Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Summer@Brown

I just want to skip senior year in high school and go straight to college.

After I was accepted to the ILC, I wanted to go to Brown University right away. I was excited to get away from home, take a college class, and live an independent life. There were important expectations that I had to fulfill like blogging every day and being a strong representative of my school district. Going in, I worried whether or not I would be good enough for the entire program. I had good grades, but were they good enough? I worked hard, but would it be hard enough? This bothered me before my trip. I also thought that I would be working my tail off for my entire stay at Brown. I was fine with that assumption because I was ready to work. College is all about working for yourself and working hard. I knew that macroeconomics would be tough, but I wanted it to be tough. I wanted the challenge. I definitely had some apprehensions going into Brown as an ILC student. But once I got there, I realized that I fit in with everyone else.

There were a lot of other students that came to Brown on a scholarship or with a partnership. I met them at the partnership dinner where the head of Summer@Brown, Dean Rose, talked to us about how we had the same opportunities as everyone else when it came to applying for college. She was delighted to see students from all different kinds of backgrounds coming to Brown for the summer to have a lasting experience of college life. Many other students came from wealthy families, but that did not change their attitudes toward me. One of my floor mates said that she found students on scholarship to be more genuine than others at the program. She said that they made it to Brown on their own and they worked so hard to get there. I was surprised that she gave me and other students that kind of praiseful recognition. We are not charity cases. We earned this.

I am very fortunate to be a part of the Ivy League Connection. I found that it was a great way to introduce myself when I met new people at Brown. Along with being from California, people were intrigued by my involvement with the Ivy League Connection. I would pass out the link to the blog to people I met in my macroeconomics class, African Dance sessions, and full body workout meetings. Everyone was very enthusiastic about getting their picture taken for the blog. People back home were also very eager to follow the blog and all my experiences. Once I came back, I offered to share my experience with any underclassmen interested in the Ivy League Connection. There are plenty of takers and I cannot wait to meet up with them and tell them what they can shoot for.

I am so proud to say that I was an Ivy League Connection Student. I got so much out of this experience. I learned some great course material in macroeconomics and I had a lot to contribute to that class, from dry humor to movie suggestions and also to debate topics in California. My class added to a lot of my knowledge about California’s economy and about economic concepts that I never really understood before. When our class would drop into open discussion, we would often talk about California’s deficit issues. There were about six students from California in my class. Other than Kathleen, Andrew, and I, the others were from Southern California. My professor actually suggested that it would be a good idea if some of us Californians did our final presentation on the pressing issue of our debt. Throughout our research my group and I decided that the best way to solve the budget deficit would be to raise taxes opposed to cutting spending. After our class discussion of our project, I found out that a combination of cutting spending and raising taxes would be the perfect plan. There is a lot of unnecessary spending in California which is not getting us anywhere with our $25.4 billion deficit. An Introduction to Macroeconomics encouraged me to do thorough research on California’s economic problems. It is important for people to know about these problems so they can be fixed in the future. After lectures, my class was assigned a healthy load of homework. I learned how to plow through homework by working in groups in the nearby library. Collaborative thinking helped me understand some of the more confusing concepts like aggregate demand and real GDP.

Before I went to Brown University, I was pretty much set on going to college in California. Now that I have experienced what the east coast has to offer, I want to get out of my home state and explore my options I never thought I’d even consider. I went on the College Board website to redo my college matchmaker quiz so I could factor the east coast into the equation. The college fair at Brown also helped me become more familiar with schools that I might be interested in, like Syracuse University, Ithaca College, and New York University. When college application season rolls around, I am not going to limit myself to what is close to me. I am going to reach out and shoot for what is hard to get. The option of going to school on the east coast has heightened my ambition and drive for the application process. I am no longer afraid of applying because even the schools on the east coast are looking for the same thing as schools on the west coast. When meeting admissions officers, it was the repetitive “person as a whole” they were looking for which did not limit their decision to SAT scores. This gives me hope.

I met a bunch of wonderful people at Brown, and many of them were staff members. They were all so kind and helpful to me. I currently saw them around campus and they would always say hello. I felt like I had connections and that I had family at Brown. It was reassuring that I had a lot of resources that I could send a quick e-mail to if I needed to share any of my concerns or thoughts. In the end, I was strongly affected by the people at Brown. Whether they were floor mates, roommates, colleagues, Cohort #1 or #2, RAs, RDs, or alumni, everyone I met inspired me and influenced me to be myself and do the best I could do because that was all that mattered. College is the ultimate test of an individual as a scholar and as a person. I cannot wait until it is my turn.

This past month has been an enlightening experience for me. I loved everything about my summer at Brown. I loved waking up in the early morning, walking ten minutes to eat my soul out at the V-Dub and then going to class with Andrew and Kathleen afterwards. I miss going around campus feeling like I owned the world and part of the universe. I miss the feeling of being a Summer@Brown student and having tourists feel jealous of me. I miss knowing what I was doing. I miss the security I felt with myself and what I was meant to do. I miss being an important ambassador for my school, school district, and state. I miss that feeling of pride and purpose. What am I supposed to do now?

Now? Here’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to find my calling. I’m supposed to apply myself and get into a college that is right for me. It may not be Brown, but it will be my school. I am more comfortable with expressing myself to people so they can understand where I come from and what I am looking for. I am still learning about myself and figuring myself out, but this month has been a great start. All I know is that I need to be proud of who I am because people will see that. It’s corny, but it’s true, is it not? There are so many people that you can pretend to be, but it’s never as attractive as who you really are. The ILC gave me an opportunity to do some soul searching in an entirely different environment. I just so happened to fall in love with Brown and Providence in the meantime. I hope I’ve had something to contribute. I will miss it and I will stay jealous of all the students who are all doing their programs as I type.

This experience was brought to life by some amazing people. I would like to express my deepest thanks to Charles Ramsey, Madeline Kronenberg, Don Gosney, and all of the ILC sponsors for making this program real. I would recommend the Ivy League Connection to rising and shining sophomores and juniors in a heartbeat. Thank you for making this possible.

1 comment:

  1. I love this. You're right, you earned this. And I'm sure you'll earn admission into a school that's right for you (fingers crossed for Brown, or whichever you love the best!).

    It took me about 3 years to realize that I needed to be proud of who I am even if I didn't have a label. And when you do have yourself figured out, it's gonna feel so good. But don't hurry to get there - soul searching can't be rushed.


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