Saturday, May 21, 2011

Prelude to Penn

I have already come to the conclusion that this summer is going to be excellent. Along with Julia Martien, who’s company I always enjoy at school, and Alex Elms who I am coming to know and enjoy more every time we meet, I already know that the three of us are dedicated students who intend to study hard, and have a great time on the East coast this summer. While I am very eager and excited to go study at UPenn, the events in the Ivy League connection so far have also been both informative and enjoyable; I will describe them in brief below.
After interviewing for, and being accepted to the program, the Ivy League Connection really began for me on a Saturday morning at the Hercules Public Library. There, I met with Alex Elms and about a dozen other students to learn the basics of blogging from one of the benefactors of this program- Don Gosney. Don had struck me from the start as very knowledgeable about computers and photography, but I was still impressed by how much material was packed into the space of two hours. Blazing through the basics, and quickly moving on to more advanced topics such as photo editing, what you read today is my first attempt at bringing all of the tips and information from that session together into my first blog.
The next time I saw Alex and Julia was at the WCCUSD School Board meeting. There, I also met for the first time our chaperone Mike Schweninger, an English teacher from De Anza High School. Instead of teaching three grades of students as he does during the school year, Mike will have only three of us to keep track of during the summer, so I am confident he is thoroughly overqualified for the job.

One of the most inspiring things to me in the Ivy League Connection so far was listening to students speak that were part of the program in past years. I especially enjoyed Irene Rojas-Carroll’s speech, where she eloquently expressed how the Ivy League Connection was important in exposing her to colleges such as Brown University, which she will be attending next year. I hope that the Ivy League Connection will both expose me to great colleges on the East coast, and help me decide exactly what I want to major in during college. Many thanks to Mr. Ramsey, and the rest of the School Board for honoring us at the school board meeting.

Last weekend, the UPenn group had their dinner at Scala’s Bistro in San Francisco. Although I’m not writing here as a restaurant critic, I must say that the restaurant was beautiful, the service excellent, and the food delicious. I sat at a table along with my father, my group’s chaperone Mike Schweninger, Don Gosney, and a UPenn alumni, Leslie Mah. While I learned a lot from everyone at the table, I found Leslie the most informative because of her experiences at UPenn as a student. Among the many things I learned were what class sizes to expect, what the dormitories are like, where the nicest places to exercise are, and very importantly, that the food trucks serve cheap, delicious meals. When I asked several UPenn alumni about why they chose UPenn over other excellent schools that they were accepted to, I thought it was promising that all of them said that they chose UPenn because of the atmosphere, and how friendly the other students were. On the way back from Scala’s, I also had the pleasure of talking with a current UPenn student, Cristina Pelayo, who told me a lot about her first year at UPenn.

I’ve found an interesting phenomenon when I compare my own blog posts with Julia and Alex’s posts. Although we are going through the same orientations and meetings, in our blog posts we already seem to have significantly differing perspectives. Coming from a very diverse school, I see differing backgrounds and opinions all the time. I think it’s really cool to think about how we will all learn the same material, but understand it and use it differently. Just as two different professors can teach the same curriculum in vastly different ways, I am looking forward to this summer so much because more importantly than anything else, I will get a new perspective on my education.

1 comment:

  1. Brian,

    Like you, I learned so much from our association with the alums for all of our cohort schools. We can listen to the lectures at the colleges fairs and we can read the “propaganda” on their web sites but until we talk to those that have actually attended these schools we can never learn the truths we need to know. We can never appreciate the perspectives they can share with us.

    Even the ILC alums that you referenced. They’re the best testaments to what the ILC is all about and what it can offer each of you. Whether it’s Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg or myself, we can’t tell you nearly as much as any of our ILCers who have attended these schools and gone trough the programs you’ll be going through. That’s one of the many reasons we bring them back and ask them to talk to you all.

    We have a lot of stars in our program from over the years but Irene is one of our superstars and is always a joy to be around. That being said, there aren’t too many of our ILC alums that don’t fall into that category.

    From your writings it seems as though you’re grasping the value of getting together with your cohorts so you can work as a team. We often devote a program to a specific school so all of the students participating in that program have a fair chance of already knowing each other. For other programs, like the one you’re participating in, we bring in students from different parts of the District so you can broaden your horizons and meet people from different areas and cultures—just like you will when you attend these programs back east.

    Truly, though, one of the things we’re glad you’re seeing first hand is how so many people can see exactly the same thing and come away thinking they’ve all seen something different. You’re all looking at these things through different sets of eyes and, as you pointed out, coming away with different perspectives.

    This is one of the reasons why we try to get you all to set up study groups so you can talk amongst yourselves about each of these components of the program and learn from each other. I hope you take advantage of this when you and your new pals go to Penn.