Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Journey Begins

On Tuesday evening, the Vanderbilt cohort had our ILC dinner. The evening began when I arrived at the El Cerrito BART station 15 minutes early, just to be sure I wouldn’t be late. I was the second to arrive, Hummd having already been there for several minutes. The rest of our cohort trickled in, and to our surprise and pleasure, all of us were there before Don arrived! This was definitely a good thing, given how long he’d spent telling us how terrible it would be for everyone if we were late. Once Don arrived, he handed out clipper cards for BART and told us more about what to expect at the dinner. Then we all chatted as we waited for the BART train. 

Waiting for our train at the El Cerrito BART Station
Hummd, Katherine, Arnold, and I are all currently juniors, so naturally the first topic of conversation was how we felt about almost being seniors—and of course about having to deal with the whole overwhelming college application process. (SATs! Essays! Forms! Choices!) When we arrived in San Francisco, we walked several blocks from the BART station to where our restaurant, Scala’s Bistro, was. Unfortunately, my hair was down, and the sharp wind was not being kind to it. There’s something about having hair blown in your face constantly that’s just terrible. 

At the restaurant, before dinner we had the opportunity to chat with all the alumni who were there as we ate hors d’oeuvres. First of all, let me just say that the little steak sliders and the crab balls were the most amazing things I’ve ever had. Wow. My mouth is watering just remembering them. During this time, one of the people I talked to was John Tilsch, who had been one of the Vanderbilt interviewers when I applied to the ILC. I also met Jenny Sklar-Gilbert, who will be the chaperone this summer. She and my mom and I had a (small) conversation in French. 

At dinner, I sat at a table with Don and three alumni—Trevor, Jessica, and Alex. They told me a lot about why not only Vanderbilt is wonderful, but one of the best parts of it is that it’s in Nashville, which they all said was a great city. I also learned that Vanderbilt has full tuition merit scholarships! They made the excellent point that all the top schools will give great educations, so you want to look for the other things they do. They said that one reason they loved Vanderbilt was that it had a really good balance of academics and extracurriculars, that it had pretty much every club you could think of, and if it didn't, you were encouraged to form one yourself.

After dinner, Don organized us all and took several group photos of the cohort and the alumni. At the end of it all, I can only be grateful for the incredible opportunities that the ILC offers me.

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