Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Inspiring Get-Together

I must admit, going to last Thursday's One Market dinner in San Francisco for our Cornell gathering, I was skeptical. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I woke up, 25 minutes beforehand from my nap and simply did not feel like dressing up, putting on my tie and driving to San Francisco on a school night. Perhaps it was the thought that I didn't know what to expect from this dinner attended by many honorable guests and feared by me. Whatever it was, I must honestly say, it was a blast.

First off, I pulled my hair out trying to determine where we were supposed to meet up -- the El Cerrito Plaza or the Del Norte BART station. Initially, I thought we agreed upon meeting at Del Norte, but I think I confused myself, until my dad got mad and said it had to be Del Norte, that that was the main El Cerrito station or something. We finally arrived at the station and was relieved to see Jacky, who had already gone ahead with her mom after we exchanged greetings. We boarded the train and after a few minutes of sitting alone with my dad, we worried that we wouldn't find the others. We decided to get off, and just then, to my delight, I saw Ms. Ishmael, Ms. Lilhanand, Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg and several Ivy Leaguers.

Obviously, the night did not turn out the way I wanted it to. Having truly scavenged San Francisco only twice in my life, despite numerous visits to my cousin's house in SF, I was excited to see the beautiful city and impressing buildings. All that, however, was nothing compared to the simply put, extraordinarily extravagant One Market restaurant our group entered. It was something you'd see in fancy movies: an iron curtain pushed aside to reveal a stunning display of majesty and elegance. A mini-bar-like stand where a host proffered incoming attendees drinks ranging from orange juice to wine. Numerous hostesses walking around and in between people offering fancy-pancy appetizers that satisfied my every craving. I was afraid I'd become too stuffed to eat the main course.

Just then, I joined Wing in an engaging conversation with someone who I later learned was a 2009 Cornell graduate who resided in San Francisco. She gave us background information about herself, what she majored in at Cornell and answered our questions about the Summer Program. Samantha Berg, I came to learn, was incredible. To my GREAT luck, she sat right next to me at our table. Not only did she give me invaluable insight on Cornell, her adventures and years of progression around the gigantic campus, I MUST mention that she even took the time to draw me a map of the campus on a piece of paper and sincerely offered to help me in whatever I needed, be it calling her up on her cell phone or email, which she unhesitatingly gave me, OR editing one of my essays that I would write. Not only must I thank her from the bottom of my heart for all her advice and insight, but also for avoiding a terribly awkward night. Nervous and uncomfortable as I was, I barely spoke a word. Samantha, however, never allowed for an awkward or silent moment. She filled the night with stories which I will remember forever, such as raving Cornell hockey fans throwing squids and fish on the rink. Simply put, I am truly grateful for Samantha's presence. She truly connected with me, and I related to her in her tough decision in choosing a major, for I have no idea what major I will go for in college.
Aside from these conversations, dinner consisted of a one-inch thick steak and soup which I thought was gravy flooding three lonely pieces of shrimp. My dad and I couldn't control our laughter, but I'm sure it was from the wine he had. Jacky and Alex represented the Ivy Leaguers, as they gave their speeches to everyone present, including Cornell alums and parents of the students. Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg and Don Gosney, as usual, gave wonderful and inspiring speeches on the program. They pointed out how we must progress, that we cannot settle for anything less than what we deserve, and that we must truly prepare for our summer. No excuses.

What I gained, first of all, was a priceless experience with wonderful people, especially Samantha. I learned loads about Cornell, the college-making process, and the rewarding experience that will benefit us all after the end of our summer courses. Also, I can proudly say that this is the longest blog I have ever written in my life and have spent 1 hour and 30 minutes on it. To Cornell!


  1. Chris,

    Sounds like you made the right choice in attending this event.

    I don't even want to get into a discussion about sending countless emails with the Plaza BART station printed in BOLD FACED type and why you and your classmates chose to just gloss over that critically important part of the itinerary.

    It concerns me greatly though, about some of the comments you wrote about Samantha Berg. I, too, was entranced with her enthusiasm for our program and trying to help our people but I thought she was just being this way with me. Now I learn she was equally generous with her enthusiasm and desire to help. My heart's been broken.

    I noticed that she was drawing you a map and I even commented on it to a few others. I just thought she was giving you pointers about where all of the cool places on campus might be.

    By the way, luck had nothing to do with the fact that you sat next to Sam. She was directed to sit there. The idea was/is that it doesn't do anyone any good of all if our ILC cohorts sit together and all of the alums sit together. What we want and what we need is for you to get to know these alums and learn from their experiences and share in their love for their school. Likewise, you were paired with sponsors and with members of our support team. Nothing in this world really just happens, Chris. There's a grand plan for everything so everything can fall into place.

    Glad you had a good time and especially glad that you shared your thoughts with us.

  2. Chris, I must say, you have worked hard and made it far. I don't know why I didn't read this until now. You need to share your writings with me more often!

    Good luck at your time at Cornell. I know you'll love your time there, because it will be your first taste of living in a dorm. If you need me, I'll be having my own studies at Westminster College of the Arts for music composition and Stanford for Quantum Mechanics. Again, good luck!