The two weeks I have spent at Yale has greatly impacted my life and my future. From the many friends I have met to the tough times I endured every day and night – it was all worth it. I enrolled for this program because I thought it would benefit me. I can now say that it definitely did.
Before the program started, I only knew Matt, Stephanie, and Yohanna. However, that quickly changed. My shy and timid personality felt like it was overshadowed by a whole new me; one that was more outgoing towards others. As my other blogs and pictures have shown, I have met plenty of intellectual students from all over the world, including Vietnam, Bulgaria, England, and even Hong Kong. What made us even closer was our constant interaction with each other --from the bright and early morning to the dark hours of the night. What began as a group of strangers gradually changed to a group of friends, and as we left on Sunday, we were just one big family.
Meeting new friends was only one of the benefits of this program. Before attending the Ivy Scholars program, I didn’t know what I was capable of doing. This was my chance to challenge myself and show that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. Of course, I also wanted to improve my self-confidence. My unceasing doubts about how I would “look” in front of others always roamed around in my mind. I knew that being nervous in almost everything I did was not the way to live but I did not know how to change. At least…not until I was introduced to the Ivy Scholars program.
It is true that work was inevitable. Having to read 120 pages on the first night we arrived gave me quite a scare for what was to come. Yet as the days passed by, I actually got used to the schedule. Waking up at 6:00 AM, eating breakfast, attending a 2 ½ hour lecture from a professor, heading out to eat lunch, etc. – the day seemed to never end; and when I did not want it to, it ultimately did.
I have learned so much in such a short amount of time – not only from professors, but also from my fellow students. Their courage and confidence that shines from within them has given me more hope and strength. And as I have mentioned before, these students are very intelligent. Yet as I sat amongst a room of 70 students, I began to realize that each and every one of us were different. We all had a different talent, a different personality, a different weakness; but most importantly, we all had different strengths. We were all there because we had something to contribute.
As many of you know, during the graduation ceremony, several students won awards, including Yohanna and Matt; and I must say they deserved it. Yohanna’s group won a special award for their great work on their Marshall Brief, and Matt won the Walter Russell Mead Leadership Award for showing the best overall performance in the class. Not only will the four of us be coming back with more knowledge and sharing it with all of you, but we are also leaving a great impression about our district of public schools.
Yet even though only some students were recognized, I believe that we were all winners. We are all leaders, ready to face the world and guide others to success.
I conclude by saying thanks. Thank you to Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, Ms. O’Brian, Mr. Gosney, and the West Contra Costa School District for all of your support and for making the Ivy League Connection possible. In addition, thanks to all the sponsors and to Ms. Larson, our wonderful chaperone. I would also like to recognize Dr. Luong, who started the Ivy Scholars program, and the caring Ivy Scholars staff. Without each and every one of you, students from our district would not have been able to experience such a life-changing opportunity. You have not only transformed my life, but also those around me. I hope that the Ivy League Connection program will be able to continue to touch the lives of future generations; just like it has done for me.
Once and for all, thanks again for reading.