Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Little More About Me...And a Little About Vassar.

Hello everyone, My name is Morvarid Mehdizadeh, I am sixteen years old and an upcoming senior at Pinole Valley High School. I am an Iranian-American and was born in Iran, until my family decided to immigrate to America when I was only four years old. I am a fluent in both English and Farsi, as well as proficient in Spanish. On my free time, I usually draw, paint, or dance which are definitely a few of my favorite hobbies, tutor other students from grades K-9, or simply help my mom with daily activities. I enjoy debating, and take part in many extra-curricular activities such as Junior Statesmen of America, National Honor Society, Forensics Speech and Debate, Float Building, and Interact. Currently, I am  running for my school's SA Commissioner of Extra-Curricular activities as well as as also starting a new UNICEF club at my school. I consider myself a leader and take pride in my creativity as well as my hard-work. If I had to chose, three adjetives that would describe me are;
I. Diligent – No matter how hard a task may be, and in spite of all difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement, I am determined to see it through. My competitive nature allows me to embrace my work as a daily challenge. Although I may not be always 100% successful, I constantly give all my effort in all the things I do. I’m attentive and persistent towards the things I set my mind to, and careful and persevering in carrying out my tasks and duties. When I set my mind to something, I’m guaranteed to fully devote my all into it.
II. Optimistic – One characteristic that definitely describes me is optimistic. I always look to the future and hope for the best regardless of what happens. The past has proven to me that nothing is bad forever, and really all you can do is do the best you can and improve the future ahead. There’s really no point of sitting around constantly thinking about the negatives, what’s important is to think towards the future and work to make the future brighter not only for you, but also for everyone around you. That has been a lesson that has been proven to me in life. If you start off thinking you will mess up on a task, chances are you’ll never try hard enough to succeed. On the other hand, being optimistic draws you to focus and have faith in yourself and others. It allows you to commit yourself and invest a lot of hard work to reach your goals. Also, it’s important to understand that setbacks won’t ruin the rest of your life, in fact, some setbacks are just ways that life gives way to major comebacks.
III. Open-minded - I’ve encountered so many different people in my life from different areas of the world, that I’ve really come to admire different view points and ideas. I love hearing other people’s opinions, whether I agree with their points of view or not. My transition for Iran to America and the cultural changes that followed has allowed me to become very open-minded towards different cultures, beliefs, people, and all aspects of life in general. That in itself has allowed me to function better in groups, adapt easily to my surroundings, and connect very well with people regardless of their backgrounds or ways of thinking. I’m very curious and welcoming towards ideas and opinions contrary to my own. I appreciate others and what they stand for.
One may ask why I decided to join the ILC. Well first off, being the first generation of my family to actually be raised in the United States deprived me from the opportunity to look at back at my parents or family from advice when it came to my education in the United States. Almost everyone I know has always had a "role model-like" figure they turned around to when they had questions but I never really had that. My parents never took things like the "SAT" or the "ACT," so it was always more like me teaching them what went on. Thus, I was always limited to my own research to guide myself through. On the other hand, students that knew a lot about college and paths to take towards success, were usually really secretive to avoid competition. It wasn't until one day during my sophomore year, one member of the the Ivy League Connections sat down with me and taught me a lot of things that I never knew before. For example, I never knew about subject tests until I was informed by a friend. Throughout my high school career, I was never once told these things by any of my counselors or teachers, perhaps maybe because it was falsely "assumed" that everyone already knew. However, from that day on I was inspired by the member of the ILC that helped me learn the things I needed to know, and decided that I too, would like to be part of the Ivy League Connections. The Ivy League Connections urges members to become ambassadors in their own communities and spread messages to other students regarding things they know and their experiences. I was thrilled with the idea of helping other students like myself learn more about steps towards college and educate them on things they have not been introduced to. I wanted to make it possible for another student to avoid what I had to go through in the beginning of my high school career, and I decided, a perfect step to doing this would be through the Ivy League Connection. The Ivy league connection would grant upon me experiences and irreplaceable knowledge that would be impossible to achieve without the help of the organization. It would provide me insight on college life while attending one of my favorite, most prestigious college's in the world. Those were merely only a few of the many reasons I decided to become a member of the Ivy League Connection.

Today, the Ivy League Connection has given me the opportunity to take advantage of the "American Presidential Power at Home and Abroad" course offered at Columbia University in New York. 
The course itself calls for lots of research, writing, and discussion regarding the development and transformation of presidential power in the U. S. constitutional and political system as well as how the power was developed and operates today. The course will allow me to write a 20 page college research paper and help me prepare for these kinds of college papers in the future while teaching me college-level social science. United States history has always been one of my definite interests, and soon I will have the opportunity to learn through a dynamic "seminar-style" class in a college environment taught by Professor Martha K. Zebrowski who holds twenty years of experience in the field. Just saying "I am excited" is not enough to show how much I truly can't wait to take advantage of this course. Thank you so much Ivy League Connection!

However, before arriving to the University itself, we will all have the opportunity to visit many other Universities and colleges on the way. One of the colleges we plan to visit is Vassar University. Vassar is a highly selective liberal arts school founded in 1861 in the scenic Hudson Valley; Poughkeepsie, NY. The campus itself totals up to 1000 beautiful acres, including two National Historic Landmarks. The college itself bares an impressive facility ratio of 8:1, with almost 90% of those students living on campus. Fortunately, unlike many other schools, housing is guaranteed all four years for students attending Vassar. The total cost to attend this prestigious school is $52,270 including room and board, tuition, and fees, and admission is "need-blind." According to the website, "The college was founded in defiance of conventional wisdom." Matthew Vassar created the school as a single-sex college to promote higher education for women, equal to that of a male. Being a woman, that really caught my interest. Later, however, they opened their doors to men in 1969 and became coed. Interesting right? Yet still to this day, women dominate 60% of the school.
On campus, there are about 1,650 campus-wide events annually, and 23 different varsity sports teams being a part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III, Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), New York State Women’s Collegiate Athletic Association (NYSWCAA), and the Liberty League.
On the other hand, academically Vassar offers a variety of 50 different majors, including the Independent Major where students may design their own majors. However, the most popular majors offered at Vassar are English, political science, psychology, economics, and the biological sciences. Aside from requirements in each major, there are also four other graduation requirements for all Vassar students which are; Freshman Writing Seminar requirement, Quantitative Analysis requirement, Foreign Language Proficiency requirement, and Distribution Requirement. A full description of those requirements can be found on:
Nontheless,Vassar has given pride to many notable alumnae such as poet Elizabeth Bishop, actress Meryl Streep, Journalist Evan Wright,  and Flickr founder Catherina Fake.
Will you be next?

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