at Smith Again
Amirr Beathea, a rising
9th-grade student at the Young Women’s Leadership
Charter School of Chicago, had such a successful experience
as a participant in STEP UP (Summer Talent Exploration
Program — Unleashing
Potential), a week-long program for middle school girls,
during summer 2006 that she returned this summer to take
part in the . She
wrote about her experience at Smith during her final week
here in July.
By Amirr Beathea
It all started two years
ago when I was in middle school, nothing more then a young
7th-grader in an all-girls school in Chicago. My advisor
talked about a one-week trip to this great school called
Smith College to attend the STEP UP program. The whole
class was talking about it but I was unsure if I was going
to apply. It came to the point when it was time to write
the essays when my advisor forgot to tell the class one
tiny important detail; that Smith was an “all-girls” school.
When everyone heard “all-girl” they dropped out.
Well, everyone except for nine girls, and I was one of those
By the next
month seven other girls and me were going to be on our way
to Northampton for a week of success, leadership and growth.
It was the first time I ever flew in a plane and my
Mom was going to have a cow (she hates planes). My father
couldn’t believe that daddy’s little girl was
going out of town without him or my mother. (He really didn’t
want me to go.) And before I knew it, I was unpacking and
looking around my very own dorm room at Smith.
the first day me and the other STEP UP girls were so excited
about what the day was going to be like. We were off to breakfast
when we saw this large group of girls go into the dining
hall before us. We were all asking, “Who
are they? Why are they here? Are they students?” Then our questions
were answered by one of our staff members who said “You guys have it
all wrong. They should be asking ‘who are you?’ and ‘why
are you here?’” Then
she explained that they were in a program called the Summer
Science and Engineering Program, or SSEP, and how they were going to be there
for a whole month and that there were even girls from my school there. From
that point on I knew that I was going to apply for SSEP the next year.
week I spent in the STEP UP Program went by so fast I learned
so much, and I made new friends and got to know old ones.
When the time came for us to leave I thought back on the
time when I first arrived at Smith and I’d seen
how much I changed from the first time I got there until
it was time for me to leave. I changed so much, I had became
something that I wasn’t before I left Chicago and I
couldn’t put my finger on what it was yet, but I knew
that I was going to figure it out. It was so hard to leave
Smith. I had fallen in love with the school and the campus
and the staff of the program.
It was time for the next school
year to begin and I couldn’t
think of anything but applying for SSEP for the next summer
so I could see that wonderful school that I loved so much.
Then the time came to apply for SSEP. I was so nervous about
getting accepted. I wrote the entrance essay and got it approved
a hundred times. After I sent my essay I prayed every night
to get in.
One day I came home from school
and saw a letter on the coffee table from “Smith College.” I
jumped so high that I could have gone though the ceiling.
I was so scared I didn’t know what to do so I decided
to not open it. It haunted me all night until I woke up and
finally opened the letter. I was accepted.
The time came so
fast for me leave for Smith and my father again had problems
with me leaving. Now, I have spent four weeks at Smith and
here in my last week I know I’m
going to miss it. I don’t know what I’m going
to do for next year. I do know that Smith has helped me a
lot in growing, getting to know new people, and preparing
for college. Now I know what that something was that I had
become when I first arrived here. I had somehow become a
part of this great school. I wish I could stay just a little
longer. I‘m going to miss this school so much and
everyone here. But I will never forget my time here at Smith
and hope that the other girls enjoyed it as much as I did.
There’s one thing that
I know for sure: Smith College will be getting a college
application from me come January 2011.