Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ithaca at Last

After our 4 AM panic attack, we said farewell to Chicago and finally managed to board our flight out of the Windy City. For the last time we had our impromptu airplane breakfast. I knocked out shortly after.

Off the plane, we took an hour-long bus from Syracuse to Ithaca and took the opportunity to get to know the other passengers. I was surprised by the number of Californians we met attending Cornell Summer College, but there was also Thomas from cheese-capital Wisconsin, Emily from Utah, and Joshua from Puerto Rico.

We met even more people from all over after orientation, checking into Mary Donlon Hall, meeting roommates, eating in the dining hall, and having fun at the ice cream social. I’m the only one of the eight of us who was assigned a quad room. I have three roommates who all seem really nice, so I can’t wait to get to know them and see how that experience will turn out. The food selection at Purcell Hall is incredible, and I’m totally digging the raspberry sorbet.

The most distinctive part about being in Cornell is how beautifully and harmoniously the striking red-brick buildings complement the stunning natural greenery. Honestly, this is the best looking campus we’ve visited. The architecture looks timeless, like it would be distinctive and exquisite in any weather. I would love to see this place in snow.

Our professors, the McCarthys, seem really cool, and despite the merciless schedule, I look forward to the 10-hour class on Monday. The key to success in the Hotel Management course is “focus, physiology, and routine,” in the words of our professors. In light of that, I should probably go get some rest (a routine we have yet to establish), even though there is just so much to say.

Big Red Rush

Our quaint dorm room
I woke up in a panic today, when I realized I had woke up only a few minutes before we were supposed to be downstairs ready to leave. I sprinted into the shower, threw on some clothes, and we were somehow able to board the plane on time. We went through Cincinnati and arrived at Syracuse at around 11:00 AM. From Syracuse we took a shuttle to Cornell, where we met a few other students attending Cornell Summer College. I had been nervous that we would be the only Californians and I would have to hear countless questions about surfing and meeting celebrities.
Luckily, out of the additional 6 students that boarded the bus, 3 happened to be from the East Bay, which put me in a great mood heading in to Ithaca. When we finally arrived at the “gorges” campus as so many t-shirts referred to it as, we headed over to our orientation at Bailey Hall. The orientation started off with the usual speeches, and didn’t really grab me at any point. However, once the dean took the stage, the whole audience perked up. The dean gave a great commencement speech that made me curious to see just how interesting Professor Kramnick would be. Professor Kramnick was able to exceed my already high expectations, and I greatly look forward to learning under a professor who has such a great passion for teaching.
After meeting with the professor, I finally met my roommate, and am excited to say that I have far and away the most interesting roommate, a rising senior from Jordan, named Sami. He is very interested in sports, which gives us one thing in common right off the bat. It was really nice getting to talk to him, although his perfect English made me feel bad about my lack of linguistic capabilities.
After meeting my roommate, it was time to meet even more people at the ice cream social. I am glad to say that I am already making connections Mr. Peter Lee had told me about at our dinner with the alumni, and look forward to meeting even more people.

I’m Now Big Red

I have realized that with the ILC your day starts at odd hours of the morning. This morning we planned to meet downstairs in the lobby of our hotel (the Intercontinental Hotel) at 4:30A.M, however all of us students were dead tired. I know I heard my alarm going off and I remember turning it off and sadly I remember falling back asleep. Regardless of falling back to sleep, we all still made our flight to Ohio. To make up for the sleep I have lost having to wake up early, I fell asleep the entire ride to Ohio and then from Ohio to New York.

Once we landed in New York we boarded an “Ithaca” bus that would take us from the airport to the Cornell Campus. We were the first students to enter the bus and thus became the “Welcoming party” for everyone else who entered. We met a boy named Thomas from Wisconsin, three other girls from California, one girl from Utah, and a boy named Josh from Puerto Rico. I have a desire to go to Puerto Rico because I love Reggeaton and I love Spanish. The ride took a while and the conversation died as the ride continued due to everyone being tired. Once we finally got to the school everyone’s spirits were lifted.

After checking in which made me feel like an actually college student, we had to run off to Bailey Hall for orientation. I can’t even explain to you readers how amazing the Dean’s speech was. He opened his speech with mentioning how in the “early days” introductions took hours and hours and how they weren’t really worth the length they had. As pointless as this may sound to you readers it hit home to me. He used his intro of intros to explain that being concise is a quality valued at the university; he explained that being able to get to the point and cut the extra stuff is a good skill to learn.

After the orientation Professor Kramnick and I shared an umbrella while we walked for Bailey Hall to a different lecture hall. I cannot honestly remember the name of the second hall we went to; however I can tell you that Professor Kramnick is an amazing and intelligent human being. Even though I was tired I couldn’t help but cling to his every word. I can’t wait for class to start on Monday. I am worried that I may not be prepared for the writing assignments this class will expect of me, but I know that I am not afraid to speak my opinions even in a class of people I do not know, but I do think that it might take me a minute to open up and be honest about my thoughts.

