Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Let the games begin

Some of my top experiences of all time include; visiting Washington D.C., getting the game winning hit, visiting Disney Land, and of course being a part of the Ivy League Connection program. Though most people only saw the end result of the program, which was every student succeeding in a rigorous college course, there was a lot of hard work that each student, chaperone, parent, founder, and sponsor had to put in. This whole experience has been breath taking, and one of the greatest life changing experiences I have ever had. There are so many words I can say about this whole experience, they cannot fit on one page. Before I even start on my reflections of the experience I want to thank; God for all the care and comfort, my family for their support, my illustrious chaperone Mrs. Kaplan, Mr. Ramsey, my fellow Cornelian’s and everyone else who sincerely supported me. I couldn’t have completed this journey without you all there to support me.
From around December of 2009 the ILC has made me mature each and every day. Starting with the essay, and interview process I had to go through. Both these taught me to do what was best for me, and not what the status quo was. When there was about 40 students called in to hear about the ILC, what it was, and how you get in, a lot of my peers said “this is too much work,” or “we’ll never get in, so why try,” these words were meant to discourage me and prevent me from even applying because I was afraid of failure, but when I found out my essay had been selected, and I had been accepted into the ILC based off of the interview, I was overjoyed. I learned no matter what others say, nothing is too hard, and in the word of Susan B. Anthony “failure is impossible.” But then when I heard Cornell had to accept me as well, I became a little nervous. But by this time the ILC had already started to have effect on me because I was not afraid of rejection, but I took the challenge head on and didn’t worry. About a month later I was informed that I had been accepted by Cornell, and I was extremely proud of the will and determination I displayed. I felt the maturing process already taking hold of me.
As soon as I was accepted into the program, I continued to hear this famous beep on my phone letting me know I had a received an email. It seemed like I heard that beep more than my name being called. It continued to tell me I had received an email from Mr. Ramsey, Or Don Gosney. At first I didn’t comprehend why they had to send so many, but now I know it was for my good. If would have responded quickly there would have been no need for some of the emails. But some were for my own good, to urge me the best ways to go about doing things. They explained that in the business world, they rely on quick responses to emails to maximize efficiency, and the ILC was no different. As Plato describes efficiency is morality in the community. Well now I have learned to be more efficient and quick in responding to emails. This will be a good trait to carry over into the work place.
Preceding departure to Cornell University, we had to read in depth texts to prepare for our class. This reading was intense and at first very foreign to me, but with the help of my insightful chaperone and my fellow Kramnick kids, I was able grasp the texts, and apply it into everyday conversation. Leaving to Cornell was a greater journey than we had all imagined. Getting stuck in an airport for 23 hours, and then having to drive another four hours just to get to Syracuse, New York, provided a great lesson in how to endure trials and tribulations. As my first blog as a Cornelian read, “Patience is a virtue,” but also as I said, it is an obtainable virtue.

