Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wild Cats Everywhere Put Your Hands Up In the Air

I know I am 17 years old and I shouldn’t be as obsessed with the High School Musicals as I am but I really love those movies. I know this seem irrelevant but the Northwestern mascot is a Wildcat and the High School Musical mascot is also a Wildcat therefore the entire tour I was thinking about my love for High School Musical. I would like to say before I get judged that thinking of High School Musical wasn’t the only thing I thought about during the tour. So here goes my tour/Northwestern experience:

Woke up at 6:30 this morning to get breakfast and make it to the train so that we could make our prompt 9 Northwester information sessions. Unfortunately/Fortunately I had seen the info session at El Cerrito High School so Aaron Zdawczyk told those of us who had seen the session at El Cerrito to just go enjoy the campus and then show up at roughly 10:15 to take the tour.

To “waste” time we (Joe, Nick, Jobel, Genevieve and I accompanied by the wonderful Ms. Neal) ventured to the Lake Michigan Shore. I don’t think I have seen a more beautiful lakeshore, seeing as Lake Anza is really the only beach with a lake I can think of. After the fun at the beach we headed back over to the admissions building to meet our tour guides.

I feel obligated to mention that I have been on many a college campus tours and for those less fortunate than me I would like to say that the college tour lead by a student is by fair most important part of making a decision. I must also say that I was not sure I would find Northwestern to be a school I put high on my “apply to college” list however after the tour I reconsidered. I sadly cannot remember the last name of my guide, but his first name was Andrew and he is a rising junior and Political Science major, which is what caught my attention and lured me to him. I must say Andrew was so funny I found myself laughing constantly. If you are out there reading this Andrew, THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU MADE MY TRIP TO NORTHWESTERN!!

I would also like to thank Mr. Zdawczyk for tipping the scale on Northwestern all the way for me at dinner tonight. Not only was the food amazing but also the conversation that accompanied dinner was not only informational but also inspiring. Learning about Mr. Zdawczyk and the many talents and accomplishments opened up the world to me. I know that no matter where I eventually go to college I will love my four (or more) years there. Mr. Zdwaczyk reiterated that for me. I do have “criteria” for my college but I learned today that no matter what my criteria might be going in, I have to keep an open mind and give each college I visit a chance to be the one for me.

Until tomorrow, over and out blog readers.

A New Wildcat

Day number two complete.

I have to say, my expectations keep getting higher, but reality continues to exceed them. Today, we woke up early to go visit Northwestern University’s campus in Evanston. It is a quaint little town with plenty of little restaurants, apartment buildings, and trees. But most importantly, it contains a college campus that we were about to set foot upon for the very first time. There were college tours of the whole campus, but first a short jaunt to the beach of Lake Michigan was necessary. It was so beautiful! The water was cold, but the hot air combined made it the perfect way to relax in the sun and sand, skipping rocks and watching birds dive for their lunch.

Afterwards we got to be escorted around campus by a great tour guide. I’m not just saying this; although Josh Bay did a pretty great job- each of the respective groups reported back said that their tour guides really made a difference of their Northwestern experience. The Northern California admissions director from Northwestern later at dinner told us that it was because there are only about 50 tour guides hired, while about 400 want to get the job as well! The commitment and excitement about one’s college, as well as the personal spin on the tour, really made a large difference.

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with basically every aspect of Northwestern. The campus was beautiful and leafy green, with so many different centers of recreation, looming research centers, and dorm halls placed in wonderful old houses. What appealed to me about Northwestern was the abundance of diversity in its multiple schools and programs which anyone could take classes in. I really relished the opportunity to be seeing firsthand what I never would have had the experience of before the ILC.

Like I mentioned earlier, this evening we had the pleasure of dining with Aaron Zdawczyk at Spiaggia for dinner. Not only was the food SPECTACULAR, but so was the company. I personally got to ask the admissions director of the area I live in questions that applied to me and make an impression for the future. Over a chef’s impromptu vegetarian concoction of ricotta-stuffed squash flowers and vegetables, I learned about the intimate details of the 5-year double degree requirements in the Bienen School of Music, what Northwestern is looking for in applying students, and the diversity of the campus.

My day was just as satisfying as the expresso and marscapone mousse I had for dessert. Because of this experience, I got an inside look at a university I definitely plan on applying to now. I also got to see more of the wonderful city of Chicago and dine in one of its very high-end restaurants. Thanks ILC! Sweet dreams everyone; unless you’re reading this during the day of course… but bed is where I am now headed. University of Chicago tomorrow!

"Sure beats chicken nuggets..."

Although it seemed to be an impossible feat, Chicago did in fact get even better today. First of all, we got up at 6:30AM as opposed to 3:00AM, and made Starbucks our first stop of the day, as opposed to sfo (they did get my order wrong, but honestly, how different is a strawberry frappuccino from a stawberry smoothie?).

After that, we were back on the CTA trainway, making our way towards Northwestern University. As soon as we stepped off of that train, it was all Wildcat Country.
The campus was about a block away from our station and as soon as I walked on I felt
engulfed by the school's culture. The buildings were beautiful and Lake Michigan was right in
front of us the entire time. As we received our tours, we learned that Northwestern
understands that most students do not know exactly what they want to study, and because of
that, they make it extremely easy to try new things and get involved in classes and program
that you never thought you would. My tour guide told us that even though he was a psychology
major, he was able to get in touch with the media academy and was actually given his own radio
station! He was on the air from 2:00AM to 5:00AM and he only got song requests from his
mother, but it was the fact that he was able to have that experience that mattered.

We met briefly with Aaron Zdawczyk, who is the Northern California admissions officer
for Northwestern, while we were there, but we really got to know him later when we had dinner
at Spiaggio. He gave us more useful information about the university and answered all of our
personal questions about the programs that we were interested in. I was happy to hear that
there is a prominent Christian population on campus and I was even happier when I saw my
steak in front of me. When we thanked Mr. Zdawczyk for his dining with us he replied "No
problem. Sure beats chicken nuggets" which he would have been having at home while playing

Sure, it was just a joke, but that quote can pretty much describe our trip so far. It
absolutely beats sitting at home, and I am so happy that I have been
given this amazing opportunity. I cannot imagine missing this and wasting my time at home
with a plate full of chicken nuggets, which is quite a statement from me, because I love my
chicken nuggets.