Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Fancy Dinner to Remember

It was a hot summer evening, as my mother and I headed to the BART station to make our journey with the Ivy League Connection to the restaurant One Market in San Francisco. It was an interesting feeling for me on our journey to BART; I hardly felt nervous this time--compared to the tutorial session. However, I was that last one to arrive at the BART station, but I figured I couldn't change that; and so I let that go and had my mind set and ready for the dinner. Even on the BART I felt at ease, and just went with the flow. Perhaps the only thing I was nervous about was my table manners and how to eat the such elegant food with, well, elegance.

As we entered One Market, I felt an entirely new environment. This new environment made me realize that I am no longer a teenager, but a young adult soon to enter college. I just couldn't help but smile and observe the fancy dinner tables and soothing jazz music playing in the background. In entering, I was asked several times by waiters and waitresses if I wanted these elegant-looking mini-appetizers. I of course said "yes" with excitement almost every time. And I'm not even going to kid myself, it felt good to be treated with such prominence,  by not only the workers at the restaurant, but all of the others joining us for dinner--that all my hard work payed off into getting in to the ILC and that perhaps in the future I will be living this luxurious type of life.

The Vandy cohort was split up when we sat into our tables. Because of this, I had to opportunity to make conversation with Vanderbilt's alumni and the people who have sponsored me into going to Nashville this Summer. One of the very first things both alumni said was, "There's nothing bad that I can say about Vanderbilt." Now I know they wanted to show off Vandy, but it really did seem like they were being totally honest. 

We spoke a lot about the area, Nashville, itself. The estimated population of Nashville is a pretty good size, with over 600,000 and over a million in the metropolitan area. Yet, everything is very spread out, and it's a very "chill" city. No one's rushed like in the Bay Area. One won't be surprised if they're suddenly making conversation with a stranger. So although the South is politically conservative area, this doesn't mean their people are. It won't surprise anyone in Nashville  to walk in a restaurant and hear live music by a famous music star, or even go on a date (with a tie and everything) to a football game. Compared to life in the Bay Area, the social environment in Nashville might be a good change for me.

On the campus itself, all students are required to live on campus for all four years. This really gets all the college students involved and closer together. Many are in fraternities or sororities, especially women--half of the female population at Vandy are in a sorority. Ironically enough, the campus library is where all the students socialize (well at least they have good intentions, right?). By my senior year, I would probably be able to know everyone in my class (which one of the alumnis did).

After talking a lot about the social life in Nashville and the school, we finally started talking about the education at Vanderbilt. No matter what area of study you wish to pursue, you'll know it's a top-ranked course in the nation. The class sizes are nice and small (10-15 and the most is about 40) with some of these classes even smaller than some of my high school ones at Pinole Valley. This would give me opportunities to actually know the professors, instead of going to a UC lecture hall and never even saying one word to them.

Vanderbilt also gives you the opportunity to take a variety of different classes. You can even double major or make your own major. But whatever it is you wish to pursue and decide to major in, Vanderbilt will make it work for you. Also, being a Liberal Arts school, Vandy has certain classes that are mandatory. They make you take a philosophy class, which is actually a good thing because I'm very interested in philosophy. But all in all, Vandy doesn't just give a student a good education; it prepares them for the real world, giving classes ,just like philosophy, to help make a student the person they'll be for the rest of his/her life. With all the different types of courses I'm interested in--English, History, Humanities, poetry, philosophy, sociology, psychology, marketing, international relations, and etc. (and of course religion)--I know Vanderbilt will have them available for me and let me major in them in any way I want.

 Overall, the dinner was a great experience, and it was an honor to have finally met my sponsors and the alumni--not to mention my principal, Ms. Kahn--who seemed very excited for the four of us to study at Vandy. I've learned a lot about Nashville and Vanderbilt, and I know the next couple of events will just make me more excited for our trip. 

To end this entry, I just like to say I am truly grateful for everything the ILC has done, and I don't think I've could've said it any better than Hannah when she gave her speech. I just truly hope that the students in our district know there's so much more to life than just the Bay Area, or California.

With the cohort and the alumni after dinner.

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