Two years ago, I was in the middle of my last summer before moving into The Gatton Academy. My mother was busy buying me supplies for school that appeared to cover every scenario from a study session to surviving the apocalypse and I was busy working on my procrastination skills by not packing. I remember being incredibly excited for the change that the Academy would bring, but also nervous about it not living up to my expectations. I struggled with the same fears of social awkwardness and difficult classes that hundreds of Gatton students must have had before me. After two years spent playing video games, pulling all-nighters, playing Frisbee, and hanging out with some of the greatest people I have ever met I look back at myself that summer before junior year and laugh. The Academy exceeded my expectations in almost every conceivable way. I was able to take some of the most challenging and intriguing classes that I have ever taken with professors I admire greatly, had the privilege to do research and get to know the Ferhan and Mustafa Atici duo that made my smile every time we had a meeting, and get to travel to some of the coolest places on the planet. Looking back after the two best years of my life up until this point I can’t help but smile at how much I have change from these last two years of Calculus, eating Chick-fil-A, and incredible memories.
While the memories and experiences that I have taken away from my two years at the Academy are amazing, the people I met and spent my time with along the way are invaluable. Over the last couple years, I have struggled through classes, eaten way too much pizza, and played hours of Frisbee with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. Whether it was being loud and crazy together on second floor or having fun pranking each other on wing, I would not trade a single day at Gatton for anything. Gatton students were not the antisocial nerds that I had feared, they were some the most driven, caring, and supportive people I have ever met. The members of my graduating class are and always will be my Gatton family and I can’t wait to see what we all do with the next years in our lives.
Since graduating and coming home just a couple months ago it seems like everyone wants to know if I regret coming to Gatton and moving away two years early. I could never fully explain all that Gatton has done for me and how much I cherish the two years that I had there, but I will say that the last two years of my life have been by far the best to date. My decision to come to Gatton introduced me to some of the best people I have ever known, allowed me to grow both academically and socially, and gave me memories that I will value for the rest of my life.