When I first read Discovery Girls when I was nine, I fell in love with the magazine! I had read lots of different magazines, but I was sure that this was the one for me, so I got a subscription. When I first saw an ad for the Discovery Girls Summit, I brushed the thought away, because I thought that there was no way I’d be in my favorite magazine. But then I really started to consider it. When I finally decided that it was worth a shot, I asked my mom for permission, and she said yes! So I went on to the computer and just started typing up my answers to the questionnaire.
Telling My Life Story…in My Questionnaire!
It took me only a few days to finish it, but it was only fast because I loved it so much! My mom had to make me get off the computer! I was determined to finish it as soon as I could. Some of the questions were easy to answer, but some were a bit harder. It was difficult because I felt like I was typing up my whole life story and some parts were hard to explain. But in the end, it was so worth it. After I clicked “submit” and officially sent in my entry, I felt really…nervous. I was scared that the people reading it would not like it. Little did I know I had nothing to worry about, because the DG crew is so nice. After I found out that I got in, I was told that I had to wait to tell everyone the great news. When I finally could, though, I went to my lunch table at school and told my three best friends. Being as amazing as they are, they were very excited for me.
I’m Going to California!
After I submitted it, I waited…and waited…and waited…and soon I realized that they had probably already notified the girls that were chosen. I wasn’t all that disappointed, since I’d never thought I would make it anyway. But I was wrong! A week or so later, I was sitting in my room reading when my mom came into my room with a weird expression on her face. It looked like she was surprised, happy, and sad all at once! She pulled up a stool to my bed and held my hands. I was totally freaked out! She had tears in her eyes and I thought that someone had died or become sick! After what seemed like forever, she finally said, “Julia, I want to talk to you.” I felt like I was doomed. “You have been chosen for the 2016 Discovery Girls Leadership Summit.” At first I was in shock. I thought she was playing a trick on me or something. But then reality kicked in and I started screaming and crying at the same time. “I’M GOING TO CALIFORNIA!” My mom hugged me and told me that she was very proud of me. It was by far the best day ever.
The final weeks leading up to the summit were a blast! I went shopping once with my grandma and once with my mom. It was really cool because I got to buy warm-weather outfits in the middle of winter! Choosing my profile outfit was the hard part though. I couldn’t decide whether to bring a new outfit or one of my old favorites, so I ended up bringing a few.
Flying Was Kind of Scary…But Fun!
On the big day, I woke up at around five in the morning. I had my suitcase packed and waiting for me as well as my carry-on for the plane. The last time I’d been on a plane was when I was five years old, and I didn’t remember much, so I didn’t know what to expect. I got ready and soon we were on our way. I even took pictures of my view out the car window, even though it was still dark outside except for city lights. As we reached Minneapolis, the lights got brighter and I got more excited.
The airport was huge! When we got there, we got to go on one of those long treadmill things that people walk on with their suitcase that makes them go faster. Although it didn’t get us there that fast, because my older sister and I were busy goofing around on them. Then we had to do some security checks. I wore boots with metal on them, and when I walked through the metal detector, it beeped. I felt a rush of panic as the workers told me to take off my boots and go through it again. I held my breath and walked through...thankfully, no beeping this time! Once we got past security, we went shopping at the little stores to buy snacks and magazines. Before I knew it, it was time to pre-board. I got to pre-board because I have a severe peanut allergy, which was actually pretty neat because I got to have first pick on seats. I picked a window seat near the wing of the plane so I could take better pictures. My sister and my dad got on, and soon, it was takeoff!
I was kind of really scared, because the plane was going slow at first, and then it got super fast and started to rise up into the sky! My sister was scared too. I got used to it after a while, but it took her a little longer. She looked out the window as the plane flew higher and higher, and I began to sing the Star Wars theme song to try to make her laugh and calm her nerves. She told me that I was not helping. The plane ride lasted a few hours and then we had to stop at the Phoenix airport. We had a quick lunch and recharged our batteries (and our phones). I was surprised at how hot it was in Arizona. We got on the plane again for another hour and this time, my sister and I were a lot calmer. We watched the scenery as it changed from state to state. Suddenly, we were in California. “Look, Julia, the ocean,” she said. Finally, the plane had reached the San Jose airport. When we arrived, we called a taxi to pick us up and take us to our hotel. The weather was warm and I got to see palm trees for the first time. It was magical.
So Many New Friends to Meet
Meeting girls from all over was just incredible! I loved learning about where their homes were, what the weather was like, and what their schools were like. Coming from Minnesota, I’ve never seen palm trees before. When me and the other June/July girls were sitting in the car on our way to the DG house, I made a comment to Sammi about how cool the palm trees looked. She was really surprised that I’d never seen them, and then she told me she had never seen snow! It was then when I realized that me and all of the other girls were so different, yet so alike. When I met the girls and spent a few days with them, we developed relationships that are complicated to explain. We were like best friends, coworkers, and sisters all in one!
I learned a lot at the Summit. I learned that people aren’t always what you think they are, and that they can be different and still get along. I learned that everyone is beautiful and has the right to feel good in their own skin. I also learned the most important thing of all: I am never alone! If you have problems, always remember that you’re not the only one. When I met all of the girls, I found that a lot of them were facing the same difficulties that I was. We got through it together and it was really nice having people to talk to.
Fun, Funny, Special Times I’ll Always Remember
Everything about the Summit was fun, and it’s so hard to pick a favorite part, but I would probably say going to the Pool Party photoshoot with Sammi, Elena, Aspen, Riley, and Sekai. We got to wear mermaid tails and play in the pool while the photographers took pictures with us. It wasn’t like a photoshoot where you pose, just one where you have fun with your friends and act natural. There was a mini waterfall in the pool and everything! They even played luau-themed music to set the mood! And the funniest moment? I would probably have to say the time when I was sitting at the craft table with some other girls and we were sharing scary stories. We started out sharing real ones, and then we started making them up. It was so funny! We made up ones about the “Killer Pop-Tart” and the “Horror Potato”. I had the time of my life!
I will always remember the people I met, the things I did, and the beautiful city of San Jose—every little detail about this special time. I would tell other girls, if you want to apply, go for it! There’s a chance that you just might get in. And if you do, believe me, it’s 100% worth it. You’ll meet your best friends and get to do photoshoots and fun activities with them, and you will discover your true self.