Sunday, October 27, 2013

I Had a Hunch This Brunch Would Pack a Punch

Just when I thought I was done blogging...

I hadn’t looked forward to getting up early on the weekend, but by the time I met Don and several ILCers from Brown and Yale at BART, I was wide awake. My excitement for ILC events was back—although I’m sure the freezing temperature was a factor in my sudden alertness.

The drive to the Olympic Club with Ms. Kronenberg and  Peggy, a Brown alumna, had comfortable conversation, and when we arrived, it was instantly clear that the Olympic Club was amazing. It had three golf courses, as well as several other high-quality sports facilities which Izzy Ramsey listed off for us on the tour. Oh yes, we got a tour. Mr. Ramsey was very kind to take us through some of the rooms of the athletic club, showing us a view of a golf course and the tennis courts, and it was fun to explore a little.

We mingled for a short while; I talked with Amy (a parent), Sophia (a Yale alumna), and Peggy (a Brown alumna). It was nice to hear from people who had first-hand experience with Brown and Yale, and I took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about college life and applications from these people.

Sonya, Elia, and I talking to Peggy from Brown

This type of conversation continued at the actual brunch, although other topics (like sports) jumped in occasionally. I was seated with three Brown alumni, Blake, Andrea, and Simon, who were very open and fun to talk with. I learned new things about college, and the brunch itself was delicious. I really look forward to future Brown/Yale mentor events; the ideas people came up with seemed interesting and fun, and these events will come with more chances to ask questions to the alumni.

It was still new to me to sit at a table with three strangers and still feel perfectly comfortable. I suppose I’m still adjusting to my new ability to relate to adults I’ve never met, which I’ve developed thanks to the ILC. I reread my blog about the Town Hall dinner just for fun, thinking that I would find my own description of a similar experience, but I was wrong. That blog was written by a younger, far more nervous version of me. I remembered putting in too much effort to maintain a conversation, worrying about my posture and manners…it’s incredible how different I felt at this brunch. I think that this feeling of being more mature than I was less than a year ago says something truly amazing about the ILC.

This brunch gave me an opportunity to reflect on the ways the ILC experience has affected me as a person, as well as to think about my future. I can’t express strongly enough how useful this network of alumni will be to me and to other ILCers. Getting advice from friends and siblings isn’t the same as getting it from people who have had different backgrounds and experiences at Ivy League schools, and having a mentor to reach out to is extremely valuable to all of us. I’d like to express my thanks to Charles Ramsey, Don Gosney, Madeline Kronenberg, and Izzy Ramsey, as well as all the Brown and Yale alumni who attended for this delightful event.

Brunch at the Olympic Club

Today the Brown and Yale cohorts received the amazing opportunity to meet with Brown and Yale graduates who can aid us with our college applications. On top of all that, we got to meet over brunch at the Olympic Club, which was breathtakingly beautiful.

A senior in high school this year, it was really helpful for me to hear the different perspectives of Brown graduates. While Peggy majored in Economics, and Blake was a Pre-Med, I saw one commonality among all of the Brown alums: they all were so happy to have attended Brown.

Peggy, who graduated in 1984, said that she was not sure what she wanted to study, and ended up majoring in Economics by default. Now, she is a successful lawyer. She said that even if what you major in is not what you end up doing as a career, having a background in anything can help in other fields. I found this piece of advice very helpful.

Blake was one of the few students who was accepted into Brown's program in which you take eight years of medical classes, without having to go through the process of applying to graduate school. I thought it was really impressive that he was able to know as a 17-year-old high school student that he wanted to be a doctor. I have an idea of what I want to do and what I am interested in, but I do not have a definite career mapped out.

We got to tour the Olympic Club, which was so incredibly nice. Every patch of grass on the golf fields was perfectly green, every glass perfectly polished, and every piece of furniture perfectly placed.

When we got our food, I was so overwhelmed with all of the choices. The buffet included: fresh fruit, pastries, french toast, potatoes, omelets, and more. I ended up taking way too much food, and was not able to finish it all.

It was really fun and helpful to get to start planning more Mentor-Mentoree events. We decided that we will have a Pier Day in San Francisco where we will go to an interactive theater, have lunch, and learn some more from each other.

