Saturday, March 29, 2014

This Is the Beginning

Today we had a tutorial at De Anza High School. Although my carpool was among the last to arrive, everyone was early. As a result, no one had to meet Guantanamo Don or even Evil Don.

The tutorial went smoothly and we stayed on schedule. Although Don’s talk was heavily punctuated with warnings, threats, and anecdotes about students from past years who had flouted the rules, everyone in the classroom seemed anxious to please and unwilling to jeopardize their scholarships.

The ILCers behaved much better than the weather did this morning. 

We learned all about blog content, presentation, and images. Don stressed that we are representatives of our high schools, the school district, and the Ivy League Connection, and that our blogs are read in dozens of countries around the world. I hope my posts will live up to the program’s expectations.

After we spent time creating posts on Don’s Practice Blog, the talk turned to the more mundane: laptop locks, laundry, travel, and packing. I learned to my dismay that one of my predecessors at Cornell had a dorm pillow crawling with all sorts of nasty things, so I’ll be sure to pack a pillow shield. In fact, I may pack two.

Laundry and pillow worries aside, I am excited to be starting my ILC journey. It’s nice to be treated as a capable adult (until, Don warns me in my head, it is necessary to be treated as a child), and I look forward to upcoming events. 

Our Journey Starts Here

 It struck me just then when I entered De Anza that this was the first event I took part of as an official ILC member. The gratitude towards everyone who helped me get this far swept through my mind as I stood by the door.

I am going to take Hotel Management: Tactics For Profitability course during the summer at Cornell, renowned to be the best hotel management university in the world.

This exhilarating journey comes with rules and regulations, and of course, we must obey each and every one of them. Don made use of this tutorial to enforce that all guidelines must be followed or your scholarship will be revoked. We've discussed about posting everyday from getting on the plane till getting off the plane. It made me realize that blogging is a fundamental part of becoming a responsible ILCer that shares their experiences to people of interest. We then made our first post on Don's Practice Blog. Afterwards, Don told us about the necessities required and what's reasonable and unreasonable to bring to the East Coast and back.

My favorite part of this tutorial session was when we got to "tour" De Anza and take pictures of the newly constructed building. I've never been inside De Anza before, so I was pretty excited. To be honest, I was pretty satisfied when my pictures I took came out nice. 
One of the architectural designs in De Anza High School
Overall, I've learned a lot of useful material that can really benefit me while travelling to the East Coast. One of them was tricks here and there to enhance our photos to look better, "... but it really depends on your personal preference,..." says Don.

I won't lie, I'm literally jumping up and down my bed thinking that June isn't far ahead and soon I'll be boarding a plane towards New York. This tutorial was really helpful and I anticipate the next meeting to be as inspiring as this.

Embarking on my ILC Journey

Mama needs her caffeine!
Maybe I shouldn't have stayed up until 4 in the morning last night, but I did, well aware of my 8:30 AM tutorial session at De Anza High School today. I was trying to finish as much homework as possible, considering my hectic agenda for the weekend (the 4-hour tutorial session this morning, an eye doctors appointment, a "Thoroughly Modern Millie" performance later tonight and a matinee tomorrow). In addition to a stressful school week, you can bet I'm dog tired. Thank goodness, I got my Starbucks fix earlier. 

I woke up to a gray and rainy day, groggy from my 2 hour slumber. Despite the gloomy weather, the birds were out chirping as though they were forecasting the bright day ahead of me. My mother was oh so kind for waking up early on her day off and driving me to De Anza for my first ILC milestone event. Though her driving often makes me nervous, even without wet weather conditions, we managed to get there on time with only one missed exit. She stayed with me throughout the first part of the tutorial, even though I knew she had much better things to do. Without her and my dad's constant support, my partaking in the ILC would have never been possible. But on to the tutorial itself.
Fellow ILCers working hard behind me.
When I arrived, there were already some ILC cohorts situated with computers. I sat down in the very front row, and, after the last ILCers arrived, Don began what was to be a very long but informative tutorial. My fellow ILCers and I got a crash course in blogging--how to create a blog, how to add pictures, how to format our blogs accordingly, and how to make a "good" blog rather than a "bad" one. 

The tutorial session covered more than just blogging. We were reminded of our responsibilities as ambassadors of our schools, cities and district and got a run down of our upcoming events. Most exciting for me was when Don discussed what we should pack and what to expect at the universities, including dorm conditions. I definitely dodged a bullet when I discovered Cornell did not have the "ice box" dorms. (I know that means it will be hot and humid, but the cold and me don't go together). Today's session put my journey as an ILCer into perspective; the whole experience, even as I write this lengthy—I apologize—blog, is so surreal. I can't wait to officially embark upon my ILC journey in June!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tutorial Sessions 1 & 2

On Saturday March 15th the ILC held the first two of their four tutorial sessions where 18 of our 36 ILCers learned something about how to blog, take photos, post their photos and numerous details about being a part of the ILC.  They also learned more about what to expect in coming months.

If you scroll down below this blog you can read some of their first blogs. 

But first, we thought we would post a few photos from the day.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Great Tutorial but Crummy First Impression...

