Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Negative Weekend Turns Positive, Thanks to the ILC

My weekend had been going horrible this week. I was so excited during the week because school started and I was familiarized with all my new challenging courses, and even more enthusiastic about receiving a letter in the mail saying that my application for the Junior States of America Northern California North Star Newspaper Editor in Chief position had been accepted! I was the new Editor in Chief of the paper I was so passionate about! I constantly wrote for the paper out of pure devotion, interest, and passion even though I did not have an "official" reporter position and despite the fact that I was already an editor in my school journalism committee. I just did it purely because it mattered to me. Now, I felt like, my passion had been discovered and I had been granted this position. Just saying I was ecstatic may be an understatement.

I later received an award in the mail, and I was also granted a special Junior States of America e-mail address especially for my position. I had incoming e-mails about future meetings, and an invitation to the cabinet confirmation event. It was difficult for me to attend the event since it was really far away from my house, but I still managed to go and meet my fellow cabinet members. There, I mingled, I chatted, and I met many of the people that were also on cabinet like myself. I introduced myself as the new "Editor in Chief" when we all shared our jobs on cabinet, and we later sat down with our appropriate departments to discuss plans and create goals for our specific duties on board. I sat with my new reporter and discussed a lot of duties I expected from her, created deadlines, made suggestions, and told her everything that was basically necessary to make a successful team and newspaper. LATER, they called each of us for an interview; I was one of the first to go. Just thinking of having an interview made me smile as I looked back at the time I had my first panel interview in the Ivy League Connection. I sighed in relieve because I felt like I was ready for an interview session since the ILC had already familiarized me with the process, and I realized that the confidence I had gained as part of the Ivy League Connection has really benefited me as a person.

It was odd to hear that we were being interviewed after the application process and being officially selected from the applicant pool, but I was still excited to meet the interviewers. I entered the room with a smile, and I was introduced to only a few set of questions that never really asked about my experiences, or my intended plans as the future Editor in Chief of the paper. The questions basically asked, "Will you be able to communicate with others? Will you be able to handle the stress? Will you be able to attend all of the events?" Of course, I referred back to my experiences to prove to them my success and capabilities in the areas they mentioned. The questions, however, did not ask for a lot of information about me and they were limited by time. They told me to turn around for them to discuss my confirmation and although I was not looking, I heard things like, "She's already doing a lot of extra-curricular activities." That was something they never asked me about, so I was shocked that they even said that. Now, before I even looked back, they told me they were then casting a vote. I murmured a prayer to myself, hoping they would confirm me, and drew a deep breath. They told me I could turn around within a minute and I did, only to hear that I had been...rejected.

I was shocked, and heart broken. I couldn't understand! My interview went so well, my application was accepted, I had the necessary experience, the leadership abilities, and the responsibility! I even sat with my reporter and led her through all my expectations and all her duties, they had congratulated me with this honor, how was I suddenly no longer their editor? They moderator pulled me out and apologized, but I couldn't help but to ask in the midst of my confusion, "May I at least ask why?" He replied "No, I cannot disclose that information, I'm sorry." I returned to my seat sad, confused, and broken. People came up to me mentioning how no one ever really gets rejected form Cabinet Confirmation, and I replied, "I just did." Similarly, people were shocked and confused as well because many of them knew me and my capabilities. Others in charge were equally confused and went to speak to the interviewers (the interviewers themselves were students like myself running the student bureaucracy). However, no one told me why, but they offered me other positions. I rejected thinking to myself that the reason why I applied wasn't because of the title or the "position," it was because of my passion and my care for the paper. I was not interested. So they asked, "Would you like to be a reporter?" I again thought about it, and I said, "Well, what I truly care about is the North Star, and that's the closest way I can contribute to what I care for. I was going to write for it anyway, so why not." I accepted the position and was re-interviewed and accepted, but I left that room hurt and broken. Later, my friend told me that the interviewers just thought my interview sounded, "too perfect" compared to the others, I was shocked! How can I be rejected because I sounded "too perfect?" I was only being 100% honest. Also, they just assumed I had a lot of things going on that I would be unable to handle the position (again without asking me about it). However, If I couldn't handle the position, I wouldn't apply. I knew I was highly capable and they knew that I was highly qualified. I was just stuck in a state of confusion, that's all. Also, on the other hand, other students were only asked one or two questions in the interviews and accepted, and others were just "lectured." The questions were more carefree because they were running out of time, and at a certain point they even thought about not interviewing a group and just accepting them! They even brought a whole departments in as a GROUP so they can get them over with and proceed on their agenda. The time factor also made the other interviews shorter as well; I found all of this completely unfair. The answers were not the same, they did not have previous questions designed, and the they were simply accepted nearly by default because of the time factor? Now, my first assignment as a reporter is to write about Cabinet Confirmation and according to my director, "write positive." That is something I cannot do: to be dishonest. My Saturday was unfair in terms of selection, and terrible in terms of my disappointment. In regards to my journalistic integrity, I cannot accept to do that: to lie.

