Before I start I'd like to say that I'm sorry but this one blog cannot accurately describe everything I'm feeling inside. I'll do my best to convey what I can.
I guess the best way to start off my reflection would be to say this, the world is not as small as one might think.
The most important thing, in my opinion, that I've gotten out of this whole experience is not the academics, or the colleges (don't get me wrong I learned a lot in these categories), but it was the people I met and the bonds I made with them that made these 3 weeks exceptionally great. In my 3 weeks away from home my network expanded from the Bay Area, to the entire world. I met kids from Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, etc. All of these people were so great to meet. Through them I was able to get a glimpse at what their lives were like at their home, I was able to hear their stories about their own experiences. Before this program I had no idea that boarding school was such a popular option. In my blog before this one, I talked about the great relationships I've made and how I never want to see them falter. I feel like these relationships are special, in light that they are with a network of people that are destined to do something. Dr.Luong never failed to mention that we were the leaders of our generation, and that everyone around us would be there to help in maintaining our world. These connections will not die. I've never had the pleasure of working with such an amazing group of students before.
Everyone here wanted to be in class, they wanted to learn, and they were all smarter, if not as smart as myself. This was an amazing atmosphere to be in. Usually I am the smartest in my class, I have to do all of the group work, and I do most of the participating. But the situation here was completely dedicated to the task on hand and they all invested 100% of their efforts in it. From the marshal briefs to the daily seminars, everyone put their all in it. We all had to wake up to morning lectures, and sleep during the late hours of the night. I don't think I'll ever be in a class room setting such as this ever again.
Aside from just the relationships I forged, seeing the other college campuses really opened my eyes and my mind. I've always said that the UC system was all there was for me, I never once considered applying for any school out of California. Well I am happy to say that this program did a complete 180 for me. Now I yearn to go back to the east. I want to go to schools like UPENN or Columbia or better yet, Yale. I've fallen in love with the schools back east and I plan on applying to the three that I mentioned above.
A question was posed to myself and my other ILC Yalies regarding the continuation of this program. Well in my humble opinion, I think that this program is the best program that the ILC has right now. Although the world cannot hear our thoughts while we experience everything, that is more than enough of a price to pay for this awesome experience. Before I left I thought about my program compared to everything else. It seemed like everything else was specialized in one way or another. From physics to biotechnology, to religions, etc. My program was totally different. My program focussed on Grand Strategy. Grand Strategy deals with everything, one must account for all things before one makes a decision. Our lectures and seminars dealt with a wide breadth of knowledge. We learned about philosophy, current events, economics, politics, and law. Our knowledge didn't stop at just academic subjects, but life long lessons as well. We got seminars about how relationships work and about the manners of fine dining and networking. We emerged from this program not just smarter in school, but smarter in life as a whole.
This program was probably the hardest thing I've done up to now, yet at the same time it was one of the most enjoyable. Being surrounded by this group of scholars, in a great environment such as Yale produced so many benefits and eye openers for me. I came in as someone who didn't know what they wanted in life, who lacked strong work ethic and was scared of leaving home. I came out as someone who knew where he wanted to and the drive to get there. Most importantly I came to realize that leaving home isn't all that bad and that some day I'm going to have to do it for real. When that day comes, I hope that it is to depart, yet again, to the wonderful campus that is Yale University.
Thank you Mr.Ramsey, Ms.Kronenberg, Don Gosney, Lori Nardon, and all of the ILC sponsors for everything you've given me. You helped me realize what opportunities are really out there for us. You all have a great thing going, don't stop it.