Thursday, August 16, 2012

Two Weeks Too Fast

The past two weeks at the Yale Ivy Scholars Program has been an eye opening, mind blowing, jaw dropping and amazing experience. Let me say that the architecture at Yale was spectacular, but it wasn’t necessarily the only thing that made it attractive. The lectures, seminars, workshops, and Marshall Brief were the cause of my infatuation. I can go on and on for hours describing every lecture, seminar, workshop, and the Marshall Brief. However, I’ll try to break it down as best as I can without dismissing important information. Let me quickly describe the program so you can get a feel for it. The program holds up to its prestige and title as being extremely intensive. Sleep is basically nonexistent for the average Ivy Scholar. The average Ivy Scholar isn’t used to nonexistent sleep. If you don’t like coffee, it will become your best friend. If you don’t have a best friend, you will make one. If you still don't have a best friend, Yale will be your best friend, or boyfriend, or girlfriend. You will learn how to order pizza. 

Being taught by world-renowned professors in a world-renowned university is kind of unbelievable. I think I’ll start first by saying that it’s really difficult balancing out all of the work given. Everyone knew this from the beginning of the program and that’s one of the first things they explicitly told us. It was kind of like a life lesson, you have to learn how to be responsible and make the right choices. Which one do you prioritize and how will you manage your time? We were assigned reading for the lectures and seminars. I was able to keep up with all the readings for the first week, but then it became a little too arduous. The Marshal Brief and the lack of sleep were the main factors that deterred me. It came into my mind that something needed to be sacrificed in order to open up more time. This sacrifice came in the form of less reading time for lectures and seminars. I was able to skim through the reading, but was not able to work through it meticulously. The lectures ranged from really interesting and engaging to not so engaging but still interesting. We covered philosophy, politics, diplomacy, ethics, economics, and much more.

My favorite lecture was on making sense of identity politics and cultural studies. We analyzed different music and then related past and future events to the meaning of the song. That was only one of the activities from that lecture but it was certainly one that stuck on my mind. There were plenty of other lectures that would be my favorite. If I could, I would say they all were my favorite. The seminars were basically more focused and smaller lectures. The instructors weren’t really able to get into many details because of the time constraint and generality of the subject. However, we learned enough to make us want to learn more. Get it?

My favorite seminar is called The Ethics of High Technology and the Evolution of Modern Warfare. One of the questions we pondered over was, “What will become of warfare if it was fought completely through robots and technology?” The seven other seminars were interesting of course but this one stood out for me.

We had two workshops. The first was about a judicial issue on an extreme and extraordinary hypothetical murder case. This is known as The Case of the Speluncean Explorer. Here we had a heated discussion on whether the murderers should be sentenced to death or freed. Of course everyone had their own opinions so there was no right or wrong answer.

Next and last was an optional public speaking class. Here I learned about the basics of presenting oneself during a speech. These lectures, seminars, and workshops were so different from anything I have done in high school. I’ll definitely miss that experience for the time being, until I get into college.

The Marshall Brief deserves it’s own section.

What is the Marshall Brief you ask? It is your life, baby, honor and anything else you can think of. This may sound like an exaggeration but speaking in terms of the Yale Ivy Scholars Program, it isn't. You are required to make a policy to fix or mitigate a present day issue. After you send in your final draft, a 15-page essay, to your instructor, you’ll begin to prepare for your one-hour presentation in front of the “Murder Board.” The Murder Board consists of three instructors playing the role of government officials who specialize in your policy topic. They bombard you with questions at any given moment so you’ll have to make sure you know all your background and foreground information.

My Marshal Brief topic was on Promoting Sustainable Energy. Speaking from the truth, my Marshal Brief experience wasn’t so great. What our instructor told us to do was to break the Marshall Brief into areas and have each person specialize in an area. One of my teammates insistently decided to take on an area that basically became the bulk of our Marshall Brief. You can see where this goes. Aside from all of that, the Marshall Brief was a wonderful experience. You get to strengthen your teamwork skills and also learn how to cope with stress and time management.

The Marshall Brief, as simple as I can put it, is like running a marathon or track meet. Sometimes you run so hard that you feel like giving up and dying, but when you actually finish the run, you feel accomplished, healthy, and happy. That's how I feel about the Marshall Brief. I would easily stay another week or two at Yale to do the Marshall Brief again.

My experience at Yale University was so spectacular. One thing I heard from many students and alumni of Yale was that Yale had a warm and friendly atmosphere. This was apparent even in the program. I was able to befriend brilliant students from all over the world. It surprising to me that so many people were incredibly modest even though they had pretty impressive backgrounds. Being surrounded by premier students certainly made me feel unprepared in a sense that many things were new to me. I know that I was not the most intelligent student but I don’t doubt myself in anyway because I know I’m equally comparable with everyone else. Nonetheless, I know that I did the best I could and in the end, that’s all that matters. The Yale Ivy Scholars Program teaches responsibility, time management, and helps you gain a better understanding about college life at an Ivy League University. From this experience I learned that there are many career options out there in life and that it's not impossible to achieve our goal. It's up to yourself to take action. I’ll take my experience gained here and apply it to wherever I go. It felt like the memories I made at Yale consisted of a year’s worth. Unfortunately the two weeks there have gone by way too fast.