Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thus Begins our 3 Weeks at Cornell University

Day 04/ First Day of Cornell Summer College

The day we’ve all been waiting for had finally arrived! As Beilul and I got ready again for another long day, we gave a bittersweet farewell to our hotel room in Syracuse. It was the last time Beilul and Iwas going to be roommates.

This morning, the meeting time was 8am. Chris Habash and Andrew Gonzales, after a lesson well learned yesterday, was the first two waiting down in the lobby. Shortly after, Beilul, Ms.Kaplan, and I joined them. Unfortunately, Andrew and Chris picked the wrong morning to not be late because the others were still up there sleeping. Even with our abundant phone calls, we failed to wake them up. Andrew Gonzales had to trek up to their rooms and pound on their doors. Even Mr. Ramsey fell short from his usual punctuality. He thought the time we had to meet was 8:30am and not 8am, so he had to return to his room and start packing his things up.

Eventually, everyone met up together for breakfast at Sheraton’s “Rachel’s Restaurant.” Again, we had a buffet-styled meal. We needed all the energy we could possibly get for the long day ahead of us – our first day at the world-renowned Cornell University of Ithaca, New York! Although it was another long drive down to the very much isolated Cornell University, Team Kaplan managed to have a very good ride down.

I was already overwhelmed when I realized just how enormous Cornell was. It is the biggest college I have ever been to and immediately, I thought: “I can get very lost here.” Cornell University is like a little clean village that goes hand in hand with the “forest” in which it is set in. The weather today was muggy; the sun was not out and there were occasional sprinkles. While the campus still looks absolutely gorgeous and sophisticated, I believe it would’ve looked a whole lot better under a nice blue sky.

Registration came and went like a breeze. The seven of us started to realize that we were finally becoming independent. Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kaplan were loosening their holds on us as they let us off to explore our much anticipated rooms. Because we arrived at 11pm and registration for Cornell Summer College began as early as 9, many students had already settled in. My dorm room number is 428 and I’m a resident of the Mary Donlon Hall, level 4. It is an all-girls floor and there are approximately 70 of us living there.

The first thing I noticed in my room was the right side of it. My roommate had arrived, but not in person. Most of her stuff were already organized and put away. I did know though that my roommate, whoever she was, was named Phoebe, but besides that sole fact, I knew nothing else about her. I did however, had a feeling that she wasn’t too bad. On the left side of my empty and untouched side of the room, there is a drawer next to my desk. And on that drawer is a note from Phoebe in which she basically described herself briefly; she also offered me permission to use her refrigerator. Not many people have access to a fridge, simply because they had to purchase it as a rental, so I’m glad I became one of the lucky few.

I took about thirty minutes to get settled into my side of the room. Immediately afterwards, I joined my fellow ILC members to eat brunch at the North Star in Appels Commons; it is the main dining hall of Cornell Summer College.

In my opinion, the food was good but I was disappointed with their selection. At a glance, it seemed as if there was so much food to choose from, but if you took a closer look, there was very little in each station. As a result, I didn’t eat much for brunch. Rather, I was more focused on attending the “Program Welcome and Dean’s Convocation” at Bailey’s Hall afterwards. That event was where the director of Summer College and the residential program directors welcomed the students and their parents and gave some general important information.

In addition to sitting in the beautiful Bailey Hall, I really enjoyed the speech made by Mr. Altshuler, the dean of the School of Continuing education and Summer Sessions. I was really inspired by his speaking style; it was clear, well-thought out, and full of great vocabulary. As a member of the Speech division of Forensics in school, I am always especially interested when I have a very good speaker in my presence. I even found myself taking notes on his style and unfamiliar words.

The next event was “Faculty Convocation”, in which a faculty member will direct us all to a large lecture hall so we can meet our professor for our “Freedom and Justice Course”, Professor Kramnick. By this time, I met my first good friend at Cornell Summer College. She was Emily, the ice figure skater from Washington DC, and we walked with her father down to the room.

Although it was so packed that we didn’t get seats, we were able to hear Kramnick below just fine. This made me very fascinated with the architecture of college lecture halls. Even in the back row, one could still see and listen to the teacher fairly well. From the moment he walked down to the lecture hall with us, I could tell I was really going to like him as a teacher. Like Mr. Altshuler, he had a wonderful speaking style. “He reminds me of Mr. Wilson, but in a slower pace.” Andrew Woo remarked. Mr. Wilson is a very popular AP US history teacher at Pinole Valley High School and had been voted Teacher of the Year before.

What I like most about Kramnick was the fact that he refused to apply his own personal philosophy into what he is teaching. He was the type of teacher that would tell you everything about the material but without inserting his own opinions into it. This was quite a refreshing, considering I’ve had several teachers in the past that never fails to put their opinions onto us.

I am extremely glad that my reading has been out of the way. I’ve spoken with some of the 88 total students in his course and all of them have not opened the book yet at all. Seeing as how our study group took 5 months to finish both books, I couldn’t imagine just how anyone was going to be able to read so many selections each day, as well as doing some assignments at the side. This year I feel like ILC Cornell is at a great advantage. Now, we will really have to prove it helpful.

From here, the day pretty much ended. It was dinner time and tired students continued to talk actively with the other students as they stuffed pizza into their faces. By this evening, the 600 or so Cornell Summer College students continued to mingle with one another. I personally have met so many interesting and diverse people that I am pretty sure that I don’t remember have their names but definitely remember their faces.

To conclude the evening, each floor of the dorm buildings had a meeting about House Rules. It was a long meeting so everyone’s energy was pretty much drained. And guess what, I think for once, I too am very tired.

Take a peak at the gorgeous Cornell campus!

1 comment:

  1. "their hold?" Ha! We will always exert our invisible pressure...
    great observations of your first day ... so much happening in such a short time. oes it feel as though you have been away from home for a month already?