Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brown and Brunch

Hi, my name is Beilul Naizghi and I was a student in the ILC Presidential Powers class at Columbia University last summer. A few months ago I was accepted as an early decision applicant to Brown University. Fast forward about 5 months and here I am sharing my experience at the ILC's Brown mentorship brunch - their final event of the year.

We met with everyone at the El Cerrito Plaza BART station and from there Adrianne, Mariko, Kathleen, Erinn and I rode with Don to the Olympic Club, a prestigious county club in San Francisco.

The event was absolutely amazing. I had the opportunity to talk to some amazing alums and I loved hearing stories of their time at Brown. We talked about the open curriculum, JFK Jr., adjusting to college and so much more. Listening to Brown alums talk about their experiences always reinforces in my mind the satisfaction that I made the right decision!

Besides learning about the Brown mentorship program and Brown alums, I also got to see my chaperone from my ILC trip to Cornell, Ms. Kaplan, which was absolutely wonderful!

Following our meal, Mr. Ramsey's brother Ismail, gave us a tour of the Olympic Club (where the U.S. Open will be held!).

The event was fabulous and made me even more excited to be a student at Brown. I want to thank the ILC for including me in this event. I have been involved with the ILC since my sophomore year and it has truly been one of the most rewarding programs I have ever been involved with. I cannot thank Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, Don, Ismail Ramsey and everyone else for this lovely event.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Final Thoughts

Now that I'm home, my time in New York seems so unreal, in the best possible way.

Everything was incredible. Everything. Being at Columbia, a top class university, to live, actually live, on the campus. Walking around Manhattan, laughing with new friends I feel like I've known my whole life. Endless train rides with Mrs. L and everyone from back home, watching the scenery flit past through the window. A whirlwind of information those first few days, with serene college visits punctuated by glimmering dinners with college reps. Sitting in class, learning the scary truth behind our Constitution and the justice system. Rigorous debates with classmates in the early afternoon, with clashing philosophies being wielded like verbal swords and shields. It all seems such a distant memory. And yet, it was only a week ago that I left New York, and I feel like I've changed so much since I took off from SFO in June.

My father said over the phone to me one night, while I was sitting in my dorm pretending to clean, that every time he spoke with me I sounded older. Different. And the truth is, I was. Different. But it didn't feel that way to me, not at first. Being at Columbia, in class, on campus, in the city, I didn't notice myself changing. But I was. I can see that now. I was, in an odd way, getting older. Not wiser, exactly; that's not quite the right word. More self-sufficient. More confident. And more self-aware.

All of these things, these changes, I feel are a permanent part of me now. This experience has changed me, made me see things in a new light. I'm not the same person I was. I can take criticism easier than before, knowing that being critiqued is a part of growing. My feathers aren't so quick to ruffle, and I do a better job of smoothing them down now when I need to. I can think things through in a way I couldn't before; I've learned how to spot holes in my arguments and shore them up before they can be used against me.

I've also figured out that I definitely do not want to be a lawyer. Law professor? Sure. Poli-sci major? Definitely. But not a litigator. One day spent arguing a fictional case for a side I whole-heartedly disagreed with was plenty for me, thanks. No way could I do that in real life. I may not have that many core values, but the ones I do have, I stick to. And I'm grateful that I was given the chance to figure this out now, as a high-schooler, instead of spending huge sums on college education to finally realize that I was on the wrong track. It's changed where I'm considering to attend school after high-school; whereas I was eying Yale as a potential leg-up on the competition for their post-grad law school, now I'm more interested in the Political Science PhDs offered at Columbia University, or the philosophy and language under-grad programs at Vassar College.

I learned the most about myself, and the world, through my class. The Constitutional Law course at Columbia is utterly amazing. I know that Eric and myself were testers for the ILC and this specific course; I strongly urge them to send some of next year's batch to this program. Its phenomenal. My entire world view has been altered because of this class. Why? Its mostly the material. Don't get me wrong, the instructors are great; but they're more like guides, people to point out what to look for, or someone who throws in questions for us to debate over. They don't teach so much as expose. Just knowing the things I learned in that class has changed me. Going over the Patriot Act in detail and seeing just how scary it really is; watching the meaning of the Constitution change over time and, through watching that change, figuring out just what it means to me as a person and as a citizen; listening to the arguments people have made to the Supreme Court and why they worked (or didn't). All of this and more. Because of this class, I'm more aware of my world. I'm more alert to the rationalizations this country is so very prone too, and more self-aware when I catch myself making those same rationalizations.

