Sunday, June 24, 2012

Goodbye California

I have to say that all weekend I have been extremely anxious to leave for this trip!  Now that the moment is almost here I am as happy and excited as can be. 

Since the first group of ILC students departed for their school, I have been reading a great deal of inspiring blogs.  Through reading the experiences of the others students, I have become more mentally prepared for my own trip and I made sure that I had all of my luggage ready to go well in advance.  For the first time I was ready and packed three days in advance!  Minus the loaner items I received from Don, my suitcase is filled with, what I feel are, practical clothes and useful miscellaneous items. 

Although I am slightly nervous about traveling across the country and living there for five weeks, I am most definitely looking forward to this new experience.  I am almost positive that I want to go to school on the East Coast, but after this trip I think that I will never want to leave!  I love traveling and meeting new people, but I have never had the chance to really go so far out into the world without my family. I am so thankful that I now have the opportunity to do this and take an incredible course on Social Justice at the same time! 

From the moment I arrive at El Cerrito High for the shuttle, I plan on completely embracing each and every day of this trip.  St. Louis, Chicago, and Philadelphia are all cities that I have wanted to go to and it is a bit surreal that I will be in St. Louis, Missouri this time tomorrow!  For tonight though I must contain my excitement, say goodnight, and catch some sleep. 

Ready , Set , Go!

The last day before I take off to the east coast has been filled with tons of words of wisdom, saying that I will be fine and am totally prepared for anythings thrown my way. I 100% agree with these statements  because now that there is approximately 10 hours before I am on my way, I have mentally prepared myself that I will be somewhat out of my comfort zone so I will need to make changes.

As for the packing process, I am done! Laying everything on my bed almost an extra week in advance to make sure I had everything ready to go, paid off big time and relieved a lot of stress. Now it is time to relax and get some sleep because I want to be able to get know my cohort a lot better, seeing how they are all from different schools. 

Looking at the itinerary I see that already, on the first day of this educational adventure, we have a dinner with the Washington University Director of Admissions and NorCal Admissions Officer. (Time to prepare a lot of questions.)

I can’t wait to get out on the east coast, and as an extra incentive to do my best, I have to constantly remind myself of what a wonderful opportunity this is and of all the people that are supporting me morally and financially.  


Despite multiple consultations with my packing list, I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m forgetting something. Oh yes, I still need to blog…

We are less than 12 hours from our rendezvous at ECHS, where everyone will meet, toting his or her carefully weighed suitcases, multiple IDs, and med cards. The last minute details only serve to call attention to that flutter in the bottom of my stomach, that realization that this is the last time I will be at home for over a month. This shouldn’t be new to me-–after all, I spent 3 weeks at Brown last summer-–but I still get butterflies, good and bad, every time I travel.

Nonetheless, I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to this trip. We are making two stops before our Philadelphia destination: college touring in St. Louis and Chicago. I remember well our college tours from last summer, and I’m eager for another opportunity to speak with admissions officers and get a firsthand feel for these elite schools. As a junior, this could be my last chance to see schools before I start college apps, and I plan to take full advantage of it.

I’ll need to be well rested to stay awake for these wonderful opportunities, so I had better get to bed soon. Although it will be difficult to push away my excitement so that I can sleep, I’ll do my best.

14 Hours to Go!

As I sit here, on top of my suitcase, trying to squash it into the realms of zipper-ability, I'm starting to think I may have over packed a little. But I can't leave that one shirt, and I'll need all those dresses, and those shoes will be helpful and...well... you get the idea.  It's starting to hit me how soon I will be leaving for the East Coast.  I am looking forward to every single aspect of this trip, even the 2:45 AM call time.  Being this excited, I'll probably wake up around then anyway.  

I did my best to get a lot of sleep last night knowing it might be my last time to rest for quite a while.  I returned from a week-long leadership camp yesterday, and seeing as I'm about to leave again, I'm hoping to spend a lot of time with my family today.  I like to think they'll miss me. 

From what I have read of the other groups' blogs, I think the most important thing for me is to keep a very open mind for the coming college tours. No matter how much I like to think that I've got it all figured out, I'm sure the visits will be eye-opening and they may completely re-align my priorities.  If anything, I'm looking forward to a better understanding of what's out there for me and what different colleges have to offer.  I've been spending my free time reading about my class and the program and I'm having a hard time refraining from spewing random facts to everyone around me. 

As the clock ticks down, I get more and more excited.  However, seeing as the clock is also ticking down on the amount of sleep I'll get tonight, I think it's about time to go to bed.

Last Minute Preparations

I woke up this morning with a purpose: to complete all last minute packing and once and for all zip up my suitcase. It is only 12:10 PM and I have completed that task. Ever since I found out that I was only allowed one suitcase I had been stressing over the weight of my luggage. Since my family seems to be the only family in the world to not own a bathroom scale, my mother suggested I take my luggage to the UPS store. My sister and I drove to the store only to be greeted by a neon sign that read "Closed". After calling my mother, I decided to try the shipping center at Staples. With little help from a Staples employee I hoisted my suitcase onto the countertop scale and waited for the reading. 42.60 lbs is what the scale read. I was so relieved to know that I was underweight, I went home and packed an extra pair of shoes :)

Yesterday, I said my final goodbyes to my friends. My friends and I spent the day at an amusement park along with my sister. It was a little saddening to know that I wouldn't be able to see them again for another 30+ days. Aside from being sad I have to part with friends and family, I am excited nonetheless. It seems just a few short weeks ago we were all sitting in the multipurpose room at Pinole Middle School anxiously waiting for our departure dates to approach and finally they're here! In about twelve hours I'll be double, triple, and quadruple checking my luggage. I've never been away from home for more than a few days at a time but there is no doubt in my mind that I'll be successful while away.

Of course I am looking forward to college tours but aside from that I'm really excited for the weather and a chance to just experience East Coast living. As my departure time approaches more closely, I'll be preparing my social network status updates and goodbye messages, as well as sending out individual texts to those who I'll miss the most.

"See" you all on the other side. Next time I update it'll probably be from a different time zone :)

The Wait Is Nearly Over

It’s almost here. In little over twelve hours I will be boarding the shuttle to SFO airport--a shuttle that will start a journey that I will never forget. This past week I have been packing almost everything I need into my suitcase, hoping that it doesn’t exceed 50 pounds. As I packed, I started to feel more excitement, more anxious, and also a bit nervous. To combat these nerves, I look at the previous year’s blogs from Penn. What I saw was amazing. Seeing all the fun they had, I quickly forgot about my nervousness.

The three hour difference is not going to be a problem for me because I have traveled to Mexico multiple times where I had to get used to a two hour differences. I believe the easiest way to getting comfortable with the time difference is changing your sleep pattern (exactly what Don has been telling us the whole time), and know that the airplane is the one of the worst places to begin. So, for nearly the past week and a half I have been going to sleep at around 9 PM and waking up at about 5 AM. Then I would go to the gym with my brother, which has helped me feel energized and alert so early in the morning.

Before I get my head on my pillow for the last time in a month, I am making sure everything is ready. All electronics are charged and ready to go, making sure my camera has tons of memory, and putting little things where they belong. I’ve said goodbye to all of my family, which of course I will miss. Right know I am just so excited that writing this blog becomes such a difficult task because of my fingers jumping all around the keyboard.