Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Finding Something New

Alright, let's be honest here, if you're reading this blog right now you're giving me 3 more lines to judge whether or not you should just skim through my blog, or read it through for its entirety. And unless you're my grandma, my aunt from Singapore, or that one random viewer from Scandinavia, you probably won't do the latter. They say only the most valiant make it to the end, so let's see which one of you brave souls that turns out to be.

I left my simple Bay Area home as a wide-eyed, confident, and spoon-fed student from WCCUSD. I honestly couldn't wait unitl the day I could leave home for this trip and finally become my own independent person. ILC veterans had warned me about the abundance of intelligence on the east coast, but since I had no doubt of my own academic ability, I was left unfazed. In my mind, I was a big whale in the open sea, surrounded by an abundance of krill to eat. "Intense" workload? Psh, no prob, we do that in school. Blog every day? Simple enough. Make friends and socialize? Oh, come on. I had no doubt in my mind that my whole experience would be a breeze; if anything, I'd come back only feeling slightly challenged, and more independent.
The first few days of the trip were a blast. Our time was mainly spent sight-seeing, eating, and bonding. We were all overwhelmed by the freedom that we had with food choices, time, and sleep. It was amazing, and this was the time period where my cohort and I really got to bond with one another. We were all just bouncing on jellyfish, enjoying each other's company and having a good time, with no stress attached whatsoever.
Reality began when we finally reached Columbia. I was immediately overwhelmed with the amount of intelligence emanating out of my classmates during group discussions. Everyone that spoke up had such a smooth, and well-thought out opinion of whatever point they were trying to present. They all walked in with so much pre-acquired knowledge on politics; it was as if they had been studying this topic since birth. I had some classmates who had all twenty-seven amendments memorized, while I could barely recall five of them. I was surrounded by national debate champions, junior-politicians, and students from the most elite private schools in the country. Not to mention, the workload was intense: about 1-3 hours worth of reading every night; it was definitely not the standard I was accustomed to. The fun and games were over; I touched the nematocyst of the jelly-fish and was stung. I was left pained by the realization that I was no longer the big whale; I was just another measily krill in fear of becoming engulfed.
As time went on however, I eventually grew out of my intimidation stage and tried to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from my classmates. Occasionally, I'd muster up enough courage to actually speak up and contribute to the conversation, and honestly whenever I did, it felt amazing. It took me a while to realize that these people weren't necessarily "better" than me, they were just more privileged when it came to educational opportunities. Sure I don't go to a magnet school or some boarding school in Korea, but that doesn't mean I can't learn as well as they do, or achieve lesser than they do. Rather than fall into the trap of becoming swallowed, I pushed out of it, and as a result, came out stronger.
Even with my new-found attitude toward the class, this is not to say that everything suddenly got easier. I had to learn the hard way that there is a fine balance between your leisurely desires and your academic duties. It is so tempting to disregard your homework for a while to go hang out with friends. Time management is an absolute must--otherwise, it'll be at the expense of your precious sleep (and quite possibly your sanity).
My social life basically revolved around my cohort. I had a bit of a difficult time making new friends, most particularly the type that you'd hang out with, but I was completely content with what I had. I never feared that I'd be eating alone because I always knew Mark, Izabel, or Deborah would be just a single text message away. My cohort and I developed into a literal family, with Izabel as the dad, Deborah as the mom, and Mark and I as the mischievous twin children. We went from the most proper and awkward individuals to the most insulting and closest bunch that you could ever find. All of our personalities were so different, yet by the end of the trip we were four peas in a pod. I cannot even begin to describe the mad love I have for my cohort. They are all the real MVPs, and I know that our relationship will last long past our time together in the east coast.
I fell in love in the east coast. And don't worry Don, I did it on my own time. On the train ride to Conneticut, I expected just another college tour; I really didn't think I'd become so attached. But the moment I stepped foot onto the Yale campus, that's when I knew it was for me. Something about it just felt so right. Was it the community that turned me on to it? The location? The majors? The architecture? Maybe it was all of the reasons aforementioned combined, but I just know that I haven't been the same ever since. I've become so motivated to do greater than great, to excel and go higher than I had ever gone before. I'm going to work as hard as I can to get into that school, and do whatever it takes to become the best possible version of me.
The Ivy League Connection program is a meteor that left a crater on the landscape of my life. I have returned from this experience feeling incredibly humbled with greater expectations and ambitions for myself. I have learned to push myself to my limits and become independent. And I've connected with people I normally would not have connected with had it not been for the ILC; I now have 3 new best friends whose friendships will last a lifetime. Thank you to Don Gosney, Madeline Kronenberg, Mr. Ramsey, and all the sponsors who have provided me with this tremendous opportunity. I used to think that I was working hard for SOME college out there, with no true destination in mind. Now that I've found exactly where I want to go, I am going full-speed ahead towards that goal. I also have never been more eager to have the school year start; I truly cannot wait to be a catalyst in my school to raise the academic standard for our students, and open their minds to exploring universities outside of California. WCCUSD, I will make you proud.
On a side note:
Shout out to my grandma who is the only one, to my knowledge, who actually read through every single one of my blogs. Whenever she'd call the first thing she would always say is "I saw your blahg! You hab bery nice pikchor! Don't get fat ha!!" Means a lot to me grandma, means a lot.

Thanks for following my journey and experience through the east coast. It's been a blast writing all of these blogs, and I hope you've enjoyed reading them.

"Why follow in someone else's footsteps when you can make your own?" 
- Ghandi

It is now August 3, 2015, a little under 2 weeks since the trip, and I am truly feeling the impacts of my Con-Law class.

On recent news, there has been protest against government funding for Planned Parenthood, because of their fetal tissue research. This honestly really frustrates me, as it seems that the opposing side is just trying to knit pick and find another reason to unjustify abortion. Personally, I am pro-choice, and I will openly debate and stand for my point of view.

Now, this is weird. I'm not one to become involved in the craziness of controversiality, but I really feel serious about this. I believe in abortion. I feel that other people shouldn't try to take it away just because of their moral or religious beliefs. I believe that it is a woman's choice to have a child.

Before, I would simply dismiss any controversial topic presented to me, and let those who have to deal with it, deal with it. But now, I actually feel compelled to become educated on these topics, and prepare myself for any possible debate that comes up in casual conversation. I get EXCITED to argue with someone about something I believe in. I now have a passion for my own personal political views--heck before, I didn't even have political views. Again, thanks ILC for changing me into a more informed, interested, and educated member of today's society.


  1. Hej från Skandinavien

    Hello from Scandinavia.

  2. You have more fans than you might imagine. Just because we didn’t comment on them all doesn’t mean that we’re not reading them.

  3. I'd pick Yale, too! Best of luck!!💖