Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We Are Not Alone

As an member of the Ivy League Connections, I pride myself on being a part of one of the few who qualify to participate in such a prestigious program. But today, I had the opportunity to meet some of the others who are part of other programs that offer similar benefits.

Today, the Summer@Brown program hosted a dinner for all the students who are here because of sponsorships by various partner programs. Over 140 students attend Summer@Brown because of partnerships around the country, all of which invest in their most talented youth and thus the future. These partnerships include Jack Kent Cooke, Minds Matter, KIPP Schools, Schuler Family Foundation, Providence St. Mel, Joyce Ivy Foundation, Summer Quest, The Coalition for Educational Justice, The Young Women Leadership Foundation, Mission High School, HighSight, PRISYM, Blackstone Academy, and of course, our very own fabulous Ivy League Connections program.

During the dinner, Summer@Brown treated us to pizza, which was oddly cut into squares, making the meal very messy. Nevertheless, the meal was very tasty and it was an interesting experience, compared to our slices back at home. While eating this messy feast, I talked to some students who were from their own partnership programs and also current Brown University Students. The other students were all from similar backgrounds as we were, from poor-performance districts, and they all were as overjoyed to be a part of this program as we were.

After the dinner, we were able to submit anonymous questions to the Brown students for help with college applications. We had the chance to talk to Anna, Aaron, and Alicia all of whom were from disadvantaged backgrounds like we were. It was inspiring to listen to them describe their obstacles, and how they were able to overcome those troubles to eventually soar to new heights at Brown, even if their family and colleagues didn't expect it of them. This meeting with them inspired me to try my best and to reach for the stars to achieve my dreams. Even if their counselors or even their own families doubted them, they continued to strive for the best. They exemplified the meaning of true hard work and dedication to a dream, and the sheer will power to achieve their goals.

Mrs. Robin Dean Rose, who organizes all of the partnership foundations, shared her views on college to us, stating that with so many applying for so few spots in a college, getting accepted to Brown or any other selective college is essentially based on luck. But she told us that over all else, we must make it to college, because so many are depending on us.

We lastly each discussed what was the hardest part about being here at Summer@Brown, and what was the best part. To me, being here at Summer@Brown has taught me far more about myself than about DNA based biotechnology. I have learned to become more independent and more willing to believe in myself instead of doubting myself. Before this summer program, I relied on my friends often and I never truly believed that I was strong enough to survive alone. Although being in this program is far from a lonely experience, the past two weeks have taught me to be confident in all that I do, and I will succeed as long as I believe with conviction in the choices I make. Although every person's answer was different, I felt as if we were all united under the common bond that we were all defying expectations and rising above the challenges of underestimation, discrimination, and deprivation. To the rest of the world, we may be seen as incompetent and we have been denied far too many opportunities. But today I had the unique chance to be with others who have been through similar hardships as well. I now truly believe with total conviction that we are the cream of the crop, and we shall always rise to the top.


  1. Wow, I wonder if they'll host an event like that for our session. I hope so.

  2. Austin,

    Seeing as how it's super time and all I have to look forward to is nuked leftovers, that pizza--no matter what shape it comes in--sounds pretty good right now.

    I think it's great that Ms. Rose hosted such an event. It allowed you all to see that you're not unique and you're not alone. I hope you have a chance to talk to some of the other students in these programs to learn how they were selected, whether their programs are privately financed (like ours) or whether there's some sort of foundation set up, and what's expected of them from their sponsors (blogging and such?).

    This is interesting stuff and you did a great job writing about it. Thanks for sharing.