Saturday, April 30, 2011

Don's Blogging Tutorial ~ Josephine's Perspective

Today’s mandatory blogging tutorial was held at the Hercules Public Library at 10:15 AM. Contrary to my usual habit of being 10 minutes late, I was actually there about five minutes early. Thank goodness I arrived early too: I was in need of a laptop to borrow, and because Don’s laptop loans were given on a first-come first-serve basis, I got to use the big Dell one!

Before the actual tutorial session started, all the students introduced themselves, complete with their names, schools, and which Ivy League School they were attending. There was a girl (whose name I regretfully forgot) who was part of the Hotel Management program at Cornell, which I found really interesting because I never knew of such course being offered and it sounded really fun. Nevertheless, rest assured that Brown’s Women and Leadership program was well-represented by yours truly, as well as my good friend Cynthia Yip!

Don started off the tutorial by handing each student a 27-page packet full of notes that he planned on discussing throughout the session. He conveniently followed each section exactly as seen on the agenda page, which made me wonder if he rehearsed his presentation or if he was just plain lucky enough to have remembered every one of the 37 subjects listed on the agenda. Don basically went through what he expected to see on our blogs, such as specific justification (page alignments), acceptable font sizes, photo formats, and proper titles. The tutorial wasn’t limited to the “how-to’s” of blogging, as Don also stressed the importance of responsibility and maturity as we embark on our journeys to the East Coast. He reminded us to check our emails daily, dress appropriately, watch our manners, and act like the adults that we’re seen as.

One thing that really stood out to me was Don’s use of actual “what-not-to-do” examples. He used real-life examples of students’ errors, such as one girl’s mistake of publicly blogging about having her period during the trip. Another student took a flight back home soon after arrival onto the East Coast, due to a bad case of being home sick. That student’s flaw was the fact that he or she didn’t bother to tell the chaperone, Don, or anyone else, thus causing the police to get involved in a massive search. Upon hearing these stories, I promised myself not to do anything that Don could possibly use as a future example of student bloopers.

The tutorial ended a little earlier than expected. Don’s presentation was great, as his information was well-detailed without being full of rambling. Not only do I feel even more excited about this study trip to Brown, but I also feel better prepared. Kudos to you, Mr. Gosney, and to my fellow readers and cohorts, you’ll definitely be hearing again from me soon!

Reaction to Tutorial

Saturday morning I wake up and instead of going on my computer, I got ready for the blog tutorial that was scheduled for 10:15 AM by packing it away. I put on my sunscreen, found my sunglasses and proceeded to the door at 9:00 AM, and I began my walk to the library.

Once I was at the library, I saw Don unpacking his equipment, while drivers came up to the Hercules Public Library and purchased a map for the city-wide garage sale; I still had a long time to wait for the session to begin.

We started the tutorial on time. Don explained to a group of ILCers and a couple of chaperones, which included Sarah Larson, my Session-1 Brown chaperone, how first to create a blog. Being in journalism for the past year, I had a basic understanding of how to write a blog, although this post may determine otherwise, so his recommendations were old. Yet I did learn that coordinating with my cohorts might improve the content of the blog.

The most I learned was probably the explanation for photography. I am a novice at Photoshop and at taking pictures, so everything Don told us increased my skill little by little. Later in the day, I tried playing with Photoshop, and I was less confused about it than other times. I got great tips such as bringing a card reader, steadying yourself before taking a picture and saving the correct resolution of 300 dpi.

It was also entertaining when Don told us stories from years before about absurd events like how one of the girls blogged about having her period. Overall it was a great experience.

I am thankful to Don for coming and teaching us how to write, take pictures and prepare for our trips to the east coast. Without this session I wouldn't know that I couldn't bring an extension cord or fans could be rented at Brown. I get confused a lot with these types of events so the more I know now, the less I have to stress about it later, and consequently, forget something vital.

Now all I can say is: I am ready and can't wait for more to come.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pizza, Parents, and LaDonna Williams

Today at 4:30 pm, we Women and Leadership Brownies and one of our parents crowded inside Round Table Pizza in Richmond to meet our chaperone, LaDonna Williams. She is the Assistant Principal at Hercules Middle High School and has taught high school and elementary school before, and was also the Assistant Principal at DeAnza High School. It was very nice meeting Ms. Williams! I was a bit nervous and feeling somewhat critical before arriving at the restaurant, but once my mother and I went inside, we were automatically greeted with a smile and kind words from Ms. Williams. I thought it was so generous that she paid for our pizza and drinks, and she even slipped a Hershey's chocolate bar in the very organized folders she gave us as dessert? Who DOESN'T love chocolate?

