Follow Up: My summer at Phillips Exeter Academy

posted on December 6, 2012

by Kallen Blacksmith, 8th Grade

This summer my mom dropped me off at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, alone. In my small dorm, all my dorm mates were nice and friendly. One day, in that very first week, I went downtown and I ran into a girl from my dorm, Elise from Thailand, who was in all my classes. We became quick friends. On that Saturday there was a carnival that I went to, and I spent a lot of my time with Jing, from China, who was also in my dorm. The three of us were inseparable, I didn’t have any roommates, but it felt like it. They were in my room from 5:30 in the morning until lights out.

Elise and I were in class together in the C.S.I. course. The classes were Forensic Science, Detective Fiction, and Photography. After class everyday, except Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays (our days off), there was a required sport. I signed up for volleyball both times. There, at volleyball, I met another one of my good friends, Henry (Cambodian, but from San Francisco). Volleyball was one of my favorite things to do there; it was where I got the courage to actually talk to people.

Everyday I learned new things; whether it is from class on how to lift fingerprints, tell what the author is getting at, or taking the perfect picture using the shutter speed, or from my ever-growing list of friends on what is was like in different countries and cultures. I went to activities on Wednesdays and Saturdays like karaoke, field days with your dorm, carnivals, dances, and food festivals. Even when there weren’t activities, there was still so much going on. We walked downtown to Las Olas, or the delicious ice cream shops. Some days we would just explore the campus or town, and discover new things everyday.

I joined a Native American group that met weekly. At the meetings, we would visit Native American Museums or learn more about each other’s cultures. In the mornings Jing, our dorm-mate Lara from Turkey, and I would go to Polar Bears. Polar Bears are these trips where they load you up into buses at 5 am, if you signed up, and they take you to the freezing Atlantic Ocean. We came back just before 7 am, just in time for a quick shower and yummy breakfast.

At the end of the third week the different clusters went to Boston for 3 days. We stayed in beautiful hotels, visited interesting museums, saw exciting shows, and ate at amazing restaurants. We did everything from a scavenger hunt on the Boston Common, to historical tours of the Boston Harbor; we even had a haunted tour of the Boston Common. We learned and saw so much at Boston. I am so thankful that I was able to go.

In the last week of the Summer Program I was sad. I knew I probably wouldn’t see these amazing people I met for the rest of my life! So in that last week, we finished up all of our projects in class. On that Wednesday, there was a day for representing your country. On that day we had an assembly where everyone did a show and told of their homeland. That afternoon there was this picnic set up behind the dining hall. This was no ordinary picnic; there was a cabana set up for all the major countries like Mexico, Europe etc. The food was amazing! On that last Friday, there was a banquet and a dance. At the dance everyone enjoyed himself or herself, but after it was over, we were all crying our eyes out.

The next day we all went our separate ways. I still keep in touch with a lot of the people I met there; a few of us are planning a reunion. I think that going to Phillips Exeter was one of my best choices. It was an unforgettable experience, and I am truly thankful for that opportunity. I learned so much this summer that I am able to live with for the rest of my years. That was the best summer ever.


Kallen Blacksmith, '17, was one of 250 students who took part in the five-week summer program in Exeter, New Hampshire this past summer. Phillips Exeter Academy was founded by John Phillips in 1781, and continues to follow Phillips’ founding principles: “to unite goodness and knowledge in learning and to cultivate the minds and morals of students.” The original article on Kallen Blacksmith was posted on June 29, 2012.