Friday, June 3, 2011

Counting Down The Days

There is an atmosphere of excitement, uncertainty, anticipation and nervousness in the El Cerrito High School library. In a way, the prospect of boarding a plane to attend an Ivy League college, in my case, Columbia University, in about three weeks is a bit overwhelming.

A few of the students are visibly energized by this process, but many of us are unsure that we will be able to succeed this summer. The prospect of disappointing our parents looms over us. The more we are told how great an opportunity this is for us, the heavier the weight of everyone's expectations.

We know this is a great opportunity. We don't want to let anyone down.

In our small group we had the chance to hear from and ask questions of a student who had already attended the Columbia program. She was clear about our responsibilities and what we could expect, but at the same time she was very reassuring. Also her enthusiasm from her experience was infectious. I felt this was the most valuable part of the evening: hearing the concrete nuts and bolts from the perspective of a student.

It is a challenge to me to figure out what I want to see and do in New York. There is so much to choose from. In our program we can choose from the trips the RA's are leading on the weekends and we can also try to make special requests to our chaperone, Ms. L. It would almost be easier if we were given an arbitrary limit, say, "pick only things less than 50 years old," or "pick things that start with a vowel." I'm kidding of course, but it is also a bit overwhelming. I am comforted in the knowledge that whatever I ultimately select will probably be fantastic. After all, I'll be in the Big Apple!

Looking Forward To New York City

On Thursday, the Ivy League Connection gathered in the El Cerrito High School Library for orientation. At the orientation, we sat with our cohort as we received our packing checklist and itinerary. While I listened to Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, Don, and Mr. Rhea talk, my excitement increased as I looked forward to leaving for the Big Apple.

This won't be my first time travelling east. In seventh grade I was nominated to attend a People to People leadership summit in our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. The one week I spent in D.C. visiting landmarks and museums was one of my favorite weeks yet. Not only did I get to meet students my age from around the world, but I got to listen to keynote speeches from very successful people.

While I'm in New York, I'll have the honor to work with top-notch students from around the world, tour colleges, and do sightseeing in the Big Apple. Sounds like People to People? It does. However, there are several key differences that distinguish the Ivy League Connection and make the ILC superior to People to People. Though smaller in size, the ILC allow students to reach out to college admissions officers, arrange meetings, and talk to those who may be reading our applications whereas in People to People members get to listen to an admissions officer at best.
While People to People hosts programs at prestigious universities such as Stanford and Harvard, the ILC allows us to spend three weeks at world renown institutions and study in classes taught by college professors. These differences are ultimately what is making me more and more excited as I prepare to leave for the east coast and an amazing three weeks.