Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Dinner Battle with the Butterflies

I arrived at the bart station, my ribcage nearly bursting from my heart's nervous pumping. When the night was over, I could hardly keep still from excitement.

As a first year ILC member, the butterflies were running rampant in my stomach on the day of the Cornell Dinner. Throughout the day, my mind was filled with worry over the evening dinner. At the bart station, Don worked his magic, passing out clipper cards and informing us about the night. For a comforting period, the butterflies took a nap. Everyone in our group arrived early, giving us time to socialize and take photos in the area. After sharing fleeting jokes and consulting tips, the time came to head on toward the diner.
Snapped a picture of the parents and Kevin. Looking sharp!

Upon arriving, we were greeted by friendly alums, sponsors, and school board members. I glanced at the program, spotting my name and feeling the butterflies in my stomach begin to rouse. I had the speech ready in my head, but the hammering in my chest said otherwise. After introducing the guests, the spotlight switch over to me.

I could hardly complete a sentence without gasps of air interrupting every other word, and there was an century long pause in the center of my speech, but I continued. Before long, I reached the end. People clapped. I could breathe again. I returned to my table, receiving reassuring greetings from the group at my table.

The rest of the night was an unforgettable dream, an experience Shanti and I agreed could only be described as spiritual and legendary. The two of us sat at a table with my mother, chaperone Chan-Law, and the amazing and unforgettable alums, Doug and Rachel. What I expected to be a long dinner filled with the bland "how was your day" phrased in twenty different ways turned out to be an intriguing discussion exploring the supportive professors, tightly knit campus community, gorgeous rural scenery, spontaneous weather changes and just about everything in between at Cornell. There was no room for awkward silence; every moment was filled with a question, a response or even simultaneous laughter. The dinner was brought to life by the amazing people we sat with.
Doug (left), Shanti (middle) and I (left)
Dessert is served!
 Of course, describing a dinner without touching on the meal is blasphemy. Shortly after our arrival, waiters scurried in and out of the room, offering drinks and appetizers to start the meal. I ordered a salmon dish as the main course, but the dinner offered a scrumptious beef option as well. Finally, the meal closed off a glorious sorbet, decorated with delicate fruit and a flora almond cookie.

As the last bits of dessert was scraped off the plate, Don gathered everyone together for a group photo. I could hardly contain my excitement when the Cornell banner unraveled.
The Cornell Crew gathered together!
I had a lot of time to think about the dinner on the bart ride back. I sat beside Helen,  the both of us spontaneously expressing our excitement about the upcoming month and retiring back to the late evening just as quickly. I took back so much from tonight. Before the dinner, I was already excited for the upcoming trip, but after listening to the countless sites to visit and shops to search, my eagerness shot through the roof. Aside from my new perspective, I've gotten rid of all the butterflies. Talking to Doug, Rachel and all the other wonderful alums made me realize that I've got what it takes, and there is absolutely nothing to fear.

I'll be sure that at future events, I'll be taking the microphone away from the butterflies.


  1. Hey Julie, Rachel and I had a wonderful time chatting with you and your mom. Have a wonderful time in Ithaca this summer and stay in touch. Best wishes, Doug (and Rachel)

  2. Hello Doug, thank you so much! It was a pleasure dining with you and Rachel. You two are amazing and I wish you the best in the future. Sincerely, Julie