Sunday, March 30, 2014

So It Begins

A somewhat artsy rain photo
taken through the window
I woke up with a jolt, realizing that I had an Ivy League Connection event today. Panicking, I threw the covers off and checked the clock, only to find that it was much earlier than I had needed to wake up. My mom picked up a couple of other ILCers on the way to De Anza, and although we forgot the directions at home, we arrived a bit early (which is the same as being on time in the ILC) and walked through the rain to our room at De Anza High School.

Don started the tutorial, and I prepared myself to listen to four hours of information about the ILC…again. Last year, I was a part of the ILC’s Women and Leadership cohort, so I had been through this tutorial before. I remember frantically trying to take notes on everything Don was saying, hoping that I didn’t miss something that he might not have included in the detailed packet he handed us. I had learned a lot, but I had been nervous that I would miss something important. This time, I was expecting to have to force myself to stay awake as Don covered information that I had already learned.

That did not happen, thanks to Don. Although much of the tutorial was spent reviewing things that I knew from last year, this was still helpful, because there were some things I had forgotten, and a couple of things that were new for me. Don made blog formatting, photography, behavioral expectations, and packing lists (and yes, there was much more) just about as interesting as they can be, and told us more about the ILC and the trip to the East Coast.

I was the only ILCer who was accepted into a Penn program at my morning tutorial, so, unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet anyone new from Penn, but hopefully I can meet the other members of my cohort soon. 

While learning about the ILC in this tutorial wasn’t as helpful for me as it was last year, it was still the first step in this process, and I can only think how much I look forward to the rest of it. I’m thrilled to be a part of this program, and I can’t wait for the next ILC event. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Start of an Opportunity

The rain was pelting down hard on the concrete as I made my way towards one of the classrooms at De Anza High. I was filled with anticipation, for today was yet another step towards an amazing journey. At around 1 PM, we went to work, and Don started by giving us information on blogging, editing photos, and how to use MediaFire. We compared and contrasted decent blogs and blogs that needed improvement to give us a general set of guidelines to follow. 

After giving us a few minutes to write our own practice blog, we were ready for the next step: adding pictures. By that time, the rain was only down to a light sprinkle and we started to wander around the school to take pictures for our blogs. De Anza was the perfect place to start shooting pictures after learning some photo-taking skills from Don. 
Once we mastered our way of working with our blogs, taking pictures, and uploading photos, Don ended the tutorial with a discussion about the expectations for us and upcoming events such as dinners. After some shared stories about past ILC experiences, we learned a lot about what to pack for our summer program, our dorms, and what the ILC will help provide for us, such as loaner items.
Stairs are known to symbolize opportunities and pathways
Attending the tutorial today really helped prepare me for this journey in the summer. Although I was a bit disappointed that I was the only person in my session to go to UPenn, I am excited to meet my cohorts of the Penn program as well as the rest of the Ivy League Connection at future events. As of right now, I truly feel so blessed, grateful, and thankful for this privilege that the ILC is offering for me. I plan to take full advantage of this opportunity. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tutorial Sessions 1 & 2

On Saturday March 15th the ILC held the first two of their four tutorial sessions where 18 of our 36 ILCers learned something about how to blog, take photos, post their photos and numerous details about being a part of the ILC.  They also learned more about what to expect in coming months.

If you scroll down below this blog you can read some of their first blogs. 

But first, we thought we would post a few photos from the day.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The First Big Step

Today was truly a milestone event for me. As a sophomore, this is the first time I have participated in the ILC, and this mandatory tutorial was the first event (aside from the interview, of course!). Participating in this tutorial really brought home to me that this was actually happening, and filled me with a sense of anticipation and nervousness as I look forward to what my experience this summer will be like.

At the tutorial we learned a lot about blogging and uploading pictures so we can share our experiences with our community and, according to Don, the world. We took a lot of pictures (like the one below) to practice the process of taking pictures, uploading them to the computer, and adding them to our blogs.
EC students at the tutorial
When Don was explaining everything that was expected of us and everything we needed, we got a packing list of all the things (besides the basics) that we might need. It was full of things I'd never even thought of, and it really made it all seem real. We also learned a little about the dorms and the scholarship we're getting. The scholarship is extremely generous, even loaning us all the items we need (like computer cables) if we don't have them. It's really great that they do all this for the students. I am resolved to get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Best of Times and the "Worst" of Times

Whew! What a day! Today was just another example of life's greatest stresses and joys. I had afternoon tutorial sessions with Don today about blogging and the logistics about the ILC program. Getting to these tutorial sessions wasn't a shoot of the breeze however as I was stressing over if I would make it to the tutorials on time with the traffic that I encountered. I was all huffing and puffing as I sprinted to not be late and make a bad first impression with Don. That's the thing about first impressions. If you mess up the first time you meet someone, then that image sticks with them for a long time and whenever they think of you, they have a bad taste in their mouth. But if you have a good experience with meeting someone, it gives them the feeling that they want to know more of you and you are memorable in a favorable way. I also sure as heck didn't want to meet Evil Don or Guantanamo Don for if I did, they wouldn't leave me ever!

