Attended Upward Bound
In the summer after 7th grade, I attended the Upward Bound summer school at SLUH for promising primary school boys. It was a refreshing escape from socially awkward grade school to a world of other nerds who judged me on my intellect rather than arbitrary status and familiarity with the latest parochial fashion. This is when I started imagining better futures for myself.
I played a lot of chess with a one-summer friend and got to know a few Juniors, which would prove valuable in integrating as a freshman with no peer friends later.