Hello ILC members,
I hope everything went well this year for all those who have been and continue to be part of the Ivy League Connection. For those Brown and Cornell summer students, finish strong, if you haven't done so yet. I know the ILC will help prepare you well for the tough journey that college is. First of all, I want to let everyone know that it's not easy, but with hard work anything can be achieved.
As I have mentioned in previous accounts, there have been academic struggles for me. Attending a private institution such as SCU is no easy task. Being on a quarter system doesn't give you time to even breath, but you have to stay strong. Time is very important and you have to manage it well. I cannot stress that enough! This year I tried a new system of outlining important tasks I had to get done before I could do anything else, like go out with friends. Although it did work for most of the quarter, I admit it's easy to get distracted. This is where my second piece of advice is to stay focused!
As you very well know, going off to college is like moving out, becoming a bit more independent. Even though I go to a university that's only one hour away from home, I know I cannot run home every time I encounter a difficulty. That is why you have to prioritize in everything. Once you're in college, you get the feeling that no one else can tell you what to do. And to some extent that might be right. For me it has been the case that every time I go back to SC, I feel like I HAVE TO do everything on my own. Remember that college students are very competitive. There will be students who will not want to work in groups merely because they want to be the best, and in the real world that's what will happen. Not everyone will want to help you out. But that doesn't mean there aren't those people who will become your friends and will gladly help. Of course I'm not saying they'll give you the answers. The goal is to learn for yourself and understand what you are learning, so don't be afraid to ask anyone for help. Always make a few friends and acquaintances in each classroom, and ALWAYS try to work in groups if possible. A method that helped me study was asking others to quiz me and quizzing others. That might work for some of you.
Also, when I talk about asking for help, it doesn't have to limit to only students. Remember that your professors are there to help as well. For instance, in SCU you will always have professors willing to help. Santa Clara is a small community and classroom sizes range from about 10-25 students in most cases. So, if you're one of those students who like to get a one-on-one with your teacher/professor, SCU would be perfect for you. I have grown to have close relationships with some of my professors and still keep in touch with them. So, again, don't be afraid to ask for help! This is the time when you can still make mistakes and learn from them.
As for myself, my second year was more smooth and I learned about a few more resources I have in SCU. I have taken on the role of Cochair for Hermanas Unidas for the next academic year. I can not forget to mention that nothing else will make you a stronger leader than taking a leadership role on campus. I'm sure in high school everyone tells you to get involved. Well I'll say the same thing. Get INVOLVED! Find something that interests you and try to become part of it in any way and with time take challenges like getting a position in a club such as I have. For now I will focus on making Hermanas Unidas a stronger club and continue to be a member of MEChA-El Frente, another Latino club on campus. Since I switched to a Psychology major, I will look into joining a new club called To Write Love on Her Arms which will deal in any way possible in helping others become aware of depression, its causes, symptoms and treatments, and other mood disorders. As far as classes goes, I have been struggling in at least one class every quarter, but I try my best to do well. I have had to take a class twice because the first time around it was tough. Good thing is I have planned my next two years at SCU and have available spaces in case I need to retake a class. Try to plan your years in college. That will help you in knowing if you will finish on time. It will be of great help.
Lastly, since we have all been brought to the attention of financial matters forcing a former ILC student to terminate his college studies at SCU, I will mention that it is tough as the years pass by. It's tough to get a solid financial aid package, if you get one. As we have seen, one great student like Eduardo Melendez had to postpone studying at Santa Clara University. Although the ILC does help students in the transition from home to college in many ways, it still needs to improve on raising awareness among students about financial aid, how it works, and if governmental aid cannot be received, to teach students about useful tools to find scholarships and private grants. Up to this day, I have been receiving a good package from SCU and I'm thankful. I also have a job on campus, and even though sometimes it conflicts with other activities, I know it helps decrease the financial burden. But I agree with Lalo that the ILC can and should try to improve in this matter. So keep that in mind: financial matters do matter!
I really hope that everyone grows to value what the ILC is doing for each one of you, and that you apply it once you make it to college. Remember that your task as an ILC student doesn't end once you graduate high school. There will be others that will come after you and it is your duty to try to advice them in anything possible as we have with you. Also, the ILC will be open about ideas on improvement of the program. Let's try to make it a better program. With time everything can be accomplished.
Thanks for your time and thank you to the ILC for the great help it offered.
Santa Clara University '13