Why did you choose to participate in a summer program? What drew you to the Experimentory?
For the past four summers, I had been going to the US to attend summer programs. I have always loved the experience of living away from home as it made me more independent. Exploring different communities and new environments has always challenged me to discover a new part of myself.
The Experimentory looked like an engaging and fun program. I’d heard many good things about it from one of my dad’s good friends and decided to apply. I also knew that the Experimentory would be held on the Deerfield Academy’s campus and taught by Deerfield faculty. I wanted to experience what it was like living on a preparatory school campus, and this seemed like an excellent way to do it. When they accepted me, I was excited (and a little nervous), but I had a feeling that it was going to be worth it.
What were your favorite team projects? What role did you play?
One of my favorite team projects was designing a multipurpose building (including a restaurant) using a computer program called ‘Sketch-Up’ for my Architecture + Culture class. I was partnered with Noah, a boy from New York, and I’d say we worked pretty well together. We both played crucial but equal roles in the development and completion of the project. We designed a menu for our restaurant and even got to prepare one of the foods on our menu: bruschetta. We thoroughly explored Spanish culture, and we drew inspiration from buildings found along Española Way in Miami for the design of our multipurpose building.
Tell us a little about the friendships you made at the Experimentory.
I met and made friends with so many amazing people from all over the world.
The forty kids I got to spend my summer with were bright and engaging. We quickly became friends with each other despite our many differences. It didn’t matter that we were in different grades in school, or that we came from different countries and had such diverse backgrounds. We became a family.
We made so many inside jokes that I can’t even count them all. The memories we created were full of laughter and pure joy. I remember spending warm afternoons playing ping pong and walking to the campus store to get some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I recall how we had this strange obsession with Rubik’s Cubes, and soon enough, almost everyone knew how to solve one in record time! We were all weird in our different ways, but for the first time in forever, I felt like I’d finally met my people.
I especially loved my dorm mates. We became sisters over a surprisingly short amount of time. We would share snacks and just enjoy each other's company, laughing and joking. In the early mornings, we would wake each other up, and make sure everyone was ready for the day ahead.
I can sincerely say that I will cherish the unique friendships I made at the Experimentory forever.
What is one important thing that you learned or one way you grew because of your time here?
I learned to try new things and be a little more adventurous. I went white water rafting down the Deerfield River and rode giant roller coasters at Six Flags. I had the opportunity to experience a bizarre ropes course, and dance on a cruise ship took us down the historic waterways of Boston Harbor.
As I learned to be more daring, I also grew as a person. I realized that I had not discovered the full extent of my potential and that the only way to fully understand myself would be to try things out first. An experience I‘ll never forget is hiking during my ‘nature walks’ co-curricular. We set out with nothing but our water bottles and pure determination. There were so many noisy bugs flying around us as we hiked, and it was excruciatingly hot. Beads of sweat would form at the top of my forehead, and I would trip over big rocks. As I climbed and screamed internally, I remember wondering when I’d ever reach the top, and how I’d ever make it. I was so tired that my legs ached to the point of feeling numb. However, despite my fatigue I kept on going, and eventually, I was one of the first to make it to the top. I felt a sense of accomplishment looking at the view from where we were standing. I felt an exhilarating rush and pride for pushing through relentlessly through the thick summer heat. I felt like I was on the top of the world.
I am eternally grateful for having the chance to go out of my comfort zone during my time at the Experimentory. I tried so many new things and would never have had the opportunity to do them if I had not gone to the Experimentory.
What would you say to someone thinking about applying?
My experience at the Experimentory was extraordinary, and I have to say it was a once in a lifetime experience.
I think the opportunity to live on Deerfield’s beautiful campus for a month was already a privilege in itself, and the community the Experimentory staff had nurtured was so unique that it was unlike anything I’d ever known before.
My summer was full of adventure, challenging course clusters, and genuine friendships. I felt so welcomed by the Experimentory staff from the minute I arrived at registration to the day I departed campus. And when I had to say goodbye, I cried harder than I ever had before.
I can whole heartedly say that I could not have asked for a better summer experience and that I will only ever have positive things to say about the Experimentory!
To those thinking about applying, take the plunge! The Experimentory will be a summer experience you will never forget, where you will discover your true self above everything else and a program you will remember for the rest of your life!
Natasha was an Experimentory student in our 2016 program. To hear more reflections on that program, browse through our day-by-day entries in our Experimentory blog. And if you're interested in taking the plunge like Natasha did, apply today!