Monday, July 18, 2011

Into the Inferno

In a few short hours I will be on my way to one of the greatest journeys of my life.

Both my parents and I have been preparing for this journey ever since I was selected as one of the "chosen few" to venture out into the world and to the castle known as Yale to begin one of the hardest classes we will ever take. We had to absorb almost 4000 pages of reading, pack our belongings, and say goodbye to our friends and family for 3 weeks. Out of all of these preparations I did I thought that throughout this whole time the reading was the hardest thing to do, however after doing some reflection, I've realized that that isn't so.

All reading really required was that I put myself down in one spot, turn on my Kindle and read away. This was a relatively easy task that just consumed most of my days. Nothing truly arduous about it, in fact most of the reading was actually quite interesting. The books: Cyrus the Great, Genghis Khan, Never Eat Alone, and The Peloponnesian War were all interesting in their lessons. A whole new respect of the Mongul culture was thrust into my mind as I read about Genghis Khans life, Keith Ferrazzi's constant lesson of "network, network, and when you're done keep networking" echoes throughout my actions now, and perhaps most important of all I learned the qualities of great leaders such as Cyrus the Great.

I've always felt that physical obstacles, were never as hard to bypass as emotional ones. Friends & family have been there since Day 1 of my life. I've always had them to fall back on and to count on in the darkest hours. However I'm not going to have them during this trip. This harsh reality hit me this very day, as I was cruising Pinole with some of my best and oldest pals. We talked about my upcoming voyage, went around town, and basically just had fun. An overwhelming sense of nostalgia soon arose in the pit of my stomach. All of those fun memories I've shared with my friends, felt like it's all slipping away.

I don't want to leave behind all my loved ones for 3 weeks, but I know that I'll have to sooner or later. Here's another lesson from the ILC that I just learned. Whether by will or force you will have to separate bonds between yourself and the most important people in your life, either forever or for a set amount of time. This is the first time that I'm going to be without these people in my life for this long and I'm learning to use this experience as practice for when the big bullet comes. I'm a high school senior now, graduation is just around the corner. High school feels like a blur, and this blur is on the home stretch. It saddens me deeply to think about that now, but I take comfort in the fact that I can practice making new connections, and applying the skills I've learned throughout my reading in the upcoming weeks.

People have constantly been telling me that the Yale Ivy Scholars Program is the toughest class of them all. I've heard it said that I will have 12 hour work days, class almost every day of the week, and demanding tasks put before me that I will have to overcome. I've tacked many obstacles before in my life, but none as monstrous as this one before me now. However I've done my reading, I've done my packing, and I've even said goodbye to the ones I care about the most. I feel like I'm ready to take this beast by the horns. I'm ready to step into the inferno. Yale, here I come.

1 comment:

  1. Matt,

    You don't always have to cut the cords between your comfort zone and the new and exciting world beyond that comfort zone. What you need to master, Matt, is the ability to stretch that cord so you can maintain your ties with the old world while branching out into the new world.

    Pinole's a great place but it's not the center of the universe. In addition to Pinole, there are a lot of great places to experience the world. By heading off to Yale you're taking that first step.

    I hate the possibility that you may have been misled, Matt, about what will be expected of you while at Yale. You'll be in class EVERY day and for a lot more than 12 hours per day.

    You need to write in your final blog about whether what we've read from YISP students from across the country and from many years past about "what they wouldn't give for another hour's sleep".