There are thirty eight members of the Ivy League Connection. Thirty eight young men and women who will go to and study in world renowned universities. Some will be going a second time, while others are new to this experience of leaving your parents for up to three weeks. But in either event, we all must go to the orientation.
|We wait for the orientation to start.|
It took place at Pinole Middle School, where my sister attends. It’s about a five minute drive from my house and now looks a lot better than when I was attending that school four years ago. They now have a real multipurpose room, with the walls all refurnished and the floor complete. I’ll tell you, before the floor had tiles missing, the walls had holes in them, and the color was one of decay. It was old, and you could see it by looking at it.
Anyway, my parents and I got there at about ten minutes to six o’clock, so we had some time to kill. We spoke with Tracey, our chaperone, and outlined the itinerary for our trip to the East Coast, what restaurants she’ll go to, and some colleges she’ll speak with to represent the West Contra Costa Unified School District. As six rolled around, I was raring to go. But alas, five people had not yet shown up. Mr. Charles Ramsey then told us again how important it is to show up on time and know where it is you’re going so you don’t get lost. Wise words from a wise man. He even gave us an example of how even if you are only one minute late to take the BAR exam to become a lawyer, they won’t let you in to take the test. Let me tell you, I won’t ever be late to any business related event after hearing that.
|Charles Ramsey and myself.|
Then the actual orientation started. Don let all of the chaperones come up and say who they are and what school they are going to. First to go up was Mr. Hillier, followed by Ms. Tracey, Ms. Lilhanand, Mr. Enfield, Ms. Neal, and Mr. Mannix. Then Don dived into all of the important travel related stuff that we need to know. He told us about the items that he can loan out, including laptops and power strips. There were even a few people who were asking for one of each of the following: power strips, surge protectors, and extension cords. This would give them sixteen sockets in all to plug in all of their electronic devices. Don thought this was too many sockets, but is glad to give them out if they need them. I, for one, don’t see why anyone would need sixteen sockets, but with people having to charge their phones, laptops, iPods, Kindles, iPads, and all other manner of electricity consuming products, I may be wrong.
Don then talked about the various itineraries, having us
blog every night while we are over there, making sure we do in fact understand
the list of “I Understands” (A list of rules that we swear not to break) and
gave quite a bit of information for our parents. For example, Don told our
parents that they cannot follow us to the airport in the shuttle and that they
cannot visit us while on the East Coast. Mr. Ramsey also spoke a few times to
add emphasis on some of the more important points of the orientation.
|We are told why never to be tardy|
|The chaperones speak.|
We then spent a little more time talking about dealing with packing our bags and who is going to bring what. Thus far it appears that Eric will be bringing an iron, and that each of us will bring a fan to keep our respective dorms cool.
Then at seven forty, we reconvened as a whole and discussed some of the final things that we need to know before we go, like making sure that we stay on top of our game while at our respective colleges. Don wants to know what are rooms are like, so we’ll tell him. Don wants to know what the food was like, so we’ll tell him. This is all in an attempt to make our experience the best one they can provide.
Before we left, Mr. Ramsey congratulated us on finally being official members of the Ivy League Connection. We had worked six hard months for it all to come together and it finally has. I feel proud to be among such smart and charismatic individuals, and at times their skills make me feel as if I may not be able to compete with them. But that’s not what the Ivy League Connection is about. It’s about comradery. It’s about making friends. It’s about building connections and experiencing something new and exciting. It’s about going to the East Coast and showing everyone what we’re made of. We’ll show them that we have the “right stuff,” and may we all have a great time now that we are an official part of the Ivy League Connection.