Monday, June 28, 2010
Today was the first day of our class as summer Cornellians and were ready for what was to come. The night before was just noisy with the booms of thunder and the instant flashes of lightening. I don’t know if I should appreciate the stale humidity now or the insane thunder storms that made me wake up three times. The flashes literally blinded my eyes even in bed, and I felt the entire building shake with a rolling rumble. After I woke up around 7:00 AM, I quickly brushed my teeth and ran down six flights of stairs to join the others for breakfast.
With the days passing, it seems we begin to meet new people and have them join us for breakfast. The entire ILC group went to breakfast and enjoyed a somewhat limited course of breakfast meals. Since I arrived at Cornell, every single time for a meal I picked out a nice greeny, crouton-filled salad with ranch dressing. I guess it is only for the better; keep my diet to greens and hopefully give my brain enough energy to play around with sports and studies. Aside from the food, the Freedom and Justice people relaxed around given our class does not start till around 9:00 AM.
We walked to Mallot Hall where Mr.Kramnick prepared a lecture hall for the 88 students that will be attending the three-week course. Our program to my information is the biggest right now in terms of participants compared to other programs. All of us took seats at the front desk area and we were in great position for seeing Kramnick and listening to his lecture. I placed my recorder to also record what he had to say about what the course was about, how it was organized, and a little about the grading system. He followed a very Socratic method in which he asked us multiple questions, all relating to government and its relationship to the people. Instead of answering them, he left that up to us to contemplate about for the next weeks as we focus on the different philosophers and their themes. One thing that was definitely emphasized was the fact that we should take note of everything. No matter what, we must train our brain to take notes and be vigilant in the learning environment. Mr.Ramsey was definitely correct about the intensity of the course and Kramnick only reassured that falling behind would be devastating, but at the same time that this class was not end of the world for students. After listening to Kramnick’s lecture, I am more confident that these next few weeks will be fine and that preparation has been helpful.
We then broke up into our individual sections with our TAs, and I was sent to was to a graduate student named Simon G from University of Edinburgh. He is planning to major in political thought in government and study of American politics. Even though he had an occasional hard time trying to silence the multiple voices of students during discussion, people shared a lot of their opinions and it was proof that everyone had different views about the topic of freedom. We were given the topic about “What is freedom?” and everyone became excited about discussing what it meant to them; creating numerous discrepancies. It seemed that with every input from an individual things became more intense and in many ways good that students are enthusiastic about talking about philosophy. I hope in the future there will be more enthusiastic discussions but not too passionate.
The entire day was sort of for the students to get used to the environment and the schedule. I hope to see you tomorrow as we dive into the thick of the philosophy.