Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mirrors

When I sat in the waiting room, thinking about the upcoming interview, I was wracked with nervousness. I definitely did not carry the confidence I had when I first thought about applying, when Don introduced the Ivy League Connection to everyone from my school, in the library. I was dead set on applying to the ILC after hearing about it then, and I wasn't planning to let anything stop me. That mindset has brought me all the way to now, as I just came back from my trip recently. I've worked very hard to get into the program and to satisfy all the demands of those running the ILC. 

Before the trip, I was not as enlightened as I am now. I had these fantasies, misconceptions, of all sorts of things about Ivy League schools, the East Coast, colleges, and other sorts of things. I expected college life to be filled with exorbitant amounts of stress, with no free time at all. Instead, during my stay at Brown, I found it was the complete opposite! If I managed my time well, I'd have most of the day to do as I pleased. I also hoped that living in the dorms would be very comfortable, but instead, it was very unpleasant and I tried to stay outside whenever I could. 

The trip also meant that I lived on my own, thousands of miles away from home. I had to learn to do a lot of things on my own, like supplying myself, getting food on my own, and doing my own laundry. Granted, there were only three weeks, so I didn't get a full experience; I also had a pass to the dining hall, so I didn't need to learn to cook. Of course, it was still a good learning experience for other factors. 

Beyond these relatively simple stuff, I learned some very vital, specific facts about Ivy League schools. Most of them have great financial aid programs, so students that don't have plenty of college funds can easily afford Ivy League schools. Their scholarships are often need-based, coupled with need-blind admissions. This means that the application process does not take into account of one's financial status, and scholarships will not be awarded based on merit but rather needs, as long as the student has been accepted into the school. This is highly encouraging for me to at least apply to as many schools as I can! 

I'd like to think my thinking process has developed more over my trip, too. I hope I'm more of a critical thinker, and I hope I can understand things on a more fundamental level. I do know that despite the fact that I'm an outstanding student, there's plenty of room for improvement, and I want to fill up that room, especially if I want to get into a great college. This trip has greatly encouraged me to improve. 

This program gave me an experience of a lifetime, one that I will cherish for ages to come. It's immensely valuable, and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. The ILC is possible thanks to the work of those that manage it, and I am quite thankful to those. I hope I've made it worth their while, but regardless of that, I've certainly benefited tremendously from this! I'm aiming for new heights now, heights that I never would have even dreamed of being at before participating in this program. 
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