I've also learned things about myself, and a bit about life. I'm happiest when I'm busy. I do well on my own. Don't make best friends the first 48 hours after arrival: they tend to flake out within a few days, and you replace them with better ones within a week. I don't get homesick, at least not in New York. I love Manhattan (so very, very much). I over-edit. Giving 48 hours to a paper doesn't make it better. My sentences tend to be too long. You can't procrastinate on reading until the last minute; it makes you a sleep-deprived wreck at best, or an idiot at worst. Basements freak me out. I'm a fair hand at schmoozing, but being honest is better, even if its not quite the whole truth. I really can't function without coffee (Mrs. L and the rest of the cohort will attest to this).

This whole experience has got my wheels turning for my college essays. Even if I don't directly write about my time at Columbia, it'll definitely get a mention. Those three weeks are important enough that, with an entire 17 years worth of life to pick and choose from, they're heading the list of life-changing events. And I am so incredibly, speechlessly grateful for being able to have experienced that. There really aren't the proper words to convey my thanks. This whole program is incredible. Everyone involved is phenomenal: the school board, the sponsors, all the alums and officers who came and spoke with us, the chaperones, Don; even the older students who are so willing and ready to lend their advice. The students who will be a part of the Ivy League Connection is the coming years are in for a treat, and I'd love to be a part of helping them get connected with this program if the ILC asks me too.

Ending things has always been my weakest trait, and this is going to be no exception. Hitting “post” in a few minutes will be the end. But, perhaps also the beginning, in a way. The beginning of a new “me” here at home, the beginning of a changed life and a new way of seeing things. All thanks to the ILC. It may be cheesy, but there you have it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

To End an Experience

This is it. Well, that was it, about five days ago.

New York was an experience in more ways than accountable for on my fingers. From the subway, to the M.T.A., to the taxi, to the dorm life, to the classroom, to the homework, to the library, to the food-stands, to the attractions, to the entertainment, to the shear national acclaim of the Big Apple, New York City and Columbia University intertwined to provide me with the experience of a lifetime.

What I was able to learn and cultivate in a mere three weeks is comparable to what I gathered in the past three months. It's unfortunate that the Ivy League Connection cannot provide for even more students than it does, but those who are able to experience the immense opportunity presented in front of them should have the utmost appreciation for those who make it possible--the administrators, the sponsors, and the supporters. We may only hope that the I.L.C. is able to grow in the future as it has in the past to provide more students this experience, for it is an opportunity to learn as much about yourself than about the situation surrounding you. I'll elaborate.

To begin, the dorm life was just what I expected, but it was incredibly helpful to experience the expectation in mind. It was shocking to find out that Columbia University dormitories were not already equipped with wireless capability, but they did have an Ethernet slot to allow Internet accessibility. The dorms cam with bare minimums: one towel, one pillow, one blanket, one mattress, one room telephone, one trash can, two desks, one chair, and three shelves--for books. With just one carry-on and one check-in bag from California, however, I was able to disperse my belongings throughout the room and give it some homely essence. The dorm is intended to be utilized with such simplicity, I believe, because it is not intended to be an eternal sanctuary. In college, there's too much to do, too many people to meet, and too many places to go. You have no time to flirt with your dorm, nor would you want enough time to do. Given, my experience was in New York, so the area is a natural activity safe-haven, I'm pretty sure there are few colleges out there that emphasize dorm occupancy for the majority of the day. I myself was given a single, so I have no experience with a roommate. Of course, I do have ideas after sharing an entire floor with about 50 other students.

I definitely viewed the dormitories in a positive light: I loved them! I can't wait to settle down in one in the near future when I head off to college myself. There's something neat--not to mention convenient--about having that instant community surrounding you to draw upon. It's an innate college attribute that removes the possibility of a lone-wolf and highlights the accessibility of a social life.

