Sunday, August 9, 2015

Reflecting on the Past, Eyes on the Future

I learned more from the ILC than I have in a long time. It started at the very beginning, the interview taught me how to present myself in the best way, be articulate and concise, express my thoughts, and communicate effectively with adults. All of this will be incredibly valuable when I am interviewing for college and future jobs. Through the dinner I got to speak with people at the top of their fields, adults who wanted to know what I thought and were interested in my opinions.

I don't even want to imagine my summer if I was not able to be part of the ILC, because I know it would be the opposite of productive. My experiences this summer have given me determination and energy. They have made me want to go out and do something, and most of all they have made me a more positive and optimistic person. I don't feel constantly angry at the world, instead I am prompted to go out and try to change it. I have learned so much from my peers in particular, their determination and passion are what motivate me more than anything.

I have learned that if I put a lot of effort into something I will get results. The ILC has given me a reason to try, and for the first time in a long time I am excited to go back to school and share my experiences with others. The whole point of this program is that we better not only ourselves, but our communities with our new-found knowledge. The college tours helped my in finding out what I am looking for in an institution and how much the location of it actually matters to me. I have a better grasp on what college life is really like and how much it differs from high school.

I have pushed myself and realized maybe my comfort zone was not as narrow as I had previously thought. Volunteering to speak at the Brown dinner was something I wouldn't have dreamed of doing a year ago let alone sharing my poetry with a group of mostly strangers. I have realized because of these opportunities and our action plan presentations that I actually like public speaking. I am going to join my school's Speech and Debate team this year because of this.

Coming back home has proven to be challenging, after being surrounded by the incredible women in my class for two weeks I almost forgot that wasn't how everyone was. I am going to miss that more than anything. It gives me a lot of pride in my generation.

I don't think I will ever be able to not compare any future class to Women and Leadership, and I'm not sure any class will be able to measure up to it. 

If I have learned anything it is that I am capable of anything I put my mind to, regardless of my age or gender. I am more confident than ever in my identity and feminism. I still have another two years of high school left before going of to college, and I am sure not going to let them go to waste.

A Final Reflection on my Incredible 2015 ILC Experience

In the fall of 2013 I received a pass from my morning classes to attend an anonymous presentation. I walked into a crowded theater in which a man wearing an aloha shirt and khaki shorts was standing in front of the stage and telling everyone to settle down. That man was Don Gosney and he had come to introduce the Ivy League Connection and the phenomenal opportunities it offers.

I still remember how thrilled I was about the Ivy League Connection as a freshman. I watched my older friends share their experiences with the ILC. By the end of that presentation, I knew that I wanted to be an ILCer and I was determined to make that possible.

Since only sophomores and juniors could apply, I eagerly waited for my sophomore year. In the fall of 2014, Don came once again to give his grand presentation. When I saw my friends standing in the front and sharing their experiences, I knew that I wanted to be standing there next year.

After a few weeks, the prompts of the essays for some programs were given. My first choice was the Med School 101 program at Vanderbilt University. I spent my winter break writing the two pre-essays and the Vanderbilt essay.  A friend and two ILCers of the previous year, Jing and Chiamaka, helped me edit my essays. After a week or two, Don emailed the names of those that were selected for the interview. My name...wasn’t on the list. I was very dejected because I had worked very hard writing those essays.

The day I got the results, I realized that the essays for the DNA Based Biotechnology program at Brown University were due the very next day. With seconds left before the deadline, I submitted my essays. After a few weeks, I found out that I was invited for an interview. I was very, very happy!

After my nerve-wrecking interview
February 28, 2015 was the day of my interview. That day was very nerve-wrecking. When the names of those that were selected for the program were going to be announced, my heart was racing and my mind was telling me that I didn’t make it. Then I heard Don say my name.  My mind froze and I just kept on smiling without having the ability to understand what people were telling me at the moment. That moment was just beautiful as I had waited for this for two years.

