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A Student’s Perspective: THINK Summer Institute

Gifted Programs

THINK Summer Institute alumnus Emerson reflects on his experience with the gifted summer program below.

My name is Emerson Herrera. I am currently studying at McGill University, in Montreal Canada. Out of all of the Davidson programs offered to Young Scholars which I participated in, I would say, by far, that the Davidson THINK Summer Institute was the most impactful to my experience as a profoundly gifted learner. For four years, Davidson THINK provided me with desperately needed academic rigor while also giving me the unique opportunity to connect with a large number of my gifted peers over a three-week time period.

This was a much needed haven for me. At the time, much of the academic work I could hope to encounter was uninteresting, unchallenging, and monotonous. In contrast, at THINK, the college courses I took moved at a very quick pace, and I had to flex all of my intellectual “muscles” in order to succeed in them. I was able to rapidly develop real academic skills, such as good study habits and time management, rather than just flying through my assignments at the last minute. I was also able to build a good rapport with many of my professors. One of which I sometimes use as a recommender to this day. It was also here where I discovered my love for History, which I am now studying at McGill.

THINK was also very important to me, socially. Many of my best friends were made at Davidson THINK. Being surrounded by like-minded peers was truly a boon for me. While I had nothing against my age-peers back home, it was always apparent to me that I was slightly different to them. At THINK I was essentially just a normal kid. I related to the students there much more and I became much closer to them because of it.

Having benefited so much from THINK, this summer, I have decided to come back to Davidson Summer Programs to work as a Program Assistant. I believe in the Davidson Institute’s mission, and I want THINK to be the best that it can be.


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