Monday, July 29, 2013

Before I Leave...

Everything that we have been doing for the past seven months with the Ivy League Connection will come together at 6:30 AM when we board our plane for the East Coast. The awards ceremonies and the dinner have made us proud to be part of the ILC and the blog orientation and the trip orientation have prepared us for this trip of a lifetime. The dozens of hours that we’ve spent on the books assigned to us by Yale and the ILC suggested reading list have finally come to fruition.  We’ll fly some three thousand miles there and in preparation for this trip I have taken this day off, so to speak. I have prepared all that I will need to bring with me on my trip and have rested. But while resting, I know that soon I will be far away from the place I call home and be plunged into a totally different culture and way of living. I will be a stranger in a strange land, yet ready to face anything that may come at me. I will keep an open mind while on the other side of our great nation, take pictures, and share my experiences with you all. 

The colleges that I will visit will be nothing like the ones here on the West Coast. They will be hundreds of years old and will have seen the events like the birth of our nation and the Civil War. If only they could talk, I wonder what stories they would tell. The food will be different and I cannot wait to try it. The furthest East I have gone in the U.S. was Florida, and its food was so different than ours. A little bit more salt here or a chili pepper there just changes the entire food’s taste. I had fried chicken and shrimp and it was like nothing I’ve ever had on the West Coast. I know that Connecticut will have a different flavor, especially in its foods, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy every bite.

During this summer, I did not just read the material provided to us by Yale. I took a community college level statistics class in conjunction with the reading. It was rather difficult having to read quite a bit and still have time to do statistics homework and study. But I pulled through and managed to get an “A” in the statistics class. It was interesting going from reading about how to wage war as taught by Carl von Clausewitz to figuring out averages and means as taught by Dr. John Hsu, my statistics teacher.

This trip will also take me the furthest away from my parents that I’ve ever been. It will be both a blessing and a curse, I suppose. I love my parents so much and I know that they want to protect their little boy, and they can’t do that if I’m three thousand miles away. I know that they’ll be scared for me, and it is a curse knowing that they’ll worry.

But the Ivy League Connection is a blessing, showing me things and taking me places that someone as poor as myself could never go even with his parents' help. I’ll have the chance to see what colleges are like and tour some of the finest, experience a new and exciting people.

All in all, I’m excited to get up at 2:30 AM and be at El Cerrito High School no later than 3:40 AM to see what the world has to offer. I think I know what’s in store for me, but life just has this way of throwing random events at you to see how you do. Hopefully my comrades and I will fare well. Next time I do blog I will be three thousand miles away and experiencing a new slice of life. Good night.

1 comment:

  1. You make it sound as if we’re not going to let you come back. You’ll be gone for less than three weeks, Liam. Unless your parents have been doing a lot of planning behind your back, I doubt that they can throw out all of your furniture in that time and turn your bedroom into a den (like mine did after telling me that “this will always be your home”).

    One of the questions we frequently ask prospective ILCers has to do with living with people from a different culture. Most of our applicants think we’re talking about people from different parts of the world but as you mentioned here, we have so many different cultures right here in the US. If anyone thinks that people from Boston, New Orleans, Kansas, New York City or the Bay Area think the same, talk the same or eat the same, they’ve been deluding themselves. And let’s not even think about the differences in the political culture.

    You’ll get a chance to see first hand some of these differences as well as those from students from different parts of the world. While different, I think you’ll see that many of those cultures (at least the foreign ones) you’ve experienced right here in the Bay Area. We have our own version of the United Nations right here. Out of our 38 ILCers, I believe that they represent in the neighborhood of 18 different countries (plus the US).

    I look forward to reading about your interactions with these differences.