From there on my ILC journey began with a series of events, including the tutorial, an elaborate dinner, the school board meeting, and the orientation. Finally, after months of waiting and preparing, on July 11, 2014, I board a plane from San Francisco to live the true ILC experience. I had such an awesome time at Brown and in the East Coast. I have learned so much and have grown as an individual throughout this experience. I will always cherish this journey. 
At an elaborate dinner in San Francisco with my cohort and Brown alumni and sponsors
The 2015 Ivy League Connection. Can you find me in this picture?
Now that I lived this experience, I can't wait to share it with my peers. I want to encourage students to take the challenge and apply to this program as it is very rewarding. Since I am a part of the Student Education Advisory Club of my school, which predominantly focuses on helping students to apply for programs in the Ivy League Connection, I can't wait to help students in the process of applying. I want to edit essays and do mock interviews for students. When my friends, who were ILCers, did this for me, I greatly benefited from it and now I want to help others. 

I also want to tell other students about the great institutions that exist outside of the Bay Area. I want to help them realize that there are many more options available for them outside of the Bay Area and California, which may be a better fit for them. These are only a few ways by which I want to give back to my community and the Ivy League Connection, who have given me so much.

I can't be thankful enough to the Ivy League Connection for making this dream come true. I really want to thank Don Gosney, who puts tremendous amounts of work and effort to make the ILC journey possible for every ILCer. I want to thank all the sponsors, who devotedly support the ILC every year. Without their support, the ILC experience wouldn’t be possible for any student. I am extremely grateful to every individual who has made this journey possible! Thank you so much ILC!
I also want to thank my readers, who have always read my blogs and supported me throughout my journey. I really appreciate your support. Thank you so much!
With my Brown family in front of the Van Wickle Gates.
My final feelings about my ILC experience.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Tale of Gabrielle Meacham and the Ivy League Connection

Flashback to my sophomore year:

Gabrielle Meacham was nervous as she pressed and held the power button to start her laptop--she tried to ignore her jumpy stomach by focusing on what she needed to accomplish before nine that night. An hour later she, unreasonably angry at herself for rambling on page, highlighted the existing paragraphs, and hit delete. She thought about the past week that had been centered around this essay, hit the undo button, but then with a final burst of perfectionism, deleted it once more.

As you can see, she wasn't good at staying calm. 

She wanted to take the Women and Leadership class badly, and she wanted the ILC experience even more. So, she pushed on and submitted her essay.

One year later:

Gabrielle Meacham sat down, and calmly started her laptop. She picked at sentences, substituted words, checked sentence structures, and asked for help. She was really proud of this essay. She thought back to three hundred and sixty-five days prior, and felt relief that she had grown from her mistakes. 

She wanted to take the Women and Leadership class badly, and she wanted the ILC experience even more. 

This time however, she made it to the interview. 

She practiced shaking hands; she practiced smiling and entering a room; she practiced answering questions. She prepared her professional outfit; she prepared a schedule; she prepared her backpack with homework assignments for the long wait. 

This time spent preparing, writing essays, completing applications, and practicing not only got her the ILC scholarship, but gave her confidence in new skills that she could save for the  future.
She was pretty darn pumped...

That was the end to my third person graphic short story. I wanted to write and draw pages for my entire experience, but I decided that thank-yous and plans (I wanted both to drive my final blog) were too hard to read in narrative...   

A significant part of my learning with the ILC took place before I was even accepted. As hopefully obvious with my experimental writing above, getting into the ILC is difficult, and requires a lot of hard work.

I benefited from applying my sophomore year even if I didn't get an interview. I had more confidence applying my junior year because I knew that I could and needed to do better. I also had a sister and friend who were ILC alums who agreed to help me with anything I needed: they taught me small grammatical tricks, they asked me fake interview questions for practice, and they were my cheerleaders all the way. 

When I was accepted to the Ivy League Connection Program, I had plans of creating a school club my senior year that encouraged ILC prospects the way I was by my sister and friend.  

