I arrived at El Cerrito High School at exactly 3:45 AM. This time, Don was not there to weigh our luggage or remind us to blog; instead, Ms. Kronenberg welcomed us. It was a bittersweet Thursday morning. I was happy to be going back to Brown for the Leadership Symposium, but I was a little sad that only 5 out of 8 of the Brown II cohort are going. It was an awesome reunion though; I missed Emily, Maddie, and Aby (I can't say the same about Iris since we go to the same school and we share one class together, but I am so glad to be spending this trip with her, too!). Our shuttle came two minutes after 4 AM, and before I knew it, we were already on a plane to Rhode Island. We arrived at Providence and quickly made our way to the rental car, just like last summer’s trip. But unlike Jackie’s huge white van, Ms. Kronenberg has to drive a white SUV. On the way to the hotel, all I did was quietly reminisce about my ILC summer trip. I felt so familiar with the area. I was able to remember almost every street name. I was even able to recognize some buildings and shopping places around the area.
It feels almost natural to step into Hotel Providence without hesitation. I felt right at place. One thing that I was not familiar with, though, was the weather. It was freezing! After checking in, we ate dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant. We did a whole lot of talking during dinner. Our conversations ranged from our life after ILC, to college applications, to our families, and finally, to the symposium. We even talked about our Action Plans.
A couple of months after being unsuccessful with my original Action Plan, I decided to start over. My original project was to contribute to a college going culture in De Anza by bringing alums from colleges as guest speakers. However, the counselors at De Anza were already packed with plans to encourage students to apply to college. I felt that they would not need my help because they already have everything planned out. I did not even have a way of bringing alums to the school either. Also, my personal drive for the project was just fading. I was starting to notice different issues that were affecting me, though. The biggest one, which I choose to act on, is the fact that not enough students, in my opinion, are involved nor exposed to clubs in De Anza. Clubs are extremely important, not only in college applications, but also in developing personality and even forming deep ties between students. They definitely help shape cultural diversities and the student body in any high school. Not to mention that most clubs aim to help the community in some way. In the end, I decided to focus on exposing clubs to students in De Anza by planning to host a “Club Rush” event. However, it has not been going smoothly. It has been hard trying to plan an event that has never happened in De Anza.
I am excited for all that I will be learning from the symposium though. I know that I will be receiving a lot of help from the different workshops that they set up, which includes stress management, running an effective meeting, working with administration and teachers, and others. The support will not only help me in implementing my new Action Plan, but will also lend me even more leadership skills.
Tomorrow, we visit Amherst! I hope that our visit will not only make up for a fun day, but also help me with my college application process. I am currently in the middle of this whole college application whirlwind. I am juggling a bunch of private college apps and UC apps as well. I think that visiting another potential college is a great way to motivate me with the process. It has not been easy focusing, especially with my busy personal life.
All I can say is that the next three days will be packed with memories and lessons that only the Ivy League Connection can provide. I am beyond grateful to be sitting here, across the country, for the second time in my life.