Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Less then Three Days Left

I can't believe that time is running out! It seemed like just yesterday we arrived. There has been so much that I learned at Brown, some good and some bad, I believe that there is so much more left to learn here yet our time is limited. In my opinion, we should be allowed to stay a little bit longer. There really is much more to learn, and we should grab it while we are at Brown. I'm sure that it has truly been an enriching experience for all of us. From college tours to visiting New York, this could not have been a better trip. Coming back to Brown has definitely given me a new outlook on the true college life. Last year's class was demanding and long, but this year seemed more rigorous. I liked the Women and Leadership Class more just because of the sense of community and openness of the Leadership Institute, but I really liked that the Intro to Psychology class gave me a normal college work load. It was an intense and interesting class. Everything we talked about was very captivating, but it has not completely made me want to jump into a psychology major. When I signed up to be in this class, it was because I wanted to learn more about psychology because it seemed interesting. But there wasn't that click I was hoping for with the subject. Now I know that maybe psychology isn't the major for me, even though it is very appealing. Hopefully I'll get to learn more on the subject though.

Although the class wasn't quite what I expected, I stilled learned a lot and the information I attained here will forever stay with me. I'm very grateful to be here, and feel like this opportunity helped me get one step closer to college.

Berkeley in the Sixties

Today we took a little tour back to California and visited Berkeley. Our primary focus the whole day was the Free-Speech Movement.

We first discussed what the term "new left" meant and who represented it. I didn't really remember too much about this term, but the teacher gladly refreshed my memory. We then discussed SDS-Students for a Democratic Society which represented "new left" students. We watched a movie called "Berkeley in the Sixties" which had videos of the sit-ins on Cal's campus and interviews of some of the main players of the movement. The movement drew from the civil rights movement and later turned into an anti-war movement. The majority of the students that were a part of the movement were young, affluent and privileged. Many right-wing Americans, primarily older adults, were astonished that these "good kids" were rebelling.

In the movie, the demonstrators were dragged down stairs and carried across streets by cops, because they would go limp and refuse to move. This showed me how dedicated the demonstrators were to gaining victory in their cause. It was very obvious that they were not going to give up until they got what they want. And they did get what they wanted in the end.
Seeing those demonstrators stand up to the police without any fear to fight for freedom of speech made me realize once again that sometimes myself and other students take certain things for granted.

I am very glad I am able to be out at Brown having this great learning experience because it is teaching me more about America's history and even myself. While being out here I have been able to decipher what colleges I would want to go. Although Brown is no longer on the top of my list, I still like the school just for the fact that it helped me realize the type of school I would and would not want to go to. Brown is too much a quiet, non-excitement school and I think after a year of being here, I would get bored or relentless.

As well as realizing the type of school I would like to go to, I have noticed the different opportunities some students have had. Some girls I know have been able to take French classes at the schools in their district since the second grade. A lot of students I know in my grade back home say that they still don't know how to read an analog clock. Although this could be the students fault, it just shows the difference in teaching and learning between where I'm from and my floor mates are from. My experience so far at Brown has been very fulfilling and I know that I will grasp much more with just the 3 days I have left. Goodnight everyone!

Second Day Of The End

Today was basically a typical day, it started raining again. In we wrote our own freedom songs and one of the freedom riders came and spoke to our class. I do not know how to spell his name but he was a professor of Russian history at Brown.

Our class song goes like this:

we are one, freedom is coming

we stand together, for equality and a brighter day.

The melody is to the song "we are the world." It was a very fun process of trying to make the song because we all had so many ideas. But in the end we came up with a great catchy song.

Then we acted like we were back in the time of the civil rights movement and talked about how we felt about white people joining the freedom summer. Shortly after that one of the freedom riders came in and talked to us. He told us why and how he joined that summer. He also told us about his experiences of how he did a sit-in and how he was treated.He said he was never thrown out of his chair but he did get hit in the back of the head and got things thrown at him. One thing that really stuck out at me was how he was sometimes treated by black people. When the times were hard they would get in arguments and sometimes he was asked "why are you even here." But he said he never let those comments get to him because he knew that he was there for something greater than him. This is his picture below.