Yet, our lunch periods aren't incredibly long, and many academically motivated students are part of other conflicting lunchtime clubs. There are better ways to go. I still haven't nailed down exactly how I plan to meet those goals in a different setting, but I plan to contact the program at the beginning of the school year, and propose a more effective alternative.

I am involving many students from my high school in my action plan. This is also a great opportunity to advertise the ILC to younger students who can still apply. 

Thank Yous to All Who Made the Ivy League Connection Happen

Thank you for showing us a world that made me thankful for what I have 
and simultaneously hopeful for more.  
Thank you for working so hard to allow us to have such transformative experiences.
Thank you for believing that young people can do great things.
Thank you for treating and respecting us like adults.
Thank you for giving us help when we seek it.
Thank you for teaching us how to network.
Thank you for providing inspiration.
Thank you for forcing us to blog so that I could find out I love it.
Thank you for forcing us to blog so my writing skills could improve.
Thank you for giving me a summer experience and education I won't ever forget.

Thank you for everything. 

A Remarkable Experience with the ILC

The day I was officially chosen to be part of the Ivy League Connection I thought it was all a joke. I couldn't believe I was actually chosen. After a while I realized the ILC really did see potential in me and everyone else that was chosen to be part of it. Because of all the essays, interview, dinners, and having to blog everyday, I didn't imagine myself being part of it. It all just seemed way too much. 
ILC students and parents
After going through all of it, I could honestly say it was the best decision of my life. I cannot thank the Ivy League Connection enough for this amazing opportunity. I hope many other students take advantage of opportunities like this as well. Its okay to take risks and try out new things. It made me realize how many other schools there are other than the ones around us. How diverse the world is. Everything was fun and even worth staying up a little longer writing our blogs. Although sometimes I really didn't want to since it always took me a while to write them and in that time other girls would go out and have fun, it was a great writing practice. The interview really prepared me for future interviews for jobs and college. I know now to go in with a lot of confidence and just give it my all. Learning to be independent was also a huge part.

If it wasn't for the ILC I would have never been able to attend Brown University and take the Women and Leadership course. This course really changed my perspective in everything and improved my listening and socializing skills. Compared to a normal high school class, this was way different. At my high school it seems as if mostly everyone is there because they're obligated to. In the Women and Leadership course everyone was really engaged and actually wanted to be there regardless of how long the class was. It is always such a better learning environment when everyone actually wants to learn and be present. 

When a lot of people I knew found out I was part of the ILC, most of them had no idea what the Ivy League Schools were which was really surprising. It proves that there isn't enough information around that talks about schools other than the ones around us. I really want to change that and inform people about other great schools and encourage them to take great opportunities like this. 

My family and I believe more in myself and I want to work even harder to make my dreams come true. I have faith in myself that one day I will attend a great school, even if I come from a low income family. I want others to feel this way too. Our social economic background shouldn't determine our future.

One of the most exciting parts of this whole trip was to come up with an Action Plan. It became even more enthusiastic when Diana and I decided to work on it together. The basic idea of our plan was to spread the word of all of our knowledge about feminism by creating an after school club at our school. I know we will be facing many difficulties but it is worth a try. It is better to fail than to not try at all. 

Other than all the learning experiences, I created long lasting relationships with the people I least expected to. We all have so many things in common. I believe friendships like this are the ones that last a lifetime.
A special thanks to Don Gosney for always supporting all of us and working really hard to make all of this possible. This includes having to email us very often, calling us, and having to meet up. I want to thank EVERYONE that put in effort to make all of this possible for us. This opportunity is something I will honestly remember for a lifetime. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

From Day One to Now

I knew that the Ivy League Connection was going to change my life, but I didn't expect it to completely flip it upside down. At the beginning I was very excited to apply and somewhat nervous of what the outcome would be. Looking back at it now, I am incredibly happy I decided to work my hardest to try to get in the ILC.

