Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Making New Connections

On Monday afternoon my sister picked me up and took me home so we could both get ready for the very anticipated evening ahead. We were going to have dinner with the rest of the cohort and a parent for each, our chaperone Mike, Don, Ms. Kronenberg, alums and sponsors. At the time we had no idea who the ILC alums would be or which sponsors would attend. I was looking forward to be able to converse with everyone, make new connections, and eat some delicious food.

We got to the El Cerrito Plaza BART at 5 PM, just like Don had instructed. For the most part, everyone that would be taking BART with us was there, all we had to do was wait for one more person and we'd be off. I was so happy to see that one of the ILC alums that would be accompanying us was Shanti Shrestha! We both play water polo and we happened to practice at the same pool, so we were happy to see each other.

It was finally time to board on the BART, I had so many questions to ask Shanti, and the other lovely ILC alum that would be attending Cornell in the fall, Hummd. Shanti gave me so much information on what it was like, how beautiful the experience was, and all the friends that she made. I was also really inspired because she and another ILC alum at Hercules High School really prep the aspiring ILCers for the interviews, and I hope to do that once I come back from Cornell.

Finally, we arrived at the Powell Street stop, and the train was so crowded it was definitely a struggle to get out. We walked a few blocks to get to a hotel, and took a very small staircase down to the room in which we'd be dining. The Cornell alums hadn't arrived just yet, so we had time to get some soft drinks and talk a little more. Not too long after we were joined by the two Cornell alums, Jesus Verduzco, class of '99, and Doug Mitarotonda, class of '02. They actually both majored in engineering, something I'm personally drawn to. Doug absolutely loved Cornell, so much he received his Bachelor’s, Masters, and PhD all from Cornell. Jesus received his Bachelor's at Cornell and proceeded to receive his Master's from UC Berkeley.

The alums were very inspiring because they were so accomplished and had traveled a lot. Both got into Cornell on early decision,but they were from very different places and unlike Jesus, Doug didn't know what major he wanted to go into. That was honestly a reassurance, because although engineering is something I'd like, I really just love math and want my major to involve that but I'm not very sure what I want to do.
Listening to Doug tell us some more about how he loved Cornell. I think my sister was going to cry.
Nevertheless it was a happy night.
We were also joined by one of the panelists and sponsors for our program, Gboyega. It was great seeing him because after originally not being chosen to be part of the cohort, I reached out to him and the other panelists/sponsors for advice on what I could do better next time. Definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made. He said he was very happy and congratulated me, which made me feel very proud of myself.

After almost two hours, and a great dinner, we all agreed it was probably time to leave because we didn't want to have to ride BART with all the either happy or angry Warriors fans. We said thanks, once again, to the alums and Gboyega for taking their time to attend. The dinner was a great experience to get an idea of what the summer would be like, and it made me realize even more how blessed we all were, but how important it is to work hard.

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