Hey Everyone! My name is Joe Arciniega, and I am excited to be posting my first entry on the "2011 ILC at Cornell" Blog.
We Cornellians involved in the Freedom and Justice Program had our first real ILC experience last night when we ate dinner with the students who went to our program last year. The dinner was held at Outback Steakhouse, which I had never been to before, and was much more informative than I ever could have imagined.
The four students who spoke to us all came from Pinole Valley High School, just as we all come from El Cerrito High School this year, and they gave us numerous tips on how to prepare for this rigorous program. They suggested that we form a study group so that we could all stay on top of the reading and bounce ideas off of each other and also that we start having what they called "blogging parties". The essential idea of a blogging party is to all blog together and talk about whatever it is that we're blogging about so that we can remember, in detail, every aspect of that event.
They told us that the only homework that we would have in the program would be the reading that we're already doing, which means that it is absolutely crucial for us to finish our reading before the class starts so that any homework we have is really just review.
The students also told us about all of the fun things there are to do in Ithaca, such as movies, sports, swimming areas, museums, college tours, and even a boat that you can go out on during the Fourth of July to see fireworks. Information like this relaxed me a lot, because I originally thought that this program was going to be nothing but three weeks of straight work (although they did tell us not to let these fun things distract us from our studies).
As the four students spoke, my pen darted back and forth, nailing down every piece of information that I could receive from them. I guess I took a few more notes than everyone else because at one point our chaperone turned to me and asked, "Are you planning on sending all those out to the rest of us?" haha.
By the end of the night, I felt that I had a much better understanding of what to expect from this journey and also of how I could prepare myself to take it. I plan on following every one of these students' suggestions and I cannot thank them enough for providing all of us with such valuable information. My cohorts and I have already begun discussing possible times to meet for our study group and I am very much looking forward to working with them throughout the program.