I heard about ILC through a presentation Don Gosney gave at my high school during my freshmen year. This piqued my interest and kept me interested until the upcoming year when I could actually apply to be a part of the program. When my sophomore year came around I was very excited to apply to such a prestigious program. 

The writing process was not so difficult in my opinion because I had a teacher and a mentor helping me revise my essays and giving me feedback on what things I could improve on. When the deadlines came I was very anxious about whether I would get an interview. To my surprise I got an interview and got the scholarship in the end! This process helped me get used to seeking help from people that had more knowledge than me. 

Everything after getting accepted was a blur. I filled out all the forms and turned them in and attended all the dinners with my father. I also blogged. This really helped get me acquainted with blogging because I had never done anything like it. It made my transition go smoother when I got to Rhode Island. 

The time kept getting closer and closer until one day it was time to depart on our great adventure. I was very conflicted on packing. I kept thinking, "maybe I'll need this and this, but also this!" Packing was a bit of a hassle. This taught me that sometimes you won't need half of what you think you will. Also Googling the weather helped a lot with making informed decisions about clothing.

When we arrived in RI I was very surprised by how everything looked. It was so old and beautiful. I also learned that dorm rooms can be very disappointing. I will now do more research on the place I will stay in. What came as a shocker was that I didn't have a roommate. I was alone. After being sad for a day or two I realized that having a single was awesome. I didn't have to worry about the lights or disturbing them when they were sleeping. Being alone sometimes it is good.

Something that I will definitely share with my community is my Action Plan. This is one of the most important things I will give back. By creating a gender equality club in our school, we will ensure that our community is getting the same information we did from the hands of people that they can trust. I also want to bring the perspectives of everyone that are from different backgrounds. Hopefully with this my school/community will benefit and start movements on their own about issues that are important to them.

Over all, this trip was not only educational but also very fun and full of knowledge. I learned a ton about the concepts and myself. I also got to make many great connections and friends that I am sure will help me and Esme with things regarding our up coming after school club. I would like to Thank everyone that has made for this opportunity available to me and everyone in the ILC! Thank you very much!

Proud to be Ivy League Connected!

Two years ago while I was still a Freshman, I was invited to attend an orientation at school regarding a certain college-oriented program. This was where I first learned about the Ivy League Connection and what it had to offer. While I couldn’t apply as a Freshman, I knew that next year, I simply had to go for this incredible opportunity. The application process was rigorous and very demanding. From essays, to interviews, to dinners, to speeches, to forms, it was a very meticulous process. Two years ago, I would never have imagined how much I had experienced as a part of the Ivy League Connection program.

As a Bay Area native, I’ve always stayed close to my home, never imagining pursuing a higher education outside of my state, let alone the other side of the country. The day I was interviewed for the Ivy League Connection, the day I learned that I would be traveling to the East Coast this summer, suddenly a world of possibilities emerged outside of California. If I was capable of getting a scholarship to experience an Ivy League school this summer, what was to stop me from maybe one day getting accepted and attending one of these prestigious schools?

As an ILCer, I was able to push myself and get out of my comfort zone. From improving upon my people skills at fancy San Francisco dinners to putting myself out there at the School Board meeting where I personally addressed the school board in front of an audience, the Ivy League Connection allowed me to grow and prosper as a student and as a human being. I also learned about what I want in a college. As a first-generation student, the topic of college is something of an unclear, far-reaching goal. My parents don't have much advice to offer on getting into college besides "Do your best and the scholarships will help you." I've always been in constant worry about how I will even begin to prepare for my college-going mission. I realize now that it is in fact not such an unachievable dream to be able to go to college as I had previously thought.

The Ivy League Connection not only benefits the students traveling to the East Coast, but the community they come back to after their travels. Having experienced such an amazing course at Brown, I see the world through different lens. I will bring back to my community the ideals I learned about our society. I will be able to share with my friends about how it is possible to land a valuable scholarship if you genuinely apply yourself and follow through with your efforts. As soon as school starts this fall, all my friends will know about what an amazing experience the Ivy League Connection program was for me. I will let them know how more than worth it the program is after all the work one has to put in.