Richmond High School vs. Summer@Brown

The fact that we will be leaving Brown this Saturday sounds so scary. In these past weeks that I have been here, I have grew accustom to the dorm life. I really do enjoy the freedom that I have here as well as being in an environment with students my age who are more or less as motivated as I am. This is a whole different environment that I was never really indulged into at my high school. The difference between being here and being at Richmond High is definitely beyond what words can express.

At Richmond High, it seems that a majority of the students are attending school out of force, not willingly. And if they do attend, they are likely to cause disruption. Many of the students lack a will to succeed and the drive to get to college. Some lost all hopes to even graduate. Not only that but there are those students who thinks that education is a joke and so they take away from other people's education. It seems like there is a small number of students who actually want to learn and go to college. The rest are just there creating obstacles for the highly motivated students.

Summer@Brown is the complete opposite. Not only is it way different from school where we have the freedom to do whatever we want, but the students here are different as well. I am surrounded by intelligent students who are highly motivated and most likely, goal-oriented. These students KNOW what they are doing. This is how I wish my school was like. It is amazing to me that all the students attend class on time, some even way early, and prepared for the lesson for the day. While I sit in class, I see everyone jotting down notes and this is something that surprised me. In my high school, you rarely see people taking notes. Also, everyone is respectful of one another and they are mature. Maturity is not something you see very often at Richmond High. It is like a word that does not even exist in the system.

I admit, like I mentioned various times before, that sometimes I feel like I was not prepared well to merge in with these students. Most of these students come from really great high schools from public schools to boarding schools. They possess extreme knowledge that I cannot even began to imagine. However, I keep in mind Dean Robin Rose's words that we were selected because they found something special in each and every one of us. Therefore, I MUST be doing something right. I may not have the best education, but I have struggled to strive for the best. Being in the bottom for so long have motivated me to aim high. I know it will take a lot of extra work but I believe that if I stay focus, there are no boundaries to what I can achieve.

Lastly, I really want to thank everyone who have made this opportunity possible for me. I want to thank the ILC and everyone involved. Without you all, this would not have been possible. Never in my dreams, would I have imagine to even step foot on an Ivy League campus but because of you all, I have. It has been a challenge for me to be so far away from home where the culture and environment is different, but now I know that there is something beyond the Bay Area. I do not always have to stick within the circumscribe boundary that have been drawn for me. Through the ILC, I am able to step out of my comfort zone and experience things I have never experienced before. Thank you. I surely am going to bring this back to the students at my school and encourage them to join the ILC. It truly is an eye-opening experience.

Continuation of the cat dissection....

Today I finally got to present my inquisition on Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). I was nervous because I was called to be the first to present but I managed through and I think I did a good job of presenting and explaining the syndrome. Tomorrow I will be presenting my group project on a science related career (biotechnology). The part that I had to research is the job market, employers, Salary, and applications. Public speaking skills is something that Dean Thompson has been emphasizing on these weeks because it is something that we should all become comfortable doing. That is something that I strongly agree with because we can't just have great ideas we also have to be able to communicate them to others. If it weren't for Mr. Ramsey being able to communicate his ideas ILC would not exist.

Today we had a lecture on blood and the digestive system, it was a lot to take in today but I managed through and I completed the assignment for both blood and the digestive system. For the digestive system we finished dissecting the cats. We made the incision, De-fatted Fat Joe (our cat) once more and identified all the digestive organs as well as looking at the kidneys and cutting one in half to look at the inside of it. After finishing up the cat we got a microscope and looked for the different types of blood cells as well as illustrating them. My Atlas is almost finished! Now I have to get a binder and plastic slips for it and I will be finished!

Tomorrow we will be having the Colleges Q&A, Dean Thompson re-scheduled because on Thursday we will have a guest lecture instead! Just a few more days left of the program and I am so exited to see my finished atlas.

