Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Goodbye, Hello

I had known before what you would consider to be “Day 1” for me that I wanted to be a part of this program. I had already seen the transformational effect of taking classes at Ivy League schools with the ILC in my brother. When Nick returned from a college-level course with a newfound ability to behave like an adult, yet still be himself (if you don’t believe me, compare his first interview tape with his second), I knew that I wanted that ability. I wanted that superpower.

I wrote my essay for Women and Leadership (and Presidential Powers, before I got in to this course I planned on applying to Presidential Powers as well, thank goodness Women and Leadership came first), and submitted it thinking “at least I tried,” because to me the best I could do would never seem like enough to balance what the ILC would be giving me—well, I still don’t think that.

Being accepted into this program was a shock to me, and everything after that was one long blur until I was suddenly on my own on the East Coast. Touring colleges taught me what the college experience would be like, but taking a course at Brown let me live it.

I don’t think there are words to express what Women and Leadership has done for me. If you’ve read some of my earlier blogs, then you know what we did in the class, but I can’t quite describe what it was like or how exactly it changed me. A few days ago, my mom was talking about the Supporters of the Theater Arts committee at my school, and, without thinking, I asked if I could join. I never would have done that before, but now, well, I just went to a meeting tonight. I don't feel different, but I know something must have changed. I thought of the idea for my Action Plan after I was accepted into the Ivy League Connection, but I doubt I would have even come close to succeeding without this course, and I wouldn't have started it without the ILC.

I know I’m lucky. I think that if I had been handed a list of every class at Brown and told to choose the one I liked best, Women and Leadership wouldn’t be the top of my list. Now that I’m home, however, I’m thoroughly convinced that Women and Leadership is the best course that the ILC offers—and it’s absolutely the best class I’ve ever taken.

It's odd. Thinking back on my time at Brown, a lot of my memories from there seem to have a surreal quality to them, like I'm not remembering things quite right now that I'm home. For example, I started to question whether the food at Brown was as good as I had thought it was when my mom fed me a regular old sandwich and I asked her, “What is in this?!”

One of the questions on Don's Post Mortem Questionnaire was, "Was this class interesting to you?  Did it live up to your expectations?" “Interesting” is an understatement. I’d probably go with something more like “captivating” or “fascinating” or “oh-my-god-this-is-the-greatest-thing-ever-ing.” If my expectations were for this class to bring me up to the top of a hill, it brought me to the surface of the moon. This course greatly surpassed anything I could ever have imagined it to be.

When I got in to this program, I thought I would come home having improved some basic leadership skills. In reality, this class is much bigger than that. On top of those skills, you can’t forget to add the lessons I’ve learned, and the confidence and maturity I have gained, as well as one more very important thing: I now identify as a leader. Two weeks, and I’m suddenly a leader? How does that happen?

I had no idea what I would write in my final blog. To be honest, when I started blogging, I wasn't very enthusiastic. I didn't really want to write one at all, and I only did because I knew if I didn't I could expect a lengthy email from Evil Don. But I'm so glad that I did. I reread my pre-departure blog, and I remembered the nervous, excited anticipation I felt before I left. It feels like I wrote it so long ago. I'm surprised to think how much less I expected from this course, and I smile to think how much more it turned out to be. This whole experience is all thanks to the ILC, and I'd like to thank Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, and Don Gosney for everything they do for this program. To everyone who helped me here, I owe you a hug. This course truly is life-changing, and my experiences at Brown will forever be a part of me.
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