I have a confession to make:
When I first read the email Mr. Ramsey sent to us about the Cornell Alums dinner, I was not excited. In fact, I dreaded the dinner. I was nervous, too.
Granted, I was chosen to give a speech at the dinner, but having to give a speech wasn’t really what made me nervous. Mostly, I was afraid that I would not feel as excited about the ILC program as I wanted to feel. I was afraid that I would have to stand in front of everyone who had worked so hard to support us and have to act more excited than I actually felt. I was afraid of being a fake.
This guilty anxiety was bothering me even as I travelled to Town Hall via BART with the ILC leaders, students, parents, and chaperones. I did not talk much on the way to the restaurant. That’s not really normal for me.
We eventually got to Town Hall and it was cold. We were stuck outside and it was cold. I started talking to some of my Cornell cohorts, but I was still feeling uneasy. Pretty soon, we were all inside, marvelling at how adorable the place was. The restaurant was cozy in that way where any source of light appears to sparkle.
Eventually we all sat down. The two Cornell alums at my table introduced themselves as Jesus Verduzco (‘99) and Emily Wyffels (‘05), and the minute the two of them started talking to us, I started to worry less. After that, everything pretty much went uphill. What an instant transition.
Like Jobel, I felt a rush “once the human element had been introduced.” I was amazed at how much fun I was having. Right then, Ms. Kronenberg asked different people to “pop up” and introduce themselves, and that was when I looked around the room and noticed that I didn’t know most of the people around me. Even people I did know, I did not know. Then I remembered where I was and what the purpose of the dinner was. These people supported us wholeheartedly before they even knew us. That was kind of overwhelming to think about, and I was still in that dazed state of mind when it was time to make my speech. I ended up completely deviating from what I had previously planned on saying, but that, I am convinced, was a good thing. I tried to convey what I actually felt, and I was glad to find that I did not have to fake excitement, because I was really feeling it.
The rest of the night was bubbly and informative. After the dinner, as we all walked back to BART together, I found myself skipping along with Genevieve and humming and chattering about Cornell. Everything felt right, and it still does.