Taking the High Dive

Common App: Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you

I was finally there. After months of anticipation, the stucco buildings, green lawns, and Spanish moss of the Magic Square came into sight. Excited students and nervous parents (there were so many!) were already in the parking lot, unloading the necessities of dorm life. I stepped out of the car and was instantly blasted with a heat wave. This was Valdosta, GA, where the gnats rule supreme and the humidity and temperature tip triple digits. For six weeks I was with seven hundred other high school juniors and seniors at the annual Georgia Governor's Honors Program (GHP).

I spent my summer majoring in chemistry and minoring in social studies, but the time after class held the true magic for me. Like any memorable experience, it had its rough spots. The meals ascended from cafeteria hell itself: wilted lettuce, leftover lasagna, and of course the infamous "tater tot surprise" graced our tables. And then there was the problem of sleep. My roommate shared my love for TIME magazine and Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate, transforming lights out into hours of whispering from under the covers of our rock-hard beds. At seminars I learned how to waltz, swing, salsa, and tango, practicing the steps with an invisible...

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