Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Good Bye and Good Night

If there is one thing that I learned from my Freedom and Justice TA, Simon, it's that you want readers to know exactly what you're talking about as soon as they get into your paper. There's no point in dilly-dallying with historical background and there is no point in explaining the mere content of your paper. You need to start with a strong point, a thesis if you will, and then build the rest of the paper off of that.

Thank you Simon.

Thesis: Cornell Summer College was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I learned about the basis of all modern political thought in my Freedom and Justice course and I learned about how important it is to be independent in the college world. I learned that friends are a vital part of the college experience but also learned that when you have those friends you need to learn how to balance work and play. This trip to Cornell University has made me more responsible with my choices, more confident in my ability to handle myself, and more excited to get to college and do this whole thing all over again.

I guess I should start from the beginning. When my school's staff first informed me that they would like me to participate in this program called the Ivy League Connection, I kind of just heard their offer as, "Hello. We know you've been working really hard all Junior year, but when summer comes around and you finally get some time to relax, how would you like to go participate in one of the most rigorous classes of your life?". To be honest, if my brother hadn't participated in the ILC and told me that it was amazing, I probably wouldn't have done it.

Thank God he had.

As I said before, this adventure taught me more than just the ideas of Locke and Marx and what-not. It taught me a lot of personal lessons that I'm sure will help me in the long run. First of all, it taught me how to discipline myself. With all of the distractions available to you at a beautiful place like Cornell, it can be hard to sit in one spot and write a paper on Plato's views of Athenian democracy. However, when you begin to understand that that paper is important, and that you don't have any parents around telling you that you need to do your work, that's when you start to realize that you should probably become your own parent (figuratively speaking) and tell yourself to get that paper done. That was a skill that I picked up very quickly (because if I didn't I probably would have failed the class) and I am sure that I will be able to use that skill in any aspect of my daily life. I guess in a way, this skill goes hand-in-hand with being proactive and making sure that I get all of my work done before I engage in any leisurely activities.

On the other hand, I also learned that breaks are important! Sometimes it's more than just
"hard" to finish that Plato paper in one sitting; it's impossible. The key here is to work as hard
as you can, for as long as you can, and then when you feel yourself starting to fade off, that's
when you can go say hey to a friend or play a quick game of basketball, or even do something as
small as taking a quick Facebook break. As long as it is something that you are actually
interested in, I find that it will allow your brain to refocus so you can get back to work on
something that you really don't want to be doing. The biggest part is just making sure that you
actually come back to finish the work.

These, I can assure you, are only a few of the many lessons that I learned through the ILC.
All of these new life skills that I have picked up I'm sure will help me with any kind of schooling
that I will ever encounter and also just with my people-skills in general. Another lesson that I
learned through my TA, Simon, was to be patient and accept criticism with an open mind. That
skill will definitely come in handy whenever I am working with others, which I have to do
frequently in school, sports, and even at home, and I am just excited to know that I now have
the ability to really listen to other people.

Now that the trip is over, however, I need to start looking towards the future. All of our
college tours helped me realize exactly what aspects I want my college to have (good sports, big
city nearby, and as little snow as possible) and so I will be that much more prepared when
college apps come around. I will know what I am looking for and I will know the main areas
that I should look at. Right now, I would say the top choice is UCLA but Northwestern is now
running a close second (even with the snow).

All in all, this journey to Cornell was incredible. I got more out of it than I possibly could
have imagined and I am so excited to share my newfound knowledge throughout the bay area.
We Cornellians are now planning a service learning project, which will take place some time
this fall, where we will go to different high schools and give tips on how to write an essay and on
how to carry yourself during an interview (just like we had to do for the ILC application

I truly cannot thank the leaders of the ILC enough for providing me with this life-changing
opportunity, and the same goes for the sponsors of the ILC for making this all possible. As the
beneficiary of your guys' contributions, I would like to say that your time and money did not go
to waste. I gained skills that will help me throughout the rest of my life and I have absolutely
become a better person through this experience. Your example drove home for me the value
of investing in your community.

Thank you all for reading my blogs and supporting me throughout my entire journey with
the ILC. I hope you all have enjoyed reading my posts and although this will be my last one, I'm
sure you will all be able to keep up with me through the media when I become famous.

Thank you all very, very, much. This was truly the experience of a life-time.

Good bye, and good night.

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