Thursday, June 1, 2017

Extravagant Excursions

I had been looking forward to the long and awaited dinner that all the ILCers partake in before their trip. I got ready that afternoon excitedly and drove down to the El Cerrito Plaza Bart station at 5:15 PM. Upon arrival, I was greeted by the wonderful smiles of my cohort and chaperone. Before going through the turnstiles we listened to Don's instructions. He then passed out a clipper card to each of us. This was my first time using a clipper card, so I felt cool. I always looked at other public transportation users with envy for being able to conveniently just place their card on the top of the turnstiles, instead of a flimsy paper which you have to carefully insert into the slot, which I must say for first time transportation users, always creates a line.
Waiting at El Cerrito Plaza Bart Station.

As I walked onto the escalator I couldn't help but smile to myself as I remembered how much I loved using public transportation. I really enjoy using public transportation because I feel like I am doing my part to help our environment and economy. Using public transportation also forces you to get out and be more active, so it helps our community be more healthy. It may sound cheesy, but because of these reasons I always feel proud to take public transportation.

On Bart Amelia, Bianche and I spoke with Adrianne Ramsey about her experiences at Brown and her experience with College in general. She offered us very useful information about what to expect, and other tips. She also explained to us how much fun we are going to have, and I couldn't help but start to get excited about how much fun my cohort and I are going to have! I am excited to be able to be traveling so far east, but what really makes me excited is the course I'm going to be taking. I'm so excited to be taking a course in women and leadership, I think that knowing how to be a leader in society is one of the most important skills an individual can have. I also think that there should be more women leaders, and what better way to do that then getting women to take this course and inspire others to take it as well.

After exiting at the Embarcadaro stop we walked from the station to the restaurant "Town Hall". As I was walking I was picking my brain to try to remember the last time I was in the city of San Francisco. I found it funny how even though I live so close to such a wonderful city, I rarely visit. I guess that you could say it's the same for anyone anywhere though. Although, I do find it hard to believe that if you live in Maui you wouldn't try to go the beach everyday.

Once we arrived at the restaurant, we all walked inside and upstairs to our dining area. The entire place looked so elegant. Candles lit on each table, and a small bar by a window. It felt nice to be able to be in such a fancy environment.
After mingling with a few alums for a while, Don called us to have our seats. I looked for my name and found myself sitting with my wonderful chaperone Kendra Amerson, Guadalupe Morales, Bianche Cordova and her mother, the amazing Charles Ramsey, and my father.
Chatting with Charles Ramsey.
As I sat down I introduced myself to Charles Ramsey, and he began to tell me about the program and some of the amazing things it has done for past ILCers within our district. I'm so glad that the Ivy League Connection became a program, I have always heard so many good things about it and the people who went always express their gratitude and enjoyment with the program. While talking with Charles Ramsey, it really sunk in that the ILC is all about giving back to our communities. That this powerful program allows others to pass it forward onto others who will be inspired to join the program. The Ivy League Connection has really impacted the lives of students, who never thought that they would ever be able to achieve such great things without the knowledge acquired throughout the program. I think that one of the best parts of the program is being able to pass it on to others within my community. All it took was one person to inspire me to want to partake in this program and now look where I am,  A current ILCer who will be going back east this summer.
Bianche Lian Cordova 

After chatting for a short while it was time for the wonderful speeches from Bianche Cordova and Javaria Khan. Bianche went up first, and then Javaria, both did very well, and sounded really professional. After them Irene Rojas-Carroll was up next, whose speech really allowed me to understand how much the ILC impacts participants lives. She explained how far she has come, and how she couldn't have done a lot of it without the help of the ILC. This really inspired me to try and make the most out of my upcoming experience and really try to learn as much as I can.
The lovely Irene Rojas-Carrol

When everyone finished speaking, we began to enjoy our wonderful food. I had the best couscous and vegetables in my life, that were super savory and delicious! They even gave me dessert, despite me being lactose intolerant they had a mango sorbet which was extremely tasteful. After finishing up eating and chatting with each other Don called us out to take a group photo. We all rushed downstairs and took a photo outside in the freezing cold. I had forgotten how cold the city gets at night, and huddled up with my cohort. After the photo, Bianche pointed out how there was a potato on the floor. A stray potato, peeled, and wasted out in the cold. We all laughed at how random it was, we even took a photo with it!

I am so thankful for being able to hear so much advice from the ILC alums and everyone involved in making this possible, including Don! This amazing program wouldn't have been possible without all of these amazing, hardworking people and I am so appreciative of them for their determination to make a program that will impact not only the ILCers but also the communities we live in.
That night I went home feeling proud to be an ILCer and to be able to have the opportunity to help my community. I hope to give back to the ILC in the future and provide others with information about the program, so that they may be able to embark on this wonderful experience as well.

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