Tuesday, May 15, 2012

To the Future Mentees...

First off, I apologize for the late response for our last Brown Mentor meeting. For some reason, the new blogger layout was just too much for my computer to handle, and I have not been able to access blogger to post my entry.

Second, I wish to thank all of the mentors who came out of their busy schedules to mentor me and my fellow cohorts. This was an invaluable experience and a comfort through all of the stress that went with college application and acceptance season. Everyone was supportive throughout the entire process and I am honored that I was able to be part of the first generation of ILC Brown Mentees.  

With the ending of both the school year and my time in high school, I think I have become overwhelmed with so many different things ending. However, I can say that the final event for this year's Brown Mentors was memorable--after all not everyday do I get to hear from such interesting people and meet Ismail Ramsey, who graciously reserved the Olympic Club for the bruch and gave us a tour through the grounds. Although I could not say my goodbyes to my own mentor, I enjoyed talking to the other mentors and hearing Kathleen's farewell speech and Beilul's expectations for Brown.

I wish Adrianne and Mariko luck for their senior year and success for future Brown Mentees.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hello, Class of '13

Last Sunday, the Brown mentorship group met at the prestigious Olympic Club for the last meeting with this particular group of people. As the two juniors in the program, Adrianne and I will continue to reap the benefits from this amazing organization for another year. However, Kathleen and Erinn are both graduating so in a sense this last meeting was goodbye.

The Brown mentorship program has been a huge help to me this past year, and I’m very grateful that I can continue to be part of the program next year as well. As I prepare to start the college application process over the summer, it’s reassuring to know that whenever I have questions I can ask my mentor Lauren Brodsky. As an alumnus of both El Cerrito High School and Brown University, she has an especially good understanding of where I’m coming from as an ECHS student.

The Olympic Club was a beautiful choice of venue, and Mr. Ramsey’s brother, Ismail Ramsey, was generous enough to give us a tour of the Club after brunch. I enjoyed touring the lavishly decorated women’s locker room, although it will be difficult to get used to the ECHS locker room again after viewing the splendor of the Olympic Club’s.

Once again, all my thanks to the ILC and the Brown mentorship program for the fantastic opportunities provided this past year. I know I can count on the support of both the ILC and the Brown mentorship program as I become a senior and go through the college application process.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Putting the Brownies back in the oven...and taking out new ones

Being a member of the Brown Mentorship Program has been a wonderful experience. I've learned more about my fellow Summer 2011 Brownies and a lot more about the college application process. I've gained a true friend and mentor in Corynn Brodsky, who has been with me since the day we met at the first Brown Mentor event in June 2011. We email each other often and she gives me advice about the college admissions process, which I've been greatly needing since I plan on starting my college applications when I come back from the ILC Columbia trip in July.

The last Brown Mentor event was yesterday at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. My Uncle Ismail has a membership with the club and was able to secure reservations for a brunch. The Brownies who were able to attend the event were Mariko, Erin, Kathleen, and myself. Beilul, a Hercules High School senior who I have been good friends with in the past months, was accepted to Brown University under Early Decision and has matriculated for the school as a member of the Class of 2016. Andrew Gonzales, another Summer 2011 Brownie, has decided to matriculate to Brown as a member of the Class of 2016 as well. While Andrew could not make this event, I would like to say that I am extremely proud of him. I remember the first day I met Andrew; he was kind, funny, witty, and extremely intelligent. I am so happy that one of the Brownies will be attending Brown University, and I am especially glad it is Andrew. After hearing Andrew rave about Stanford last year, I was so proud to find out he changed his mind and decided on Brown University (he was also accepted to Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania). Beilul mentioned majoring in Public Policy, and at this time I do not know what Andrew is considering majoring in.

Me and Beilul, who will join the Brown University Class of 2016
It was also interesting to find out about Erin and Kathleen's college choices. Erin has decided to attend the University of California: San Diego with a major in General Biology, although she did state she was considering changing it to biochemistry due to the more research heavy approach that major has. Kathleen has decided to attend the University of California: Berkeley with a major in Economics. Unfortunately, my memory is getting to me, but I believe she stated she was also interested in the major/minor Global Poverty (since UC Berkeley does not have an International Relations major/minor). Since Kathleen attends Middle College High School and has taken college courses since she was a freshman, she is estimating graduating in either two or three years. She will know for sure when she gets her college credits from Contra Costa College transferred. I am so proud of both of my fellow Brownies in terms of their college choices.

