By Gabrielle Tan, Year 12 student.
Shortly after another exciting and eventful year here at GIS, I left Malaysia for eight weeks to attend Stanford University’s High School Summer College Program or HSSC in short. HSSC is essentially a summer program that allows high school students to live life as Stanford students for a quarter – you get to take university-level classes (and earn university credit), live in a dormitory and take part in everything from intramural sports to house events.
In terms of academics, there were over 145 courses to choose from and I settled on ECON1: Principles of Economics & CEE70: Environmental Science & Technology. The course selection really had something for everyone and offered a great opportunity for us to explore subjects that aren’t available through our high school curriculum. Though the jump to college work was daunting at first, the transition proved to be an easy one thanks to availability of academic advisors, with our teaching assistants also being so readily available. Just like classes here at GIS, it was so inspiring to learn from such passionate educators who made every class more engaging than the last. Through our professors interesting anecdotes and the insights from guest speakers, we ended up learning lots more about the subjects than the syllabus planned for. The people I met throughout the summer were so engaged with their subjects and I was inspired by someone new every day.
As I had just turned 16, I was placed into the dorm with the other youngest kids in the program and the 60 of us lived together for the eight weeks. Our live-in mentors were all Stanford undergraduates who chose to spend their summer staffing our program and were some of the most enthusiastic, interesting and caring people I have ever met. It was so nice to be able to live in such a happy environment where everyone was so supportive of each other and I’m grateful to come away from the program with such an awesome group of friends from all around the world. Being part of such a special community made living away from home much easier than I thought it would be and was definitely what made it as great as it was.
Apart from classes and mandatory house meetings, we had lots of freedom to do almost anything we wanted as long as it was within a 40-mile radius and we were back to check in with our mentors by 12am. Some of my favourite highlights were fountain hopping in one of the many campus fountains, biking to get ice cream sandwiches and playing in intramural sand volleyball and kickball teams. On top of that, I also enjoyed exploring the culture of startups and learning from leading entrepreneurs through the Silicon Valley Innovation Academy (SVIA) as well as documenting my experiences for the Stanford Summer Marketing Team (SSMT).
All in all, I’ve returned to school with much much more than just a college transcript in terms of the experiences I’ve gleaned and couldn’t be happier with the summer I’ve had. I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to be part of HSSC 2017 and I’d highly recommend this program to anyone and everyone looking to have the most amazing and enriching experience of their lives (so far!).
Summer School experience at Harvard