I started my journey in my sophomore year, trying to get into this program and prove to people that I am someone. After my interview for presidential powers at Columbia last year, I knew that I had a lot of growing up to do. I had no idea how to express myself, and even less be confident about what I was saying. Lucky for me the Ivy League Connection, does make other connections. In this case, after my interview I was fortunate enough to meet Matt Arciniega. I met him after I was denied admittance in the program because he was one of my interviewers. He saw something in me, something I hadn't seen for myself; it was potential. Coincidentally he told me that he had done this program and that when he interviewed me, it reminded him a lot about his first interview. He gave me his contact information and I got a hold of him because he wanted to help me.
Matt and I (he's at Columbia by the way)
I met with Matt for the first time my sophomore year and I have to say he's been a mentor to me ever since then. His aspirations paralleled mine and what he told me really resonated through me. Because he went to the same school as me, and had the same struggles as I did, I really could relate to everything he was saying -- so I listened closely to every word he said. I remember his words being very persuasive, with a purpose. He wanted to help me and not just criticize me or give me tips. After I heard from him I had a different view on what it really meant to get accepted into the Ivy League Connection. It meant that you showed leadership, and good heart. That's what he learned from the Ivy League Connection and that's what I needed to learn in order get accepted.
It's now my junior year and after a couple of meetings with Matt I started to tap into that potential . I had to grow up, start being more confident in who I am and what I said, and always try to become a better person. To put it in simple terms, he helped me mature and develop the skills I needed to get into the Ivy League Connection. It took me a total of three times interviewing before on that third time I was finally accepted. It was the most amazing feeling getting accepted, to know that I was worthy of that scholarship and to know that I was someone important. I finally felt that my hard work was paying off.
The whole concept of the Ivy League Connections was about giving back. Don Gosney told us that he likes hearing that stuff especially in our essays. There is even a whole interview question on giving back, which really just summarizes what the Ivy League connection is all about. What they were doing was giving back to their community by giving a hand to the youth that make up the community. They send kids to represent the community and give these kids a chance to learn as much as the more fortunate kids who take these summer classes learn . They sort of evened the playing field by giving opportunities to these kids in the WCCUSD to have the same experiences as those kids that go to boarding school or private school.
I realized, this scholarship wasn't just for me or for my college application, it was to share with others. This scholarship was the passing of the torch and now It's my turn to keep the fire alive. Having this experience, making all these friends was great, but I can' let it blind me from the real purpose of the scholarship. It's my turn to pass this fire and help other people have this wonderful experience. Being in New York was fun and all, but the process of getting there was life changing. I had to become a good public speaker, a good leader. Thanks to the Ivy League Connection for this learning opportunity and this great experience.
The Ivy League Connection has changed my life and has introduced me to all different types of people in the world. I loved my roommate and my hall; I enjoyed every single part of this trip. From the dinners, to the college visits, even those dreaded mandatory meetings, I appreciated just being there. I am very grateful for the learning experience and the fun experience given to me by the Ivy League Connection. Keep doing a wonderful job, thank you to all the supporters, donors, and anyone affiliated with the Ivy League Connection. I will keep the flame alive, and help more students like me get a chance to have this amazing opportunity!