Thursday, June 30, 2011

Midnight Re-cap

The rigor of the Cornell Summer College experience has become routine.

Our CHESS business memo on expense strategy is due tomorrow, and I'm pretty much scrambling, since this will be 10% of our total grade. We have a pretty weighty presentation due Monday on our respective hotel companies; it's worth 20% of our grade. Thank you ILC events, because my wardrobe is now business formal-ready and all I have to worry about is the actual PowerPoint and oral presentation.

I never knew there were so many possible customization settings to format Word with, especially when creating one's own Word template. Word makes PowerPoint look boring, or maybe that's because I haven't yet discovered all the latter has to offer. That certainly was the case before this class revealed to me the technical side of Word. There is so much you think you know about something, but once you come to a place like Cornell, you realize that there's more yet to be unveiled and that the world has so much more to offer.

If you'll excuse me, we have to get down to the basement to ambush Vivi, the birthday girl, for a midnight laundry room celebration. When the fun and games are over, there's still a long night ahead.

Fast Times at Summer College

Today has been a very stressful day.  Even though I probably got more sleep last night than anytime else this whole week, I was extremely surprised when the seemingly light workload began to catch up.

As of right now, I am working on a few slides for a presentation on the 4th of July.  A presentation while the rest of the school is out -- it seems a bit weird, but I understand why.  After all, we do have to cover so much material.

This course seems to be getting more rigorous by the day.  But that is okay -- no pain, no gain, right?  Well, at least it will remain extremely interesting.  The lectures are still as great as ever, and Reneta and Mark make a great and effective team.

In other news, tomorrow is Genevieve's birthday, so that should be very fun.  It will be our first ILC birthday, with a second coming up near the end of our trip.  I hope she has a great one and that we will be able to get together as a group for the first time in a while.

Meanwhile, I also need to get a picture of my room with my roommate.  I will see if I can do so tomorrow or Friday -- can't keep our readers out there waiting for too long.

Good night all.

I Like Living in a Cave

While I was finishing my business memo, the non-Hotelies in Mary Donlon were either attending a fondue party or a "Create a Born This Way T-shirt" party. Today I was eating with a couple of new friends at dinner, and one of them asked me what program I was in. Upon hearing that I was a Hotelie, he immediately exclaimed, "Whoa! You're in the sunlight!"

Eating dinner before going to lab

Yes, we Hotelies live in caves.

It seems like all I think about lately either relates to what I'm learning or to missing home. Honestly, I enjoy it. I enjoy thinking about what I learn in class because I like what I learn in class. In a strange way, I like missing home because I know that when I get back to California, I will appreciate it that much more. I like being able to think about what I am thinking about, here, at Cornell University.

I must run along and perfect my business memo. Good night everybody!

PS I never posted a picture of my roommate. So here's one:

Me and my roommate Jacqueline

Memo Meltdown

I have always considered myself tech savvy (or a geek if you will) in life. However, after each day wanes in class, I begin to feel smaller and smaller in a pool of high-tech tadpoles. Microsoft Office is something I don’t use on a regular basis, and when Mark McCarthy throws some fancy trick up his sleeve, I was as confused, awed, and entertained as everyone else.

While we went over writing a memo template yesterday, we were focused on writing a letter template today. From all the headings to the closing, Mark introduced to us a really quick way to turn my memo template into a letter one. While the final template isn’t due until Tuesday, I think it’s safe to say the entire class and I now have a lot of Word knowledge under our belts.

He then changed gears slightly and went in-depth as to how to make a consistent PowerPoint presentation. He showed us how easy it is to make a consistent theme, style, and background for all the slides to ensure it looks professional. We were also taught various “SmartArt” tools like charts and graphs, image alignment, and even transitions (animations between slides) and builds (animations within slides).

After lunch, Reneta Mccarthy took charge with our group and showed us what goes into writing a highly professional memo. While the McCarthies brushed on a few things before, she went into detail on how a concise and informative intro is crucial, how headings contribute to how much someone can get from skimming the paper, and the grammar and tone in which a memo is presented in.

After seeing examples of various memos for our CHESS Hotel assignment, we were taught strategies on actually running out CHESS Hotel. We were showed how to ask important questions including “What kind of guests am I attempting to lure?” and “How much quality balances out cost?” This lecture in particular began popping more ideas into my mind about what I would speak about in my memo and what my own, virtual Syracuse hotel would offer.

During officer hours, I went straight into composing my memo for the business strategy of my CHESS hotel. In summary, innovative amenities that are not commonly found in most hotel rooms will be provided, towels-per-room will be reduecd by 50%, employees will be provided morale-boosting benefits, and we are an off-hands hotel in terms of external exposure. I am really looking forward to how my ideas will translate into a successful (or unsuccessful) hotel.

From Plato To The Legalization Of Gay Marriage

Today was our first day of getting into some heavy reading- by which I mean a large amount, since every canonical script or published works have been very enlightening. Our lecture’s itinerary consisted of just getting familiarized with the working of ancient Greece and democracy getting itself established. Next we moved onto Plato’s background and understanding his life before he started ruminating about politics. A really interesting allegory of Plato’s that I found fascinating was his “Myth of the Metals.”

