Tuesday, July 19, 2016

~My Time at Cornell~

I had never really heard of Cornell all that much other than it was a great Ivy League school. Before going to Cornell I remember looking up all these pictures and seeing the beautiful campus. Trust me it is way more beautiful in person. The pictures barely even gave me a glimpse of the school.  When I arrived there was so much more than what Google maps could provide. I honestly was blown away once being there and after a while began to feel as my home. 

The environment was green all around, but the only thing I was not really used to wasn't the green environment, but the isolation of the college. There was College Town where there was a couple of food shops, the mall, and the commons where it was like  downtown. To get to some of these places I had to ride a bus. I definitely was not used to their being so less I guess you could say, but it did let me get closer to peers. I spent most of my time on campus with friends and if I left to go somewhere I would leave with friends. At first I did not like the feel of isolation, but it kind of brought everyone together. I still though did not like the fact of lack of food places and quality of food places. Maybe since where I am from I am constantly surrounded by food or I am just a food lover, but Ithaca lacked the food experience.
It was really fun to go and explore with my friends all around campus and more. I really liked how I got a glimpse of how college life really is like balancing fun with study. Yet, still making it back before curfew which was a downer sometimes. I loved the small community of this college and always felt to me that there was always a new adventure to take place in.
Ithaca's weather was an interesting thing. It was always hot and I actually personally like hot weather, but Ithaca was something else. I personally like the sunshine and heat that comes with it, but Ithaca comes with humidity. I have experienced humidity going to Nicaragua, but Ithaca was always humid even when raining. Actually it would get even worse if it rained. I can recall only one day that was moderate weather and not humid. I think what killed me though was the lack of air conditioning at the dorms, a fan is nice but can only do so much.
As for the people at Cornell I experienced an East Coast culture shock. Summer college honestly lacked diversity. Maybe because I come from such a diverse high school, but Cornell was filled with international students from China, White people, a few Hispanics and a little sprinkle of other races. I am used to a big jumble of diversity which was weird not to see there as I assumed was a normal thing. The wealth gaps were definitely noticeable especially with clothing. They would wear a brand called vineyard vines (some whale on a shirt) and I would wear true religion. They dressed in Vineyard Vines, cargos and moccasins or how they like to call them Sperrys. The language was completely different. They barely used slang and if they did it was either very old to me or just sounded weird. I realized Bay Area people just love to make up slang as I realized words that are commonly used here are non existent in the East Coast. Also apparently I have a Californian accent. I do not really know what that means, but I am assuming because I use "hella" a lot.
As for the class Inspiring Leadership, I absolutely loved it. I learned so much about myself that is really going to push me in the future. The class ultimately made me acknowledge who I was. It's a hard subject to explain, but it has to do with what a person's values are. I learned a lot about leadership. There are a lot of misconceptions about leaders about how they should be the loudest in the room or the ones who solely make the decisions where in reality it's the opposite. Leaders are supposed to be the best listeners and must understand that sometimes one must become a follower. A leader must understand to acknowledge other's ideas and suggestions instead of only  having your mindset. The list goes on in things I learned, but it helped be become a better person and a future leader. I have a lot to learn, but now I know I am on the right path.
Cornell opened my eyes to a whole new way of life. I met people from around the world with different backgrounds and different perspectives.  I learned so much in such little time, I still cannot believe I am back home. I am happy I met all the people I did and was able to form a family bond with everyone that only being there could one understand. Cornell really showed me a lot of new things. All the differences made me grateful for where I come from. Even if I do not come from the best school or best neighborhood I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I am who I am and that will never change. Until next time, Cornell, maybe instead of being my temporary summer home you become my actual home for next year. The future awaits!!!

~Who I Am, An ILCer~

The Ivy League Connection has changed me as an individual. Becoming an ILCer was definitely an adventure. From the beginning the Ivy League Connection kept pushing me to do better and better. The Ivy League Connection throughout the adventure gave me confidence and some more confidence. 

Believing in myself started when the essay round  started. I tried my hardest on the essay for Cornell and prepared constantly for my interview ahead. Once being accepted into the scholarship it arises a feeling that I could do anything I set my mind too. I began to become more confident in what I was capable of. It definitely helped me with my speaking abilities, as in the interview I practiced giving well put together answers in a matter of seconds. I also gained experience in speaking in public for the School Board presentation as I gave a speech thanking our community and everyone involved that supported this scholarship.

I never once had anything like the Ivy League Connection in my life something that was not 100% guaranteed, I always had to try my hardest and go through dinners, to blogs, to writing, and presentations.  This program is so unique and actually helps students believe in themselves and realize that they are destined to greater things. I still cannot believe I got in to the scholarship and let alone that I went to Cornell for three weeks. Yet, here I am back from Cornell. I never could have imagined the future to come with the Ivy League Connection, but that is something about the program--it lets you experience new things.

This program opens doors for you and lets you see yourself in a new light. Starting at Cornell it was a completely different experience from back at home. From the people to the environment. I had to keep pushing myself staying up late sometimes writing my essay or rereading class materials so I could better understand it. I kept pushing myself harder because I wanted to prove to myself that I belonged here. most kids paid for their stay there while I was on scholarship. How I see it is I worked hard to get to where I was and I was not going to stop there either. This is something about ILCers that I realize we DO NOT give up even if we have a lot of homework we still stay up to blog and add pretty pictures to it. Even though we do not come from the greatest schools with the best English departments we work our butts off for our essays in the classroom. We keep pushing ourselves to do our best or even past that.

I wish my whole community could experience what I did. I know everyone could benefit from this experience, but even if the whole community could not join me I alone went and now coming back I am going to make a change. Being an ILCer is all about giving back, now my community just has to wait and see.

Being at Cornell I want to reach new heights now I have higher goals. My class of Inspiring Leadership let me understand who I am and let me realize what I could do to make a change. The Ivy League Connection gave me the support to even know these things.

Coming back from Cornell I am a new person, I don't know if you can see it, but I can feel it. I am ready for anything to be thrown my way. Thank you again and again ILC for helping me discover my capabilities as Diana. Thank you to the panelists for seeing my potential that not even myself  realized. Thank you to my community and school board for supporting this program and us all the way and not giving up on us. Thank you to Mike for always being there for us whenever we needed you. Thank you to my cohort for becoming a family to me. Thank you Don Gosney for actually changing my life for the better and always working your hardest to send us to the East Coast and  to see us grow. Everyone can agree that you are one of the most inspiring people in our community doing everything you do for us. There is no way I could ever repay you, but I will do my best to help my community and let the legacy community of being an ILCer.  Till next time ILC, I hope you continue to change lives as you dd for me and many others.

