Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ivy League- Round 2!

It's that time again. Being her at De Anza High School on this sunny spring afternoon only menas one thing: I have been selected as an ILCer again this year. For this grand privilege, I'm grateful for- and to work I shall begin.

My day has started off to an alarm on this Saturday morning. 6:30 AM to be exact, but like other teenagers like myself, one alarm does not suffice. After a few more rings, I finally woke up. I started off with a shower and breakfast, then I headed out to a free SAT prep class I had the opportunity hosted by a fellow to Richmond high schools- Robert McGruder.

At Kennedy High, where we congregated, I saw all familiar faces from school, all of us waiting to start the SAT prep. When Mr. McGruder arrived, we all headed to the College & Career Center and made it untillnoon learning tips about professionalism, public speaking, articulating our thoughts (funny how I'm bringing that to this blog), and sharing both experiences and their corresponding lessons that we students may benefit from.

I had the privilege of having my mom pick me up at noon after a didactic session with the group with some food! Some Subway. Something about that sub was either different, making it very tasty, or maybe I was just that I was becoming very hungry. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my sub as we both headed down here to De Anza, for our first milestone event of the year (for the ILC), where we had having our first tutorial.

A sense of deja vu streamed through my body as I sat almost in the same seat as last time, in the same place as last year, listening to Don and the Ivy League Connection's protocols once again.

And that's the afternoon session!
I can't really say how I feel right now. Although last year I did have such an eye opening experience, it had its highs and lows, therefore this year I feel more or less ambivalent towards the upcoming summer. However, I've heard great things, and the good vibes are slowly kicking in as a result. I've been told by former VSA students (Shanti and Chiamaka) that your schedule's so packed, so even though I might tire, I am actually (and actually, just about now) feeling the excitement mounting. I am really looking forward to Nashville and Vanderbilt, especially as I'll be taking the class I initially and always wanted the most: Medicine, Health, and Society. I am more than sure I'll definitely be able to and will contribute to a class like this and am looking forward to use my acquired knowledge from that class to guide me throughout my future collegiate, life, and career endeavors.

Just about now I feel very fortunate for the position I am in right now with the ILC. There is no way I feel I could every be thankful enough for the opportunity that has been granted to me upon my scholarship, dedication, and perseverance. It's been a very exposing experience last year and I can't wait to head out and have an amazing time out there, meet new people, learn more about a subject I hold dear to myself and community, and overall have as much fun as possible. I can already imagine what it'll be like, but before I get too caught up in expectations, I'll let time surprise me with its wonders and allow it to make what needs to fall into place do just that.

The Start of Something New

I started off my day by waking up around 7:00 a.m. and ate some oatmeal for breakfast. The time came close to 8, so I started warming up my car and headed to De Anza High School. It was a really, beautiful day, with transparent clouds in the perfectly light blue sky and the sun hitting just about everything.

The View of the Parking Lot
Right when I turned into the school's parking lot, I instantly saw the extremely large sign that reads, "Ivy League Connection." The thoughts of feeling anxious and nervous from the Vanderbilt interview suddenly returns, and broke once I saw a familiar face next to my car. It was Gwennie, one of the wonderful people in my cohort, reminding me of the happiness and glory that I felt that day when I heard my name called from the list of acceptances. I felt the excitement rush inside of me and walked quickly towards the computer lab. 

After having a few minutes to settle in and select a seat, I already made a new friend, Jae-An, from El Cerrito High School. We talked a little about our favorite movies and books, finding out that our preferences are completely the opposite. Jae-An and I went on about our interests until it was 8:30. 

Don called everyone to attention, and to briefly start off the whole tutorial, we each all gave small introductions and handed out packets. The official Ivy League Connection tutorial had really begun. First things first, Don went over how important it is to really work together and just follow simple instructions instead of making things more complicated to do. Then, from there we shifted the main focus to blogging. When we started going on the web, there were a few internet connection problems, but it did not stop us anyway from moving onto a Plan B (in this case, it was about pictures). 

