Savannah speaks with Dennis about her experience living and working in Washington, DC the summer after her freshman year of college. Savannah discusses her determination to experience somewhere new, and how she was able to make it happen for herself. In her story, she touches on themes of loneliness, independence, family and friendship. Savannah reminds us that while independence is a virtue, we can all use some support to get where we're going.
So when I was looking at colleges, UMass was just sort of what made the most sense. But I also don't think it was expecting to have, I guess, the tough year that I did. I think UMass is a very big school. And it's an easy place to sort of get lost in. And I was really used to being at home in my hometown in my community that was so familiar. And I had a good group of friends and a good kind of support system. And I kind of went from that to go into this big place that was super vast, where no one's really keeping track of you or worrying about you. And I definitely felt lonely. So at the end of that year, I kind of knew that I had to do something different with my summer, I knew that I needed something that was a little bit more of a leap for me something that was challenging and new. And so I was like, okay, great, it's time to figure out how I'm going to spend the summer. So I ended up applying to an internship program in Washington, DC and spend two months of my summer living there is a really well set up program. And I think what draw me what drew me to it was it was pulling students from across the country around the world to which was really exciting to me. And I think the concept of the program gave me a little bit of the community that I knew I needed. And so once I kind of set my sights on that, at the end of my freshman year, that gave me a little bit of vigor, a little bit of excitement that I think I needed, then it was just time to kind of decide and figure out how I was going to make that happen for myself, I knew that this was going to be a good program, but I had to, like pay for the housing, I had to pay for some of the programming fee and things like that. My next kind of step was I have to find scholarships, I learned quickly that there's money floating around universities and floating around for a lot of the things that you want to do. People just tend to not know that those scholarships, those grants, those things are there. And so they don't look for them. So I made it my goal to find this funding to get me to DC. So that's what I did. I ended up applying to so many scholarships, writing so many essays, and all these different things. So I did get there, I always remember just like sitting on the plane and like taking a breath and being like, Wow, I can't believe I can, if I pull this together, it's amazing. And so from there it was, it was a really wonderful experience. I loved DC living there gave me kind of my first taste of like, what you would maybe call adult life. But I kind of got all I think the best parts of it. I think reflecting the important parts were the social parts and getting to be somewhere new and getting to kind of fulfill the plan that I had for myself, I think maybe twofold. I think I came back with some confidence. And I definitely learned that I had the ability to kind of dictate my environment and kind of get myself out of the funk that I was in, I think was really important. I can definitely see that I've grown in that way. I definitely hold on to that determination that I had and know that it's like still in me, how are you feeling about this next transition? And what do you see is coming next. So I've definitely been pretty stressed about my next transition. I think part of it is because this is something that I never would have, I think believed my freshman year but I have such a good and rich life here at UMass and in Amherst, that I think it feels intimidating to think about moving that somewhere new and even meeting new people. I think I am so kind of comfortable where I am. So I think making that transition is a little bit scary. But I also know that I have done it before when I went to DCA essentially picked myself up and moved to a new city for a couple months. And now it's just kind of doing the same thing, but for a little longer. And so I think I'm trying to harness that sort of can do attitude that I lose a little bit sometimes. And so I kind of try to take that from my summer, and I'm trying to kind of be hopeful and positive and excited. And I think that will serve me well.