Written by Shermonie Yang, 2017 Wellesley Pre-College Immersive Program Participant
Hi-- My name is Shermonie, and I am from Henan, China. These are all photos I took during the summer, when I attended a Pre-College Program. Not just any pre-college program though. I spent four weeks in a top women's college…. Wellesley! Hooray!! I attended the program with 40 other fabulous girls from different countries. What interested me about Wellesley specifically were the courses the program provided. I thought: “It must be very cool to learn Women and Gender Studies at a women’s college,” so I chose to enroll in both “The Selfie in American Life” and “Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies” during my time at Wellesley. Here was my summer....
Here, we were on our way to Slater International House. The campus was just as awesome as I imagined, with a breathtaking lake, many brick and stone buildings, and open meadows at every corner. I could imagine how previous students must have spent their days in such a gorgeous place, missing those “good old days” after they left. It was exactly what I did when I left.
What I loved most about the campus was watching the sunset over Lake Waban. Did I mention that I am a sunset collector? Well, Wellesley was a paradise for people just like me. Even on an ordinary day (if there was such thing at Wellesley), I was delighted by the scenery on the lakeside at dusk.
These are all of the International students (above.). Honestly, I did not expect to meet so many other Chinese students, but I was surprised to learn their backgrounds and discover how diverse they each were. As an international student, the inclusiveness and open-mindedness that I found at Wellesley made the diversity, and my stay on campus, possible. I felt like people here at Wellesley were all very patient and helpful. I received encouragement whenever I wanted to try something new.
Guess what I found in the Clapp Library? It was a complete collection of the Britannica Encyclopedia!!! I used to cite from it a lot when preparing for debate competitions, but this was the first time I saw its physical form. Besides a ton of great books, the quiet and cool ambience in the library also made it an ideal place to study and think. We once even had class in the basement of the library. The professors were always patient and paid equal attention to every student in our small-sized class. I started to overcome my initial shyness and speak out my opinions more, because I knew the professors and my classmates were willing to listen.
The first (and also the last) time my friends and I circled Lake Waban. Besides an academic institution, Wellesley is also a good place to hang out and have fun with friends. I still remember how we talked about our endless readings, and continued to write essays in an air-conditioned lounge (often in the middle of night). Even after Wellesley, we have a group chat and continue to share our interesting experiences, just as what we did when we were together. Wellesley was the place where we started our lifelong friendships.
We didn’t just stay on Wellesley’s campus, though! For instance, I saw the real Plymouth Rock on Independence Day. I was expecting some huge stones, but the view was still remarkable as a reminder of how people built a large country within merely several hundred years. That trip was both inspiring and entertaining, as were the other trips to Boston. To be honest, I really miss the taste of lobster at Quincy Market.
Back to our residential hall, the common room on the second floor was where we held our Karaoke parties, had meetings, and played the song “Cups” from the movie Pitch Perfect. This lounge was definitely ideal for those of us who wanted to relax. However, this was not a perfect place to do our homework since the chatter and laughter was bit distracting. The rest of the dorms were fairly quiet. In fact, I had to take a risk doing my homework in my dorm by myself because chances are I would fall asleep in the middle of reading with no one around to wake me up! Oops!
It was eye-opening to see different values and culture come together in such a small community. Though each of us were different in our own ways, it became insignificant when we began to get to know each other below the surface. Despite race, religion, and sexuality, we are all human beings. There are values we humans share in common, like integrity, friendship and kindness. There are also weaknesses, like selfishness, that we all have as well. Wellesley is home to our differences because it fosters a place for each of us to celebrate the good in ourselves and each other.
Living in an environment without boys did not make my life less colorful, as I previously worried about attending an all-women’s summer program. On the contrary, I enjoyed being surrounded by a diverse group of women and felt less limited by some traditional ways of thinking. On the last night we spent at Wellesley, my friend and I wrote to our staff on the bulletin board: “Thank you for being awesome women-- it taught us how to be awesome too! ”
For more information, please visit wellesley.edu/summer today!