Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Tutorial, Starbucks, and Graciousness

Unlike the other ILCers, I wasn't able to make it to the scheduled tutorials, so Don and I had a tutorial at Starbucks. I remember some of the content from last year, but there was new information and it was a great refresher. We went over blogs, photography, and responsibilities. If I didn't have the tutorial, I probably would have messed up the alignment or placement of pictures, so I'm glad I was corrected before posting any blogs. And I learned new information on how to make pictures look better! 
Looking up from my practice blog!
During the tutorial, Don told me about an ILC alum who got to visit UPenn before making his decision about college. The alum didn't do everything that he was asked of during his time in the ILC, so he was surprised to be given such an opportunity. It was then that he realized how gracious the ILC is and he ended up attending UPenn.

For me and other ILCers, there's no doubt that the ILC is an amazing opportunity. Not only are we able to study at some of the world's best institutions, visit another handful of colleges, and meet people from all over the world, but we learn so many life lessons along the way. The story about the student just added onto my admiration of the ILC and its founders. It's true when people say that the ILC is life changing. That student would have ended up making an uninformed decision about the next four years of his life if he didn't get to visit UPenn. These are only a few examples of how much the ILC has benefited the community. Even today was extremely gracious of Don to spend another 3 hours holding a tutorial for me. 

I wish I would have been able to make it to the other tutorials, but I'm still excited as ever to study at Columbia with my cohort. I'm eager to meet the rest of the cohort and to redesign our blog together! I'm sure that the next few months will eventful and exhilarating. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I Had Fun at the Tutorial Session

I wasn't expecting the tutorial session to be very fun but I actually enjoyed getting the information that I needed. Now I have a better insight into what the trip to Columbia will be like and I have that to look forward to. I also learned how to write and post pictures on a blog, which I have been meaning to learn for a while. 

I got to see the inside of DeAnza High School as well and it's very expansive. People were able to get a lot of cool pics while we were there. 

Although it was long and I had to arm myself with coffee, it proved to be informative about the behavior of students and what will be required of us. I look forward to taking pictures of New York because I will always have a documented record of what I experienced. I can share it with other people too which is great.

Step 1: Wake Up, Step 2: Become an Ivy League Connection Ambassador

I woke up early this Saturday morning when all I wanted to do was listen to the rain and stay cuddled up under my sheets. However, I knew I had something important to do which was attend the tutorial session that will prepare me for what I should expect this summer when I head to Columbia in New York. I threw on a hoodie and comfortable jeans then headed to my tutorial which began at 8:30, wishing I was a morning person.

I was the second to arrive at 8:15 and said hello then took a seat at one the computers, trying to look more awake than I felt. Soon enough, all other nine students had arrived and we began. Don stressed the importance of being on time, putting away cell phones, and names were exchanged within the first fifteen minutes. I was a little nervous to be honest. I was in a room with incredibly talented teenagers, all of who were older than me by a year. It seems silly in retrospect because we are all in the same boat and I quickly made friends: Monica who will be going to Columbia with me and Maria who is going to Brown. 
Maria's robot leg

After the first break, we were encouraged to use our cameras to take pictures. As Maria, Monica and I took pictures of the beautiful new school, Don easily pointed out how capable we all were of taking bad pictures. He pointed out how angles, cropping, and lighting make a huge difference in a picture.
De Anza's mascot on the hallway floor.

Afterward, Don covered topics ranging from dorms to laundry to East Coast weather to past ILCer's big mistakes. He explained how first impressions are crucial and how having a good attitude is an asset. We were told what to do and what not to do, or risk a visit from Don's alter personality, Guantanamo Don. Though it may sound weird considering all the consequences on the laundry list of things that I could do wrong, I am still incredibly excited for this summer and how I am now and ambassador for the ILC. First, I need to make it through these next two and a half months. And of course, drink some coffee next time.

Monday, March 17, 2014

ILC Tutorial Sessions 1 & 2

On Saturday March 15th the ILC held the first two of their four tutorial sessions where 18 of our 36 ILCers learned something about how to blog, take photos, post their photos and numerous details about being a part of the ILC.  They also learned more about what to expect in coming months.

If you scroll down below this blog you can read some of their first blogs. 

