It's unbelievable to even think that my time at Yale has ended.
Although the Grand Strategy course is only two weeks long, it definitely feels like much longer. These couple of weeks have given me a kind of perspective that I could not get anywhere else. I experienced college life - my time in Yale was filled with rigorous work, lectures, assignments, sleepless nights, meeting amazing and extremely well accomplished people, and making some unforgettable memories.
The first week was hectic, to say the least. I began my day at 9:30 AM with lectures from well-renowned professors or lecturers; these lectures usually ranged anywhere from Machiavelli to current affairs in Asia and the Middle East. After a lunch break, we returned to more lectures or seminars, which were usually filled with a fraction of the students. These seminars were usually on a topic that I indicated that I was interested in, which made them all the more better. I also liked how personalized these seminars were; I felt like I absorbed a lot more material when I was in a seminar.
The Marshall Brief
On the second day, we were introduced to the Marshall Brief. At first, I was extremely intimidated by the MB because of how intensely it was presented to us. We were separated into groups based on topics (mine was Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East). We were given about two days to have our policies intact and we were expected to begin working on the paper immediately. Although it took my group mates and me a while to figure out our approach, we eventually got it and worked on addressing the problem. I found that because all of my group mates worked together, the MB was not as bad as I thought. That said, we had a lot of late night coffee runs and stressful days; regardless, because we could rely on each other, the whole process went smoothly. I can now confidently say that the Marshall Brief was one of the best parts of this program. Not only was I able to broaden my knowledge on my topic, I also made amazing friends. All of my group mates and I became extremely close, which made the Marshall Brief so enjoyable.
Presenting the Marshall Brief
After completing the policy paper, the main task was to present the paper in front of a panel (which dubs itself the "Murder Board"). This part was by far the most nerve-wrecking part of the program because "Murder Board" is not a misnomer - all of the panelists made it a point to test our abilities to react to such harsh criticism.
I was especially nervous because I did not have prior public speaking experience. My school does not offer a Speech and Debate team and I am not part of the Mock Trial club. However, regardless, I managed to present our policy and articulate my points well. I felt like being able to talk to an intimidating panel was my biggest achievement as part of the Yale Ivy Scholars because public speaking used to be one of my biggest fears previously. That I was able to conquer that fear and pull through during my presentation makes me like I definitely took back something from this program.
Approaching the End
Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed my time in Yale this summer. I have never experienced such a rigorous workload and demand, but it was definitely worth it. I feel like this program was set at the perfect time - I am now equipped for senior year and college after that. The Yale Ivy Scholars Program served as a sort of platform for college, as it gave me insight into so many different aspects of college life.
I would again like to reiterate my utmost gratitude to Ivy League Connection for giving me this lifetime experience. I hope I can continue my endeavors as an ambassador to WCCUSD and ILC.