|Penn on the first day.|
Way back when the application process for Penn (ILC part) was still underway, I was extremely nervous. I had previously applied for the Vanderbilt program, but I was not chosen for the interview – not even for the program as a whole. My confidence had been struck down like lightning in the East Coast – sudden and swift. Back then, I thought that my essay was solid, but now that I look back – after my writing has greatly improved – I realize that the essay wasn't that great. However, I'm surprisingly glad that I wasn't selected for Vanderbilt; it might have been a “blessing in disguise”. If I had gone to Vanderbilt instead of Penn, I might not have changed as much as I did at Penn. I wouldn't have met the amazing people that have influenced me – although, Vanderbilt could have the same effect. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet the amazing Bill, Craig, and Mary combination. I would not have decided to pursue a career in science,rather than engineering. There are a lot of "would not haves", but that's what made the Penn experience so influential to me. Coincidentally, this played out just exactly like my mom had predicted. The day I was not selected to the Vanderbilt interview, my mom consulted me and told me (by the way, this is translated from my thoughts): “Don't feel disheartened. This may be destined, didn't you tell me your most favored program was physics at Penn? Maybe you didn't get accepted so that you could go to Penn. Would you rather go to Vanderbilt while wondering what it would have been like to go to Penn or would you rather feel sad now and be beyond satisfied at Penn? Hui-hui (my mother calls me that), don't feel discouraged, try harder for the Penn application.” Never have I been more stupefied by my mother's sayings. She's been the biggest pillar of support for me my entire life, and little did I know that she had everything predicted. I'm content that I was not selected for Vanderbilt, Penn has been such a life-changing and mind-morphing experience. I'm not going to think of how I would have changed if I went to Vanderbilt, Penn has been the best, especially the class.
|After we were chosen.|
After the application process, don't expect to have the “calm after the storm”. At that point, I had to apply for the actual school and I thought that it would be relatively easier because the application was much more lenient. However, I had to send in multiple “papers” to Penn, even before I got in. On their website, June 1st is the deadline for the application, but that's a lie – don't think of it like that. It's a trap laid for the unexpected. I planned to send in the application a month before the deadline, but I got a call from Don a month and half before the application was due that time was running out. I had everything done except my teacher recommendation because I wanted to give time for my teacher to do it, but I had to e-mail her that it was urgent. Lesson from this experience: make sure to finish the application two weeks after you're accepted, it gets hectic if you don't. Especially because the deadlines aren't very helpful.
|Hours before our flight.|
The East Coast was completely different than what I had originally thought. The buildings were mostly brick, the atmosphere of Penn inspired me to rethink my college choices, and the community that I met felt much more fitting for me than home – probably because I had to open up myself since I was away from home. The Experimental Physics Research Academy was the most diverse; the class was more orientated towards learning the concepts than drilling the students into remember the concepts. We did many experiments that tested theories and we built a sense of the relationships of nature by being physicists. Now that we've arrived in the East Coast in the blog, the majority of my entries after this sentence will be about my thoughts at the end of the program.
|Columbia, nothing to do with Connor. Sadly, I didn't|
get a picture with him.Columbia relates to Connor
because he was the philosopher of Penn.
Columbia's freshmen are required to take the Classics.
|A representation of my change in perspective.|
|Bill was a representation of Penn|
|I'm like the bubble captured in the tank.|
|My amazing friend Sophia; she's a poet,|
physicist, singer, and friend.
How the ILC may affect my future? I can say, for sure, that the ILC has done so much for me. It has developed my mind intellectually, maturely, and emotionally – nothing has done all three for me in one bundle. I've rethought my college ideals and options, and frankly, I've become more open when it comes to conversing. I'm not intimidated with talking about controversial topics and my experiences at Penn. The ILC has created a different path for me to take and it has given me the opportunity to experience college and practically the world in a sense. The ILC has provided me the knowledge to strengthen my science club, and it has given me the connections that will last a lifetime. Being an ambassador of such a great program puts me under scrutiny of the world and I'm grateful for it, I want to show the world what the District has to offer. The ILC gave me the opportunity to meet fascinating people that have given me the drive to improve myself. Not only do I plan to give back to my community through my school's science club, but also through prospective college underclassmen. I want to tell the underclassmen of my school about my experiences, tales, and changes at Penn. I hope to influence them to partake in this program and get a feel of what college is. The ILC not only provides a perspective on Ivy League Colleges, but colleges as a whole. Through my interactions with a college life, I am much more knowledgeable about it and I'm capable of providing insight to underclassmen. I can create a long, very long, list of “The ILC has”, but it would not represent my gratitude for it. The only way to show my gratitude is through results, and being an obliged person, I will give back. I want to end this blog by just saying:
|Michael's not in the picture.|
We're representing Pinole Valley High School!
My role model, Dyana So, an alumni of my school.
“Thanks, Mr. Gosney, Mrs. Kronenberg, Mr. Ramsey, and of course the donors, for providing such a life-changing experience for not only me, but the students of the District. It has provided an alternative path for us and I am grateful for your efforts to expand college culture outside the West Coast. I hope that this program continues and for the years to improve. With my humblest and most gratuitous text:
Thanks.” Sometimes, it's the simplest of messages conveyed in a long blog that convey gratitude. It has truly been a "Summer Discovery" this summer. I've learned much more about college and I've discovered myself.
|Not everyone I met is in this picture, but thanks for giving me the opportunity to meet|
such amazing people! By the way, I literally fell two seconds after the picture.