In my sophomore year, I was called out of class for an orientation about the Ivy League Connection (ILC), which was given by Don Gosney. I was interested in the program, but I turned down this “opportunity of lifetime” that Don was talking about at the time. Since I am not a U.S. citizen, I immediately assumed that I wouldn’t qualify for this program. Then came junior year of high school and I got invited to the ILC orientation again. Even though I made a mistake the first time, I refused to apply again. Constantly being rejected from scholarships, due to my visa, has made me question the opportunities that approached me. Just one week before the deadline for the Women and Leadership Course at Brown University, my friend who went to Brown for the Physics summer program persuaded me to apply. He said that I would never know if I qualified for the program unless I tried.
After applying for the ILC towards the end of 2013, I forgot about it until I received an email congratulating me about getting into the interview. On the day of the interview, I felt nervous because only four girls could get into the ILC. I thought, “What are the chances of me getting against against these confident girls?” But I tried my best, thinking of how hard it was to get to the interview; and to my surprise, I got in.
The months following my interview involved a blog tutorial, application process for Brown University, a city council meeting, and fancy dinners. These events helped me become more responsible, punctual, professional, and many more even before I was in Providence, Rhode Island. Making time for me to blog has helped me with time management and responsibility. Before this program, I used be so shy to even ask for directions or order at a restaurant. But now, I could walk into a store and get a worker’s attention without feeling embarrassed. The Women and Leadership course at Brown has taught me to be more confident in myself and to not worry about what others think about me. I also learned valuable life lessons such as “don’t judge a person based on one thing about that person.” I see the world differently now, in a good way.
The people that I met on this trip have filled me up with so much energy, which I want to spread in my community. I plan on starting and continuing the action plan that I came up with at Brown this summer. My action plan is to fundraise money for the GRIP(Greater Richmond Interfaith Program), which is a program that helps people that are either homeless or at risk of being one. I am determined and motivated to make a difference where I live.
The five days that I spent visiting colleges and eating at fancy restaurants in the East Coast gave me a more understanding about life after high school. I learned what to look for when applying to college, including clubs and dorm life. It’s very different actually experiencing and seeing things than to read about these places online or in a book. There were some things in the East Coast that made me realize how lucky I am to live in the Bay Area. On the other hand, there were moments when I wanted to take a part of Rhode Island back home. Overall, I came back to California knowing more about what I want. I now understand what type of leader I am or what type of setting I prefer.
The Ivy League Connection was my second school. I put the same effort that I put into Middle College High School into the ILC. I want to thank Mr. Ramsey, Mrs.Kronenberg, Don Gosney, and sponsors for being able to give me a chance to see how it is like outside the Bay Area.