Based off of the past experiences from others who participated in the Ivy League Connection, I have heard nothing but great compliments about the program. I applied my sophomore year, but unfortunately did not get accepted. I am so glad that I re-applied a year later. I was and (still) am highly thankful and grateful for the chaperones and administrators.
The ILC program has for sure opened up my eyes to schools over on the East Coast. By being a part of this astonishing program, I learned to push myself continuously. As vigorous as the competition is, I am glad to have gotten used to getting interviewed and repeatedly revise my essays. I can now apply the same skills to other things like college applications. I never even had heard of colleges like Rice, Emory, or Vanderbilt University before I had applied. After looking at what the program offered, I looked more into the prestigious colleges. Then, once I had actually visited the campuses, I had a better idea of the type of environments that I wanted to be surrounded by. I would prefer a school that is relatively close to a city, knowing the fact that I can still be in touch with civilization when I go out a mile away from school. I like college campuses with a lot of space in between, but not so much on a large campus where I would get lost easily.
I did not want to let anyone down, so I let myself act as a sponge and absorb as much knowledge as possible throughout all of my classes. Right as I was on the place ride back to California, I started thinking about what I was going to tell my fellow classmates at school and try to re-enact the experiences to them, so that they can feel what I had felt. I was a part of the Medicine, Health, & Society course at Vanderbilt University, so I am planning on teaching and showing others in the Health Academy more about the subject, but from a different perspective (like non-American cultures). I know that it had changed a lot of the other students' minds about medical school in my class (of only 18 students). Imagine what could happen if I was able to spread that mentality around the entire Health Academy (which is comprised of some of the freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior classes). I want to be there for the aspiring pharmacists, like myself, and assist them with all of the information that I had retained from the VSA program. There were also various debates in class and our T.A. is going to become a lawyer, so I learned somethings about the techniques and I am looking forward on expanding those to my Forensics Speech and Debate team.
As for school in general, I want to motivate the others to apply for the ILC program because it is definitely worth it. This trip was life-changing for me, and I think that it would be for others as well, especially because it is only exclusive to our school district. I want to tell all of the underclassmen about how important it is for them to keep their grades up in order to be qualified for this program. To all of the upcoming sophomores and juniors, although it is a large amount of work, there will be learning from the mistakes made, as I did when I applied. To all of the incoming seniors, there are schools on the other side of the country that will look at college applications holistically and wants diversity from different states. All of the Ivy League schools are outstanding and ignites their standards from above and beyond. I hope to promote as much awareness about the ILC as possible because I believe that it should be available for more school districts, students that worked hard all over the country deserve to apply for scholarship offerings and experience the time of the lives at college that might not be known as much in their community.
I was more independent than ever when I was on this trip. I had to do my own laundry and learn how to take care of myself. I got to have a taste of what college-life was like, with the repetitive food and procedures in Commons. It was different to see a class that is less than 20 people in it, which kind of pushes the whole class together onto one big group. At home, I was always dependent on my family members, but now I have to try to teach my siblings to do the same as I did when I was away for the summer program. I know that my parents have learned a great deal from my participation in the ILC also. They found out more about college trips and how they work, researched on college related things, and continues to support us on wonderful opportunities such as this one.
In my community, I want to bring more diversity together. It is always nice to learn more about the different things, the ones that usually stand out. I want to show that it is okay to step out of your comfort zone and experience with new things because it is better than no experiences at all. Everyone learns something out of a new things, like fencing or the art of henna. I had never worked with henna before in my life nor held a sword in my hand for fencing until the VSA program. Even though I am not an expert at either activities, I am still encouraged to teach others what I had learned on my trip. Just because I might not be 100% successful with the two, somebody else might be the next one to become a professional at fencing or doing henna. For example, I know that there is a big gap of fencing clubs in my school district and area, so by trying to start one, fencing might be able to grow from California and to other states that might not have as much popularity on fencing.
Overall, I was able to gain a better grasp of my social skills, to reach out to others and open myself up to them more. The experience that the ILC has given me taught me how to adapt to a new environment and make my own mark or influence wherever I go. Going to Vanderbilt for the summer has brought me to great, new lessons and friends.
|Can you try guessing what kind of swords we're holding? (Answer: They're all foils.)|