Saturday, June 2, 2012

Well, That's It

Yesterday, we had an Orientation with the whole ILC. Every student, along with one parent, met together at the Pinole Middle School (PMS) Auditorium at 6:30 PM. I actually live only a block away from PMS, so my father and I arrived ten minutes early. We sat down with other Pinole Valley High School (PVHS) students and their families, looked over the flyers that were on the front desk, and waited for the presentation to begin.

Pinole Middle School
Charles Ramsey, Madeline Kronenberg, and Don Gosney spoke to us on what's to be expected of us before, during and after our trips. A lot of their emphasis was on the importance of punctuality; as Don Gosney put it, "A plane will not wait for you." This is especially true for the Columbia cohort, because not moving fast enough could mean getting left behind on the subway. They also reminded us that this trip isn't just for us. They send these 42 students, in the hope that many of the other 25,000 in the district can vicariously experience life at an Ivy League School.

Next, Don Gosney gave us a presentation on what we will need to bring for the trip. Many of the items we need for everyday life will either be supplied by the school or should be purchased after arrival, so Don focused on what we'll put in our suitcases. If necessary, we can borrow most electronic devices and accessories from the ILC, but there is a limited supply.

We eventually broke into individual groups for each school. Ms. Lilhanand gave us our itinerary for the trip, as well as a memo from Columbia describing what our living arrangements would be. One of the colleges that we'll tour this summer is Vassar University, so two students from there came to talk to us about the curriculum and campus life. It seems that Vassar has a very accommodative system with few required courses. Each major is adaptable to a students interests, however specific they may be. When the students were done, Ms. L spoke to us once again about the importance of maturity and responsibility while at Columbia. We must keep up a good image at all times. The last thing that the ILC wants, is for us to give the district and our fellow students a bad name. 

When we were done with our group session, we met once again in the auditorium for the closing statements.

Well, that's it. This was the final gathering of the ILC before we start taking off for our schools. The next time I post a blog on here, I should be in New York, with all of my words garbled from jet-lag. It's weird to think that in only two and a half weeks, I'll be there. We've been building up to this for so long that it's kind of unsettling to have it so close. Maybe it won't hit me until I'm actually off the plane.

I think what I'm most excited about are the people I'm going to meet. I heard someone say that about 30% of the students in the Columbia program may be international. Odds are, my class will be very diverse. I like the idea of that. I'll be in a room with people who are literally from all over the world, but who are all here because of a shared interest: Constitutional Law. Through class time, study sessions and Resident Adviser led trips, I'll get a chance to make friends with people who I would never get to meet otherwise. 

I'd like to once again thank the ILC for this opportunity. It means a great deal to me to be able to spend my summer doing something so exciting. I understand that a lot is expected of us, and I'll do my based to make my my school, my district, my family and my friends proud.

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