By Garima Singh, WiSci STEAM Camp participant
A week later and here I am sitting in my house with reliable 24/7 Wi-Fi, hot showers, and loads of processed junk (I refuse to call it food). Just like I thought, I keep getting nostalgic about WiSci 2015 and the beautiful people I met there. Someone said it perfectly while the American girls were in DC for orientation: we are all girls that want to go to a STEAM camp for three weeks and also want to go to Rwanda for three weeks and that makes for an interesting combination. Although the Facebook group is extremely active with members posting songs, videos, pictures, etc. nothing will ever compare to what those three weeks in Gashora were like.
To my cohort: Cohort 12, best cohort, am I right? (The answer is yes.) From the hippo dance to Spoons to being first in line for food that one time, I have so many memories with you. Kissa, hurry up and send us that video. Sisi, help me convince my parents so I can see you in March. Nell, I will send you a letter in a giant box that you can pick up at school. Ornella, become Miss Rwanda already. Jessica, that picture is going nowhere :) Lenny, I still need a mini-Lenny to put in my pocket and cheer me up. Emi, you're a child, I don't care if you're 18. Lydia, keep speaking up because you have the best ideas in the world. Marvie, you're hilarious and I love you no matter what I say when you're late. Keep in touch and don't forget me. I know I won't forget you.
To my morning workout group: Thank you for actually coming out every day. It is only because of you that I actually dropped a couple pounds. You made mornings truly magical. Any time I do planks or burpies or Russian twists, I think of you. I will never be able to wake up at 6 a.m. and workout again because I won't have you there with me. And, trust me, we all looked and smelled lovely rolling into breakfast together.
To the staff: Y'all are truly #goalz. Someday, I hope to be able to work as hard as you. Rachel, Thomas, Jen, Tanya, Gretchen, Julie, Joseph, Aldrinana, and anyone else I'm forgetting, WiSci 2015 would never have been possible without you. I know everybody says that, but it is entirely true and I am unbelievably grateful to you. I can only imagine what it would have been like to give your elevator pitch for WiSci to all of the people that were necessary to make it happen. You are proof that dreams really do come true. More than anyone else, you showed me that hard work and dedication pays off. I really hope WiSci happens again. You have 120 willing supporters anytime you need them!
To all of #wisci2015: I miss the green buckets filled with magical water that made our plates shine. I miss tucking in my mosquito net at night. I miss the sunrise at 6am on the soccer field. I miss waving to kids from the windows of our buses. I miss the spontaneous dance parties and screaming songs when I rarely ever knew the words. I miss shower claps. I miss "If you can hear me, clap once!" I miss the film crew. I miss Microsoft, Intel, and AOL. But most of all, I miss you. Meeting all of you has been the highlight of my life. You accepted each other and me right from the start. I felt at home at WiSci, because you were my family. I will never forget walking to class and being greeted by everyone who passed me. You used to yell at me from across the field just to say good morning! That kind of spirit and camaraderie cannot be found anywhere else. Thank you so much for changing my life irrevocably.
Sometimes the stars shine brighter away from home. That is true both literally and figuratively for WiSci 2015. It doesn't matter that there's too much light pollution in Austin to see the stars, because you are my stars. You shine forever in my heart and I love each and everyone of you. You taught me that each and every girl in the world is indescribably powerful and incredibly important and that is a lesson that I can never forget. We all came back from WiSci 2015 empowered to make a difference. With all of us living in it, planet Earth doesn't have a choice but to become a better place. So, what are we waiting for? Let's go change the world!
Garima Singh is a senior in high school in Austin, Texas. Her family is from India and she loves visiting there! She is extremely passionate about empowering girls and works with organizations like Girls Who Code and GEN to do so. She also teaches kids to code through her own CoderDojo. Garima is a zealous advocate for the arts through her school's Academy Ambassador program where she represents the Visual and Performing Arts Academy. Lastly, she is fatally obsessed with Harry Potter, loves Doctor Who and Sherlock, and thoroughly enjoys dancing.