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LA News Archive The Schoolhouse

Go Your Own Way
Posted 08/08/2016 10:01AM

The word “California” is a catalyst for daydreams: visions of miles of sandy beaches in Malibu; surfers cruising down sharp blue waves; San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in fog; the Pacific Coast Highway winding through hills and along cliffs. But for LA IIP (Independent Immersion Program) students like Grace Harlan ’18, the opportunity to study at Stanford University this summer has added even more to the picture.

“College is very different than high school,” Grace comments. “I think just the adjustment, especially in terms of workload, has been a lot to take on. However, thanks to this experience, I feel more prepared for when I actually go to college in the future.”

For her IIP program, Grace is studying the application and value of writing centers within high schools. She has always loved writing and knows personally how important peer editing can be. “I wanted to study something here that I knew I could bring to life, and see its impacts on those around me,” Grace says.

As for how she herself has been impacted by her time in the IIP, Grace states, “This has been one of the best experiences of my life.”

“I have gained so much confidence and perspective due to my classes, my peers here, and my own research,” she continues. “I have been exposed to so many new people and learned through them and their viewpoints.”

Grace found herself interested in the IIP because of the opportunity to study at Stanford; “I wanted to push my preconceived educational limits, and see how much I could learn by myself,” she explains. “I was so scared before I came to Stanford, but it has been so influential; I have learned through classes and people that life isn’t black and white, bad or good. It is important to take risks and share ideas in order to truly grow.” One of the most important things she has learned is “to push myself out of my comfort zone.”

“I feel as though I am more self-aware and self-motivated,” she concludes. “I now see that I can turn a research topic into my own topic, which is truly empowering.”

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