The classroom was, in contrast, everything I hadn't expected. It was rewarding, and even fun at times, nonetheless. I always had it in my mind that college work was abundant, that academia would keep you busy the majority of the time spent at college, but I also thought that I was going to be able to handle it with relative ease, which was certainly a naive mentality in retrospect. Don't get me wrong, I kept up. I did what I had to do. I did more than what I had to do in some cases. But, by no means was it easy. It took a great deal out of me, and it definitely took away from some of the time I could've spent exploring the city and socializing with new and old friends. But, I believe that is simple a high school flaw. I only had a problem squeezing everything into a tight schedule because I was in New York for the first time, and I was only going to be there for three weeks. Had I enrolled in a New York college in actuality, I think I would have had an easier time managing needs and wants, because four years would have been a lot more spacious than three weeks.

Aside from the classwork and time management, the professor was wonderful. Dr. Z. was incredibly down-to-earth, practical, and humorous. She was not what you would expect from a college professor, but that relates to our knowledge of high school teachers. She was always around to lend a helping hand. She pushed us to do our best work and to do it in a timely manner. And, she taught us not only how to be knowledgeable in the subject matter, but be knowledgeable as college students as well. I hope that the course is provided for the future I.L.C. generations; it really allows you to learn as much about yourself as the American presidency.

Student peers and classmates were by far the most stretching change for me, personally. Using my class as a prime example, the students were so educated. I am around the top of my class at Richmond High, as I'm sure the vast majority of other's are as well, and to be in a classroom full of kids that have learned and pushed themselves as hard as you was different--in a good way of course. It was a pleasant surprise to have such high ability within my own classroom. It was easy for the students to thrive off one another, I thought. It was a huge plus.

As for my floor=mates and other friends I was able to make over the course of the course, it was also contrary to expectation. Some of the wealthiest, preppiest individuals in the summer program were also some of the most spectacular students and people. Sure, there were some individuals who spoiled the lucky batch, but many were really cool to meet, and I am grateful to have been given such an opportunity.

As for New York City, it was different, but not entirely astray from my familiar route. It was more busy and more purposeful, definitely. People moved in abundance with such celerity. The route from A to B was shortened at every possible opportunity, or so it seemed. Everyone just had a place to go and wanted to get there as soon as possible. That's something I admire. What else became blatantly apparent to me was a sense of pride. It's a lot easier to notice a New Yorker than a Californian--they just have a certain style and atmosphere around them. They pop, for better or for worse.

I like both New York and California, and I am considering college and post-college lives in both areas, but I dare not say I have a more passionate love for the East Coast than the West Coast. I don't think a three week trip can accomplish that kind of a goal. It did, however, put my geographic loyalty into perspective though. I had always thought of living and pursuing interests outside of California, but it was nice to have experienced such before even exiting high school.

All-in-all, the trip/experience/opportunity was a total success. I experienced much and learned even more, and I could not be more grateful for such. So, thank you for everything. I have become a more successful student and a more well-rounded person. I cannot wait for next-year's students to be able to experience what I have myself, and I look forward to advocating for the I.L.C. in my upcoming senior year. It's been swell!


Looking Back

Now that I have completed my class and experience on the east coast, the time has come to reflect – on the whole ILC experience. The entire process has been a period of growth for me, and I am truly appreciative of the sponsors, Mrs. Kronenberg, Mr. Ramsey, Don, Mrs. L., Beilul, Milani, Irene, and Will for providing me this opportunity and teaching me along the way.

To me, the ILC is far more than just taking a college class at an Ivy League institution. Had it not been for this program, I would still be a small shy teenager quietly minding my own business. I applied to the program, knowing what I observed about my sister who was part of the ILC for two years. I feel that she has become more confident, and more willing to speak in front of other people besides our family and friends. I think that the same change has happen to me. I remember what Milani told me on our last day at Columbia and I think it sums up the change that has happened to me because of this program. She told me, “When I first talked to you at the dinner I thought you were this shy kid who hiding in a shell. I’m so happy that you came out of your shell.” Going through the interview, writing formal email to Mrs. Kronenberg, Don, and Mr. Ramsey, reaching out to admission officers, talking to alumni, talking to professors, and interacting with top notch students from across the globe has made me a much more confident person. I would say that I am now more willing to initiate a conversation with a stranger and has made me less likely to walk away and just mingle with who I know well.

