Friday, May 30, 2014

A Night to Remember for Ages

The ILC places an immense value on giving back to the community. For me, the events in which this is most clearly seen, are with the ILC dinners that we have in San Francisco for each cohort. As a second year ILC member, I remember the impression my dinner last year had on me and how in awe was left by the end of the night. This year was no exception as the UPenn dinner last night left me with more than I could have possibly ever hoped to take from the event.
Beginning with our meet up at the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station, I was already anxious to attend this incredible event. After, all those whom were traveling in our party we grouped together for a few brief words of advice from Don. Although a lot of these had become embedded into my nature after participation with the ILC last year, the advice made me reflect on the significant change in myself over the past year and a half. Once everyone had been informed over the small details of the night, we boarded our BART train and set out for the night.
On board the train, I had the pleasure on getting to know Linda Cohen, one of the members that selected me for my second year aboard the Ivy League Connection. She regaled me of stories of her husband who had served as a part of the United Nations. It was amazing to hear her speak and in reality it was very inspirational. She had visited so many places around the world and it was  astonishing to believe that there is still so much I have yet to experience. She described how she, from the age of 16, had fully decided on the major she desired to follow. This is something I found quite remarkable considering the statistics about how many college students end up changing their majors. It really made me think about the major I have grown fond of ( Pre-Law) and if in reality the fervent passion I have developed for it will result in my true destiny.
After the roughly forty minute train ride and a few blocks of walking in the city, we finally arrived at our destination for the night, Kuleto's. After reading up a little about this lavish restaurant, I came across a discovery that made me see a link between it and the ILC. Kuleto's is a restaurant that serve Northern Italian cuisine, however it is unique in that it adds an American twist to it. This parallels essentially with one of the ambitions of the ILC, to integrate students from our school districts with cultures from around the world and to have them influence us so we can influence others. On a different note, the food was amazing and it was incredible to actually witness the unique blend of cultures that rested on my plate every course. Personally I am a fan of Italian food, but I do not recall ever having tasted it with such a incomparable American twist to it. It was a marvelous culmination of flavors and textures that tingled across my taste buds with each bite.  
Going back to the actual course of the night; upon our arrival, we were given a while to walk around and mingle with a few of the other guest whom had already arrived. Among the expected guests were both alumni from UPenn and current undergraduate students. I was able to meet an alumni who gave me invaluable information about majoring in Law. He gave me advice on how to be accepted to a Law school and which classes would be of greater benefit to me. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this individual was that he was a Political Science major as well as a Philosophy major.
The layout for the dinner.
Once everything was ready, we all took our seats in order to begin the event. I was fortunate to be seated near two current undergraduate students from UPenn who had actually not only attended my school district but were also alumni of the ILC as well. After a while, opening remarks were initiated by Ms. Madeline Kronenberg. Her speech really set the tone for the night and truly made me feel even more proud to be a participant of the ILC. After brief introductions from everyone we moved on to the speakers that represented our cohort, Julia Shebek and Donna Fang. Both did an incredible job and I commend them for their eloquence and representation of the gratitude our cohort felt.
Next up were closing remarks by Mr. Charles Ramsey, and perhaps one the most inspirational, moving and impacting speeches I have ever heard in my entire life. I feel that out of the entire night, Mr. Ramsey's speech was not only the most motivational but also the most enlightening. Very few times have I ever been impacted so immensely by someone's words, but that speech most definitely falls under the very few unique speeches that have instilled upon me a desire to change who I am. One of the greatest things I take from Mr. Ramsey's speech is the quote "never settle for second, always strive for first". This phrase was truly inspiring and not only did it reflect on our academics but also life in general. It was empowering to hear him speak, to an extent where I cannot even put to words the grand affect his speech had on me. I felt a powerful desire to be better, to strive for greatness and to take what I achieve and to use it to thank everyone who helped me obtain it.
Congregating with undergraduates
During dinner, I learned a lot about the atmosphere of UPenn from the two undergraduate students I was seated next to. Both of them gave an more personal opinion over their experiences and I found it bit more relatable to hear from a person who had followed the same path as I am. It truly is impressive to me to see the effects the ILC can have on students. Before me stood two crowning examples of the type of person the ILC develops, an individual who takes the time out of their busy lives for one night to educate and inspire the young minds of tomorrow. It really helped me comprehend the true meaning of community behind the ILC.
After a mixture of conversations and an superb meal, it was time to head back  and conclude. Speaking from my own perspective, I truly feel that that night changed my life for the better. Never once had I been so inspired by so many individuals in the span of one evening. I learned more than I could have learned from anywhere else. Hearing the stories of alumni and undergraduates increased my excitement for this summer. Being that this will be my very last year with the ILC, I plan to make the most of it and can only hope that this month will go by quick so that I can once again embark on a unforgettable journey.

UPenn Cohort with Undergrads and Alumni

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