Saturday, June 2, 2012

Almost There

It seems not too long ago when I was chosen as a member of the ILC's Grand Strategies course. Time passes by fast! This month was filled with AP testing, SAT, ACT, school finals, and several major ILC events. It has been stressful and hectic, but this month has also been pleasant.

The month of May was wrapped up with the last and major event of the ILC, the orientation. Mr. Ramsey began the orientation by stressing the importance of punctuality. After discussing what kind of loaner items there were and what loaner meant, we dispersed into our respected travel groups. Here we talked with Yohanna about the daily schedule of the GS program. We also got into specifics on matters such as the dress code and also spoke about the Marshall Brief. In addition to that, we were given our itineraries. The list of hotels that we are to stay at prior to arriving at Yale are very nice. I think the hotel experience will be very spectacular and that is something I'm certainly looking forward too.

This event was important for the students and the parents as well. I'm sure they were relieved to find out that their children are in safe hands. In addition, the orientation has been very informational for everyone. All of the little worries and anxiety are slowly dissipating and are instead, being replaced by excitement and eagerness. This summer will truly be life changing. I'm sure it will be hard to truly enjoy the college life in such a short time but I will try to absorb as much as I can. The departure date is July 22, 2012. We're almost there.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Final Step

May ended with a bang - last evening, this year's ILC students completed one of their last milestone events, the Orientation. 

The assemblage convened at the newly constructed Pinole Middle School; as I sat down awaiting the commencement of the affair, I couldn't help but contrast the polished floors and spotless stage to how my high school, Pinole Valley High, would look after the completion of its reconstruction. Although I will have long moved on from the school by the time the new buildings are completed, I am still very much anticipating them.

The meeting came to order shortly after, and after some brief speeches as well as reviewing other logistics such as packing, we broke out into our respective groups. A handful of past participants of the program, such as Yohanna Pepa and Cristina Pelayo, were present to provide us with more information and suggestions that they had accumulated through their own experiences at the summer programs.

Itineraries were distributed, and details were solidified last night. It was a wonderful way of reassuring the many anxious parents that their children will be in good hands within the duration of their educational pursuit this summer. 

The seconds are rapidly ticking by as we approach our departure. Fifty days, give or take some, until the day we congregate at El Cerrito High School in the wee hours of the morning to embark to the east coast.


The final landmark event, the coup de grace for us before heading back East, was today. Orientation was today, the annual gathering for everyone to get together in a rather casual (compared to our previous excursions, very casual) setting to finalize travel plans before heading out.

This year, we had the ILC orientation at Pinole Middle School. Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, and Don once again affirmed the importance of the impression we make to everyone we meet. Afterwards, we split off into each of our respective cohorts. The Yale cohort had one of the classrooms within the school to ourselves.

The classroom before.
Our chaperone, Igor Litvin immediately took the small classroom and decided to set up a seminar circle in order to help simulate the college feel. We all took our seats and while he distributed each packet, Ms. Kronenberg sat with us and began to speak about the logistics of the program -- what to bring, what to buy, and so on. Sitting there hearing all of that, my mind recalled hot days in Ithaca that would have been far worse without the fan that we had in our room, or the many roommates that became great friends along the way. To be able to spend another summer with an experience just as close to the real deal in terms of college makes me very excited for the program.

The classroom after. Yohanna Pepa ('14) tells us about what awaits us at the Yale Ivy Scholars program.
Afterwards, Yohanna Pepa (Yale '14) began to speak to us about the program. Yohanna had taken part in the program in 2009, as well as worked at the program over the summer last year. She covered the basics, what the program encompassed, what we would have to do for the famed (and feared) Marshall Brief, as well as the general attire during lectures and class time. Business casual was the name of the game here, and because of the high-profile lecturers, she made it clear that keeping our best foot forward is a must. Just as important, she stressed that we were going to be taking this course with an eclectic group of power children from all across the world. Nonetheless, she affirmed that there was no reason to be intimidated. "You all proved that you belong here by your ability and your own merits," she said.

Now with the Grand Strategies program changed drastically from what it used to be, this will definitely be a new experience ahead of us. Even with the reading thinned down, I think I may read some of the old material just to get some outside scope. In the meantime, I must finish The Prince; Mr. Litvin decided that instead of giving a conventional final for Tanya and I, he would give us a final based on our course reading. You can never have too much motivation to learn this material, right?