Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Epitome of our Future - College

Last night, I went to a college fair at the Marriott Hotel in Oakland. There were several local people at this event that I happened to spot: Julia Martien, an El Cerrito High School junior who will be attending the University of Pennsylvania Physics Academy through The Ivy League Connection this summer, and my two fellow Brownies Kathleen and Erin K.! It was very nice to see them at the end.
Brown University ~ Van Wickle Gates
Five colleges were presenting at this faire (in this order): Columbia University in Manhattan (NY), Cornell University in Ithaca (NY), Rice University in Houston (TX), University of Chicago in Chicago (IL), and Brown University in Providence (RI).
The University of Chicago
The presentation that interested me the most was Brown. Keith Light, one of the Admissions Directors at Brown, was humorous, had tremendous grace, and obviously has a deep love for Brown (ironically, he went to school in California - Stanford!). I was happy to be able to ask him a couple of questions after the presentations were done.
Columbia University
The other schools that interested me were Columbia and Cornell. I liked the environment surrounding Cornell (there was a slideshow for each school) and the academics. I also really enjoyed the New York atmosphere from Columbia and the academics and friendliness the school seemed to have. I have two friends who attend both of those schools respectively (and a couple of friends who attend Brown and will be attending Brown in the fall) who just finished their freshman year and definitely enjoyed their experience.
Cornell University
College fairs are always exciting to me. Like I have stated before, I like experts who propose challenges. What struck me was how all the presenters stressed the fact that the admissions officers are not looking for the people with the highest GPA, the best SAT score, the highest number of community service hours, and who founded the most clubs. They are looking for people who are going to thrive in their schools and change the world. One of the presenters clearly stated: "We are not looking for well-rounded people. We are looking for individualists."
Rice University
Of course, having all those well-rounded qualities never hurts, but colleges do not want robots. They want the person who wants to learn MORE about the robots and try inventing one; someone who comes up with their own rules.

Overall, the college fair was very interesting, and I'm glad I went! Just thought I'd share that with my Brownies!

Representing the City of Hercules

Despite living in Hercules for seven years, I had never been to a City Council meeting until this Tuesday night. Our group of eight ILCers (four Cornell “hotelies”, two Columbia cohorts, and two Brownies) residing in Hercules was invited to speak on behalf of our program at the meeting held in the Council Chambers in the Hercules City Hall. Of the eight, I was only one who did not attend Hercules High School, although I am very much affiliated with the city as a Hanna Ranch Elementary and Hercules Middle School graduate. That’s why I feel proud to represent not only my school but also the city of Hercules on the east coast.
We were informed in advance that we each had to say a few words to the Council expressing what the program meant to us. I slightly prepared what I was going to say mentally, but when I saw that Beilul Naizghi, one of the Columbia cohorts, had written her speech out, a wave of panic swept through me. However, my anxiety eased when I saw that other students didn’t have anything written down either.

The ILC was first on the meeting agenda. After Hercules Mayor Joanne Ward began the meeting, she introduced Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Ishmael, the assistance principal at Hercules High School. Mr. Ramsey described our program to the people in the room and anyone who was watching at home. He highlighted the process of getting into the program—from writing essays to being interviewed to, most of all, being selected from a pool of highly competitive individuals—and really made us look impressive. Ms. Ismael introduced her students while Mr. Ramsey called me, the lone but very proud Middle College student, up.

One by one, we were asked to speak. Being the last one to talk induced my nerves to build up. I tried to rehearse in my head, but words kept slipping my mind. However, as I walked to the podium, I began to feel confident and ready to speak. I had no reason to be nervous; everyone was encouraging and attentive to what we had to say. I think all of us did a commendable job in representing the ILC. After we finished, Mr. Ramsey called up Yueming Wang, a Hercules High School senior and former ILC Cornell and Columbia cohort who will be matriculating to Cornell in the fall. She expressed her gratitude and spoke about how the program ultimately helped her choose Cornell over UC Berkeley. Yueming is a great example of the impact that the ILC delivers.
The night ended with us gathering together with the Council for a group picture. Don directed us into our places and like usual, shot too many pictures to count. After our picture, we thanked the Council members and gathered outside the City Hall for some last words from Mr. Ramsey and Don. They warned us to be on time at next week’s orientation or have our plane tickets canceled. A subtle warning, but I get the drift. I look forward to being extra early for the orientation.

Lastly, I want to thank the Hercules City Council for giving us their attention.

City Council Challenge

City Council meetings are familiar to me. I watch them every Tuesday night the meeting is held as my mother wishes to know the issues and the progress of our city events, and I get reviews from my father who is a member of the City Council. Yet, the difference this time, I was going to talk.

I have been to these meeting for Hercules Teen Youth Council, but those words were scripted and divided among the many other participants in the group. I did not have as much worry because the words were short and there were only ten people in the audience, mostly parents, and I did not have as much pressure then. The words I spoke on Tuesday night were my own, words that I could form to vocalize what I wanted others to understand about the opportunity of the ILC program, and I could ruin that form with an incoherent design created from my own spontaneous words and possibly my note card.

That night, as compared to other nights, I represented myself, but also how my parents who raised me. I went up to speak what I was doing, my achievements that my community and school helped to shape—I was not just accompanying my father to one of “his” meetings.
 Before the meeting Yeuming told us that these meetings did not have a large attendance, apart from the parents and the few that watch the meeting from the cable channel. Despite the assurance, getting up in front of a camera and the four City Council members is still a daunting task. I was being judged by myself and the rest of the room.

Usually when I speak in front of a classroom I always have a note card with instructions on how I will organize my speech, despite the preparation when I was finished speaking the note card was not more than a wad of crumpled paper. I don’t understand how Kelly and Beilul, who prepared their speeches before hand, were able to calmly read their speech without being conscious of the awkward pause each time they looked down at the paper for the next line to read.
 After everyone had spoken, we stopped the entire meeting, and took it off air, just to take a few pictures—I guess the ILC is an honor of the community that must come first. I am proud that our community is so accepting of the ILC to the point that we are incorporated into the meetings, that we can—if students hear our speeches—inspire other students to take the challenge and apply for the ILC for the years to come.
Real Time Web Analytics