Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Final Reflection

I can't believe it's all over. It's crazy to think that it was almost 9 months ago that I planned to apply to the ILC. I had the biggest knots in my stomach just thinking about being rejected or not following deadlines but at the same time I was excited knowing I would have this amazing opportunity. 

When Don first came to Hercules to talk to us about the ILC, I was excited about the opportunity but in the back of my mind I also had many doubts. I wasn't sure I could follow through with the essays and the interview since I already had a lot on my plate with homework and extracurriculars but once the students from last year came to tell us about their experiences, I knew I could do it. 

When Don gave us a list of programs to choose from, I was overwhelmed and had no idea which ones I should do. In the beginning I was set on doing a computer science one but got too caught up in schoolwork. I had also wanted to go to Columbia but the applications for those weren't due until almost the end and I was afraid I wouldn't go to any programs if I was rejected for one of Columbia's programs. I settled on Cornell's Hotel Management program since it is the best in the world and could help me with many different skill sets I could use in the future. 

After working on my essay for a few days, I sent it in to Don. Waiting for his response on whether or not I was picked for the interview was the most stressful situation of my life. I checked my email everyday and finally saw that I had gotten the interview. I was ecstatic but at the same time stressed because we only had about 3 days to prepare. With the help of Damian Wong, I could say I was prepared for my interview. Although I had a few slip-ups in my answers, I just about cried when Don said that I was picked. 

After this, the whole application process was a whirlwind. I managed to get all of my forms and application pieces on time but made the fatal mistake of not sending in my acceptance right away. Even though it had only been a few days, Don told me that I had been waitlisted and my heart absolutely shattered. However, being the angel that he is, Don (along with Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg) allowed me the opportunity to apply for Freedom & Justice. 

Even though the class was not one I had originally applied to, I was still very interested in the subject since we would be learning a lot of the same things we learned in my English class. I sent in my application and a few days later found out that I had been accepted. 

Now that my application was out of the way, it was time for the cool events. We first had our blog tutorial which was extremely helpful in teaching us how to format our blog posts. I'm really grateful that Don took the time out to help us out with it.

I also enjoyed the school board meeting because it allowed all of us ILCers to receive recognition and give thanks for the help and support we've received. My favorite event, however, was the dinner in San Francisco. I spoke there and although I was extremely nervous, I was even more happy that I was able to express my thoughts as well as my gratitude to all of our benefactors. Additionally, the dinner lets us get a first look at what some of our dinners would look like and prepared us to have conversations with people of great importance.

After our events, it was finally time to prepare for the trip. I was extremely nervous up until our trip but at the same time I knew this was gonna be an amazing experience. During our college tours, it all felt very surreal because I couldn't believe that I'm actually going to college next year. It feels as if it was just yesterday that I started kindergarten and now I'm off to do big girl things. I am extremely appreciative of these college tours because now I know that Northwestern University will be a school that I will apply to and strongly consider attending. It was also really cool staying in nice hotels and eating expensive dinners :-) 

When we finally got to Cornell, I was feeling a bit homesick. I spent my birthday there and it was very difficult since it was my first time without my family. I was also upset because we had already been there for a few days and I had yet to make any friends in my class. However, I soldiered on and worked extremely hard in my class. Being able to attend a college class and living in a dorm was amazing and I felt like an actual college student. It also reassured me in that I know I will be able to leave home and attend college with no problem, despite my little birthday meltdown. 

Overall, the class was difficult but I learned more in three weeks than I ever thought I could. I made some amazing friends at Cornell and formed strong bonds with my cohort. This amazing opportunity was one I could never experience without the ILC and I will be forever in debt to Don, Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg and the program's benefactors for allowing me to do this. To anyone reading this and considering applying to the ILC: it's worth it! And if you don't get in the first time, don't give up. This opportunity is something you cannot pass up and will help you extremely with your future. 

To end this final blog post: Thank you ILC! 

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