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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

From the Beginning to the End

Looking back with my experience in the Ivy League Connection, it seems like it was all in the distant past. I recall first applying to this program in my Sophomore year, but unfortunately, I was unable to get in. I was not discouraged by this, so I kept on pursuing this goal, and the following year, I applied once again to two of the programs offered. Thankfully, I was able to become a part of the UPenn cohort where I would be able to study Physics in the University of Pennsylvania. 

From the beginning...
However, being accepted into the ILC did not necessarily guarantee that I was in the summer program itself, so I was back to writing more essays and filling out more forms. Thanks to Don, I was also accepted into UPenn, and I was able to continue with my ILC journey. All in all, I was definitely surprised that I had gotten this far because I had doubted myself far too much, but this experience had allowed me to gain more confidence not only in myself, but in my writing as well. I can't say that it was all smooth sailing, but my efforts were definitely worthwhile. With this once in a lifetime opportunity, I was able to go to the East Coast and gain new experiences I had never even dreamed of, even if it was only for three weeks.

For starters, I was able to make amazing bonds with people that I hadn't even known in the beginning of March. We grew close and supported each other throughout this entire experience, and I couldn't have asked for a better cohort. In our first meeting at the dinner at Kuleto's, I couldn't even openly talk to them, but it's amazing how far we've come in such a short amount of time. 

Through this program, I was also able to travel and see more of the world, even if it was just in the United States. I had gone out of country before, but prior to this summer, I had never been to any other state other than California. However, in just the span of three weeks, I was able to travel to six different states. Our first stop had been in Texas, and despite the thunderstorms, I was able to see Rice University. Then, we had continued to Georgia to visit Emory University, and we finally went to Pennsylvania as our last stop. For these few days of travelling, I was able to see the gorgeous campuses of these universities, and it made me realize how broad our world is. I hadn't actually thought about applying to schools in the East Coast, but this has definitely changed my perspective.


Of course, it wasn't all fun and games. Once I had finally arrived at UPenn, I was ready to get down to business, but my class was not as I had expected. Instead of just boring lectures and memorization, my class was taught by four wonderful professors that had made learning fun while allowing me to attain a deeper understanding of physics, which I know will help me in the future as I continue to study in the STEM fields. However, in this class, learning was a group effort. Because of this, I was able to work with students from different backgrounds, which can be a challenge at times. Regardless of that, I was able to adapt and learn from others, not just about physics, but also about themselves. I had even met people from all over the world, such as Turkey and China. It was nice hearing from others that have a completely different background from you.

I had such a wonderful experience at UPenn, and I know these memories of my summer will  never fade. I would never have had this opportunity without the ILC, so I'm very thankful to all of the sponsors and to Don as well because they made this a possibility. I was able to learn and experience so many things, and I am truly grateful that I was able to be a part of this amazing program. Prior to this, I had never even thought of applying to the University of Pennsylvania, but I fell in love with the atmosphere and the school itself, and I know for a fact that I am applying. Yes, I know that I have been going on and on about how wonderful this program is, and I'll definitely be bragging (just a little) to my friends about this experience, but at least I'll be able to tell them about these new doors that have been opened for me. It may be the end of my ILC journey, but it's also the beginning of a new chapter in my life. 
...to the end

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