An incredibly warm and grateful thanks to all of those who continue to give massive amounts of efforts towards the gift of opportunity – opportunity for those who need to be exposed to different types of learning and experience. Being a part of the ILC is something I will never forget, something I will always keep with me as I head out into the world every day.

A Life Changing Experience, Thanks to the The Ivy League Connection

Before I begin, I want to put an emphasis on the gratitude that I possess towards Madeline Kronenberg, Charles Ramsey, Don Gosney, our sponsors, and everyone who put in time and effort to make the ILC possible. Special thanks to Don Gosney for ensuring that everything was in order 24/7 and for treating each and every one of us like responsible adults the whole way. 

I am one of the many students that had the privilege to go to the East Coast for a few weeks to take a course at one of the most elite universities in the U.S. It seems like forever ago that I got introduced to this program. If it wasn't for Don emailing me and calling me, telling me to apply and Ms. Jan pulling me out of class to look over my essays, I would have never gained the knowledge that I now hold. If it wasn't for all of the generous sponsors who believed in me I would have never gotten the chance to take an invigorating self course at Brown University. 

From the essays, to the intimidating interview, to the meetings and fancy dinners, it's time to finally relax for a bit. Now that I'm back to the Bay after living on my own for two weeks on the East Coast, it's time to reflect as to my unique experience. Where do I begin? First of all, I wasn't even going to apply. I didn't have self-confidence and I didn't believe that I was good enough. I didn't believe in myself which was a common case within everyone who didn't apply. I applied ultimately because other people believed in me and kept pushing me to at least try. Deep thanks to everyone who contributed in the process. For those presented with the opportunity to apply to the ILC please do and to those presented with the opportunity to apply to any sort of job or scholarship please do. You'll never know if you never try. I can't imagine where I would be right now if I didn't take the risk.

The interview process was terrifying. I remember it like it was yesterday. I didn't think about not getting in. I thought about how much I wanted the scholarship. This helped a lot because my positive attitude won the panelists over and I got accepted after what seemed like an eternity of waiting for the results. It didn't hit me right away. I was in shock. I felt like nothing mattered. I had done it. The girl who had no self-confidence had earned a scholarship to Brown University. The ride home felt surreal. I entered my house with an ear to ear grin not knowing how to tell my parents. My parents thought it was a scam. They thought it was too good to be true and it was in fact, too good to be true. My parents would have never been able to make this happen. 

The ILC has taught me to take risks and to believe that I am as important and intelligent as the other privileged students in more affluent communities. Thanks to the Ivy League Connection I have broadened my views as to places to attend college. The thought of attending an Ivy League school is not as unrealistic as before this program. This program gave me the opportunity to not only take a class at Brown University but to visit other universities. I got the chance to visit Yale, Harvard, and Wellesley. With these site visits, I realized that I do not want to go to a small school and that I want to go somewhere thriving with energy and with a sense of community. I personally loved Yale as well. I would never have been able visit the beautiful campus and even think of Yale as one of my choices for college if it weren't for the ILC. 

I want to spread the word and encourage others to apply. It may seem like a lot of work but it's definitely worth it in the end. It's the opportunity of a lifetime! Being an ILCer, you gain useful skills like  time-management and responsibility. You get the chance to interact with talented and inspiring individuals from all over the world. It's a very unique experience because you learn from the diversity around you and it adheres to you. I know that I'm never going to forget how much I've flourished and what I've accomplished. 

I'm bringing back all of my knowledge to my home, school, and community. I learned so much in the Women & Leadership course. For instance, how women get objectified on a daily basis in the media without us blinking an eye. I'm more aware  of the issues going on in the world today. 