At the meeting, we did not just learn about Ms. William's background as an educator. She informed of us of her rules, more ILC rules, and gave us paperwork that we and our parents will have to fill out. It was very informative, and the two hours we spent eating pizza and discussing what our three weeks at Brown will be like was very exciting. While we all know that this is an educational experience, Ms. Williams quickly reminded us that we will have plenty of fun in Providence and the other cities we visit, such as Boston. By the end of our meeting, saying that I was "just more excited" about going to Brown would be an understatement - I'm completely ecstatic and this trip could not come any faster!

It was also exciting to see the DeAnza girls (I see the ECHS group just about every day at school). I was especially excited to see Cindy and Josie again, seeing as though I hadn't seen them for a long time. I was also happy to see Rebecca since I had just met her at the blog tutorial and we hadn't had much time to talk. Overall, it was a lovely experience and I'm glad we have more ILC stuff next week!

Over and out, Brownies! (:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Early Morning Blog Tutorial

Although it was a struggle to wake up before 10 AM during spring break, I was eager to attend the blog tutorial. As I walked in, I saw other ILC students moving purposefully around the room, setting up extension cords and computers. I felt slightly nervous at meeting so many new people, but I quickly relaxed and enjoyed interacting with my ILC cohorts. We soon got down to business, after singing “Happy Birthday” to Taylor Doty, a fellow El Cerrito student.

Don explained many aspects of blogging, from titles to formatting to graphics. I have never been good with technology, but luckily for me, Don had prepared a detailed agenda packet covering everything that he had spoken about. I plan on studying it closely in my spare time. I was especially interested in his descriptions of photo editing, and I enjoyed hearing about adjusting quality and resolution.

After the blogging and photography portions of the tutorial, Don covered several miscellaneous items on the agenda. He reminded us of proper ILC protocol and regaled us with several horror stories about past years. I was a little shocked to hear about the behavior of some of the past participants, and I hope that none of us will become a cautionary example for future students.

I really enjoyed the chance to finally meet everyone and learn to blog, although I'm sure I need to practice my blogging. The tutorial has definitely made me more eager for the Brown alumni dinner that looms over the horizon. I also can’t wait to go to Brown this summer. I hope to see everyone again soon!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My First Blog After Learning How To Blog

I woke up this morning really early because I was so excited to get to the blog tutorial. When I got to the Hercules Library I saw a mass of people outside. We sat down, introduced ourselves, and I got to see who everyone was. Putting faces to names. As a Brownie, I waited to see who else was going to Rhode Island for Women and Leadership.

Eventually Don Gosney pulled our attention to the projector and we all watched as he explained in extraordinary detail how to blog and photoshop. Although the Library's wifi was slow, I tried to keep up with what Don was doing on my laptop. The two hour tutorial seemed to fly by and pretty soon we all got up to mingle amongst ourselves. I listened to others talk about their past ILC trips to the East Coast and their plans with the one coming up in just a few months.

I can't wait to go to Brown in July and I look forward to the School Board meeting and dinner in SF in May.

Blogging Begins At Hercules Library

It was excellent to see many of my classmates, Brown buddies, and ILC cohorts at Hercules Library today. I had invited my lovely mother to come along, as she had expressed an interest to blog as an ILC parent. Despite my dismayed look and my mom's blank countenance, we were ready for Don's tutorial (photo by Dyana So). After following some advice not to sit in the back row, I moved to a closer seat, turned on my laptop, and followed Don as he explained the magic of Blogger and Photoshop.

When I got home, I read Austin Long’s blog about his recent trip to Yale. His descriptive experience made me excited about the upcoming summer program at Brown. Austin went to Brown last year for the Physics program and he currently attends Pinole Valley High with me so I plan on talking with him at school sometime about what I should expect during my time in Rhode Island.

Thank you, Don, for setting up this tutorial to go over computer basics, ethics, and professionalism. He was right that we needed to discuss these topics due to issues in the past, and the advice was well received. Blogging has officially begun for me and I look forward to sharing ILC milestones in the near future. The Brown University Macroeconomics dinner is coming up on May 3rd. Until then, I bid everyone happy reading.

First Blog—On Blogging!

Unfortunately, I am lying in bed with a terrible fever typing this, but still, I feel obliged to write a little something about today. Yes, this is my first blog so bear with me.

This morning, a good number of the ILC students showed up for Don’s blogging tutorial at the Hercules Library. We all arrived on time, and Don was proud of us for that (he said so himself)! I enjoyed meeting other students in the program because, like Don said, we all have to work together.

So he covered the basics—not only on blogging but on what is required of us as ILC cohorts. He showed us the difference between a good blog and a bad blog and gave real examples of both. I was surprised to see how many blatant errors could be made in one 958-word blog: 81! Now I will make sure to carefully proofread my writings so that I won’t be used by Don as an example of a bad blogger. We also read Austin Long’s “Bulldog Days”, a well-written blog about his visit to Yale. Hopefully with more practice, I’ll be able to write exceptional blogs as well.

