Monday, April 30, 2012

Going Orange for the 'Cuse

Yesterday, my mom and I submitted my official enrollment and housing deposit to Syracuse University. In a matter of months I will be in New York as a college student. This is my Californian dream. I will be giving up the comfort of Californian weather and the hospitality of my adoring parents in order to build on to my already amazing life. I am ready for this sacrifice because, obviously, adventure is out there.
My new school colors!
In addition to the campus beauty, I was intrigued by Syracuse University in several different aspects. These include the program surrounding my major, the music program, and the school spirit.

At SU, I will be majoring in Advertising at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. This is a combination of everything I am interested in: consumerism, creativity, critical thinking, and working with people. The great thing about SU is that their programs are accredited to meet the standards of top corporations seeking to employ students. I also met with the chair of the department of advertising and he took me under his wing to plan out my classes for the fall. It was comforting to know that I could meet up with the SU staff so easily after e-mailing them a night before. Everyone who works at SU is incredibly friendly, helpful, and happy. I am excited to be in an environment that has an admirable focus on students.

My school at Syracuse University!

I am definitely a band kid. Currently, I am the drum major of my 93-member high school marching band and the trombone section leader in the symphonic band. I intend to continue playing trombone in college. Music is critical to enjoying life. It relieves stress and it allows me to create something beautiful with a group of people with a similar passion. I will be ending my marching band career in high school but I already signed up for the pep band (that plays at the Division I basketball games). I also signed up for the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, and Symphonic Band. I will have my balance of hyped up band kids and professional concert musicians. Another aspiration of mine is to become Otto the Orange, SU’s mascot. We will see how that turns out for me.

My high school marching band at the El Sobrante Stroll.
School spirit is very important to me. I want to be proud of where to go to college, and Syracuse University is the perfect fit. The students there scream for their sports teams and they are a big, loving, orange community. I visited SU during the Spring Reception and every student I talked to told me that choosing SU was the best decision of their life. My favorite part of campus visits are the tours. I really want to be a tour guide when I get to college. That way, I will be able to show other people how much I love the school I am going to.

See you in the fall, Syracuse University!

This scholarship is sponsored by

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

L'Adventure to LaGuardia

I woke up this morning at 2:15 feeling not exactly dandy, but nevertheless I was ready to start my solo trek across the United States. School was starting in 5 hours and I was excited that I didn't have to go. TAKE THAT! No worries. I printed out all the GoPo homework that I needed to do.
Here are the things I did all by myself, like the seasoned traveler I am. Let's keep in mind that this is my first time traveling alone even though I have gone to Washington DC for a week and Brown University for a month without my parents. This time I did not even have chaperones. It was grand.

-Checked in my bags
-Found my gate
-Looked old so that people wouldn't pickpocket me
-Choose my own seat (which was an aisle seat in the second row on each flight)
-Transfer flights
-Baggage claim
-Reserved and boarded SuperShuttle.
-Made my way to Grand Central Station

LaGuardia was a zoo, but I managed to find where I was supposed to go. I realized that airports are just like any other form of public transportation. There's transfers and delays and tons of other people. But everyone was really friendly and I did not get lost.

I enjoyed watching fathers and sons bond on several trips on the moving walkway. They were totally stoked. Lots of babies in carriers and young couples. Also, I sorta want to work an at airport as a flight attendant. Think of the travel opportunities!

Connor and I spent the night exploring the campus. I beat him in Connect Four. We Skyped Gwenna. I took a shower and almost burned myself. There are areas outside that steam because of the hot water pipes.

I'm tired. I was gonna work on supplements for Brown. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

AIDS SF Walk 2011

Irene reminded me about the AIDS SF Walk three days ago, and I decided to do it. I felt bad for starting late, so I made a pledge of raising at least $50 for AIDS research.

With the help of many sponsors, I raised a total of $85 in three days.
I was the first one at the BART station this morning, and I waited in my parents' car for the rest of the crew to arrive. I would not know anyone in the group. I was the only on in my high school going in a different high school's group. And this school happens to be our top marching band rival. But, we weren't going to go there.

The ride over was quiet and drowsy. Irene set the meeting time at 7:45AM even though the walk started at 10:30AM. She likes to be on time. I chatted briefly with some members of our group and I quickly befriended Hanna, a rising junior and the next co-president of the GSA at her high school after Irene graduated. Our walking group consisted of around 15 people, 5 of which were adults. I met Mr. Pang, who was the trumpet section leader in the PVHS marching band in 2001. He now teaches math at ECHS and is the head of the juggling club. We chatted at the BART station and he also talked to Hanna and I about Chinese rowing while we were on the MUNI. He is a very cultured, very wise, and very short man.

Getting to the city is always an adventure. BART and MUNI were especially crowded. There were a lot of people going to the walk. 25,000 people were expected to walk this year. We popped off the MUNI and walked over to register. Irene checked us into the GSA table where we got a breakfast of tubed yogurt and granola bars. For those of us that raised money, we turned in our funds at a different table. Irene spread some of her funds over to mine so that I could get a T-shirt.

The walk started randomly when a huge group of people started to move out to the road. We joined in on the crowded, screaming excitement. The last time I did a walk in San Francisco was in 2008 for the Bay to Breakers. I was excited that I was involved in something bigger and with a stronger purpose. While walking, I got to talk to Irene more about the ECHS GSA and prepping for college life at Brown. We swapped short life stories as we walked about. There were many attractions along the way including the Cal and Stanford marching bands, various radio stations, and countless canines with t-shirts that Irene would squeal over whenever we passed one.

