Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Making Connections

On the evening of May 24, the UPenn cohort took a trip to San Francisco for dinner with a group of alumni from UPenn and the Ivy League Connection, school board members, parents, chaperons, facilitators, and sponsors of the program. The purpose of the gathering was to introduce us to a support network that we will be able to take advantage of throughout our time in the ILC and beyond. 

We ate on the beautiful outdoor patio at Town Hall Restaurant

For me, the night got off to an interesting start. After a BART ride into the city and a short walk to Town Hall Restaurant, where the dinner was held, I had mingled for a few minutes when I started to feel woozy. Before I knew it, I was on the floor, not having realized that I had fainted until I registered the sore spot where my head had bumped into the ground and the concerned faces of Mr. Hillyer and my mother hovering over me. There was no serious damage, but I had never fainted before in my life, and the experience was rather disorienting and embarrassing. On the bright side, it gave me a good story to tell (unfortunately for you all, but fortunately for me, Don did not get any footage of the fall).
A table setting with my name on it was carefully and beautifully prepared for me

Once I recovered, I quickly sprang back into action and began connecting with new arrivals. Within minutes, the value of these dinners became very clear to me. I was receiving so many bits of wisdom and advice from those who had attended prestigious universities and gone through the ILC process before. As we sat down to eat, I became aware of the community that I had become a part of, and I was very grateful. 

Throughout the meal, I continued to speak with my neighbors about what my summer on the East Coast would be like. Between bites of delicious fried chicken and salted caramel fudge, we discussed everything from weather to course load to prospective tourist destinations. I also shared what my hopes were for after I graduate. After some final words from Don and a group photo, I was sad to be heading home. As usual after an ILC event, I felt energized and ready-to-go, and I was disappointed when I realized that we still have over a month before we get to leave!

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