Monday, July 11, 2016

1 Journey, 1000 Adventures

The Ivy League Connection offered me one of the greatest journeys I could ever experience during my time in high school. I must express endless thanks to all the people who have made this possible for many bright students in our district: Don Gosney, Madeline Kronenberg, Charles Ramsey, sponsors, alums and chaperones. Don worked crazy hard to make sure all the ILCers had everything set for them and we are all grateful. I try to imagine how I would be like without this program, but I can't. It has shaped me into a better version of myself and has taught me so many things I would never have learned without it.
'16 ILC!!!
It all started when I got a pass to an Ivy League Connection presentation my freshman year. That's where I first saw Don, who was wearing the usual aloha shirt and shorts. He told so many great stories about students being changed by this experience, but I wasn't sure if I would ever be good enough for it at that time. It wasn't open to freshmen, so I had the time to think about it and grow more mature. The summer of my sophomore year, I went on a trip to the Philippines, so I didn't get to apply that year. Some of my friends did, however, such as Wendy Gonzalez and Diana Ramirez, and I asked them all about it. They told me how amazing their summer was and encouraged me to apply.

Women and Leadership at Brown was my top choice, but Vanderbilt was the first course offered. It had some really interesting courses such as Creative Writing and Engineering, so I decided to apply for it. I met up with Girls Circle in the College and Career Center with Bertha Romo and she helped me with my application process. I wrote the two pre-essays and the Vanderbilt essay about the CAHSEE. Without expecting much, I turned it in and the next thing I knew, I was accepted into the next level: the interviews. Don sent the longest list of interview tips ever and I went over them a million times and answered some practice questions. At the day of the interview, I was really nervous but I pulled through it. I didn't get accepted, but I didn't lose hope. I decided I would come back stronger for the Women and Leadership application. 
I couldn't have asked for a better cohort
After applying to Brown like a breeze, I got the interview with three other people. I felt more relaxed and optimistic. It went way better that time and I finally got what I worked really hard for. From that point on, it was all anticipation for our departure to the East.

Meanwhile, we had the Tutorial, Meet and Greet Dinners, the School Board Presentation, the Brown Dinner and the Orientation. These events really helped me with my social skills. With each event we had, I felt more excited for our trip.
Unfortunately blurry class picture
On June 22, 2016, our Brown cohort finally took a plane to the East. We traveled around Boston and Providence for a few days before our class started on June 27. Let me just say that Women and Leadership and the Leadership Institute was my favorite group of people ever who taught me so much about myself and about society. We learned to question everything in the world that reflects intersectionality. It inspired me and everyone in the class to become a leader and empower not only women but everyone who is affected by oppression in our world. Tina and Christine, the instructor and TA, made this a very safe and open environment to freely discuss our thoughts and insight on topics we talked about in class. In addition to what we learned during our classes and workshops, I got to experience dorm life. It took a while to adjust to living on campus, but I made friends in my dorm along with my roommate who made my experience there super enjoyable. My cohort, Fern, Sachi, Lauren, Sara and Ishani became the closest of friends during our two weeks and we studied, laughed and ate together. We also spent a lot of time working on our Action Plans, so I'm hoping we all see some success in our projects.
As you can see, it has been quite a journey with the Ivy League Connection. I definitely feel a positive change within me and I hope to spread my knowledge and experience to my home, school, community and possibly even the world. I want everyone to know that no matter where you come from and what physical traits you were born with, dreams and aspirations can certainly be fulfilled if you work hard enough with a great amount of passion. It's a scary world out there, but people with good intentions bring the universe together in harmony each upcoming day step by step.

P.S. here's a little vlog/film we put together of our Brown Journey:

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