Again, Don reminded us to act like adults so as to not embarrass the program and our schools while on the East Coast. He also admonished us for not checking our emails frequently enough. But he wouldn’t be telling us these things without a good reason, and the warnings are appreciated. So thank you, Don.

And to conclude my first blog: I’m so excited to go to Brown!

Tutorial Experience - Act Like An Adult

Today at the Hercules Library, about 15 or 20 ILC-ers sat in a library for about 2 hours and learned the importance of blogging, how to shoot pictures and edit them, and the important rules each and every one of them must follow. It might sound tedious and boring, but it was actually very fun and interesting.

For me, it was nice getting to see some of my fellow Brownies and in fact meet a couple of them for the first time! It was also a nice touch to meet those in a different group as me, such as the Yale kids (the two that don't go to El Cerrito High School like Tom Miller) and those doing the Hotel Management class. I think that it is good to treasure the times you meet ILC as a group, seeing as though you don't have many opportunities to unless you go to school with branch of the class.

I think that having a tutorial at this time was great. For Brownies, this tutorial is 2 weeks before our dinner and the school board meeting, so it's great that we get to meet again as a group and are reminded of the expectations put upon us.

One of the most interesting parts of what Don discussed with us as a group was about behaving like an adult. It is noted in the packet [that he gave us] "Never ever use as an excuse that you're only a teenager or you're just a high schooler." We are being awarded a $12,000 scholarship to spend about three weeks on the East Coast in AMAZING Ivy League schools. When I was younger, my family would travel to the East and visit Ivy Leagues such as Dartmouth, Harvard, and Princeton. I remember touring these schools, taking pictures, and thinking, "Wow, it would be so neat to go here." I never thought that I would get the opportunity to spend nearly three weeks taking a [summer] course at one of these Ivy League campuses. It blows me away that I'm being given this opportunity.

This opportunity should be taken seriously. Every one of those who got into ILC worked really hard to be picked for the program after writing an essay (I picked at and edited my essay day after day just to make sure it was absolutely perfect) and nail a no-turning-back interview. Everyone has worked hard to get into the program, now we should all work hard at acting mature. I know we can all do it. I certainly wouldn't want to see anyone get kicked out of the program after all hard we've all worked, especially my fellow Brownies! (:

The behaviors that Don talked about that had happened in the past had me really stunned. I had heard about these incidents that had happened on the East Coast when I was younger (I was probably about 12 years old), and I was shocked then, but hearing it as an older person and being in the ILC, it just amazed me (not in a good way!) that some and certain people can act so immature and strange when given an opportunity such as ILC or just being in one of the classes at the Ivy schools. That's not a good look to give a program, and it's a horrible look to give to yourself! I mean, who wants to be known as "that person who screwed up", etc.? I know I wouldn't, and based on the shocked and strange looks that Don got after he told us those behavior stories showed me that everyone else who attended the tutorial (and hopefully everyone else in ILC!) didn't want to either.

Overall, I'm happy we had the tutorial today. It was fun and a good way to spend time with those in the ILC. I hope those who attend the April 30th tutorial have just as much fun as I did!

Acting like Adults-Tutorial Response

This morning, in a fancy meeting room at the Hercules Library, we had a mandatory tutorial about blogging, photo-shop, and some basic guidelines for the trip. Of course we got to hear some horror stories of examples of what not to do. The meeting lasted around 2 hours and Don gave us a very helpful handout explaining what is expected of us, which, as usual, is Ivy League standard.

A topic that seems to always arise and intimidate even the most mature of our cohorts, is how people mention that now we will be treated as adults and that the excuse that we are "just teenagers" is no longer valid. I am confident that all of our members will be on their best behavior; However, it is funny that people can say how important the youth of our generation is, while at the same time trying to transform us into adults in the midst of our youth. I completely agree that maturity is a crucial quality to developing into a respectable adult, but at the same time I feel that it is the intense ambition and immature innocence that makes teenage minds so valuable. We just need ways to harness that uncontrollable passion and motivation into making an impact in the world. I believe that growing up too quickly may in fact make that goal more difficult to reach.

Friday, April 1, 2011

First Get-Together ⎯ Adrianne's POV

I thought that the get together was the best thing that could happen to we "Brownies" pre-going to Brown over the summer! It was nice not only to meet the De Anza High School branch of Women & Leadership, but it was also really great to meet the Biotechnology & Microeconomics class! I am happy that we will be spending a little time with them over summer, seeing as though their time at Brown ends a little while after Session 2 for Brown Ivy League Connection begins.

Everyone new that I met was very sweet and funny, and I was really happy to meet them. I had a great time and I hope that we will have more get-togethers in the future.

-Adrianne Ramsey, Women & Leadership
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