The title of this past week’s blog says it all! The two big highlights were cheering on runners at the LA Marathon and reading/scoring UCLA Alumni Scholarship applications!
Cindy is trying to make it our tradition to participate in the LA Marathon every year (in one way or another). The past couple of years, she did the Charity Challenge Relay (which is half of the marathon) and Jake cheered her on at the finish line. This year, neither of us ran in the marathon. Instead, we were spectators and cheered on our friends and all the other runners. The last six miles of the course happen to be right in our neighborhood! Sunday morning, we woke up especially early and walked over to the course just to see the elite runners go by. It was all especially exciting when we saw the police escort cars, the clock car, and the camera cars turn the corner and onto the street where we were standing. The buildup and anticipation of seeing the very first runner go by was the most exhilarating part.
(if we could post the video, you would hear Jake yelling in the background “SET THE WORLD RECORD!”…which is very…Jake-like)
Cindy was so excited to spectate, she could hardly sleep the night before. Jake was much less excited about the whole thing. The idea of standing around and cheering people on for hours didn’t seem like a whole lot of fun, but he did it anyway and, in the end, really enjoyed the experience. Cindy thinks holding a poster makes all the difference.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again…there is just something special about the city shutting down streets all for this one event. There is a certain togetherness you feel with everyone–whether you are a runner, a volunteer, or a spectator. And we enjoy being a part of that (but we know many people feel very differently about the street closures lol)
All the marathon excitement made us think about finally participating next year. We might REALLY do it! Jake’s only condition is that we finish in 3.5 hours….
UCLA Alumni Scholarship Applications
Jake won a UCLA Alumni Scholarship when he was first admitted to UCLA back in 2012. And in college, he was a part of the UCLA Alumni Scholars Club for all four years, and was even president of the club for one of the years. This club and association was a huge part of his undergrad experience and he has been looking for a way to give back to the program.
This year, we volunteered to read and score scholarship applications. We were each assigned 17 applications to review. Each person was scored on their merit and essays. Don’t worry, the fate of each individual applicant was not placed solely in our hands. Each applicant is assigned to multiple scorers. From there, applicants that score high enough go on to receive a phone interview, then an in person interview. A select group of students then competes on campus for the top awards.
The whole experience was interesting. It brought back so many memories of our own college application process. And we spent a lot of time sharing and comparing how our experiences were different from each other. We remember what a big moment in our lives the process was and how there was so much uncertainty and anticipation. It’s crazy to think about how we are now on the other side of the application process.
We learned a few things through this experience:
1. Kids these days are beasts. So many applicants had experience doing research in a lab, had already published papers, or had even started companies and non-profits. It is difficult to fathom how one person could do SO MANY extracurriculars (like there just physically is not enough time in the week). Despite our disbelief, if the students did even half of what they said they did, they are nothing short of incredible.
2. Some essay responses came off as self-absorbed, unaware, or cringey (or a combination). But then we had to remember that our essays were probably just as cringey and just as unaware. Like…Jake wrote an essay relating his life struggles to Frodo’s struggles from LOTR…
3. It’s easy to judge the definitions of success, the lofty ambitions and goals, or even the views of life after college that some of these kids have. But we had to remember that we have the benefit of hindsight. We had just as crazy dreams and goals when we were entering college. And even though we’ve dialed some of the crazier ones down, some of them still survive. Perhaps this isn’t all bad: dreams stretch us and propel us. The point is, no matter what stage in life we are in, it’s always easy to judge those who are younger or less experienced than us. High schoolers judge middle schoolers, college kids judge high schoolers, TA’s judge undergrads, professors judge grad students, Baby Boomers judge Millenials. It’s easy to forget that, at some point, we were those people we are currently judging. And this was a good reminder to just… not judge.
Other Updates & Pictures
Oh yeah…Jake lost his wedding ring…again. Cindy jokes his next ring can be no more than $10…but really…
(and here’s a pic of us and what we contribute to our household…Cindy cleans…Jake grills…lol. Also this blog post is brought to you by Peter Kim M.D. who is featured on Jake’s apron. lol. jk)
Annnnd that was our week! Thanks for reading!