Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Good Luck at the Potluck

From the very moment I woke up this morning, I was a nervous wreck. Today was of the Brown/Columbia potluck--the day that I finally meet all of my cohorts in person. I spent the whole day before worrying over everything and making sure that nothing about goes the potluck goes wrong with the food, my ride, or with sister, who would be accompanying me to the potluck--I didn't want to risk any sort of embarrassment due to my lack of preparation. 

I had brought Chow Mein to the potluck--but, unfortunately, so did two other people!
Because of my endless fussing, everything turns out as well as I had hoped. Or almost everything. Since my sister, the food, and my niece all had to be picked up before I was able to be dropped off. Needless to say, I was late when I finally arrived at my destination--El Cerrito High. It was about 6:45 PM then, and the potluck was supposed to start at 6:30 PM, meaning that I was 15 minutes late. I was starting to feel nervous again, and began to suspect the worst. The last time the Ivy League had a meeting,we were warned that those late the would locked out of the room.  Although no one ended up being locked out last time, I wasn't willing to risk the chance and began to rush towards the room where the potluck was being held. Luckily, I'm somewhat familiar with with El Cerrito High's campus since both my preliminary Ivy League Interviews were held there.  

My plate. All of the food was really delicious!
It only takes a few minutes to find everyone, and I'm glad to see that although I'm one of the last cohorts to arrive, I haven't been locked out. I walk in and I'm greeted by Ms. Kaplan, the Brown chaperone, and Ms. L, my own chaperone who will be overseeing the rest of my cohorts and I during our stay at Columbia. I quickly grab a name tag, and make my way to set down the food that I had brought with me--Chow Mein. As I walk towards the table, I notice a few familiar faces--Taylor, a classmate apart of the Brown group, and Adrianne, a girl I recognize from my interviews and a fellow Columbia member. I began to settle down a bit; seeing the familiar faces helps my nerves calm down. I quickly grab a plate and my food, and sit down to join my fellow cohorts.

Ms. Kaplan (left) and Ms. L (right)

After everyone had arrived and finish eating, Ms Kaplan and Ms. L go over some general information before splitting us up into two groups, according to our respective colleges. After we introduce ourselves, Ms. L goes into detail on what is to come including upcoming dates and dinners, our dorm and classes, as well as what sorts of activities and sight-seeing we'll be able to do in our free time.

I find all of the new information really exciting! Nearly everything is a new experience--we're talking about seeing fireworks, going on boat rides, living in dorms, partaking in fancy dinners. At that's only the things we have planned! Ms. L said that if we have the time, permission, and supervision we can go out to other places as well! And of course I can't forget what must be the most exciting part of it all; I'll taking classes at one of the best colleges in the world, that just so happens to be in one of the most famous cities in the world. It finally sinks in that I'm not going to be spending my summer at home, but in New York, a place I never imagined myself going before.

Soon, the potluck was over and it was time to go home. But before we left, we took a group photo, which I was unable to capture on my own camera, unfortunately. Overall, I think the potluck was very fun and a really great experience. I was able to get to know my fellow cohorts a little better as well as get a better idea of what to expect next--and I expect everything to be even more amazing than the potluck from now on.

Potluck, People, and Preperations

This evening, we had a fun, low-key event in the ILC. The students attending the Brown and Columbia programs, including myself, had a potluck with our parents at El Cerrito High School. It was hosted by the chaperones for the programs, for the purpose of answering any questions that we may have about our upcoming trips.

I'm sorry to say that I was the last one to arrive, but I wasn't too late to miss any of the great food or important points of conversation. 

After we ate, everyone broke up into different rooms depending on which school we were going to. In the Columbia room, Ms. Lilhanand (our chaperone) gave us a brief summary of  what we should bring on the trip, as well as what to prepare for when in New York. One point, which has been made very clear, is that it will be uncomfortably hot and humid on the East Coast this summer. It's recommended that we bring light clothes and hats, as well as an umbrella, because even in the heat, we're bound to see a few showers. Personally, I'm a cold weather person, but I think I'll be so busy once I get there that I won't have time notice the climate.

