Friday, May 13, 2011

Awaiting the Future

Wednesday afternoon, I managed to garner a few stray looks by random bystanders on my way to the El Cerrito Plaza BART station.  They were probably wondering why I was wearing a black suit-jacket at the local Starbucks or why I was wearing a red pinstripe shirt.  To be honest, I questioned that choice myself, but this was not the time for second thoughts.  After all, I had a dinner I had to attend.

Pardon my manners, I have forgotten to introduce myself.  My name is Jobel Vecino, a sophomore at Hercules High School.  I am attending the Hotel Operations Management program at Cornell University this summer.

Within half-an-hour's time, the rest of the group had arrived and the formalities had been dealt with.  

I followed Mr. Ramsey as we departed the Embarcadero BART Station and made our way to the restaurant: Town Hall.  The air around us remained cold while conversation was light and frivolous.  Despite the fact that many of us had an AP test the next day, there would be no qualms tonight.  We would enjoy this dinner.

The restaurant was certainly chic.  The second floor dining room was illuminated by candlelight.  The table where I was seated was bordered by open windows, allowing the cool breeze to keep us company.  My fellow cohorts Terilyn and Kevin joined my mother and me, as well as their mothers.

After a few minutes pondering the empty spaces we had at our table, we finally received an answer.  Cornell alumni Jesus Verduzco ('99) and Emily Wyffels ('05) were kind enough to join us for dinner.  As soon as the alumni arrived and began speaking, Cornell no longer seemed like a faraway land on a college brochure - it was every bit as real as the memories Jesus and Emily shared with us.  We learned about the general dormitories, the snow-ridden days, and the great experience that lay ahead of us.

Before the alumni arrived, many of us, myself included, were still on edge about the situation.  It still seemed as surreal as the day we were called into the board room to be interviewed.  But once the alumni explained the nuts and bolts of Cornell and how rigorous and beneficial it was, once the human element had been introduced, I can truly say I feel excited to be going to Cornell this summer.
The 2011 ILC Cornellians striking a pose outside of Town Hall.
Photo courtesy of Don Gosney.

As we conversed with the alumni, Ms. Kronenberg acted as Mistress of Ceremonies for the night.  She called up Taylor and Terilyn to speak to the group, as well as Cornell alumnus Peter Lee ('63).  After the speeches, Ms. Kronenberg had several groups of guests "pop up" for a round of applause, all of which were well-deserved.  Former ILC participant and soon-to-be Cornellian Yueming Wang ('15) also spoke.  Having known Yueming since I was a small child, it was rather strange to wrap my head around the fact that she was going to college, but she reassured all of us that her choice was sound.

At the end of the night, after a lavish dish of catfish and sorbet for dessert, we left, our taste buds and our minds satisfied.  As I watched the nighttime San Francisco skyline, I pondered what this program would hold for the future, a future I am now willing to embrace wholeheartedly.


  1. Jobel,

    It's odd that I'm reading from so many of our ILCers about how ambivalent or uninspired some of them are as they head off to these dinners. We'll have to work harder in the future to excite our cohorts about this program. I worry that some of our participants may want to be a part of the program only because it will make their resume look better when they apply to college.

    The opportunities that are being presented to our ILCers can open so many doors for them and we would hope they might see the value in all of this.

    I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, Jobel, but if Emily and Jesus got you excited about those "snow ridden days" I wish they had made ti clear that you won't see too many of those when you attend in the middle of summer. You can dream about them, though, as you bask in the hot and humid upstate New York.

  2. Don,

    Perhaps you misunderstood what I meant about "snow ridden days." The idea was that it introduced the human element in something that seemed so black and white beforehand. It was much easier to get excited once we knew others that have enjoyed what we will this summer.

    As for the ambivalence, I think many of us thought the experience was surreal until recently. For a lot of us, myself included, it took a while for it to hit us that we were spending our summer at an Ivy League School. Once my mind was wrapped around that, I was ready and willing to go.