A racing heartbeat. Shaky breaths. My thumb hovering over the refresh button, desperate to find a sense of relief in my inbox. Millions of thoughts rushing through my mind at a billion miles a minute, causing my trillions of cells to stand on edge. I eagerly opened the email and quickly skimmed my eyes over the correspondence. As soon as I saw the word “Congratulations!”, I quickly lifted my body from the chair and burst with movements, having little regard for tempo or rhythm. All of my hard work had finally paid off--I was really going to be a part of the CentennialX Summer 2017 Program.
When I was first nominated, I didn’t know what CentennialX was. I went to an informational meeting to see what exactly the program had to offer, and I was a bit hesitant. They discussed the past years’ challenges, all of which had some scientific twist. Science has never really been my strong suit, so I was weary that I would not be able to keep up with the expectations. I filled out my (very long) application regardless, figuring it was a good opportunity. When I finally got called back for an interview, I got pretty excited. I remember waiting outside of the room, my heartbeat loud in my ears. I saw the person come out before me in a suit holding a briefcase and instantly got more nervous. Compared to my bright red pants and polka dot socks, he definitely seemed to have everything in order.
Luckily, my interview went well despite my lack of formal apparel. Afterward, my friends and I chattered about the questions and the serious faces in the room. We were all anxious, wishing the best for ourselves and hopeful that we would work with each other in the summer. When we finally got the results, we were all thrilled to discover that we had all been chosen for the final challenge. We had no clue what the challenge would entail, but we were ecstatic to find out.
The challenge was indeed challenging, but it was fun to collaborate with other people who brought different ideas to the table. We had to create a product that helped fix our given problem and present it to the other groups. My group worked very well together, and we got our work done without being too stressed or low on time. The presentation was a little nerve wracking, but we did a good job regardless. This was the final step of the selection process, so after this, we had to wait until we found out if we were officially accepted or not. I was genuinely worried I wasn’t going to get in, as I really got a feel for the true competition during the challenge. I saw extremely intelligent, outgoing people who I was worried I couldn’t compare to. I didn’t know if I would make it in or not. All I did know is how bad I wanted to and how it would feel to make it this far and not be accepted. I was nervous, to say the least.
Although the process seemed to last a decade, it was definitely worth the wait. Seeing all of the determined, intelligent minds that will be working together this summer in one room sparks such a sense of inspiration within me. We all worked extremely hard to get to where we are, and we all have the same sense of determination to make this the best experience possible. Words cannot accurately describe how incredible it feels to be working with such amazing people, and I’m determined to make the most out of this opportunity. After all, we are the future.