But enough about the stress. Today was a fun learning experience as Don taught us the basics of blogging. We had to create a practice blog on whatever we wanted to write about. Then Don taught us the basics of Photoshop such as cropping and manipulating a photo until it looked nice and focused only on the subject matter. We practiced this by posting some pictures on our practice blog to make it look nice. 

Finally, Don talked about what to pack and what to expect over the next couple of months with the dinners. There was so many things that seemed overwhelming to me about how to prepare for the UPenn Physics program that I will attend. Good thing I have a lot of time to do these things beforehand. I'm so looking forward to going to UPenn this summer!

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Blog Post

Today marked our first Ivy League Connection tutorial session. I got up early, something I am not accustomed to doing on Saturdays, in order to arrive at DeAnza High School on time for the tutorial. The session began with an introduction to blogging and examples of what we should and should not do when blogging. From there, we moved on to the nuances of creating an informative, engaging, and aesthetically pleasing blog post. Among the topics covered were how to take good photos and upload them to our blogs, how to format out blogs, and when to write blogs. 

In order to get a feel for blogging, we each wrote a practice blog post. Afterwards, we practiced our photography skills, and learned how to upload photos to our blogs. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera, but Gwen let me use hers to practice with. (Thanks Gwen!) Hopefully I learned enough to blog successfully, though this post does lack photos, because of my aforementioned lack of a camera. 
A warm sunny day at De Anza
The last portion of the tutorial covered information about other pre-trip preparations, packing for our trip, the dorms we would stay in, and what to expect while traveling. I realized once again how incredible an opportunity this is. I still can't quite believe I get to travel to the University of Pennsylvania this summer to study my favorite topic. I am so excited to be a part of this program.

New Beginnings!

I awoke bright and early with a true sensation of excitement. This was because today marked the true beginning to my second Ivy League Connection adventure in the form of a preliminary tutorial session. The location was De Anza High School, the same location where I began my first steps towards my enterprise at Columbia University. It is truly remarkable to believe that roughly around a year ago, I was taking my first steps in my adventure with the Ivy League Connection. I still find it difficult to comprehend how fast time truly flies without my realization. I look back at when I first began my experience with the ILC compared to who I am today even I can barely grasp the changes I have had in such a small time frame. When I look in a mirror it is if I were seeing a completely new me, which only fuels my excitement for another year with the ILC. 

Hard at Work
The session began with extensive information about blogging. We were given knowledge of how to both set up accounts as well as what type of information we should disclose on our profiles. Additionally, we were also introduced to the rudimentary mechanics of blogging, everything from the exact format to how to implement photos and videos into our posts. Don then proceeded to show us examples of bad blogs that were both dull and boring. He gave us tips on how to add flare to our blogs, as well as making them unique and interesting to read. Afterward, we were shown examples of blogs that fit under the category of exemplary. Even I found myself drawn to read these as they possessed a certain finesse and savvy with using their words to truly portray their experiences. 

Once Don had finished with his instruction, we put our skills to the true test by creating a few practice blog posts. Having been away from blogging for a while now, I anticipated I would have been entirely lost with mechanics of blogging, prior to Don's instruction. However, after being given a refresher, everything began to feel natural again as it had on my previous adventure. In a way it resemble an underlying second-nature attribute that was only waiting to be woken from dormancy. The blogs we created during this phase of the tutorial were meant primarily for us to experience first-hand the logistics of creating a blog post.

Photography 101
When everyone had created their posts, we moved onward and were given tips on another valuable skill with creating a good blog, photography. We explained to the difference between using a real camera, even one as simple as a point-and-shoot one, and one that is in a cellular phone. Don gave the basic rundown on image quality and showed us the software he uses for photo editing, which will prove to be very useful tool further down the road of my journey. We then implemented a few random and miscellaneous photos into our practice blog posts to learn how to properly add photos. This process involved information on how to make the photo blend in with the words around it and how to edit the photo so that it was properly placed into the post.

The last few items on the agenda consisted of a reminder of the expectations each ILCer would be held to, upcoming events, and insight as to the various items we would need for our trips. During this discussion, I had flashbacks to when I was preparing to embark on my first adventure to New York city a year ago. I could not help but feel a bit of nostalgia for my time there. In less than a month I had been given a lifetimes worth of experience consisting of not only new knowledge but also friends I would have never imagined being able to have made, many of which I still keep in touch with. This feeling also made me realize that, I was a part of this adventure again, that I have once again been given the invaluable privilege to study at a prestigious college for a summer. Simply sitting in my seat listening to Don describe the basics necessities for travel was invigorating and earnestly incremented my excitement to attend the University of Pennsylvania this summer.