Friday, June 3, 2011

Sometimes One Desk Lamp Isn't Enough

Itineraries? ~ Check.
Tips on what to do when you're at Cornell? ~ Check.
Being prepared for the actual trip? ~ I'll get back to you on that.

Thursday evening was a complete crash course for the Ivy League Connection. With the Cornell group leaving in less than three weeks, this was the time when we would get all of the nitty-gritty details straightened out, and the people managing this event, including the chaperones, certainly did.

The entire ILC group was being spoken to at the beginning of the event, with Charles Ramsey, Madeline Kronenberg, and Don Gosney taking most of the stage introducing the chaperones, talking about loaner items, and stressing the significance and honor of the program among other things. This was also the first announcement that an "ILC Press" website is being produced to help allow students in our district publish their own written content.

Afterwards, we all broke out into all of our respective programs and got into the tiny details of Cornell with our chaperone, Tiffani Neal. This was when we got our itineraries, filled out some forms, and certainly unleashed our Ithaca-specific questions.

While an instructional meeting may seem boring to most, this was one of the most fascinating ones I have ever attended. Just hearing the minute details of our trip just seemed so fascinating. This is a new experience for all of us and hearing all of the possibilities and plans just got me excited for the whole thing. If the shuttle was there to pick us up on Thursday evening, I would have jumped on that thing with no luggage in a heartbeat.

The Acquiring Of Itineraries And Umbrellas- If Needed

Last night every single ILC cohort and I, plus at least one parent, hurried into my school library at El Cerrito High to take a seat by 6:30 - or face dire circumstances. Fortunately, we were all punctual and got to skip the horror stories for the time being.

After introductions of groups and chaperones, we got down to serious business. Each of us were about to undertake a monumental experience this summer, and had to become prepared. Don with all his handy equipment and loaner items were there as well to help us if needed. Another part of the initial meeting that interested me was when an "ILC Press" was mentioned. I really relished the idea of publishing works of my peers and I.

Eventually we broke into rooms as collegiate groups to go over our schedules for the first few days after we embark to our separate parts of the other side of the country. To see actual flight times, seat numbers, and booked hotels sent a thrill through me. At times, it is still hard to realize we truly are going to New York in just a few more weeks! Yet with this concrete evidence before me, there was no way I could doubt it.

The Only Thing Worth Getting Up At Two For

Yesterday evening I went to the last ILC meeting before leaving to Cornell, which proved to be both informational and exciting. Our group was spared from the annual lecture on the importance of being on time because all 35 students were able to make it on time, which apparently has been a rare occasion in past years. Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg introduced all the groups and chaperones at the beginning of the meeting. Prior ILCers who were now attending Ivy League schools also went up, which really helped inspire me to one day be in their shoes talking to young students about the great opportunity the Ivy League Connection gave me.

After all the introductions were made and Don explained just how many items we would need to bring with us on our trip, we all broke off into our college groups. 

Once there, Ms. Neal gave us our itinerary for the first couple of days of our trip, which was both uplifting and disheartening at the same time. Okay, actually pretty much all of the itinerary was actually very exciting, and I am even more eager to go to Ithaca than before, which I did not think was possible. 

The one detail I saw in the itinerary that I am not looking forward to is the four in the morning shuttle bus leaving to the airport in 18 days. That time alone threw me off, especially since I am as far away from a morning person as anyone could be. Unfortunately, for me anyway, that time did not represent when we were actually expected to be there, as Don made very clear at the meeting. Don said we should try to be there at 3:30, which in Don time means shoot for around 3:15, which I regrettably will have to do. As I was cursing this terrible way to start this wonderful trip, I realized that it really did not matter at what time I would have to wake up, the important part was that I was actually one of the lucky few who would get to go on this trip. For once in my life, I may actually be looking forward to waking up early in the morning, and those 18 days could not go by quickly enough

Library Conversations

Honestly, there is not much to report about last night's Orientation. I felt that the whole evening went very smoothly, aside from one late-comer who Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg promptly made an example out of... fortunately, I was not that person, so my night went just swimmingly.

The Orientation began with a few speakers who gave us some generalizations about what we would experience in our summer programs. We learned that Cornell, when compared to other Ivys, is fairly laid back about rules and restrictions, and that we Freedom and Justice'ers apparently have much more free-time than our Hotel Management cohorts do (sorry guys). However, this information was a bit difficult for me to attain, because from where I was sitting, there just so happened to be a large pillar blocking my view of whoever was speaking. Nothing like reading a sign that says, "NO TALKING IN THE LIBRARY" while listening to a man who indeed is talking somewhere on the other side of that sign.
Overall though, the night went very well. We received our itineraries for our trip and learned just about everything that we could possibly want to know in order to prepare ourselves for our journey. It is amazing how thorough the ILC is. This may have been the last time that my cohorts and I will have met before our trip, but that just makes the experience more real. It shows that this experience is not too far away now, and our trip to Cornell will soon be a reality.

Also! There was a publisher who came and spoke about possibly working with the ILC and publishing some high schooler's works. I would just like to announce, that I am now planning to become a published author. I will be available for book signings at any time.

Last Words

On Thursday night, I made my second trip to El Cerrito High School this year, for what may be the final time the Ivy League Connection would meet before our departure in late June.

But this was a special event, not necessarily because everyone was there or that we brought our parents -- although that alone is enough to make any event special.  No, this event was special because for the first time in a long time, we did not have to wear formal attire.  It was nice being able to wear my sweater and jeans instead of the usual collared shirt and tie.

Besides that, this was Orientation night -- the night where all of the students would have our questions answered and our expectations fed.  And in terms of that, this night was quite successful.

From Ms. Kronenberg's affirmation of how important this program was, to Mr. Ramsey's reminders of self-discipline and rule-following, it was good to remember how important this experience is.  And despite some delays and some confusion among the students, everything seemed to be okay.  The instructions the ILC leaders were giving us were clear, and now I will certainly look into borrowing an item from Don before I leave.

Our chaperone, Ms. Neal, brought us to our specified classroom and briefed us on our plans and our responsibilities.  After dealing with some paperwork, everything was set.  We were also given a few suggestions by previous chaperones on places to go and things to see.  Of course, being in the Hotel Operations Management class, I certainly hope I have enough time to do things like that.

At the end of the night, Mr. Ramsey remarked, "Well then, it's happy trails!"  I certainly hope this is the case.