A Student’s Perspective on KAMS
My name is Nicholas Van Swol, member of the pioneer class of the Kansas Academy of Math and Science (KAMS). I’ve been asked to share a little about many activities available to KAMS students due to the college campus setting.
Near the beginning of the year I heard about something called the Astronomy Club, since my dad had been an amateur astronomer, I had become fascinated by the night sky at a young age. So when they had their first meeting, I showed up. Everyone was very friendly and I quickly learned a lot. Several months and an election later, I’m now the vice-president of the club. We are planning to start building an observatory out at the rock quarry this spring in order to have a place with less light interference to set up some of our bigger telescopes.
I also have an interest in martial arts, so when I heard about an Aikido Club (a martial art similar to judo, with more focus on defense than offense) I decided to give it a shot. The club was very friendly towards beginners and full of fun people, and I learned very quickly. Over Christmas I went on a paid trip to Chicago to spend a week living in the first dojo (place where martial arts is practiced) built in America, and the home of the highest ranked sensei in Chicago. There we studied and practiced Aikido with at least a dozen sensei, each with their own style. It was a very rewarding experience for me.
In addition to being a member of several clubs, I am also part of the FHSU Marching Band in the fall and the Symphonic Winds Concert Band in the spring. I have always loved being part of the band in high school, and that love has continued here. Although I will be first to admit that the playing in college has a kind of intensity that didn’t exist in high school, I think that anyone who loves music is more than capable of stepping up to plate and doing well.
The same goes for the KAMS program in general, it’s hard work and the sacrifices are many but when it’s all said and done; the sense of accomplishment and achievements that created that feeling are reward enough. There are many weeks where the workload from 18 credit hours of college, a very demanding selection of music pieces, up-coming events, whether it be a public viewing, a regional science fair, or belt testing in Aikido (or all of them) make me wonder how I ever thought I could do this. But the weeks pass, and then you are looking back, thinking “Yeah, I did all that. That was me,” My name is Nicholas Van Swol and I’m a member of the pioneer class of the Kansas Academy of Math and Science.