Our itinerary so far includes tours of other universities, dinners with Columbia faculty and alumni, trips to museums, and general site seeing. I don't know how we'll find time for classes, but I'm sure that we'll fit it in somewhere. 

I think I'm most excited about living on a college campus. I've toured schools before and even taken summer classes for a few years at UC Berkeley, but this will be my first opportunity to really experience life as a college student. From sleeping in my own dorm to studying in massive libraries, something about it just puts a smile on my face.
My mom (left) with the Columbia chaperone, Ms. Lilhanand

Meet and Greet: Columbia and Brown I Potluck 2012

What a pleasant evening it was to officially meet the rest of the Columbia 2012 cohort and the Brown I 2012 cohort!  This potluck was organized a couple of weeks ago by our Columbia chaperone (Ms. L) and two of the Brown chaperones (Mr. Crosby and Ms. Kaplan). Essentially, it was a relaxed, informative evening about both of the schools and a way to just sit back, eat, and talk about school and ILC.
Delicious food! And this was before everyone came, as well
Nick Shebek and Kelly Xi are part of the Brown I group; we sat close to one another. They were part of the ILC last year (coincidentally, in the same cohort!). Talking about stories from last year and all our ILC adventures was really fun. The ILC newbies carefully asked us questions about the dinner, attire, and our time back east. I was happy to be answering questions, being a leader, and providing advice. Not to mention that we were also eating delicious, delicious food. Meeting new ILCers is exciting for me, but I also really like to meet new people in a nice social setting. Even though every single member of the ILC wasn't there, I think it was good for everyone to loosen up and talk about how excited they are for summer to come.
Emily Hayashi-Groves - member of the Brown I cohort and will be taking the course Macroeconomics
(Left) Ying-An Wang (Brown I - DNA-Biotechnology) and (Right) Moravid (Columbia, Presidential Powers)

Delicious food ranging from macaroni to vegetable lasagna to potstickers
Even more food, this time ranging from lumpia to chow mein to noodle dishes

Talking with Nick Shebek (Brown I - Macroeconomics)
After about an hour of chatter, Ms. Kaplan and Ms. L began to talk to the group as a whole (each student had to bring a family member with them). Both chaperones went over components such as the East Coast dinners, having to do laundry, luggage, traveling back and forth (when Ms. L began to talk about the NYC subway system, I'll admit I got nervous!), and the college tours. I'm very excited to report that the Columbia cohort will be touring:
  • University of Pennsylvania (located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 
  • Sarah Lawrence College (located in the Bronx, New York) 
  • Yale University (located in New Haven, Connecticut) 
  • Vassar College (located in Poughkeepsie, New York)
  • New York University (located right in New York City!) 
After this basic information was laid out, the two groups split apart into separate rooms to talk specifically about each school and the programs we will be participating in. Ms. L got us really excited about NYC by telling us that we'll be going on a Bay Cruise (I love boats!!!), possibly seeing a Broadway show (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and going to Coney Island for the Fourth of July. Ms. L is so enthusiastic about New York - this will be her fourth year chaperoning for the Columbia trip, so I already know that she has lots of knowledge about the city.

Ms. L is a very straightforward person, and I'm very glad that she told us of her rules and how much she will be enforcing them. I think it's great that we'll have meetings every day and that she'll really be checking on where we'll be going even when we're at Columbia. She's so knowledgeable about the city that she's definitely the first person that I would want making sure that I know where I'm going and if I'm okay!

I also found out that student's Columbia ID cards either gets them a discount when they go to places such as museums and that the university will have a lot of activities for us when we arrive. Ms. L told us about suite-mates and our classes (the course I will be taking, Constitutional Law, will have a lot of debates and be research based). I could not be more excited for the summer!

During the potluck!
During the Columbia 2012 Information Session
Our Columbia chaperone - Ms. L
Columbia 2012 (From left to right): Tomi, Adrianne, Aurea, Moravid, Leonard, and Lucas