Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Officially Part of the Ivy League Connection

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.
People then began to shuffle in late, and they found their spots. But there was one person who was still late. Mr. Ramsey waited for this person until six fifteen, then he told Don to start without them. I feel sorry for this person, who shall remain nameless and genderless, who has incurred the wrath of Mr. Charles Ramsey. I would later hear that if this person had showed up five minutes later, he/she would have been booted from the program. Thank goodness they weren’t. He/She is a smart, dedicated individual who simply got their dates mixed up. Everyone is only human after all.

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.
We are told why never to be tardy
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.
The chaperones speak.
We then broke out into our respective Ivy League Connection cohorts. Tracey came to our group with parent permission forms. Our parents filled them out, and this basically ensured that we youngsters had our parents’ permission to travel to the East Coast and take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity. When you think about it though, what parent wouldn’t sign that permission form? Tracey then gave us a run-down of what we are doing, where we are going, and when we are leaving and arriving. Tracey is quite fortunate because after she drops us off, she’ll be able to go up and down the coast talking to various universities and enjoying some of the great things that the East has to offer. On the other hand, though, she won’t be able to experience the great Yale campus with us. We then found out that we will be touring the campuses of Harvard, Brown, and Wesleyan University. I can’t wait to see in person the halls of such esteemed universities. One place I would have liked to have visited, though, is Sarah Lawrence College. I have heard great things about it, and have read up on it. Alas, it was not meant to be.

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.
Don talking about one of the items he can loan out.
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.

1 comment:

  1. These comments are being written long after this Orientation, Liam, but even after those five people showed up late--with one of them showing up 18 minutes late, you’d think that it would have had an impact on our ILCers and their parents so we could count on them to show up on time for the rest of the ILC events.

    Well, guess what?

    That’s right, three showed up late for Departure Day and even one chaperone showed up late. What do you do when these young adults and their parents just don’t get it?

    What do you suppose the reaction might have been at the Orientation had we shut the door promptly at 6:00 PM and refused entry to those showing up late?

    Keep in mind that your informational email about this meeting did NOT tell you to arrive at 6:00 PM. It said we start promptly at 6:00 and that you were all to do whatever was necessary to arrive in enough time to find a parking spot, get signed in and be seated ready to begin. Yet still we had five of them show up late.

    Were you aware, also, that even though you were all sent detailed maps on where to go, that five sets went to the wrong school--because they failed to read the instructions?

    As we’ve been telling you all along, everything we have you do is for a reason and learning to read the instructions and follow the directions is a key part of learning how to be successful. Some of you already know that but others will need a few more lessons.

    At the very least, we can use these as examples in future years about what NOT to do.

    But you show up on time--don’t you? Sometimes even a month early. ☺