At the end of the summer, the staff nominated a select group of outstanding students to the Springboard Scholars Program. The Springboard Scholars Program serves as an opportunity for alumni to stay connected with their peers, network with new people, and hone leadership skills. We asked the Scholars to write a short blog on how Summer Springboard has impacted their life.

See below for AJ Jung’s personal experience with Summer Springboard.

“Without an attempt at exaggeration, I can say with conviction that participating in Summer Springboard was one of the best decisions I’ve made over the course of my of my high school career so far. For two weeks, it whisked me away to the beautiful Yale University campus at which I was able to rekindle the embers of my love for creative writing. When I wasn’t enraptured in classes, learning about poetry and gonzo journalism, I was taken to places in Connecticut and New York that I, as someone living in the South, never experienced before, like Manhattan and a mystical little town filled with specialty shops and lavender honey. I even had something to gain from the “True You” activities.

Best of all, surprisingly enough (for someone like me), were the people. The RAs and other faculty were kind and fun people, and even the other students were some of the best people I’ve met. I made friends with an ease I, being a generally nervous person, rarely have the chance to enjoy. Even rarer, I was granted the freedom to be myself without judgment. If you know what it’s like to finally feel safe enough to take off your mask after years of suffocating behind it, you understand. (They don’t ask about your pronouns where I’m from, you know.) Two weeks gave me hope that will last for the rest of my life, because I was able to confirm, there and then, that good people do exist in real life. So good job, Summer Springboard. You did it for at least one of us.”

 – AJ Jung, Creative Writing @ Yale