Marist for two weeks, three college credits, a suite with five other girls sharing one bathroom, a shower and a common area. Wake up call at 7am. Breakfast from 8-9am, Class from 9am-12pm, Lunch from 12pm - 1pm, back to class from 1pm - 5pm, Dinner from 5pm - 6 pm, whatever floats your boat from 6pm - 11 pm and lights off by 12am.
No words can explain how great Marist was during those two weeks. I met so many new people from all around the world, and learned so many different things. At times, I even changed my perspective on some of the things I saw. I never knew how close I can get to people in the span of two weeks. We exchanged numbers, emails and even Facebook contact information.
The first day and the last day were the most horrifying. On the first day I cried every time I spoke to my mother. It was surprising because it was not my first time being a way from my mom. It was a combination of my nerves, not knowing anyone, not knowing who to go to, and knowing that my mother was not close by if I wanted her to just pick me up so I could go home. I was just a nervous wreck!
All the emotions I felt the first day completed changed as the days passed by. I grew close to my roommates and other students from different suites. We had so many different activities planned out for us and we had plenty of different choices everyday. I even experienced a few things for the first time like making s'mores!
My criminal justice class was just great from beginning to end. I was amazed on how a class could interest me so much. My classmates and I went on different trips that were directly connected to the class content. We saw K-9 dogs and what they do, we visited a jail, and we even played the part of a jury in court.
After a few days, Marist felt like my home even though it wasn't my real one. The staff was just great. They were clear about who you could go to for anything you needed.
When the last day came, tears strolled down my eyes again. This time it wasn't because I wanted to go home; it was because I didn't want to leave. As my roommates and I were packing we couldn't believe it was time to say goodbye. We didn't want to go. I couldn't believe two weeks passed in the blink of an eye. I couldn't believe my roommates were feeling the same way I was.
College life is unique. I loved Marist, even though it may not be my number one college but it is definitely in my top five. I don't regret going to college for two weeks during my summer vacation because it turned out to be the best part of my summer. The following day I received an e-mail from my professor mentioning I received an B in my class. At first I was down because I said to myself, 'really Natalie a B?" But when I put some thought into it covering and realized that I covered a whole semester in a span of two weeks and received that grade, I felt really proud of my self.
I recommend every high school student experience the opportunity I was able to. This experience really took me out of my comfort zone. I saw myself becoming more of an adult. It is something any student will never regret, and I promise that this experience will follow you everywhere you go. When you get back to home and tell everyone how it went , a few people may follow your lead and take into consideration what you did and try it out for themselves. I even had some people say that they wish their schools had that when they were younger. Friends from other schools wondered if they have a similar opportunity in their schools. This experience really helps you reach success and gives you different perspectives on your future. I wish I could have done this as early as my freshman year. At the end of the day I experienced the best of a college experience by receiving three college credits and living the life of a college student on a campus. I'm grateful to everyone who contributed to making this happen for me.
Upon returning to New York from my Summer Search trip in Maine, I began my summer institute with the Opportunity Network at the UFT building in Manhattan. The summer institute was a three-week program designed to prepare the new Opportunity Network students for the upcoming school year. We also went to field trips to colleges and business companies such as Google and Brookes Brothers. The classes at the institute were related to networking and college information. The summer institute was already a week underway when I commenced my classes in late July, and I knew I had some catching up to do with having to gather notes and having to learn sixty new names as soon as possible.
I recall how excited I felt the night prior to my first day in the institute. I prepared my backpack with all my necessary paraphenalia for the institute. It felt as if I was preparing for the first day in school…only in July. In order to travel to the UFT building at Wall Street I needed to use the train every morning, and I have to admit that I detest public transportation due how crowded it is and the awkward silence that envelops the train the entire ride. After a while, I adapted to the train so having to take it no longer bothered me.
On my first day of the institute I was lost since I did not know what floor the Opportunity Network classes were located in or what time I had them. I was told by one of the buildings' security guards that OppNet was on the 19th floor. When the day began at OppNet I had to introduce myself to the sixty-plus students there which was not an extremely comfortable situation, but I have definitely participated in more stressful circumstances. The first four days of the institute were simple days in which I had to catch up on the notes and assignments I missed. We also went on a field trip to Brooks Brothers, a professional clothing store that was founded in 1818. On Friday we traveled to Lafayette College as well as Lehigh University. The two schools have an intense rivalry with one another and they are both great schools. To my great surprise the first week at OppNet went smoothly and it could not have been better. However, I was disappointed that I only had one week left at the institute, but I planned to make the most of that week.
