Sunday, June 26, 2011

Experiences Serve Better Than A Steakhouse

After yesterday’s fun entry into Cornell, I was looking forward to what today would offer. I knew that my day would close with a glorious dinner with Cornell admissions officers, so I was mentally noting down questions to ask later that day. With the few hours of sleep we got from our last night in Chicago, we were all looking forward to sleeping in. Many of us did, and I actually got out of bed at 10:00 AM, knowing that brunch was just around the corner.

Today, all of my ILC cohorts and I congregated at a single table at the dining hall with a few friends our entire group picked up. The breakfast choices were numerous and the meal was satisfying. After our dine-in, all eight of us decided to run a practice walk to our classrooms to figure out how to schedule our mornings. The Hotelies and I walked to Statler Hall, where we would be attending lectures with our professors. All in all, it took 23 minutes considering a few stops and pauses many people take when they walk to class. No matter where people take classes, I think it is almost crucial to run at least one practice run to ensure that you won’t be too late or too early for your first class. As I learned throughout the day, time management is absolutely critical to any success.

After our visit to Statler Hall, we decided to simply stay in the building as that was where we would have our program-wide Crash Course Seminar led by Janet Snoyer. While many of her points pertained to Summer College, it seems as if they are self-guidance tips for life in general. She presented a great emphasis on proper study instincts and how you shouldn’t let your eyes completely dictate what your brain sees sight-by-sight and how some people prefer to interact with facts or how people prefer to express and compose ideas. 

She also spent a large chunk of her time speaking of time management and sleep. She showed examples and ideas of how charting and planning your schedules can make a huge difference in figuring out the optimal times to study and attend leisurely activities. And while people always stress the importance of sleep, I have always felt that when it comes to late nights to finish those major assignments and projects for class, the trade-off was always worth it. However, I was completely wrong. On average, teenagers should get a good 9.25 hours of sleep and if you ask most high school students today, such time would be like absolute bliss. The fact she presented both time management and effective sleep hand-in-hand really worked effectively to prove how they can actually be done if you were to synthesize them. Everyone argues that they don’t get enough sleep because of their mounds of work. But with careful planning and observation of their schedule, they can easily get stuff out of the way so that they can find the best way to get a good amount of sleep. If anything, Snoyer really made me savor every second of my sleep even more.

After our session, we all walked back to our dorms to prepare for the Activities Fair. At the fair was a complimentary t-shirt for each student and various activities you could sign up for. Intramural sport updates subscriptions were available, but people who wanted to join sports just need to attend the activity on that day. I envy the fact that the Freedom & Justice students of the ILC group signed up for a trip to Buttermilk Falls, a state park nearby, for a weekend. The Hotelies and I have very little time for extracurricular activities in our course, but at least we can draw a totally different experience from our other ILC cohorts because of it.

The last event of the day was our final dinner with admissions officers for the entire trip. This time, we actually met with Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg for meals at Jonn Thomas Steakhouse. 

When we arrived, we met Jill and Tara, who were admissions officers, and Ashley, who is a current Engineering student. Sitting right across from Tara meant that I interacted with her the most, but there was certainly a rapport with Ashley and Jill. Because we didn’t have a campus tour prior to the dinner, we were able to ask a much larger variety of questions than when we sat down with Callie and Aaron. We learned of many mechanics within Cornell that made it unique such as that they do not take scholarships, that all standardized test scores are looked at, and that they have an alternative form of application known as “Primary-Alternate” application. While students are required to choose a school in Cornell to apply to, they may choose to fill out a “Primary-Alternate” application instead which is virtually different except for the fact that they may also add additional information such as a different essay as if they were applying to a second school within Cornell. 

I also learned that unlike the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, Cornell relies on the semester system. We also learned of the ins-and-outs of college life. They told us of a place in Ithaca’s college town that served superb bagels, a plantation that is excellent to explore and walk through, and an indoor track to run on in campus. 

While discovering the academics of any school should be the number one priority when students “shop” for potential colleges, most people tend to agree that their surroundings and life is the second priority. Greek life has always fascinated me and I found out that almost a third of the student population is actually Greek. All three of our guests addressed concerns regarding how Ithaca and its surroundings are fairly isolated from major parts and cities in New York. Many people attend college visits to get a “feel” for the area and campus, but you don’t get that experience of deciding whether a small or large community is something you will be comfortable with seeing everyday for quite some time, and programs like Summer College gives you the opportunity to decide whether the area is the perfect fit for you.

While I have said it several times, every day seems to be a fantastic learning experience. Today, I discovered that the events that have been set up for us including the alumni dinner, tonight’s dinner, and Summer College, is meant to give us the opportunity to discover and feel the campus, the student culture, and the academics altogether so that we and other students in our community can discover these schools in a way no high schooler can. We have been able to explore more than what rumors and websites can tell us, what numbers and statistics can tell us, and what visiting and watching classes can tell us. With all the opportunities that have been given to us, we can explore more than what all of Cornell can tell us.

1 comment:

  1. Kevin,

    EVERYTHING we have you do is for a reason. These dinners with alums (both locally and in Ithaca), with your sponsors and with others are all for a reason. The tutorials, the orientations, the blogging, the emailing--all for a reason.

    I'm glad that some of this is starting to sink in so you can see we weren't just talking at you and wasting your time.

    What you do with these opportunities, though, is entirely in your hands.