Friday, July 10, 2009

My Reflection

I cannot believe I only have hours before I board the plane to return home. As I look back on these three past weeks, I realize how much I have grown. Originally, I didn’t think my lifestyle here at Brown would be as different as it was at UPenn last year. But boy, was I wrong!

Last summer, we had a morning lecture from 9 am to 12 pm and an afternoon lab from 1 pm to around 4 pm. Although class was so long, our professor rarely gave us homework until we neared the end of the program. This year was completely different. My Introduction to Psychology and Human Behavior course was only three hours long, from 10 am to 1 pm. We were also required to send in a reflection email to our TAs in addition to the couple hours of reading each night. Since my homework was extremely time consuming, I was forced to find a balance between school and leisure. Although it was always tempting to take part in some of the activities that were offered, like kickboxing or yoga, I knew class had to be my number one priority.

Another difference was that I had a roommate this time! Last year, I felt it was great having a room to myself because of all the space I was given, but at the same time it was so lonely. Thus, I was bursting with excitement when I learned I would actually have a roommate with me at Brown. The first night was a bit awkward since it was the first time either of us had to share a room with someone else. Honestly, I a part of me was afraid I would not be able to live with a complete stranger for three weeks, let alone an entire year. However, I’m glad to say we’ve grown to be so comfortable around each other. I learned it just takes a little give and take. We’ve learned to live with each other and we’ve pretty much created a routine here. I must say, it’s definitely going to be a little difficult to go home for the first few days and not have Kim there to talk to.

One of the most important qualities one should have is independence. Because of ILC, I can now say I have this characteristic. Last year, I was forced to be independent. I had to wake up on time, do my own laundry, and walk to the cafeteria to get my own food. There was no one to be by my side to count on or fix my mistakes. I could only rely on myself. This year was no different. And I survived! After being on my own for four weeks last summer and three weeks this summer, I know I will be able to take on the challenge in college.

I've also learned about what I am looking for in a college. Before this summer, I was completely lost when it came to picking the best college for me and I was dreading the fact that I needed to decide which schools to apply for. Now, I at least have an idea of what I want. I learned that I like the idea of smaller class sizes and I like living in a city or at least near one. Without ILC, I would probably be at home still wondering which schools I should apply to and I'd probably settle for a college I don't even like.

I'll be coming home from this three-week journey as a new person and I have ILC to thank. Thus, I'd like to end by saying thank you to everyone who has made this experience possible. To Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, Mr. Gosney, and all the gracious sponsors, thank you so much for your support and for believing in all of us! I will forever be grateful for all the opportunities I've been given due to this program.


Charles Tillman Ramsey said...

Thanks Courtney for your kind words. I have complete confidence in you and I am glad that you are empowered and feel that you will make the correct choice in selecting a college next year. Your time in the ILC was productive. I know that. I have seen your growth and development and now you can put it to use. I am also grateful that you had the wisdom to trust Ms. Lilhanand and to have grabbed the golden ring and to have made the most out of this past two summers.

Now you are armed with more information and you can return to Hercules High School ready to lead, but more importantly you can work with a group of students that share your same experience. This is very exciting and hopefully will create an expanded college going culture at Hercules High School.

We are interested in learning where you ultimately decide to attend college, let us know your final list at the end of the year. We want to also share in your journey.

Have a great remainder of the summer and I look forward to seeing you at Hercules High School this fall.

Enjoy your flight back home. I am sure that your family will be in Oakland to welcome you with open arms.

Take care.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District

Madeline Kronenberg said...


I am so happy you have been part of the ILC. The program is all about "growing" -- and you have done so gracefully.

I am glad you had the opportunity to have a roommate and that you now feel clearer about your own preferences.

As Mr. Ramsey said, I look forward to you becoming a campus leader who can share what she learned with her peers this year. It promises to be a wonderful year for you. Keep us in the loop -- we are looking forward to hearing the rest of the story.

Have a safe trip home.

Don Gosney said...


Life is full of priorities, Courtney, and we have to strike a balance between those priorities. We need to mix our social life with our professional life without letting either take over.

Although you made the right choice in prioritizing the work you were paid to do (a scholarship, food and lodging IS payment, isn’t it?), I hope you were still able to mix a little socializing into your time at Brown.

The contrast you wrote about regarding the roommate situation between this year and last brings up some valid pros and cons. We all have our own fears when it comes to being by ourselves or living with total strangers. Try to imagine new recruits to our military where they’re thrown into a dorm with 50 or more total strangers. Not only do you lose your privacy, EVERYTHING is out in the open. Even worse, you’re responsible for what your dorm mates do. If the mate down at the other end of the dorm screws up, everyone gets to share in the punishment. Talk about team building.