Thursday night marked the night of the orientation. This particular orientation was extremely important. All 42 ILCers were required to be present because this meeting was actually the last preparatory event before we fly off to our designated Ivy League schools. Surprisingly I felt at ease as my mom and I greeted Don at the entrance of Pinole Middle's multi-purpose room. I soon realized that I've grown more comfortable around this group of people. Not long ago, I was a nervous wreck. Now, I think I can safely say that I have planted my roots on the ILC grounds. All I can do from here is grow, grow, grow.
The first half of the meeting consisted of chaperone introductions, information on loaner items, and tips on packing. The main tip of the night had to be to create a checklist. Without a checklist, it is guaranteed that you'll find yourself forgetting something. Other than that, the first half was basically everything Don taught us at the tutorial, only in a condensed version to give our parents the same concept of what to expect while we are back east.
Soon enough, we were broken down to our separate cohorts. Our chaperones, Ms. Timmes and Ms. Williams, covered everything we needed to know about the trip. Ultimately, I found the information on dress codes the most important. What's worse than feeling underdressed or overdressed? During the first week of our trip, we will not only visit several Ivy League schools but also attend a good number of dinners. Dinners only mean one thing: dress to impress! We have to remember that we are representing ourselves, WCCUSD, and the ILC itself, so it is crucial that we look presentable. As important as these dinner outfits are, I cannot forget what Ms. Williams said about the differences between California's culture and the culture of eastern states. She advised us to pack sleeved shirts and shorts that touch the finger tips (at the very least). It was pretty ironic because, guilty as I was, the shorts that I wore to orientation did not reach my finger tips. I do respect that the east coast may be a bit more conservative than us, so I will have to learn to adjust. I believe it's time for me to go shopping.
By the time 8 PM came about, Mr. Ramsey called everybody back together and made his closing remarks. "THIS IS IT! YOU'VE MADE IT!!" was what I last remember him saying. It is true, we've gone through so much -- the essay writing, the interview, the application process, the tutorial, the dinner, the orientation -- to get to this point. This really is it!