I am so grateful that I was able to go all the way to Brown, and I am grateful now that I am able to receive even more help from the ILC. I couldn't ask for more help applying to college.

Looks Like Mt. Olympus

Today I had a lovely brunch at the Olympic Club, in San Francisco. As guests of Mr. Izzy Ramsey we had the exclusive opportunity of enjoying a fantastic brunch at the oldest athletic club in the US. When we first arrived Mr. Ramsey gave us a tour of the country club, which was quite impressive.

Afterwards we gathered in a lounge that had a lovely fireplace and a large portrait above the mantle. Then we were led into a small room where we were offered drinks of our choice and we spent a few minutes socializing. I spoke to three Brown alumni--Lauren, Blake, and Simon, about their experience and my preparation for college. One thing I must admit is that the Brown alumni have me persuaded to want to attend Brown. My main concern is the academic environment. I want to attend a school that cultivates an environment in which students are encouraged to help one another. The last thing I want in college is competition, and all of the Brown alumni that I spoke to did not experience that.

It was finally time to have our brunch. It was buffet style so we were offered a variety of food. While we served ourselves we listened to the piano music played by an actual pianist. After we got our food, I was able to have an in-depth conversation about college with Lauren Brodsky. We talked about a variety of topics relating to education.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my future. My friends who are seniors are beginning to fill out their college applications, so I've had a list of questions about the college application  process. I also had a few questions about the stressful topic--money. After speaking with Lauren, I feel more prepared for college.

It was a wonderful gathering and I am looking forward to seeing them again. Each time I attend these alumni gatherings I realize that my nervous jitters weren't necessary. The mentors are so kind and helpful in making us feel at ease. Without the help of Mr. Charles Ramsey, Ms. Madeline Kronenberg, Mr. Don Gosney, Mr. Izzy Ramsey, and the Yale and Brown alumni this would not be possible. I would like to thank them for their benevolence and their generosity. This was a great way to spend my Sunday.

The Olympic Club

A Beneficial Brunch

Although the thought of sleeping in today was tempting, I woke up at 7 AM to get ready to go an ILC event. It had been a while since I’d attended an ILC event, so getting together with everyone again was exciting. After meeting up at the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station with some members of the Brown and Yale cohorts, we all drove to the Olympic Club in San Francisco to have brunch with alumni from Brown and Yale. From a picture Don had emailed us of an aerial view of the Club, I was already prepared to be amazed. I was not disappointed. The Club was on a big, beautiful property and had elegant rooms and a giant golf course. Thanks to Mr. Izzy Ramsey, we got a lovely tour of the Club and I found out that Mark Twain used to be a member there!

The Olympic Club

Even with the fog, the view was great.

Once everyone had arrived, we got to mingle with the alumni. I met Peggy, a Brown alumna, who talked about Brown’s flexibility when it comes towards a student’s major. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t know what I want to major in yet so going to a college where I can take my time choosing a major sounds nice. It was also great to see Lauren, another alumna, again because I sat next to her at the Brown dinner and it was nice to talk to her about my experience at Brown. Most of the Brown alumni that I talked to also mentioned that they never felt like they were competing with other students at Brown. I definitely got a community vibe from Brown this summer because the Leadership Institute promoted teamwork and all the other students in my program were so helpful. 

During the actual brunch part of the event, I sat at a table with Simon, Andrea, and Blake (all Brown alumni) as well as a few other students who had done summer programs at Brown. During the meal (which was one of the best meals I’ve ever had) I didn’t feel any pressure because all the alums were so open and friendly. We talked a lot about our experiences at Brown but they were also genuinely interested in learning about our personal interests and hobbies. Unfortunately, brunch went by quickly but I was happy to find out that we’d be going to a lot of events together as a group. Some fun ideas for our next meetings were to go to sporting events, Fisherman’s Wharf, and take an improv class. I really like the idea of being able to have fun and hang out with people who have already been through college and can help set me on the right path. 

This brunch was so beneficial to me because it allowed me to feel even more confident that I can succeed because I have a support system around me. Although the idea of my future is scary, it’s nice to have someone who recently went through the same thing and can help guide me. I can’t thank Mr. Izzy Ramsey, Mr. Charles Ramsey, Don, and Ms. Kronenberg enough for giving me this amazing opportunity.