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Summer Program with Abbey Road : The Toolbox
by Student, Alexis R. , Tennessee

It is the transition that high schoolers both look forward to and dread: college. It’s a whole new world of independence and responsibility—it feels like you’re suddenly thrust from being a kid to being an adult. And such a change is intimidating. It requires a myriad of skills, some as trivial as being able to do your own laundry to others more complex like knowing how to live communally and having self-discipline.


What intimidates me the most are the more complex skills—they’re metaphysical abilities that you can’t really track or “check off”. They’re skills that manifest themselves in different situations, so that to fully be prepared you have to have the right tools, not the right “training”. Thankfully for me, I’ve had experience being away from home, living with a roommate, being independent, and getting myself up on time: Abbey Road.


Traveling, especially the way that you travel with Abbey Road, can be considered analogous to going off to college. It involves the same senses of separation, independence, and adventure that are associated with college. It teaches you how to live with a roommate: my roommate and I reconciled our plans with each other, our preferences about room temperature, our walking speed (delightfully fast, thanks Andy!) and all other sorts of things so that we could live together in the best way possible. It teaches you about being away from home for a while: learning to love what you have wherever you are, appreciating novelties, and dealing with the homesickness and duress that that experience undoubtedly gives you. It teaches you about independence: getting up on time, keeping track of your stuff, getting enough sleep, planning ahead, and paying attention to what’s going on around you.


Abbey Road gives you this toolbox of experiences whose usefulness reaches way beyond just traveling in Spain or France or wherever you go. It teaches you life skills that apply in more ways than you’d think.


My high school career is over and my college career is just beginning. It’s a big change, and I know that in the first few months I’ll be faced with new challenges and new problems that I probably haven’t encountered before. But what I do know, as a result of Abbey Road, is that I have a melange of tools and experience to apply, to extrapolate, to best suit my needs and to assure that I come into my college experience as best prepared as I possibly can be.


But that doesn’t mean that the novelty is taken out of it. Having experience doesn’t take out the adventure of it. If there’s one thing I took away from my experience with Abbey Road, it’s the pleasure of getting lost. It’s walking out into the city with my friends, planning to stop in whatever little restaurant we see to get dinner and then walking still, exploring the city and worrying about nothing. It’s the same sense of adventure I feel when I go hiking, or when I get onstage, and the same amazing sense I feel right now, on the eve of one of the biggest changes in my life, and I’m happier for it.

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