Friday, June 25, 2010

Getting Better All the Time

I was rudely awakened by the screeching of my alarm clock at 6:15 this morning. Despite the early hour and annoying alarm, my day was already better than all of yesterday simply because I woke up in a warm bed and knew we were not in an airport. Thankfully that is all behind us. I rose to start the day and prepared to spend the day in Rochester. I readied my backpack, gathered my electronics from the table in my room and marched to the lobby with Andrew Woo. I would have been a fool not to have snapped a few photos of Syracuse University before we left our room though. The shot below was taken from our room on the sixth floor.
We met in the lobby around 7:30. When everyone came down, we immediately departed for Rochester. The car ride took only an hour and a half, which dwarfed our ride from Hartford to Syracuse that seemed to last forever. We still had the same car groups (i.e. Beilul, Andrew Woo and I were with Mr. Ramsey and Andrew Gonzalez, Jacky, Chris and Dyana rode with Ms. Kaplan). On the ride down, we discussed why the ILC is being opposed by many and being called elitist. This shocked me. I have no idea why anyone would oppose this program (or call it elitist). In my opinion, programs like the ILC are 100% necessary because it gives students the opportunity expand their boundaries and make connections to people and educational institutions that otherwise would have been near impossible. I would never have known half the things I know about college if it were not for this program. This topic dominated most of our trip to Rochester.

When we arrived at the University of Rochester, we all went a little photo-crazy (as you can see to the left).
The University of Rochester is a magnificent school. The buildings look amazing, the scenery is gorgeous and the adjacent river is serene. I was blown away by our visit here. We learned a lot about the curriculum and how to strategically apply for the university during our informational session. Our informational guide, Patrick O’neill, definitely gave me a lot to take into consideration when I apply to colleges. The University of Rochester might just be on that list. What stood out to me was class selection freedom (they don’t have ANY course requirements), it is a small (yet large at the same time) campus and it takes the choice of being in “isolation” versus a “busy city” feeling. It also has a lot of history close by, which is even more appealing since we don’t have much of that at home. Everything I heard about the curriculum peaked my interest, especially the “Take 5” program, which allows you to stay a fifth year at the university (for FREE) and take any course that is not the same as your major. This is an extremely appealing factor. I could go into so much more detail about how wonderful our visit was, but the night wears on and I’m nowhere near finished discussing our day.

We met Ms. Selzer, an admissions officer of the University of Rochester, in the Administration building and proceeded to the Dinosaur Bar-B-Q. Whenever I would mention to someone native to Rochester that we were dining at the Dino. BBQ, they were all immediately jealous. I didn’t understand why until I ate there. The food was amazing. It really is the perfect “rib-joint.” The food, although extremely greasy, was delicious. I would put it on the same level as the Red Onion back home, only it is an actual sit-down restaurant with reservations. We had an amazing lunch and received more information from Ms. Selzer about the University of Rochester. We also asked a few questions about her education. It turns out that she speaks six different languages! She speaks English, Spanish, French, Italian, Hebrew and I believe Farsi (I could be wrong about the last one). We were all so amazed (especially Chris) that she could speak Hebrew. That was the most lucrative lunch I have had in a while. Ms. Selzer was very interesting and fun to speak with. I only wish it could have been in a quieter setting as the BBQ was pretty loud.

Unfortunately we couldn’t make our reservations for a boat ride on the Erie Canal because of lunch. Instead we just went to the Susan B. Anthony house ahead of schedule. We were greeted with a warm enthusiasm from all of the volunteers at the house. We were ushered in quickly and we immediately began the tour. I learned a lot more about Susan B. Anthony than I ever had. We also went a bit deeper into an analysis of why Anthony did what she did and what may have influenced her actions. I picked up a few viewpoints that I could use in Professor Kramnick’s class. Most of the furniture in the house was actually authentic. There were couches, chairs and paintings that were all actually in Anthony’s house when she lived there. Unfortunately the establishment does not seem to get a lot of business. It is a shame because it is a historic landmark and the volunteers there are all wonderful and are passionate about what they have to tell you about Susan B. Anthony. We also walked down the street to take a group photo at a statue of Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony enjoying tea. It was a beautiful bronze statue. Here are a few shots. Overall, this was a great stop.

Our next stop was the Syracuse airport. The objective at this stop was to pick up the rental cars we were supposed to have in the first place (when we were supposed to land in Syracuse). I took advantage of the situation and purchased a Syracuse University sweatshirt, my first clothing acquisition of many. After we picked up the cars, we began the drive back to Syracuse and I got some much needed sleep. The next thing I knew, we were a few blocks from the hotel. We still had about an hour and a half until we were to leave for dinner, so Andrew and I just kicked back in the room and rested from a tiring day. I really needed that break.

Our final event was dinner with Jill Schaffer, an Admissions Officer for Cornell’s Engineering College, at the Scotch and Sirloin. This was the highlight of the day. Speaking with Ms. Schaffer made me even more excited about attending Cornell. We discussed courses, applications, things to do, extracurricular activities etc. The company, the discussion and the excellent food made for a perfect evening. Jill gave us so many inside tips, my head almost started spinning. I cannot thank Beilul enough for reaching out to Ms. Schaffer and inviting her to dinner. Having her there truly made the night amazing.

Today was the best day yet for our ILC experience. I had such a great time today and I learned so much. If I could improve today in any way, I would have spent more time at the University of Rochester to take QUALITY pictures (most of mine turned out to be rushed garbage). Otherwise, today was almost perfect. This means that I will be going into Cornell with a positive attitude and great expectations. I cannot wait for tomorrow.

Until then, this is Alex Elms signing off.

No comments:

Post a Comment