Pre-College Programs

July 5, 2017

Words of wisdom from former BELL students

Our former Summer@Brown students weren’t the only ones who had some sage advice to pass along to new students. Students from both the BELL Rhode Island and Alaska programs also had plenty to share.


What's one piece of advice you have for students looking to make the most of their BELL session?


Sunstar spotting while tidepooling

BELL Alaska students find a sunstar while tidepooling.

It is crucial to keep an open mind throughout the entire experience. You will learn so much if you're just willing to truly listen.
-Morgan, Illinois | BELL Alaska

Be open to the new experience: the unique Alaskan foods you might get a chance to try, the other kids on the trip, the land, the various teachers you will grow from along the way. The entirety of the BELL program is a learning opportunity, so make sure to take advantage of that. Ask more questions than you’re comfortable asking, grow, connect. You won't regret it!
-Kristin, Washington, DC | BELL Alaska

Don't feel afraid to be who you are, so long as you accept everyone else in the group for who they are. Try to interact with everyone there instead of sticking to one group. You'll come to notice that everyone on the trip has dreams and aspirations just like yours. Those two weeks in Alaska came to be one of the most meaningful and inspiring periods of my life.
-Yezzen, Saudi Arabia | BELL Alaska



BELL Rhode Island students try oysters caught fresh from Narragansett Bay.

BELL Rhode Island students try oysters caught fresh from Narragansett Bay.

Don't be self-conscious about making friends and talking to new people and take advantage of all the opportunities offered.
-Izzy, California | BELL Rhode Island

I recommend stepping out of your comfort zone to really get to know the community. Making new memories with my friends at BELL was the most rewarding part to me, whether it be during Mandatory Fun Time or while working hands-on with environmental issues. Spend the free times getting to know each other, and put yourself out there during games and activities. Have fun!
-Hetal, Connecticut | BELL Rhode Island

Get to know everyone. Listen to their stories and don't worry about what's happening back at home. You are at BELL, not at home. Be at BELL, not at home.
-Valerie, Washington | BELL Rhode Island




Beyond academics, what was the best part about your BELL experience?



Students learn intertidal ecology at Peterson Bay

BELL Alaska students learn intertidal ecology at Peterson Bay.

The wonderful people from all over the world.
-Morgan, Illinois | BELL Alaska

Meeting other people my age who were passionate about and involved in some of the same things I am was a really rewarding experience for me. Back home, I'm the only person my age I know who wants to pursue a career in environmental science or a related field. This opportunity made me excited about college, where I hope to meet a lot of people my age who share similar passions, and my career, in which I hope to work with individuals as talented and energized about environmental issues as those who went on the BELL Alaska trip with me.
-Kristin, Washington, DC | BELL Alaska

Being alone in nature during solo times, but most of all, the strong and lasting friendships I've made.
-Yezzen, Saudi Arabia | BELL Alaska



BELL Rhode Island students prepare for kayaking on Narragansett Bay.

BELL Rhode Island students prepare for kayaking on Narragansett Bay.

Meeting interesting people and making strong friendships.
-Izzy, California | BELL Rhode Island

Getting to know the people in my group. It was so rewarding and fun.
-Hetal, Connecticut | BELL Rhode Island

I bonded very closely with everyone in my session and we still talk daily as a group.
-Valerie, Washington | BELL Rhode Island




What's the one item students shouldn't leave home without when coming to BELL?


BELL Alaska students during a sun-lit rain shower

BELL Alaska students during a sun-lit rain shower.

Waterproof clothes!
-Yezzen, Saudi Arabia | BELL Alaska

An open mind and a readiness to learn. Sounds cliche, but is seriously so, so important.
-Morgan, 18, Illinois | BELL Alaska

Waterproof things! Nobody likes being cold and wet for prolonged periods of time, which is very much a possibility during summer in Alaska. Bring rainproof layers that will keep your warm layers dry for a more comfortable experience. Good socks and shoes are also a must!
-Kristin, Washington, DC | BELL Alaska

See the official Handbook for students attending BELL: Alaska.


BELL Rhode Island students on the wooded ropes course.

BELL Rhode Island students on the wooded ropes course.

A flashlight and bug spray.
-Izzy, California | BELL Rhode Island

Remember to bring a watch!
-Hetal, Connecticut | BELL Rhode Island

You should bring a camera and a journal.
-Valerie, Washington | BELL Rhode Island

See the official Handbook for students attending BELL: Rhode Island.




What's one item you brought but didn't need?


Hiking

BELL Alaska students hike to the terminal moraine of Byron Glacier.

Probably too many clothes. You really only need a few staple pieces (a raincoat especially!!)
-Morgan, Illinois | BELL Alaska

I'm a light packer in general, so I believe that by the end of the 2 weeks I used everything that I packed. The only thing I may not have needed was my flashlight.
-Kristin, Washington, DC | BELL Alaska

A mosquito net.
-Yezzen, Saudi Arabia | BELL Alaska

See the official Handbook for students attending BELL: Alaska.



BELL Rhode Island students during group discussion on the lawn.

BELL Rhode Island students during group discussion on the lawn.

I think the items on the checklist were all generally good to have.
-Hetal, Connecticut | BELL Rhode Island

You don't need your phone or other distractions. You also do not need sandals since you can't wear them.
-Valerie, Washington | BELL Rhode Island

Makeup.
-Izzy, California | BELL Rhode Island

See the official Handbook for students attending BELL: Rhode Island.