Friday, May 29, 2015

Don't Mind if I Do!

On May 26th, my Columbia cohort had our official dinner with the wonderful sponsors and alumni. 

My Grandmother and I
I was really excited yet stressed out for the day. I was mostly concerned about punctuality, as I had gotten out of school at 4, and the report time was 5:10 PM, and I knew it would take at least 30 minutes to arrive at the Bart station. My grandmother picked me up, and we tried to prepare ourselves as quickly as possible. 

My grandmother and I left the house at around 4:40, so I was on edge as I really thought that we would be late. It also did not help that when I punched in the address to the El Cerrito Plaza Bart, the ETA was 7:10 PM (I had realized that it only registered the side-street route, which is pretty strange. Silly Google Maps.)

Thankfully however, Google Maps was very very wrong and my grandmother and I arrived at the station at 4:58. I had nothing to stress over after all. While walking towards the station, I immediately spotted some fancily-dressed individuals, with whom I identified as Don Gosney, my lovely chaperon Ms. Thrift, Mark, Izabel, and their mothers.  We a conversed a bit, however it was still a tad awkward since we still aren't quite acquainted with one another. At 5:08, my other cohort members Saba and Deborah arrived with their mothers. However, we still had to wait for Mr. and Mrs. Kronenberg, and Ms. Sophie Evans-Boroditsky, an alumni. I believe it was about 5:20 when everyone finally arrived. It was great to converse with everyone and see the beautiful faces of my cohort's mothers. 

The Lovely Mothers of the Columbia Cohort
Once everyone arrived, Don handed out the clipper cards that we were going to use throughout the night. We scanned our cards and went up the elevators to the trains. While we were waiting for our 5:36 train to arrive, I was able to converse with Ms. Sophie Evans-Boroditsky about college and some advice for our future occupation choice. The biggest thing I learned from her is that one of the most important things in life is to always do what you love, because otherwise the journey would not be worth it.
BART Selfie!
When the train arrived, I spotted an empty seat next to our chaperon Ms. Thrift, and jumped at the opportunity to be her "Bart buddy". We discussed matters about New York such as the intricate subway system and theater productions, and had quite an interesting conversation on the controversial topic of the nutritional rating of whole-wheat pancake-mix.  The train ride was probably 30+ minutes, however travel time passed quickly as I had great conversation during the whole duration of the journey. 

Once we arrived at our stop, we went up the stairs and immediately felt the chill of San Francisco weather. I was wearing pants, and jacket, and a warm blouse, and I was still freezing! I was truly concerned for Saba as she was wearing a dress and high heels--she looked absolutely fabulous, however I know I would not have been able to pull off that look without tripping and falling at least once. Props to her!

Mark Bordas and I
After a few blocks of walking, I saw the Prospect logo on a glass wall-- even from the outside it looked like a fancy place! We walked into the restaurant I immediately felt a calm and professional ambiance. The waiter walked us to the back of the restaurant towards our private dining room. By just walking through the restaurant, my fellow cohort member Mark and I were just astounded by the fanciness of the venue; we spotted at least 5 different giant plants, artwork, and lone standing ice-bucket containers-- indications of a truly fancy restaurant. We were in such awe that we couldn't even enter our dining room right away. We counted to three, and took our first step into the room together.

The Dining Room Set-Up
At first I really didn't know what to do, as I expected to just be seated right away. However, we were given a good amount of time to take photos, eat hors d'oeuvres and have some small talk with sponsors and alumni. I took part in a few conversation circles with alumni such as Ms.Elizabeth Sanders, Ms. Blaine Harper, and Mr. Mitchell Flax who happened to be seated at my table. They were all incredibly down-to-earth and open to any questions we had regarding their experiences at Columbia. After about 20 minutes of this free time, Don called everyone down to take our seats. 

Mrs. Kronenberg opened the dinner with an introduction of all of the people present at the dinner. I became familiar with all of the sponsors, alums, as well as a few honorable guests. Then, my cohort member Mark gave a great speech on what he hopes to learn at Columbia. He provided the audience with a peek on what motivated him to attend this program and how his childhood influenced him to make this decision.Then, Mitchell Flax, 09' alumni, made a speech on why Columbia was right for him, and why we should consider it also. What he said was great and really motivated me to consider Columbia as a college option. 

The Dinner Program
After the presentation program, we began delving into heavenly blessing of our main courses. There were two options for each entree, so I made sure my grandmother and I coordinated our meals to ensure we'd get a taste of each different entree. The food was nothing short of amazing. I can honestly say my dinner at Prospect was the most delicious (and probably expensive) outdoor meal I've ever had. The conversations at the dinner table were just as amazing as the food. At my table was Saba and her mother, Mr. Mitchell Flax, Ms. Elizabeth Sanders, Mr. Matt Pettler (a sponsor), and my grandmother. At first, we engaged in conversations dealing only with Columbia, However, later on we all started getting more comfortable with one another and talked about funny school stories, driving, and events going on in the district. It was truly a remarkable experience to be sitting with such inspiring and incredible people. 

After the dinner, we all finished up our desserts and it was time for pictures (aka cramp-up-your-face time). After about 30 shots taken by Don, it was time for goodbyes.
The 2015 Columbia Cohort (ft. Izabel's mother)
We headed back towards the Bart station and arrived at El Cerrito at around 10:45. We were all pretty burnt out, so thankfully Don gave us an extra day to blog.

This night was nothing short of amazing and made me so much more excited for my trip to Columbia this summer.

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