So today, I woke up still kind of sad about the day before. It was the Brown and Yale mentor dinner hosted by the Ivy League Connection that I had been looking forward to all week! However, I wasn't as happy in the morning as I should have been because I was still looking back at the opportunity I felt like I was stripped away from and the position I had so much passion in; all in an unfair and unjust manner. To be honest, that's all I really thought about when I was getting ready, repeating to myself in my head, "If they really thought I did not deserve it, I would accept their decision and respect it, but they never asked me questions to make such an inference. If the selection process was fair, I would feel better, but why was I the only one to be stripped of what I cared for? I was never even given a chance..." By the time I was eating a little breakfast snack, I decided what has happened is now my past, and I must let it go and think about the future. It was simply time to move on since what happened was now totally out of my hands. So I focused on the amazing opportunity the Ivy League Connection was giving me and I smiled.

The ILC had once again provided me with an opportunity to connect with very important alums within my community and learn about both their experiences and the universities the universities they attended.
This morning, we all met at 10:00 AM at El Cerrito Plaza Bart and gathered around to speak to one another before departure. There, I was absolutely excited to see Adrianne Ramsey from my Columbia Cohort; I had missed her so dearly! We chatted a while before Don separated all of us into groups to carpool to the Olympics Club (that's where we were going to have our event). The Olympics, thanks to Mr.Izzy Ramsey, was going to sponsor our brunch!

My mother, whom was also invited, rode with me in Don's mini-van, along with Adrianne Ramsey, one Brown alum, and one sponsor. During the ride, Adrianne and I caught up and chatted since we hadn't seen each other in a few weeks. We talked about our courses, our plans, and our excitement to meet all the amazing college students later that day.

Since we were busy talking the whole time, it felt like a fairly short ride! Soon enough, we were finally at the beautiful Olympics Club in San Francisco. The scenery was gorgeous as we walked up the steps and inside the majestic building. There we were greeted with the alumnus and began engaging in very interesting conversations right after the "hello!" I had a great time right from the start!

While we mingled, Mr.Ramsey's brother gave each group an independent tour of the restaurant we were going to have brunch in as well as the history and importance of the Olympic Club. (Did you know the Olympics club is the oldest athletic club in the nation with the word "Olympics?" Not to mention, the oldest out of all of them as well.)

Later we were invited into our private room to sit down with our the alums we had just met. Parents sat at one table, alums sat together with us students, and other adults at another table. The tables were also split based on university. One table was strictly Yale, and the other was Brown. Sitting with the Yale alums, I had the opportunity to meet and converse with many different individuals from different backgrounds and interests. One was interested in teaching, the other in computer sciences, and the other in economics for example. We all shared  our names and our interests as well and soon began very interesting conversations regarding academics, life in Yale, and a variation of other specific conversations that we all found equally helpful and engaging. I really enjoyed speaking to them and getting to know them, it was truly my pleasure.

After we were done eating our dish of pastries, scrambled eggs, sausages, and bacon, it was sadly time to say goodbye. During this time, Mr.Ramsey mentioned how on September 30th, he has arranged boxed seats for us and our mentors to attend an A's game in Oakland, creating yet another day for us to connect with one another and learn from each other. I was really excited to hear this because I really enjoyed and was thankful for the connections I had made today. I was glad I could stay in contact with them and found that very helpful in my application process.

By the end of the day, I felt like a weekend that I thought could not get better, turned out to be okay thanks to the fantastic day the ILC provided me with. Not only did I have fun, but I also engaged in a lot of very interesting and serious conversations that I know the knowledge I acquired throughout them will definitely help me in the future. For this, I would like to give a sincere "thank you" to the Ivy League Connection, and to the alums for attending this event and devoting their time to us. I really appreciate it all.

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