On July 7, 2013, I left for my two week long trip to North Carolina. I was going alone, with no family or friends to rely on, I was very nervous. However, I was also very excited for the amazing opportunities at the medical forum and volleyball camp that I would be going to. As I hugged my family goodbye and boarded my plane, I began to feel slightly lonely. When my plane touched down in Raleigh, North Carolina, I was immediately lost in the airport. Finally, I saw a sign with “National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine” written on it. I started making friends right away and my most memorable and amazing summer camp was only beginning.
While sitting on the bus going to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I learned that I was the only one from California. I also heard many stereotypes that people on the East Coast and in the South have about Californians; this continued the whole time I was there. “Do you know any celebrities?” is a question that I was asked frequently. Later that day, on the tour of the UNC campus, I was chatting with people that, although I did not know at the time would become life-long friends. Falling asleep that night was easy, considering I had been awake for almost forty-eight hours. I woke up the next morning excited for my first med-session. When we all sat quietly and awkwardly in our classroom the first day, I began to wonder if the Hippocrates group would be fun at all. Soon enough, we became one large and extremely dysfunctional family.
The next five days passed by quickly, full of not only med-sessions and plenaries but also plenty of laughs and time with friends. On day four, we sat uneasy while watching a live knee replacement and open heart surgery. I realized that surgery was not for me due to the fact that I lost my appetite and could not eat lunch that day. Everyone was excited for the weekend to come on days seven and eight of the forum. It was finally time to unwind, play games and eat southern barbeque for two whole days. Of course the weekend flew by, just like the six days that led up to it and it was time for the closing gala on day nine. Since it was the last night, on the long walk to the dorms form the gala, the faculty advisors told us that the best time to sneak out the dorms to hang out would by around 1:30 in the morning.
It was hard to wake up the next morning, having only about an hour of sleep. The last day was full of goodbyes and tears when I had to spend my final moments with the people that I had become so close to throughout…