, balancing between the roles of older “sibling” and enforcer.

Academically, Claudio achieved most of his goals, but, following this challenging and enriching experience, came to accept that not all aspects of one’s academic career will turn out as one imagines. He also realized that, no matter how well high school prepares a student for college/university, it is not until one steps onto a college campus and takes coursework that one senses what university is actually like. From the bonding between residents and staff to the academic guidance the RA’s relay from their own university experiences, the students of Summerfuel, like Claudio, receive support in all manners of university life.

Claudio now recognizes the challenges he’ll face upon studying at his future alma mater and feels more prepared. As Claudio said, “To try everything at least once and get yourself into new experiences is what Summerfuel is about.” His goals are to attend a university in Turin, Italy and one day return to the United States to further his education. He aims to better his Italian homeland in a variety of manners most applicable to the education he will receive.

As Summerfuel at Tufts wraps up, Claudio and other TCE students progress through their final exams and presentations, culminating in their closing banquet and dance here at Jumbo’s home. It has been a summer fueled with fun, excitement, memories, and stories for years to come. Thank you to all Summerfuel at Tufts students for this Summerfuel session!

What Summerfuel IR Students Have to Say: Q + A

As the International Relations (IR) program here at Summerfuel Tufts brings itself to a close, our staff has collected feedback on the program from students. Like College Admissions Edge and Pre-College, IR, one of six programs currently run through Summerfuel at Tufts, has provided an amazing learning opportunity for our students. We recently interviewed some of them about their experiences. Below, we share highlights from these conversations:

 

Interviewer: Why did you choose to participate in this program?

Student 1: I was interested in International Relations and I liked how it offers Tufts credits because Tufts is one of the schools I am applying to.

Student 2: This program interested me incredibly, given my aptitude and love for language along with my hopes to study IR in college. Because of my interest in history along with IR, I truly feel like I can make this world a better place.

Student 3: I thought it was an incredible opportunity to challenge myself and get a taste for a field I consider studying in the future!

 

Interviewer: What has been your favorite learning experience thus far?

Student 1: My favorite topic has been the EU Economic Integration and the idea of failing states. I hope to explore this more in depth during my time in college.

Student 2: My favorite lecture was about how to interpret history accurately in the field of international relations.

Student 3: My favorite lecture has been The Basics of Cyber Security and Economics of Political Integration.

 

Interviewer: Knowing that you had a pretty rigorous academic schedule, how effective were the teaching assistants (TAs) hired to assist you?

Student 1: The TA’s were extremely effective. Our TA understands that we have a lot of work and this is all very new to us, which is very helpful. For me, it was all about finding a healthy space to finish my work. Honestly, the library is super fun to study in. The environment and mutual respect amongst all occupants made the library a positive space for studying and learning.

Student 2: It is more than anything a chance to review what we learned personally, make questions fast, and research effectively among friends and experts.

Student 3: I like how my TA is genuinely interested in our research papers. He was really knowledgeable and understood what it’s like to be a student.

 

Interviewer: What is your favorite part of your week outside of the classroom?

Student 1: Playing basketball and taking pictures during my free time and wandering on campus.

Student 2: The friends! The dinners out of campus and the people you can go out with!

Student 3: Although there is not much free time on certain days, I always try to finish my homework before we go out, and get some laundry done before dinner. Afterwards, I enjoyed hanging out with friends, eating and walking with my peers, and forming study groups at the library.

 

What about you?

Students participating in this and other Summerfuel at Tufts programs grow as diligent students, responsible residents, and effective socialites in the college setting. What are your thoughts on this opportunity? Could you see yourself in their shoes?

Breakfast Club at Summerfuel

As the most important meal of the day, breakfast time is always a good time! Over the weekend, we attended Summerfuel Tuft’s evening breakfast complete with a cereal bar, waffle station, bacon, eggs, bagels, yogurt, and yummy fun! This breakfast club hosted an exciting karaoke station too where students sang and jammed to the catchy tunes of Hamilton, the Bee Gees, F.U.N., and so much more! It was a great way to wind down from the busy week and enjoy each other’s company outside of the classroom.

Summerfuel Creates Superheros

Every great Superhero comes with a great backstory. Here at Summerfuel, all of our students experience the origin story of their inner hero. Students at Summerfuel Tufts face many things that help them prepare for the future when they leave the University and embark on their college journey. They are given many tests to prove their strength as a Summerfuel Superhero throughout their time here. They learn many new skills as they face obstacles,  conquer villains, and form bonds with other hero’s that will last a lifetime

Test One: Move In Day

On the first day, our students are thrown into a new world. They meet people from all over the world and  experience many culture shocks from either being in a new country, or speaking to others that have traveled great lengths to get here. Communication and social skills are tested as they interact with not only other students, but their families, RA’s, and Senior Staff Members. They are encouraged to talk about themselves and participate during orientation activities that help them get to know each other. During this time, they are able to share stories, experiences, and past times.

