Hello! My name is Gabrielle Battle. I will begin my freshman year at the College Preparatory School in Oakland this fall, and this summer is my 8th summer attending ATDP! There are so many things I can tell you about ATDP, and so much advice I could give you to help you succeed in this program, but let me start by talking about my ATDP experience.
As I mentioned, I have attended ATDP for eight consecutive summers. ATDP has challenged me academically and has helped me see what I am capable of. From my first year in ATDP in the first grade, I was in love! I took Greek Mythology and our teacher gave all us readers that she put together for the class. And I remember that I loved the class so much and was so fascinated by the Greek myths and other information in the readers, that after I finished the class, I could not put the reader down! I took the reader with me everywhere that summer! Even on my vacations to Hawaii and Alaska! So there I am, sitting on the beach, enjoying a great vacation, holding this reader that I have loved and cherished for eight years. But that is what ATDP does; it takes a subject and makes it fascinating and fun to learn. Also, because ATDP teachers are absolutely amazing, they encourage questions and in return will ask thought provoking questions of you to make you, the students, think critically about the topic and truly understand the material.
At ATDP, you will also meet some amazing people and make great memories. Because of ATDP, I have international friends like my friends from Kuwait and China, as well as my friends from other states in the US such as Arizona. The great part about ATDP is that you will meet people just like yourselves, intelligent and hardworking. You will also meet people who come from different cultures and who have different ideas and perspectives than your own. In your classes, everyone is expected not to be perfect, but to try their very best. However, ATDP also makes you question your thoughts and opinions by looking at things from different perspectives. Your peers will not always have the same ideas as you, and sometimes it makes you re-question things or reconsider your ideas and opinions.
Also, I encourage you to take time while you are at ATDP to notice what an amazing place you are in! We are at CAL! It’s pretty great! Enjoy the freedom that comes with that, but don’t abuse it.
I want to leave you with my somewhat cheesy “Tips for Success at ATDP:”
- Get organized right away. You will have a lot of homework, and it is easier to keep up with your work and keep up with deadlines if you are organized.
- Do not procrastinate. I know it’s hard to focus on schoolwork in the summer, but ATDP classes move at a fast past and if you get behind, it will be difficult to catch up.
- Make sure to reach out to your teachers if you need help. They are always eager to answer questions, encourage you, and provide support.
- Make friends with your classmates. Classmates are good study and lunch buddies, and they are fun to just talk to and hang out with. Good friendships help to make the ATDP experience enjoyable.
- Go eat at the Great Wall of China. The food is great!
- Have fun! I know you are thinking, Gaby, you told me I am about to have lots of homework for six weeks this summer, and you are trying to tell me it will be fun. Yes! Even though you will be working hard this still summer, you are about to receive an education from the finest teachers around. Make memories along the way. Have fun.
I hope those tips were helpful, but one of the most important tips I can give you is to believe in yourself. I can stand on this stage and tell you 1000 times you can do this, but you have to believe it yourself.
So, on the count of three, I want you to say, I CAN DO IT! One, two, three – I CAN DO IT! You are all extremely intelligent and capable of handling the rigorous workload at ATDP. I know that you will enjoy your experience at ATDP and that you will have an amazing summer. Just know, YOU CAN DO THIS!