I'm also going to bring back hope and strength to my home, school, and community. I'm going to bring back hope and strength because I've portrayed that socioeconomic status doesn't determine where you're headed. If you work hard, you can go anywhere your heart desires. I represented my community and school this time. I hope that they're proud of me and the places that I've gone and have yet to go. Thanks again to every single person that helped make this possible.
Some of the ILCers
The 2015 W & L Class!

My Experience With the Ivy League Connection Program

I am so incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the Ivy League Connection Program this year. Looking back at day one when Don came to do a presentation at my school I was really intimidated by the program. The essays, interview, fancy dinners, and a trip away from home frightened me. Now I realize why I was so nervous. I remember Don saying once that the worst that can happen to you if you apply and don’t get into the program is not getting a free trip. I hate to say it but he isn’t quite right. The Ivy League Connection program taught me so much about the world around me and myself and will help take me places in life. I would say that this is more than a free trip.

The Ivy League Connection program was an experience that I will never forget. From the first event I was constantly learning new things. I certainly improved my people skills through socializing at fancy dinners and interacting with people at the school board meeting. I got much better at dressing formally for all of the fancy occasions. I definitely learned a lot about the importance of communication and the best ways to communicate effectively. Finally, at Brown, I learned more than I ever thought imaginable.

At Brown I didn’t only learn about Women and Leadership but I explored all different topics, found many new interests, and was exposed to the realities of other peoples’ lives around the world. The Women and Leadership was the most engaging class that I have ever taken. Initially I was a bit daunted by the fact that I had class 5-7 hours per day but by the end I was wishing that I had even more class time.  One of the most valuable things that I gained from this program was my action plan which was a chance for me to reflect on what my community needs and come up with a plan to solve it.

One really helpful thing for me was blogging. My perspective on blogging ultimately shifted throughout the trip. Initially I dreaded blogging. It was hard for me to focus on my blog when all of my other friends were having fun. I felt like I had double homework. Luckily, it got better. As I got better at it blogging became less of a chore and more of a reflective activity. I began to use blogging as a way to relax and look back on my day. I felt like the blogging process was also really beneficial in encouraging me to write. I think that it helped me be able to process my thoughts and put them onto paper more easily.

At the end of the trip I was really excited to go do site visits. I had really gotten a feel for Brown after being there for two weeks and I wanted to explore more schools on the east coast. Our trips to Harvard, Yale, and Wellesley were so invaluable to me in terms of helping me understand what I wanted from college. Through participating in the Ivy League Connection Program I learned a lot about myself and what I want out of my college experience. This information is so helpful to me in my upcoming senior year and college application process.

I can’t wait to implement my action plan at home in my community. I feel like participating in this program has given we the tools and resources that I need to strengthen my community. I will do my best to help encourage my peers to work hard and to apply for the Ivy League Connection Program. I want all of my fellow students to be able to have the same amazing opportunity that I have.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

An Unforgettable Incredible Journey

A year ago I would have never imagined myself to be spending a part of my summer studying at one of the most prestigious, top notch universities of the world. Until this day, this journey stills seems unbelievable. 

Studying at Brown was an incredible experience. In this experience, I got the opportunity to live as a collegian at Brown. I experienced living in a dorm and getting accustomed to the dining halls. I got the opportunity to work in a lab under the guidance of a wonderful professor. 

While studying at Brown, I got a glimpse of how college life is. Getting hands-on-experience in a lab was very difficult than what I had encountered before. The coursework was different and difficult. Living a life of a freshman in Brown has taught me many valuable skills, such as time management, critical thinking, and public speaking, I will always cherish. 

In the course of three weeks, I have interacted with people on such a diverse grand scale. I have become friends with individuals from all over the country, including from Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Texas, and Washington, and the globe, including from Puerto Rico  Canada, Turkey, Taiwan, China, and the Caribbean. 

Before this trip, I knew that great colleges exist outside of California, however the thought of applying to them never skipped mind. My experience at Brown has exposed me to so many great colleges and wonderful opportunities. It has encouraged me to apply to these reach schools. 

