Megan’s College Essay

Megan Donaty, Contributer

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As the pond waves lapped against the shore, I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply as the smell of campfire and Long Pond air filled my lungs. Surrounding bugs hummed along to the slow campfire songs Camp Favorite quietly sang. Even though my eyes were closed, tears slid down my face and plopped onto the sand. With a sniffle, I slowly wiped my eyes and glanced around the campfire once more. Through a blurry vision, I studied all of the faces illuminated by the fire’s glow. Three weeks ago, these faces were once strangers to me, but now, they were unforgettable. These faces were of the girls who made my internship incredible and helped me learn how to be a counselor. They pushed me to become the best role model I possibly could be, helped me realize my place at Camp Favorite, and inspired me to return. And now, sitting together at the Final Campfire, it was my last chance to memorize everyone’s features and carve the memories we shared into my mind.

That night wasn’t just a normal Final Campfire. As an intern, I knew it was my last Final Campfire that I would participate in as a camper. Of course, I would experience many Final Campfires the following year by working the full summer as a counselor. But this one was unique. It was my last one as a child.

It’s hard to believe that my time at Camp Favorite started a little over six summers ago. When I first arrived, I was terrified to leave the car. On my first night, I refused to talk to anyone and cried myself to sleep. Eventually, I warmed up to the other campers. As the years passed, I gradually developed a greater sense of self and independence. I began to break out of my shell and embraced my quirks and personality. By my third year, I would practically leap out of the car and run to the camp, talk to everyone about almost anything, and was not afraid to be myself.

Throughout the years, I counted down the summers until I was old enough to be a counselor—I even chose my camp name during my second year! I couldn’t wait to become a counselor like the inspiring women around me.

Thinking back upon my experiences, I slowly rewound the previous three weeks as an intern: teaching girls songs; leading activities; comforting girls suffering from homesickness; starting the girls’ cookout fire with toilet paper; screaming campfire songs. I had become a role model and a leader, taught girls confidence and positivity, and found my place at the camp.

Looking at the girls, I realized that I was once in their place—eager to grow up and leave behind their childhood. I slowly inhaled and closed my eyes. And then, as we were singing “Child of Camp,” it suddenly struck me. I grew up at Camp Favorite. It became my second home and shaped me into who I am: a confident, young woman who loves to spend time outdoors and work with young girls. No matter how old I will become, I will always have a home at Camp Favorite.

It’s ironic to think that I started and ended my camp experience at Camp Favorite with tears. Both times I cried because I was afraid. During my first year, I was afraid of new places, being away from my parents, and not fitting in. But now, the bittersweet knowledge that I was becoming an adult kind of frightened me.

As my favorite campfire song, The Circle Game, says, “We can’t return; we can only look behind from where we came.” Inevitably, I am going to grow up. However, I can always reflect upon the memories I created at camp. No matter how old I become, I will always look behind from where I came. And I came from Camp Favorite.

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