Museum of Anthropology: Believing Africa

Today Mercedes and I rushed to the Museum of Anthropology which is at Manning Hall to see the "Believing Africa" exibit. Here are a few pictures of the wonderful exibit:

Incredible Night

Yesterday was a great day because the Ivy League Connection students got to go to a pizza dinner with Robin Rose, the Dean of the leadership institute at Brown, and got to meet the other students in the summer@brown program that came on similar scholarships. We had pizza and then divided ourselves into three groups. Within these groups we talked about our challenges this summer and what we liked and what we did not like about Brown or our classes. It was interesting to see how a lot of us had similar ideas on what we did not like. It all had to do with the maintenance of our residence halls and our dorms. We also talked about how some people wanted more social activities with their Ra's. It was fun to be in a room with students that came to brown within similar processes.
After the dinner Robin Rose invited us to a small concert on Brown campus. It was exhilarating to watch and hear the singing about freedom and the piano play. I enjoyed every second of it. I had such a great time.One of the many things to do on my last week at Brown.

Break Out

I feel like I've told this story countless times, but I guess it's worth recalling again.

Spring of last year, when I had been offered a spot to be part of the Ivy League Connection and be one of the first students going to Columbia, I didn't really want to go. I hesitate to say "reluctant to go" because that seems to be a strong word, but in reality, I was hesitant and reluctant to venture all the way to New York City. However, I do want to clear up one misconception: it was not because I doubted the ability of the program or the worth of the program. At that point of my teenage and high school life, I had personal reasons that caused me to have conflicting feelings about going. So after much discussion with friends, mentors and parents, I was consoled and convinced that I should take a chance, and see what happened.

That risk was most certainly rewarded.

I had a blast at Columbia. I was challenged both academically and socially. My class taught me how to cope with ideas that were unfamiliar and hard to understand. The people I met, taught me that, well, not all rich kids are snobs. Yes, I did have that biased view of the world around me, and there I made a few friends that I still keep in touch with.

However, when I came back, they asked me "what can you bring back?" or "how are you going to share your experience?" The time immediately after I came back, as much as I credited myself as being more mature than most teens around me, I acted immaturely. I wanted to keep my experience to myself. Part of it was because I didn't know what TO bring back. I went to an east coast college over the summer and had the time of my life - now what? I think it was because I was still slightly bitter about having to completely overhaul my summer to do it. I didn't want to have any positive things to say, as much as it had been fun for me, I didn't want it to appear that way.

Fast forward to this year. I was excited to have to chance to go to Brown and have another great summer. One catch, Mr. Ramsey had been sending email after email asking all us students to form an opinion and collect our thoughts about what we thought of the program and what we thought were the benefits of even having it in the first place - it was implied that we all should answer. I tried putting it aside, not worrying about validating my experience or my reasons for wanting to go again, but at some point, I just got fed up with dodging the question that I decided to answer most of the emails he sent out. And slowly, as I responded more and more and told others more and more about my opinions of the program, I got a pretty good idea of what the program had done for me and what I saw was its perceived benefits.

The main one was this: The Ivy League Connection gave me the opportunity that helped me break out of my shell. I had always limited myself to what I could do, usually out of modesty. I didn't want to stick out and make myself vulnerable to ridicule or have my every action analyzed and criticized. I knew I was good, I just didn't like it when people made a big deal out of the fact that I was good, it didn't seem like it was important to be praised for something another person could have done as well. Anyways, when I noticed I was surrounded by people that were good at what they did, and weren't afraid to show it, well I had to step up my game. It never came to the point where I thought that I was incapable or deficient, I just knew that I had to work a bit harder.

I've been fortunate in this regard. I can grasp new concepts and adapt easily. If something is unfamiliar, I have the capacity to figure out what I have to do to improve. A lot of this has to do with being pushed by my parents to learn things at an accelerated rate at a young age and therefore learning early how to take a lot of information, condense, and then pack it all into my brain for recall later. I've also been blessed to have had mostly good teachers; they're invested in each students education and know what they're talking about. However, those teachers are starting to retire and I know our district will be hard-pressed to find new-teachers that can live up to those legacies. Still, I think that those are the types of teachers that would best benefit students, who aren't afraid to challenge their students and are aware that with the right resources, student's can achieve higher than their expectations, as long as the student is aware of those resources and takes advantage of those life-lines.

