Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Halfway Mark

Happy Wednesday, all! (:

I hope you are all having a beautiful day. I am in a very cheerful mood for several reasons. First of all, our preliminary is done and over with. Not only am I happy that I no longer need to stress over it, but it was actually much easier than I anticipated. I studied the right material and I am so happy. All the preparation certainly is paying off. For all the students who are able to attend the Freedom & Justice program in the future, I highly recommend forming a study group and going over the material prior to even going to Cornell, like Justine, Ramiah, and I did. It is one of the most worthwhile things you can do in preparation for the rigor of the course. The exam went very well. We will get our results next week. Hopefully I did as well as I think I did! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

As I mentioned in my previous post, this was the very first college-level exam I have ever taken. I was pleasantly surprised at the little difficulty I had in completing the test. I'm sure that had a lot to do with the preparation and all the studying I've been doing. It is my education at Hercules High School that has provided me with these study tactics. When thinking about whether or not HHS has adequately prepared me with the rigor that is vital to success at a college level, I have mixed feelings. 

I think there are a handful of quality teachers at Hercules. With all the AP courses I have taken, I have grown accustomed to insane amounts of work assigned all at once and due immediately. The workload at Cornell is no issue for me. In that sense, I feel Hercules has prepared me. The academics, however, is only one aspect of the preparation. The environment is an entirely different matter. Don't get me wrong. At Hercules, there are so many wonderful students who are some of the smartest people I have ever met. There are also, however, students who aren't as intelligent. I've gotten used to classmates who slack off, who choose to not study for exams, who do under and below (instead of above and beyond) with assignments, and who either sit quietly in class and refuse to participate or refuse to pay attention and simply disrupt the class. 

You can see the trouble with that, since I am a the exact opposite of that. I study too much, go above and beyond with assignments and projects, and I'm always the first to raise my hand during class discussions. Sometimes it makes it hard to believe that there are students out there who are as eager to learn as I am. Cornell gave me a huge wake-up call. I am so used to people who just sit there, staring at the ceiling, when teachers ask questions. When we're in discussion at Cornell, it is SUCH a different atmosphere. Everyone is so opinionated and so ready to voice their thoughts. There is no shame, no fear, and, most importantly, no silence. Every thought is so well articulated, so insightful. Cornell has given me inspiration and provided me with something to aspire to. This is the kind of scholastic environment I need in order to thrive. 

This experience has shown me the kind of people I should surround myself with - the kind of people I will find if I attend an Ivy League university. The rural area of Cornell is a concern of mine, but I am interested in this institution. I do not know that Cornell is a perfect fit, but it is something to definitely look into and consider. If nothing more, this experience has shown me where I should be. At Hercules, I always feel extremely smart, just because I'm one of the few people on my class to ever say anything. I started to develop a comfort in that, and my academic confidence started to come solely from being at the top of my class. At Cornell, everyone is at my level. At first, I was extremely intimidated. I started to really miss Hercules and that silence. But then I realized that environment is doing nothing for me. I shouldn't settle for an average school where I can stand out. I should be at a university where everyone is exceptional and I have to constantly push myself to stand out and excel. I thank the ILC for this breakthrough and epiphany.

I remember the first time I told my roommate about the ILC. She was so mind-blown to know I, along with my five colleagues, were here at Cornell on a scholarship. Pretty much everyone we tell is extremely intrigued with the program, and rather jealous their district does not have it. Just today, our TA asked us if the this program is also in his hometown of Chicago. Everyone wants to be a part of this, and it makes me even more proud to know I have the opportunity to be in the ILC. It is amazing, worthwhile, and most definitely so very rewarding.

I would now like to briefly discuss my day in class. After the prelim exam, we had a double lecture on...

I. Universalism and Class and Gender
II. The Subordination of Women in Western Culture
a. Women as Evil and Bodies
b. Women as Dutiful Servants to Men
c. Women as Mothers
III. Socialization
IV. Why Feminism in 1790s
a. Spirit of the Age
b. Industrial Revolution
c. "Invention" of Childhood
V. Wollstonecraft, de Gouge, Mill
a. Socialization Revisited
b. Women as Rational
c. Women and Justice
d. Women and Equality
e. Women and Power
f. Women and Rights
VI. Feminism Today

Wollstonecraft, de Gouge, and Mill are considered the founders of feminism. It was great looking into the roles of women in antiquated times, and seeing the way in which they've altered through time. Definitely one of my favorite topics of the course thus far. 

