Normally, every summer I hope that I will have an even better one than the last. I almost hope that I will have a summer you see in the movies where it’s a montage of laughs, smiles, tans and the mainstream song of the summer.
Now, expectations and reality don’t always exactly mirror one another. While my summers are never like the movies, some days are.
I received the Simon Family Foundation Scholarship, a scholarship that doesn’t just give its recipients checks, but also grants them laptops, retreats, conferences and professional sessions to further their success. Every retreat and conference is held as an escape for everyone who attends, is informational for the future and is held to fun. June 25 and 26 was the 3rd Annual College Conference held at Newport Dunes in Newport Beach, Ca. I am so glad that I went!
During the two days of the conference, the foundation had quite a bit planned for us: How to Stretch Your Dollar – a session that teaches what it sounds like; Surviving College -a session to lean how to handle stress, paddle boarding, water sports, Polynesian dancers, food trucks for lunch and dinner, a networking session with local professionals and a keynote speaker on redefining success.
Paddle boarding, let me tell you, is a workout and a bit unnerving, but worth it. I’m not one to be very adventurous, although I am trying to be so. This was definitely me stepping out of my comfort zone, but I’m glad that I did. It was simple. Stand up, keep your balance and paddle. Okay, it was a bit more than that, but even so, not complicated. Something awesome didn’t happen though . . . I didn’t fall! I did lose my balance when a speed boat went by, so I switched to paddling on my knees. I paddled for about an hour and a half. Let’s just say my upper thighs, back and shoulders hurt for a few days.
There were food trucks, one called Dos Chinos, which served a menu of Chinese and Mexican cuisine. Another one that I didn’t get the name of served waffles with a choice of pulled pork, sautéed mushrooms and fried chicken. As heavy as the food was, it was delicious! So good, I forgot to take a picture of it!
I tried a pedal boat, the ones where you can sit back and use the pedals to move. There were hydrobikes, and kayaks, but I didn’t have time to try them. The foundation also hired Polynesian dancers who performed traditional Tahitian, Hawaiian and Samoan dances. They even taught us all a dance with basic moves, and then they taught the guys the haka – an ancestral war dance originating in New Zealand.
Our second day was much less packed but we got to network with local professionals like police officers, one of whom I spoke with. I also spoke with a Transfer counselor from Santa Ana College. Paramedics, accountants and HR representatives were all there to help us college students practice networking.
Those two days were beyond fun, and I wish I had a montage with a summer hit playing in the background to show you. I just have a few photos and my memories, but that’s enough for me to start putting together a movie in my head . . . or on my laptop.