As our departure date nears, a surge of anticipation and excitement floods within me. After tutorials, instructive emails, school board meetings, and the endless support of the ILC, I can finally confidently say that I am finally leaving the Bay Area with my cohort in exactly two weeks. This feeling, like this opportunity, is almost unreal, but after today's orientation, it finally hit me-- this is reality, and it's happening now.
Located at the Pinole Middle School auditorium, today's event ran a bit behind schedule due to a late ILCer. A team of their word, both Don and Mr. Ramsey decided not to begin the orientation until that student showed up, reemphasizing the importance of being on time. As Don has spoken before, we are no longer treated nor seen as children. Part of being an ILCer meant being a responsible adult-- and that included avoiding tardiness, and being tardy to larger ILC events (such as departures or dinners) meant more serious consequences. As we finally settled, the chaperones introduced themselves and Mr. Ramsey gave some insight about each upcoming trip.
After, we broke out into groups so we, along with our parents, could learn about our specific school and program in more detail. Permission slips were passed out and as Mr. Chanlaw, our chaperone, began to give us an overview about our itinerary, I caught myself wondering and trying to picture myself at Cornell. While Chanlaw described briefly about each day and the atmosphere and environment around Cornell, I began to imagine the beauty of both the school and the nature around it as he spoke. However, as much as I tried visualizing life at Cornell, I know I wouldn't come close to grasping a good view of the East Coast until I actually experienced it first hand. This made me even more excited. After sharing a few laughs here and there, Chanlaw finished explaining our three weeks at Cornell and we headed back to the main auditorium to gather with everyone else. At that moment, I felt a close bond with my cohort. I have a really good feeling about both the people I will be traveling with as well as the places I will see very very soon.