I would touch on the dorms but I think I need one more day to really take in the whole dorm experience. I haven’t really gotten to know my roommate yet and I plan on bounding with her more in the next coming days so there will be more on her later. I also (for those who knew in my middle school days) I was reunited with one of my best friends from Julia Morgan, Carrie Gershoff. I haven’t seen her since our 8th grade graduations.

Until tomorrow, over and out blog readers.

Me, Cornell, and I

Leaving Chicago felt like ending an unforgettable journey. I don’t know how Ithaca will be able to top the Windy City, but so far, it’s beginning to look like it has. After leaving the hotel in the early morning, we arrived at the airport and boarded quite promptly. Thanks to Dramamine, I was able to fight back motion sickness with the cost that I was extremely drowsy throughout the day, causing me to sleep completely on my flights. Although I have been extremely exhausted throughout the day, my excitement began to burst as we all boarded the shuttle to Ithaca. On the bus, we encountered other Cornell students who came out of the Syracuse Airport including one from Wisconsin, several from the East Bay like us, and even one from Puerto Rico!

Prior to leaving, we knew that we would be staying at Mary Donlon Hall and we went through a surprisingly quick registration there where they gave us our ID cards, room keys, dorm assignments, and very vital packets and papers. Afterwards, we took a shuttle to Bailey Hall where they featured the mandatory orientation session. The orientation went through the program as a whole and how things work around campus. The auditorium was completely filled that many people were even sent to an “overflow” location on campus instead of Bailey. At the front entrance, we were greeted by Mr. Ramsey, which gave me a sense of comfort to see a familiar face from back home.

A view from my seat of the front of Bailey Hall during orientation.

After the orientation, we all split up into groups according to which course we were about to take. This was when I met my professors, Reneta and & Mark McCarthy.. They both explained the course in finer details and spoke of what was expected of us. The campus is a few clicks off, so the Hotelies and I are planning on timing a walk from our dorm to the classroom to see when the most ideal time to leave the dorm would be.

At 7:30, we all attended an “Ice Cream Spree” which gave us the opportunity to eat ice cream and then meet people during or afterwards. Everywhere around us appeared to have been occupied by bustling activity of students wanting to meet others. It was amazing to see one group playing Frisbee while another one was playing soccer.

Students mingled both inside and outside of Mary Donlon during the Ice Cream Spree.

Later that night, we had a mandatory RA meeting with our Residential Assistants so that they could help us in need. We went over policies that were featured in one of our packets. The packet itself breaks down every rule thoroughly. We learned about how Cornell Summer College required others to check-in every night as part of a strict policy on dorm attendance. The day has simply been so exciting that I can’t possibly wait for the course to actually start. I honestly hope this excitement lasts for three weeks!

The Big Red One

College is a very daunting place, even when one is drowsy and a bit disconnected from reality.  These brick-laid buildings are still taller than I had imagined, and the people here are friendlier.  But reality tends to sink in very slowly, and as of right now, it is staring me right in front of the face.

This morning began a bit differently like the others.  It was quite nice that the destination (in this case O'Hare Airport) was not too far away.  But, we must remain punctual as ever, and with that, we arrived in time for our flight to Cincinnati, and by extension, Syracuse and Cornell.

We were greeted by the Ithaca transit driver, who was more than happy to take us to the university.  We loaded up, joined by six other Summer College students.  The ride was more or less quite a party, sadly, I fell asleep halfway through.  But I managed to catch a few glimpses of the wonderful greenery around upstate New York.  Forests and trees as far as the eye could see all the way from Syracuse to Ithaca.

Once we arrived at our resident hall, Mary Donlon, things began to move extremely quickly.  Before I knew it, I had met my roommate, Harley, from Visalia, and settled in my room in the resident hall.  Immediately, I started moving towards Bailey Hall to attend orientation.  I made it halfway down to the auditorium, then realized that there was a shuttle and made my way back.

Mary Donlon Hall, behind many Summer College students
socializing with ice cream.
Orientation and the following class information session was intriguing.  The Dean, Glenn Altschuler, put on quite a show, and kept the entire crowd listening, while laughing.  Reneta and Mark McCarthy, the professors for the Hotel Operations Management course, laid things out crystal clear for us.  The message was simple -- do not lose ground on the work.

We returned for dinner soon afterwards, the Ice Cream Social.  It was a great opportunity for me to meet several people in the program.  Our fellow cohorts and classmates proved to be quite interesting, not to mention that the raspberry sorbet was very tasty.  The night also provided several opportunities for a little bit of exploring and familiarizing myself with the campus.

Finally, the night settled with an overview of the rules and then a sleep-check, the first of many, many more.

Cornell Day 1

We stepped out of the limo shuttle onto the campus of Cornell University at around 1:00 pm today, as raindrops fell all around us. We are all residing in the same building- Mary Donlon Hall- and we are all together in the lobby, blogging. Today after Orientation, each course had its own breakout session with its professor(s).

