Thursday, July 17, 2014

What We Did to Achieve What We'll Do in the Future

Time flies. It really does. It seemed to me that I'd barely opened the e-mail saying that I got picked for the interview. The anxiety before getting accepted and the sign of relief spread across my face when I heard my name being called by the judges. The School Board meeting happened in a flash to which I haven't even swallowed in that I was a part of ILC. And being able to attend the Cornell alums/sponsors dinner in San Francisco on the last day of school was a total reward. Now fast forwarding, the Cornell cohort met at El Cerrito High School to get ready to leave California for a world completely outside of what we're accustomed to. And then a month later the '14 Cornell Cohort came back to California having an ace up our sleeves.

I first met my cohort during the chaperone meet up at Extreme Pizza. As any meeting would have started, introduction proceeds in the beginning. There wasn't much of a surprise that four people were from Hercules High School since they're the largest group of applicants each year. As the meeting progressed, I couldn't put my commentary to most of what they're chatting about. My school didn't offer AP and neither did it have teachers that threw chairs around. So basically I was as silent as a mouse during my first encounter with them.

In two weeks time, the School Board meeting rolled around. Full of heebie-jeebies, I entered the meeting hall with my supportive mother by my side. Once all prospective cohorts situated themselves, the board meeting started with Mr. Ramsey giving an overview of the schedule for that night. The Cornell cohort was fourth to be introduced to the board committee, so tension aroused when we stood and walked to the podium. With butterflies in my stomach, I proceeded along with my cohort up to the stage. After all seven cohorts were introduced, Don ended the meeting ended successfully with a full-scale, flawless picture with everyone: parents, sponsors, and ILCers.
'14 Ivy League Connection School Board meeting
Fast forwarding to the last day of school for Middle College HS, I finished my finals and hurried home to get ready for the Cornell dinner. We all met at the BART station to go to Town Hall for the dinner. It was my first time to talk to someone about the BP oil spill before a fancy dinner, and with Mr. Don Kuehne too. He was an outstanding guy to talk to and he currently works for Chevron as a Civil Engineer. Needless to say about the food, it spoke for itself and everyone on the third floor of Town Hall was enjoying every part of the night.
Newbies taking off ~
Now that all prerequisites were done, we boarded the airplane to St. Louis, Missouri. Before sightseeing in St. Louis, we checked into our hotel rooms. To our surprise on the first day, all six of us got our own rooms. The reason behind it was because Charles F. Knight Conference Center offers only one bed per room. Never would I have thought that I be getting my very own upper-upscale hotel room. Thank you Ivy League Connection (especially Mr. Ramsey) for making it happen! We visited Washington University shortly afterwards. WashU is known for its guaranteed living for all four years and my parents definitely liked that! If I had to use just one word to describe Wash U, it would be: 'gorgeous'.
Our tour guide posing in my photo of WashU's campus

Next on the list for our college tour was University of Chicago. UChicago's buildings on campus was a blend of modern and ancient. The location of UChicago is excellent for people like me who wants to be near a big city for college. Depending on where the allocation of your dorm is, it's possible to reach downtown Chicago under five minutes by walking. I love the idea where you can to-go a deep dish from Gino's East and not be late for your next class! Chicago has the feel of San Francisco and it feels like home; I love it.

Since we were at Illinois, we toured Northwestern the next day. I absolutely adored the school spirit shown on campus. Wherever you go, there's purple flags and statues gleaming blissfully on the summer campus. The Rock in Northwestern is a legend. How can The Rock be so famous that it has a 24/7 camera recording it? Rumors say that the painted Rock has over six inches in paint. Wait, so just how big is the original rock? Well, no one knows!
Chicago at nighttime
We finished our four day college tour with a bang and headed off to Cornell ready to get drained with knowledge. It was almost midnight when we finally arrived at Cornell. Before coming to Cornell, here I thought UC Berkeley was huge, but Cornell was massive in comparison! A few months ago, I've never dreamed of visiting an Ivy League institution, but now I've just completed a Cornell Summer College course.

Let me start with how much I admired my professors: Reneta and Mark McCarthy. Reneta and Mark McCarthy is a husband and wife that co-teaches Hotels Operations Management: Tactics For Profitability. While Reneta teaches us that Marriott International, as a matter of fact, does own the luxurious and extravagant Ritz Carlton. Mark adds to that by teaching us the 'real' way to use Microsoft Office. They make you step into reality; they really do. You think college is a joke, well you ought to meet them (if you have the chance). They'll make you understand who you really are. Mark will call you out and downright embarrass you in front of 80+ people (saw that happen a few times). Never will I be Microsoft's female dog again.

The course's main objective was to let us run a simulated CHESS hotel. We were to then analyze our performance detail using Excel (in a clever way!) and present it professionally. It's amazing how in three weeks time, we were able to put together a whole analysis of a hotel from operating it for six weeks. From learning what ADR and RevPAR means in the hotel industry to Word's QuickParts made my life a whole lot easier then, and the future. I wouldn't have learned so much in such a limited time if it weren't for the help I got from Ashleigh, the fabulous TA that knows just about everything. Cornell is a place where everyone dreams of going, and I too, yearn for an education there.
My lovely professors and I!
With the academic part of the trip taken care of, I just wanted to say that my cohort was amazing. We didn't know each other (well, I didn't know them, haha) in the beginning but now we can laugh in a car together like we've known each other for decades. During the times when hours got tough (yes, I know "hours", seriously Jun?), Sue would always comfort me by saying, "You can do it!". She gave me that little kick that I needed to finish my report. Kevin was a funny dude that can pull of anything. Carla was the kind of person to record you while you're fake-sleeping and laugh hysterically, and it ends up with you laughing along with her too! Katelyn's smile can light up the whole room in a second. Natalie is the kind of girl to do ballet dance out of nowhere while we're studying for quizzes and exams. I can't help to say this again; you guys are amazing and I'm so glad I was able to be part of the 2014 Cornell Cohort. And of course, Mr. Chan-Law. He knows where he's taking us to eat, sleep, and play. He's the kind of chaperone that understands you've missed a meet up because you were crunched up in lab typing your report. Thank you for being such a great chaperone!
The awesome '14 Cornell cohort
This summer was full of plane rides and learning, all out-of-state. I still can't believe that I flew across the nation to study at an Ivy League institution for three weeks. Now that I'm typing my reflection on this trip, it's slowly coming back to me. This summer college trip, unfortunately, has came to an end, and I soon, will start another year of high school. But before starting my junior year in high school, I pushed myself into applying for a Speech and Debate summer camp. Just like the Jun that entered the hotel class without any knowledge on the hotel industry, I've yet to gain knowledge on how to debate in a large crowd. Also, when my peers think they shouldn't apply to Ivy League Connection, I will have the skills to make them go 'Wow' when they hear of the Ivy League Connection.


  1. What a wonderful opportunity, Jun! Thanks for describing it so colorfully! I hope you have the opportunity to make a presentation about your trip to a group at MCHS. If you do, let me know! I will be curious to know which school you end up attending (sounds like you really liked Washington U)... :-)

    1. Thank you for following our posts throughout these weeks! I am, too, curious about which school I'll end up attending. If I do make a presentation about my trip to Cornell, I'll be sure to keep you posted. Until then~