Experience as an ILCer

From start to beginning, my experience as an ILCer was nothing less than memorable. It was definitely basically everything I hoped for since I first heard of it at my freshman orientation, way before Don even introduced himself later in my freshman year. At the time, I was really thrown off by the fact that I couldn't apply until I was a sophomore, but I looked forward to it. I wanted to apply to the Columbia programs, but come around my sophomore year and the Ivy League Connection was barely existent. 

The first program of the three that I applied to was Brown's Women and Leadership program, and after getting an interview I wasn't quite able to get myself the scholarship. It didn't discourage me, although it did frustrate me a little bit, from further applying to the other programs available. This was just part of the learning experience, because I know there will be other times later in life in which I'll need those interviewing skills. Also, I thought that maybe it wasn't meant to be and there would be other opportunities.

Not too long after the Women and Leadership interview, I applied for Social Justice at University of Pennsylvania, and yet again I received an interview for the program. The essays weren't that difficult to write for me, because they were topics I felt passionately about and could honestly write about. Beyond that, I wasn't doing that well in the interviews, and yet again I didn't receive the scholarship. By then, I thought that was the end of me being an ILCer. There was a potential of the Cornell program not being offered, and I was getting discouraged from all this rejection. Waiting at almost 9 PM at El Cerrito High School, I wasn't feeling too good about myself.

Nevertheless, I wrote the essay for the Hotel Operations program, and I revised the other two essays that are required in the application. Being a person who has always considered something in either Engineering or in Law, I didn't know if a Business course was the way to go. Despite that, I still really wanted the whole experience of visiting a school out of state, especially an Ivy League. I surprisingly got the interview, and I met with Don to go over my two previous interviews and see what I could improve on and do better. I went into this interview feeling a lot more confident, and some of the questions were similar to the ones I had in previous interviews. As a matter of fact, one of the interviewers had interviewed for the Social Justice program. After another 3 hours of sitting in that same classroom at El Cerrito High School, I did not receive the scholarship. I seriously thought that was the end of the Ivy League Connection for me. My Speech 120 teacher encouraged me to reach out to the interviewers, and find out what I could improve on, and I did. That's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Around 2 weeks after, I receive a call from Don as I was leaving swim practice. To my incredible surprise, Don told me that I would be the recipient of a fourth scholarship to Cornell. That was probably one of the best days of 2016. I was crying from excitement. Don gave me about three dates to write down in my calendar, and life was kind of fast-forward from then. I think it was about a week or two later that I met with my cohort and chaperone at MOD pizza, and we knew it was going to be a great trip. We all agreed we weren't picky on food options and were excited about exploring new places. That following weekend we had the tutorial with Don at De Anza High School. 

From there on out, I improved my time management and social skills. We had the cohort and alumni dinner the following Monday. That was just a taste of all the connections that we'd be making at Cornell. I got to talk to Shanti about what it would be like at Summer College and she really made me look forward to it. Doug and Jesus, the alumni, both spoke highly about Cornell's campus, the atmosphere, and the dining hall food. The dinner was overall a lovely experience, just like everything else would be.

After the dinner I didn't see my cohort for a while until we had the orientation at Pinole Middle School, where we got an idea of what our trip was looking like. I found out, we wouldn't be visiting New York City, but Chicago, what a surprise. Visiting UChicago and Northwestern gave me an idea of what I was looking for in colleges and gave me something to compare to at Cornell. I think the college visits is also what makes the ILC experience so unique, because other scholarships won't cover that, or the amazing food we go to eat while on the trip.

Then there was my actual time at Cornell, which as you can tell by my blogs, was absolutely amazing and I loved it so much. I've only been back a few days, but whenever people ask me how I liked it, I cannot stop saying how much I loved it. People tend to ask me if the essays, the interviews, the tutorials, and everything was worth it for the three-week program. I cannot stress enough how much it was all worth it. I learned so much in this experience and with the interviews and taking a Speech and Debate course I know I'm a way better speaker now. Even if I wouldn't have gotten the scholarship in the end, I know I would've had a lot to take from the application part of being an ILCer. I'd honestly do it all over again given the option. I felt so lucky throughout the whole thing and I hope that the program still exists the following year because I've been encouraging so many people to take this opportunity. Not everyone in my community has the money that those kids at Cornell did, to easily spend $6,000 on a summer program, but the chance at a scholarship to a summer program of such high prestige is something not to be taken for granted.

What Being an ILCer Means To Me

Being an ILCer was a journey on its own and one that I could never forget. It was strange because a little bit of me was just trying to test how well my writing skills were and it resulted in me getting a scholarship to study at an Ivy League school. I felt that a mixture of luck and destiny came into play somehow as for the fact that this was the only program I had applied for. However I didn't 100% to get in at all. And the fact that I did really made me feel that larger strings were being pulled towards a bigger destiny.

It was such a different experience for me. Never before had I gone through such a process like a fancy dinner worth thousands of dollars, a presentation to thank the board and seeing an Ivy League school in general. When I look back at all of the events we were required to go to, I was doubtful at first however I realized how naive I was. Listening to all of the different testimonials and previous blogs, I realized that I had to keep up a legacy for multiple people. Because I was apart of something even bigger than me.

From the time with me staying at the Omni hotel in Chicago to all the meals that the district managed to pay for us, I really began to see myself as someone special enough to get the chance to have this opportunity. Being apart of this program really made me think harder at the fact that I was chosen for a reason and making sure that everyone would be able to benefit from me being chosen.

Being at Cornell as an ILCer was a completely different experience and was the real point where I realized what my true purpose at the program was. Unlike other kids that paid for their own stay at Cornell, being on a scholarship made me feel like I had a certain weight on my shoulder, or an obligation to uphold--besides having to blog nightly. I felt like as an Ivy League Connectioner, there was duty in the name. I see the three words and interpret it as connecting other people in my hometown with the idea of getting to attend an Ivy League school and if not that then getting the benefits from other people who attend. Especially being in my Public Policy class and the things that I learned related to the election and things with economics, I feel like my community would benefit so much from what I learned. From our lack of participation in community elections to our high obesity rate, learning about so many of these topics and how it endangers my community makes me feel obligated to help address it. This is where that key word "connection" comes in. As an ILCer, I feel that being at Cornell really helped me realize that I can't just take the scholarship as something that only I deserve, but something that my community deserves to benefit from as well. And after taking my public policy class I was able to see it.

