Sunday, July 10, 2011

Session 1 ends, Session 2 begins!

Today was an eventful day. After sleeping over with the session 1 girls, we all walked up to the Brown campus to have brunch with the Latino Alumni Association at the Maddock Alumni Center. There we again met with admissions officer Mercedes Domeneck and alumnus Guy Sanchez, as well as Professor of chemistry Jason K. Sello, Dean Robin Rose, and many other Brown admissions officers and alumni. I sat next to two recent Brown graduates, who both gave us a lot of insight about applying, choosing, and transitioning into college. What impressed me the most was how genuinely kind, thoughtful, and passionate they were, and how open they were to learning about us and providing the most advice possible. I have been extremely impressed by every single Brown student that I have met thus far, which I think says something about the college itself.

Guy Sanchez then requested that I change seats, because he wanted me to talk to the head of the Third World Center (Brown’s diversity center), who was Filipina like myself. She also provided a great deal of information, and we discussed diversity and its effect on both academic and social environments in college. She seemed very interested in where I wanted to apply, and she also gave me a great deal of advice.

After the brunch we proceeded to a different room to hear the speeches prepared by Adrianne Ramsey, Mariko Whitenack, and Professor Jason K. Sello. Adrianne’s speech was very well prepared. She used the suffragist Annie Smith Peck as a historical example of how women have been discriminated against and discouraged from taking leadership positions. She claimed that nobody is a natural born leader, and that everyone needs help developing, which is why this class is so important. Mariko’s speech was also very good, and definitely very genuine. She talked about what opportunities the Ivy League Connection and the Women and Leadership class provide, and how she hopes that she can take advantage of these opportunities by developing as a leader, student, and a confident young woman.

After the first two speakers, Guy introduced Professor of Chemistry Jason K. Sello and told us a little bit about himself, including the fact that he was one of the first to find a way to convert vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel. Right away I was impressed and intimidated, but was relieved to find him to be such a modest and lovable person. He told us that although he was a solid student, he was never the top of his class or considered a genius. He believes that his audacity led to his success. He encouraged us to think big, and not to let the reputation of the Ivy League schools discourage us from applying. He told us that education is all about people, and how they can challenge you and make you think. He said that the people that you study with will be your friends and resources far after college, as well as the faculty. Finally, he encouraged us to go to a college that can mean something for us, and also for our community, which is the exact purpose of our experience with the Ivy League Connection.
When the brunch ended, we all said our goodbyes. I was very encouraged when Mercedes and Guy both told me that they enjoyed their discussions with me, and that they hoped to see me at Brown. They made sure that I had their contact information, and encouraged me to apply to Brown and contact them if I had any questions. The Ivy League Connection has allowed me to have intimate and insightful conversations with many important adults, and these adults’ encouragement has truly boosted my confidence and made me want to actually apply for these extremely competitive universities.

After the brunch, we walked back to Hotel Providence and said our goodbyes to the Brown I group. After spending the last couple of days with them, I was extremely sad to see them all go. We also said goodbye to Ms. Larson, Mrs. Kronenberg, and Mr. Ramsey. The Brown I group then went to the airport, while we went up to Brown to check into our dorms.

Surprisingly, all of the girls in our cohort ended up being assigned to Harkness House. I later found out that this was the building for the girls in the leadership institute. I was further surprised that I ended up in a single room with no roommate, and that I was right next door to Cynthia Yip, who also had a single.

Later in the night there was an ice cream social. I was really excited to meet new people, but I noticed that this was incredibly difficult. As I guessed might happen, many of the students seemed unwilling to step outside of their comfort zone and stayed with the people that they already knew, though it was obvious that most wanted to meet new people. I tried my best to separate myself from our cohort so as to force myself to meet new people, but it was much more challenging than I thought. Fortunately I was able to meet some really interesting people, but unfortunately most of them lived in the dorm all the way across the campus.

After the social, we headed back to our dorms for our floor meeting. There, my RA Olga, went over some of the rules of the program, and I got to meet many of the other girls on my floor as well. I also learned about the required leadership workshops and activities that would take place. Afterwards I went out to Thayer Street to go shopping and meet up with some people that I had met earlier that day. I then checked in with my RA and got ready to blog and go to bed.

I am very anxious about tomorrow. I hope to find the class challenging and educational, and I look forward to meeting more people. My first day at Brown has been quite eventful, and I have high hopes for the future.


  1. Hi Caroline, I know that you are concerned about meeting new people. Everyone will start to open up as the program continues, but in the meantime keep doing what you're doing and introduce yourself to others. As for the people you met outside your dorm, no problem. You will not be spending a lot of your time in your room anyway. There are plenty of things to do and at the end of the day, you'll come back to your floor mates. I'll be reading! Have a great trip.

  2. Caroline,

    Erin makes some good points.

    It's easy for us to sit back here and advise you to just walk up to a complete stranger, extend your hand and try to initiate a new friendship. In the real world it's much more difficult. As we've discussed, moving out side of that comfort zone is a lot tougher to do than it is to prescribe.

    I think you saw first hand, Caroline, that there are a lot of new experiences and people that are outside of your comfort zone that would welcome you with open arms if only you could open them. It's that easy.


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