VSA was a wonderful experience for me, and I got a lot out of it. From the challenging class on an unusual branch of mathematics, to the scavenger hunt and the juggling class, it seemed tailor-made for me. It had everything I could have hoped for in a summer program. It allowed me to stretch my intellectual capabilities in discussions with classmates about the fourth dimension, as well as honing my riddle- and problem-solving skills both in class and outside of class, during scavenger hunts and when just spending an afternoon exchanging riddles with some of the proctors.
I talked to TAs and proctors about college classes and majors, and received some valuable advice, such as making sure to take as few classes as possible the first semester so that there's time to settle in and make friends. I also learned about the importance of diversifying your classes and taking lots of classes that look interesting to you, even (especially) if they have nothing to do with your major, because there's still plenty of time to realize that your passion is in a different field entirely and you want to switch majors--maybe even multiple times. Talking to my TA, who is majoring in psychology, and my proctor, who took some classes in psychology, got me interested in it for the first time. I realized that how people think is fascinating to me, and even if I don't major or even minor in it, I want to learn about it. Learning more about myself, like the fact that I find almost everything very interesting, makes me think that I would be happier at a liberal arts college, where I would be encouraged to take a wide variety of classes, rather than just a small core curriculum and classes related to my major.
I had an excellent teacher who cared about the material, and it showed in class. She was invested in students understanding what was going on, but also in everyone being able to learn at their own pace. She made sure that even when I finished before the other students, she had extra, more in-depth work that I could do, so that I could keep learning.
But VSA didn't stop at academic excellence for me. I loved learning how to make more complicated patterns on friendship bracelets with Amy, playing four-square in the pouring rain, watching the lightning, making friends inside and outside my class and proctor group, walking to get ice cream during soft nights, mutually failing to dance, and talking to new friends about every topic imaginable.