I’m in a reflective mood tonight, in the cool California air under the waxing crescent moon. Is that the warm smell of fajitas I smell, or of colitas? I can’t really tell. All I know is that my mind is still filled to the brim with thoughts of my friends from SSP.
There are two versions of SSP, both equally true: the version with potatoes and dongos, where all 36 of us cop fun all day long, Bang!ing into the night. Where everyone is drinking diet coke and eating chicken, under the watchful gaze of Rishabh. This is all true. But. This is not all.
SSP is so much more than the meme-status trends that seem to appear at every camp. Instead, it binds students from remarkably different locales together, through the fires of observation and problem sets. It is where the depths of the heart are dredged out during long conversations, and where true friendships come together while resting on a large rock. SSP is an experience like no other because the students here are so incredible, possessing great wealths of not only intelligence, but also of kindness, humility, and love.
It is difficult to portray SSP as a collection of images. While the Westmont campus is beautiful, being limited to two classrooms and a dorm leaves very little to the visual imagination. Instead, the most amazing moments are those of time. When I stared at a whiteboard chalk full of chicken scratches I had made to understand the different coordinate systems, only to be rescued by Elba. When, on the eve of AP scores being released, Jacob and Michelle accompanied me on my first midnight coffee pot ramen party. When a virtual stranger, Dr. Warren Rogers, led me on a tour of his lab not once, but twice. When I passed out on the sofa at Armington and got pranked so hard that even Ms. Martinez got pulled into it for a moment. When my roommate, Efe, woke me up just in time for lecture. When I hugged a cactus on July 4th. When I left my phone in the computer lab and Aditya created an all day scavenger hunt before he would give it back. When ten math and science geniuses struggled with splitting an IHOP check. When the entire camp huddled around each other on the cold track, gazing at the stars and sharing ourselves, our lives and our love for each other to hear. When we sat on the rock, watching the sky turn light and the sun rise upon the end of our times together. These moments, crystallized so perfectly as frozen teardrops in my heart, will remain with me. Forever.
But, forever is a long time, and given the frequency at which I forget items like my wallet and my phone (and my mind and my sleep), eventually even these most precious thoughts shall fade, like the shifting sands burying a monument. If that comes to be, I’d rather forget the laughs and Venla jokes and the lexicon, because I will never let go of the love and kindness from my friends here.