In July, I had the incredible opportunity of taking part in the National Student Leadership Conference. NSLC provides summer programs for high school students who wish to pursue a field of study they are interested in before college. While journalism is in my comfort zone, I decided to take Business and Entrepreneurship at Yale University. Due to my chess work and interest in social leadership, I wanted to experience something new in a completely fresh environment. For months before the conference, I was concerned about getting there. I didn’t take the time to worry about being at the conference itself. That being said, I can proudly proclaim that NSLC was one, if not the, greatest experience of my entire life.
NSLC doesn’t just prepare you for college majors. It prepares you for life. I met friends to last a lifetime, took part in business simulations five years ago I would say I couldn’t do, and most importantly, discovered what I believe defines me as a person.
On the first day of the program, one of our learning facilitators said that NSLC does something special to students. My teaching assistant said that the group of individuals we meet here will quickly become my family not because they have to but because they want to. One of my peers said she couldn’t believe that we just met two days ago because she felt as though she knew me for a lifetime.
When I talk about my experiences at NSLC, my thoughts don’t automatically go to the business canvas, financial models, or Steven Rodger lectures. They don’t go to living in a college dorm room, bingo nights, or playing pool with a group of friends. My mind goes to the moment I sat in a dark, wooden auditorium asking myself how I got so lucky to be here and why I didn’t do this sooner.
I love to work and learn new things, but a part of education is interacting with others and building relationships. Because of NSLC, I felt for the first time I knew who I was. As a student, chess player, writer, teacher, friend, and human being. I felt independent and that I was ready to take life by the horn and accomplish my dreams. I’m not a cheesy person, but I would be lying to you if I didn’t say that the National Student Leadership Conference was the best decision I ever made.
Thank you to all those who helped me before NSLC, during the program, and after. It is so very much appreciated.