Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Journey I Will Dearly Miss

Last fall I rambled on and on in Don's ILC presentation about my incredible experience attending the DNA Based Biotechnology summer program at Brown University.  At the time, I knew I wanted to be a part of the ILC once again, but I never imagined myself to go back to Brown the following summer. 

In February 2016,  two ILC applications were released. One was for the opportunity to attend the University of Chicago and the other to attend Women and Leadership at Brown. I spent several days working on my essays for the Chicago application. Not wanting to miss an amazing opportunity,  I also applied for the Women and Leadership summer program which many described as "life-changing," "empowering," and "the best program ILC offers." 

After several weeks, I found out that I was invited to the Chicago and Brown interviews. I was very overjoyed! My hard work bore results. The Chicago interview was first. A week before the interview, a lot of tension began brewing between my parents and I. My parents couldn't understand why I wanted to do the program again after being a part of it last summer. They even refused to let me attend the interview. After ardently fighting, I was able to attend the interview. Perhaps the stress built up so much that I wasn't able to give that interview my best. I wasn't accepted. That was a huge shock and very heartbreaking. I had worked very hard for the opportunity and I failed. Then, Don motivated me. He pushed to do my best in the Brown interview. After several conversations, my parents also understood how important the ILC was for me. With the encouragement of Don and my parents, I attended the Women and Leadership interview. When my name was called as one of the scholarship recipients, my happiness was out of the world. The whole evening I had a huge smile stuck on my face. After a roller-coaster journey, the dream of being an ILCer was finally fulfilled.
Why a smile got stuck on my face
What followed was representing the ILC in front of the School Board, meeting generous sponsors and alumni at an elegant dinner in San Francisco, and enjoying meet and greet dinners with my new cohort. I quickly bonded with my whole cohort. 
My amazing cohort!
Along with these amazing experiences, a few negative thoughts crept upon me. As my fellow ILCers bubbled in excitement to attend a university they had never even visited before, I began to worry that maybe I made a wrong decision to attend the same university I had attended the past summer. Little did I know that those worries would vanish quickly.

June finally came and it was time to fly to the East. On June 22, 2016, I began my ILC journey. With my cohort, I toured Wellesley College and Brown University. We spent a couple of days sightseeing Boston and Providence. 

Women and Leadership, a course I had been waiting to attend, began on June 27, 2016. I met my amazing professor Tina and TA Christine. I became close friends with so many awesome people including Ishani, Sara, Lauren, Sachi, and Fern. With these incredible personalities, I learned about many important concepts such as the social construction of gender, deeply rooted gender roles and gender inequality, media's exploitation of women, intersexual assault, diversity, the various types of leadership, how to be a positive bystander, how to effectively listen and communicate, and how to be a socially-responsible leader. Every single day, my mind was blown by new ideas and concepts. 
This class, I will dearly miss.
In moments when tears wouldn't stop rolling down my eyes.
One of my favorite parts of the program was the challenge course. First of all, it was very fun! I loved all the activities, especially the one in which I had to swing from one platform to another on a rope while holding a cup of water in my hand. The group activities taught me how to effectively work in a group. The challenge course made me realize and improve my leadership style.
Fun activities in the challenge course!
The most thrilling activity in the challenge course. Here, I am about to do my epic swing on a rope while holding a cup of water.
The bond I share with my amazing squad.
The few weeks at Brown attending Women and Leadership have been some of the best weeks of my life. I will never forget the class, my incredible professor and friend Tina, and my awesome friends. I will always remember the perplexing group discussions, the fun activities which often held deep meanings, and the interactive challenge course. I will remember the pillow fights, the card games, the dance and movies held by the LGBTQ+ club, the fireworks, the unsuccessful dances and karaokes, the long nights working on homework, the beach, the mansions, the mall, the breakfasts, the lunches, the dinners, and the walks that I enjoyed with my amazing squad at Brown. I miss every aspect of my experience at Brown. 
We spent plenty of nights working in such settings.
Watching fireworks on fourth of July!
An awesome day at the beach! 
Dancing in the street before going to a dance with all my friends.
I will miss all of them so, so, so much! From left to right: Sachi, me, Fern, Lauren, Sara, Jennifer, Aimee, and Ishani.
For every experience being an ILCer for two years, thank you so, so, so much Ivy League Connection! Thank you for trusting me! Thank you for letting me have these experiences! Thank you, sponsors, for making the ILC a possibility for hundreds of students! Thank you, Don, for putting in an incredible amount of work year after year to make the ILC experience possible for my peers and I. Ivy League Connection, thank you for making me who I am today. 


  1. Another GREAT blog filled with GREAT photos.

    And this is by far the best video ever inserted into one of our blogs. Every time I turn my head someone sets the bar even higher for the other ILCers to reach for. Ya gotta love it.

  2. The more I look at that challenge course photo I think about the Jets and the Sharks (West Side Story) as they prepare to rumble.

    Who won?

  3. Thank you, Don! It turned out to be a tie at the end.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.