Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lessons From Outback Steakhouse

Hello, my name is Taylor Doty and I am one of the four lucky students chosen to attend Cornell's Freedom and Justice Program this summer. My first post will be about the wonderfully insightful dinner I attended, along with my fellow "Freedom and Justicers," at Outback Steakhouse this past weekend.

The purpose of the dinner was to inform us newly accepted "Freedom and Justicers" of what we will be facing this coming summer and how to prepare accordingly. All four members from last year's Freedom and Justice program sat across the table from us and talked about the ways in which they worked together to manage the rigorous work load.

One of the most important steps in preparing for Cornell, that I picked up, was forming a study group. The four previous students mentioned how one of the most important portions of the class is the books we read in preparation of Mr. Kramnick's lectures. They mentioned the importance of getting the reading done ahead of time, along with taking in-depth notes and having discussions to really absorb and understand the reading. This insight was accompanied by fact that the homework assignments will be reading from the books; meaning that by getting the reading done ahead of time there would be more time to spend doing other things. This stuck with me because I fully intend on enjoying myself while at Cornell this summer, not to say being stuck in my dorm reading all day wouldn't be fun but I am pretty confident that I can manage my time from now until the summer to read the books, which will then lead, as mentioned by the previous students, to a less stressful trip.

The previous members also discussed the format of the program. They mentioned having a lecture everyday followed by a TA session, a writing course, and guest lecturers. As a Junior, and soon a rising Senior, I found this to be the most exciting part. I can not wait to go off to college and I am overjoyed that this program gives me the opportunity to see what being off at college on my own will be like. The students mentioned not having our moms or dads there to keep us on task. I have to admit I do not know how to use a laundry machine, and when told by students that I would have to do my own laundry because my wonderful mother could not come with me, I did panic slightly. Looks like I will be learning a whole lot of new things during this trip not only involving through the courses I will be taking, but also through being off on my own and in charge of myself.

The dinner with the previous "Freedom and Justicers" was prefect. I can not imagine a better way to further understand how the program works than being told by those who attended the previous year. I would like to thank those four students for their time and insight. I know my fellow "Freedom and Justicers" and I took it to heart and have already started forming our own study group.


  1. Taylor,

    We try as best we can to provide all of our ILC cohorts with the tools they need to succeed in our program. We gave you all some of the books on Sunday night as a first step but meeting with others who have gone through what you’ll soon be going through is another tool that seems to be of use to you all.

    The study groups are a critical part of this whole process, Taylor. They help to keep you focused and also to help you see things you might otherwise have overlooked.

    Your comment on the laundry is apropos, too. You’re not the first to bring this up and it scares the bejeesus out of me. What kind of parents do we have these days that don’t make their children do regular slave labor kind of chores around the house? When I was far younger than you all if I wanted clean clothes I had to wash them myself. [Of course, that meant that I frequently wore “dirty” clothes and, being a guy, they were hardly ever ironed.]

    I will be discussing with all of our ILCers about some laundry tricks. I will offer up an example of something to do and not to do. The to do part is to make sure that you check the pockets before putting the clothes into the machine. The not to do is to wash your clothes with a gel ink pen still in the pockets. I now have several sets of underwear with blue black stains on them but these pieces of underwear still serve their purpose. The white shorts and white polo shirt, though, are unusable. I’ll send out an email where I can attach photos of these items. All I can say is to please learn from my mistakes.

  2. Don,
    Thank you for your honesty about your laundry experiences. I am sure my mother will teach me how to use a laundry machine and will be up set with me admitting not knowing how to use a laundry machine on the web.

    I am very thankful for the books and the chance to talk to the students who went last year. Please do not think that I am worried about being prepared, I was trying to say that I now feel more prepared than I did before the dinner.