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The Purbalite

The student news site of Baldwin High School

The Purbalite

The student news site of Baldwin High School

The Purbalite

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Senior Farewell: A college summer camp changed my life

Image by Purbalite staff
Purbalite seniors evaluate their four years of high school at Baldwin.

Before I entered high school, everyone told me to try new things and join more clubs to see what I am interested in. However, the one experience that changed my life the most wasn’t from a high school extracurricular – it was from a college summer camp.

During my freshman year I was all online because it was during the pandemic. Canvas was the new online tool that was being used, and like most kids, I did not look at it that much other than to do classwork. However, I somehow saw an announcement in the Class of 2024 Canvas page about John Carroll University’s Young Writers Workshop.

I made a lot of amazing friends who I am still in contact with.

It was for high school students who were interested in writing, whether it was poetry or fiction. That was me. It would be in Cleveland, Ohio, though, and I would be away from my parents for a week surrounded by people I did not know. This would be a major step that I wasn’t sure I could take in my life.

Eventually, I decided to go, and on a Sunday in one of the last weeks of July, my parents and I drove to John Carroll University.

I never regretted it. I met people who shared my love of writing. I learned how to make friends in a whole new place. I learned more things about writing and editing. I wrote more there than I had in the past year. I learned how to be comfortable reading my writing aloud and getting constructive feedback. I learned how to be a better writer.

I even gained the confidence to read some of my writing aloud to a room full of people I didn’t know. I felt comfortable enough to make a joke that got the audience to laugh. I left that week with more skills and more confidence in myself.

The next summer I went back, and it marked an even bigger change.

I had come out with my new name, “Raven,” to my close friends, but no one else for a few years. At the workshop, everyone was told to write their name and pronouns on a piece of paper, so people could learn each other’s names. I decided I would write “Raven” and put they/them pronouns. Everyone was so accepting of me.

Toward the end of the week, I was asked if I wanted my preferred name to be called at the closing ceremony and used in the published anthology. I already wanted to come out to my parents that year, so I figured this would be a good way to do it.

It went amazingly well, and I was ready to be known as Raven the next school year.

I went to JCU this past summer as well, and my final week at JCU was a bittersweet one. I made a lot of amazing friends who I am still in contact with. This was the last year for a lot of us, and we spent a lot of time watching movies and hanging out.

We took a tour of the campus, and I would later go to many events held there for prospective students.

This school year, I looked at other colleges near here, but nothing felt as right as John Carroll did. I applied and was accepted. I am moving to campus in August, three days before my birthday.

Before John Carroll, I had no plan about what I wanted to do after high school. Because of JCU, now I have a plan and goals to achieve.

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About the Contributor
Raven Spano
Raven Spano, Staff Writer
Senior Raven Spano is a second-year Staff Writer. They can be found writing stories, playing video games, or serving as copy editor of the Yearbook.
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