I was nervous throughout my time with the ILC. I was nervous about writing my essay, submitting it, the interview, the first few blogs, whether I would get the Med School 101 course, the trip, making friends, taking the course, and now writing this blog. I think I was nervous even before the first presentation Don give, nervous about whether or not I would be selected to attend the presentation. Back then I wasn't the most confident person. I didn't think that my essays or interview would stand a chance against the fellow applicants.However after each nerve-racking event, the feeling of relieving that flows through me makes it all worth it, it makes me a little more confident about the next.
I knew I wanted to be a part of the ILC the minute I heard of it and there was no changing my mind. I knew exactly what my first and second choices were and I knew exactly what course I wanted to take. I was going to do whatever it takes to make it happen. I was prepared to grovel at my parents' feet and beg them for permission. I was prepared to put in hours of research to write a worthy essay. The parent begging part I wasn't too confident about since they have denied me of a similar trip before and it was only one week long. I didn't know how they would feel about a couple of weeks of independence. Of course as I mentioned I was also not too sure about my essays and interview. I reached out to my peers and upperclassmen to help me edit and revise my essays. I think it was close to 11 PM when I got the email from Don telling us that we are qualified for the interview. I immediately jumped from my desk and let out a yelp. I danced around for about five seconds before I heard my dad yelling at me to keep it down. I told him why I was being loud-ish and his reaction was a little disappointing, probably because he wasn't sold on the whole ILC thing yet. Once I knew that the interview was a 'go', I once again asked for help from my elders. I think that attending the mock interview helped me the most. I got a good outline of what to prepare for.
|I went from here........|
I remember my friends and I talked about how early we were going to show up at the front of the library for the interview. We all joked and said that we shouldn't even leave the school and we should just go there. When the day did come I ended up waiting there one hour earlier than needed because I wanted to make sure that I was there before Don and that I didn't read the time wrong due to my nervous wondering eyes, so one hour seemed like a good buffer. From beginning to end, it felt like someone took all my nerves and muscles and twisted it repeatedly. I had a sick feeling in my stomach and I thought that I was going to pass out. As we were waiting for our turn and also while we were waiting for the final decision, I paced around in the small room while my friends were all sitting and looking extremely calm. For me, it was going to be the end of the world if things didn't go well. Luckily it did, and I hurdled through one of the biggest ILC obstacles. I think I also let out a yelp when the panelist announced my name and my heart pounded faster than when I was anticipating. Don explained to us repeatedly what was expected of us throughout the whole process and I had it engraved into my head. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with everything that was going to be given to me. Before getting the experience I knew that I was going to spend time convincing the masses of students to apply for next year. And knowing what I know now I would have included convincing them how awesome East coast colleges would be would be. I was going to anyway but not with the determination that I now have. I was prepared to be the mature, responsible, and punctual adult that everyone in the ILC expects me to be.
The months that followed the interview really tested everything that was asked of me. I had managed to get my parent to flow with the whole ILC trip and once they understood everything about the program (after about a million explanation, even up to now), they loved the idea. Between my friends (those who were also at the ILC) and I, we had wordlessly setup a Don's Email Watch Group. It was an unsaid mutual agreement that we would alert each other whenever Don would send out an email. Each time that I thought that an event was a a few weeks away, it would come speeding without my knowledge. Next thing I know the first blog tutorial passed, the school board meeting passed, the city council meeting passed, the alumni dinner at La Viola passed, the orientation passed and it was departure time.
