Monday, March 25, 2013

We Gathered at Gather

Although the sun was out it was still a brisk Sunday morning as the Yale/Brown mentor group gathered at Gather Restaurant in Berkeley.

The purpose of these mentoring activities is to place some of our ILCers with alums from our partner schools so they can learn from people who have actually attended these schools--people who can tell them from first hand knowledge about the school, how to maximize their applications and how to take advantage of the resources that only alums can bring.

Thanks to Simon Hong (Brown ‘05) and Ken Yamaguchi (Yale ‘92), these events have been an important tool for our ILCers.  They’ve made connections and learned from people who’s main goal is to see these young students excel and succeed.

After the brunch, the group took a short walk across town to CREAM to have what some claim to be the best ice cream sandwiches available.  [Nick and Kelly had a professional disagreement on whether it was only a 2 block walk or three.  Google maps puts it at more than 6/10 of a mile.  Since the sun had warmed us up the walk was a pleasant one.]

Tiffany Ng (Yale ’05)—a renowned carillonist—offered to escort the group up to the top of Cal’s Campanile to watch a concert that would be performed shortly.  [Sorry, no photos.]

Another great Sunday outing.  Thanks to all of the Brown/Yale alums for volunteering their time to help out.

A few photos of the event:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Brown/Yale Mentoring: Hands on Gourmet

The Ivy League Connection has partnered with the Brown and Yale Alumni Associations here in the Bay Area to form a mentoring partnership.  With the close associations between our ILCers and alums from these partner schools the application and admissions process for our students is enhanced.  With what they learn from these mentors, even when they apply elsewhere, is valuable information from dedicated and successful alums who know what they're talking about.

Last Saturday this mentoring group met in San Francisco for a Hands on Gourmet event.  We were broken up into four groups with each devoted to a specific part of the meal.
When you look at these tantalizing items on this menu you can't help but feel the hunger pains we all felt.  It was great to have everyone working so hard to put together such a fine meal.

While ti would be easy to sit here and salivate over these fine menu choices, let me give you all a hint that, for all intents and purposes, these were just appetizers to keep us going until the Gateaux Au Chocolate was served at the end of the meal.  For the record, I was on the team that created that fine dessert.

Rather than go on and on about how my team saved the day, take a look at these photos of our mentoring team.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wins and Losses

I'll admit, I was a little bit nervous about going to the Raider's game with all the mentors; it had been so long since I was at an ILC event and I was concerned that my social skills had evaporated, due to long periods of seclusion while working on my college applications.

There was, of course, nothing to fear. As soon as the ice was broken, thanks to some delicious gumbo, everyone fell right back into the swing of things. The Raider's box was certainly different than most of the ILC settings I was used to, but it was still incredibly luxurious. There was really no better place to watch the Raiders miss pass after pass after pass. And of course, the company was even better. I got to talk for a long time with Corynn Brodsky, after coming on the BART with her and her sister, as well as Emily, Kelly, Ying-An, Don, and Mrs. Kronenberg. I also had the pleasure of sitting next to Simon for a good portion of the game.

It's a really scary, and important, time of my life right now, and I continuously find myself overwhelmed with all of the life decisions I have to make.  What do I want to do when I grow up? Where should I apply? Who's going to ask me to prom? All these questions, and so few answers. Thanks to my mentors a good portion of these fears (excepting the date conundrum) can be lessened, if not alleviated.

It's the season to be thankful , and I know that I am so grateful to both my mentors and the mentor program.  I had an amazing time at the game, though slightly petrified of the fans, and I do feel much more at ease with the college process with some advice from my mentors. Though the team may not have won, I certainly felt like I came home victorious.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Back from Brown

I thought my three weeks at Brown this summer went by quickly but that was nothing compared to the length of this trip. While the days were long and full, the trip itself went by in heartbeat. However, the things I learned in that short period time will help me for the rest of my life. While the skills I gained last weekend will most immediately improve and progress my Action Plan, the tactics for talking to administration and giving an elevator pitch will be of use to me through my college career and in to my professional life. 

The workshops on fundraising and stress management will help me take my Action Plan (The Young Voters Club at El Cerrito High School) in a new direction now that the election is over. I hope to raise money for my club to go on field trips as well donate to nationwide organizations promoting the youths' vote. Stress management is invaluable at a time like this (senior year of high school) so the skills I learned in that workshop are bound to help me in prioritizing and completing work to the best of my ability. These goals of course, wouldn't be possible without time management and thankfully there was a lecture about effective time usage at the Symposium as well. 

While all the skills I have mentioned will benefit my club and the rest of my high school experience, they will also not be wasted in college. Another thing I learned at the Symposium was that all the students that spoke with us had been greatly impacted by their time in the Brown Leadership Institute and continued to thrive academically because of their experiences prior to college. All the workshops I attended this past weekend continue to be an advantage going in to college. 

Finally, I can extend these skills to my peers and help other stressed students realize healthy ways to deal with an overwhelming work load or bad feelings about college applications because the other thing I that I was reminded of while back at Brown was that not all students are as fortunate as I am. Despite that, they still need practical and efficient ways to approach school work so I hope I can spread my new knowledge to my peers in addition to improving my Action Plan and successfully applying to college.

