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New Girl: Tea and Takeaways From Sleep Away Camp

Hey y’all,

I missed you these past 3 weeks but the break from all the pressures of my everyday life was much needed and unbelievably refreshing. The Dear Monday Fam is like all my best friends so I feel like you guys need an update on my new girl at camp experience and I’ll also share some big takeaways that will be helpful as this next school year approaches.

Quick rundown on why I wanted to go to a new camp: In February, I literally had the biggest breakdown because obviously we were all still stuck at home with covid. I had just turned 16 and realized that I was so bored with my life, ungrateful, and lowkey depressed. I had gone to another camp for 8 years and a lot of my friends weren't going back. I wanted a traditional camp experience in every possible way: campfires, star gazing, water skiing, inside jokes, etc. I also was tired of the LA scene and wanted to meet new people. I researched camps for full days straight and finally found one in Lakewood, Pennsylvania that checked a lot of my boxes and that would allow me to be a new camper as a CIT for the summer (which literally never happens… who goes to a camp for the last possible year?!). Anyways, I knew I wanted to do it so that’s what happened.

Expectations vs Reality

1. Spend time on the lake doing water sports, etc.

  • The lake was BEAUTIFUL. I had never gone to a camp on a lake before but I loved it!!!! Our bunk went tubing once and I got to go wake surfing. There was this blowup aqua park on the lake which was so fun to play on. It would have been fun to do some more water sports but for the most part the lake energy and time also just the scenery definitely met my expectations.

2. New traditions

  • This camp had a lot of weird traditions. If I tried to explain them to you, it wouldn't make sense because they are weird but they are what give the camp soul. I tried to immerse myself in all the traditions and culture of the camp, especially during my role as a CIT where we would lead lots of activities and events. There was this huge shaving cream fight, a lip sync battle, an insanely crazy color war where we wrote team Almas and competed in a 3 hour apache relay race and a bucket brigade. Every Friday night there was a campfire and everyone wore white. Joining in on the excitement of these traditions made me feel a part of the community and connected to everyone.

3. Make lots of new friends

  • Ok did I make new friends… yes ish. Gonna be honest there were really, really hard moments where I felt lonely. Sure, I’m outgoing but I never felt like I was truly myself because I had to adapt to other pre-existing and developed friendships rather than be the center of it. Pretty much, I wasn’t an integral member of the friend group because I was new and I guess I just had to expect that. Walking in on10 years of friendship is wild. I thought I could do it and become best friends with everyone which was an unrealistic expectation. I am proud of myself and I did love meeting people from Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Venezuela, and more. Hopefully, I will cross paths with the people I met again at some point in my life. I have a feeling that at college it will be slightly easier to make friends because everyone will be new. (more on this topic below)

4. Boys

  • Your fav all girls school queen interacted with more boys this summer than I have in the past 3 years. You better believe I finally took my own dear Monday advice on talking to boys and put it to the test. I think I did a good job of being super friendly and it was nice to actually have guy friends for once ahahah. Most of the other girls didn’t go out of their way to be super close with the guys so I was kind of on my own in that endeavor (honestly I didn’t mind it tho lol).

BIG Tangible Advice (also some tea)

Friend Advice

  • For all of you going into this school year knowing very few people or having lost touch with old friends, my huge piece of advice is to search for friends in unconventional places. At camp, I became closest with one girl in the age group below mine and also with a small friend group in the age group above mine. While I felt compelled to hang out with the girls in my bunk (think people in your classes at school or people you’ve always known), I highly recommend testing the waters in every friend group and surrounding yourself with the people who make you feel most welcomed and whole. It was not until this summer at camp that I realized how cool it is to have friends in the grades above or below. In high school, no one cares anymore. Be friends with whoever you want.

  • We’re over the petty sh*t. I’ll be honest, there were quite a few instances where girls would get caught up in the most irrelevant issues. We are more mature than that. When others are distracted by their own insecurities, stay in your lane and focus on yourself. It was funny to hear about other people’s drama but so much better to just stay out of it. The older girls I became friends with had seriously no drama. No one kept secrets and the dynamic was perfect. If you feel like you are trapped in a friend group that is stuck in middle school, get out. And fast.