I can't begin to thank all of the people that believed in me and helped me go through my process of growing as a person and seeing my true values through this program. I want to thank the interviewers for choosing me and seeing my potential, and Mike for helping to guide us through everything to make sure we don't get side tracked, and Don for making the opportunity even possible. I realize that the gift will not be one sided and that after returning home from this program it's my duty to make sure that the benefits reach all.

As someone that is a part of ILC, I realized that I wasn't given the scholarship to fully benefit from alone.

I was given the scholarship to learn how to help better my community.

My Experience At Cornell

Cornell had been my dream school in freshman year and it was amazing getting the opportunity to look at the school in person rather than in pictures. It was different than I expected but still cool in a way. The school is very big, yet we were more centered on North Campus so the sense of community was still felt at the school. It was incredible getting to see how gorgeous the campus really was and it was a huge change from the city life colleges I'm used to (such as Berkeley). However, in Ithaca, Cornell was literally considered the city there. And it was also very green. 

I had a lot of fun at Cornell because I had my own freedom to do whatever I wanted to do (as long as I made it back before curfew). I really enjoyed this system because it felt like I was at real college and almost had all of the freedom as a real college student. With Cornell's small community yet huge environment there was always a lot to explore, from going out to the Commons to heading to the Ithaca Mall. However, I think Cornell's wonders where not pertaining to the commercial side, but to their environmental side and how the campus was literally surrounded by nature. The school had multiple gorges to explore and hiking trails to wander off in. It really felt like a school where one can be alone and go on an adventure if they wanted to. Also, with the fact that T-mobile coverage doesn't quite reach Ithaca very well, it allows for once to put down the phone and tune in with nature instead.

The wealth disparities with the people attending summer college were definitely visible. Vineyard vines (an apparently popular east coast designer brand?) was seen everywhere, and everyone seemed to either have a business or have a non profit to "do better for the community they serve." However not everyone made this wealth gap very obvious and over pushing and many people were very humble about it so it didn't feel awkward being around such people. 

As for the class, I found it very interesting. I'm happy I took it because I have been very interested in things related to economics and public policy however I didn't know how to combine it with my interest in science. Being at Cornell and taking my class, I was happy to figure out what economics and public policy were and how I could blend it into the major of my choice. The class was super interesting, however a lot of work. But Cornell gives many resources to help out with this work including multiple libraries, study areas, computer labs, heck, I remember at one point just taking my blanket outside and going to study on the grass. It was fun watching the college atmosphere with 5 people in a circle practicing their Frisbee backhand or people lying on the grass waiting for time to pass. 

Being at Cornell really opened my perception to multiple outlooks in life politically and economically. I used to be very one sided on such issues however after having the opportunity to look at both sides and where they are coming from I can definitely see my views changing a little bit. I credit this especially to my Public Policy class. 

I also like how you can feel a sense of sisterhood at Cornell. When hanging out with the friends I met there one could only grow closer to them at a faster than usual rate because we basically lived together and spent most of our days together. It wasn't just a regular summer camp type of thing, in this program we were learning to survive with daily situations from people that we meet to the classes and homework that we got from each class. It gave the "we only have each other" type of atmosphere which was really cool and as an independent person it was interesting learning to be more dependent on people. 

I'm happy that I've managed to go to Cornell. The difference in the atmosphere made me really appreciate where I live a lot more and hopefully my adventures with Cornell do not end as I apply for a spot for the freshman class of 2017!

ILC Experience

I first heard about ILC when my brother got into the University of Pennsylvania for Experimental Physics during his sophomore year, which was about three years ago. I knew as soon as he got in that I would want to apply when I became a sophomore and I specifically wanted  to go to UPenn because it's one of my top choices and because the program was the longest out of all the other ILC programs. I wanted to be as independent for as long as I could. So, when Don came to Pinole to do his ILC presentation I was set on going to UPenn for their Social Justice Academy. Unfortunately, I didn't even make it to the interview stage for the UPenn program and needless to say, I was absolutely devastated. I didn't know if there were going to be any more programs offered and so I started researching other summer programs I could do. 

It was already super late into the semester and most programs had already closed, but I thankfully one day receive the email with the Cornell Hotel Management application and I immediately go through all the prompts and details for it. I knew that this was my last chance at participating in ILC during my sophomore year and I had to take it. After my brother reprimanded me the last time about the UPenn application, I decided that I would take full advantage of all those around me for this application. I spent almost five days editing my pre-essays and regular essay for the Cornell program and I asked more than ten people to read through my essay and tell me their opinions. I asked a lot of past ILCers, but there were a couple of non-ILCers as well. It was probably one of the hardest I'd ever worked on an essay. 

I send in my essays and hope for the best. It takes another week or two before Don emails back to those who got into the interview. I had gone to Disneyland with the marching band and was on the way back when I received the email and I quite literally squealed on the bus. Katherine Phan, somebody who helped edit my essay, was right behind me and congratulates me. It was one of my happiest moments even though I had yet to actually get into the program. 

After I get home and unpack, I start asking people to mock interview me. I end up mock interviewing about 4-5 times. I arrived first with Diana (we went together). We took our pictures with Don and wrote our names on little cards. When everyone arrived and wrote their names on cards, we chose our interview number. I'm actually the last one to get a card, so I didn't get to pick, but I got the third number. I don't really freak out because I tend to freak out the minute before I actually do something so I was fine at that moment. The second interviewer finishes up and Don is there to take me to be interviewed. I start freaking a little, but I knew that I would be fine once I sit down. After entering the room, I shake all of their hands and introduce myself. I tell them, "My name is Shuxin. Like a shoe that is singing, but don't emphasize the g." 

We go right into the interview and I thought all of my answers, posture, hand gestures, eye contact, etc. were decent enough. I make them laugh a couple of times and that was reassuring. After everyone finishes interviewing, Don announces the Cornell Cohort and my name was called second. I couldn't believe it. I was so incredibly happy and grateful. All my hard work had paid off. 

Right after the interview, I worked on my actual application to Cornell for the next day or so. I also get the recommendation from my business teacher. It was a super busy next couple of days, but it taught me a lot about working under pressure and short time. I literally got so many emails from Don that my entire first page was filled with just Don. I turned in all of the necessary paperwork and essays and my life is pretty relaxed with ILC for about the next month. 

After AP tests finish, we do all the meet and greets, dinners, board meetings, and orientations. It was really hectic, but I enjoyed the alumni dinner the most. I got to meet Hummd and talk all about my life and the Cornell alumni who all raved about Cornell. One alumnus, Doug Mitarotonda, liked Cornell so much he went there for undergrad, graduate, possibly PhD. Other than the amazing food, I also got super excited for Cornell after hearing all of their stories. That was probably when it really hit me that I would be away from home for three weeks at Cornell. 

