Thursday, May 31, 2012

One Step Closer....

I am REALLY excited now that I realize that within a few weeks, I will be off to Philadelphia to tour my first East Coast college, and will be even closer to Cornell. Of course, first I had to complete the orientation tonight.

It ran through much faster than I expected though; when Don e-mailed everyone saying to prepare for up to two and a half hours of information, I was not sure what to expect, except possible boredom. Fortunately, the two hours only seemed like one as Don, Mr. Ramsey, and Ms. Kronenberg quickly and efficiently ran through their part of the agenda. The only things that they lingered on were being on time (I feel a little bad for Molly, who was apparently the last one to arrive; Don spent about ten minutes altogether discussing punctuality because of that) and returning things to Don and the district (also a cumulative ten-minute lecture). Otherwise, the meeting lacked the repetitiveness I anticipated, and we soon split into our respective college groups.

As Mr. Chan-Law passed out our itinerary - which could have been mistaken for a small book - I became a little daunted. Would we really be doing so many events each day? I knew, though, that this program would keep me busy, so I internally sighed and accepted that eight hours of sleep each night may not be possible; but it would definitely be worth it. We discussed in detail our planned excursions to the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University in New York, and Princeton University in New Jersey, with our base in Philadelphia for those first five days before migrating finally to Ithaca. Although we did not say exactly what places we would visit within each respective city, Mr. Chan-Law has already sent out e-mails telling us that we will fit in as much as possible. It seems like twenty-four-hour days won't be enough! Although the cramped schedule seems large and nearly impossible to complete, it's also exciting to think of all the things I will be able to see and do in just one week. Furthermore, Mr. Chan-Law promised that as long as our work load is not too heavy, we will be able to take weekend trips around Ithaca and maybe even outside of the city. I know the course will be rigorous, so this will motivate me to finish most of my homework on Friday instead of procrastinating! After all, this may be the only chance I will get to see all of these places before going off to attend college for an actual degree.

During our group sessions, former participants Terilyn and Yueming gave us advice on what to expect on campus and in Ithaca, and a few tips on what to bring (like flip-flops to wear in the shared showers). Our group ended up being the last group to finish up; we had to be called to attention when Don and Mr. Ramsey were ready to continue their presentation on what to bring, when to arrive at the departure location, etc. I think everyone is excited to go on this new adventure, and as Mr. Ramsey pointed out, "we made it!" I glanced at my fellow cohorts, and I realized that I was excited not only to tour the East Coast, but to share the experience with these fellow adventurers.

Next Stop: Ithaca!

Tonight was the Ivy League Connection orientation.  This is the final step before our departure to Cornell this summer, and we spent the evening reviewing our responsibilities as members of the ILC.  Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, and Don opened with our duties we have as representatives of our district and later introduced all of the chaperones for the different groups.   

For the next part of the program we split up into our travel groups.  It was nice to see them all, especially the Hotel and Management crowd, as this is most likely the last time we will meet as a group before moving off to the East Coast.  We were lucky enough to hear from two former students as well who shared their experiences in the Hotel and Management program at Cornell.  They described the mix of fun and hard work that arrives with this opportunity and were able to share all of their positive experiences while in Ithaca.  Similar to the dinner at Prospect, it was interesting to hear former students’ experience at Cornell, but this time we were told specifically about the Summer College programs.

Next, our chaperone Alfredo reviewed our itinerary while on the East Coast.  Learning about our college visits at UPenn, Columbia, and Princeton and the prestigious dinners with admission officers and alumni that were to follow each day made me extremely excited.  In addition, we will have time to explore the city of Philadelphia with our cohort, a pleasant break before our studies. 

This event was the final stepping-stone before our departure.  Now the training wheels are off.  The next time I will be seeing Don, Alfredo, and the Hercules group will be at 3:30 in the morning the day of our flight.  The trip will soon be in motion, and I am very grateful and excited to be presented with such an amazing opportunity.  

The End of the Beginning

That was it, our last step before meeting at ECHS (at 3:30AM for the Cornell Cohort) to depart for the East Coast. The ILC Orientation was probably the most useful and meaningful meeting to me so far within the ILC. I truly feel like all my questions have been answered and my needs have been met.

Packets, Notes, and Documents
The meeting began with comments from Mr. Ramsey, Don, and Mrs. Kronenburg regarding the importance of being on time, and how tardiness was being considered for the 8th deadly sin within the ILC. After the meeting truly began, the three leaders each gave speeches on various elements of the ILC, from Loaner Items to Admission Officers Meetings. Mrs. Kronenburg's speech addressing how the program was not a scholarship, but more of a job really got to me. Thinking of everything I do as earning my scholarship really adds meaning for me, and makes me appreciate the program more. After these speeches and being reintroduced to our chaperons, we split into our cohorts and met separately. We discussed our travel specifics and were able to talk with previous ILC Cornellians about the campus and trip in general. Our chaperon Alfredo seems really enthusiastic and fun, and I look forward to travelling with him. The meeting ended on a good note from Mr. Ramsey congratulating all of us on making it to the final step of the ILC introductory process.

Now here we are, 18 days until we leave, just under 3 weeks. I am ready. I am prepared. Most of all, I am excited. Thank you to the Ivy League Connection for this amazing opportunity!