Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Journey

Well, today, we leave for home. It's been such an amazing three weeks. I can't believe this journey is done already.

I remember when I first heard about the opportunity, I really thought nothing about it. None of the other kids were very interested in a chemistry class, even if it was at Columbia. My principal called all of us and went one by one around the room asking us what we wanted to do with our future. I heard some say "graphic design" or "law," and by the time she came to me I said I was interested. Essentially, I was kind of scared of her, so I told her that I would write that personal statement. It only made sense that, of course, I was interested in health science and after all, "chemistry is the building block of all science." It also didn't hurt that some of my friends decided to write the personal statement, too.

My first rough draft was extremely rough. One of the assistant principals, Ms. Kaplan, said that it lacked depth, and that I only wrote about my accomplishments. My second draft was a lot better, with more included about myself, but it just had some grammatical mistakes that my English teacher, Mr. Wade corrected. My third draft was the best so far, and I turned it in the day it would be taken down to the district's office.

I waited a couple of days and I really thought I didn't receive the offer to go to Columbia. To my surprise after a visit to Ms. Kahn's office, and a congratulatory visit from Mr. Ramsey, Gabe and I were allowed to fill out the actual application for Columbia. After filling out a long application, getting recommendations, and waiting for transcripts to be mailed, Columbia accepted us.

Along with being accepted as an individual, I had to represent my school, my district, and the Ivy League Connection itself. I had no idea what the Ivy League Connection would do for me. I had to introduce myself to the city council and the board members of education. Just being picked out of a pool of four schools made me confident, but I thought it was just the extent of it.

Arriving at Columbia, I was so nervous. Thankfully, there were five other people who I sort of knew along with me. Meeting my suite was very nerve-wracking, about ten other girls. Everyone ended up very nice and friendly. I can now say I don't sweat it when meeting a new group of people. I made some really awesome friends, who I know I'll stay in touch with for years to come.

Class was a different story. The first day of class, I was already lost. It seemed that everyone knew so much more than me. I finally got tired of not knowing what was going on, and I just asked my lab group. I realized that there was no way I was going to succeed in class if I just sat there. They were willing to explain the material, most of time. I became comfortable in asking them questions and using lab equipment I never even heard of.

Going on the college visits really opened my eyes to what other choices I have. I know for sure that I will apply to some colleges on the East Coast, and I know that if I work hard I can definitely get into some.

Living in a dorm has made me more independent. I could go out for food at ten o'clock at night, as long as I made it back by curfew. I saw my friends whenever I wanted. I also tackled the hard task of laundry, by myself.

This trip to Columbia has been successful for me in a lot of ways. I grew more as a person. I am now more confident, more open, and can express myself easier. I hope that when I get back home, my peers can notice this change, and maybe, just maybe, it will rub off on them.

I just want to thank all of the sponsors for providing for this wonderful opportunity. I want to also thank Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, and Mr. Gosney for all the hard work they've put into such an amazing program. Mrs. Lilhanand took such great care of us, thank you! The Ivy League Connection made the wheels in my head start turning about who I am as a person and what I want in life.

1 comment:

Madeline Kronenberg said...


I am so glad you have participated in the program.

I'm glad you found success in so many ways. Being more confident, open and expressive can only serve you in many, many ways in your future. And you can serve as a model for your peers as well (don't count on it "rubbing off" on them -- talk to them about it, help them understand).

I know you have a bright future and we are all delighted to have been a part of it.

Thanks for your wonderful posts that took us on your journey with you -- now keep us in the loop as your journey continues.

Welcome home.

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