As a person, I have grown. My parents say I have come back with a deep tan and a lot more maturity. Living independently has led to this grown maturity. I feel a lot more prepared than I was three weeks ago to take on future challenges. 

Two Weeks That Sneak, While I Speak and Critique and Learn New Techniques.

I really miss having independence in small things. While away at Brown, I was able to chose what food I ate at every single meal. I could take a shower without asking five of my family members if they needed to first. I was able to walk or take public transportation everywhere I needed with ease. 

I was living in a Utopia where almost everything was free and accessible to me, where the average human being was a passionate, friendly learner, where I had limitless interesting people to hang out with at all times of day, where there were vegetarian options at every meal, and where my world was an Ivy League University with bright green grasses and clean, cared-for buildings.   
The Charles River, near Harvard
I am so excited to go to college, and have four years of what I hope will be similar. My professor gave me hopes that I will have four years of being taught in a personal, honest, thoughtful, and helpful way. My TA Tory gave me hopes that I will someday be a good time manager, and that I will be as friendly, caring and knowledgeable as she. My fellow students gave me hopes that my college classes will be full of students who are engaged, respectful, hardworking, passionate, and able to teach me as much as the class.

I learned so much about gender, feminism, intersectionality, privilege, being an ally, leadership, listening, leadership styles, women, and our society. I am not an expert. What I learned has only scratched the surface of what I plan to learn. I now have an insatiable hunger to learn everything about these topics.

I entered Brown with a planned summer reading list with only about three books left. I got on the plane home with about twenty-three more books tacked on the end, all recommended by my professor, my TA, guest speakers, and new acquaintances. I know I won't be able to start any of them with less than three weeks of summer left, and this greatly annoys me. 

Here is a video that was played on the last day of Leadership Institute. It was created by our leader fellows. I recommend making it full screen. 
One thing that was emphasized to me by many of the college students I talked to, whether at a school we  toured or at Brown,  was  that I  should go to a school  that will  make me  happy. This seems like such an obvious quest, yet, I feel like I often forget that happiness is all I really want.The past twenty-four  hours I have  spent researching  colleges and  trying to decide on my final application list. It has made the process quicker and easier to ask myself: "Will this make me happy?" 

I love the East Coast, specifically the cities, SO MUCH. Of course, I haven't been on the East Coast for more than two summer weeks. I really hope to go to a college or university  across the country so that I can experience living in extreme weathers. It amazes me that freeways are surrounded by vibrant greenery and not dead weeds and dirt. I love that I can drive through an entire state in a day. If I do get to go East, I will miss my family, and I will miss my community and friends. 
In the Yale University Art Gallery, I entered a room to this figure. After looking
 around  for a sign with an explanation of what she was about, I asked the security
 guard if he knew where it was. He was new, but we spent about five minutes together
looking together for it. He was curious as well. We finally found it, and it barely
said anything. 
During this trip, I had many short and sweet conversations with strangers from other states and countries. I love such conversations, because oftentimes they fill me with warmheartedness for humanity. I don't know why, since many of the conversations revolve around bathroom lines, or coffee preferences. I suppose it reminds me that there are good, friendly people who exist all over.

True to my word, I have already filmed two interviews for my documentary. I have also downloaded software to my computer that seems like it has sufficient editing capabilities. My brain has really started "rolling" with ideas. 

I learned that I love blogging. I won't do it every day for the rest of my life, but if I ever find myself with an opportunity like this again, I will definitely set up a blog to add to every night. I think blogging has given me a creative outlet, and has forced me to reflect. 

I feel more independent, mature, self-reflective, deep-thinking, self-confident, capable, and ready for anything now that my ILC experience is over. 

The changes I listed are not just positive words I randomly chose. I really truly feel an improvement, or emergence of all of them.

I have one last blog in the near future. I am going to work on it very hard, because I want to end my blogging on the best note possible.