By Genina Ombania, staff writer
As part of an annual program called ShadowNite, hosted by the organization Reach!, 2 Galileo students were chosen, along with over 60 other high school students from around the Bay Area, to spend 3 days and 2 nights at UC Berkeley learning about college life and the Asian American culture.
The program is intended to bond Asian-Pacific Islander high school students from different parts of the Bay Area and Central Valley as well as empower them on their journey to college and make them aware of the resources around them.
Students were chosen from applicants who filled out an online application which included 3 essay questions. “I heard that there were a lot of people who applied and being chosen is a great feeling because I realized how limited the number of participants are,” said senior Tong L, one of the 2 Galileo students chosen.
For those that were fortunate enough to be able to attend ShadowNite, the 3 days spent at UC Berkeley gave them a chance to meet new people and to open up about things they may never shared with anyone else, including personal experiences such as being discriminated. Some also expressed how hard it was for them at first to connect with people.
According to one of the attendees who wished to remain anonymous, this is the first camp she’s been to where she’s gained friends in such a short time. Another thing she appreciated about the program was the encouragement of the mentors (students part of Reach!, who were running ShadowNite), who said that if any of the attendees needed help with anything, such as college applications or even just someone to talk to, they’re just one text away.
Besides spending time connecting with other people, participants also attended various seminars and were taken on a tour of the UC Berkeley campus to get a better feel of what being in college is like.
After spending 3 days with mostly complete strangers, many of the participants felt like they had made strong bonds with each other and didn’t want their time together to be over. According to the other Galileo student who attended, who wished to remain anonymous, she said, “I was so nervous at first that I would feel out of place because none of my friends were accepted, but after going to the program, it made me wish that it was longer than 3 days. I felt like I belong in it because we were shaped from the same experience and it made me relate on what’s it like being in that situation.”