From the moment I entered the area, there was something in me that knew for sure that it was going to be special. The place that the Madame Curie camp was to be held in was spectacular—flags lined the single grass-surrounded road, cheerfully pointing towards the center we were supposed to check-in at. To be honest, it was so beautiful that it frightened me, since it seemed more like a resort than anything else. But, when I walked in the front door and met the people welcoming students in with books and games, the warmth with which they accepted me ensured me that the experience would be more than just rewarding.

Throughout the packed five day schedule, the amazing food, opportunities to perform chemistry labs, educational speeches, visit to E-mei’s museum, and multitude of interesting people left me absolutely breathless when it was over. So much was happening that there was absolutely no time to think until it ended. When I sat in my room alone, reminiscing about exactly what I HAD gained from the experience. Lying on my bed was the photo of the 150 lucky students who attended the camp, and beside it was a post-it with the contact information of the people in my group (7). It was a rare chance, I reflected, to be able to meet a whole group of intelligent students who quickly became my close friends. I looked at the notebook filled with hasty scribbles lying next to the photo. Inside it was the oceans of knowledge that had been compressed into five days of lectures from famed teachers and leaders of the world. When I looked back at all the fresh memories, there was no way of expressing what I felt.

Maria Curie was a name I had heard of, but until I joined this camp, I never really knew how influential a woman could be just by doing what she knew she could. By pursuing what she believed in, she pioneered the way for countless other aspiring scientists, whether female or male, and inspired many programs like this one to be created in her name. Her contributions to the world included scientific breakthroughs, but just as importantly, she gave other people the motivation to make their mark in history as well, and I am no exception.

I thank the founders of this chemistry camp wholly, since I had the chance to contact fields I was previously uneducated in, such as the Pompe disease, optoelectronic fields, and even sociological ideas such as how to choose my route in life. Thanks to the program, I know how many choices are available to us, even though our opportunities may seem dim at the moment. Quotes are wise words that should be used to live, but it takes more than hearing them to really understand that. All the professors and professionals who talked to us taught me one quote and brought it to life: There are two types of people in the world—those who aspire to become great and those who create greatness.” It will steer who I am in life to have seen them create their own success. They are the living proof that people should strive to their fullest in life.