Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mission: Bloggable

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. "Put your pencils down, please." Hurry, hurry, hurry. It was 12:40 P.M. and I was stuck in a testing room at my home school, El Cerrito High, waiting for the remaining minutes of my SAT Subject Test to expire. There was twenty more minutes until the start of the Ivy League Connection tutorial at De Anza High with our fearless leader, Don Gosney, but if I didn't hurry it up, I was afraid that I would feel the fear. As soon as the proctor told us we could go, my feet were already running, over the green and yellow textured tiles, through the door, out the gate, and down the street.

My phone, after being turned off and silenced through the strict demands of the College Board, was immediately turned back on. I called Don and explained what had happened, and he understood, telling me to "get there when you get there." The very idea of the mission was simple: get to and through the tutorial. The execution was, of course, easily compared in my mind to the life of a secret agent, perhaps of the three digit number (007) variety (coincidentally enough, a numerical system that Don told us would be useful to use when organizing photos).

MISSION 1: Find the location.
After going back home to grab my stuff, my dad followed Don's instructions to De Anza High. I must admit that I was very surprised to see an incredibly beautiful campus that looked brand new. Its walls looked freshly painted and I could almost see the building bursting with pride. I then noticed that there were wire fences all around it and that wasn't the current De Anza. I drove a little farther and saw a decrepit looking one-story building that looked like a historical landmark. Suffice it to say, as I walked through the halls looking for the computer lab, I was suddenly incredibly thankful for the miracle of building upgrades. In fact, I was thankful for bonds. Municipal bonds.*

MISSION 2: Find Internet access.
After arriving at the computer lab and introducing ourselves to everyone, everyone in the tutorial tried to find some way to connect to the Internet. This was much more difficult than anyone of us thought it was going to be. There was no available wi-fi, so the only way to connect was through Ethernet cables, but cables were being taken out and loosened all over the place. I tried to pull out unused plugs from other computers that were turned off, only to find myself coughing in little clouds of dust and dirt from the ground. After multiple attempts to log on school computers, crawl on the ground to look for cables, and connect cables to cables to other cables, the rest of the group and I eventually found some instrument to get that feisty Internet connection to come through to each of our respective computers.

MISSION 3: Get briefed on the upcoming trip to Yale.
Throughout the tutorial, we were treated to a number of stories from past years of the ILC. Granted, I had heard some of these tales told before, but Don is a great storyteller (Go ahead; ask him to tell you the story of the Three Little Pigs sometime) and it helped him illustrate and me understand important points. We practiced blogging and photography for the first two hours and focused on assorted odds and ends in the last hour, mostly practical preparatory information for the summer.

Don takes a break - teaching tutorials to teenagers is tough!
I ended up completing my missions, making it through the afternoon, learning everything I came to learn, while getting to meet a couple other members of the Ivy League Connection. De Anza grew on me with their beautiful club posters that hung all throughout the school, and I can see how students can find the school lovable no matter how old the building is - the exact same feeling I felt about my former middle school, Portola. Throughout the mission, there was no point where I had to encounter everyone's Ivy League Connection nemesis, Evil Don. Good Don had him tied up as we solved all Internet dilemmas, thank goodness.

Overall, I'm very thankful to Don and De Anza High School (congrats on your upcoming new campus) for holding the tutorial. I'm prepped and ready; this agent has to get his suit ready for the upcoming Yale cohort dinner!

*That was a pun, if you didn't catch that, keeping with the action theme.

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