Friday, May 24, 2013

Not Selfish, But Grateful

Today, we had our long awaited fancy dinner at One Market. I was really looking forward to this event because I wanted to meet Cornell Alumni and many of those who helped make the ILC happen. Upon arriving the El Cerrito BART station, I wondered which one of us in my cohort was going to speak. I thought I was in the clear since I already spoke on Tuesday at the Pinole Council Meeting. Surprisingly, Christian and I were chosen to speak! Of course I panicked because I had no idea I was supposed to speak and I didn't think I'd have enough time to give a decent speech. However, I just told myself to relax and not over think things. I've spoken before and I survived, so I knew I could do it again. 

While waiting for others from our group to show up, we Cornell bound high schoolers mingled together. Even though Don told us to meet new people, we all ended up talking to each other in the end. I knew that I was a little scared to go outside of my comfort zone and it was my one regret of the night. By the time I really wanted to talk to other people, especially adults, the adults formed small groups of their own and I didn't want to interrupt their conversation. 

I've never been to a restaurant as fancy as One Market. I knew it was fancy right away when we all got drinks and stood around mingling with others. Appetizers were served and the food was delicious. The five of us ILCers stayed together once again, but this time we were having a conversation with a Cornell Alumni, Carolyn. She told us about the great experience she had while going to Cornell and it got us all excited to be going there this summer. Shortly after, we took our picture and of course, Don took many shots. Once again, I made sure I didn't blink for fear of future embarrassment. 

Jesus was talking about his experience at Cornell
Finally, it was time to sit down for dinner. I was not used to wearing heels and my feet were killing me. My table included Christian, her mother, Calvin, his father, Jesus (one of the many Cornell Alumni), my father, and myself. I really enjoyed listening to Jesus talk about his experience at Cornell as an undergrad compared to his experience at UC Berkeley for grad school. Being from Texas, he wanted to experience both coasts and he didn't want to stay home because he didn't think he'd grow as much at home. I agree with him completely. Home is nice, but reaching out and gaining new experiences is key to independence and growing up. However, I always have a fear of the unknown. It may be easy to say that I want to be independent, but the road to independence may be a difficult one. Nonetheless, I'm excited to see for myself what it is like to be independent. 

Here I am, giving my speech
After  some small talk, Mrs. Kronenburg welcomed everyone and introduced all the student scholars, their families, the staff, sponsors, and alums. There were so many names that I could only remember about a quarter of them (not including the people I already knew). Soon after, it was my turn to speak. I tried not to think about it too much the whole night so as not to make myself nervous. However, as I walked to where Mrs. Kronenburg stood, I could feel myself shaking (this may be due to my lack of experience in wearing heels and not nerves after all). I focused on how well the ILC prepares students for the future. When I was done, I realized I probably spoke too fast and too little. Christian gave a great speech and I could really relate to the things she said. Especially the part about the ILC boosting her confidence. Eric spoke well and he made me look forward to going to Cornell even more. He knew Cornell was the college for him after he spent his summer there last year. Maybe Cornell is my calling as well. 

Mr. Ramsey spoke last and once again, he really knew what to say to make me think. The last time I heard him speak it was at the School Board Meeting and I was proud of being from WCCUSD. This time, he emphasized how we don't EARN opportunities because it is too selfish. We are GIVEN the opportunity and we should be grateful to those giving us a chance. I am VERY grateful for this opportunity. There are many people who helped and supported me when I applied to be an ILCer. The essay readers gave me a chance and the interview panelists gave me a chance. I will not let them regret their decision in giving me this great opportunity. Giving back is a must. 

Dinner continued on after Mr. Ramsey's meaningful speech. The food was great. I just had to take pictures of all I ate, but I missed my chance to capture the soup because I went up to speak when they took it away. I only had about three sips. The short ribs were DELICIOUS. Lots of meat and one small piece of bone. The white stuff (cottage cheese?) was very new to me. It had an interestingly sour taste to it. Desert was amazing. The cake the still warm! My favorite course was the desert because I love sweets. When it's between salty or sweet, I pick sweet any time. 
This is the amazing desert that was still warm
As we ate, we all chatted. I really wanted to know how Jesus and Calvin found their major because I still don't know what I'd want to major in. I realized that just because I decide now, doesn't mean I'd stick with my decision. Although it would be better to stick to a major, college is the time to find myself. Jesus wanted to become a Veterinarian, but he graduated wanting to do something else. Even Calvin said that he's majoring in Urban Planning now, but he may change his mind in the future. It was a relief to know that my indecisiveness is normal. 

All good things must come to an end eventually. I wanted to talk more with Jesus and Calvin, but there just wasn't enough time. On the BART ride home, I had a very nice conversation with Ms. Prak, the counselor at Kennedy High School. Once again, I was reassured that my uncertainty (about what I want to major in) was normal. Even if my parents want me to become a doctor or a lawyer, in the end, I am the one going to school, so I should major in what I want.

Tonight was a great night filled with new experiences, new faces, and good food. These dinners are a great way for student scholars to look forward to going to the East Coast over the summer even more. This meet and greet for Cornellians was a great experience. I'm very grateful that I have been given the opportunity to have this experience of a lifetime and be an ambassador for the ILC.
This is our Cornell group picture

1 comment:

  1. Christian did a great job with her speech but don’t cut yourself down--you did a great job, too.

    I don’t know why I even try to advise some of you. I tell you of the importance of NOT bunching up with the other ILCers and not only do you reject my advice but then you brag about it in these blogs.