Sunday, March 30, 2014


My name is Jia Cheng Lian, and I am a second-year participant of the Ivy League Connection. Last year, I was a part of the Brown I cohort, and I took a course titled "Techniques in DNA-Based Biotechnology" at Brown University. It was a life-changing experience that empowered me significantly, and in addition, I had a lot of fun in the East Coast.

I have returned this year to participate in the ILC again, and I am a part of the Vanderbilt cohort. I will be taking a course titled "Special Topics in Math" at Vanderbilt University, and I am excited to travel to Nashville, Tennessee, in addition to wherever else we may visit. My experience from last year has been helping me significantly, but even then I may or may not need a refresher.

Today was one of the first events for the ILC. We had tutorial sessions, and they marked the increase of rate of events for the Ivy League Connection. In these tutorial sessions, the others learned about blogging, photography, responsibilities, protocols, and preparation for the trip. I essentially knew most of the information, though this session did serve as a refresher course for me, and it let me focused on things that I could improve.
The location of the tutorial session. My own high school, De Anza.
We began by setting up our blogs. I am familiar with the blogging procedures; after all, I did blog every day for nearly a month last year. I tried to use my experiences to point others in the right direction. I suppose I should focus on improving the content within my blogs.
Don stands at the front of the classroom, discussing procedures.
We were given breaks between sections, and there was a lot of photography going on then. After all, in the second section of the tutorial, we had an overview of the usage of photography when blogging. Everyone wanted to get plenty of pictures for their blogs, and even Don took pictures to document the tutorial. Again, I already understood what Don spoke about, but while I was taking photos, I took note that I needed to improve my technique to get more and better photos.
I tried to take a lot of pictures.
So did Don.
We were given the opportunity to wander about the campus to take pictures, so we could practice photography and practice manipulating photos while blogging.
Towards the end of the tutorial, we discussed the protocols for the events for the ILC. Since I already attended quite a few events last year, I feel like I didn't need much of a refresher here, though I'm sure it'll help the other ILCers. We then discussed the trip, as well as what to bring, what to expect in the dorms, and what to expect while living away. I tried to share some of my experiences at Brown.

I don't feel like there is anything new and especially important for me to take note of during this interview. I would not say it was a waste of time, though. It helped ease me back into posting blogs again, and it helped me focus on what I should improve. I need to focus on writing about the most important parts of events, and I need to control my camera better. I have some limitations with my camera, and I need to learn how to utilize those limitations to take better photos. Finally, I need to be more prompt and I need to adhere to protocol more closely, to ensure that things will run more smoothly. The tutorial was successful.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The First Step

Today, I woke up to the sound of the rain and the darkened sky; however, my morning was brightened when I attended the tutorial at De Anza which further increased my excitement to attend Vanderbilt. During the four hours I spent with Don and other ILCers, I was able to learn a tremendous amount of information that I will need during the summer. The topics Don covered ranged from learning how to blog to knowing what to pack for the trip. I wrote a practice blog, and I learned the difference between a good blog and a bad blog. I also discovered new photography techniques such as the significant impact cropping can have on an image.

Don also emphasized what is expected of us. He especially emphasized that we have to be on time for all the events and that we need to follow instructions; otherwise, we will meet Evil Don. We are expected to behave like responsible adults when we attend the dinners, which I am looking forward to. I am eager to meet the Vanderbilt alumni and learn about their experiences.

I am looking forward to attending Vanderbilt, especially after the talk about dorm rooms and the packing list. I am excited to travel to the East Coast to experience a college life. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tutorial Sessions 1 & 2

On Saturday March 15th the ILC held the first two of their four tutorial sessions where 18 of our 36 ILCers learned something about how to blog, take photos, post their photos and numerous details about being a part of the ILC.  They also learned more about what to expect in coming months.

If you scroll down below this blog you can read some of their first blogs. 

But first, we thought we would post a few photos from the day.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Saturday at the Ivy League Connection Meeting

For a Saturday, I retained a lot of material unlike my usual Saturdays where I mainly stay home. Today I went to an Ivy League Connection meeting, where I learned some of the important things I need to know and do to be part of this program. For instance, I learned how to blog and its importance. I also learned some cool and useful tips on photography that I will surely use.

During the meeting, Don Gosney, our instructor, reminded us of the responsibilities we have to uphold as Ivy League Connection members. For instance, being on time and always showing respect towards others. More importantly, he stressed the fact that we are adults, who will be dealt with like adults. If we are anything less than what is expected of us we would meet Evil Don, who sounds very intimidating, in my opinion.

At the meeting, I met a few other Ivy League Connection members. I really appreciated the fact that the sessions were broken down with other members, who were accepted to other schools/programs, because I was able to connect and talk with them. This meeting made me more excited for my summer at Vanderbilt. I am really looking forward to going there, meeting other students, and experiencing what Vanderbilt has to offer.

My Experience at Don's Tutorial

This afternoon, I was at an Ivy League Connections meeting that taught me about many aspects of blogging and of the experience that I will have this summer at Vanderbilt. During the 4 hour session, I saw a few familiar faces along with some new ones. I was able to reunite with an old friend who I hadn't seen for over three years. It was so exciting to be able to catch up with her. 

Kendall (left) Me (middle) Shanti (right)
Everyone at the session was nice and it was really easy to make conversation with them. We were able to bond over our excitement for our upcoming summer. During the session, Don informed us of our experience and responsibilities before, during, and after our summer in the east coast. He even mentioned that Vanderbilt happened to have one of the best dorm rooms which made me even more eager.

I learned many useful tips on photography, blogging, and time management. According to Don, time management is an aspect of life that I have to master before I even board the plane to the east coast. I was able to practice blogging and more importantly, I learned how to take a good picture. 

All in all, I am very excited for my summer at Vanderbilt and I cannot wait for the experiences, food, and different people that await on the east coast.