I am so grateful to the Ivy League Connection for giving me the means to go back to the East Coast for another two enriching days on the Brown campus and another educational campus tour. Since my first experience with ILC my eyes have opened to the possibilities after high school. I want to thank Ms. Kronenberg for accompanying us on this trip, Don Gosney for keeping everything organized and Mr. Ramsey, as well as Ms. Kronenberg, for starting such a crucial program in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. 

Brown Symposium for Social Action 2012


During the time management workshop
The Leadership Symposium this past weekend was absolutely amazing. In just two full days, l gained skills that will serve me for the rest of my life. Each workshop and panel provided me with new tactics to overcome obstacles related to my action plan. Through the panels, I had the opportunity listen to young people who were successful in achieving their goals regarding social change in their community and the outside world. Learning ways make my action plan a reality and then listing to actual young people who were successful enabled me to gain motivation. Now that I have no doubt that I am capable of starting a garden at El Cerrito High, I want to move forward with my plan as quickly as possible.

A main focus on the last day of the Symposium was time management. After learning tactics to achieve my action plan the day before, I realized that the only thing standing in my way was time, so I was incredibly grateful to attend this workshop. A Brown senior led the time management workshop. During the school year, she works to help struggling first years manage their time more wisely. She talked to us a lot about the differences between high school and college and the best ways to deal with the lack of structure in college life.  We also had the opportunity to fill out a matrix to help prioritize aspects of our schedule. The matrix was split into four categories: urgent and important; important but not urgent; urgent but not important; and not important and not urgent. Writing my obligations in their corresponding section really helped me to visualize what is actually important.

After the time management workshop, it was time to leave. It was hard to say goodbye to all the amazing people I met just a few days before. Even though I met many of these people for the first time and have known them for just a few days, I know we will maintain an effort to stay in touch.

The Women and Leadership group with our tour guide at Amherst 
Thankfully, I didn’t have to say goodbye to everyone all at once. Ynah, Iris, Abigail and I went to lunch with three Korean guys we met over the past few days. It was my first time eating Korean food, and it was actually really good. After lunch, reality set in, and I realized I would have to say goodbye to everyone I met over the weekend. After parting ways, we all met in the lobby of hotel providence and then left for the airport.

Now that I am back home, I have already spread the lessons I learned at the Symposium to my school community. With my newly gained motivation to implement my action plan, I am now excited to work towards my goal of creating a community garden at El Cerrito High.

Fall Colors 
Ivy League Connections has literally changed my life. Not only did Ivy League Connections enable to me spend an amazing three weeks on the East Coast this summer, but the program also gave me the opportunity to attend the Leadership Symposium. Ivy League Connections has enabled me to gain confidence and motivation to advocate positive change in my community and I now plan to take concrete steps to implement that change.

Monday, November 12, 2012

See You Later, Brown

It has been a wonderful weekend for me. Today was the last day of the leadership Symposium. The day was fairly short. We had breakfast like yesterday. I ate pretty much the same things: a bagel and fruits. We headed to Brown at the same time as yesterday as well.
Our first activity was a Leadership Alumni panel in an auditorium in the Smith-Buonanno building. Similar to the Starr Fellow panel of yesterday’s activity, we had the chance to interact with Brown students that have impacted their community through leadership projects. However, this time, the panel consisted of students that have done some sort of leadership programs like the ones we did during the summer. They were there to tell us about their Action Plans, their struggles, and their outcomes. In the end, they opened the panel to the audience. We were able to ask questions pertaining to our own Action Plan. That was helpful and inspirational. It’s one thing to be told that we are capable of executing our plans, but it’s even better knowing that there are those who faced the same challenges and were still able to overcome them. I am glad that they shared their stories with the Symposium students.
Time Management Coaches
After a break, we proceeded to a Time Management Workshop in the same building. Everyone in the audience was broken into groups of three. I was placed in group 3 and we headed to a room downstairs. Our mentor was a Brown student. She is currently a senior at Brown. During the workshop, we just discussed ways of being productive. We learned how to prioritize the things we need to do by physically organizing our priorities in a worksheet. We categorized our “to do” list into “Urgent” and “Not Urgent” columns.  I found this helpful, especially because I am now a senior in high school. I am in the middle of college applications, AP exams, ACT prep, and extracurriculars. I found myself putting college applications, supplement essays, and personal statements under the “Urgent” column. I realized that prepping for AP exams can be in the “Not Urgent” because I have more time for that compared to the college admission process.
Everyone met up again at the auditorium. This was the end of the Symposium. Kisa bid us farewell after holding a quick reflective activity. We filled up a worksheet about our Action Plan, basically making us reflect on what we will do with our Plans.
Iris, Aby, Emily, and I had lunch with the three Korean guys that we have met through the program. We had Korean food. Actually, it was my first time trying Korean food. I had a wonderful time and it was definitely painful to part ways.
Now, I am sitting in the TF Green Airport’s floor. I am quite sad. I wish the weekend extended itself for another 7 days. Actually, I wish I could be part of the ILC all over again. Having a weekend trip like this was sort of like a teaser. I just wish it would have lasted longer. I am a senior now, which means that I cannot join the ILC for the next set of trips. I am grateful to have been part of Brown’s Leadership Symposium 2012. I will now bring back all that I’ve learned because I mean, I can’t escape them. I think that those lessons and skills have helped shaped me into a more positive being. I hope to contribute to my community, even if it is just a small impact from my Action Plan.
Group photo of everyone in front of Wilson Hall