Day 1 of my Ivy League Connection experience has been the longest day of my life. This is actually not an exaggeration, as I woke up on July 4th at 9 AM and decided not to even bother sleeping that night because I had to be at El Cerrito High School at 3:15 AM. I assumed that I could just sleep on the plane, but I had forgotten about our layover in Chicago, which broke up the flight into a 3-hour ride from Oakland to Midway Airport, and then a 2-hour flight to Chicago. So, other than a few 10 minute naps, I have essentially been awake for 36 hours.
Our cohort had quite the journey before even flying across the country. Once we arrived at the school, we weighed our bags, listened to a very thorough and informative speech on loaner items presented by Don, and then took a group picture. When the van came to pick us up, we said goodbye to our loved ones, loaded our bags, and boarded. However, the shuttle service was misinformed about how many people they were to take, and Madeline Kronenberg was unable to fit. Luckily, Mariko’s father David was extremely kind, and gave her a ride to the Oakland airport, where she met with the rest of us. After a long checkout, we finally boarded the plane. The flight itself went quite smoothly, and we arrived in Providence right on time, where we were greeted by Mrs. Larson, the chaperone of the Brown I group.
After some trouble with the rental cars, we finally drove to Hotel Providence. I was pleasantly surprised by downtown Providence. I found the narrow streets and brick buildings to be quite charming, and the town definitely had a distinct character. We arrived at the beautiful Hotel Providence and were greeted by a warm staff and truly luxurious rooms. My roommate, Ava Burnell, collapsed on her bed from exhaustion, while I stared out of our window at the breathtaking view of Providence.
We then had an hour to get ready for our first dinner at Capital Grille. There we met Kisa Takesue, who will be teaching the Women and Leadership course in the upcoming two weeks. We also were joined by two Brown Admissions officers, Mercedes Domenech and Elizabeth Hart. I was lucky enough to be seated next to Mercedes and across from both Mercedes and Kisa. I found out a lot about the course and about the entire Summer@Brown program from Kisa, and was able to talk about to Mercedes and Elizabeth about admission to Brown. When I asked about what she looked for in a Brown application, Mercedes told me that she looks for an application that is fresh and unique, not one that sounds like it “came from a textbook”. This response was extremely refreshing to me, as the college application process seems to become more and more competitive and impersonal.
The dinner itself was spectacular. Mr. Ramsey ordered about five sides for the group to share, each of which was delicious. I ordered the crab and lobster stuffed shrimp, which was beyond decadent. The conversation at the table was excellent. Although much of the discussion was about Brown, our class, and the application process, other conversation topics included books, movies, and our high school experiences. I had some especially interesting conversations with Mercedes. A native of Spain, she was interested in my plans to visit Spain later this summer. We talked about the different customs and food of different cultures, and she insisted that I tried her lobster bisque. I then gave her one of my lobster-stuffed shrimp, and soon the entire table was sharing their food. She also gave me advice about college and selecting an area of study, which has been a topic of concern recently. She was also the neighbor of the restaurant owner, so we got free dessert, which was espresso cake, crème Brule, and berries. Topped off with a cappuccino, and I was in heaven.
Overall the dinner was a success. I learned so much, had a fantastic meal, and bonded with my cohort. When we got back to the hotel, we decided to have a group blogging-party. However, when we checked our emails, we were shocked by an angry email from one of the Ivy League Connection administrators, who was concerned that we were segregated by school. This was actually quite hilarious to us, as we were all squeezed into a couch having a great time. Either way, we hope that there is less of a concern at this point with our group “attitude”.
Day one is done, and has been a blast. I have positive feelings about the rest of our trip, and can tell that this will be an incredibly enriching experience. Tomorrow we will be touring both Boston University and Dartmouth, and have to be ready to go at 7:15 AM. So now I need to rest up, and get ready for a full day tomorrow. Ciao!