Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Graduating Take Off

As my eyes fluttered open, the rays of the bright sun forced me to dig my face into my blanket. I did not get up as the thoughts of my last morning was today. However, knowing that my check out time was at 7:15 A.M and it being 6:30, I pushed myself to get up. I got ready and started organizing my bags. Afterwards, I prepared the room for the RCA to check it out. Trying to be as quiet as possible due to my roommate still sleeping, I took out the trash and brought my linens and towels to the lobby for cleaning. 

The laundry mountain
RCA Jake knocked on my door right on time. He checked my room in order to make sure there was no new damages made by me. The check out went swiftly and within five minutes I was in the elevator going to the lobby with my luggage. Wait! I forgot to say see you later to my roommate! Before I turned in my keys to the RCA in the lobby, I went back to my room and woke up my roommate. Surprised that I woke up so soon, he got out of bed and gave me a solid handshake. We exchanged comments such as,"I hope to see you soon" and "If you are ever visiting my part of town tell me and I will show you around." Matthew is a great roommate who is polite, caring, and very intelligent. 

Before graduation happened, I ran over to RPCC and enjoyed my last meal there. I will miss the great buffet style food and the great memories I created with all my friends at RPCC. Most of all, I will miss Karen's smile and "Enjoy your meal" comment as she swiped our cards and let us in. By the time I finished my meal, I met up with my friend Nick. Since he had a later start, I helped him pack and carry his items into the lobby. Each and every time I visited the lobby, more students were packing their parent's cars and the laundry pile became a mountain full of blankets and towels. 

As I entered Statler, I realized how much I was going to miss my second home. The place where I would spend ten hours or more each and every week day and even a couple of hours on the weekend. Mark and Reneta had set aside a smaller lecture hall where the students gathered and where we dropped off our luggage. Taking the spare room to our advantage, my cohort including Thao and Helen, placed all our baggage here. 

After a quick review of how we were going to walk into the next lecture hall, we personally, students to teachers, said our last farewells to Mark and Reneta, hoping that maybe one day we will be their students in the Hotel class. Since all the students and I were so brilliant, we executed the plan of entering the lecture hall perfectly. 

The ILC Hotel Management cohort and professors
Mark and Reneta.
Graduation was beautiful. It began with Mark saying a few words, but quickly switching it off to one of my classmates Sean Koval. Sean did an amazing job in his speech and introduced key items that we learned throughout the year. Afterwards, two groups shared their presentations from class. Once all the students shared their work, Mark and Reneta began to say the names and handing out the certificates saying we completed their class. However, they surprised the students when they said that they had printed and turned our 20+ page long report that we turned in yesterday, into a book. This was an amazing gift from Mark and Reneta that I truly treasure, thank you for everything. 

Then came the heart breaker. Was it time already? No. I did not want to say see you later to my friends. I felt like we just truly got to know each other. How is it that we are departing already. Sadly, it was that time. The time had come where pictures were taken and many phone numbers and social media accounts were exchanged. I did not know how many people I had actually met until earlier when I counted all my new contacts and I realized there were 52 new names and numbers in my address book. Thanks to the ILC and the opportunity they gave me, I was able to execute my promise of meeting new life long friends. 

Nick, a person I became real close to and
hope to see soon
Sooner than I wanted it to be, I said my farewells to all my friends and departed the building with my cohort. We all dropped our luggage in Chan-Law's room in the Statler Hotel and grabbed a bite at College Town Bagels. After our yummy lunch, we chilled in Chan-Law's room until one o' clock. Since his check out was at this time and the shuttle did not arrive until two o' clock, we relaxed in the lobby until then. 

Surprisingly, the shuttle bus was larger than I expected. Also, we had the entire bus to ourselves. This was a great time to catch up on my sleep and rest up before our two flights. As I expected, the moment I closed my eyes, I knocked out until we arrived at the Syracuse airport. Still a couple hours ahead of schedule, we decided to eat our early dinner at Johnny Rocket's. This was our last meal together as a cohort. We got to spend more time together due to a slight 30 minute delay on our flight. We had not eaten together as a cohort in a while, so this was the perfect time for everyone to share their personal experience and any funny stories. 

Boarding for our flight happened smoothly. Since the seats were assigned, I sat next to Justice and we were able to catch up during the flight. Once we landed, we had to rush and move quickly. Due to the slight delay, once we landed, we were forced to run to the gate for our next flight. With our luck, the next gate was all the across the airport. However, Justice and I ran as fast as we could to only hear that there was still 15 minutes left of boarding. We called Chan-Law and informed them that there was no need to rush anymore. However, by the time we entered the airplane, all one could hear was the heavy panting of our cohort. 

The inside of our sweet limousine 
This time, I sat in the window seat once again, but was placed next to a middle age woman who was very pleasant. Thao sat in the aisle seat directly next to her. Since she was either plugged in, asleep, or reading, I did not get the chance to make much conversation or even get her name. However, I spent my first 3 hours of the flight asleep. I awoke to Thao talking to Helen and Shanti and the airplane TV's playing the ending of Avengers two. I checked in and asked how they were all doing. With plenty of sleep in my system, I decided to begin my blog. This killed time quickly and before I knew it, we were landing in the SFO airport. 

This time we did not need to rush to another flight. Instead we went to get our check in luggage and waited for our shuttle back home. Taxis, vans, a limo, but no shuttle. A limo? I wonder who that was for, probably someone rich. A few minutes later, Chan-Law received a call. His eyes widened and he looked at the limo. He excitedly hurries to the limo and tells us to get in. Just as surprised as him, we jumped with joy and piled in. Due to a lack of storage, we had to pile luggage in the back, trunk, and even the front seat. This was the best way we could have ended our trip. We arrived back to El Cerrito High School, turned in our loaner items and went back home with our parents.

This trip was amazing. Hopefully, I will see my friends back at Cornell again. Even though I just saw them today, I can tell I will miss all of them in the upcoming weeks. 

I would also like to thank Don Gosney, the ILC, and sponsors for working so hard in order for any of this to happen. They deserve a lot more than they receive and they are amazing people. Thank you! This does it for my Cornell ILC 2015 blogging session, its been fun and I hope to experience this again next year. 

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