Break out, and take a look at what people have to offer; I've benefitted and grown tremendously from doing it.


When I was asked if I'd finally met my match—in terms of the rigor, quality of work, and level of understanding required—here at brown, I quickly and unthinkingly responded yes. However, thinking back, I realize that it wasn't really a fair match to begin with.

I entered the arena with one hand tied behind my back. In order to begin to compete, I first had to untie my hand. I spent the first week bemoaning my tied hand, almost giving up, and feeling disadvantaged. Finally, I asked the professor for some "scissors" which came in the form of a introductory textbook, and I spent the weekend untying my hands.

The second week, I began to hold my own in the battlefield that is my class. I began answering questions, forming hypothesis, analyzing what I was doing, wondering why I was doing it.

And now during the third week, I'm pulling ahead. I'm answering more questions than most people, I'm thinking about the concepts exactly how the professor wants me to. I'm forming my own procedures, instead of following step by step instructions from the textbook.

What i'm trying to say is, yes, coming from the WCCUSD we are under-prepared. Honestly, this makes me angry. Its not fair that we have to struggle with ancient lab equipment, and outdated textbooks, while the kids from Stuyvesant and Harker have everything brand new, top of the line. Its not fair that the already privileged get more privileges. But that's the way it is. In order to be successful, in order to compete, we need to take every opportunity we can. We NEED to ask the professors for scissors. We NEED to take advantage of every head start, extra time, or second chance available.

And this is what the ILC is all about. The ILC is giving us our head start, its giving us extra chances to prove ourselves, its giving us a chance to learn how to fight for what we deserve.

And for that I am thankful,
Joseph Young

The Start Of The End

Today was a wonderful day I woke energized and much better than I felt over the weekend. In class we talked the movie that we watched on Sunday night which was "Freedom Song" and then we watched a documentary that was called "Let Freedom Sing." It was so powerful and it made me realize how singing really brought the movement together. I believe if it wasn't for music the civil rights movement would not have been so powerful because the people would not of had the motivation to do what they did.

Then later on today I went to my teachers concert. I already knew that she could sing from class but tonight just brought all my thoughts together. She song freedom songs and you could tell that she really felt the words that she was singing. She worked with Harry Belafonte for tens years and many others. I recorded some of her singing I will see if I can upload it so you guys can experience what I did.

Overall I had a great day and I'm kind of sad that things are ending.
-Tiffany Carter

My Last Monday.

Today was pretty normal. In class we had a lecture about pot, discussion in our groups about the articles we read over the weekend, and had two more group presentations.

No doubt about it, my favorite part about today was having pizza with Dean Robin Rose. At 6 pm, our group went over to have dinner with her and other students who are here on a scholarship. When we walked in the door, I was surprised that some of the students were from my class. It wasn't until I received an email invitation to this dinner that I found out that there are more than 90 students attending a Summer@Brown course with the help of programs like ILC. I liked how we were all able to connect on that level. After dinner, the group split up into three groups in order to discuss our classes and living here at Brown. We talked about our likes (such as teachers and learning material) and dislikes (like bathrooms and the floor activities), but the one part of our conversation that stuck in my mind was when we discussed the intimidation factor. Most of us come from schools where we are one of the best students and for me, it gets extremely intimidating when I am put into a class with the best and the brightest from other schools. However, Ms. Rose told us that whenever we feel this way, we must remember that we were chosen for this program because someone saw a special quality in each and every one of us. This is great advice for the future especially since college is only a year away. I know it may be a bit frightening when I am in college and am faced with a bunch of the top students from their high schools. However, they probably feel the same way. And I must remember to keep working and to never lose my motivation.

We then went to watch Branice McKenzie and Richard Cumming's concert. It was amazing! I took a couple videos and I just wanted to share the incredible music we heard tonight:

*my video would not upload, so I will have to find some way to post it tomorrow morning.