There are three students at El Cerrito High School in the Class of 2013 that are 2nd year ILC members: Mariko, Nick Shebek (Cornell 2011, and Brown 2012!), and myself. Talking to Mariko about the daunting college application process, college choices, and her excitement about taking the Experimental Physics course at the University of Pennsylvania over the summer was enlightening. She was the only other junior at the event, so it was nice to have a change of subjects and relate to each other. We also spoke about this week's AP exams and upcoming finals - and the excitement that school is almost over!
From left to right: Kathleen He (UC Berkeley), Erinn Kuehne (UCSD '16), Beilul Naizghi (Brown '16), and Mariko Whitenack
The Brown event itself was small but fun. Majority of the mentors attended this event and the food was delicious (I had Belgium waffles - an excellent choice!). The mentors and Brownies sat around at one table and spoke about stories that ranged from studying abroad to international relations to seeing John F. Kennedy Jr. eating in The Ratty when he was a student at Brown University (I'M JEALOUS. VERY, VERY JEALOUS). After eating, we took a small tour of the Olympic Club and then headed back home.
The Olympic Club
To update everyone on college choices, I am still figuring out where I want to apply, but so far, I've come up with a good list. The colleges I will definitely apply to are Brown University, Rice University, Boston University, and Wellesley College. I am vary about applying to the UCs, but I am looking into University of California: Santa Cruz and possibly University of California: Berkeley. Three other schools I've been doing research on are Sarah Lawrence College (which I will visit with the Columbia group this summer), Temple University, and the University of Oregon. After I get back from Columbia I will have a for sure list of the schools I want to apply to. At this point my top school is Brown University but I really loved Rice and Boston University.

I strongly urge the Ivy League Connection to continue with the Brown Mentorship Program. The program has definitely increased my self confidence, increased my knowledge about the college application process, and given me more strength in my personal statement topic.

I am ending this post no longer a Brownie, but as a Lion (Columbia's mascot). For all those who are confused about this, I am participating in the Ivy League Connection again, this time taking Constitutional Law at Columbia University. I am so excited to be participating in this program again. I definitely miss my Brown experience, though, and try to pass on good advice to those who are in the Brown program this year. Seeing the new Brownies again makes me so nostalgic.

To the Summer 2011 Brownies, we're not going away. We're being put back in the oven, and some new ones will be taken out. We'll always be here. Brown will always be there to welcome us home.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10 to 10 at Ithaca College

I spent all day at Ithaca College. My mom and I left our hotel at 8AM to arrive at Ithaca at 10AM. The friendly staff welcomed me into the admissions office, where I was given two slips of yellow paper, a pass for a campus tour, a map, and a few coupons for the dining hall. A few weeks ago, I got in touch with the director of my major at Ithaca College, Communications Management and Design (CMD). The director, Dennis Charsky, and several other CMD students hosted a virtual conference for prospective students. I was the only student that attended.

My tour guide, Andrew, is a senior at the Park School.

My hall passes

The tour guide was almost as good as the Syracuse tour guide. He was very knowledgeable and he was an excellent public speaker. My favorite place at Ithaca College is the Performing Arts Center. All the walls were covered with show posters that IC students were involved in. I even found a poster of "Anything Goes!"
The library is connected to the Whalen School of Music

A pretty nice day at Ithaca College

Dining Hall
Ithaca College is not nearly as big as Syracuse, but the small size has a very close sense of community. Ithaca is located on top of a tall hill overlooking Cayuga Lake. The view is beautiful. You can even see Cornell University on the neighboring hill.
I broke off from the tour group to meet up with Dennis at the Roy H. Park School of Communications. My mom waited downstairs in the cafe. I ran into Dennis in the hallway and be brought me into his office. We sat down and he told me, "Well, Erin, you asked a lot of questions at the virtual conference, so let's just schedule your four years at Ithaca." We picked out the classes I would need for my major so that I would have enough credits to graduate. He even gave me an entire semester to study abroad!

Dennis brought me downstairs to attend an event called AdLab. The CMD students at Ithaca compete in a national competition to produce an advertising pitch to a specific company. The presentation was brilliant. I cannot share any details about the pitch because the competition has not happened yet. IC students and staff urged that the ideas remained within the college.