Fast Forward throughout all of my Cornell experience, five planes, and all the packing I'm now home writing this blog. My ILC experience has been crazy hectic, but something I will treasure forever. I learned so much about communication, following instructions, and even packing while going through ILC and for that I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped make it possible for me to go to Cornell. I would have never been able to visit University of Chicago to realize that I want to apply early decision there or experience the rigor and pains of taking a college course at Cornell. I would have never met all of my new friends from all over the US and world or take pictures with a waterfall slapping water right onto my face. I wouldn't have really even gone anywhere outside my house if not for ILC. The amount of work ILC required was very tiring when all I wanted to do was sleep, but it's taught me a lot and I wouldn't have rather done anything else during this time. Thank you to everyone that's followed me throughout this journey and made it possible. 

Time At Cornell

As soon as I arrived at Cornell, I already knew I would hate the amount of walking I would have to do. I dragged my suitcase, carry on, and backpack up a hill and several flights of stairs. I thought I would never make it up to my dorm. Little did I know, I soon grew used to it and made an amazing group of friends while walking all around Cornell's campus. 

It took me about two weeks to find a solid group of friends that I felt really close to. Before this, I met a lot of people and knew who they were, but they weren't really people I felt as if I'd stay in contact with. I had heard so much about how you'll meet life-long friends that you do so much with. So, needless to say, I was a little bit disappointed at the very beginning, but as time went on I met a great group of friends that I ended up ordering late night snacks with and cracking up laughing while studying for exams. I’ve never had so much fun studying because I usually just study by myself since I find it to be more efficient, but studying in a group really showed how sometimes a break is necessary and motivation from others can really help. It also helped when the other person had a different understanding and explained it to me through their eyes, which showed me a different way of thinking.

In terms of academics, it was an amazing environment. I’ve never been in a more academically focused environment before. Everyone was always on top of their reading because no one wanted to fall behind. This motivated me to not only keep up with the large amount of reading, but actually take the time to understand the text rather than just skim through it because I wanted to be able to participate in the discussions and give my opinions. I would say I was barely slightly above average in the class and I didn’t care at all. Usually, I care a lot about grades and work hard to maintain an A in every class, but at Cornell it didn’t really matter because I knew I was learning a lot of material and giving it my all. It was just truly about wanting to learn rather than trying to get a good grade in a subject that I was forced to take to fulfill requirements.

After coming home, I’ve realized how different I am in terms of work ethic. Before, it would take me forever to start doing any work, but after going through Summer College, I’m able to just sit at my desk and work for hours without really thinking about anything else. I think this is because the amount of work I have to do now seems so small compared to what I did at Summer College. Also, I’ve realized how much easier it is to do work if you really have nothing else to do. At Cornell, I would have to walk out in the hot sun and for a long time before I could get anywhere, so I really didn’t feel motivated to go out to far places that often.

Not only am I better work wise, but I can definitely tell I’m less of a brat. I don’t really care if I have to do laundry or fold clothes anymore because it’s so much easier doing laundry at home than it was at the dorms. The washing machine is right next to my room and I don’t have to drag it to the basement. Nor do I have to swipe a card before washing my clothes. I can just load my clothes and press some buttons. After being away from home for three weeks and essentially having to take care of myself, I’ve learned how great being at home and having everything on the same floor. Before this trip, there were times when I was even too lazy to walk ten steps to the bathroom because it was so far away, but at Cornell I had to walk so much more and do so much more just to go to the bathroom. I had to make sure I didn’t leave my keys, have my ID card, etc.

Altogether, this was truly a life-changing experience that gave me a glimpse of what college will be like. Not only was it similar to college academically, but also the amount of freedom I had. I never had to think about really telling anybody where I was or what I was doing. If I wanted to go to the mall then I would take a bus to the mall and I didn’t have to inform anybody, which was pretty amazing. For once in my life, I was treated as an adult and I thoroughly enjoyed it and it makes me really look forward to college. Of course, it all came with a lot of responsibility and things that I needed to remember to do. All of this taught me a lot about time management. I always had to plan out time for homework, laundry, and especially food because the dining halls were only open during certain times and I really didn’t want to miss a meal. Even if there were times that I felt pained having to do everything, I still wouldn’t trade this experience for anything because of how much I grew as a person, both academically and mentally (my mom says physically too, but I don't see it). 

~ An Unforgettable Experience~

Showing off the Certificate
It was the day I dreaded, yet was so excited for my last day at Cornell. I started off that day with only having about 3 hours of sleep because I stayed up late for my last day with Kachi and fixing my luggage and getting everything packed.I waked up with everything ready at least. I had my my RCA check my room at 9:30 to make sure that nothing was broken and that I had cleaned out my trash where I come to find out that my room mate had totally ignored all of those rules. The room was full of food and she had not cleaned out her garbage nor her side of the room and by the time I woke up had already left. When the RCA had come to my room I was just as shocked as she was. The RCA just told me since it was her side it was not my responsibility and in her evaluation told me I was fine and since it was my room mates side of the room and my room mate and checked out without even doing evaluation of her side of the room it was not my responsibility.

Anyway I stayed in the room a little longer though to get ready for my upcoming graduation taking of course a while because of course girls take long to get ready. I than finished getting ready and went to go drop off my luggage with Mike and went to go meet up with people from my class to walk to graduation together. It was a sour feeling going to graduation because a lot of my friends from graduation had already left because of other programs or their plane flights so it was sad not seeing them there. Everything went by so fast I wish I could relive it.

One of the most inspiring people at Cornell, Jackie
I came to the graduation with my friends and saw a lot of friends from other programs also and it just started to sink in that this was about the last time I would see them. We lined up in alphabetical order and sat down inside this very  large room. When you walked in you saw family all gathered around and  in the middle the graduating students. We took our seat and every professor got up and said their speech and began to pass out the rewards and let me tell you when they called my name and I received that certificate of completion I walked off that stage like I was on top of the world.

After the quick graduation everyone stayed around to say goodbye to everyone so their was pictures and exchanging social media, ways in keeping contact with each other. I was happy that I completed the program, but slowly started to realize my time was almost at a end. I said my good bye to my professor Mark and gave my thanks to my teacher aid who helped me along the way with the course and had  faith in me and it really helped me to improve in writing abilities.