In addition to exploring the Big Apple and meeting new people, I was sent to Columbia University to take a class called Constitutional Law. Let me begin by saying the class was absolutely amazing. I firmly believe the ILC should offer this course again next year. Why? When I first applied for this class I thought that it was going to be centered on how to be a lawyer, and I was completely wrong. The class focuses on understanding Supreme Court opinions and how the justices develop their opinion. The most important lesson I think I’ve taken away from this class is to make legal, not moral arguments. Now when I watch the news, or read newspapers and come across a case, I ask myself, what would be my argument. I learned so much from by professors about the Constitution in these three weeks than I ever did in all my years of school. This class taught me that the Constitution can be interpreted in radically different ways, because of the origionalist, textualist, and developmentalist. I learned that differences about key topics such as capital punishment stem from these different beliefs. While our professors were very knowledgeable, the part of the class I found to be the most enjoyable were the discussions. A typical class would begin with our professor discussing the facts of the case and explaining the reasoning behind the majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions. After that, it was pretty much open discussion about whether or not we agreed with the court. When we had exhausted one case, our professor would talk about another case, which was similar, but had different reasoning or an entirely different decision. We were then asked something along the lines of why do you think the reasoning changed?” I think through these discussions, I’ve learned so much more than just from reading a dull textbook. These discussions allowed me to be exposed to ideas I would have never thought of. For example if someone asked me in the beginning if I supported interpreting the Constitution taking in account social factors or just by following the Constitution word by word, I would have undoubtedly said follow the Constitution word by word. However, as we read and discussed cases such as Schenck v. United States and Abrams v. United States, I realized that I’m more of a person who would interpret the Constitution taking in account social factors. Participating in discussions has brought to my attention the dangers of having truly free speech. If we had an absolute right to free speech then, one could scream “Fire!” in a crowded theatre with no aims but to cause harm and would be protected by the law. It is these controversial issues such as should the government be able to regulate free speech, Supreme Court decisions, and their reasoning that I wish to bring back and share with my peers.

I think it is critical that I share what I’ve learned at Columbia with my peers because it is o the upmost importance that everyone knows about the Constitution that we live under. I believe that everyone needs to know about how the Supreme Court has interpreted the vagueness of certain parts of the law, and how certain parts of the Constitution can be manipulated. I plan to share this information by first telling my friends and teachers at school. Hopefully, they will also find this material interesting and share this with their friends and family and more people will be aware of landmark decisions. Next, I would like to found a club where member would debate matters such as the commerce clause or the right to privacy. As the debates become more and more interesting, then I hope to get more members and soon, there would be many more people from grades 9-12 who are aware of the Constitution and how it has been interpreted.

The ILC has truly provided me with an amazing period of growth. I have become much more confident and have learned so much from my peers as well as my professors at Columbia. I cannot thank the sponsors, Mrs. Kronenberg, Don, Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. L., Beilul, Milani, Irene, and Will enough because it has really been a mind-blowing experience.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Ivy League Connection
Columbia University Program for High School Students
American Presidential Powers At Home and Abroad
Beilul Naizghi's Reflection

The Experience “The Most Exciting Summer of My Life”

Only through the Ivy League Connection was I given the opportunity to take a trip to New York City to study presidential power at Columbia Universities, one of the best institutions of higher learning in the world. My time at Columbia was filled with countless new experiences. Throughout three weeks, I wrote my first research paper, participated in a seminar discussion course, explored NYC, got “cultured” at a museum and so much more. I am now absolutely sure that I want to go to the East Coast for college.

Columbia University:

New York City “The City That Never Sleeps”

I now understand why New York City is called the city that never sleeps. During my time in NYC, I went to see so many sights and shows. I went to different boroughs of NYC including SoHo, Times Square and Coney Island; many shows on and off Broadway including How to Succeed in Business Without Trying, the Blue Man Group and Billy Elliot; and spectacular sights including Top of the Rock, a cruise around NYC and 4th of July Fireworks over the Hudson River. The types of events and activities that occur in NYC are unparalleled anywhere else. It is the most exciting city I have ever been to and there were so many things to do that I did not have the time to do. I will definitely be back.

Dorms “The Suite Life”

The girls at the Columbia program all lived in suites. My suite (which I was lucky enough to share with Milani) had about 12 girls under the care of our two Residential Advisors: Meghan and Ashley. The living space was equipped with two refrigerators, 2 microwaves, a kitchen, a television, a living room and 4 bathrooms and shower stalls. I must say, I do prefer suite life more than regular dorm life because it felt a bit more homey. During some of our midnight pizza parties, I enjoyed getting to know the girls in my suite. Our conversations were particularly interesting because half of the suite was international students from Indonesia, India, Spain, Singapore and Sweden.

