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
July 1: Happy July!
Today began just as every other day has the past nearly two weeks. I awoke at 7:40am to meet Julia and Ramiah for 8:00am breakfast at Appel Commons. Today's breakfast differed slightly in that we had a mini-review prior to heading off for McGraw Hall. While slurping our cereals and snacking on our fruits, we went over each philosopher's (Plato, Christ, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine & Locke) view of human nature, justice, and government. It was a great way to remember the themes we studied the previous night. Plus, we reminded ourselves that we actually know this stuff!
After breakfast, we took our "intimidating" walk to McGraw, where we snagged our seats and broke out the pens and pencils. We read. We studied. We prepared. We were ready. After a few inspirational words from Professor Kramnick, we obtained our instructions and exam booklets and began. During the one hour exam, I realized that Professor Kramnick was telling the truth when he claimed that he "wouldn't try to trip us up." Everything that was on the exam was discussed in either lecture or discussion. Having gone to all of my classes, the test was as clear as day light. For my essay portion, I wrote about the similarities between Locke and the other 4 philosophers and who was most similiar in his views. Because I had a strong grasp of Locke going into the exam, I was excited when I came across the Locke essay question. After happily completing the essay portion, I moved onto Part 2 which called for us to select 5 out of 10 presented quotes and indicate the origin and significance of the quote. After selecting a few Locke quotes, two Plato, and one St. Augustine, I realized that I was done with time to spare! I strategically went over my work to make sure no glaring mistakes were present, and I officially finished. I'm really proud of the work I put into my exam, and I hope my TA Desmond appreciates it, too!
Following the exam, we had a two hour lecture by Professor Kramnick on the writings of Wollstonecraft, de Gouges, and partly John Stuart Mills regarding the topic of women. Having already read Wollstonecraft, de Gouges and portions of J.S. Mill, I wasn't confused or introduced to any unexpected ideas. Again, preparation has made this course much easier for me and my comrades. Following the two hour lecture, we were free for the rest of the day. During that time, Julia, Ramiah, and I grabbed some lunch, paid a visit to the Cornell Store, and investigated the Andrew D. White Section of Uris Library (aka "The Harry Potter Room"). I highly regret not having brought my camera along with me, but I promise that I will revisit and provide pictures! It's absolutely stunning!
Tonight's assignment requires us to review Wollstonecraft, de Gouges and J.S. Mill. I'll be getting to that assignment after dinner at Appel.
Before signing off, I've been asked to reflect a little on my district and how they've prepared me for this course. I am more than happy to put in my two cents. Firstly, without the support of my district, I wouldn't be writing this blog from my Cornell dorm, at all. I owe this entire experience to them. In terms of preparation, I have to thank those "amazing classes" I had the privilege of taking in high school. Without note-taking skills from AP U.S. History or analyzing skills from AP Language & Composition, I would not have tools I need to succeed in any college course, let alone an Ivy League course. I will admit that some of my high school courses do not compare to level of work that occurs here at Cornell. One infallible idea that will undoubtedly help our district would be the sorting out of obviously unhelpful courses and promoting the ones that help students prepare for college. By doing this, kids will be more prepared for college. Also! I cannot forget this. There needs to be more emphasis on English and writing courses. College is based on your ability to express your ideas, and without basic writing tools, one may appear to be a lackluster student. I have been lucky to have a great AP Language & Composition teacher, so I feel as if my writing is up to par. Mind you, I could have easily been placed in a different class, and my writing skills would have suffered. We need more teachers like Mr.Litvin! Also, people in my Freedom & Justice course are undeniably intelligent and belong in the class. Note that a majority of these students are schooled in private institutions, but the fact that 3 public schooled students are keeping up reveals the high standard of HMHS. I am definitely proud to be a Titan here at Cornell.
Having traveled out of the country as a part of a student ambassador program, I know what it is like to be away from home. Some nights I wonder what's happening on the West Coast, but I am focused and do not let any kind of homesickness get to me. Being at Cornell is an entirely different experience from living at home or even traveling with People to People (the student ambassador program). It is much more comforting. You are surrounded by hundreds of students in a similar situation: eager students prepared to learn and earn college credit. This mutual understanding makes the days fly by and the knowledge accrue in mass amounts. What could be better?
I have rambled quite a bit about WCCUSD, but students who are considering applying to the ILC for the summer of 2010 need to hear it. For those who will be applying and will possibly be accepted, I have one bit of advice: PREPARE. You have to consider the students you will be competing with in class. Most of these young adults are raised in wealthy, well-educated families and have participated in similar programs during past summers. Not being from one of those families motivated me to prepare before coming to Ithaca, along with studying intensively during my stay. You have to be willing to do the work, and if you are, I highly suggest that you apply. Your work will be paid off, and you will undoubtedly feel prepared for higher learning. I hope my advice guides the confused souls of prospective Ivy League Connection Participants. ILC will take you miles, but you have to be willing to put in the work. I promise; you will succeed.