After being asked to apply numerous times, I finally gave in and volunteered 10 days of my cherished summer vacation to be a girls’ camp counselor in July.
Little did I know these days would become the most enlightening part of my summer.
I arrived at Sacred Heart Girls’ Camp in Big Bear on July 23 to the smiling faces of college women who would soon become my fellow counselors.
That weekend we spent hours on end getting to know each other and planning for the week ahead when 127 girls, ranging in age from 7 to 13, would arrive and look to us for direction.
I was one of four counselors in charge of the Saint Maria Goretti unit, which includes eighth and ninth grade girls.
I clearly remembered how I was once an arrogant ninth-grader, obsessed with celebrities’ lives, and was interested to see how these girls’ attitudes would compare.
Just as I had predicted, each girl had her own way of “respecting” authority and a personal laundry list of celebrities to adore. Including Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, of course.
What I did not expect was to learn something about myself from their antics and attitudes.
Throughout the long, enlightening week, I listened in on their “life dilemmas.”
I found they were as minor as their boyfriends breaking up with them or wanting to be popular when they started high school.
Right when I was about to laugh and call them foolish for making those their main priorities, I realized at that age I had the same priorities.
At 13, I worried if I would ever have a boyfriend and I was concerned that nobody would ever become my friend.
I cared more about what I was planning on doing with my friends that coming weekend than where I was going with my life.
Ultimately, it does not matter if Bob dated Sally or if Stephen was known to cheat on his girlfriends. It does not matter if Justin and Ashley were prom king and queen. But back then, that was all we cared about and focused our time on.
Now I notice I have been saying “back then” when in reality I am only a sophomore in college.
“Back then” was not as long ago as I am making it out to be since I graduated from high school in June 2009.
When life hit me square in the face upon graduation, I quickly learned these lessons of who and what is important.
I did not recognize I had acquired this knowledge, however, until I became aware of girls who had not.
It boggles my mind to realize in the year and three months I have been out of high school, I have prioritized my life and become the organized, ambitious person I am today.
Sometimes I take life’s experiences for granted but it is because of those experiences that I am a stronger woman.
College has the potential to change people, mostly for the better.
I cannot regret my past, because it is gone. Instead I must move on because I now have those lessons learned.
Kristen Campbell, a sophomore journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.