Once arriving at Cornell I learned a lot, and had to mature fast. Without being able to use my parents as a crutch, I knew I had to grow up, and be independent like a real college student. I was unable to activate my Cornell I.D., and without my parents I had to take matters into my own hands. I “got on the ball” so to speak, and figured things out for myself. Though it took an hour or so, I was able to accomplish it, and this was my first independent task completed at Cornell. From there the sky was the limit because I knew if I can complete tasks on my own; with the help of my Cornelian’s together we could do anything.
My first college roommate was almost a polar opposite of me. He played no sports, was from Austin Texas, and his idea of studying was almost absent. He got his work done but didn’t take to the idea of studying the same as I. Everyone has their own learning styles, and I truly learned this. He and Alex actually became the best friends. We did eventually get really close, and I’m sure he’ll be a lifelong friend. I could tell though he was a little reluctant to be my friend but I was unsure as of why. As we got really close, at the end of our journey at Cornell he admitted that he had never had “a black friend” before so he was a little unsure as of how we would get along. He said I was one of his best friends, and this goes to show no matter the differences anyone can get along.
I think one of the biggest lessons I had to learn at Cornell was time management. With so many activities to do, and so little time do them you have the tendency to want to slack off your work and just have fun. Or vice versa, you work too hard and never have fun. But at Cornell I learned to promptly study, and do my work, and then still have time to go do activities such as visit the mall, bowl, play pool, watch a movie, or even go swimming. To quote the beloved Mr. Ramsey “we work hard, but we play hard as well.” Effectively managing my time was the key to my success. I was able get my work done, and then relive my pressure from the work by doing a fun activity with my friends.
Another key aspect to enjoying my time at Cornell was collaboration. Sometimes the work load seemed unbearable and too much to handle alone. That’s when we were all able to form study groups, and form a cohesive, indestructible force. We used each person’s strengths to the group’s advantage, and this balance enabled us to be efficient in our studying, hence we had more free time to do miscellaneous activities. Not stressing out about the rigorous course, nor being too nonchalant was the best possible balance for me. Even when we couldn’t figure something out together we had our T.A.’s to consult with. Usually at school I don’t have to ask the teacher too many questions just because I can breeze by, but hear at a college level class, asking questions is pivotal to success. I learned not to be afraid or ashamed to ask questions. Just because you ask questions doesn’t make you inferior, it just shows you’re really trying to comprehend the material. This is something that I can carry with me the rest of my life.
All the relationships I made at Cornell were unbelievable. Too many people to name, but I truly had fun spending every second with them. I made various connections with students who are truly tomorrow’s future, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of us was the future president of America. But the best friends that I will have are the ones I had to sleep on airport floor with, ride countless hours in a car with, and this would be the students from Pinole Valley High, and Hercules High. My fellow Cornelian’s have really made a great impression on me, and I’m not ashamed to say I love each and every one of them. They became like my brothers and sisters, my partners on this educational spree, I couldn’t have chose a group of six other people I would have rather been with for those three weeks. They were all very funny; talented, brilliant, caring, forgiving, and I really got know and love them. Out of all the insightful things the ILC has presented, and given to me, the friendship is the greatest. I will never forget Alex, Andrew, Dyana, Chris, Beilul, and Jacky. Each one of them had different characteristics that added to the cohesiveness of our group. I can’t express how much I truly love you all. I also had the pleasure to really get to know our chaperone Mrs. Kaplan, and I truly love her as well. Even though I saw her around school some time, I never really got to know her. I just thought she was another average school administrator, who would not really care about me personally. But on this journey she really took time to get to know me, and we spent countless hours together in the car singing, dancing, or even pulling over to look at a yard sale. She was truly the best chaperone anyone could ever ask for. If I have the pleasure to be accepted into the ILC next year, I will like to put in an early petition that Mrs. Kaplan be my chaperone. Getting to Know Mr. Ramsey was also a pleasure. He is very funny, and a pleasure to be around. I enjoyed his company every second, he always provided the group with intriguing discussion, and something to discuss
This trip was such a great experience and I cannot express how grateful I am. I just want to let the chaperones know that, the money they put into each student provided an experience of a life time. I know if it were not for the ILC, I would not have even thought about having the opportunity to go to Cornell. I urge that the sponsors continue to give to this program because it will be for their benefit in the future. I will not be afraid to say that each and every one of we ILC students will go on to be great success in life, and give back to our community that helped raise us. I appreciate all the hard work and dedication everyone put into me personally, and I will put just as much hard work in life so that your work does not return void. For now I will enjoy the rest of my summer, and know how lucky I am to be a part of the best program on Earth, the ILC is remarkable!


  1. I will miss you brother when I graduate this coming year. I had a great time hanging around with you and I hope that we can continue doing so for the rest of my years at PV.

  2. Andrew-
    What a lovely reflection. I love your honesty and courage to express your feelings. You know that I am going to visit you n college -- wherever that may be.
    Ms. K

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