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.

My Brown Journey

When I first got to Brown two weeks ago I was so nervous, I didn't know what to do with myself. I was fresh off the plane, didn't know to much about the area, and really didn't have no one to talk to besides the other kids in ILC, who I never hung out with. Then when I got to my dorm it was so scary because no one was there not even my RA, the whole building seemed empty. I was so ready to go home but the next day came and that's when everything started happening. The next day was when everybody started showing up and I got to meet new friends. As the week went on I started embracing all new ideas from so many different sides, I became more responsible, and a better leader.

I think my class was the best class at Brown this summer because we had so much fun learning about the Civil Rights Movement whether it was through song, class discussions, speakers we had come to our class, or the documentaries we watched. I would talk about all the incredible things Ive learned but you've all heard it from my other blogs. Overall it was a great class thanks to Branice and Kristain who were my teachers.

From this pre-college program I found out my strenghts,weaknesses, and what type of leader I am. And with this information I plan to apply it to my action plan which is a Big Sister program. I will work with girls from the ages of 10-14 years. And I will help them with their homework,teach them manners, take them to nice placess, and make sure I spend a lot of quality time with them. The program will be based out of my church, Great St.Paul Missionary Baptists Church in Oakland,Ca. As I start to expand in my program I'm going to get some of my friends to help me and two girls will be assigned to each mentor. Then we will meet at least twice a month to do an update of every girl and just have girl talk. I'm going to try to get the program up and going by the end of the year.

Before I go I want to say thank you to ILC and all the sponsors because without you guys none of this would have been possible. And you really touched and inspired my life.


-Tiffany Carter

The End

Today was my last day of class and we watched Across the Universe. Although I don't really like musicals, the movie was actually pretty good. The majority of the events that happened in the sixties were portrayed in the film. What I didn't like about the movie was that the transition from scene to scene was very weird and confusing. The movie didn't really flow.

After the movie we discussed the sixties and the forties and fifties as well. We talked about how the problems and concerns in the forties and fifties were mostly voiced in the sixties. We recapped the forties with conversation about post-war anxieties revolving around atomic bombs. Then we discussed the fifties in correspondence with its prosperity, nuclear family ideals, and McCarthyism. We gathered all these quick summaries and saw how they were brought out in the sixties with nuclear family ideals turning into the Women's Right Movement and how McCarthyism became anti-McCarthyism for the counter-culture and anti-war protesters.

Overall, the title of my class: Decades of Change, was very fitting because these three decades made the platform for how America is today and without those three decades, I really wonder what America would be like. I really enjoyed my class and I learned A LOT of interesting facts that I didn't learn in school. I am very glad that I decided to take this course. I would definitely recommend this course for future ILC students who are incoming seniors because they will learn so much that they didn't learn in class. When I arrive back home and tell of my experience, I will say that this was definitely a great opportunity for me because I was able to learn more facts about those three important decades in American history and that I had the chance to take this course at an Ivy League school!

Being at Brown helped me realize what school will best fit me and although Brown is no longer at the top of my list, I am thankful that being here helped me realize that. I look forward to the college application process later on this year and hope that my first choices: Stanford and Columbi, will accept me. The ILC has made a big difference in my life and hopefully many more students will have this great opportunity that I did.

My Action Plan/ What Im Going To Bring Back

When I first got to Brown numerous things went through my mind. Who am I going to meet? What can these people possibly teach me? Am I good enough to be here. And after this course I found out the answer to all those questions. The people I met her are wonderful people who are very social and people with whom I would like to keep in touch with forever. My teachers Nell and Nora taught me a lot of things about myself that I didn't even know. They taught me how to be a leader most importantly. If I want change, I have to go out there and get it. If I think something is unjust, I should fight for what I think is right. That's why when I get back to California I want to build on my group called the Brown Bears and make it more global. I want to not only be able to help struggling kids in my community out, but also struggling kids around the country. So here is my action plan explaining everything I learned since I have been here, and not only do I want to thank Brown for allowing me to learn, but also for my mom, the Ivy League Connection Staff, Ms. Lamons, and all who helped me get to where I am today and for shaping me up into who i'm going to be in the future.

My thoughts/ Action Plan:
Part 1- Why It’s Important to me.