The Hotelies’ instructors, Reneta and Mark McCarthy, gave us a quick overview of what to expect from the course. They also warned us that focus and success in the class could only come with adequate rest and food. Both of them seemed extraordinarily excited to be teaching us, which was inspiring. We also met our head TA, a graduate student from Spain.

At 7 pm all of the Summer College students gathered on the lawn of Mary Donlon for an Ice Cream Social. Some students played games like Ninja, while others threw around a Frisbee or kicked around a soccer ball. Whatever method was used, everyone made new friends. I've met kids from all over the US, as well as from Puerto Rico, Taiwan, China and India.

It’s difficult to wrap my head around the fact that this morning, I got out of bed in Intercontinental, the hotel we stayed at in Chicago. And now we are here.

Class starts Monday and I plan on figuring out what routes to take to class tomorrow. Us Hotelies already have homework. I’m going to sleep so I can wake up early tomorrow and study before I plan out my routes.

Slowly Attaining that Cornell Swagger

First of all, waking up at 4:00AM is not the business. That's all I have to say about that.

Second, ITHACA IS AMAZING!!! It is unbelievable. Everybody told me that the campus was beautiful, but nobody could have explained it to me in quite enough detail. The gorges are gorgeous, for lack of a better word, and the people are all extremely friendly. When we boarded our shuttle from the the airport to Ithaca, we progressively met every passenger who boarded with us and everyone started talking like we had known each other for years. Out of these people, there were three californians (four including the driver), one from Utah, one from Wisconsin, and one from Puerto Rico. I must say, Thomas from Wisconsin was the most interesting in my opinion, but Josh from Puerto Rico and Emily from Utah were still pretty cool.

Now that we are actually at Cornell, we are meeting tons of new kids from what seems like every corner of the Earth. So far, I have met people from nearly every state, Jordan, Brazil, China, the Philippines, and probably more that I just cannot think of.

My roommate's name is Matthew O'reilly and the only reason I knew that was because it was posted on my door. We didn't actually see each other until our mandatory room meeting at 9:30PM, but I did see his unpacked luggage and was able to put together that he was a Yankees/Jets fan (therefore probably from New York) and that he enjoys quality movies, such as The Hangover, Taken, The 2009 World Series, and of course, Forest Gump. When I unpacked my clothes, I was careful to leave a little note next to my Brooklyn Dodgers hat, which just has a "B" on it, saying "Brooklyn hat!! Not Boston, I swear". After we met at the meeting we ended up getting along very well and I am definitely looking forward to spending my three weeks here with him.

As for my class, Mr. Kramnick seems like a bubbly ball of education, ready to burst all over us. He has been teaching at Cornell for over forty years and has written twenty books. He is extremely energetic and makes you feel like you really would not mind listening to him for two or three hours straight. He explained how the class would be run and also how we should spend our time at Cornell: "Studies are showing that most Ivy League students will not flunk out, so try not to focus too hard on your studies. However, there is a rather large possibility that that student will not make any go make some friends, haha"

Of course this quote followed directly after his explanation of how demanding the course is, so it's not like this is going to be a walk in the park. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to my time here at Cornell and I am very excited to have already made so many new friends. As I said before, I will work as hard as I can to represent the WCCUSD, but I am definitely going to have some fun while I'm doing it. Ithaca is going to be an amazing environment for my studies and honestly, I am excited just to be here. Thank you again to the ILC leaders and our donors. This time will not go unappreciated.

Ice Cream For Socials

Today has been one of the most dragged-out days of my life. That is to say, I did enjoy it, but it has been a test of my endurance. As of this moment, I have been awake for basically 19 hours! My morning started when we were rushing to get to the shuttle at 4 in the morning. Which did not really happen, seeing as rushing is virtually impossible when you are half asleep. We DID make it to Ithaca, after two pretty non-eventful flights.

It finally struck me as we were boarding the shuttle to Ithaca from Syracuse what journey I was about to undertake. So far, I still found it hard to believe that I was going to attend Summer College at Cornell University for three whole weeks. Driving on to campus was like a dream, aided by the fact that it is the most beautiful campus I have ever set eyes on. The hills remind me of home sweet California, but because of the rain they are more green than any landscape I have ever seen- other than Portland.

My roomate thankfully is really nice and I look forward to spending more time with her and getting to know her and her Long Island accent. One of the best aspects of the program is the prospect of making so many friends, which I have been taking advantage of. Summer College hosted an ice cream social that was a great opportunity to meet "hella" people. They loved our Californian slang. So far, I have met international students from, but not limited to, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Jordan, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden, Liberia, and Wisconsin.

I was really impressed Professor Kramnick, and am eagerly looking forward to his course and learning about Freedom, Justice, and Equality. This opportunity will truly be a life-changing experience.