GHP 2013 and me
I was nervous. I was excited. It was move in day for the Governor’s Honors Program. The campus of Valdosta State University was buzzing with hundreds of students and parents all carting suitcases, giant refrigerators or enormous packages of ramen around.
I had no idea what to expect for these next four weeks. I had heard from others what their GHP experience was like, but I didn’t know what my experience would be like. I was about to embark on a four week journey of learning about writing and reading and even things about myself I did not yet know.
After multiple interviews I, along with 689 other georgia students, was selected to attend GHP. My major was Communicative Arts, but others majored in everything from social studies to design.
After my mother left, it was time for me to attend an orientation at which I would be told by countless people that GHP would be a life-changing experience. I wasn’t sure if I was buying into that just yet.
I walked into the Whitehead auditorium, where the orientation was held, and looked around for a familiar face. There were only five other students from my school there, so the chances of finding them were slim. I didn’t find them.
I kept telling myself, these people are nice, you interview people all the time for journalism, just go introduce yourself to someone. So finally I found an open seat and did just that.
This was the first of many introductions, I met so many people in the first week. The wonderful thing about GHP was, you could walk up to another ghp student and introduce yourself and that was okay
The people are what really made GHP the life-changing experience it was. There was Ali, my energetic roommate, who somehow managed to be just as energetic at 5:30 a.m. as she was at lunchtime. Each morning of the first week, after snoozing our alarm a few times, she would finally jump out of bed so we could get in a morning workout.
I would be stumbling around the room with my eyes half closed trying to find my tennis shoes, while Ali was bouncing around ready to run. If for some reason we didn’t wake up, our friend Rebecca never failed to bang on our door at 5:50 a.m. and drag us out of our room.
They are the most wonderful people, you know if you can spend nearly every waking hour and for Ali and I, every sleeping hour together, with a person and not want to strangle them, they are a special kind of person.
I met Bryce and Ramsey the second day of GHP. We all had a counseling group time the second day of GHP and after meeting Bryce at dinner we found out we had the same one. We decided to walk together since neither of us had really figured out our way around the campus yet. I was waiting for Bryce and Ramsey to finish their conversation about classical music. I was sitting there, not really contributing much. I had no idea that these two would become people I could talk to about almost anything.
GHP was the perfect learning environment. All of the teachers wanted to be there, all of my fellow students wanted to learn, and our classes didn’t have to follow a set of standards. The first week of GHP I took a surrealism class and a perception v. reality class.
Both of those classes changed the way I thought about the world. In the surrealist class the goal was to write without thinking too much, whatever comes to your head first, put it on the paper. But this was so different than what you must do at school, its always about perfecting your product, making sure it falls within the rubric. There was not a rubric, and at first it was surprisingly hard to do what seemed like it should be so easy, writing instantaneously is more difficult than it seems.
At GHP It was okay to try something and fail. It was important that you stepped out of your comfort zone and even if you failed, at least you pushed the boundaries of your world in some way.
GHP has now become a part of me, I will always carry with me the lessons I learned at GHP. I can now honestly say that GHP was a truly life-changing experience.
More from Jenny Alpaugh