In the Elementary Division, classes like “Simple Machines” and “Energy” were straight forward in their material and were not meant to build upon each other.
Once I entered the Secondary Division and chose to take “First-Year Japanese,” it was a different story. Learning a foreign language is difficult and it takes time and dedication, meaning you have to take multiple years to truly grasp and understand the language. First year was rough for me. The material was challenging, and I was shy so I didn’t really talk to anyone much and I didn’t make many friends.
I was a sprout, but come second year I had grown into a bonsai tree. I broke my mold in second year and though the course only grew in difficulty, I enjoyed it because I could see my own improvements—in the language and my social skills. I was starting to form bonds with the classmates I progressed these courses with.
The first time I had an out-of-class interaction with someone was when I showed one of my classmates the location of the nearest vending machine. For those of you taking classes in Tolman Hall, the vending machine is at the Genetics and Plant Biology building near the bathrooms. Our class mostly connected over Skittles that year.
In year three, our class roster dropped from 11 to 7, but this only brought us closer together. Some of us would even hang out on weekends, and once Star Wars Episode VII came out, we went to see it. Now we have a tradition of watching any Star Wars movie together once it comes out.
Going to ATDP ensures you’ll meet new people and make friends and that’s one of the reasons I look forward to attending every year. I hope all of the students in the room will work hard and enjoy the company of your classmates just as much as I did.