Buffalo Pizza
After saying a lot of goodbyes I left the scene with a couple  of friends to go eat at this store where I would always buy snacks right by the dorms. We bought a large buffalo pizza which was amazing and my last meal in Ithaca. I said goodbye to everyone as it came the time my bus was arriving soon so a couple of my friends walked me back to the bus stop and that was the last good bye to my leadership classmates and very good friends. I got on the bus with everyone in my dress because I didn't change earlier, but  I at least changed my shoes and said goodbye to Cornell. Maybe one day we might cross paths again especially with all the friends I made. 
My Cornell Family
I got on the bus with my Cornell cohort and the bus starts driving and goes to a stop in the college and next thing you know Diana gets on the bus and Kachi and I start yelling for her and we sat in the back together and just talked to each other the bus ride there. I was so happy that I did not have to actually  say my  final good bye yet. 

We all checked in our luggage and Diana ends up also having the same gate as us so she was able to stay with us for a little longer, but than they finally starting boarding and they called our zone to board. I literally could not stop giving good bye hugs as I was going to miss Diana. I will miss Kachi, Diana,and  I memories from Cornell and will forever be an experience I yet to forget. I kept looking back till finally I could no longer see her. That was the saddest feeling as I realized my time in Ithaca was finally over.
At the airport saying our final good bye to Diana
I sat next to Shuxin on the plane and we shared our memories from Cornell and  later on fell asleep on this two hour flight to Atlanta. When we landed in Atlanta the airport was huge and definitely easy to get lost in. We ended up eating at a restaurant which Shuxin and I shared chicken strips, baked potato skin, and BBQ pulled pork sandwich. Yes, it was the best.  We all shared our experiences with Mike and talked about how we would miss the experience.

Staying up to see the view
We then boarded our flight from Atlanta to San Francisco, where I talked with Joceline a little bit then she fell asleep.  I kept myself up just looking outside at the view of the different cities. I don't really know why I stayed up, I think it was a way to tell myself that my experience wasn't over yet. It was all so quick,  it felt almost as a dream. We got to SFO and as I am grabbing my luggage from the luggage pick up I realize a hug dent on the side of my luggage with scratches--not the best way to end my  day. Also Kachi and a big hole in her luggage also I was very mad at Delta for handling our bags as so.  Don took pictures of the luggage and filed a report to Delta about the bags so we will be waiting on that. Thanks Don.

We got in a shuttle and headed to San Francisco and actually felt at home as Kachi described it, "From Ithaca's green air  to SF congestion". I actually like the air of SF better it just makes me feel right at home. The shuttle took us to El Cerrito High School where my aunt and uncle were picking me up because my parents were in LA at the time.

Arriving at El Cerrito,  it was time to accept the fact that my adventure with the Ivy League Connection had just came to an end. I still feel as if it was all just a memory of long ago that I was there in Ithaca. Walking out the shuttle and taking our final picture as a cohort marked the beginning and end of our journey. The last picture was took and everyone in the cohort went their separate ways. Now it was time for us to be back at home with our family and friends. 
Our Final Picture
Thank you The Ivy League Connection, the community's support and Don Gosney for a trip that changed me and led me onto a road of a success.
                                                       Thank You!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

My Cornellian Experience—JP

My three weeks at Cornell are undoubtedly part of some of the best weeks of my life so far. I was genuinely very happy there for the most part, and the ability to meet so many new people that I would've never known existed otherwise is mind-boggling to me. Looking back at it, I don't think I would've done anything differently other than be completely anti-social in order not to cry on the last day. On a serious note, I absolutely loved my class and how many topics we covered that weren't directly linked to debate but something we could debate about. 

The class was rigorous in the sense that we had so much to read in such a short time, when in the regular school year they'd have more time to read the material. Nevertheless, it was something very manageable, which I'm so happy about. There was a lot of respect for the professor, and it wasn't degraded at all by the fact he told us to call him by his first name.  Everyone was there to learn, so not only was the professor making an attempt to make the class engaging, it stayed that way because everyone cared about what we were learning.  The class wasn't quiet because it was boring. On the other hand, it was quiet because it was interesting, and if someone wanted to speak they made it evident by raising their hand. More often than note, Sam would let them share their comment or opinion. As a matter of fact, he encouraged us to share our thoughts. He was a strong advocate for thinking for ourselves.

Being on campus made me really excited for the college years to come in which hopefully I'll be able to run into some of the friends that I've made and make even more friends. I feel like the Bay Area, and California in general, is a very diverse place. At Cornell, I felt like I was more aware or maybe immersed in that diversity. Some of these kids were coming directly from foreign countries. 
For example, I had never met a person from Jordan before, even less one that spoke Arabic, English, and Spanish. The time there partially made me really want to go to school out of state. I had considered it before, but wasn't really sure. In reality it wasn't too bad being 2,000 miles away from home, because I knew that eventually I was going to go back. 

Additionally, meeting these international students opened my eyes to wealth disparity in other countries a little more. I was already aware that in many countries, some people were just incredibly poor while others lived extremely  wealthy lives. I met some people, that even though their country is practically bankrupt, their parents still had the money to send them to Cornell plus more. Some were more humble than others of course, and in general, I met some people that valued wise money-spending or investing more than others. 

I was hardly ever bored, thanks to the combination of work and endless opportunities to explore. I signed up for every state park trip possible, and like I mentioned in a previous blog, we went on adventures of our own. Ithaca may not be a big city, but I personally feel like it has a lot of character. It truly is gorges and fences. The campus felt smaller as I walked around it everyday, but there's actually so much to do, and it was made known to us that during the school year there's even more going on. 

Beyond being very analytical about the experience and my encounters with people of different mindsets. I had a good time, and I've probably stressed that a lot. I found people that I got along with for many different reasons. I can't imagine myself being friends with anyone else other than I people I did become friends with, because they made the experience so many times better. So many laughs shared, but also opinions. I learned a lot from the people I met, what they thought about certain issues and what they aspired to be. Up until to the last 2 hours we had all together at the Donlon lounge, I was so grateful I met them. Although, it did make departing so much more difficult. Now all we've got left is just to hope that, even though most were rising seniors unlike me, we all end up within close proximity of each other in the future. At the very least, I'd like to see them all once again.