Test Two: Time Management

As students are faced with schedules that may change day to day, they are tested on their time management skills. When is homework time? When do I hangout with friends? Should I wake up early before class to eat breakfast? Should I go to evening activities if I have a test tomorrow morning? These are all common questions that our heroes-in-training ask themselves. When faced with a lot of different responsibilities and tasks, it can be hard to figure out when is the right time to engage in different activities. These skills are self taught and are strengthened as the students get used to their schedules and what works best for them. Every hero is different and what works for one student, might not work for another.

Test Three: Exams

This is the part of the story where each hero has to overcome their first villain: exams. Exams can be tough for most students and are prepared for in many different ways. Some students like to study in groups by exchanging information in the common spaces, while others prefer to work alone in their room with a laptop and a set of flashcards. The most important part when facing your villain is to figure out the plan that works best for you and to take charge of it to the conquer the beast.

Test Four: Activities

Our afternoon and evening activities are great places for each hero to show and practice their powers. Some superpowers that we see being shown during these are artistic, singing, dancing, and even trivia skills. Creativity is important and we try to give every hero the opportunity to showcase and practice their power!! Successful Summerfuel Heroes are able to learn from others and use ideas to improve their own powers.

Test Five: Goodbyes 🙁

Goodbyes are our least favorite part here at Summerfuel, but it is an important part of the hero making process. Reflecting on the good times we’ve had over the summer helps all the students appreciate their time with each other and realize how much they have grown. At this point, our students have all become heroes and are recognized for their achievements at our closing banquets. They are asked to give speeches where they speak on their time at the program and about the things they learned and the people they have met along the way.

Saying goodbye can be hard, but it takes a lot of strength and courage to say “I’ll see you later” instead. All of our heroes are continuing their journeys of saving the world and being strong members of society. We are sure that some of their paths will collide and that they will work together to continue the Summerfuel Superhero Legacy!

Final Week at Tufts!

College Admissions Edge students have been making the most of every hour of the day – from SAT Class to Essay Writing, Admissions workshops, and college visits. Students visited UMass Boston on Thursday, and had a blast that night at the Magic & Hypnosis Show. It was incredible to see what the hypnotist could do! Friday was another busy day with College Counseling and Mock Admissions. Students had a chance to unwind on Saturday with a trip to Boston, and late night pizza bagels, crafts and Singstar Karaoke. Sunday night was a fun celebration for some Summerfuel birthdays, including cake, cards, and balloons.

We are officially in our final week at Tufts, and we are excited to keep the fun and learning rolling!

Up, Up, and Away: TreeTop Adventures

“You’re the RA, you go first.”

The students stared at me, waiting for a response.

“You want to see an RA die today?” I joked nervously, looking up at the trees. Not wanting to hold up the line, I slowly clipped on my harness, following the directions the TreeTop instructors had shown us a few minutes earlier.

|=Lock on with the tweezle. Clip on. Climb up.

I thought the worst was over as I huffed and puffed to the top of the tree. When I turned around, a single metal cable greeted me. This meant one thing; I had to zip-line across to get to the next tree. I was ten feet up and the next tree was twenty feet across.

I am afraid of heights.

I was already up there, I couldn’t go back now. After a moment of contemplating, I finally clipped onto my zipline. I looked across to the next tree; I closed my eyes and pushed.

WOOOOOOOOSH, just like that, a rush of wind and adrenaline carried me over to the other side.

I sighed in relief.

This is kind of fun…

        Last Saturday, was the Treetop Adventures excursion. For most of the students, it was their very first time in a high ropes obstacles course. While many were very excited, some had their doubts. Slowly, the fears of the students disappeared as they geared up, learned the safety procedures, and went onto the courses. The courses were divided up by difficulty, some close to the ground with lots of wooden platforms while others were high up in the sky, with only cable strings to walk on. Several of the students challenged themselves, moving onto the harder courses as they finished an obstacle. Groups of friends would travel together and cheered each other on whenever one got stuck. Although it was challenging, overall Treetop Adventures was a new and exciting experience for the Summerfuel students.

written by: Amy Lee

 

Tufts Tour & Game Show Mash-Up

Monday was students’ first full day on campus, and it was a busy one. We ate breakfast in the dining hall, with lots of tasty options to choose from, met the staff, and students had their first SAT Prep class with The Princeton Review. In the afternoon, students had a Tufts Info Session, Campus Tour, and Admissions Visit – the first of many college visits throughout the program. Later, students had their first Essay Writing class, where they will craft ideas and work towards creating a strong personal statement for their college applications. After dinner, students enjoyed their Admissions Workshop and focused on the questions “Who are you? What is best for you?” To finish off a busy first day, CAE students joined the other Summerfuel Tufts programs at the Game-Show Mash-Up.

Second Session Has Begun

Yesterday we welcomed the students attending the second session of the College Admissions Edge program as well as students joining the Pre-College program for the second session. Everyone arrived safely from around the globe, are settling in to their new home at Harleston Hall, and meeting the students that were already here for Session 1. Last night students had Orientation and Director’s Welcome, along with a floor meeting with their RA’s, and a Summer Smoothies Mixer. We look forward to what the next two weeks hold!