Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Life at Cornell

Day 09/ The Great Philosopher-King Himself, Plato

As usual, I woke up early to start my day. It is the first day of July and my fourth day of class. Although it has not been a week yet, my friends and I agree that it feels as if we've been here for days.

Life here at Cornell always starts off quietly. The early risers could be seen from time to time, walking around the hallways or brushing their teeth in the bathroom. By the time I'm awake, a majority of the people in Donlon Hall is still fast asleep. Phoebe, my roommate, would wake up shortly after I would. Before heading out for Appels Common, Phoebe and I would always exchange a "See you later!", a hug, and finally I would be off.

The time that I arrive at Appels Common, the cafeteria is not so crowded and noisy. The room is barely filled but all the food trays to the breakfast buffet is freshly prepared and ready. I may not enjoy the dull variety Cornell Summer College offers for meals, but what I don't enjoy more is probably waiting in long lines for them. Coming this early for breakfast, ensures that I get to eat whatever I want and get my breakfast done with as soon as possible. In addition, it's a good time to do any reading while I eat my breakfast.

The "Freedom and Justice" students usually leave the Common at around 8:20am to head off to class. No one wants to be late, and everyone wants a good seat. Personally, I believe that due to the lecture room's wonderful design, the seats in Prof. Krmanick's class is good; you can hear and see him very clearly. It's because I'm so used to leaving for class early, that it would be a bit awkward to arrive to class "just on time". An English teacher once our A Period class, which was notorious for our tardies, that: "To be early is to be on time and to be on time is to be late."

Prof. Kramnick always comes to class around 10 to 5 minutes prior to 9 in the morning. The TAs would sit in the seats behind us, far in the back. Sometimes they would arrive the class before lecture and sometimes they would arrive its begun. Practically everyone switches their seat each day. Perhaps they're like me; I'm trying out all the different areas of the class to see which is best.

Today, Prof. Kramnick carried on with lecture; today's topic was the very important and very influential philosopher, Plato of Ancient Greece. Like past lectures, it was very much similar. Prof. Kramnick would always start off with writing an outline for the lecture on the board. All of us would copy it down on our notebooks. He then will begin the lecture and it is then up to us to follow him and take notes as he runs down his outline. For today's lecture, the main topics were: Democracy and Ancient Greece, Plato, and Plato's Republic.

Discussion Sections followed directly after lecture. Walking to the classroom is about a good five minutes away. Our classroom looks pretty old compared to others. There is no fan or air conditioning. It can hot sometimes when the sunlight gets trapped by the windows or quite cold when a window is open and a breeze is coming through. There are two large blackboards facing the students which our TA uses.

Our TA is Simon G. We always have to add the "G" to his name because coincidentally, another TA in the same course, is also a Simon. Simon G. is from England and I'll admit, I was not used to his British accent at first, but after the first day, I don't even notice anymore. There are currently 19 students in our Discussion Section; I think we have the smallest group because other TAs seem to have at least 20. At the start of class, we were a bit rowdy so getting a good discussion going was very hard, both to contribute and listen to. Now, on the other hand, we've settled down and I'm really starting to like our section. I never go by one Discussion Section without contributing at least once.

For lunch, everyone eats at Trillium. This food court is not very large. It is always very crowded and loud. Yet, despite these drawbacks, the food here is so much better than Appels. I only fear that I'm only saying this because we've only eaten at Trillium for four days. After awhile, I'm pretty sure their selections will become a bit boring as well. All the Cornell Summer College students have $8.25 in their student IDs every single day. That means they can order whatever they want and their ID will cover $8.25 of it. In other words, it's free if you're under and you pay less if you're over. So far, I've tried 4 different food court stands: Middle Easter, Mexican, Chinese, and Fast Food. Lines may take awhile, but I think it's worth the wait. It's very easy to get a good meal without going over the $8.25.

Our guest speaker today could not make it because of a family emergency. Prof. Kramnick originally told us that because of the sudden change of plans, the 1 hour and 30 minutes of class we had left after lunch was canceled. However, since Prof. Kramnick didn't fully finish talking about Aquinas yesterday, he changed his mind and declared that yes, there was to be a continuation lecture after lunch.

After this lecture, I, as well as about 10 more people from my class, stayed behind for Kramnick's voluntary lecture. This is the time when Kramnick will stay in his classroom for an additional 30 minutes in case anyone has a question or wanted to listen to a further interesting lecture. Today, because the guest speaker who was a famous lawyer in Ithaca, couldn't make it, Prof. Kramnick filled us in a little bit about his case. Long story short, it was a story about a high school principal going off against the high school's journalism class.

After these 30 minutes, the four of us - the Kramnick Kids, set out to the Statler Hotel to meet up with our spontaneous and silly chaperon, Ms. Kaplan. We were meeting up because she had set up plans for the seven us (yes, Hotelies too) for the upcoming weekends. For us Kramnick Kids, bending our time for Ms. Kaplan won't be too difficult. The Hotelies on the other hand, will be having more difficulty with their timings because they do a lot of group projects with other students. As to not spoil the surprise, I will say that Ms. Kaplan has fun plans for all of us that will be historic, scenic, and just plain exciting! I can't wait for this upcoming weekend to tell all of you all about it!

Okay, it's time for me to dive back into my Cornell Summer College life. I'm heading off to dinner so I can eat with Phoebe and her friends. Afterwards, we might play a bit of soccer. If not however, I guess that means more time for that second draft I'm turning in tomorrow! Happy first of July everyone!

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