This conjecture has to do with his criterion for the three classes of society, made up by the working class, guardians, and philosophers. In it, he states that everyone is born with a certain ore inside of them, and that at birth determines which class they belong to. Gold is of course the best, and accordingly works its way down to silver and bronze.

Our speaker's name was Richard Stumbar, an attorney who five years ago was trying to right of gay marriage, so the timing of its legalization in New York made it a triumphant guest speech, and really interesting personally. I was honored to get to hear about his work, and it was really interesting all the legal obstacles, and how you had to use "rational basis" to argue his case.

I’m finishing my paper on freedom as soon as I finish writing this blog, and we are going to have one to write on Plato starting tomorrow. I should also go and review my notes and the sections Professor Kramnick will lecture on tomorrow to finish off this Plato reading. I got to practice for a solid hour today which felt really good as class and its homework is so demanding. I’m look forward to tomorrow for more than one reason than one- an early let-out time, the beginning of a holiday weekend, and of course my birthday!

Plato: Take One

Today was Professor Kramnick’s first lecture on Plato. I must say even thought I thought I would fall asleep for lack of sleep (having stayed up late reviewing my notes on Plato), the lecture was far to interesting and kept me from snoozing. It was interesting to hear someone want so ardently to quit the ways of democracy for the ways of hierarchy. To me democracy, and more so in the way it was asserted by the Greeks, seemed flawless to the extent of being truly run by the citizens. Yes I admit as a feminist it is annoying that women were not considered part of the citizen class that participated in the democracy, but I still feel like the Greeks had it down a little bit better than we did. I understand it may not make sense to choose or officials randomly and say here you go you are now president of the United States but I do believe that the way in which our democracy works doesn’t really hold true to the saying ‘for the people, by the people’, but that is my opinion.

I think it would only be appropriate to mention lunch really quickly to mention that today, Thursday or the 4th day of the week, I had a burrito. I have now have had 4 burritos for lunch, or a burrito for lunch everyday. I guess I shouldn’t say ‘a burrito’ because I truly just get the same one everyday and now the lady that makes the burritos knows me, so I don’t even have to tell her my order she just sees me and grabs the beans, rice, and cheese.

After lunch, as is custom on Tuesday and Thursday, we had a guest lecturer. Today the speaker was a lawyer from New York who had taking a gay marriage rights case all the way to the Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in New York. He unfortunately did not win his case, but was happy to say that now, five years after he lost, the New York legislation had gotten the job done for him. He touched on the difficulties he faced during his trial days, and about the other issues gay marriages brings to life for the courts too consider.

Off to the gym to de-stress myself, until tomorrow. Over and Out blog readers.

Joe The Philosopher

I FINISHED MY FIRST PHILOSOPHY PAPER!!! Not the biggest deal in the world, since it's not going to be graded, but I am so happy about it! My first philosophical piece of literature has been written, and it's a page and a half of pure gold, haha. You can refer to me as Socrates if you'd like.

On that note, my day went pretty well. I woke up late so I didn't get breakfast, but I realized that I don't really eat breakfast at 8:00AM anyways. I'm usually not hungry until around 10:30AM, or 11:00AM, since that's when I usually wake up, so missing breakfast really isn't too big of a problem. It's really just extra sleep.

As for class, the lecture was actually really interesting. It was all about Plato and his views on society, and I felt really good about it because I understood everything before he lectured on it. I thought I would go in with one idea of what the text was about and come out with a completely different interpretation, but what he said matched up with my interpretation exactly.

The rest of the class was normal for the most part, and the rest of the day was layed back, besides writing the paper. Also, it's Vivi's birthday tomorrow! So we're going to have to do something nice for her. More on that tomorrow though, good night!

The Streak Is Over

Well, it looks like I jinxed my nights of good sleep with yesterday’s blog celebrating back to back nights of good rest. Last night we had about a hundred pages of reading, and heavy duty reading on top of that. Plato’s The Republic, although quite interesting, isn’t exactly a book one can simply plow through and get a good night’s sleep. Luckily I did get enough sleep to function today in class (an incredible 5 hours), but have been incredibly drowsy ever since class got out. It’s only around 3ish current time, and it feels like midnight already, so rest assured I will be taking a nap after blogging, before going right on back to rereading Plato, since that’s what our professor suggested since he is such a complicated subject.

Then we heard yet another brilliant lecture by Professor Kramnick and had an always enjoyable discussion with my section group, details of which I will cover tomorrow when I fully delve into all the teachings of Plato, since we will hear another lecture tomorrow on him. After our lunch we heard a guest lecture from a lawyer named Richard Stumbar, who fought to legalize gay marriage in New York around five years ago, and made it all the way to the Court of Appeals (sort of the Supreme Court for New York) before falling one vote short. He said he had worked on many human rights cases similar to that before as well, and it was interesting to see just how restricted such a “free” country can be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty big fan of most of the things America does, I just think that all these restrictions show that there really is no true freedom, although I’ll save that topic for next week. In Mr. Stumbar’s lecture, he pointed out many of the contradictions the judicial system makes with itself, which made me think, is there any form of justice that doesn’t contradict itself at some point? I’m still pondering that myself, but now it’s time for my nap, I’ll write about Round 2 of Plato tomorrow!