Until We Meet Again

I had barely slept, yet I still managed to wake up around 6 AM to say goodbye to Valeria and Salvador, who had early morning flights and had a shuttle picking them up at 7 AM. I walked over to Valeria's room on the third floor and then we went to Victoria's. Many of the rooms were already emptied out, so the halls were rather depressing, Victoria and I helped Valeria take her luggage down to the Balch bus stop where the shuttle would come. Connie came a few minutes afterwards, and then Salvador with his luggage and Doug, Aziz, and Harrison.. The walk over to the bus stop was difficult for all of us, Victoria and I cried a lot. It's just more sad since they're from different countries and the likelihood of seeing them anytime soon isn't much. It took us a while, but finally we let them get on the shuttle. 
Absolutely the worst picture ever due to tears, but Salvador on the far left and Valeria on the far right with  Victoria next to Salvador and Connie next to me
With the only Jordanian I know, Aziz!
We went up to RPCC to have one last breakfast. It was a strange feeling, because it's usually up to 14 of us eating together, and it was only 6 of us that morning, but that's also because Keith and Tommy were still asleep. When we were done with breakfast, we went to finish packing at our dorms. Aziz was going to be the next one to leave, so I tried to get done beforehand. Around 9 AM Victoria and I went to Donlon Hall to bade Aziz goodbye, which was another tear-filled goodbye since he's from Jordan. I waited with Harrison, Doug, Eva, Hans, and Victoria until Victoria and Eva had to leave too, more tears. I think I lost track of how often I cried. 

Mike came by with the hotel shuttle and Diana, Kachi, Shuxin, and I left our baggage with him and I finished getting ready for the graduation. I went back up to Donlon since Hans and I were in the same class so we were just going to walk over to the graduation together. Tommy and Keith were awake by then, so I got to hug them goodbye along with Doug and Harrison. We walked over to the graduation and on our way to Kennedy Hall we found Rachel and her parents. They took a really nice picture of us by the foot bridge.
Last time seeing this bridge and falls for a while
Super awesome and kind TAs Rubin
and Armands
We got to Kennedy Hall and Sam put us debate kids in alphabetical order. Sam, Rubin, and Armands walked us into the hall and we waited for the ceremony to start. The director of the Summer College program, Jim Schechter, opened the ceremony. The Green Cities instructors were the first one to introduce his class and talk about their accomplishments. Then, the Design Immersion instructor did the same, but they were a little more smooth with the process. Debate and Rhetoric was next. Sam went up and he invited Rubin and Armands up too. He asked all of us to come up on stage to make it easier for him to hand out the certificates of completion. One by one they called our names and we went up and shook their hands and went back into our spot in the line. After about 25 kids, we were done. After us the Inspiring Leadership course instructor called up his class. Then, it was Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Finally, the Small Animal Practice (Vet School) received their certificates as well.

My professor Sam Nelson
The director closed the ceremony and thanked everyone, and we all got up and went outside. My class met at the bottom of the stairs and took a big group picture, in which none of us looked at the same camera because there were about 10 to 15 cameras taking pictures simultaneously. We proceeded to take singular pictures with Sam or both Rubin and Armands. Little by little, everyone started leaving and I hugged so many people. Afterwards, I found Diana, but then I went to Jameson to try to find my friend Connie. I ended up going to Bear Necessities with Shuxin, Kachi, and the other Diana. While we waited in the lounge for Mike to arrive, I ran into Keith again, who was on his way out with his friend from his hometown. I got to hug him goodbye again. 

Mike arrived around 1:30 PM and we went with him to the Balch bus stop to wait for the shuttle. I found Maya from my class waiting for the shuttle too. Then, the shuttle picked up even more Summer College kids at RPCC, so I got to see Hans again! The other Diana was taking that shuttle as well. It was about an hour drive to Syracuse, and I fell asleep with Shuxin's neck pillow. Big thanks to Shuxin. The airport process was actually probably the smoothest, but before I went through TSA I hugged Hans goodbye and I was starting to cry again. Seriously, this was such an emotional day.

We boarded our flight to Atlanta, which was really short. Sitting next to me was a couple, but they were either sleeping or writing notes in a book, so I didn't really talk to them. Behind me was a super adorable baby, who was crying, but as soon as he tried to poke my shoulder and I turned around and said hi he got really quiet. I was really amused by him during the time I was awake on the flight.

Excuse the social media app
quality with Valeria!
Our arrival to Atlanta couldn't have been time any better. We rode the subway type of train to our terminal and had time to get some sit down dinner. We ate a place called Sojourner's, and it was supposed to be southern style food. I got a beef buger and some fries, which isn't really out of the box but it was really good, and it definitely filled me up a lot. We went to our concourse and we were waiting there, until I had to go to the bathroom and while I was walking there I ran into my friend Valeria who I had seen last that morning! I knew she had a really long layover in Atlanta, but didn't imagine we'd be boarding at the same time just a few concourses away. There wasn't much we could catch up on after only 12 hours, but it served to reassure that there was a possibility we'd all see each other again.

It was time to board the plane to San Francisco. We were already out of Ithaca, but this meant we were really going home for good. This was a much bigger plane than all the ones we flew on, and it had really cool blue lights. For some reason, neon lights make everything better. I sat next to Diana on the flight, and right behind us were Shuxin and Kachi. This was a 5-hour flight and there were free movies, so I had an entertaining flight planned for myself. The lady next to us didn't do much talking either, but she was going to San Francisco to spend time with some family. Before I started watching movies, Diana and I got to catch up since we didn't get to always hang out at Cornell. I was watching Rushmore on the flight when Diana pointed out the lightning outside, we were barely thirty minutes into the flight. There was more turbulence than on any of the other flights, but I don't think any of our flights were actually rough. I was on my second movie, The Big Short, which was recommended by one of my friends because it's about the 2008 financial crisis, when I fell asleep. I should've seriously invested on a neck pillow of my own. The sleep wasn't comfortable.
I was serious about the cool neon blue lights
Finally, we landed in San Francisco. It felt so strange, being back home after such a long time that did not feel like a long time. We got our bags from the baggage claim, where Kachi and Diana found that their bags were damaged. We walked outside and Mike called the shuttle. We walked all the way to courtyard 1, where we found the shuttle. In not too long, we'd be at El Cerrito High School again. In no time, my sister was there to pick me up. Don snapped a picture of the cohort all together, I hugged the girls goodbye. and I was on my way home.

Coming Home

I actually started my morning super early because I was up until 2:30 AM eating insomnia cookies and ice cream with my friends in my room. My roommate and I ordered them around midnight and before they came we saw Janisse and invited her over. After we finished, we played cards and told each other "random tidbits" about each other. We were pretty loud and Adya from India eventually comes and we talk a whole lot more for a long time before going to sleep. This was probably one of my favorite moments at Cornell because we were all being loud and crazy without having to think about classwork since it had ended. 

I woke up and went to breakfast with the same group of people. We all talked some more before one by one they all checked out of their rooms. My check out time was at 11:30 AM because I signed up super late and that was the earliest one. After checking out, I gather all the stuff I had left --my bag, wallet, laptop, neck pillow, and water bottle-- and go downstairs because the facilities had to come clean the room and saw Minnesota Diana and Kachi. We hung out for a while and went to bear necessities before finally headed out to the bus stop to meet up with Mike to go to the airport. 