This morning at exactly 8:30 AM was the ILC's first major milestone event--the all important tutorial on just about everything that one would go through while participating in the ILC. Therefore it would be ideal to be arrive there at a reasonably early time. At around 6:00 AM my six or so cellphone alarms woke me up from my much needed end of the week slumber and then I realized that I didn't even need to wake up that early since the meeting place, DeAnza High School was just two towns over. Either way, since I was already wide awake I decided to get ready. The ideal plan for me was to leave the house at exactly 8:10, but as fate would have it my father thought it was the perfect time to brew some last minute coffee and at the same time make me take out the trash--even though I had already told him about a million times how serious it is being on time to events like these is. On the way there, I repetitively told my dad how being exactly on time is being late, as opposed to being a few minutes early which is actually being on time--which I learned from Don in his numerous emails and presentation at my school quite a few months ago. The anxiety was driving me nuts as the impending doom of confronting Evil Don was becoming more and more of a definite reality, especially when my watch hit 8:29:59. Once I arrived there, I scurried out of the car, down the corridor and into DeAnza's computer lab where all eyes turned to me. The scene was that of a dejected-faced teenager given a stern warning about the importance of being on time. Judging from how much that reasonably minor yet at the same time high offense affected me, I believe its safe to say that I will make sure not be late to any future events of any sort. 

Cool looking biker helmet in the DeAnza High Computer Lab
Switching to a much more positive note, the tutorial was very informative to say the least. Don began with the basics and ironically the first matter of the agenda was Evil Don--basically Good Don's complete opposite, which the adjectives of antagonistic, serious and truly pitiless easily pertain to. Aside from that, the basics included how to set up a Blogger account and specifically realizing how a blogger account is much more effective in representing a person than a lame Google+ profile can do--for more can be placed on one's profile page in a Blogger account as compared to the links for a person's information you have to click on in Google+. We briefly went over some examples of good blogs and bad blogs, amongst the sad errors that the bad blogs contained were very obvious capitalization, punctuation and content errors(maybe I shouldn't be so critical right now because I may be committing the same errors). Moving along, we got to learn about how to use a digital camera and how to upload photos to blogs, so we just essentially wandered about for a while and just flittered away with an entropy the snapshots in and out of the room.
SNACK TIME! Don provided some snacks and water at halftime
Later on into the tutorial Don explained how the school board meeting would be the moment we would all be on live television representing our district as literal ambassadors for our school in our respective cohorts, basically the way we comport ourselves from now on will be the image of our district to people all over the world--maturity is an integral part of this. Don then began talking about what to expect of the plane ride and to definitely get a seat with a total stranger because more than likely that would make for an interesting conversation which would make for an interesting blog--pretty good reasoning, no lie. We also learned about how our dorm rooms would vary greatly depending on which school is attended. For example a UPENN ILCer would have the benefit of having a sizable room with air-conditioning, where as a Cornell ILCer would have no air-conditioning except scorching humidity accompanied by a "pool of sweat" oozing from the pores. So I know, what to expect at Ithaca this very near Summer.

Since I forgot to mention the scenery of DeAnza, it was the type of dream school you see in the movies. For it was all rebuilt with the latest technology installed in nearly every room(like the up-to-date computers) along with modern interior architecture.
Thao looking goofy--in the good way
It's basically the school which all students that attend West Contra Costa Unified envy at the moment. Well I believe I've written more than enough than is needed to be said for today in this blog.To conclude, with all this information being poured before my fellow ILCers and I, holding in my excitement I only hope for the best for all us this Summer and that we all do our best and have fun at the same time.

New Beginnings

Sue and Thao taking pictures for their blog posts.
Today I had the pleasure of attending a blog tutorial session at De Anza High School with a few members of my cohort as well as other ILCers from various programs. As soon as all the students had arrived, Don handed us out a syllabus-type packet filled with all of the things we would be discussing from blogging to photography to behavior expectations. The bulk of the time, as expected, was spent learning the technical aspects of blogging and how to correctly format a post. I have previously owned a blog, but it is necessary that all of us learn and follow the same guidelines in order to have a blog that is uniform and nice to look at. 

Next, Don gave us a short lesson on photography and explained how to import our pictures onto MediaFire, even though he couldn't show us due to the school's firewall. 
Don helping out one of the other members.
The last portion of the session was spent discussing our responsibilities from now until the time we get back from our trips in the summer. Responsibility is key in being apart of the Ivy League Connection and we all must be on top of our priorities in order to be successful. Don also told us about what we may need when we go on our trip and taught us how to use a laptop security cable in order to keep our laptops out of the hands of evil robbers.

Overall, I really enjoyed being around the other members of ILC and I can't wait for the rest of our journey!

Prelude to the Adventures

The venue of our tutorial
When I woke up this morning, the bright sun and the blue skies confirmed that today is going to be no less than splendid. At 8:30 in the morning, I found myself sitting alongside various ILCers as we took our first step together into the Ivy League Connection. 

In De Anza's brand new computer lab, we were intrigued by the technology surrounding us. From motion-sensored lights to sliding whiteboards, our fascination had no limit. Don then walked in wearing an aloha shirt and created a very casual atmosphere. 

We went through the protocols and learned how to use them to our advantage to ensure that we get the best out of this ILC experience. 

Photography was my favorite topic that we discussed; today was when I realized that cropping makes the world of a difference! Soon enough, we had a quick break and during that break, I began reading Don's example of a "good blog" by Austin Long so that I would be able to apply many of the inspirational aspects to my own writing. Afterwards, we discussed what we should bring on our trip to the East Coast and other similar protocols. Shortly hereafter, the tutorial concluded by practicing our picture-taking skills and by having a quick chat with Don. 
ILCers working hard on their practice blogs
With plenty of laughs along the way, this tutorial set the tone for the program. I'm sure that ILC will be fun as well as life-changing. I'm excited for everything that is in store for me as I prepare to leave for Cornell in June of this summer. I really can't wait and if you would like to find out more, hold on tight because the adventures are yet to begin.