Crossing State Lines for Academic Connections

July 18, 2008
Chloe` Frazier


High school students from across the country come to UCSD to attend Academic Connections (AC) for a college preparation program to get a sense of the college experience. Being away from family and
friends for three weeks is not always an easy thing. Coming to AC not only allows students to get a head start on college life, it also takes many to a different state.


Why They Came:

AC draws students from across the country for three weeks to learn about college life and classes, and introduces them to new people. Leaving their home states, Justine Bragg from Omaha, Neb. and Samantha Derrick from Melbourne, Fla. took a chance to step outside of their everyday lives. “I heard about Academic Connections from my brother,” said Derrick. “He did a similar thing and said it was awesome.” But for Bragg, she found AC. “I looked up Academic Connections on the internet,” said Bragg. “I was sick of boring summers, and I wanted to do something fun.”

California is known for its beautiful beaches and nice weather year-round. Midwest states are stuck with no beaches and changing weather for every season. “Nebraska has really bad weather,” said Bragg. “It’s nice to be away from it all.”

UCSD’s six different colleges and views of the ocean, attract students from across the country to San Diego. “I love it here,” said Bragg. “It’s a great campus, it has a lot of options, and everyone seems really nice.” Students who come to UCSD from out of state get a look at what else there is to experience.

Making a change for three weeks, often in a bigger city, makes room for a comparison between small hometowns and big cities. “Omaha is really tight-knit. Everyone knows everyone, but it is still a heavily populated town,” said Bragg. The differences between the West Coast and East Coast seem endless. For example “In the summer, Florida is very hot and humid,” said Derrick.


It can be hard being away from home and not having family or friends near by. But, by taking that step, the students get ready to leap into college life. When it comes to saying goodbye to family, it is not only is it hard on the student, but it is also hard on the parents. “My mom started crying, which made me cry,” said Derrick.


When the students crossed their state lines, they left everything they were used to. “I miss my bed, my friends, I miss taking long hot showers, and the comfort of my own home,” said Bragg.

Looking Back Before Crossing State Lines

Planning for the future starts with getting a basic idea of what college is truly like. “I want to become a psychologist because I really enjoy talking about the human mind, and I want to understand it more,” said Bragg. “I plan on majoring in psychology in the future, and UCSD is a school I want to look at for a college.”

Once the three weeks come to an end, the students look back on what they have learned and accomplished. “I learned so much from Academic Connections,” said Bragg. “I made new relationships, I gained more knowledge, and I expanded my mind.” Derrick followed Bragg discussing her new friendships. “The things that I got most out of Academic Connections is great friendships,” said Derrick “I also got the awesome opportunity to experience college life.”

After spending time with the same people, strong bonds form, and thinking about leaving new-found friends, leaves many students feeling sad. Soon, the students will say their goodbyes, pack up and start to head home. While some kids have parents coming to pick them up, Derrick and Bragg plan to catch the first shuttle to the airport for their early 2 o’clock flights. Taking a chance, Bragg and Derrick, got their early college experience and captured new memories for their family and friends.

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