It was quite a lot to take in for a start - My Experience at the 2017 Open Dreams Summer Academy!
I had just heard about Open Dreams. After doing thorough research about the organization, I found it very amazing and made up my mind to apply for the Summer Academy. I succeeded in getting all the application requirements early enough. With time, I came to realize that it was more competitive than I had imagined! After submitting the documents, I was called up for an interview via Skype, and I was successful, though it was so tough for me! Finally, it was time to begin the academy and I was still quite uncertain about how it would look like. With an enthusiastic and ebullient mind, I walked into the Open Dreams Center, uncertain yet eager to find out about my life at the summer academy. It was quite a lot to take in for a start. After going through a rigorous and extremely competitive application into the summer academy, I could not help but foretaste how the following eight weeks were going to look like for me. Painting a picture of the academy in my mind was like a complex puzzle which I had to decipher.
That first morning, as I entered the center, my heart raced for a few minutes, then stopped racing! There was a great deal of enthusiasm in me that day. The moment I stepped foot into my class, I felt like the walls were closing on me and the ground underneath my feet was crumbling! This could only mean one thing; I was out of my comfort zone, and it was time to work! Nevertheless, I managed to calm myself down. In the blink of an eye, other Open Dreams pre-mentees came in and the room was full. With an overwhelming heartfelt smile, Akaba James, warmly welcomed us into the Summer Academy, and presented to us a very enticing introduction about Open Dreams in general, its visions and the summer academy. That day I managed to stay behind the scene and observe keenly everything that was happening around me. Later in the day, we took our first SAT Test – a diagnostic test! It was a total surprise and a complete foreign concept to us. However, I took up the challenge and gave it a good shot. Behold my test scores were quite encouraging for a start. It was a very engaging day for me, just so much to explore and soon enough the day was over. With a sigh of great relief, I majestically went home. I had just ended another extremely successful day.
The following days, with greater hope, confidence, conscientiousness and breath-taking smiles, I majestically found my way to the center. After closely observing for the first day, I immediately fully immersed myself into the system. All the necessary resources were provided to us to facilitate our work. This was quite the experienced I had anticipated. I began to make new friends and create new social ties. During the week, we had an extremely stimulating and interactive Skype session with one of the co-founders, Hans, who enlightened and gave us tips on how to distinguish ourselves and emerge successful at the academy and in life. Later, we had classes on essay writing and vocabulary. Another thing that caught my attention was the lesson delivered to us about critical thinking. This was a whole new concept to me and I found it very fascinating. Also, we had a very sensitive brain teaser exercise and debates. These debates helped us to plant a seed to outstanding decision making, the foundation of leadership. This helped improve our reasoning scope. We were also instructed on how to use Google Drive amongst lots of other things.
Concluding the week-long activities, we did thorough cleaning of the center; for a leader is a servant! I spent my week judiciously and I was so happy about the success. What a lovely first week at the summer academy!