Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Some Memories Never Fade

“Memories warm you up from the inside, but they also tear you apart.” Thinking about everything I experienced at Brown and all of the incredible people I met warms my heart, but at the same time, brings an ache, as I deeply miss the class and all of the people in it.

I knew from my sophomore year that this was the program for me. When my friend had come back from Brown gushing over everything she had experienced there, I knew I had to try it for myself.

On the day of my interview, I was too nervous to think about anything else the entire day. When the time came to randomly pick the order of interviewees, I picked the card that said first. At the time, I couldn't think of anything worse: I was the very first one. I was setting the bar. Looking back on it, I think going first was probably the best option, because instead of letting my nerves build up inside me, I got to channel all of my energy into a passionate interview.

After everyone had interviewed, I came to realize that my interview had definitely been the shortest out of all six. I started to panic--had I spoken enough about each topic? Was I too brief? Did I talk too quickly?

When they called us into the room to announce who had been chosen, I was bracing myself for the worst. Then, as one of the panelists held up the cards with the names of the girls who had been selected, I could slightly make out my name through the white paper. I wasn't sure, and I held my breath as she called out the names.

My name was the first to be called. I let out a huge sigh of relief, and felt myself smiling. I tried to stay composed, but I could not conceal my excitement! I knew from then on that everything was about to change. Not only was this extremely exhilarating, but also extremely scary. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The day we left for the airport at 4:00 AM, I wondered to myself if I was in way over my head, or if I had made a mistake in even applying. When we went on our first college tour, I realized that even if I was in way over my head, that this opportunity was once in a lifetime, and I had earned the spot in the program. That got me thinking: the panelists voted for me to come all the way across the country and take a class, which means they actually believe that I can accomplish something. Doubtfully, I thought, "maybe it's time I start believing it too."

After touring Brandeis, I realized that if it weren't for the ILC giving me the opportunity to go see the campus, I would never have even considered applying to Brandeis. It is now on the list of my top ten schools.

On the first day of class, I was so nervous. I remember thinking that everyone would be smarter and more capable than I was. After just one day in the class, I had already learned so much, that it didn't matter if the other girls were smarter than I was. It was a class, not a competition; but even so, I came out as the winner because I learned so much about society and myself.

The Women and Leadership class.
I was pleasantly surprised by the class in that it wasn't completely focused on women. I had not really considered the leadership aspect of the class, but was glad to find that I got to learn more about my own leadership style, as well as how to work with other leadership styles.

I think the main reason I loved the class so much is because of our teacher, Dean Almandrez. She was so invested in each of us, and was so interested in seeing us succeed. It felt really great to have a teacher who cared so much about what we were doing and how we felt.

Dean Almandrez!
Another reason I loved the class is because of all of the amazing people I met. I made friends with literally every single girl in a class of 26. Even though we were all so different, it was amazing that we were able to become friends. I will forever cherish the friendships I have developed with these girls, even if I may never see them again.

I think anyone who gets to take the Women and Leadership class next year is extremely lucky, and I hope that the ILC never stops offering it. The class was eye-opening, interesting, amazing and innovative all at the same time. I am so grateful that I was able to participate in such an amazing program, and I hope that next year, other girls can say the same. 

Thinking back to the first day of our journey when we left for the airport and I was second guessing myself, I now believe that because of everything I learned in the Women and Leadership class, that I am a leader, and if I can believe in myself, I can accomplish anything.

If it weren't for Dean Almandrez, I would not be able to say this right now. More importantly, if it weren't for the ILC, I wouldn't have even had the chance to second guess myself in the first place. I feel so incredibly thankful to have experienced this amazing opportunity.

Thank you, ILC!
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