In the following week our schedule involved a lot more activities but also more work. At the end of the week on Friday, we needed to create and present a PowerPoint presentation on college. The task seemed simple at first; however we had limited time to work on it and there was plenty of disagreement between the members of the four groups that were working on this presentation. In the meantime we attended two trips and we also participated in a scavenger hunt. The two trips were to the Google offices and the New York Historical Society. Both of the trips were interesting and fun, but Google was a lot more mind-blowing and exciting. At the Google offices we were able to see the colorful work environment as well as hear great stories from our tour guide, Ramon. One of the stories involved the CEO of Google being denied a printer in his office by a budget manager and the manager still retained his position at Google. I still wonder, why didn't the billionaire CEO just buy a printer and place it in his office? As for the scavenger hunt, it involved completing unusual tasks in Battery Park and around Wall Street. Our group had to take pictures with the Statue of Liberty, street performers, a potentially dangerous snake, and people wearing college gear. Unfortunately, we did not win the scavenger hunt but it was difficult to feel discouraged with all the fun we had.
As the final day grew closer my class needed to complete our presentation. I was very fortunate that I only had the first and last lines of the presentation. For some strange reason I thought I was going to be nervous on the day of the presentation. All three classes were going to have to make a twenty minute presentation in front of a little more than sixty people. When the final day arrived I was anxious because I was excited to present the presentation we spent our ‘Team Time’ classes working on. The other two classes presented before our class and they did well. The same could be said for my class.
Soon after it was time for everyone to say goodbye to each other. I have always disliked the goodbye moments since they always have a depressing mood. However, in a month some of us will be seeing each other again when our fall classes start; therefore, there no one was extremely sad. Looking back on the summer institute, I am glad to say I was a part of it and I cannot wait until the fall classes commence in September.
My name is Kimberly, and I am a rising junior. Through the services of CPLP I have been able to participate in a rewarding summer enrichment program. I am part of the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity program (SEO), which is a competitive
program that helps guide students from low income backgrounds in applying to competitive colleges. For all four years of high school, students take classes after school once a week, on Saturdays, and for three weeks in the summer in an effort to prepare students for college level courses. This is my second year in the program, and the summer aspect portion is one of the most challenging. I atttended classes Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. I took classes that helped improve my grammar, writing, reading, and analyical skills. I was also fortunate enough to have been given an opportunity to take a class in
pre-calculus. Classes were held at Baruch College. Each night I had homework for each class, and as a group we attended a college fair at Colombia University. In addition to the academic enrichment I received, I was able to interact socially with students from diverse backgrounds, which helps to foster tolerance and acceptance. In my freshman year, CPLP helped me through the application and interview proccess and kept track of my progress once I was accepted to SEO.
This summer I learned so much, which will pay off when I get to college.
It was Tuesday and I was both excited and anxious. I didn't know how people would respond to my play, including the actors. I'm
not much of a writer, but I do want to improve on my writing, so I wondered if people would like my play or not. We all gathered in one area including the actors and the guests watching the plays. After a pair of plays were performed, the people who wrote it talked about it and Tamila asked each of them questions about their play as well as the one that their partner wrote about them.
Then it was my turn. My partner's play was first. It was amazing. It was so funny, I nearly died laughing. And the funny thing is that everything that happened in the play actually happened to me in real life! My play came next and it was really cool to hear it read out loud.
The next set of performances was the next day. I think they were better than the day before! The first set was touching and dramatic, the second and third ones were hilarious. Then the performances were finally over. On Thursday we all met up and talked about our whole experience: about the performances, the program itself, our perspective on different things, etc. Afterwards the elders invited us and the instructors to a Mexican restaurant nearby. Four out of the 7 kids couldn't go, but the other 3, including myself, were able to. We had a good time. It was Happy Hour, so you know what that means! Alcoholic beverages!....for the adults. Us kids enjoyed the amazing food that was there. We talked all throughout the dinner. I said goodbye to everyone and left to go home. I will really miss everyone. This was a really enjoyable experience and I will always remember it. I'm planning on staying in touch with everyone and I can't wait for the reunion this spring.
This week with College Explorers, we participated in a CUNY workshop and visited Lehman College,SUNY Albany, and the College of St.Rose.
On Monday our day began with the CUNY workshop. We learned more about the CUNY system and how you can apply for to the schools. Furthermore, we played a quick "Agree or Disagree" game in which Kevin read statements about the CUNY system and we either moved left or to the right of the room depending on whether we agreed or disagreed with the statement.
Later that day, we took a trip to Lehman College. I was not too fond of that college. The campus was not eye-catching and it felt way too much like a high school. Also its too close to home. However, there was new science building still under construction that we were not allowed in that looked modern and had a swamp inside!
Later in the week on Wednesday we took a two-and-a-half hour road trip to SUNY Albany. The campus was extremely beautiful and jaw-dropping, and, even better, it is not that expensive. Tuition is only about $20,000 per year. On the other hand, the dorms were way too small and they were designed for 5 people at a time; That's too many people for that amount of space! After leaving the University of Albany, we drove to The College of St.Rose. A fun fact that I learned from visiting St.Rose is that actor/writer/comedian/former Saturday Night Live member and now talk-show host Jimmy Fallon attended and graduated from the college of St. Rose in 2009. He is a man who I've truly idolized foryears so this is very exciting. In addition, the campus was private and small, which I really like about it. It has a great music department and up-to-date technology as well as small classroom sizes.
