Thursday, July 7, 2011

Real Late Nights

There is a lot to say but not much time, as there is a report due tomorrow and I need to get some sleep.  Such is the way of college I would assume.  It actually is rather fun, if you can get past the working late hours to get things done part.

We took Reneta and Mark out to lunch today, which was actually really fun.  We were a bit disappointed by how fast it went, and how crowded things got around our table.  But it was really interesting just talking with them in an out-of-class basis -- it reminds all of us that teachers are not a different class of human being or stuck on some pedestal.  They are real people like us.

I am looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend, but before that, this work must be done first.  Then, the final week begins, and everything will come to a head.  Let's make this all count.

Reporting for Duty

Today's focus was on learning the additional things required to submit a successful report with more information on using Excel and how to compare and analyze data with your own hotel and other competitors.

The main attraction of the day was having the opportunity to eat lunch with Reneta and Mark McCarthy, our professors. They have an excellent and amusing rapport with each other, and it still continued to show during our lunch! We learned more about why they went to Cornell and how they decided to participate in the hotel school.

And so while we learned about how they got into school when they attended, we also attended a meeting on how students today can get into Cornell. While a lot that is normally discussed during college tours and our admission officer dinners were explained, we were passed out handouts of the university's actual application which was fascinating as I have never seen a college application before.

And while many students are beginning to wind down for their final full weekend at Cornell, the Hotelies and I have been fiercely working on our report due tomorrow. While it can sometimes be difficult to get and interpret the data you need, there are many times when it just gets to my head and clicks like it's simply second-nature.

A Brief Break from the Business Report

In the scrambling to finish our business reports, blogging is for once a welcome reprieve. Right now, my word template looks like chaos, with hanging headings, charts and excerpts from Excel spreadsheets strewn among random passages.

The class seems to have come to a consensus that this will be an all-nighter. It really shouldn't be a surprise; this is the infamous hotel course after all.

Well, that's time for today. I have 10 hours before class, and I intend to make the most of that time. On another note, I'm so glad it's almost the weekend! Friday means class starts at 9 AM and 1:30 dismissal, finally giving me some time to relax a little, maybe explore or get a work out. The stress from our big report isn't really spoiling the fun, but I suppose it's making me appreciate the weekend and whatever down time we have left.

No Stress, No Stress, No Stress

This is my friend Elin Anwar and I, smiling for the camera, even though we practically died trying to figure out how to make our Excel charts and what to make them on. We finally figured it out though and now I have to write a report that goes along with the charts. The report is an analysis of our CHESS virtual hotel. We were instructed to "analyze the market, segment your customers (and discuss each segments' specific needs, behaviors, and willingness to pay), and discuss your hotel's performance." To do that, we are supposed to discuss our hotel's
  • average daily rates
  • occupancy percent
  • revenue per available room
  • business mix
  • department income by week
  • variable costs as a percent of ADR by source of trade
  • fixed costs, and whether they are appropriate
The neatness of this little bullet list is really deceiving. The basic instruction list for this assignment is one entire page, front and back. I don't know how I'm going to write this. This is difficult, and I am beginning to stress but just being at Cornell makes it so hard. :)

Cornell Had Me At Silly Putty

Today I woke up on time, and am finally starting to function on only around 6 hours of sleep. Normally that would be fine, but my body seems to want 12 hours during the summer, so it has been pretty difficult staying bright and alert in class. Today I finally broke out of this though, since I think my body finally realizes that I’m back in school, albeit for only a week and a day more.

This was a good day to be fully rested, since we covered some very interesting and powerful writings of which I wouldn’t have wanted to miss a single detail. Today our lecture was on specific women’s rights activists, rather than a basic overview of the oppression women had to deal with. Today Professor Kramnick spoke about Olympe de Gouges, Mary Wollstonecraft, and John Stuart Mill. It was great getting to hear about all the ideas these revolutionary writers had to say.

The highlight of my day by far was my tour of the engineering quad after class. I was guided around the quad by the junior with a material science major I had met at dinner a week ago, Ashley Harms. It was really great taking this tour, especially since because it was just me and Ashley; I was able to ask whatever question, no matter how random or dumb. While I was touring all the beautiful yet intimidating buildings, I realized just how ignorant I was in regards to pretty much any form of engineering. Ashley pointed out fascinating machine after fascinating machine, and I feel that I would have thought they were even more interesting if I understood any of Ashley’s explanations of the machines. Not to say she was a bad tour guide who left me in the dark, quite the contrary, she covered pretty much anything I could’ve asked, the machines were just so advanced that it probably would have taken me about a year of studying just one to have any idea of what it did.

After a nice 40 minute tour covering all the buildings, we headed back to Hollister Hall where I took up even more of Ashley’s time, pestering her with pointless question after pointless question. I asked her what some of the great things about the engineering school were, and was really reassured when she said that the whole school was a sort of family, and that all the students helped each other. I was also pretty nervous about maybe being an engineer after seeing a lot of labs covering subjects, but Ashley told me she had no idea what any of it was as a junior either, so that made me feel better. Although I’ve only covered about a quarter of our whole conversation it’s about time for me to go to sleep. I will leave my readers with Ashley’s reason why she decided to major in material sciences, which left me really optimistic about Cornell. At the beginning of the year, all the majors had booths of sorts to attract prospective students. The material sciences booth had a silly putty making station, which may not sound like the greatest of reasons to some, but I just completely appreciated the fact that even an Ivy League school was able to have fun with their majors. On that silly note goodnight.

