Saturday, March 31, 2012

And so it begins...

When I found out that I would be attending Vanderbilt University this summer, I didn't really think about anything else except going to Nashville. Today, however, it dawned on me that I would be shouldering a whole new set of responsibilities before I even go to Tennessee, and I can't lie; I was pretty intimidated. 
Welcome to Nashville!

The rain had stopped by the time my older sister came to meet me outside of Hercules High School's library, where I had just had my SAT prep class. Together, we walked the short distance to the computer room where Don Gosney was holding the tutorial session for the Ivy League Connection ambassadors. I greeted Don and a few of my friends while my sister found us a computer and seats. I sat down next to her and waited for Don to begin. 

He started off by reminding us about the importance of checking our emails daily. He then transitioned to what responsibilities lay ahead of us, what materials we should (and shouldn't) bring, and he even gave some very entertaining examples of how not to act while on the East coast. Finally, he ended with a tutorial on how to blog. All of this took about two hours and it was all very informative, but I must admit that by the middle of the tutorial, I was lost in my own reverie.

Public speaking, oh no!
I knew that, as a representative of the ILC, I would have to attend several dinners and possibly be asked to give a speech at some of those dinners, but I never really dwelled on that too much because I was too distracted by the fact that I was just going to Vanderbilt. Now, however, I was very aware of the fact that I might have to give an impromptu speech in front of a multitude of people who I don't even know. You'd think someone who is a member of their school's Speech and Debate team would be confident when it came to public speaking, but I was terrified at the idea. I could just imagine myself up there on that stage muttering unintelligibly and playing with my hair (which is something I usually do when I'm nervous). 

I'm going to be more exasperated
than she is...

I was just about to turn to Maryam to voice my worries to her when Don mentioned something else; doing our own laundry. I knew that my family wasn't going with me to Tennessee, and I was happy about that, but I realized that there wasn't going to be anyone to take care of me. If I got sick, I wouldn't have my mom to treat me; If I needed something, my dad wouldn't be there to help me; and if I got into trouble, my sisters wouldn't be there to help me out. I will be completely on my own, which is unusually for me since, as the youngest member of my family, I have always had someone there to take care of me. 

I got this from the Internet...these aren't my hands!
Before I knew it, an hour had passed. While I was still spiraling in my pit of despair and paranoia, Don had reached the final subject of the tutorial: blogging. He told us all about blogging and showed us the applications we would be using. He also mentioned that people all over the world would be seeing our blogs. When I heard this, I suddenly forgot about all of my previous worries; all I could think about now was the fact that I would finally be writing something that would actually be exposed to eyes other than my own.  

I grew excited as I began listing prospective blogging ideas to Maryam, who had opened up several tabs on the computer and searched things like "effective blogging layouts" and "most popular blogs".

At that moment, all I could think about was writing; writing about the people I was going to meet, the places I was going to see, the foods I was going to eat, the things I was going to learn. I realized that my worries were completely ridiculous; as long as I have writing, I can solve any of my problems. I am ready for Vanderbilt and all of the challenges that may come with it. 

This is where I will be spending three weeks of my summer! Isn't it beautiful? 
And so my journey begins...

The Tutorial: One Step Closer To Vanderbilt

This morning I, along with many other Ivy League Connection ambassadors, some parents, and chaperones gathered at a computer room at Hercules High School for a tutorial session. Being one of the first ILC milestone events, I made sure I got up on time and got to the school early, just in case there was traffic, especially with the rainy weather, or if I got lost finding the classroom. I hate being late to things, so I arrived extra early, being the first one to get my school ID, CA ID, and medical card scanned. I anxiously sat quietly at one of the computers, with my flashdrive at the ready, and my water bottle, ready to get to work. As I sat patiently waiting for other students to arrive, I met with a fellow ILC member, Kelly Xi, and we got to know each other a little bit. I learned that she will be attending Brown this summer, studying DNA:Biotechnology.

Before I continue on about this tutorial, being my first time blogging, let me introduce myself, just like we did at the beginning of the session today. My name is Hannah Lee Pablo, and I am currently a sophomore at Pinole Valley High School. I am going to Vanderbilt University this summer, and will be studying Lived Religion: The Abrahamic Faiths.

As our departure date to the East Coast nears, we will be attending many ILC events.  Today's tutorial was just the beginning to our ILC journey. This session was very informational and was led by the exceptional photographer, Don Gosney. He began by stressing the importance of checking emails at least once a day. With 51 ILC members and chaperones this year, communication is really important. 

He then taught us how to do basic blogging, and the specific things we must follow. Towards the end of the session, we actually got to create a practice blog, using spell check, certain formatting, spacing, and even adding photos, and I find that it's not very difficult. I learned a lot about photography and PhotoShop. I hope to explore photography more as I begin to document the many wonderful experiences that lie ahead of me this summer. With Don's tips and tricks, from how to hold a camera when snapping a photo to red eye reduction, I really gained a lot of helpful information. One thing I will always remember when blogging is to proof my work. It's amazing to know that thousands of people all over the world will be reading my blog, from random strangers to the ILC sponsors, and even the college admissions officers. This is a very important aspect of blogging, because people will get to know us through these blogs, and it can set our reputation for our future endeavors. I was happy to hear that seven out of twenty ILC alumni, have just been accepted to Ivy League schools.

Aside from our Blogging 101 session, Don also discussed our responsibilities as ILC ambassadors, and the many things expected from us. From punctuality, proper attire, to public speaking, we were informed on the many tools we need to know, to succeed as an ILC member. Overall, this tutorial session was very beneficial, well structured, and organized. I learned a lot and I will be able to look back at the 34 pages of tutorial notes provided for us.

My cohort and I are one step closer to Vanderbilt. With many other events ahead of us, a few necessary loaner items from Don, and a luggage to pack, I am excited and eager to explore World Religions and the East Coast this summer. I even got to meet my chaperone today: Mr.Mannix, and I grew even more excited to spend my summer with him. He seems like a pretty cool person, and after talking to him, I find he will be a very helpful and resourceful person.
Vanderbilt, here I come!
Lastly, I would like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in the ILC for making this opportunity possible!

Heading to Nashville!

Nashville is a city of rich history and culture. I am excited to investigate the area's traditions in literature and academics, as well as theater and music. Some speak disparagingly of this city and the South in general. However, I look forward to breaking down these generalizations and appreciating all that the city and Vanderbilt University has to offer.

Today's meeting was productive, and I enjoyed meeting Hannah, Chris, and their respective mothers. I look forward to meeting the other students in the cohort very soon. It seems that Don and the crew have left no stone unturned in their preparation for this program. It is a relief to see this trip organized with the highest of standards and expectations.

By the way, cohorts. You can go here to get an idea about the weather we'll be dealing with in July.