Washington Opera Institute - any advice?

<p>Although I'm new to posting here, I've been lurking for a while, and I'd love some advice. D will be leaving in a week for Washington Opera Insitute. Anything to share from those who have been there? Any tips for packing or for dorm life? I feel like I'm forgetting something important, and it will be quite a flurry getting her packed and changing gears from a very busy end of junior year. (She will be taking her finals early and leaving school before the year is over in order to get to DC on time. . . . This is the price we pay in the summer for all those snow days we get in the winter.) Thanks in advance for any help.</p>

<p>(Sharing the account with my mom and putting in my two cents.)</p>

<p>I did WNO’s program last summer, also after my junior year. Given the fact that you had snow days, I’m guessing you’re somewhere on the East Coast or Mid-West. I’m from California, so I flew and I packed three large bags. If you’re local, you don’t have to worry about how much you pack, but if not, I’d recommend packing light–especially if your D is traveling alone. I ended up running all over Dulles airport with my bags and arrived at AU a very unhappy girl. My roommate, on the other hand, was local and had her mom bring her a printer, keyboard, and her performance dresses. There is a convenience store really close by and the RAs would go with us to pick up anything we needed, which a lot of us in the dorms ended up doing. Bring a blanket or she’ll be forced to use the blanket that they provide you with… which is questionable at best. Bring an alarm clock, or two, if she has trouble getting up. Timeliness is really important and WILL effect her ability to perform on the Millennium Stage.
She’ll have homework almost every night, whether that’s reading articles or writing papers, and almost everyone had laptops. They were really convenient, but if she doesn’t have a laptop, the students have access to the computer lab and its printers.
Sunscreen, bug spray, something for the mosquito bites when they get through your jeans, and warm weather clothes. I don’t know what the weather has been like this year in DC, but it was super hot last summer. But generally, dress nicely (longish skirts and nice tops), especially for all master classes, even when not performing. The teachers take notice of how much you care and what image you’re presenting. Don’t pack too much clothing, though. Everyone ends up doing laundry at least once, but you need to bring your own detergent.
One weekend, we made pancakes in the dorm kitchen. Snacks are nice to have in the dorms. But you can buy any extra food you need at Outtakes with the meal card.
Don’t lose the key, or lock yourself out… I didn’t think this would be a problem, but it was only inside the dorms at night, when both my roommate and I left our keys in the room.
Bring something to carry your stuff to the bathroom in. I also brought a robe–the dorms are co-ed, though the bathrooms themselves are not.
Don’t forget her music and something to record her lessons with (A digital, video, or tape recorder. I used photobooth on my Mac.).</p>

<p>Hope that all helps. I know she’ll have an amazing time. I know I wish I could go back for a second year.</p>

<p>Thanks, GottaSingOpera (and D). These are exactly the kind of details I was hoping for. I’m glad to hear that the program was a good experience. My D is frankly exhausted from school, and a little anxious about plunging in to something so demanding, but I’m sure it’s going to be a great experience.</p>

<p>Take a long dress for performance. I second the BLANKET - my D froze. I packed everything in one large suitcase. Take an open mind and some tough skin. The coachings are serious and can be intense. She will learn a lot.</p>

<p>Thanks, POTO Mom. Long dress? Check. Blanket? Check. Open mind? Check. Tough skin? We’ll find out soon enough.</p>

<p>My D did this last summer, but commuted. Also bring a short dress for master classes and remember DC is very hot and humid in July. I agree coaches were intense, but D learned a lot and was well-prepared for senior year and college auditions. D also had a lot of homework every night and lots of music to learn. Overall, a great and worthwhile program!</p>

<p>Thank you for your reply as well, hmh3515. I know about mid-Atlantic/DC summers, and my D has been forewarned about the humidity. I’m really glad to hear that even though the program is demanding, your children found the program valuable.</p>