Bunnies Galore!

Okay, a quick note before I even begin. I do realize little fuzzy rabbits are not the most important event of the day, and there were quite a few other things worth mentioning which I will in turn, I just thought that it would be a nice thing to share and attention-grabbing. I mean, do we have wild rabbits running amok in California? Not where I'm from. Here, it is the oddest sight when studying on the lawn to see a little bunny hopping by as if it were perfectly natural. (None of them would let me take a picture of them however.)

Back to business. Today in class we had more lectures and discussions on womens' rights, and then an intruiging guest speaker who actually had a little "hands on" experiment to show us. Because he was discussing a big scandal in New York where alot of finerprint evidence for important cases was frabicated, he showed us how to take a fingerprint off of a soda can, and how it is insufficient evidence in a court at many times contrary to common conviction.

After class, I got to see a family friend who works at Cornell teaching in the Anthropology and many other departments; Kath March, who is actually an expert on Nepal and a large part of Dalai Lama visits to the US. It was great talking with her, especially on getting more advice on what to do in Ithaca our last weekend and reccommendations on the best food places and such.

Actually, because we loved the beauty you can see below and swimming of Buttermilk Falls so much, we were thinking of going again this weekend! Hopefully the weather will get better again; it's been raining.

A Fairly Mild Day

Today, being the first day after the mid-term, was fairly mild in my opinion. Professor Kramnick started us off with a lecture about the equality of women, citing authors such as Olympe De Gouges, Mary Wollstonecraft, and John Stuart Mill. He made some interesting points about how women are not NATURALLY inferior, as was the common belief during their time, but were only perceived that way because society had raised men, as well as women, to believe that as true.

In our discussion groups, we got our first drafts of our Plato papers back, and our TA told me exactly what I needed to change about my paper to make it better. However, I didn't agree with his suggestions really, because as far as I could tell, he was advising me to cut out the evidence for my argument...which seemed a little absurd. On the other hand, he is the one grading my paper, so I'll have to talk to him again soon and figure out exactly what it is that he wants. We each also got feedback from a few of our peers, so I can definitely use their criticism to make my paper stronger right away.

The guest speaker today was VERY interesting. He was a lawyer by the name of Nelson Roth, and he was responsible for discovering the corruption in an old murder case, where the police had actually fabricated evidence, stating that they had picked up an innocent man's fingerprints at the scene of the crime. He showed us at one point how a fingerprint can be taken, and then presented a BBC Movie to us that he was a part of! You know how whenever you watch something on the History Channel, they always have a bunch of experts giving their two-cents on the matter? That was him in this movie! It was a movie about how fingerprints and bullets are not always concrete evidence in a court of law, and for the entire scene that he showed us, they talked specifically about his case and frequently cut to him as he explained situations and gave his opinions on them. It seemed pretty amazing to be staring at this guy on the screen and then s seeing the same guy sitting two rows behind you. That seemed pretty awesome to me.

Later in the day, I had my individual meeting with Ms. Neal, (not because I was in trouble, just a little check-up) and we spoke about how my class was going and all that. A big point was that I need to post more pictures on my blog, so I will try my best to be better about that (sorry readers).

Tomorrow I will take you on a virtual tour of my daily routine. Promise! Pictures will be abundant. See you tomorrow! Good night!

Who Has Your Fingerprint?

Today our lecture was a continuation of yesterdays, only this time it was the feminists point of view, thus a better/less frustrating lecture for me. I was impressed with the three feminist writers we talked about today, but I think I was most impressed with Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill. I must say that I admire Wollstonecraft even more than Mill just because she came from an abusive, drunk father and was strong enough to argue and critique men such as Rousseau. Although I do applaud Mill for being a man and still believing that women should not be subordinate, and should not stand for just being an object for men. I just cannot see how men believe themselves to be so superior, or how they can think women are just things to be married to and nothing more. But I also must say I cannot believe women put up with that. I would almost say I am ashamed that women haven’t always been fighting for their rights, that they haven’t always thought it was wrong that men thought they could just call them inferior and demand the women to make him a sandwich and she would willing do it. I just don’t see why women were too scared to stand up for themselves. In all honesty women were just prove the point made by all the men who said women were dependent. So thank you, Wollstonecraft, Mill, deGougse and the American women’s right movement leaders for giving me the rights I have today.

After lunch today, since it is a Thursday, we had a guest lecturer. Today we learned about a case here in upstate New York where a forensic police officer was convicted of placing fingerprints at crime scenes to convict suspects. I was just in shock that officers would honestly do thing. I mean I guess I wasn’t in that much shock since I watch almost every crime show there is on TV, but I do, though my parents may not believe this, know the difference between TV and reality. I am not a huge fan of the police; I do believe that there are many officers that are on an ego trip and thus have not regard for the job they are suppose to do, but I also believe that there are very good cops out there doing a great job. I guess I was just in shock that they got away with this. The officers Mr. Roth convicted had commit over 35 crimes in which they had placed someone’s fingerprint at the scene. I could not believe that. How on earth did they get away with that? How did no one see what was going wrong and step in to end it? Way to go justice system.

Well I am off to the gym. Until tomorrow, Over and Out blog readers.