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.