Before I participated in Bridge, I attended Sewanee for a High School College Trip. During this trip I realized how much I disliked Sewanee; there was no phone service, no mall nearby, and not a big enough university. Towards the end of my Junior year of High School, I began researching summer programs near me and Sewanee popped up. I was then accepted into the Bridge program for the Summer of 2012. Once I stopped at the Mcdonalds in Monteagle, I noticed my phone service went out and that left me angry before I had even started, but I decided to keep an open mind.
Once Bridge had started, I told myself I would make new friends, learn more information in college courses, and try to be open to trying everything. After literally a couple hours of Bridge, I had felt an instant connection with my mentors and the friends I had just begun making. We laughed, we cried, we danced in the Fourth of July parade, then the program started to come to end. As the program was ending, tears flew from every direction and not just the ladies were crying by the way. By the end of the program, I had realized that I had been at Sewanee before and I noticed how my perspective had completely been altered.
Bridge was the entire reason I ever even applied to Sewanee or considered Sewanee to be my top choice university. Bridge was not the end of my Sewanee experience or my friendships either. Four other Bridge students chose to attend Sewanee after Bridge and we are all close. Same thing goes for my other friends attending Austin Peay and Northwestern. Bridge has also opened doors for me. Beginning with being paid, yes paid summer research here on campus with upperclassmen. The summer before I had even started classes, I was already in the lab homogenizing and running data.
After my Bridge experience, I decided to become a mentor for Bridge the summer of 2013. That was one of the most phenomenal experiences for me. Getting to be on the other side of the students and be their guide through their Bridge experience. Therefore, if it wasn’t for Bridge I have no idea if I would have attended Sewanee and my Bridge experience is an experience that I am grateful for.
I still remember the day I left for the Bridge Program. Worry flooded my mind as this would be the first time I was away from my family for a long time. I have to admit, going away for an educational three-week program is not really how many teenagers like to spend their summer. I was included in that. Yet instill, we packed up the car and headed down the highway to what would become one of the most influential summers of my life. I was immediately surprised by the shear size and beauty of the mountain. Being from Louisiana, it was my first time seeing mountains, so Sewanee’s 13,000 acres captivated my mind from the very start. That worry feeling that had snuck in my mind before my departure had turned into excitement. However, that excitement exited as soon as my family did.
I spent the first week completely in my shell. I did the activities and the classes without saying many words. The mentors and professors noticed my quiet state and did whatever they could to make me feel comfortable. By week two, I had made friends, hiked trails, and learned about derivatives; all of which I never saw coming. Before I knew it the three weeks were up and it was time to go home. I learned and saw more than I ever expected to. Those 19 strangers at the beginning of the program had turned into family. As we said our goodbyes, the hope and desire that we would all return to the mountain together again lingered in the air.
Now, about to complete my junior year here at Sewanee, I know choosing to go to that educational three-week program was the right decision. I’m president of my fraternity, a member of the university jazz band, played football, and have completed research in two separate departments on campus all thanks to the Bridge program and its staff. Because of the impact my mentors had on me during the program, I decided to become a mentor myself. It was one of the most rewarding opportunities I remember ever being apart of. The Bridge Program is the biggest reason why I still call Sewanee home today. There is no doubt in my mind that had I not completed the Bridge Program, I would’ve missed out on this great place.
Sewanee's Bridge Program in Math and Science played a major role in my college decision! Bridge expanded my scientific knowledge beyond the textbook. Lecture style learning in combination with complex labs exposed and prepared me for the courses that would constitute my college experience. This school year I’ve worked in the Biology Department as part of a lab management team, which includes setting up, cleaning up, and maintaining the labs on campus. The Bridge program benefited me in this field in that it familiarized me with various biological methods and materials. Furthermore, being a participant in Bridge afforded me a special opportunity, assisting Dr. Moore with his alligator anatomy research the summer before my freshman year. As a whole, Bridge made my transition from high school to college, a lot smoother than I had expected. Having strong relationships with my mentors and a few professors helped the social aspect of college assimilation, and being familiar with Sewanee’s domain made it that much easier to envision this place as being my own.
I am so grateful to have been able to participate in the Bridge Program, and can say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was so nervous before I arrived on campus, I had no idea what to expect. My fears were put to rest as soon as I got to know my fellow “campers” and dove into the many activities the program had to offer. Outside of the classroom we did everything from swimming to caving. To this day, I am amazed at how close we all became over the course of just three weeks. I still stay in touch with my friends from Bridge. Living, working, and learning with such an amazing group of people was an invaluable experience. Having the opportunity to explore the sciences at Sewanee motivated me to succeed in high school and now in college as I pursue a major in Physics.