Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Goodbye and a Hello!

I know that that I've said this many times before, but it's still really hard to believe that in just a little over 12 hours I'll be on a plane ride heading towards New York. I'm just so used to spending my summer vacations doing nothing that it's a big surprise that this year I'm actually going to leave my house! 

Between Don, Mr. Ramsey, and Mrs. Kronenberg alone there's been lot of hard work put into making this trip a reality--and for that I'm really grateful and I'm happy that they'll all be there to send us off on Monday. 

I've been spending a lot of time preparing for this trip. I've been keeping myself busy by making sure that everything goes smoothly and between all the shopping, packing, and finalization I've done, I think I'm ready to go. You don't know how often I've thought  "Do I really need that?" or "Maybe I should bring this too." I was ready to just try and pack up my whole room, just to make sure that I didn't forget anything--but since we have a 50 pound weight limit I knew that I would have to cut corners and prioritize. And finally, after countless hours of packing and repacking, I'm finally done! 

There's only one thing that really worries me about this trip, and it's something that I've always hated about travelling. That's right--time zones. Even though I've made sure to get a lot of rest this past week, I'm still afraid of sleeping in. I'm not the best at keeping a constant sleeping schedule, so it's going to be somewhat of a challenge for me to get up in the morning, but I hope to quickly adjust to the time differences in the first week or so. If not, I have 3 different alarm clocks packed in my bag, so I'm sure that I'll get up one way or another. 

I'm honestly not sure of what I'm most excited about. There's just so much to this trip and New York itself that I already feel overwhelmed. We'll be going to dinners, sight-seeing, and, most importantly, attending one of the most prestigious colleges in the country--Columbia University. It's one new experience after another and I really appreacite this once in a lifetime opportunity. but there's one final hurdle before we depart; Mrs. L, Don, Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, and of course, my fellow cohorts and I are all set to meet one final time before our departure at El Cerrito High School Monday morning at 3:45 AM sharp. While our shuttle is set to leave at around 4:30 AM, there's still a few last minute preparations to be done and farewells to be made. Even though I'm sure that I'm going miss my family and friends, I know that it's time to say goodbye to the Bay Area and hello to New York City! I'm really excited to leave and I can't wait to see everyone at El Cerrito High tomorrow!


Twenty-six hours, twenty-one minutes, fifty-nine seconds, fifty-eight seconds, fifty-seven seconds.. Well you get the idea. In approximately said amount of time, the Columbia cohort for the 2012 summer will be landing in New York. The months of preparation have finally led to us to this moment: our departure for the Big Apple. It’s amazing to know we will be on the other side of the coast in just a few hours.

So I’ll let you all in on a little secret. When I was accepted in to the Ivy League Connection, I started packing. My excitement during the time was so vast that packing seemed like the only thing I could do to relieve myself. And boy did it help. It started out with a few articles of clothing, a dress here and a few T-shirts there. As time passed by, I started building up what would go into my suitcase and now I’m just a few items away from completion.

Other than the usual packing, I have also prepared myself for the work I will be leaving behind here in the Bay Area. I’ve communicated with my fellow co-captain for Parliamentary Debate on the agendas for the two meetings I will be missing. I have filled out the necessary forms for Leadership to have Senior BBQ and Senior Shirts as well as created the donation letters for Homecoming this upcoming year. And of course, I’ve completed about fifty percent of my AP American Government summer assignment.

When we arrive at the Big Apple, I know for sure one thing I will not enjoy: the humid, muggy weather. If I think the weather here in Pinole is brutal- a good 90 degrees or so- then I know shaded areas and air conditioned buildings will be my new best friends on the East Coast.

I won’t lie, this is the first time I’ve ever gone this far away from home and my family, but I couldn’t be any more excited. Although I will probably feel homesick at one point, the challenges ahead of me will keep my preoccupied.

As time winds downs, my eagerness grows tenfold. Ready or not Columbia, here we come.

Ready As I'll Ever Be

As I have already seen Morvarid and Adrianne mention, junior year was, simply put, terrible. I made it into double digits in all-nighters (partially the result of my doing, but mostly of circumstances), which gives you an idea of what I went through. To say that sitting through 6-8 hours of classes on no sleep really sucks is a drastic understatement. June seemed to be lightyears away, and while one of the most exciting summers ever awaited me, it seemed like it would never come. But it did, and I could see the finish line! My teachers began assigning less work (students aren't the only ones ready for summer) and as soon as I had completed finals, I could finally direct all of my attention toward my summer in New York. The excitement in me grew and grew as we got closer and closer to the morning of our takeoff. While it may be 3 in the morning when we meet at El Cerrito HS on Monday morning, I think I'm going to have more energy than I've had in the last 6 months combined.
I've spent the last few days doing all sorts of things to prepare for this trip. I made a huge list of everything I need, went out and bought a few of the things I didn't have, downloaded some new music to have with me, and tested out this laptop which I just received from Don Gosney earlier today. Tomorrow, I'll spend whatever time I need to pack all my clothes, etc. For those of you who are staring at your computer right now re-reading the last sentence to see if you read correctly that I have not started packing, I have my well-planned-out method for packing, which consists of making sure I have every single item I need and spending the day before my trip putting it all into a suitcase. Many people (my mom) don't understand why or how I do this, but I can guarantee that at 3:45 Monday morning, I will be at El Cerrito High School, suitcase in hand, ready to go.
Physically, all I have left to do is pack. Mentally, though, I am set; heck, I've been ready to go for weeks! Monday is the day we've all been waiting for! The day that we worked tirelessly to get to, it's almost here!
This trip, though, does not come without its concerns of course. I am, for the most part worry-free, although one thing concerning me is my trouble waking up in the morning. The expression "sleeping like a log" applies to me in that you could hit a log hundreds of times with a baseball bat and the log would not react or show any emotion. I express this concern because it has been a problem of mine in the past, although I feel I have done everything possible to prevent it in the future. For starters, I am carrying my phone's alarm, a ringing alarm clock, and an alarm clock/radio, and each of these will go off every morning to wake me up. Additionally, I have made huge strides toward improving my time management and making sure I get enough sleep every night, and in the same way an 8.0 earthquake is 10 times greater than a 7.0, waking up after 8 hours of sleep is 10 times easier than after 7 hours.
Concerns for me generally revolve around uncertainty, so I am not so much concerned, but more saddened by the fact that I will be spending 4 weeks without my family. I know that I will be fine, but I love my family, and every minute spent away from them is tough for me. But, after all.....I AM spending four weeks in New York City. So I can't really complain to much.
And I'm ready to go! It's been a grueling 6 months, but I am as ready as I'll ever be to board that plane to New York!