On Volokh Conspiracy, Jacob Levy writes about the life-transforming joy of a summer at the Center for Talented Youth, which a New Yorker article jovially calls “nerd camp.” At CTY’s summer program, Levy realized he wanted to go to an academically first-rate boarding school, and got a scholarship to Exeter. That put him on his way to “nerd heaven,” the University of Chicago.
Had I stayed in my medium-town New Hampshire public school system– which was fine but nothing like the public-preps of wealthy suburbs — I would have stayed pretty miserable and continued to get full-time negative reinforcement for intellectual excitement and curiosity. I wouldn’t have understood the range of possibilities that were really open to me, and would have had my sights set much, much lower than they were ultimately set. And I do think I would have ended up internalizing (what I perceived to be) the hostility to nerdiness among my peers . . .
But what I remember about (CTY) . . . was the sheer joy and amazement at being around kids my own age who were not only not hostile to the desire to read and learn and think, but who shared it themselves.
Tyler Cowen endorses CTY too.