Monday, April 22, 2013

Sun Tzu, So True

"If then we prefer to meet danger with a light heart but without laborious training, and with a courage which is gained by habit and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the better for it?”
Pericles, from his Funeral Oration

And so describes the Ivy League Connection experience. Four months ago, I found myself sitting in a large science lab with four smiling adults with brand-spanking-new notepads and pens, their heads nodding and noting as I spoke. Little did I know that I would find myself, not two months later, with a bevy of reading material, with handy notepad nearby, to help prepare me for the Grand Strategies course my cohort and I will be taking this summer!

My personality is that of a reflective, introspective, outgoing person. Through that lens, as I read the material throughout the past couple weeks, and as I type these very words, I noticed specific bits of Sun Tzu's The Art of War that revealed themselves to me in reality this weekend as we put together our blog (which you're seeing the fruits of right now) in the caffeine-infused haze of Peet's.

"The first of these factors is moral influence; the second, weather; the third, terrain; the fourth, command; and the fifth, doctrine."

As a cohort, one of our first goals was to put together a blog that would serve as a beacon of Ivy League light to the online community and introduce a life that many prospective college students have never considered. After deciding to meet on what is now this past Sunday, the weather turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day, perfect for a group of teenagers and Don Gosney, our fearless Ivy League Connection head connector, to put that blog together. Unfortunately, we hadn't mapped out the terrain quite as well as we could have, and we found the Starbucks location we had chosen to have no room for the blog session we needed to have. After checking out Yelp, we went across the street to Peet's, which had enough room and beverages for us all, an environment that would work for us!

"Sun Tzu sees the business of a general to consist, in part, of creating changes and of manipulating them to his advantage."

After cups of coffee and minutes staring at our bland-looking blog, Don sat us down and shared ways with us to make an aesthetically-pleasing blog that was easy to read and visit. With prior experience working with Blogger, I was ready to go, and so was the rest of my cohort. We worked with Photoshop to create multiple banners and backgrounds until we were all pleased with the final turnout.

"Generally, management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organization."

We ended up splitting up tasks among the cohort to make things go faster. Liam's post goes into further details about our exact individual tasks, but we worked together, debating color schemes, pictures, and fonts that would work the best for our blog.

"If the officers are short-tempered they are exhausted."

After nearly four hours, we found ourselves winding down, finishing up our respective cups of caffeine and chocolate, putting the finishing touches; adding links to our fellow ILC blogs and making sure all the gadgets were in order. After a twenty-minute worrying fit (and then later discovering that the button I was looking for was in front of me the whole time), I happened to be picked up right after. As I leaned back on the leather interior, I sat comfortably and calmly, although my eyes were tired, knowing my cohort and I had had only the first of a series of even more complicated and exciting adventures together.

As the blog continues to be further updated, check back later in the week for my bio, which will give you, the reader, more information on my life, why I am interested in going, and what I hope to get out of the experience. Thanks for reading, and don't hesitate to give me feedback by commenting or emailing me at!