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.