An IC Ambassador and IC Peer, Leonard Slutsky, Marketing Major

After AdLab, I sat in on a class called "Audience Research" instructed by Professor William Ressler. When I walked in, he was blasting "Macho Man" by the Village People. He introduced me to the entire class of 16 students. They were all welcoming and happy to have me. I took notes throughout class but I realized that I did not need to because I enjoyed the material so much. You are supposed to like what you are learning, or something is wrong. We discussed coconut macaroons and Twitter. I loved the small classroom. Professor Ressler was always asking questions (mostly, "Why?") so I was on my toes the entire time. I stuck around after class to thank him for letting me stay, and he gave me some great advice. He told me that I was conflicted, but it was the best conflict I could be in. I was stuck in between good things. I have a lot of colleges to choose from, but I cannot make the wrong decision. He told me to talk to a lot of students. After he offered me more macaroons, I left and he wished me luck. My favorite thing that he said during class was, "It is doubt that invigorates us."

Drove past Cornell University. Here's the girls Ultimate Frisbee team

Shout out to the Cornell Hotel Management summer students!

A Syracuse lacrosse team truck at Cornell

My mom and I went back to campus in the evening to catch a free performance. Ithaca College was originally founded as a music conservatory. Students from the Whalen School of Music were performing some contemporary pieces in the Hokin Recital Hall. My favorite piece was performed by two barefoot musicians, a flutist and a percussionist. It was rather tribal, and I enjoyed it a lot.

Barefoot IC musicians
Tomorrow, I am heading back to Syracuse University to meet with the staff to plan my classes for the next four years! My flight home is at 5PM.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bleeding Orange at Syracuse University

After driving around in the rain to look at Syracuse last night, I was more than excited to see the campus in daylight. It was very cold, but I knew that the overcast weather was nothing compared to what the winters might be like. I need a heavy coat.

I arrived at the welcoming seminar for the Spring Reception and I was surprised at how many people were there. I was sitting in the balcony section because the entire first floor was filled. The reception opened with the Beginning Players performing a musical number from "The Drowsy Chaperone." I would really like to continue doing musical theater in college. I like to do it on the side but performing onstage is one of my secret passions. Don't tell anyone.
Introduction to the Spring Reception

After a short welcome speech, students were split up into informational groups for the specific colleges they were accepted to. I was accepted to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications majoring in Advertising. The dean of Newhouse, Lorraine Branham, greeted us and told us that we were fortunate to be accepted to that highly competitive college within the university which has an extremely prestigious communications program. Each year, Newhouse receives about 4,000 undergraduate applications for a class of 350 students.
My school: The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

Lorraine Branham welcoming Newhouse students

The Newhouse building is the newest and most pampered part of Syracuse University. The facility is split up into 3 buildings and I was brought over to Newhouse 3 to discuss my major with the chairman of Advertising, James Tsao. In this major, students need to have an emphasis on where their professional interests lie. Some examples include management, media planning, account planning, and advertising laws. My emphasis is most likely going to be Creative Ideas and the Creative Craft of Advertising.

The advertising students at Syracuse have competed and won in national competitions. One of their biggest rivals in the communications program is Ithaca College, where I am heading next.

I had a quick lunch at the amazing Carrier Dome. I have seen that arena on TV and all over the internet. It was quite an amazing place to be in person. I wish I could have stayed a little longer, but I had to catch a tour of the dorm rooms. The dorms were like any college dorm rooms, but the halls were much more narrow than those at Brown.
The one and only Carrier Dome
Lunch in the Dome

I determine how much I like a college by its college tour. I think they are really important. I get to see how much that student guide loves the school. When I was visiting schools during the Ivy League Connection, I liked Boston University the best because I got a lot of the information about the school as well as a feel for school life. At MIT, it was not what I was looking for. The guide talked mostly about student pranks. The tour at Syracuse was perfect. The guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the campus and she also told the group about the secrets of the school. Our guide wasn't trying to impress us, she wasn't overly dramatic, and she wasn't boring. She was just a very down to earth student who was a great speaker. She represented her school very well. When I go to college, I really want to give campus tours.

The match building. The front doors are sealed shut, so use the side doors!
Art students doing charcoal rubbings on the ground.

My mom and I spent the rest of the day going into a bunch of buildings on campus. The entire campus was open so we could go anywhere. We went into a building that looked like a castle, Crouse School of Visual and Performing Arts. There we saw a choir performing and they sounded angelic. We also went into the chapel, where countless religions are represented.

