Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guest Speakers and Scenic Trails

Day 07/ An Introduction to Christian Thought in Political Philosophy

The weather in Ithaca is strange. I was informed that prior to arriving to New York, that the weather here was generally hot and humid in the summer. Instead, I discovered it actually had a mind of its own. Two nights ago, one of the worse summer thunderstorms raged on while all of us attempted to get some good sleep before our first day of classes. In the morning, the sky stayed depressingly gloomy and even rained a couple of times. This morning however, I woke up to a cool walk to class; the winds were picking up and sun was playing hide-and-go-seek in the clouds. It even got to a point when I started feeling a bit chilly from the cold and actually wanted the hot temperatures to come back. Those temperatures did return however, right as I was walking to the dorms from class. By the time I got there, I sweating. In my dorm room now, I can feel the muggy air trying to strangle me and I'm pretty sure those fluffy white clouds drifting lazily in the clear blue sky, outside my window, are mocking me. I thought I was getting used to you, but it seems, Mr. Ithaca Weather, we have more ways to go.

Today was the second day of class but also the official first day of course lecture. Before entering, we were all expected to have read the assigned pages from "The New Testament". As soon as Prof. Krmanick arrived, put down his wrist watch, and class chimed simultaneously, "Good morning Prof. Kramnick!", the lecture took off with immediate speed.

Prof. Kramnick had an engaging way of speaking. He was easy to follow and understand. Based on his style of speech, I can easily pick up what points he really emphasizes, which, in other words, meant that it was most likely going to be on an exam. I've always liked taking notes, simply because I've done it for as long as I can remember. And knowing that a lot of what people do in college class is to do just that, it made me feel as if I had not wasted anytime preparing myself to that point when I was a child.

Like yesterday, we also had our Discussion Sections after lecture with our TAs. But unlike Mondays and Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays had a guest speaker(s) after lunch instead of a writing workshop. Our guest speaker today was Ithaca's city judge, Judith A. Rossiter, or, as Prof. Kramnick likes to call her: "Our own Judge Judy".

Judge Judy took us down her world as a city judge, showing us what sort of cases she works with, her role as a city judge, and definitions to popular terms used in the field of law. In addition to that, another part of her presentation to us consisted of various scenario questions in which she required the participation of the class. Some examples included the making of illegal drugs legal, to the idea that family members had to be punished along side a a convicted family member. I have to say, Prof. Kramnick knows who to invite as guest speakers. She spoke very well.

After class, I decided to take a much slower walk back to the dorms. Everyday, we pass by this bridge on Central Ave. There was a dam and waterfall just behind the fences and I've always wanted to take a closer look. My curiosity led me to a beautiful scenic trail, surrounding a lake, just behind the dam. I instantly took my camera out and began taking many photos.

Ever since we've arrived to the East Coast, I've become more aware of the wildlife. In California, I was used to seeing orange poppy flowers and seagulls sqwacking obnoxiously. But being here, in Ithaca, I realized that they were gone. In their place stood animals and plants I was not used to seeing every single day. For instance, I always find these large black ants on the floor; it was a bit of a shock when I first discovered them. Here at Cornell, I've also seen rabbits, another breed of squirrels, several unfamiliar bird breeds, possums, and even a chipmunk darting in front of the Cornell Store one day. In terms of trees and plants, Cornell has plenty of all shapes and colors that I've never seen in the outside together before. I think this was my first time seeing lily pads on a lake, that wasn't in a zoo or park. Or maybe, I just haven't been this aware of my surroundings as before...

I had dinner with three of my new friends: Linh, Kelsey, and Esther. It feels like it's been more than four days because even dinner feels like routine. Everyone is currently busy studying or goofing off around here. The environment around the dorms are actually pretty quiet. My roommate is rarely in the dorm with me in the day time so I take advantage of it and use it as my "study hall" instead.

Tomorrow we tackle St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas!

More shots from around Cornell:

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