  • I am definitely planning another post on this issue, but letting your best personality shine through can be extremely stressful in group settings. Of course you want people to be attracted to your energy and be your friend. It’s hard when you don’t even know how to interject your unique flavor when you may still be figuring out what that even is. My personality was definitely diluted this summer. I’m not really sure why I wasn’t able to show these people my best self… could just be the fact that they had all known each other for so long and that’s just something I can’t control. Some moments I let my huge personality breakthrough so people knew it was there and other times I was silent as a mouse. Big big advice is when you are trying to get tight with a group, make sure to get to know each person individually! Anyway, more on this to come.


  • I learned that your chances with a guy are 50000% more likely if you make the first move. Meaning you get the convo going. We’ve talked about this and I have a lot of posts on this under boys but seriously they are just as scared as you. If you can muster up the courage to introduce yourself, ask them about their life, and create any sort of connection…. I promise you it goes a long way. This goes for crushes and just to be friends. I made so many strictly platonic friendships with guys and I think it put us both at ease to know we could be open and goofy without the flirting part.

  • In most cases, the average boy is so horny that they won’t reject you. Maybe it’s just a camp thing like a mini too hot to handle moment lmao. I can think of 5 instances where girls would send their friend over to ask the guy if they would be interested and they all said yes even if they didn’t really like her. I’m not encouraging this and it’s not the type of situation I would want but being bold and shooting your shot could definitely work in your favor at this age. Just a reminder.

  • YOU WANT SOMEONE WHO WANTS YOU!!!!! I had to repeat that to myself a lot. I had my crush from a far thing like I always do and it just wasn’t going to be a thing. I wish it would’ve worked out but this guy had a thing with another girl. I know you all have experienced this. It’s a cliche but it made me feel better…. Again: I only want someone who wants me. End of story.

Reminders for the new girl

  • Even if you’re new, BE CONFIDENT in your abilities. If you’re good at a sport or a certain skill don’t be afraid to flaunt it. We had a CIT football game and I don’t know anything about that sport. I felt physically anxious and bothered by my lack of confidence and it wasn’t fun at all. However, later on, with the CIT basketball game (even though I was just as bad) I told myself I was going to be confident and ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ and it was so much more fun. Life is short so you might as well relax a bit.

  • Even if you’re new, declare what you want. I know this sounds really small but on my first night I was put on the top bunk. It was terrible. I felt awkward and uncomfortable as the new girl trying to assert my own preferences but I changed to a bottom bunk the next night. Same thing when I asked my DH if I could join the night activity of the older age group to be with those new friends. I feel like it's customary for the new person to be passive and quiet and go along with anything. That’s true in some cases but I’m glad that I spoke up for myself when I did.

Other big tips:

  • Think of the consequences and DON'T BE IMPULSIVE. One girl brought some illegal substances to camp and a few people were sent home. There are a billion little choices we make every day that can affect our lives. Obviously, you know this but peer pressure can get you into some messy situations. While you might feel lame saying no that one time, I promise the people who get in trouble look like clowns in the end. Whether you believe in karma or not, your choices always come back to you. I know all the people who got in trouble at camp totally regretted their decisions and were super upset with themselves. I know I’m not your mom but I feel like I have the older sis obligation to be that little voice in your ear that prevents you from doing that stupid little thing you know you’ll regret.

  • Before camp, I left home with a lot of jealousy weighing down on me. 3 weeks without social media was one of the best things my time at camp gave me. I literally open instagram for 30 seconds and close it now. Same with tiktok. I genuinely don’t care anymore. I know all the content and poses and pictures are fake. I’m much happier without it. Give yourself the gift of one full week to go on a social media hiatus. I’d much rather you miss the dear monday insta stories or your friend’s bikini posts than feel down about your own life and your self image. It will be so so so good for you. DO IT DO IT!!!!

That’s a wrap folks! I love youuuuuuu. Get ready for a full school year filled with weekly monday posts to keep you going.

We got this,


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1 Comment

Camila Zuluaga
Camila Zuluaga
Sep 06, 2021

i like my best friend, but he has a gf

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