Sunday, June 28, 2009

An Impending Adventure

Before any of my words, I'd like to thank Mrs. Kronenberg for cordially beginning our blog. The banner looks great! :)

I'm truly blessed to have been chosen to participate in this program. From the sponsors, to the school board, to my very own peers--they have all provided us Ivy Leaguers with an overwhelming amount of support. Words cannot even begin to express my appreciation and gratitude. With the ongoing encouragement from these people, it is my firm belief that the Ivy League Connection will continue to grow and succeed at an exponential rate.

My experience at Yale is bound to be a life-changing one, and I'm happy to say I'll be sharing this experience with three outstanding scholars: Jessica Ong, Matt Arciniega, and Yohanna Pepa. I hope others will enjoy the adventure with us by following our blogs and pictures; I promise we'll bring the action to life!

With less than a month before our adventure begins, there's no doubt I've been devoting hours a day to reading the ten required books for the Yale Ivy Scholars Program. As of today, I've finished four of the books: Never Eat Alone, The Prince, The Return of History and the End of Dreams, & Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Below are short analyses of what I've read:

  • Never Eat Alone - This book, written by Keith Ferrazzi, explains how relationships are the foundations of success. Whether a loose acquaintance or a personal, close friend, all relationships benefit individuals in countless ways. Most of all, success emerges from helping others succeed. The era of self-sufficiency and individualism has concluded; by working in isolation, one is bound to fail. Indeed, I can think of one clear example of the necessity of relationships to success: the Ivy League Connection.
  • The Prince - Written by Machiavelli, The Prince strongly emphasizes the essentiality of balance in a prince's qualities. He must be loved yet feared, generous yet frugal. However, hatred must be avoided at all cost, for this only stations the possibility for revolt and conspiracy.
  • The Return of History and the End of Dreams - Robert Kagan analyzes the post-Cold War era, attacking the popular, optimistic belief that history has ended, that ideological conflicts have ceased, that cultural issues have been destroyed. Liberal democracy and capitalism has seemingly prevailed over communism, allowing "commerce... to lead toward peace." Kragen refutes any such claims, embodying the natural state of competition in humans and indicating the apparent re-emergence of autocracy and competition.
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World - Wow. This book is great--descriptive, graphic, suspenseful, exciting, and many more adjectives. I am surprised by how much I like this book. Jack Weatherford chronicles the rise of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan and its survival for over a century. The book begins with Genghis Khan's birth under the name Temujin--a boy rises as a military leader, and later, the ruler of an entire empire. Temujin begins a ruthless journey of conquest and destruction, taking over any city he encounters. He shows no mercy to those who refuse to surrender upon request. Weatherford embraces Genghis Khan's military creativity, which is responsible for Mongol unification as well as cultural success. Not only does Khan create an almost invincible, mobile army; he establishes an extremely integrated, culturally diverse society as well. Never failing to recognize advantageous talents in foreigners, Khan also spoils the Mongol Empire with fabrics, spices, and every merchandise then imagineable. Khubilai Khan, his grandson, proves to be the most knowledgeable of his descendants. Although lacking military prowess, Khubilai Khan shapes the Mongol Empire into a nonviolent, commercially successful state--a state on which the modern world is built, with printing, gunpowder, and other things. Before reading this book, I thought the Mongols were nothing but cruel and violent. Now, I admire Genghis Khan and Khubilai Khan for their leadership qualities and for their ability to unify their people through religious tolerance and trade.
Wow, that last bullet was quite lengthy; I tried to condense it as much as possible. My apologies!

I'm really excited and nervous for Yale University, one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States. I crave the new knowledge, new opportunities, and new friends that await me, and my thirst will remain unquenched until then.


  1. Yes, I am glad that Ms. Kronenberg also created the blog. It provides all of us an opportunity to go through the journey together. I would also welcome your parents participating and letting us know their thoughts and impressions.

    No need to be nervous, you have earned the right to sit at the table of top scholars. This is your chance to shine and demonstrate your competancy. No need to second guess yourself, just continue to read, prepare and discuss the impacts that these works have had on the world. I know that you have the gifts to make a difference and I look forward to peering inside your time at Yale.

    Yes, Yale, you will be at one of the most revered campuses in the world. Coming from our district that is hard to envision, but it is meant to be. So all of you can showcase your talent and help to change the perception that we are some run down school district that never produces anything of value.

    No, let them know at the Ivy Scholars program that West Contra Costa has the best to offer and that we are not afraid to compete. We all want the best for each of you and I know that we are well on our way with this course.

    Hope all else is well.

    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District

  2. Stephanie,

    While I, too, want Ms. Kronenberg to receive the credit she is due for the fine banner, what's being ignored is that although she provided the photo, it was me that threw in the text. Do I get no credit at all? Am I to suffer in silence while others are paraded around reaping the benefits of my labor?

    What would Sun Tsu or Machiavelli suggest we do in a situation like this? Since The Godfather is loosely based on the concepts from both of these books, and, as a male in good standing who has studied this as though it were the Bible for real men, I can tell you that blood would be spilled for this slight. It's a good thing I'm a forgiving kind of guy.

    Excellent blog, Stephanie. Very informative with both facts and analysis.

    And don't worry about the length. It's only long when you prattle. When you write something of an interest, the length is of no consequence.