Before I came here I didn’t always have good grades. I began falling behind my junior year, and my grades began declining. I was always so focused on sports and tried spending all my time trying to be the best, and I didn’t notice that I was getting a 2.7 my junior year. This started becoming a problem for me because I was getting yelled at by my mom, and my coach who knew I could get better grades, I just wasn’t balancing my time. Then one day a teacher that I didn’t even know saw me struggling and submitted my name for a group called the Ivy League Connection. Never in my life have I ever dreamed of going to an Ivy League school. The Ivy League Connection required me get my grades up and strive harder in school if I wanted to go to the Summer at Brown program. “This is a chance that you can’t pass up”, said my mom and my coach, “a chance of a lifetime”. This made me think, sports isn’t everything. I then started focusing more on school and my grades went up from a 2.8 my 3rd quarter of my junior year to a 3.6-3.7 the 4th quarter. This all happened because someone pushed me to strive harder and helped me realize my full potential, and that’s what I want to do for other kids.

Part 2- Starting the Action Plan
Months ago I created a group called the Brown Bears because I was inspired by, not only the Ivy League Connection, but also by the Black Panthers. The Black Panthers showed that they fought for what they wanted and what they thought was right for not only themselves, but for others. I created the Brown Bears, a completely student run organization, for the sake of my peers. I noticed that kids were beginning to not care about their education and started giving up and saying things like “I will amount to nothing in life anyway”, or, “what’s the point?, It’s not like it matters”. But the thing was, their grades did matter. High school grades decide what college you will go to, and that will decide your future. So my kind of “alternative gang”-- the Brown Bears-- helps kids find special opportunities and programs, such as Summer at Brown, that they can apply for and do, and we also help each other with homework and discuss community problems and gang violence. I started the Brown Bears specifically because I know way too many people that are on the streets selling drugs, are in gangs, or are having trouble getting good grades in school. The group meets every Saturday so that kids know that they don’t need gangs to resort to when they have us, the Brown Bears, who treat each other like family and like to help each other out, no matter what the problem.

Part 3- Resources/ Going Global
When I help people that decide to be in the Brown Bears, they have to be willing to help themselves first. So far we have about 20 people in the Brown Bears and counting, but if I could get my school to help out then I know there would be more. Kids at my school are always looking for opportunities to get somewhere in life whether it be scholarships, programs, tutoring, as long as it benefits them in the long run. That’s why I would like to inform my school about the Brown Bears so that teachers, counselors, and fellow high school students can help out too. I’m sure that the tutoring part would go better if we had actual teachers with degrees in certain subjects and counselors that can give me information about scholarships and programs that I can spread the word about. I am also in Forensics Speech and Debate and AASU, so I could use those and talk about the Brown Bears as one of my speeches. The other resources I need are: money for some trips to colleges, an actual meeting place instead of the bookstore or park (especially if this organization gets big), flyers, and people who are willing to spread the word. The way I would get these resources are simply by asking teachers to be involved with the Brown Bears, and start fundraisers and tell parents and adults about what the Brown Bears do. At my school, only a hand full of students knew about the Summer At Brown program, but when I told them they were interested, but it was too late. This is bad because students should be informed about the many opportunities around them and they should all have a chance to be involved inside or outside their communities. The targets of my program are high school students because I want to help them reach their full potential and be a well-rounded student because that’s what colleges really look for. I not only want my high school to know about this, but also high schools around the world. I already talked to some high school students in New York about starting a New York Brown Bear chapter. My timeline for this project is infinitesimal. I want to keep helping kids grow as long as I live because I don’t want them resorting to drugs, gangs, or giving up, just because they have it hard. There is always an alternative to things, and I want to keep kids thinking that they actually can make it in life, and I want them all to realize that the dreams that they have could be achieved. I accept anyone who is willing to help my cause, as long as it benefits those in the program. Even though I am going to be busy and have a lot on my plate, I will still be able to meet with kids on the weekends or some weekdays after school when I don’t have football so this will be organized on and off campus. I spread the word all the time through phone calls, texts, telling kids at school, MySpace, and even Facebook. The only challenges I could possibly face is money because not enough kids have money to go on trips or can pay for certain activities that I might have such as a getting together and having a potluck, or even playing sports together to keep people active. That’s why I am going to try and ask parents, teachers such as Ms. Lamons, and Mr. Wilson, asking my school, other schools and even other people in power to donate money for the Brown Bears program. I will try to individually ask parents and teachers one by one at a place that’s best for them and tell them about the Brown Bears.I know I will overcome this now though because the social change program, teachers, and speakers, taught me that you don’t need to start off with power or a lot of money to be a leader, you just need to find people who believe in your cause and are willing to help you.

