Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Time at Vanderbilt~ Jacqueline Rojas Cortez

I walked into my dorm with a smile on my face. My complexion may have appeared confident at the moment, but deep inside I was nervous. After some time, I soon realized that I had no reason to be nervous. My roommate walked into the dorm and greeted me with a hug and a huge smile on her face. 

My roommate's name was Kate Cavanaugh. She's from North Carolina, not far from Nashville. She had initially described her excitement on being able participate in VSA for the summer because she had never been on her own without the presence of her family for an extended period of time. I felt the same exact way. This was the first time I was going to leave home to be in a state unknown to me and reside in a university for nearly three weeks. 

Kate and I heading off to the OR.
As the minutes quickly passed, Kate and I became lost in conversation and laughter. We each talked about what its like to live on opposite ends of the country and what its like going to different schools. Kate went to a boarding school near her hometown, whereas I went to a public school a few blocks from home. We both came from different places and had exposure to different things but were still able to understand and relate to each other.

We soon found out that we were both in MED101. It is really rare for students in the same course to be placed in the same room. It was so exiting to be able to share our excitement for the course. It was exiting being able to talk about medical stuff to my roommate and have her understand and be just as exited as I was about the course. We got along very well from the start of VSA. I knew from that point that all of my worries were for nothing. I was given the best roommate I could have possibly asked for.

Aside from having such an awesome roommate, I was also assigned to the best proctor group ever. My proctor leader was Sasha Whitley, a second year at Vanderbilt. She is so amazing. I cannot express all the joy she brought to the group. Shasa brought the light out in each of us and made her room a safe space for all of us. Sasha was our mother, aside from the two other moms I have. My proctor group consisted of nine wonderful teenage girls. They were all so sweet, ambitious and intelligent. It was wonderful being able to form a bond with all of them. My proctor group went from being incredibly shy in the beginning of the program to a family at the end. We left the program heartbroken. We were a family and did not want to see each other go off to continue living our lives. We have all stayed in contact since the program ended. I cannot imagine going to VSA and being assigned to another proctor group. This, besides the course, was one of my most dearest experiences at VSA.

My Wonderful Proctor Group
Nakhul and I
NI went to VSA not thinking that I was going to associate myself with people other than my cohort. Yet again, I was wrong. I met one of my now closest friends, Nakhul. He is so funny and smart. It was such a blast having him around. He always lightened up my days and always looked for small things to make things much more exiting and fun. Besides being the party, he became one of my closest friends. We bonded over course of the three weeks and have continued to stay in touch. I remember the day that Nakhul came to sit next to me at the table when I was lonely. Since that day, we have depended on each other as friends and even as classmates. It was wonderful being able to share such an experience with such a great human being. Until you get accepted to UC Berkeley Nakhul.... that is when we shall see each other again and laugh until we cry.

This is why VSA is so great. VSA is not just known for how prestigious it is. VSA is a place of meeting new people and creating new relationships. VSA was an amazing opportunity and cannot thank the Ivy League Connection enough for letting me be a part of such an amazing program. I learned many things from this experience. It is okay to be outside of my comfort zone. That is what leads to new opportunity. Opportunities like learning how to roller skate, making connection with people I initially thought I was not going to make connection with, and showing all the potential I have to succeed in college.

Here I have linked a video showing all the fun we had in Session III of VSA:


~Just so you guys know, I was the first to think of attaching this link :)... *cough*Jahnvi*cough

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