I was prepared for a life changing trip but what I got was just beyond that. It's like comparing a ten (on a scale of 1-10) to an infinity. I cannot stress how important it was for me to be able to visit UPenn, Colombia, and Georgetown. To be able to feel that Independence Day spirit in DC that make me more determined to make something out of my future. I made a connection at Georgetown that had me prepared to put a ring on it. Unfortunately Georgetown does not have a binding policy but early decision is good enough for me. I knew that going out of state for college was an option for me even if my parent wasn't on-board with it yet. The only thing was that I was pretty much going into it blind. I didn't even know that Georgetown existed and I didn't know that not every college is for me. I never thought about how the environment would affect how much I would like a college, I just thought that of the academic was good then I was good. I loved how Colombia valued their education but the campus itself felt a little suffocating. But as I step foot onto Georgetown University grounds, I knew that something special was awaiting me. As I hear the admission officer talk and the tour guide talked, each box on my What To Look For In A College list was checking itself. The dinner with the Georgetown alumni and current students not only let me explored GU more but it also prepared me for college in general. Aside from the academics the first week of the trip was mind blowing. I don't think I have ever had that much fun in my life. I have been to more states in one week than I have been in the eight years that I have lived in the U.S.
The knowledge that was given to me from the Med School 101 course was truly priceless. It was like my whole life I have been using the same brown, normal size, wooden door to get me to places but after the course it was like all the other doors, more colorful and varying in size, finally opened and I used them to broaden my path. It allowed me to think more about my career path and it made me more determined than ever to follow it. I know that wanting to help other is a good reason to why I want to be a doctor but medical school wants more than that. This course helped me find those reasons and pushes me to complete my goal. I was also exposed to other possibilities in the field of medicine. I learned that I don't have to major in science to go to med school, I can major in anything I want and follow my passion to make myself unique. The instructors were the best instructors anyone would have ever asked for. They did not baby us, they gave us a slightly water down and speedy version of what medical school would be like. They worked extremely hard to give us shadowing experience that will always be a part of me. My favorite lessons are the ones where I learn about the ethics that comes with pursuing the medical career. I hope to be able to use what they taught me and what I experienced to help contribute to my own school's Health Academy. Not only was the information given in the course invaluable but the environment in which it was taught in was rare. Every single student in the class wanted to be there. They all wanted to learn, to explore, and to experience. We were all competitive and we all loved to challenged ourselves. I love it to death!
Outside of the course, VSA did plenty to help us prepared for college. My favorite experience would have to be the one where I got to be a college admission officer for a night. They not only told me what CAO expects from a student, they showed us how the process works. I learned that personality and background play a big part in a college application. I hope to be able to replicate that experience and bring it back to my own school because everyone deserves to see what it's like. I also learned, from college info session, that I can go beyond medical school and law school. I could further my education by getting into a MD/PhD program. I could work to become a doctor and work on research to help us better understand medicine. Being able to hear about all the proctor's first year college experience felt like I was being pushed out of the way of a speeding truck. I know that college is going to crush me like the tiny ant that I am but they proctors told me that it was all a part of the experience and the growing.
Making friends at VSA was one of the most amazing things ever. We all didn't care about how we presented ourselves and we all had a silent agreement of "Let's be more weird together". My friends and I was a pretty crazy and comical bunch. I have gotten closer with them in three weeks than most other that I have known for years, sharing such a great experience together really brings everyone closer. We fought like regular friends but no matter how serious we would be laughing and joking at the next meal. It was interesting to hear different stories about where everyone lives and while they thought that me living in California was the coolest thing ever, I thought that their life was awesome. Being able to live independently had taught me a lot of things. If there was no one complaining about the state of my room then I would leave it be, messy or not. I cannot wake myself up of I was given the option to not attend to something. All my clothing should be the same color for the sake of them staying the same color.
Ever since my return from the trip I feel like me but not. I look at most everything differently and think about everything differently. I still have more growing to do but I certainly have grown a great amount since the ILC have became a part of my life. The journey came and went much too fast and I wished that I can relive this period over and over again. I have gone pretty far from where I started. I discover a dream college, new paths, I made some great friends, and learned unforgetable lessons. I went from being a shakingly nervous, under confident, uninformed, and lost little caterpillar to a chrysalis. From the outside nothing is happening but inside big changes are taking place. I'm not ready to be a butterfly yet but some day I will be. I know I will attempt to be a part of the ILC again to aid my metamorphosis.