I definitely learned some new things from this tutorial, such as, how to use MediaFire for uploading pictures. It is definitely a valuable source to use when storing so many pictures in one spot. Don showed us different ways and simple techniques to use when we take pictures, for example, you would want to take a picture that captures the subject, so if it does not show clearly, then take it from a different angle. Here are some examples:

After learning how to properly use MediaFire, Don let everyone go around to gain hands-on experiences to try uploading it later on. It was really fun for me, I personally enjoyed it since I got to take pictures of things up to detail, or try using the new methods that I had just learned. Eventually, everyone got to start taking pictures of and with each other as well. By the time that I had taken at least 10 pictures, it was time to go back inside and apply our knowledge onto the screen. That is where I got ecstatic the most because I felt like I was already at the East Coast, about to blog about my day. The internet connection issue had been solved, but not fully, just enough to get by, so we were able to connect onto a practice blog (working on all of the formatting), and looked at examples from the packet of what blogs should look like and should not look like.
There was about 30-45 more minutes left until the tutorial would be over, so we all uploaded our pictures to the files and then quickly moved onto the next part of the packet, which were the items that we should and should not bring with us when we are traveling. Don put together a whole checklist, and went over each of them as well as pictures of what they may look like (such as a security lock for your laptop, or an ethernet cable). I got to learn how to use both and the information definitely had me considering to buy both for the future. Once the quick demonstration of the laptop lock ended, we went over what was expected again, what to expect at the college dorms, and such.

I left when the session ended, feeling more determined than ever to strive for big and even bigger goals, because that is what the Ivy League Connection is all about, taking on opportunities when it comes.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Beginning, Once More

This morning I was woken up at 6:00 when I started coughing and couldn't stop (thank you, illness-that-won't-go-away). I got back to sleep at 6:30, and was then woken up at 7:00 when my alarm went off, which was supposed to remind me to get up and get ready for the ILC tutorial I had to go to. I, of course, immediately switched off my alarm and went back to sleep. Oops. I finally got up at 7:30, rushed to get ready, and made sure not to forget to grab my camera on the way out the door, twenty minutes later.

I and my sister Helen arrived at De Anza High School with ten minutes to spare--plenty of time. When the tutorial started at 8:30, Don was irritated because one person hadn't shown up yet, and he hates when people are late. Then he realized that he had just miscounted, and everyone was here. Whew, crisis averted! 

Don started off the tutorial by handing out giant packets to everyone that basically covered everything we needed to know and do as ILCers. After an hour of explaining how to do everything, we set to work on our first practice blogs (in between losing internet access and cursing the computers). I read Deborah's over her shoulder and put up with her consistently typing "Fwennie" on her draft. (She claimed it was all the faulty keyboard, of course.) After making sure we all knew how to format our blogs, we went outside to take pictures to put on our blogs.
Helen getting ready to take pictures

All in all, by the end of the tutorial I felt confident that my memories of blogging had been sufficiently refreshed, and was looking forward to my trip to Vanderbilt.

This Is How It Begins...

Today the reality of my situation set in for me. Somewhere deep in the back of my mind I was aware that I am going to be traveling to Vanderbilt this summer, but while I was sitting there with the twelve other ILCers staring wide eyed at Don, I finally understood that I was actually going to be able to make it to Nashville this July. I would like to say that I realized this during a time that calls for some sort of flowery language, that the sun was shining brightly and the birds were singing their little hearts out, but I was really just sitting in the corner of a computer lab, halfway through a chocolate chip cookie while Gabi hummed songs from Singin' In The Rain.

Gabi managed to take a surprisingly
nice picture of me, even though I wasn't
 paying attention to her doing so.
Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. I woke up at around 7:30 this morning with one goal. I had to get to the ILC tutorial on time. I had 4 hours to drive 15 minutes away to De Anza High School, so clearly, this would be a breeze, right? Well, sort of. As soon as I realized that it was twelve, I was on edge and all but pulled my mom out of the house so that she could drive me to the tutorial. 

When I got there, the morning session was just finishing up and I saw a few familiar faces. Aside from Aisha and Gabi, who I see just about every day, I reintroduced myself to Thao and Justeen, since we had interviewed together before. There was something about the excited atmosphere of the room there that I just can't explain. We were hearing about all the minutiae of our trip, from what to bring, to how to properly enhance graphics, but it was far from boring. Going over the little details, such as the appropriate font for our blogs (Times New Roman, just in case someone is looking over this as a guideline one day!) made the bigger picture so much clearer. I am in a unique position to go across the country to see amazing things and meet all types of new people, all thanks to the Ivy League Connection.

Anyway, speaking of pictures, we were briefly released to take some so that we could practice uploading them to the blog. I did not realize the amount of effort and care that the ILC'ers from previous years put into their blogs, because their formatting looks great! The placement of my pictures leaves something to be desired, but as they say, practice makes perfect. With the amount of blogging that I will be doing this summer, I certainly will not be short on practice.
A great picture, with even greater people.

Monday, March 23, 2015

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