But first, we thought we would post a few photos from the day.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The First Meeting

I just came back from my first Ivy League Connection meeting at De Anza High School. This morning I got dressed in a vacationesque floral shirt, flip flops and high-waisted shorts and packed a purse with everything I'd need. The meeting started at 1:00 and ended around 5:00. When I first got there,  I noticed that there were no more than fifteen people there. Chiamaka Nwadike and Shanti Shrestha, two of my friends from middle school, were there. Emily, the other person who was accepted into the Business and Economics program at Columbia University.
Don Gosney, the meeting leader, told us about how we should blog, proper behavior for the trip and the events we'll be attending, and how we should pack and prepare for the trip. One of the things that Don stressed the most was not getting on his bad side. If we do, we might meet Evil Don or Guantanamo Don--Don's alter personalities. This seems pretty hard to do and I'd have to be trying hard if I sincerely wanted to meet him. But the most important part of the meeting was to teach us goid blogging skills. Don made us all do a practice blog before we started with our real blogs. While most people took the opportunity to post about deep thoughts,  I chose to brag about myself instead.
A few minutes after we made our practice posts, we went to take pictures. I took a few with Chiamaka and Shanti and a couple pictures of the school. Soon after, the meeting was over and we were dismissed. I waved goodbye to everyone and went home with my mom. Overall, the meeting was very informative. At some points, it seemed repetitive but I'm sure it was for a good reason--Don's words are now etched into my brain. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Never Late

Well today I went to De Anza High School to get an introduction into the basics of the Ivy League Connection. Don Gosney rounded us up in a computer lab to practice a little of the responsibilities I had to carry out as a participant. It was nice to be there knowing what a wonderful opportunity I was going to take part in. I listened to all the rules that Don laid out for us, and the two that were imprinted in my skull were: "No cell phone, no tardiness". My greatest fear as a teenager. I do everything with my cellphone, answering e-mails texting friends for homework, and communicating with my parents for any last minute details.

One of my last minute details involved committing a misdemeanor crime. It was 8:20 AM and the meeting started at 8:30. Now lucky for me I live two blocks from De Anza and I could virtually walk there. The problem was that my mom was asleep, and there was no way I was going to wake her up and face the demon head on. So, I decided that I would wake her up slightly, and tell her while she's half-asleep that I was going to steal her car. Now bear with me, I have no license, no permit, and I've never driven by myself except for a parking lot. I could've walked there, but there was no way I was going to risk being late because from future lessons, I've learned early is always better. I'm usually on time when I do things with deadlines so I decided that that wasn't going to roll today. So I took the car, let go of the emergency brake, put it in reverse, and left. While I left all that was going though my head was, "Oh my what have I done, don't get caught don't get caught, hmm I wonder if she is still going to have lunch for me when I come back. I arrived not as a boy but a young man.

I'm Ready!

It’s been a long time coming, but finally I am here. From the nights of drafting up my pre-essay to getting the news that I earned the scholarship for the Introduction to Business and Economics course at Columbia, I have made it. The completion of my essays, interviews, and applications didn't mean the end of anything. Rather, it marked the beginning of a journey I will soon embark on. 

Today eight fellow ILCers and I gathered at the gorgeous, newly built De Anza High School for a tutorial on the ILC program. Here, Don discussed blogging, what he expected of us on the trip, what we were to expect of the trip, and what to pack. I learned a lot about blogging today; I had never blogged before so it was imperative that I followed everything Don was explaining closely. I had to remember the best ways to crop photos, align the text on the blog the right way, and to save originals of photos I would be editing. Luckily, this was all explained very thoroughly. But if for some reason Don’s explanations weren't enough, we had a convenient 41 page packet that we could refer to for help.
Hard at work creating my practice blog post!
After the very in-depth lesson from Don on blogging, we moved on to discussing everything else regarding our ILC experience: what to pack, what attire would be appropriate for certain events, what we were going to be held responsible for, and other things that we should anticipate for the trip. As I was listening to Don explain the importance of keeping pens in Ziploc bags on plane rides, it hit me that this whole thing would soon be a reality. 

The fact that I would be going to the East Coast to tour Ivy League colleges and attend one for two and a half weeks didn’t fully hit me until today. This thought made me very appreciative of the amazing opportunity I have been given. It also excited me for the chance to explore some great colleges, discover New York City, and meet people from all across the globe. If I feel this ecstatic now, I can only imagine how I will be feeling in a couple of weeks.