I will definitely apply to St.Rose and maybe SUNY Albany.
In one of my classes with Dr. Romero, I learned about the achievement gap and rubber rooms. I learned that the latter is where teachers stay if they do anything that they aren't supposed to do, and that they still get paid! I also learned about responsiblities that teachers have. For example, teachers are supposed to always be professional, and if they do have a Facebook page, they are supposed to be careful with what they put on the internet because their jobs are at stake.
This program really changed my perspective from when I first started. When I first came to this program, I didn't expect to be learning about what a being a teacher is really like or about making lesson plans. Soon after, I realized that being a teacher is very tiring and that you hardly get any break time. But since I am really dedicated, I don't intend on giving up and I'm willing to go through whatever it takes.
I now feel that teaching is really the profession that I want to pursue. Working with so many different kids really changed my perspective. It also taught me to never get my hopes up, because I thought that I was going to have one really smart student and I wouldn't have to do that much work., However, after the first day, my student never returned, and I was assigned to a student with a lower reading level. It was very frustrating working with her because I had to break everything down, but I think over time I gained more patience. Not long after, I was assigned to another student who was on the same level as my old one, but I immediately connected with her and she knew many more words than my last student.
Now that I'm done with the Teaching New Yorkers program, I can pretty much say that I had a great summer. Not only did this program help me decide whether or not I really wanted to be a teacher (the answer is yes!), but it also gave me experience that I will never ever forget. I almost cried when I saw my student finally leaving my side; we had so much fun together and she was making so much progress. This program made a huge impact on my life. Now that I know that, I definitely want to do something like this next summer.
In Velo City we were practicing what we were going to talk about during the bike tour the following week. We had several "stops" which were like stations. Each stop covered a topic that we learned about during the program. We had to walk around to each stop and talk about it. We went to about 10 stops in total and we were each assigned to at least one of them. We were being recorded so we could see afterwards how we did and if there's any need for improvement. When we finished, we did another art project about our stops.
The following week it was time to present in front of people! The crowd wasn't that big, so I wasn't nervous. There were three stops that I had to talk about. The first one was just an overview about the program. The second was about a community garden and its importance. And the third was about the lack of connectivity between parks. At the end of our final bike tour, the program was over!
I had a great time in this program and I really learned a lot about my environment!
This past week at Mind the Gap we shared our plays. We tried guessing which play belongs to whom. Mine was pretty predictable since the perspective of my partner was mentioned. Afterwards we were paired up with our permanant partners. I was paired up with Marcy. We interviewed each other before and we got along perfectly. We had a lot in common. So we spent the next 50 minutes or so talking. She mentions that she sees dead people. Yes, dead people. It was weird. Afterwards Tamila, one of our instructors, told us that we had to walk around the neighborhood and talk. Simple enough. We walked for a while and talked about everything. I mentioned how I was a fugitive last summer (long story). We gathered together after 20 minutes and Tamila told all of us that we had to bring an item that has a story behind it. I didn't know what I would bring. I guess I'll think things over.
Today was the last day to interview our partners and get any ideas so we could write our 10-minute play. When we started our conversation we had to bring an item. Big ol' responsible me forgot! But I had my Ipod and that had a story behind it. Marcy brought a small stuffed cat from when she was younger. It was almost as old as she was. She told me her story behind the cat
and one conversation led to another and poof! Forty minutes sped by. We had a break and then Tamila told us to think for a minute. We had to ask 1 question: only 1. I asked how will you react if she lost her stuffed animal. She didn't know how she'd react. After the next 40 minutes were up, we had a photographer take a group photo. We all went to the table and talked about the requirements for the play. It has to be 10 minutes long and have a certain format. We said our goodbyes and I started my play once I got home.
In Velo City a woman named Jackie joined us for the day. She rode her bike to us all the way from Long Island! She came so she could help us with our art projects that we will be doing later on. To prepare, we were looking at graffiti. We learned that graffiti can convince people to be more active. We then rode our bikes all over our neighborhood to look at the art and talk about what the artist was trying to say with it. Afterwards we returned to work on our art projects.
I went on a college tour recently to Fordham University. I was surprised as to how much space there is, especially for a school located in the city. One thing I like about the school is that each building is dedicated to a specific subject. For example, all subjects about theology are located in one building and not in different rooms and areas in one building like other colleges. The tour guide also told us that sometimes living on campus can get expensive so many people decide to commute to work or live in an apartment building. Throughout the many different areas we walked by, we only noticed one map of the campus, which there should be more of because of the large size of the campus. In the future, if I tour other colleges/universities, I will keep in mind that large spaces and huge buildings don’t initially mean that there are a large number of students attending the school.