Game over.

The morning started off with heartfelt goodbyes and hugs. As for us, well, we dully walked to the cafeteria passing all the early departures and I could not help but feel sadden by this. These past three weeks have been a blessing. I am blessed to have such a wonderful opportunity to experience life in the Ivy League. It has changed different aspects of my life in various ways.

Before EVER coming to Brow, at all, I was naive to the world outside of the Bay Area. (Did you notice I said Bay Area, not California? Well it is the truth because most of the low-income community are located in the Bay.) Up until last summer, I was merely focused on getting accepted to UC Berkeley and completely closed off my options but then the Ivy League Connection came and reopened the gateway.

I was a timid and quiet girl who kept to myself. I would normally hate to step outside of my comfort zone for fear of the unknown. When I was offered the opportunity to attend Summer@Brown, I admit I was reluctant. I already had plans for the summer of 2008 and I was in no way prepared to go across the country. However, something inside of me was urging me to go and I guess that urge led me down the right path. I was never really challenged in school whatsoever, and that summer, I came to conclude that I have met my challenge, Brown.

I was aware that I was surrounded by people with wealth. However, when days dragged on, I figured that the best thing to do is put aside the differences in family income and instead focus on the assigned task. I have learned to associate with people from different cultures. People are human beings and that is a fact. We all think and feel emotions so one's background should not change the fact that we are more alike than we think.

This summer, I was lucky enough to go back to Brown. I had the choice to apply to other Ivy League schools but I chose Brown because I know for certain that it is capable of challenging me. Just like last summer, Brown challenged me to take on more leadership roles and responsibility. I have learned how to maintain my time and to set my priorities. Prioritizing. That is a skill that I have gained from this experience and it will surely help me a great deal in the future.

I have learned so much through this experience that I cannot imagine life without it. The memories that have been built here at Brown will forever remain.

Final Words

It is Friday of my last week here at summer@Brown. I had such a fun time here, but I have to be honest and say that I am ready to go back home. I have been a bit homesick, but I did not let that get in the way of my exploring of Brown University. I have taken advantage of all the activities offered to do here at Brown. For example, I went to watch two independent films on Wednesday night and Thursday night. One was Jesus Camp which I do not want to spoil, but do recommend it and the other was Best in Show recommended for those whom enjoy a little comedy. Apart from the cinema entertainments I went to the Brown college Fair composed of 125 universities and colleges from around the country. I got so many catalogs, brochures, and admissions information. It was a great opportunity for me to look at different schools and have some one there from the schools to tell me about it and answer any questions I had.

This morning I had my last class of Intro to Psych. It ended in a pretty fun way, I have to say. We all got to see each other's final projects most of which were photo collages. We also ended with a personalty test in which I got categorized as an Idealist. Also the very last thing we did was play Jeopardy which contained all the information we had learned during our three week course. It was so much fun, my team won by 50 points all thanks to the final Jeopardy question.

I have gotten to say goodbye to those that are and did leave Brown today. And now I have to head back to prepare my luggage for my trip across the country back home to where I can share all my experiences with everyone I see.

So Long, Mercedes M.

Week Reflection.

Much of this week’s reading and lecturing revolved around one thing: our society. Our generation is very different from the previous generations and in our discussion group, we attributed this to many reasons ranging from peer pressure to advancing technology. I feel like this week was devoted to studying the patterns in the youth today and why we act the way we do.

Our lecture topic on Monday was a study of “The American Life on Pot.” It was interesting because we heard about someone who actually turned their life around from being a real addict. Most people stick with pot because of reasons like peer pressure or because it helps them relax. The reason I thought this was interesting is because people who are addicted to pot usually don’t turn around from it without something as drastic as an intervention party. The change that he made in his life was remarkable. I took away from this that self-reflection is very important. Awareness is something that we must always strive to have. This point also correlates with the reading that we talked about in discussion group that day. In our society today, we seem to lack awareness in our relationships. The “hook-up culture” only seems to be interested in relationships for the purpose of self-gratification or social status. I believe that if we were more aware of ourselves and the people around us, we would be more modest and thoughtful about how we affect each other by doing things like hooking-up. Why do we hook up? Why do we smoke pot? I believe the reasons are correlated. We do these things in our search for attention, acceptance and in our search for ourselves.

