Being another tiring Monday, I wasn't to keen on the idea of having a dinner for the Ivy League that evening. As every second ticked on the clock, I found myself more and more anxious and nervous during class just thinking about the dinner. I began to question myself "Am I even ready to present myself at the dinner?" only to come to the realization that these questions all bundled up in my head could only be answered until the dinner began.
As soon as school ended, I hurried on home to prepare for the dinner. With a quick change of clothes and a fix up of my hair, I was ready to endure what the night had to offer. Since I was driving myself, I found it a bit unsettling because I had no intent in being lost, let alone late for that instance. With quick glances at the list of directions, I was able to arrive to the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station safely and on time, in which may I add left Don with a great deal of relief and a big shining smile on his face. When I approached the huddled group of Ivy League Connection members and its supporters, I immediately began to introduce myself, trying to familiarize myself with them to make the night less awkward and more friendly. After a few greetings, I was more confident in myself to be able to get through the dinner.
When we arrived to San Francisco, I could see how excited and nervous the other students in the cohort were. Seeing them made me realize the bond we all had together. I felt relieved to understand that I wasn't alone feeling anxious. Soon enough with my cohort, full of amazing student, I learned we could make this dinner a great one. At that moment my nervousness left my soul being replaced by a sense of confidence and self-perseverance .
When walking into the restaurant, One Market, we saw that a few of the guests of sponsors and alumni had already arrived. Soon enough most of our guests were present for the dinner. Before we sat down for dinner we had a brief interval of time to socialize. As I made my way through the crowd, I was able to make small talk with some of the guests. I found this brief moment of time to be extraordinarily useful to the extent of making connections and learning about the alumni's experiences being in college. Samantha Berg ('09) was one of the alumni, who I had spoken with shared her experiences at Cornell as well as her academic path she took to become a commercial product designer. One important aspect that she made me realize was that education is a path where one travels along in search of one’s true passion. There is never just one path but infinitely many depending on what he/she admires. She explained that one can be whatever they desire to be, its the matter of just knowing where to start.
After some time of socializing, we all slowly transitioned to settle down and begin the dinner. At the very beginning Madeline Kronenberg gave an introductory speech and introduced everyone. From there we went to Julie Lum's( Cornell cohort member) well delivered speech. At last we had one of the alumni, Doug Mitarotonda ('02), give a small speech. As he gave his speech, the most legendary thing happened. As he was talking about the many diverse and interesting courses that Cornell offered, he slipped out the fact that he actually took a language course learning Nepali. At that moment my heart sank and I started to question my hearing. But as he went on he talked about how he went to Kathmandu, Nepal and stayed there for some time. I wasn't sure if anyone noticed me, but I was pretty amazed and couldn't even handle sitting still in my seat. I began to scream, in my head of course, "I'm Nepali" and "I can speak that language!" As he finished off his speech all I could think of was "Wow Don gets a 11 out of 10 on seating arrangements!"As soon as Doug and I both understood that we spoke Nepali, he walked to his seat and started a striking conversation in Nepali. Although we didn't speak too much in Nepali, I was amazed at the students at Cornell are so optimistic and unique with their course decisions.
|From left to right: Rachel, Julie, Shanti (me) and Doug|
During the dinner I sat next to my cohort member, Julie Lum, her mother, Mr. Chan-Law, and two amazing alumni. I can’t stress how amazing the alumni are. One being Doug Mitarotonda and the other being Rachel Reichenbach. Not only did they attend the same school, they were also married and had an amazing love story to go along with their time during Cornell. They are the epitome of success, happiness, and the American Dream. Using terms from the modern teenage dictionary, Doug and Rachel would be described as "literal life goals of anything and everything". Through their experiences at Cornell and their success, I was able to see Cornell not only as an university but an opportunity to challenge oneself to overcome and surpass any limits that may impede accomplishing success. During the dinner, I immediately saw Cornell for what it really represented, academic integrity, pride, and success.
I had an amazing night because of the dinner and thought it was definitely the highlight of my week and probably rest of the week!
|The Cornell Cohort Members, Alumni, and Kevin Mendoza|