Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Reflection Introspection

Here it is. The last blog to sum it up, to make peace with the fact that this amazing experience is truly over, and to say some final words.

March 3rd, 2014 was the date that my life changed. At 4:45PM, I left work early to get dressed and prepared for my interview. My heart was racing and I couldn't stop worrying about all that was riding on this one interview. I had previously interviewed for the Constitutional Law program, but didn't make it. That failure only had prepared me for this next interview I had coming up. 

When Don and the interviewers stepped into the room after all the interviews and their deliberations, I tensed up. I wanted this scholarship so badly; I had worked hard for it. He announced that Kendal and I had earned the scholarships and I breathed a sigh of relief, happiness, and excitement. My mind started wandering about how my life would change over the next few months: the dinners I would be having, the schools I would be visiting, and most of all, how the experience of taking a course at Columbia would be like. 
Crazy how things have changed from this moment forward.
One of the first big events that I did with the ILC was the dinner with the Columbia alums, sponsors, and parents. At this dinner I met so many amazing and passionate people; I was nervous at first, but once I began talking with these people, I felt at ease. Most of the dinners the first week of the program went like this as well. Even after the first dinner, I felt like my speaking skills had greatly improved. Talking to such educated people in such a setting was a situation I had never dealt with before. The more and more we had dinners, the better I became at holding conversations with these people and learning more about them. 

The school tours are something that I am not going to miss quite as much. I loved visiting all the schools and hearing what they were all about, but at the same time, a lot of the information sessions would get redundant. The most helpful aspect of these visits was really having the dinners with the student after. The best way to get the low-down of a school is to grill someone who is actually attending the school. That is where the honest, first-hand information comes from. Thanks to the dinner with the Yale students, I realized that I wanted to go to Yale. Not only were these students incredibly smart, but they were still accessible; they weren't sitting on their high-horse looking down upon everyone. They were very friendly and supportive people. And the environment they were describing Yale to be was one I wanted to be in. I could envision myself right there. 

Even just writing about my time at Columbia makes me wish I was back there. The best place to start is the dorm, because I was there the most. I absolutely loved living in a dorm and I loved my dormmates. There was always someone to be around in the dorms; I could always knock on my dormmates' doors or see who was hanging around the lounges if I was bored. On the contrary, I could easily be by myself if I needed some time alone. However, the amazing dynamic of my dormmates and I kept us together (as much as we had time for). We were all so different, yet still we found things to bond over. I think the dynamic of the group made our relationship so interesting. We were from different places, grew up in different cultures, and had different perceptions. We learned from each other, and I think that was the best part of being friends with such a multicultural group of people. My whole living situation was a win-win.
Our silly pose for the yearbook. I miss all of them so much!
I was incredibly lucky I was able to take my Introduction to Economics, Finance, and Business course. It opened me up to what studying economics, what I want to major in college, would be like. My class was also very college-like; it had 140 students with a teacher who had over 25 years of experience lecturing at Columbia. I really could not have asked for a better situation. In just those three weeks, I learned so much about our economy. I also learned that our system is very complicated, and cannot be mastered in little time. I do, however, feel more confident about choosing economics as my major.
My TA group for my economics class. I will miss all my friends in this class so much!
Fast forward to the present and I am now back home from a truly life changing experience. I cannot stress how much I have learned, grown, and changed from this trip. All the people I have met, all the sights I have seen, and all of the memories I have made will never be forgotten. Being home now, I've come to realize that I have a different perception of things now. I see things differently because of the experiences that I have had, and I love the way things have changed for me. I am ever grateful for this experience, and hope to inspire and encourage others in my community to seize this amazing opportunity.

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