After checking in our bags and walking to our gate at the Syracuse Airport we finally boarded the plane to Atlanta. Mike checks the seats online and makes it so that each of us sit next to another person within our cohort on each plane ride. This was the first time that I got to sit next to Diana. It was super fun because we talked about funny stories before we both fell asleep. The ride honestly felt super long despite only being two hours. I was asleep for only about 30 minutes and it felt so long. 

After landing we hurried to our next gate because we didn't want any chance of being late to our connecting flight and having to stay another night. We had to ride the shuttle through four of the seven concourses so it was pretty cool. When we got to the right concourse, we decided where we would eat after looking at a map. We went to Sojourner's Cafe. I shared a pulled pork sandwich and fried chicken tenders. It was my dream to eat fried chicken while I was on this trip because I really like fried chicken. The chicken was so amazing. It was extremely tender and just melted in my mouth. I actually wished Diana and I each got a plate of fried chicken rather than share it. 

After eating, we bought some water and snacks for the 5 hour plane ride back to San Francisco. I planned on sleeping on the plane, but I surprisingly didn't do it. I'm actually really glad I didn't sleep because I got to watch Deadpool and almost finish How To Be Single. I also got an amazing view while flying into the city. After landing and grabbing our luggage, we walked outside and the Bay Area air felt so nice. For the first time in forever, the weather actually like what it looked like. Even if it looked cold in Ithaca it was still hot and I would sweat. I missed feeling the chilly air of the Bay Area. We took our shuttle back to El Cerrito and called our families to come get us. We took a photo at El Cerrito before we all headed home. I actually went to Daimo Restaurant and ate BBQ pork noodles, beef fried rice, boiled lettuce, and boiled Chinese broccoli. It was so good eating it. I really missed simple Chinese food while being over Cornell and I'm really glad that I came home to eat a lot of food that I really like. After going home, I took a shower and passed out sleeping. 

All Good Things Must Come To An End

It was finally the day that we would leave Cornell. It was a very hectic yet very sad day. It started out with me waking up at around 8:30 finishing the last housekeeping touches on my room (luckily I cleaned most of it the day before so I didn't have much to clean on Saturday). I had my RCA check my room at around 9:10 and she then approved it as clean and officially checked out. After reminiscing one more time and glancing around my room in memory, I said my official goodbye to room 4343 as I shut the door one more time.

Diana (from my class) met me downstairs at Balch. She went with me to go get my envelope to submit my keys and give my luggage to Mike. As we were walking everywhere many people were crying and saying their goodbyes. It was kinda hard to see because eventually it would be my turn to say goodbye. But I just pushed it to the back of my head.

The day was very slow in the beginning. Me and Diana had ended up hanging out at Donlon and relaxing as we waited for our bus to arrive. We bonded over Shark Tank, Russian music, memes and memories of the things that had happened at Cornell. Eventually it was time for the ILC cohort to leave campus so I said my super long goodbye to Diana. It was funny though because after saying my goodbyes and our cohort getting on our shuttle, we then had to go pick up people from the RPCC and there behold is Diana taking the same shuttle as us. Of course me and Diana (from the cohort) surprised her by running to the way back and then when Diana (from Minnesota) boarded the bus, we started chanting our song out to her and she looked super happy and overjoyed. It was nice getting to spend a little more time with her on the bus leaving Cornell and at the airport in Syracuse. Her gate was the same exact one that we had so it was like destiny in a way. However, all good things must end and eventually we really did have to say our goodbyes one and for all as the ILC plane for Atlanta arrived. It was so hard saying goodbye. I'm so happy I met her and how we bonded over Mr Krabs memes, Russian music, situations that happened in our Public Policy class and our overall experience together. I'm so happy I met her and I'm really gonna miss her and her Minnesota accent.

We boarded our flight to Atlanta and it took approximately two hours. When we reached Atlanta, I was amazed at the airport and how big it was. There was a train inside the airport to carry us from one section of the airport to the other. It was really cool. Atlanta is my number one place I want to go to in this country. So I hope I get the chance to see it from outside the airport one day.

I was also happy that we were able to eat a meal before getting to on the flight because I hadn't eaten a meal all day since our meal cards ended after breakfast and I wake up too late for it. So it was great eating a proper meal. While we were eating we managed to tell Mike so many of the experiences we had at Cornell.

We then boarded our flight from Atlanta to San Francisco. The ride to SF was five hours so there was a lot of time to kill but luckily the plane made it as enjoyable as possible with many different entertainment options.

We got to SF at around 11:39 and I felt immediately at home as soon as I smelt the opposing smell to the green air in Cornell. When we retrieved our luggage I was disappointed to find a hole in it but luckily Don took images of the hole so I will file the report to the airport.
When we finally reached El Cerrito, I felt completely different. I had reached the finish line to a major part of my life and I knew my Ivy League connection journey was come to its conclusion. As I walked out of the limo and turned around, I saw the flash of Don's camera. It was an epic moment. We had said our hellos to our relatives and our goodbyes to the cohort and Don and Mike. But before we could leave, we took one last picture to demonstrate our growth. And then we all went our separate ways...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Graduation and the First Goodbyes

Today was such an important day. It was the final day of my course and my graduation! However before I could even receive my certificate I had to pass the ultimate test of presenting my group's power point to the head professor. We were going first which I was extremely excited about however I was getting nervous as well. Usually when it comes to presentations I don't feel nervous until the exact moment of presenting and considering I only practiced a few times, I had good reason to be nervous. Even with all of my nerves our group presentation turned out amazingly and was considered the best from most of my peers--which is saying a lot because everyone did such an incredible job. Usually at my school, when we have presentations they are presented in a very laid back style with a lot of mistakes and not a lot of consideration. However watching the presentation I saw today I was in awe. The people here really are incredible speakers. It inspires me to be so much more and push my capabilities to the limit.

