Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The End is Near

The entrance to the Hercules City Council's meeting room,
and the podium where we will be speaking. 
One week. Exactly one week, seven days, 168 hours until the day I depart for Chicago and, in sequence, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. A single week during summer usually passes in unhurried moments between sleep-ins, meals, and summer assignments. The past two days, however, have already merged into indistinguishable instants of cracking out luggage bags, testing power strips, and leafing through course texts. Each day closer to that promising moment when I will board the plane to the East Coast seems an hour shorter. 

The fact that I have only one week until my departure did not hit me until three hours ago as I spoke to the Hercules City Council during one of their biweekly meetings. As is often the case when I have an occasion to speak before a public audience, the rehearsed oration I had prepared was tossed aside for an impromptu articulation from the heart. Don had advised many ILCers to simply speak from the heart during these events, and this evening's calling went better than I had anticipated, though I have plenty of room for improvement. Yet while my performance was far from perfect, I am well aware that my public speaking skills have greatly improved since I joined the Ivy League Connection. I am mindful of colloquial fillers such as "um," and I no longer return to my seat with trembling legs or clammy hands. These achievements are the products of my significant confidence boost and many opportunities for practice, just a couple examples of the wonders the Ivy League Connection has facilitated. 
After this year's Hercules ILCers were presented, students
and council members gathered for the customary photograph

I cannot stop smiling. This program has already broadened my horizon by leagues, and I jump at the thought of how much I have left to learn and experience in my three weeks on the East Coast. Everything up to this point has been preparing me for the moment when I will depart to New York, and with only one week left, the end is near. The days fly past and before I know it I will be boarding a plane to Chicago, on my way to a new journey and a new beginning as a student and as an individual.  

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