Although we broke from the main crowd when we stopped for a bathroom break, the experience was amazing. Overall, the AIDS SF Walk raised $3,011,245. I am still not sure how many people walked but it seemed like a million. That's just me and my hyperbole. Don't trust me with that. I am glad that I got to know the ECHS GSA and all the amazing people that make it possible. It is also fun to teach them African dance moves in the BART station. Also, Tina needs to be cultured. It will happen very soon.

I am proud to be a walker.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Bounce House

I only woke up early today because I had to pee.

I am back at Forensics Camp today. It was great to see a ton of familiar faces back at the high school. There were some new faces as well, but they made themselves unapproachable at the back of the room. Diego is starting Forensics! My coach thought that was cute.

The topic that the Parliamentary and Public Forum teams were discussing today was the following:
"Forensics should not debate sensitive religious issues." Thank you to Marc who remembered that resolution from a previous debate. First, Marcus made us define our resolution and then find pro and con positions. It is fun to think critically again. I found myself contributing to the argument a lot more this time around. I think the idea of being a senior in high school gives me strength and confidence. I cannot wait until the year begins.

Zeke is a great person. I actually got to talk to him today. After our drive-by bounce house jumping (it had to be done. It was RIGHT THERE. Unattended. What would YOU have done?), he walked me home and we had excellent conversation. We spanned topics of leaving a lasting impression at Pinole Valley, living life to the fullest, and being the change we want to see in our community. We want to act and change Pinole. People need to stop waiting for something to happen.

We chilled in my garage for about two hours and Zeke told me about his experience an Interact Rotary Club summer camp. It was nice to have another person who had a summer camp experience, because we both came backed changed. He told me that he met some real people that went through tough moments in their lives. Zeke said that he would have traded his spot at camp for another person who really needed it. Camp Royal was an emotional step to overcome a challenge in your life so that you could be a strong role model and an effective leader. I told Zeke that his spot at Camp Royal was meant for him. He was sent as an ambassador and he needed to bring back a story to share to people who really need to hear it. If he doesn't share his experience, what was the point? I think that he is a great speaker and a great ambassador. People need to flock over to him and hear all the wonders that he told me.

I ended my day by seeing "The Producers" which was put on by the Pinole Community Players. BRAVO to them. It was hilarious and enjoyable. I sat in the front row with Andrew. Yes, he was my date. Watching the musical made me realize how much I missed theater. I miss the people I grew up with at the Playhouse, the directors, musicians, faculty, and fellow thespians. People say that I should pursue theater, but it is not my main passion. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

My mind is clear and I can focus on whatever I want. There is still plenty to do around the house. And I still want to paint. LIFE.

I raised $17 for the AIDS walk today.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Like Shooting Stars

Who said Blogger was ghetto?

I thought that I was going to stay inside all day today. I was almost right.

Marching band stuff needed to be taken care of right away. Hannah and I made arrangements to meet up, and after some schedule juggling, we were ready to begin. It took us 2 hours to sign , edit (members need both a black and white collared shirt for band), prepare, and seal 97 envelopes containing marching band letters for the 102 members that signed up before the beginning of summer. This includes veterans, incoming freshmen, and psyched Spartans. Everyone wants to be in the band. This is where it's at.

I ran some errands with my dad too. We dropped off some laundry at the dry cleaners and then we carried on to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for homemade pizza. To make a long story short, we made three pizzas, we ate three pizzas. That is all.
Skype is a beautiful thing. It's just like talking on the phone but you can actually see the person on the other end listening to you and paying attention to you. I talked to Olga for about two hours, spanning topics from memories at Brown, to guacamole, to the things in her room. I miss this girl so much. She is so kind and social that my heart aches that I will not see her again for a long time. Skype will always be there.

One of the founders of the Ivy League Connection stopped by my house to pick up all of the items that Cohort #1 used at Brown University. They were just laptop security cables and Ethernet wires. The thing was when he came over, he said:

"Erin, you were the shining star this year."

He told me that they sent a bunch of students into the program and he believed that I understood what it was all about. I was flattered, and I took the praise. After such a long year of being beaten down by various people, it's always nice to know that there are people in the world that appreciate you.

Well, what WAS this all about? What was the Ivy League Connection for anyway? This organization made me find myself. It made me realize that I could do whatever I wanted if I persisted and made a strong effort for it. I'm not going to dwell on this because I already wrote 1,400 words expressing my gratitude to the ILC, but in short, I loved it. I think people need some sort of experience so that they can search their soul and become who they were meant to be. There's more to life than sitting at home or in a classroom. There's much more. People just need to go find it.

Lucina took me out to Starbucks to end my day with severe gusto. We drove around Pinole screaming at stalker cars (which turned out to be my brother and his friends) and listening to righteous music at top volume. Lucina is one of the few people that I can talk to and listen to. We talked about love, life, and even fate. Of course, we didn't get too deep on fate. It is summer after all and we don't want to think too much. We were laying down in her driveway looking at the moon and just talking. It was great. I told her about Brown and how I was definitely a changed person. I no longer feel socially awkward when I am hanging out with someone. I can contribute to a conversation and feel good about it. I can listen now. I can listen and comprehend what someone is saying to me. My mind no longer feels crammed with cement. I feel lighter. As we were talking, we saw a super bright and super slow shooting star. We screamed for about a minute before making our own wishes. I have a feeling mine will come true.

I'm doing the AIDS SF Walk on Sunday. My fundraising goal is $50 for Sunday. I think I will be able to get that. I will be walking with the El Cerrito GSA. Finally, some bonding time with an organization I really want to learn about. I'm very excited to devoting the next three days to raising money for AIDS research. Help me out!
My ILC @ Brown blog inspired me to write more. Perhaps I'll discipline myself enough to carry this tradition on. Time to let out all my caffeinated energy on sending out a care package and cleaning my room.