Monday, April 26, 2010

Northwestern University: Wildcat Days!

Good evening, everyone!

I suppose I will also begin my entry with an introduction. My name is Stephanie Ny, and I am a senior at Hercules High School. Last summer, the Ivy League Connection sponsored my two-week stay at Yale University for the Yale Ivy Scholars Program.

Without the Ivy League Connection, I would not be where I am today: Evanston, Illinois, visiting one of the nation's top universities (and my personal favorite!), Northwestern University. I arrived here Sunday afternoon for today's Wildcat Days event for prospective students.

For those who don't know me very well, I applied to Northwestern University under the ED option and was accepted in mid-December. However, financial circumstances almost prevented me from attending the school. With the help of Mr. Ramsey and an admissions officer at the college--Aaron Zdawczyk--I was given more aid and can now attend my dream college (although I will have to take out some loans... but it's genuinely worth it)! Mr. Ramsey and the ILC graciously offered to send my mother and me back to Evanston to visit NU for Wildcat Days... and now I am here, in Evanston, staying at the Best Western hotel. My mother and I appreciate the offer; we would like to thank each and every ILC member and supporter for allowing us to come.

In the early morning, my mother and I headed out to Norris University Center, the main facility used for Wildcat Days. I registered myself and was given a lanyard with a name card, a beautiful purple folder with "NORTHWESTERN" in silver lettering, and a Northwestern t-shirt. Given these simple entities, I already knew my day was going to be fantastic.

We entered the Louis Room, where continental breakfast was served and all Wildcat Days participants congregated. Fifteen minutes upon my arrival, prospective students were divided into several groups--one for each undergraduate college--for information sessions. I, of course, went to the WCAS session, as I will be attending that school in the fall.

We were led into the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, where we were met with a large, purple, congratulatory banner that read, "Congratulations Class of 2014!" (I think that's what it said). Three or so deans spoke about the school, emphasizing the intimacy level of the school through not just smaller classes, but freshman advisers. Freshman advisers meet with their students two or three times a week because they teach their clients' freshman seminars. These create bonds that last pretty much throughout students' entire undergraduate experiences. Additionally, freshman seminars are capped at about 15 or 16 students, compared to the normal 20-25 students, once again indicating intimacy and just overall GREATNESS! This school is amazing.

After the deans, five current NU students recounted their decision-making experiences and explained why they chose Northwestern. I noticed in them what I noticed in every other student I encountered or heard from: they love being at Northwestern. That pleases me to no end: knowing I will be attending Northwestern with others who actually want to be there.

Next, my mother bought me another Northwestern hoodie! Hooray. Then we went back to Louis Room for complimentary lunch. I met a prospective student named John, who lives near Evanston. He, like myself, also applied to Northwestern with an undeclared major. He told me he really loves Northwestern because it's beautiful, has great academics, and has a great sense of community. Of course, I couldn't and cannot agree more!

My mother and I took a walk along the windy, spectacular lakefront before attending the "Living on Campus" presentation at the McCormick Auditorium. There, I learned more about residential college life and roommates. There are 11 residential colleges on campus, each with their own theme (i.e. communications, business, etc.). These are designed to have students with common interests--though not necessarily common majors--live under the same roof. Those who live in residential colleges establish and build relationships with the students in their building, sometimes having weekly firesides or luncheons with their fellow residential college mates. This, again, stresses the level of closeness NU students share with each other.

Afterward, I had an hour break on my schedule, so I headed over to the undergraduate admissions office to visit Mr. Zdawczyk and personally thank him for what he'd done for me. Unfortunately, he was not there (he was out of office and working with financial aid-related things for Wildcat Days, I think), so I left a message for him at the front desk.

My mother and I headed back to Norris to see various student organizations on campus. The marching band came in and played some music; they were brilliant! I stood on the sidelines watching and listening to them. They sounded perfect! I browsed the aisles of groups and associations and took interest in a few of them. I spoke with some enthusiastic students and gave them my name and e-mail address so their organizations could contact me again.

I closed my day with NU Revue, a show put on by student groups of the campus. There were three a capella groups, a tap dancing group, a music video, and a short video. The host, whose name I have forgotten, was absolutely hilarious and lively--yet another reason I love Northwestern. My favorite performance was by an a capella group called Treble Makers. They sang AND incorporated dancing into Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." That was definitely the highlight of the evening.

Overall, this trip reminded me about how much I love Northwestern. Everything I learned today only added to my infatuation with the school; I know it is the right school for me. The only thing I have to worry about is surviving the brutal, seemingly endless winter! I'm so excited to be attending this fall, and I have the members, sponsors, and supporters of ILC, and Mr. Zdawczyk, to thank.

Thank you for reading! Oh, and I'll be sure to post some pictures when I return!

Stephanie Ny

1 comment:

Charles Ramsey said...

Yes, Wildcat Days! Stephanie you are offically a Northwestern Wildcat. We are overjoyed that your journey has landed you in the lovely midwest. You are now officially a memeber of the Purple and White.

I found out earlier that my family also knows a student from El Cerrito High School headed to Northwestern. We will make sure to put you in contact with him. I am glad to finally see some of our best and brightest headed to the Harvard of the Midwest.

Stephanie, you have been a wonderful ambassador to the Ivy League Connection. When you return after your Freshman year please write a post about your experience. We will want to share it with our students who are new to the Ivy League Connection.

Have a safe flight home and congratulations again on being able to attend Northwestern.

Take care.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District