Thursday, August 3, 2017

It All Worked Out

When I went to the ILC presentation in the fall I wasn't sure if it was something I really wanted to do. The overall experience seemed to be worth it, but you could also end up writing essay after essay, and going to interview after interview with no luck. Initially I wasn't sure if I was up for that.

When Don sent the email detailing what was necessary to apply to be a part of the UChicago cohort, I was instantly intrigued. UChicago was going to be one of the schools that I was seriously considering, but wouldn't get a chance to visit, therefore taking away all personal aspects and experiences of the school. When I looked at the course listings and saw the Physics of Stars as an option, I knew I had to jump on it. 

Of course, I procrastinated and ended up rushing to write both my pre-essays and my topic essay, get them all edited and tidied up, and turn them into Don on time. Then it was time to wait. When I didn't receive an email on the date we were first told about I immediately figured I didn't make it to the interview stage, so when Don called me to tell me that I was going to interview I was ecstatic. 
I had so much nervous energy at the interview, so I couldn't keep my mouth shut. Luckily Jahnvi was also in the mood for talking, so we talked almost the entire time we were waiting. I interviewed sixth, and though I was initially nervous, the farther I we got in the questions the more confident I was in answering. Though it hadn't felt long when I was in the room, when I left I found out I had been gone for 20 plus minutes. The next hour or so was incredibly nerve-wracking. The panelists took some time to deliberate, and when Don came back into the room to tell us the results, he framed it in the worst way possible.

Our names were stated followed by "Pack your bags... you're going to Chicago." By the time I had processed that I was actually chosen, we had already been whisked into another room to take pictures. The whole night was completely surreal to me.

Throughout our other activities in preparation for heading off, we got to know each other better as a cohort. Immediately after the interview we exchanged phone numbers and began a group chat where we of course discussed our plans behind Don's back, only to let him in the loop later.

When the dinner and school board meeting rolled around, I realized just how important ILC is as a whole. We had an amazing opportunity to represent WCCUSD to alums and members of the school board. Raqeeb and I even had the opportunity to speak at these events and share how we will be able to bring back what we learn to our community. 

By the time we left, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I had predictions about how my class would be, but I didn't know how much I would like UChicago or the city of Chicago in general.
Before we realized the great time we would have!
The first week I socialized a lot with people throughout the entire program and in different classes, but not really in my class. When Jahnvi switched into my class I found myself being more social with my classmates, but still not talking to everyone. Over the weekend after the first week and when the Pathways program moved in I talked to more people and went out more often.

The second week I realized that this was going to be my last week at UChicago before we went to Yerkes, so Jahnvi and I went out more and talked to people we definitely don't see often in our district. People who can afford Prada and pay for rides downtown in exchange for shoe deliveries. 

At Yerkes I had the amazing opportunity to work with great functioning telescopes and gather data that furthered the project Jahnvi and I worked on. I also made more friends within my class and found people I wish I had talked to sooner.

Upon being back, and beginning school on Wednesday I realize how much I enjoyed the environment at UChicago. Though Middle College High School is probably better about people wanting to be there than other schools, there are still plenty of people who don't appreciate the environment. In classes students speak over classmates and teachers, and don't pay attention to the information. I didn't realize how spoiled I was at UChicago with people actually liking the class and being respectful to speakers. It was an environment that was conducive to learning both from your teachers and your peers, and I really miss it.

I have already been able to in person speak to a classmate who was unsure about applying to UChicago and convince them to go for it, and I can't wait for more opportunities to do so.

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