Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Conclusion to a Fantastic Journey

Cornell feels like a distant past now. It has only been a week ago but being back here makes Cornell seem like one of my childhood memories. Though it feels like a long time ago, everything that happened there feels crystal clear, even back when this all started. With all these memories fresh in my head, I can't help but think of a time when I didn't really want to be involved in this program.

It has been over half a year since Don first visited our school, but I still remember him giving a detailed description of this program: the Ivy League Connection. Of course, I knew of this program before this, seeing that my sister already attended the Brown program for macroeconomics. I remember a few things that happened on that particular day. Don told us the responsibilities that needed to be met when receiving this scholarship as well as the rewards that were given to the ILCers. Close to the end, the ILC alumni were there to share their experiences with us. This was the deciding factor that made me want to be in this special program. They were very sincere when describing how great their experiences were.

Step 1 of 2 started with some essays. I had to write two essays to apply for the Hotel Management program I sought to be in. One was the pre-essay to show how I was committed to this program, and the other one compared the similar management tools used in motels and high class hotels. I spent time checking, re-checking, and re-checking again to make sure there was no mistakes on it because this was the only program I applied for, and I didn't want to get rejected. Once I passed the first step, all that stood in my way was the deadly interview. I was pretty nervous because I had very smart people to compete with. Miraculously, I managed to grab a spot with Eric and Rachael and we became the new ILCers that were setting off to Cornell.

After all the applications were finished with, everything seemed to pass very slowly. It always seems like when I can't wait for something, it takes longer for it to come. There was a gradual buildup of events before actually departing, with a presentation at the council meeting and orientations preparing us on representing this district almost three thousand miles away in elite colleges. The dinner with the Cornell alumni before our trip gave me a preview of what to expect, and I was even more excited to fly off. Finally, it was time to leave the Bay Area and come to the East Coast, and it was worth the wait! I couldn't have asked for a better four weeks or better people I met at the Hotel Management class.

The first week of the four week adventure started in Philadelphia, and honestly, I never lived such a luxurious life. When we arrived at the Inn at Penn, and I knew that it was going to be a sweet week. The hotel was four diamonds and the rooms were much better than I thought. Every day, we went out to a fancy restaurant, and as each day passed, it felt as if the restaurants got fancier. I never thought that this program had so much money, all from our wonderful sponsors, whom I cannot appreciate enough. Living the fancy life was not the greatest benefit I gained from this week, but it was actually getting to know all my cohorts. This was the perfect time for all our cohorts to bond with each other before setting off to Cornell. I wasn't sure how they were going to be like, having only briefly talked with some of them. I didn't want it to be an awkward month with my fellow ILCers, and eventually, we all became friends. Each and every one of my cohorts were wonderful to be around with. Even our chaperone, Mr. Chan-Law, the coolest person I could have asked for to watch over us, didn't felt like he was being a parent that was telling us what to do and not do, but enjoying his time with us, making our group like a big family.

My experience in Cornell was just as exceptional, if not more exceptional, than our week at Philly. It is true that the hours for Hotel Management was incredibly long: from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM and then 7 PM to 9 PM. However, it all went by fast because it was interesting and fun to be in class. To be truthful though, I was dying during the first few days of class, purely because I was not used to such a long school day, especially only with one class. It got much better after a couple of days. In fact, it was so enjoyable that the three weeks flew by as if the days seemed like mere hours. 

One of my goals at Cornell was to meet new people, and I feel pretty happy in saying that I met my goal. I've never met so many different people just in my class alone (we had 80 people in the class though). I've met people from different parts of the country, from New York to Pennsylvania to Houston. Yet, there was, in my opinion, just as many international people as there were people from the U.S.A. I tried to get to know these people that didn't live like I do in America. There were people that came from as far away as Russia and China, and it was surprising to see how many Chinese people there were in Cornell. These new friends made this journey all the more memorable.

As with all great adventures, our's finally and sadly came to an end. There was no doubt that there were some tough times, like one almost all nighter, and a three hour lecture, but I will certainly miss everything about Cornell, especially the people. Even those 15 minute walks to and from class will be wished for once I'm back in school, and as surprising as it sounds, I'm going to even miss our food. The RPCC was getting a little boring in the end after eating the same things over and over again, but I would choose that over our school lunch anytime. Above everything else, I'm going to miss seeing everyone from Cornell. I'm glad that that El Cerrito is fairly close to Hercules, so it wouldn't be too hard to have some reunion with all our ILC cohorts anytime soon.

I am very appreciative to the time and efforts of everyone that helped us travel to the East Coast. Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, and Mr. Gosney took their own money and leisure time to make this whole program available for us. If I knew how tiring it was for them, blogging probably would seem like a game, but I'm glad that this was the least I could do for them. 

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