After everyone did amazing on their group projects, we immediately went to the certificate of Summer College completion ceremony, aka graduation. I was very exciting having my peers cheer me on during me collecting my certificate from the head of the PAM department at Cornell (aka our main professor) and dabbing (a type of dance among youth) with them when we received our certificate. I was so happy to have finally completed my Public Policy Analysis class and to have finally completed a course at Cornell.
After my course me, Diana (from my class) and Diana went out to the Commons one last time to buy as many souvenirs and cool things as we can from Ithaca. I bought a couple of pins and some posters. The Commons reminds me a lot of Berkeley in a way which is pretty cool. I then went back to Balch to pack up my things since I'm going to be checking out of my dorms early in the morning. However after I was done packing I went to Donlon to hang out with Diana and Stef, Diana's roommate and shared multiple laughs there. I was sad because I already had to get the first hint of my goodbyes as I said goodbye to Stef since I wouldn't see her after tonight. It sucks how I'm going to have to say goodbye to people tomorrow but at least I managed to meet my ILC cohort, especially Diana, I'm really glad I managed to meet her in this trip and I'm happy I'll have someone to take all of my Cornell inside jokes back to the Bay Area with. I shared a lot of great and unforgettable moments with her that I will not forget thanks to having the opportunity to go on this trip.

~ Where Has The Time Gone~

Today was my final day in class. I am actually really sad, I am going to miss the memories, the campus, and especially the people. Their wasn't really a class discussion everyone just talked a little about the reading overall we have done and that it, it got short. In lecture however, we had a mini ceremony for the students who couldn't come to the graduation tomorrow. After the ceremony we talked about improvements that could be made with the course which I suggested to lay off the reading of one book because it was very repetitive and any time we watched videos in the course have the videos more interactive. Another suggestion that was made was a group presentation instead of the final essay because their is a lot of writing in this course so it would be good to change it up a little.

In the end I took so much from this course I learned about leadership in depth not the general concept of it. I learned so many steps and also what an effective leader must do as in skills or actions. Leaders must always start off with a clear vision, they must enact a strategy or a plan, keep good communication with everyone and recognize hard work and keep up an encouraging environment. These things one might read and assume it is self explanatory,but it is so much more to it. Their is steps to how you must enact each skill.If you sometimes miss a stage everything can go wrong. This course just makes me think about all my decisions more now and helped developed skills that I can put to use in my community, school, and future career. I really loved this class because I feel empowered and more confident I honestly feel like I am on top of the world. It is hard to explain how I feel because so many emotions are all over the place, but I am so happy that I was allowed the opportunity to come to Cornell and take this class. 

After I said my goodbyes to the class a couple of the students and I went to go with our professor Mark to lunch and have our final conversation. It was a good final chat with everyone. I am so happy Mark was my professor because he really is a nice professor and a awesome guy . He is one of the few professors who I can tell actually cares about his students and want to see them succeed in the future.

Diana, I , and Kachi
After the lunch I went with Kachi and Diana to the commons which if you don't recall is downtown Ithaca. I bought this beautiful Alice in Wonderland poster that looked very vintage and unique and I could not help myself, so I had to get it.Downtown has a Berkeley feel to it a lot of things are vintage and unique and almost a hippy feel if you will.

After we went to college town to go get some food together for the last time sadly.We came back to the dorm and I finished my final tweaks on my essay and even took a quick nap. I finally went to the other dorm on campus and hanged out with a giant group of friends that I am going to miss. After it got late I went back to spend my final night with Kachi having  a dance party and laughing about memories. The one good thing though is I met Kachi through this program and we are going back together and she does not live far from me. So I made a new friend who is back at home at least I can take a part of Cornell's memories back with me.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dawn of the End

With waking up came the sad realization that today was the last full day I'd get to spend with  my new friends. I went for a run with Paula and afterwards we talked about the regret of not running everyday since the first week. It made me realize it had really been such a long time since we met.

Breakfast was even more crowded than usual because most people had their finals at 9 or 10 AM. As usual, I did my routine and then went to class. I went to office hours to print out my negative constructive and get some help studying for the final. I ate my last lunch at Trillium, and I wish it would've been the same as my first one, but it wasn't. I went to my final nervous, but actually feeling like I knew the material. I sat down, and after Sam gave out the students that wouldn't be at graduation tomorrow their certificate. Rubin and Armands handed out the tests and the rest is a horror story. The midterm was a simple and straight-forward test, and this one was quite the opposite. 

In about an hour, I was done, because yet again I answered everything I knew and the ones I didn't know I made my best guess. I said goodbye's and thank you's to Sam and Rubin, Armands was MIA. I went to my dorm to relax before whatever my friends and I were going to do, being our last day. I picked up my return key envelope at Appel, and I went to Donlon to wait for everyone. We were probably in our friend Salvador's room for about an hour making plans. Some wanted to go swimming at Treman since it was still open and others go bowling. In the end, we walked to College Town Bagles and then took a bus to the Commons. We hung around the Commons for a while until we tried to go get some Mexican food at Viva! The wait for 10 people was 30 or more minutes. so we went to a place called Madeline's across the street. It was basically fine dining, which was nice for a change. The food options were mostly Italian or Japanese. I ended up ordering some beef skewers and a house salad, which had a delicious dressing and duck prosciutto. We had a really good time during dinner, and we even raised our cups to the amazing time we all had together.
My house salad
Extremely delicious creme brulee
The restaurant offered a variety of desserts, and Keith decided to go check them out. He came back raving about the fact they had chocolate Crème brûlée, and of course I got up from my seat too to check it out. Eva and I decided to share one, and Keith and Doug got one as well. It was delicious, ten out of ten would recommend. We all paid our check and left the restaurant. Outside, we took a group picture, which will be added as soon as it's sent to me, and we met our friend Eva's parents. She's from The City, so they were able to drive out here. Paula and I still wanted to go to the observatory, because she was very sadly leaving at 9 PM. The soonest bus was at 8:30 PM, so we knew we weren't going to make it and I felt really bad.

On the bus back to campus, we all sat pretty quietly as our last night came to an end. Everyone but Eva, Paula, and me got off the bus at the stop by Libe Slope for one last sunset. Eva and I wanted to go to Paula all the way to Balch, because her dad was already there to pick her up. As much as we made an effort not to, the tears still spilled. We all hugged and cried even harder. It was a very difficult moment, since she lived across the hall for me for three weeks we became very close friends. She's a hilarious person and I'm going to miss having that around so frequently. She had to go, so Eva and I went to catch the sunset at Libe Slope. We took more group pictures and just hung out on the slope. There was a brief crying session there too since so many are leaving at 7 AM. We all wish we could stay together for another three weeks, but our time is up.

It was already pretty dark, so we decided to finish our night at the Donlon 5th floor lounge. We sat around, listened to music, and just talked among each other. We stayed there until it was almost midnight so we had to go check-in to our respective halls. Being there made it feel like it wasn't the last night. Yet, it is and we won't be seeing each other again for a while. It's difficult to come to terms with, and it makes me anxious for when I'm in college and that's what life will be like.