Friday, June 3, 2011

The Final Milestone

Last night we passed the final milestone on the road to our summer adventure. The entire 2011 Ivy League Connection group gathered at El Cerrito High School for orientation. The goal of the night was to answer any last-minute questions, give us our itineraries, and allow our parents to associate themselves a bit more with our chaperones. The night definitely achieved its purpose.
We began the night in the library. We were divided into our respective groups by Don and Mr. Rhea before any of the speeches began. This was convenient because I was able to update Mike, Brian, Mrs. Seegers, Julia, and Mrs. Martien on our plans for the pre-Penn excursion. They all seemed happy to hear that the reservations for the information sessions, campus tours, and dinners with admissions officers were taken care of. Once everyone had arrived and found their seats, Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, and Mr. Rhea each gave great individual speeches about the significance and purpose of the orientation.

There were also two announcements that I was rather surprised by. The first was that prior ILC scholars had been invited to offer their insight within the breakout sessions. This was a change from last year’s orientation that I found to be very strategic. The second announcement was that the ILC has partnered with a publisher. This will allow students to actually have their books, poems, and other forms of prose officially published. I didn’t think it was possible because it is already so amazing, but somehow the ILC has managed to make even more life-changing opportunities for the students of this district.
The final piece of business before going into the breakout sessions was Don’s packing presentation. He covered the list of basic things that all of us need to pack and then got a bit more specific with regard to dorm room needs. He said that each university is going to provide different things and that some of us would need desk lamps while others would need extension and Ethernet cords. Contrary to last year at Cornell, it seems that I will have to bring a desk lamp and linens for my dorm because Penn does not provide them. I’m hoping that these items are the only things for the dorm that I’ll need to pack. Of course, if I need something last-minute, Don has generously offered us access to his “bazaar” the day we leave.

The breakout sessions took place outside of the library, inside individual classrooms. Here we were able to examine our itineraries and discover that we would have to be at El Cerrito High at 3:30 AM on June 30…that’s going to be a fun morning… But we were also able to ask Cynthia, a former ILC scholar who attended a Penn summer program and currently attends Brown, a few things about the dorms, about our restrictions at Penn, as well as a number of other things about what our stay would be like. Unfortunately I did not have time to ask all of my questions, but thankfully Cynthia provided us with her email in case we had further questions.

After the breakout session, we regrouped back in the library and concluded the night. Orientation was certainly a success. I was able to have some of my questions answered, get a few things clarified, and I am even more excited that my journey is only twenty-seven days away. As each day passes, my excitement builds. I am also remembering how great my experiences were last year at Cornell and I have no doubt that Brian, Julia, and Mike will help me make these new adventures even more memorable than my previous ones.

1 comment:

  1. Alex,

    We always welcome our sophomore ILCers to try again when they're juniors but we worry that they'll become complacent about our instructions thinking that because they've done it before they have no more to learn.

    We try to evolve the program so things are better with each successive year. Adding the old timers to the mix was an addition this year and it seemed to be a welcome addition at that. Learning from someone who has been there and done that is always better than someone who has just read about it.