I had had a bad day, the kind everyone experiences every once in a while. As I hurried out the door Wednesday evening, I was not going to let the day's events spoil the momentous evening ahead at the Hercules City Council Meeting. Unfortunately, I nearly did by arriving late, almost a sort of brush-with-death experience as the embarrassment reminded me of what a privilege it was to be an Ivy League Connection participant and what responsibilities came with the role.
As the event began and I finished scribbling a speech, I clumsily got my arm stuck in the crevice of a chair while reaching for my pen, thinking, "Oh dear, this is going on the blog."
Even though I had sat in on a couple of City Council meetings before with fellow Hercules High student Justin Bautista Jones, who by now is famous with the Council, addressing the Hercules City Council was quite a new experience. I’m not proud that I felt almost like a nervous wreck inside. As an ILC student who is only human and not immune to stage fright, I know the importance of recognizing one’s flaws and working to fix them. That night I listened with the utmost admiration for the many fellow ILC students who spoke with confidence, spoke from the heart with no need of notes scrawled on tiny, creased sheets of paper.
Mr. Ramsey and previous ILC participants have expressed what a transforming experience it is to be part of this program, both for individual students and eventually for their community. In light of this, I dream of returning from Cornell and telling everyone how the life-altering ILC experience helped me mature, taught me how to handle myself in a variety of situations and conquer public speaking. A host of experiences await us this summer, and I know they will reinforce in me the strength and confidence to be independent, to compete with other talented students from across the globe, and to take control of my own destiny.