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My Plans Were Canceled, But I’m Making the Most of Summer 2020

When SA realized that our scholars faced a socially-distanced summer with limited opportunities for fun and learning, we knew we needed to find a way to help them make these months more meaningful. In partnership with a range of experts, educators, and leaders across various fields, SA’s Experiential Learning team created SA Summer Together, a suite of exciting optional summer courses for high schoolers and eighth graders — available to families at no cost. 

Participating scholars practiced the fundamentals of acting with a Broadway professional, learned basic German, tried new yoga postures, and even cooked up some tasty dishes in cooking classes taught by a professional chef. Some of the most popular classes, however, might come as a surprise: Live Surgery, Adulting 101, and Goal Setting. We spoke with Awa Traore, a rising HSLA junior, to find out why she was interested in these courses and what she’s gained from the experience so far. 

It’s not too late to participate in SA Summer Together! Check out upcoming classes and register here.

What was it about SA Summer Together that caught your interest? 

To be honest, I felt that I hadn’t been the best that I could be last school year. I wanted to take the opportunity this summer to push myself to be better. I was supposed to be going to Arizona for my first Success Summer Experience with Deer Hill Expeditions, a wilderness adventure program — but COVID-19 ruined that. Instead of just being disappointed, I decided to sign up for the Summer Together courses. I knew that I wanted to become more professional and to make my resume snazzy, which is why I enrolled in Adulting and Goal Setting. I also know that I want to become a doctor, so I was really excited about the live surgery classes.

What happened in the live surgery? Do you still want to become a doctor after seeing what it’s like? 

Yes! Actually, it was something I saw in the live surgery classes that helped me finally decide what I want to specialize in: pediatric orthopedics. There was a doctor helping to fix a young girl’s broken arm. I had moments of feeling squeamish, but mostly it was just so interesting and you can tell that it is really rewarding. A young girl comes in with a lot of pain and it must feel amazing to know that you can help take that pain away and make her okay again. I watched five live surgeries and learned so much — there was always a medical professional explaining to the class what was going on as we watched the surgeons work. Did you know that they can use a small part of your leg vein to help fix your heart in bypass surgery?!

What has been the best part of the Adulting 101 class? 

Ironically, I’ve been so busy this summer because I’ve signed up for all of these classes and because I do a lot to help out my family at home. So what’s been great is that I’ve actually been immediately using the calendaring, time management, and even finance techniques that we’re learning in Adulting 101. There’s an immediate application to my life right now, which is not always the case with lessons you learn in school. I’ve also enjoyed being in a course with younger scholars, too, and giving my advice for when they start high school. I have a lot of advice!

I’m excited to have my LinkedIn profile set up and I also appreciate the tips we’ve received to make our resumes strong. I want to shadow a doctor as soon as I can, so it’s important that I have the skills to present myself in the best way possible so that I can be selected for these kinds of opportunities.

What else are you involved with this summer? 

I’m also taking part in SA’s Summer Experience program and attending Great Books, which is all about improving your reading and writing skills. We’re going to be dissecting big books — Aristotle as a start! — and key themes and practicing our critical reading skills. I’m pretty good at reading and writing but I want to get better because I’ll be taking a lot of AP classes next year. Why not start preparing this summer? 

You mentioned you have a lot of advice for younger students? Can you share one top tip? 

Forget the image of the so-called perfect student. You know yourself better than anyone and you know how to push yourself and exactly what you can achieve. Let that be good enough; don’t compare yourself to others!

Thank you to all organizations who helped make SA Summer Together possible!

Written by Success Academy July 29, 2020

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