How Summer Camp Has Prepared Me For College...So Far

Since I was six years old, I have spent at least one week each summer at camp. Now, I continue to go back year after year to volunteer as a counselor, and spend a few weeks surrounded by sunshine and the Mississippi humidity. While the place I call home has brought me some of the greatest friends and memories I could have wished for, it has also taught me many hard lessons. 

Shortly after beginning freshman year at Rhodes, I began to utilize many of the lessons that I learned at camp without even realizing it. Here are a few of them, and how they’ve prepared me for life at college:

How To Live With Roommates and Suite Mates

Don’t get me wrong, I love my suite mates and my roommate. It's been the best outcome I could have imagined, considering the fact that it was random. Although I spent most of my childhood with my own room, I’ve quickly adjusted to sharing a living space with three other girls with minimal issues. I owe almost everything I have learned on cohabitating with others from my summers spent in a small, cramped cabin with sixteen other girls. 

…And How To Clean A Dorm

While again, I love my roommate and my suite mates, if you stick four girls in close quarters sharing a small bathroom, things can get messy, and they can get messy fast. Luckily, through the years I’ve figured out how to clean everything from silly string and glittered covered floors, to makeup-covered mirrors. At this point, I’m basically immune to cleaning.

Preparation For Awkward Welcome Week Games

Two Truths and a Lie? I’m a pro at that. The Name Game? While finding a unique adjective that starts with a “K” can be challenging, I promise it’s possible, and I’ve had it figured out for years. If there’s any type of weird question that you want to ask as an icebreaker, I guarantee that I’ve been asked, or asked it myself. While the rest of my PA group may have groaned at “tell us a fun fact about yourself”, I’ve had an answer down for that for as long as I can remember.

There’s Always A Fun Fact Or A Story To Tell

College is weird, and so is life and making friends. When I first met my friends, I would somehow always seem to weave a story about one of my campers into our conversations. It keeps a topic going, and helps them remember who you are.

My stories range from a camper forgetting it was her birthday, to the one time we tried to give a bird CPR at the lake. If you’re feeling blue, come ask me about one of my third grade campers, and I’ll pull out a story that will lift those spirits.

Dealing With All Types Of People

Being a camp counselor as taught me how to interact with different types of people. I’ve learned about the trends among third graders, to what’s going on in the lives of sophomores in high school. Not only these, but after three years of staffing a camp session for adults with special needs, my eyes have been opened up to all the different walks of life people come from. Whether this is through their race, socioeconomic status, or abilities, summer camp has taught me how to relate to people, and also to learn from others, whether it’s a third grade girl in my cabin who refuses to tie her shoes, or from the camper at special session who is the best disc golf player on this side of The Mississippi. Summer camp has prepared me for a life of learning about, living with, and serving others.

How To Show Love To Everyone

Sure, it can be hard to love the kid in your Spanish class who clicks his pen incessantly, just like it can be hard to love your camper when it’s 1 am and they’ve gotten sick in the cabin. However, these past twelve years at summer camp have taught me that everyone deserves love, and deserves to be shown love. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life. So, no matter where you are, a simple smile or starting up a conversation could make someone’s day.