Sunday, April 22, 2012

Getting The Hang of Blogging

As I was on my way to the blogging tutorial at Hercules High School, I couldn’t help admiring how green the campus was; its leafy trees and smooth-looking grass were eye-catching. I then saw Don there, who was unloading the last of his things he brought for the tutorial. After I introduced him to my mother, I entered the classroom, which was empty since I was the first one there.

My mother and I had just chosen our seats when my chaperone, Mr. Mannix, walked in. He was a tall guy with very long hair. This surprised me a little because in that photo Don sent us, Mr. Mannix had short hair. I was also a little jealous of his hair, since my hair doesn’t grow very fast-or very long. Anyway, Mr. Mannix was a really interesting person that had this very relaxed mellow vibe to him. I also really appreciated how passionate he was about being a teacher; it’s really great seeing people do what they love.

After our conversation with Mr. Mannix, I sat down and got ready for the tutorial. Don talked to us about the most important subject of the day: blogging. He showed us a lot, from formatting our blogs, to tucking in our elbows to take a picture. He also stressed about the importance of proofing our blogs, which is a MUST since people all over the world will be reading them. I found this a little frightening, considering only few people (besides teachers) have read what I’ve written, and believe me, I am not the best writer. However, that’s why blogging like this is a good thing. One of the best ways to learn is through trial and error, and I know blogging every day is bound to give major improvements to my writing.

After the first session of the tutorial, we got a break to mingle with our fellow ILCers. Unfortunately, I tend to be a tad socially awkward so I was a little nervous about this mingling business. To help with my awkwardness, Julia, a friend of mine, went along with me to meet a group of girls near the water bottles. To my dismay, it didn’t turn out so well, and we ended up only shaking hands with a girl named Emily. Emily even had to initiate the handshake. However, my efforts for mingling eventually went through. I got to meet a student from De Anza named Roger who is going to Yale for the strenuous Grand Strategies course. He is a really nice guy, and I talked to him throughout the tutorial.

The rest of the tutorial went on smoothly with some hands-on blogging and other information including loaner items-which is extremely helpful for me. Going to this tutorial made me realize that I have a long way to go before I begin thinking about getting on that plane for Nashville. Even though there are several things I must do before July comes around, I am excited to begin this unbelievable adventure with my cohort.

Thank you ILC, for making this possible for all of us.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

ILC Tutorial: Another Test

I was rather nervous yesterday morning. However, I wasn't nervous because of what lies ahead in the Ivy League Connection--fancy dinners, school board meetings, public speaking, traveling, Vanderbilt's program, and etc--was too overwhelming. I was nervous about giving a good impression to my fellow ILCers and my chaperone (not to mention a second impression to Don). 

It was 9:01 AM, when I got out of my car to head to Don's tutorial, and I was late. It was pouring rain as my mother and I rushed to the tutorial/computer room in Hercules High School. My heart was beating so fast by the fact that I was late, I couldn't think properly. And so, it took a while to find the room. When I did, I was pretty wet; everyone looked at me. Being the person everyone was waiting on, I was very embarrassed. Don gave me the agenda packets for the day's tutorial, telling me that I should pass them out since I was late. Still nervous and embarrassed, I forgot to give myself a packet. I got up out of my seat to get an extra one during the tutorial, not thinking that Don would say anything, but he did. He said, "This is a test, Chris." And I knew when he said that, the impression I was giving to everyone in that room wasn't so great. I felt weak, stupid, lost, awkward, and embarrassed; and I was still nervous!

However, once we were allowed a break through after about a third of the session, Hannah and I (along with our mothers) had the opportunity to meet our chaperone, Mr. Mannix. After just a few exchanges of sentences with him, all the negative feelings I once had, were gone. I was no longer nervous, and instead, that feeling was replaced by excitement--especially when we found out that we're spending July 4th in Washington D.C.!

At first, I was worried that Mr. Mannix was going to be very strict on us. We heard from Don that our chaperone is a strict vegan and environmentalist and that Don really liked him. This scared me a bit. I'm not saying Don's judgement is not favorable, but I just wasn't sure why Don really liked him. However, I can see why Don did, because I really liked him. In fact, if I had a choice to choose out of all the chaperones available for our trip, I'd choose Mr. Mannix. It seems like we'll have plenty of freedom, but also know that he'll recognize our interests and opinions during the trip. He said we'll try to do things that everyone wants to do or is interested in, and that made me even more excited. It seems like the five of us are going to have a blast this July!

The excitement for my adventure to Vanderbilt continued throughout the tutorial as Don mentioned our travels, and it still continues as I type this. It relieved me to know that I'll be able to be loaned practically anything I don't have available for this trip, from a laptop to a laundry bag.

I also realized how important and how beneficial this program is going to be for me. Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg took the liberty of coming and talking to us at the end. He said that because of last year's programs, 35% of the ILCers that year were admitted into an Ivy League College. That amazed me, knowing that the acceptance rate of most Ivy Leagues are less than 10%. It truly made me realize what kind of program I'm in, and I'm  grateful for what the ILC has given me. I can't wait to see what lies ahead!
Ah, three weeks here--too beautiful.