Upward Bound lessons

I spent five weeks — my last living in Reno — working at a summer academy with 88 high schoolers and 10 resident advisers. It was insanely fun.

Here’s “truths” I learned from the experience, originally posted on their blog.

 Love this group right here.

You can learn a lot in five weeks. A ton, actually. Upward Bound summer academy taught me these cold-hard truths:

Argenta Hall is haunted. The past-curfew howls, door knocks and scratches, tape over peepholes — all of it really happened. Maybe it’s because Argenta was built over an Indian graveyard or an ouija board spirit is running loose on the hallways. It could be anything really. Well, anything aside from RA’s playing tricks on us…

If you’re sprinting full speed toward a tree, make sure there’s no branches in your path.

Never agree to a bet where you can’t say your two favorite words. Ever. It’s a no-win scenario. You’ll just end up in UB buck debt — $600-plus in debt to be exact.

If you’re pod wins any activity, be prepared to be accused of cheating relentlessly.

RA Andrea will give you a reason to hate your favorite brand.

Never turn your back on a bucket full of water. Some one will end up dumping it all over you when you’re not looking and will nearly ruin your iPhone. #ThankYouAppleCare

Sleep before and after summer academy because you won’t be getting much during it.

Don’t dub yourself the Face of the Program or any other nickname unless you can back it up.

Food from the Downunder Cafe during the normal school year is tough to stomach. DC food during the summer is even worse.

I don’t care what anyone says about the RA’s, they’re really cool once you get to know them.

Popular to contrary belief, white boys can dance. Hitting the Quan is their specialty.

I’ve raved at EDC for 36 hours, starred in a Hollywood movie trailer, and joined a college fraternity. But the most fun I ever had was playing hide and seek at Cain Hall with the lights dimmed.

When playing Sardines (reverse hide and seek), check the computer lab first.

In a shocking revelation, Sparks High School was not the first high school founded in Reno. Thanks, Mykiel.

High school students don’t understand how fly wearing short shorts is yet. They won’t understand until they go to college. #TFM

The counselors aren’t as old as they appear. One of them can even do the splits — only he’ll be sore for an entire week afterward.

Wash your tie dye shirts properly or else they’ll come out a hot pink color and you’ll never dare wear it in public.

Kanye West is a better musician than Drake any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

The merry-go-round is the most dangerous ride at the park. There are only two outcomes from riding the carousel: you’ll end up in a dizzy haze or you’ll fall and hit the ground. Really hard.

Having your face on make-believe blue money is the coolest thing in the world. “They trying to censor me, no saying Gucci or chill… but I’m too ill, my face on the five-dollar UB bill.” #Bars #ImTheNextKanye

The freshest, most life-changing haircuts come courtesy of Eric — the wannabe Eric to be specific.

Don’t tell a student that an RA is 40 years old. They’ll actually believe it.

Even if you don’t have a “talent” per se, sign up for the talent show anyways. You’ll receive a thunderous ovation regardless.

Falling face- or butt-first at the roller-skating rink doesn’t hurt that bad. The first time, at least. Now the fifth time…

Don’t fall asleep on the bus ride to Tahoe. You’ll just end on Snapchat and the butt of too many jokes.

 So dead tired on our second-to-last day of the academy that I fell asleep three hours during our Tahoe trip.


So dead-tired that on our second-to-last-day of the academy I knocked out for three hours during our trip to Tahoe.

I would rather work with high schoolers than any other students. They somehow roll themselves out of bed and are ready for class by 7 am daily. They put up with the most rules. They have swag for days. They are super ambitious and are eager to chase their dreams. They support each other selflessly without fail.

The family-esque bond between Upward Bound students and staff is second to none. Even during the worst of moments, that unity rises above. UB will be there when you need a shoulder to cry on. UB will be there when you need your spirits lifted. UB will be there whenever, wherever, forever.