Crouse School of the Visual and Performing Arts

Inside of Crouse

The chapel: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth will make you free."

I ended the day by visiting the financial aid office. The faculty was incredibly patient and friendly. The offices weren't overcrowded with paperwork either. I was referred to a very young financial aid officer, Kara Cabiles. She was really nice and she encouraged me to apply to scholarships offered at my high school. Her husband is from the Bay Area so we had a lot in common.

Staying honest with Abe in from of the Maxwell School of Citizenship

I think I love it here.

The official front of the university

It was freezing and I have a terrible cold. Syracuse is magical.

People always say you will find your college when you get a magical warm feeling inside of you that tells you that school is right for you. Now I know what they are talking about. Syracuse was beautiful and I really liked the students and faculty that I met. I can see myself at Syracuse University. I'm a little worried about how I will adjust to a really big university. I will compare it to Ithaca College when I go visit tomorrow.
An experiment, but still very friendly

Farewell to Syracuse

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Afternoon in Syracuse

I brought a few books with me on this trip. I got into reading a lot my senior year. Here’s what I brought: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass, and How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster. I finished Catcher in the Rye on the plane to Chicago and I am trying to finish How to Read Literature… before the week ends.
Doing my homework.

The plane to Syracuse was the smallest plane I have been on in my life. It had two seats on each side and it held under 60 passengers. I saw a girl with an orange Syracuse hoodie and I was instantly jealous.

My flight to Syracuse

What a beautiful sign to see!
When we landed in Syracuse, memories rushed back from going to the east coast last summer. Everything was so flat compared to the Bay Area. My mom and I ran into the Hedeens at the car rental booth. I had some tunes for the trip so I would not go crazy listening to the Austrailian lady on the GPS telling my mom where to turn.
This will come in handy when we drive to Ithaca on Tuesday morning.
After settling into the hotel, Aiyana and I planned dinner at the Dinosaur BBQ, which was the most popular joint in the city. I had a pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw and mashed potatoes. It was a jazzy little restaurant and I found that there is live music playing every single day of the week. There is a performance area upstairs where local musicians get to play.

It started to rain, but I still wanted to see the campus. My mom drove through the dark and wet city to find the campus which is on top of the only hill in the city. Even though it was dark, the buildings were beautiful. I did not get any pictures because of the lighting and the precipitation, but I cannot wait until the Spring Reception on campus tomorrow. I talked to my brother a few minutes ago and the President of Syracuse University graduated from his school, Sarah Lawrence College. He is excited for my college decision.

I am very excited to be in New York so I can visit Syracuse University while it is having its Accepted Students Spring Reception. Tomorrow, I will get to meet with current students and staff, and I will be able to tour the campus in the daylight. Until then, good night from the New York!

Bon Voyage! Take Me Back to New York

At exactly 3:00 AM this morning, I was on the road headed to San Francisco International Airport. Five hours before, I was at the Pinole Community Playhouse for my second performance of “Anything Goes.” I told the cast that I was headed to New York and they were more than excited. Performances resume on Thursday, so I scheduled my flight to return on Wednesday.

My mom and I drove to the airport with Aiyana Hedeen-Garrett (Summer@Vanderbilt ’11) and her mom. It was extremely early for all of us, but we managed to be in high spirits all the way to the terminals. While the Millers are taking United Airlines, the Hedeens will be flying with American Airlines.

With support from the Ivy League Connection, I am flying to New York to visit Syracuse University and Ithaca College, my top two choices for furthering my education. In addition to those two schools, I was accepted to Boston University, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Davis. Unfortunately, I was not accepted to the University of Southern California or Brown University. I have chosen to go to school out of state in an entirely new (and cold) environment. After going to Summer@Brown in the summer of 2011, I realized that I wanted to get out of California and take advantage of what the east coast has to offer.

A lot of my close friends have been accepted to schools in/close to New York. These include University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), University of Rochester, and New York University (NYU). My brother currently goes to Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville. We are all a train ride away from each other. I have already connected and calculated the distances from college to college, just in case we all want to meet up sometime.

I am currently on Spring Break. There is work to do and adventures to go on. So far, the trip has gone smoothly. Next stop, Chicago and then we’re on to Syracuse. Even though the Hedeens are using a different airline, our arrival times differ with a few minutes so we will meet up for lunch in O’Hare.
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