Monday, June 2, 2014

The Final Step

Today marked another major milestone on the path to our UPENN departure date in the form of the ILC Orientation. This is the final step and event before we head off on our journey to the East Coast. Personally I always love attending the orientation sessions for many reasons. Among them is that it is the one of only two events where all current members of the ILC are gathered together. It not only offers a chance to share excitement about attending our respective schools with others but also an opportunity to meet the other bright individuals who were selected for the ILC this year. Secondly I also favor this event over most because it is the one that makes me the most excited to be able to go to the East Coast for the summer. Being the last event prior to our departures it serves to build my excitement for the summer as well as to make we wish that the days would go by faster.
At the beginning of the session, we all gathered in the multipurpose room of Pinole Middle School to listen to a few announcements from Don. Among the information discussed were the basic responsibilities we had as members of the ILC and what we could expect from our trips. An enormous amount of emphasis was placed on upon checking emails consistently and blogging every day while on our trips. For the most part this information was standard information that most of us already knew, but the intended audience were our parents. While Don talked over basic trip information I became excited for the adventures that awaited me once we arrived on the East Coast. I remember sharing these exact same feelings last year when I attended the orientation session. After a few more details and rules we were dispersed into our respective cohorts.
We gathered in one of the rooms of the school and were given a basic itinerary for our trip. Although it was still subject to change, I4 envisioned myself doing everything on the paper lain before me. So many new locations and experiences were waiting for me within a few weeks. I could hardly contain the excitement within me. Not only would we have the benefit of witnessing the Fourth of July on the East Coast, but we would be able to tour three (Philadelphia, New York, and Washington D.C) of the biggest cities during that time and witness first hand the ambient of each one.  However, it became very clear that for the majority of the first week over on the East Coast, we would be very tired and would be on a tight schedule for the majority of each day. Regardless, it almost pains me to think that I will have to endure a full month before I am able to set off towards UPENN. Our chaperone, Mr. Hillyer, on top of going over the many incredible locations and activities for our trip, also went over variety of necessary information. This included the best ways to get a hold of him in case of an emergency, which is an extreme luxury being that he is so tech savvy. On top of that he also gave us stories about his past experiences with his previous cohorts. For the most part he seemed to take great passion in being part of the ILC which really made me excited to have him as my chaperone for this summer. Mr. Hillyer also talked a bit about what we might have to bring on our trips and what we would be supplied with. One of the biggest things that I learned in this session was that we were advised to bring a sweater and a few articles of warm clothing for our dormitories as the air conditioning system was extremely effective at keeping the building "meat locker" cold.
After a while of conversing with our cohorts, we convened once again in the multipurpose room for some last bits of advice and instructions from Don. Here, he took advantage to give us all a road map on what we should bring on our travels. He showed us the "what to bring" and the "what not to bring" framework for packing. Also he gave us examples of the various loaner items that were available to us if we so desired. Laptops, luggage, fans. bed sheets etc. were all examples of the items that we could be loaned. Don also elaborated on the various rules associated with being a part of the ILC. Being a part of this program meant that we would embark on this journey in order to build upon our knowledge and to enhance our minds. That was the primary objective of our trips and it was something that we should all keep in our minds when over on the East Coast. Furthermore he also stressed the point that while over there, we must act like adults and that we must represent our school district to the best of our abilities.
Overall I can positively state that I am absolutely excited for my trip. I cannot wait to be enriched by the multitude of different cultures that exist not only in the three major cities we will be visiting, but also at UPENN itself. I can hardly wait to learn more about the Social Justice course I am taking and witness how it will expand my mind in ways I cannot even begin to imagine. So many thoughts of the possibilities that await me rush through my mind and I can only hope that this month passes quick.

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