My Dorm:

The Suite Living Room:

Class “Do You Want to Be President?”

Doc Z told us the American Presidential Powers course was based on her upperclassmen course at Columbia on the same subject matter. Our high school summer class was very small with 12 students at the beginning and 8 at the end – 3 of which were ILC students. We were treated to plenty of guest speakers including a journalist, a congressman and a lawyer. All these speakers had very interesting careers to tell us about and plenty of advice for us in our later life. Class time was divided into discussion of our reading in the morning and library research in the afternoon. The class discussions were facilitated by our amazing professor Martha Zebrowski (or Dr. Z) as we discussed the founding fathers intention for a limited executive branch, the game-changing presidency of Abraham Lincoln and the modern American president, Barack Obama. I learned a lot about presidential power. This is my first political science course and I found that I enjoyed the material very much. And, of course, the centerpiece of our presidential powers course was our 20 page research paper. It was daunting at first but with all the drafts that were due and the advising of Dr. Z, I felt I learned a lot about my topic and how to properly write a research paper.

Our Reading:

Our Morning session:
Our Afternoon Session:

University Libraries “CLIO and the Stacks”

One of the eye opening parts of this amazing experience was my discovery of the magic of a university library system. The university stacks and online databases were all very new and incredibly extensive. I enjoyed the hours I spent roaming around in the stacks looking for certain books I had found on the catalog CLIO or browsing ProQuest and the other online databases for articles. I have fallen in love with university libraries and Columbia University was the absolute best place to do this.

The Butler Library:

The Butler Library Stacks:

College “Not So Far Away”

As I enter my final year of high school and begin my college applications, I will definitely be influenced by all of the information I have received this summer from the admissions officers and alums. I learned that all “optional material” is not really optional and that admissions officers spend more time with the essays than they do with test scores. After visiting an incredibly diverse group of colleges including both liberal arts colleges and universities, I now have a better idea of what I am looking for in a college.

Besides her infinite wisdom on all things presidential, Doc Z had some great advice for us to keep in mind later in life. Essentially, she told us not to feel pressured to go through the typical life plan – 4 years of college, maybe graduate school and then get a job – and do what we want to and feel is right for us. I really appreciated this advice and I will definitely keep it in mind when I am contemplating my next step in life.

Columbia University:

Two Very Different ILC Experiences

I consider myself to be very lucky to have been a part of the Ivy League Connection for two years. Having attended summer programs at Cornell and Columbia, I have had a chance to compare and contrast the two in terms of setting, course-style and living arrangements. I have come to the conclusion that an urban setting (especially New York) would be far too distracting for me. I found I focused well in a rural environment. And though Cornell and Columbia are amazing institutions, I find I am drawn to smaller colleges rather than big universities. At Cornell, the class had 80 students amongst 2 professors and it was lecture style learning with plenty of TAs. By contrast, Columbia had 8 students and it was a seminar/discussion course with one TA. This is a huge difference. I like seminar courses more than I like lectures, but 8 students is a bit too small for my comfort.


I really hope that more Hercules (and WCCUSD) students apply to ILC programs next year- I will be urging them to do so. It is a priceless opportunity for us as students to expand our minds in a college environment. To meet people from other states, other countries, and other continents. To be exposed to new ideas and new slang. To experience college life at a world-renown institution. To study where world leaders, industry tycoons and incredible minds have studied before us. And, most importantly, to explore our options that go beyond West Contra Costa, beyond UC Berkeley and beyond California. To open our eyes to the plethora of colleges on the East Coast (and other regions of the U.S.) that have reputations that cross oceans and endowments the size of our national debt. To explore these institutions until we find the right fit – a school we will eventually call home.


I cannot express my gratitude enough to the exceptionally generous ILC sponsors for funding this life changing program. I would also like to thank the heart of the Ivy League Connection: Don, Mr. Ramsey and Mrs. Kronenberg for the countless hours they work on our behalf. Finally, thank you to the amazing teachers and staff at Hercules High School (and throughout WCCUSD) for helping us reach our highest potential and my parents for always supporting me.

And, of course, a thank you to my amazing Columbia cohort: Eric, Milani, Will and Irene as well as our fabulous chaperone Mrs. Lilhanand.