On Tuesday, we talked about cognitive science, which is the study of human behavior or human intelligence. We focused mainly on development and memory. It was interesting to listen about this because it reiterated the fact that childhood was important. When we talked about advertising in the discussion group that day, it was easy to see the link between the two and why advertising nowadays may be detrimental to the youth today. I don’t think advertising to young people before they are fully developed is right. The reason I say this is because I feel like it really hinders growth and individuality. What are kids suppose to do when media is telling them left and right what is correct and what is wrong? When will they learn how to develop their own opinions? This is a major difference between today’s society and the society 30 years ago. We are constantly surrounded by advertisement and people who want to change our opinion whereas before, it was really easy to get away from all of that. I don’t want to say that we should separate kids from media altogether but I feel like advertisements can very often be a negative influence. I feel like this may be dangerous to us because we are engulfed and overwhelmed by it all. I’m afraid because we have learned to depend on advertisement for the latest gadgets and the coolest toys. We listen to them and trust them. Is this wise?

I thought Wednesday was the most interesting lecture day out of this whole summer session. We talked about psychotherapy both in the lecture and in discussion. I thought this was all interesting because I got to learn more about myself as a person while listening to this lecture. Listening and learning about transference really struck me personally. I thought about how this also plays a role in our society today. It is no secret that family life is slowly deteriorating in our society. I say this because of divorce rates today and how many kids complain about how many problems their family has. If this is the case, this must make relationships in the future very hard because according to Freud, our future relationships pattern after our first relationships. In a time when family life was stronger, people built stronger relationships and things like hooking-up were not as common. This may not be causation but it does seem like a correlation. Does this mean now that family life is deteriorating, things like hooking-up will be more common? This does seem to be the trend so maybe we aren’t to blame; maybe media doesn’t play as big of a role that I had originally thought; and maybe it really the fault of our parents.

This summer session has been interesting. I found that this week tied together really well and I’ve been giving our lectures, discussions and readings some serious thought. Everything inspires me to think more about our society and the problems with which the youth are faced with today. We are faced with a different set of troubles than what people were faced with years before and therefore, we are forced to deal with them in a different way. I can’t imagine a society where technology wasn’t prevalent because that’s the type of society we live in today. Therefore, we, the younger generation, need to evaluate our surroundings objectively and decide how to handle this. How are we supposed to deal with the “hooking-up culture” and peer pressure? How will we handle advertisement and media? How will we treat future relationships? These are all questions we need to think about for ourselves; I know I have.

Our Days at Brown are coming to an End

I can't believe time passed by so quickly, it seemed like just yesterday that I was moving into my room and anticipating my roommate. While I was busy being homesick, I didn't notice how quickly the three weeks flew by, now I regret not doing as much as I could have. It's so sad to see everyone packing up and getting ready to leave, luckily not everyone is leaving till Saturday. In the last couple of days class has been getting easy, all that was left to do was our final project. As you can tell, the atmosphere around here is winding down.

Today I we attended the college fair, and it was packed with tons of people! It was the longest line I've seen in awhile, going all the way to the back of the building! It was even crazier inside; it was held in the gym and there were a lot of colleges there. At every table you'd see a flock of students hovering over the representative. I found out so much about all of these different colleges, and even some that I've never heard of! I feel that if there were less students, then my time there would have been a whole lot better. I mean I did learn a lot about multiple colleges, I could have learned more if there weren't hundreds of other kids trying to get their attention.

Tomorrow is the last day to bond, then they're all off! I really wish I had more time here. I'm also really excited to meet the admissions officer for our area tomorrow! I hope to take in a lot of information from her too! Well I'm off to bed and maybe I'll pack a little more, it's going to be a tiring day!

Well, It's Here

My floor right now is having a party! One last fun event before everyone heads back home. I'm going to miss the guys on my floor 'cause we've all grown really tight since the first day. It'll be weird having to send everyone off cause I'll be leaving on Saturday while most people are leaving Friday.

Currently, it's too hectic to be able to sum up what happened. People are packing, saying good byes, dancing, singing, keeping people awake, etc. Stuff you do when there's only so little time left.

More later....