I realized today that we only have six more days of class, and then we return back to Hercules. To be entirely honest, the thought of leaving saddens me deeply. Cornell has really grown on me, and I really will miss this place. Commenting on the "halfway" theme of my blog, it's a kind of cool coincidence, actually. Today marked the halfway mark of our stay in Ithaca, and I also reached the halfway point on my 100 page notebook. I've already written over 50 pages since I've been here! I can't wait to take this information back home with me. Senior year, watch out. I'm coming prepared. (:

This is officially the longest blog I have ever written. I hope I didn't take too much of your time, dear readers! Hopefully you were able to get something out of my many words. Enjoy the rest of your days.

- xoxo, Julia.

P.S. I once again had the opportunity to chat with Ms. Kronenberg today during the period in between the end of the preliminary exam and Professor Kramnick's lecture. I know she leaves us summer Cornellians today, and I would just like to wish her a safe flight! I hope she enjoyed her stay here. I think I can speak on the behalf of the five other girls when I say we enjoyed seeing her. Bye, Ms. Kronenberg!


  1. Julia,

    I’ve just started reading the Cornell blogs for the day starting with Justine’s but I really like what I’m reading so far.

    Isn’t it a wonderful feeling attending a class where you know the subject matter and you’re prepared for just about everything they might throw at you?

    And isn’t it equally wonderful being in a class where the students are there because they WANT to be there? Back home at HMHS, just as you pointed out, so many of the students are there only because they’re required to be there. Learning the course work never even enters their minds and they will never put out any more effort than they’re forced to.

    You’ll run into college students like that as well, Julia. There are plenty of collegians who are there not of their own free will but because mama and papa have dictated to them that they WILL go to college. Chances are that the folks are also writing the checks each month so the student has no vested interest in how things work out in class. The only real incentive some of them will have to studying is their fear that if the grades aren’t up there then the folks will kill the credit card.

    Keep up the fantastic work, Julia.

  2. Julia,

    Your post was on the mark and answered all of my questions. You were thorough with your comments and left no stone unturned. It was a refreshing read and gave me enough information to share with our supporters and sponsors.

    However, what I want to hear is what school you believe is comparable to Cornell? Many say Stanford and other highly selective colleges, but they never take me through the analysis. How would UCLA or UC Berkeley stack up. Don is right that many students in college really do not want to be there. This is the case at many UC's and CSU's. They have students who are going through the motions and the graduation rates are staggering low. Why would you not want to study with the best in the world and those who are highly motivated.

    Yes, we have Cal Tech, Stanford and Pomona College as top tier academic institutions on the West Coast, but besides these three institutions how would you put Cornell in a class below that? I don't think so. You are now at one of the best universities in the land and on top of it you have three credits before you would even start.

    Julia, you are smart. Give Cornell a fair and honest examination. Do your research and never ever waver from a challenge. Yes, as Dorothy said " There is no place like home", but we know that home will always be there.

    Take me through an interview with your roommate who you claimed has your same "dressy ways". Let us know how her experience went with the class that she took and how it is coming from her. Did she enjoy her time at Cornell and if so, why? How has it been for her and you living in Mary Donlon? Have you visited the other dorms where the other students are staying?

    Let us know and give us feedback. We need to grow the program and the only way is to learn from you. So do a Video Clip. Stacy or Justine has the capability and will make it work. Do this to allow us to provide the documentation to next years class at Hercules High School.

    Just like you went through the interview, it will be nice to see you pop in and give a smile to what will be a nervous bunch of Hercules High School students wanting to be part of the Class of 2011 ILC.

    We also want you to partake in the College Tour organized by Cornell. Will you do it? I have not heard from anyone that they have signed up for the tour? This amazes me because everyone had such a wonderful time at the University of Rochester, another fabulous academic institution.

    The ILC has opened the door to your future, and yes, you will never be the same. However, you are a stronger student for coming this way. We welcome your growth and appreciate your candor in this post. Now when you return we welcome the first Ivy League Connection dance that will be hosted in the City of Hercules at the Teen Center. This should be a lovely affair.

    So, thanks again for your sage comments. I do hope that you will continue to respond to my questions and provide us with valuable insight about any new and emerging situations.

    Enjoy the balance of your evening and congrats on completing your essay and first exam.

    Take care.

    Charles T. Ramsey