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Msg me with any questions about cty (especially Saratoga) and I'll try to get back

SAR 18.2 - MICO

RA: Zach

Classmates: Joshua Shen, Ben Workman, Ryan Denooyer, Julian Dai, Jacob Putnam-Hornstein, Owen Pashigian, Steven Yu, Bob Yang, Mehki Ajose-Williamson, Weston Harkey, Aya Takegami, Catherine, Nastia Polina, Joyce Wang

SAR 19.2 - Macroeconomics_and_the_Global_Economy

RA: Matt

Classmates: Ben Workman, Kevin Xu, Arnav Jain, Jeb Williams, Gary Lvov, Arden Berg, Joe Kahn, Jacob Shaw, Pengsheng Wang, Dan Olevsky, Steven Yu, Nitika Subramanian, Julie Chen, Linda

Passionfruit Speech

The first winter before my first summer of CTY, I had no idea what to expect. So, as one does, I went to urban dictionary and looked up “CTY”. Throughout the definitions, I noticed a few recurring themes. Namely, “american pie,” which I thought was about the movie, “nightswimming,” which I thought was about swimming late at night, and “lancaster sucks,” which everyone should by now know is true.

I wasn’t pleased with my first night of CTY. I thought my hall was weird, I thought class would suck, and I though the camp in general would be boring. Yet, as the weeks passed, I grew to love CTY. My hall with Stepes, Bob, Josh, Ben, Ryan, Julu, Lil Jacob, Owen, Mehki, and *COUGH COUGH* Weston *COUGH COUGH* was a great group, and hall time was always fun. Micro with TA Jacob and Masud made my day, and class was always interesting. Each and every day I did exciting activities and met new great people. The times were memorable and the people unforgettable.

Yet, although the end of the session was bittersweet, I didn’t really feel anything. I didn’t cry a lot, in fact I only teared up a little after the last dance, and I didn’t have extreme PCTYD. I loved the time I spent, but I didn’t really get in my feels after the session. However, about a month later, during labor day weekend, a bunch of us got together and just chilled for a night (SHOUTOUT ED). I hadn’t seen anyone for a month, longer than the 3 weeks I had to get to know them, but it was a weird phenomenon. It was like seeing a lifelong friend after spending years apart. Time had passed, but we picked up right where we left off and everything felt in place (except for when I was on my back in the woods, that felt out of place).

Fast forward to a few weeks into my sophomore year of school. I was wrapped up in work at home, but remembered our little reunion. I remembered the camaraderie we shared. I remembered how human my CTY friends are. See, at school, everything is bad. The work is done out of requirement, not exploration, the people are superficial, not genuine, and the free time is spent in hours of boredom and homework, not activities or ISOs. It was only after school started that I realized what CTY truly is. Even though CTY is academic and rigorous, it is truly the opposite of middle and high school. At CTY I can study what I want to pursue. At CTY I can do whatever activities I want to. At CTY I can be who I want. CTY is the hour of sunshine we get during a week of rain. We come to CTY to escape from school and the outside world, not to continue it. CTY is our little bit of paradise, safe haven, and slice of heaven.

But we can’t stay here forever. I’m 16, and I have to go into junior year. I have to grow up. Next summer I won’t be singing bohemian rhapsody and american pie in unison with over 200 people, I’ll be working on college applications and internships and whatever I need to reach the world’s arbitrary’s measurement of success. I won’t feel peace, liberation, or fulfillment. I’ll feel confined a path already paved by society. That’s life. But that’s not the life of a forevermore. We’re meant to do more. We’re meant to create change. We’re meant to reach true fulfillment.

So even if I can’t come back, even if in 10 years no one will care about our adventures here, even if I don’t have any lasting impact on saratoga, I will always know that saratoga has changed me. Whenever I have to grow up and be an adult, I will strive for an environment like CTY. I will strive for the carefree yet productive, chill but intense, and restricted but truly liberated atmosphere that we know all too well.

In short, as I become a forevermore and I have to leave CTY, I know that CTY will never really leave me. It’s just who we are, it’s in our blood. Even if I didn’t get to meet or talk to all of you, we’re all family. I like you, I love you, I cty you all. I love cty and I love the passionfruit.