So this is it?

When I first was accepted into the ILC as part of the cohort that would go to Columbia University, I thought to myself what now. Yeah, I had heard the stories about how great it was to leave home and experience a whole new world on the other side of the country, but part of me didn’t want to believe it.

Before I left, I thought I had everything figured out. I planned on going to UC Berkeley just like everyone else and I was going to be happy staying at home. Those 3 weeks on the east coast pulled that rug from underneath me and forced me to realize, that’s not all that’s out there. There is so much more that people don’t even know about. Had I not been accepted, I would have never known or believed those who had told me. It was the wakeup call I desperately needed.

My first week was a whirlwind. I found out things about myself that I hadn’t known before. I learned that I thought I was independent but I really wasn’t considering the homesickness I had for a while. I wasn’t used to sleeping in the quite with only the street noise once my suite mates went to sleep, since I’m used to my family being up way past my own personal bed time. I thought of myself as outgoing even though in the beginning I was extremely shy. I learned that I wasn’t comfortable going outside of my comfort zone although I had known this before I left. However, most importantly I learned I can overcome it. I learned that that is not a barrier I have to break down anymore because this opportunity taught me that I can deal with this. I’m no longer afraid to go into a college environment, let alone step outside of my comfort zone to get what I really want.

The college course was on another level. It was a complete 180 degree turn from high school life. Of course, they have these classes that are called “Advanced Placement” classes that are supposed to be up to par with a college class but I personally saw no resemblance. I was lucky enough to have professor that could work closely with me and frequently asked me how I was doing. Overall, the college class knocked me into reality. I was used to procrastinating in almost all of my classes with my school work. I’m happy to say, that was the old me. Thanks to this class. If you procrastinated you were embarrassed the next day when you had nothing to input to the conversation. It wasn’t just things I improved on that made the college class experience worthwhile. I am a rising senior in high school and I have written a 20 page research paper with footnotes and extensive bibliography in 3 weeks and read 6 books along the way as a real class. I know how to get around a college library and I fit right into the college environment. That in itself is my biggest accomplishment. Being able to have this college experience before I actually take off on my own.

One of the most important things I learned was about competition. This whole world runs on competition and it’s a matter of can you compete or not. I believe that with the ILC putting students from our area out to compete with the best it gives all of us who are applying to competitive colleges the hope and the confidence that we can compete with students who have pretty much everything handed to them. It is extremely hard to be accepted to a university. But, I learned it’s not about resume building. The college’s want that you are not who you think the colleges want. I learned you have to go after it, not matter what the obstacle is that is put in front of you. The best words of advice my professor gave me was let the college decide, don’t decide for the college. Go for it. The worst the can say is not right? And there are plenty of other colleges that would want you. Also, don’t think about the name of the school. You make the best out of wherever you go, even if it means a school you’ve never heard about. You make it what you want it to be. Before this trip, I wouldn’t have even considered any of this information true. You have to go out there and be yourself. That’s what the colleges ultimately want. They don’t want someone with a 5.0 and tones of community hours and 6 different school activities. They want an average student but one that stands out. They want someone who is dedicated but also knows how to be curious because they want you to be curious at their school. They want someone who is intelligent but not one that has SAT prep on their list of hobbies. In the end, the college will pick you but don’t ever decide for the college.

In the very beginning of the trip I realized that there are opportunities that people don’t even think of out here. I was very stubborn in thinking I already had my life planned out. I’m glad I took this trip because all the stories that I’ve told my friends, their response was that they should have gone. They should have tried harder to get in the program or they know that there are choices out there. My biggest push so far has been to my little sister. If I can convince her early that California is just one of a million places that offer colleges and choices in life, there is one person who can tell the younger generation. Most of my friends are eager to know about my experience, so there goes another way of sharing what I’ve learned. One at a time, this information will get out there.

I can’t thank everyone enough who was made this trip possible. To the sponsors, the administrators, my chaperone and my parents: thank you! You’ve given me the chance not only to see what else there is out there, but the chance for me to grow as a person. I’m happy to say that I am an ILC alum and I represent all of the students that wanted to but couldn’t go. This program opened doors for me that I never intended to open, but I’m glad it did. I told my mom before I left I wasn’t sad to leave and it’s true. I’ll be back Columbia.