Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mere Memories

Although I’ve only been home for a couple of days, my time on the East Coast already seems like a distant memory. It’s almost as if it happened in a dream. Did I really tour four colleges? Did I really take the Women and Leadership course? Did I really make an Action Plan? It’s so strange that in a mere three weeks, I have made memories and bonds that will stay with me for a lifetime. What’s more, I have grown so much more as a person. I am much more self-aware. This sort of growth usually takes months, years even, and yet, in a matter of three weeks, I feel as though I have completely transformed. Is that even possible in such a short period of time?

I’ve found it surprisingly easy to adjust back to my life at home and yet it was surprisingly easy to adjust to life in a dorm two weeks ago. Isn’t it odd how fast something new can become normal? But even though I feel fully adjusted to life back at home, there’s still this moment when I wake up in the morning when I think that I can look across the room and see my roommate getting out of bed or that I can walk down the hall and meet some friends for breakfast. 4 days ago, as I was walking out of the Brown gates for the final time, I felt as though I were leaving a piece of myself behind but I also knew that I was taking a piece of Brown with me.

Brown Bear statue 
I can even remember all the way back to my first alumni dinner at Town Hall. I was so nervous on the BART ride over because I had no idea how I was going to make conversation with adults. But, when I got to Town Hall, I was happily surprised to find that it was so easy to talk to the people at my table. They were all genuinely interested in hearing my opinion and Lauren, the alumni next to me, was happy to answer all my college-related questions. I feel like this was the first time that I realized how many people are willing to help me on my path to college. And, yes, there were times when I was stressed out: filling out all the paperwork to apply to the ILC, applying for my course, and having to blog when all I wanted to do was sleep. But, while these seemed like negative aspects of the ILC at first, I now realize that, because of all these, I have gained responsibility and independence. Those are two qualities that many people only gain when they get to college and now I have a head start.

And then there’s all the way back to when it started. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I applied for the Ivy League Connection eight months ago! Even though time has flown since then (there’s no way it’s been eight months!) I can’t seem to recall filling out paperwork or preparing for my interview. Eight months ago, I had no clue how much this experience would change me. When I first heard about the program, I was talking to my principal about a scheduling error and, out of the blue, he recommended I check out the Ivy League Connection because it might interest me. A few months later, I was in an auditorium filled with students from my school listening to Don Gosney talk about the ILC. As I was looking around at all these intelligent students, I thought: There’s no way I’ll get into this program. I can’t compete with them. Yet here I am. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I’d like to say that the ILC has taught me that if I put everything I’ve got into something, I will be rewarded in the end. Although this is by no means the end, I already feel rewarded.

At the beginning of all this, I was insecure and nervous about my future. Where was I going to college? How was I going to pay for it? Which extracurriculars will look better on my college applications? During my time with the ILC, I have learned what sort of things I like in a college and what sort of things I don’t. I have learned what kind of questions to ask colleges in order to make sure they have what I need. These first-hand experiences of getting to visit colleges have lengthened my list of possible colleges to apply to. Not only that, but by talking to incredibly bright individuals in college I now have reassurance that it’s fine to not know what I want to major in yet. Without the ILC, these opportunities would not have been available to me otherwise. There aren’t enough synonyms for “thank you” to describe how grateful I am towards the Ivy League Connection for giving me the chance to see and experience a world beyond the one I am comfortable with. 

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