Friday, July 8, 2011

Cornellian Twilight

As many of our avid readers know, my last blog was posted around the early morning hours.  This was because I was working on my individual CHESS report, which I happened to not finish until after lunch.  But I am getting ahead of myself, so I will start at the beginning.

I woke up a little late today, around 7 AM.  This was not anywhere out of the ordinary really though, after all, class started about half an hour later today.  But that ended up not mattering, as I would arrive two minutes late due to a variety of circumstances (a flash drive search combined with catching the wrong bus resulted in that).  Despite being late by around two minutes, I did not miss anything much -- the guest speakers at class today had not started yet.

Barbara Lang started out with an overview of proper behavior and etiquette, not only in business, but generally in life.  With a flair for the dramatic and the energetic, she went over the basics to presenting one's self properly, including the proper handshake and when and where one should carry themselves properly.  It was an incredibly interesting lecture and she was extremely engaging.

With a complete 180, Robert La Fleur appeared to class via a Skype call in order to speak about the business aspects of hospitality.  He gave an overview of the stock market, a little bit of hospitality economic history, ending with the trends that he has observed and what to look out for on Wall Street.  While it was not live, it was interesting in it's own way.

A screenshot from a very long report-in-progress.
Once the lectures were over, I dealt with taking care of the rest of my CHESS report, a fourth of which I finished by the end of the office period.  It was extremely long and extremely difficult, but I hope that I did it well enough -- or well, hopefully.

When I finally finished my work and set off for lunch, I realized something -- this was the beginning of our last weekend here at Cornell.  Considering what we have been through over the past few weeks and the huge workload and amazing experiences that were still to come, I realized that it had not really hit me yet.  That I had been in Chicago, and now Ithaca, away from home, away from everything, doing something really rigorous.

This makes it imperative that I do some fantastic things before this weekend is over, and obviously, before we finally leave this place.  It has been a home so far, and I think I will continue to see it as such.  But there are still memories to be made here, so let's keep them coming.


It's a wonderful relief to have all my work done. After all the labor and frustrations, I was glad to put the business report behind me and enjoy the rest of the day. Friday for me officially began at 1:30 PM.

A few hours later, after my workout in the Statler Hotel gym, my legs had turned into spaghetti, and with those spaghetti legs, I trekked across campus to the plantations with Terilyn. I had previously been around the area on a run with Nick, but in the heat and rush hadn't noticed the lush summer beauty of the surroundings.

The road leading to the plantations is itself an awing sight when sunlight filters through the canopy of leaves, creating a mosaic of the most perfect shades of green. A path between the wildflowers with butterflies flitting everywhere runs along Beebe Lake, with canoes stacked up along the beach, and the water perfectly serene, except for the loads of tiny fish flickering ripples through the water. Walking amidst this incredibly well-kept treasure, alone in a symphony of songbirds, Terilyn and I took in this magical moment. We hadn't even gotten to the main attraction yet, and we were already in love with the place.

After checking out the plantations and Beebe Lake, it became clear what a haven of wildlife these places were. In our journey we had probably encountered fifteen chipmunks, a black & white tuxedo-splotched dragon fly, a grey heron, several other strange birds, and a red deer. these are all creatures unpresent in California, so it was my first time seeing these animals. Not only are we learning new things here, we are exposed to a totally different environment, including flora & fauna totally divergent from the wildlife at home. Seeing all the lush summer greenery made me wonder about the what the place will look like after its autumn transformation.

I wish we were sticking around to see more of this place. Terilyn and I only covered a fraction of the 175 acres of plantation botanical gardens, arboretums, and trails to explore, but we have vowed to come back, this time with our cameras.

These upcoming two days will be the only reprieve we get before one final week of full-throttle intensity at the Cornell Hotel School. With detailed planning, I know we will succeed in making the most if our last weekend together. Tomorrow, we take on the Ithaca farmers' market and Buttermilk Falls!

Hi, Kevin Buensuceso, Pleasure to Meet You!

While many of my cohorts struggled throughout the wee hours of the night attempting to finish up their short report before the sun came up, I performed a small experiment in that I actually went to bed early and finish my assignment when I woke up. It is an interesting strategy that many people have suggested to find a good balance between sleep and work, but I have always been concerned that I will be under the pressure of a time-sensitive rush if I knew I only had a few hours to collect my scraps and call it my project. Much of my morning was centered around getting the core body of my report finished and it actually turned out nicely. During office hours today (from 11 AM to 1 PM), I made some finishing touches to the assignment and the graphs and charts I did in Excel seem to bounce off of the paper. While I am not sure that I want to experiment with my time scheduling like that again, I feel rather relieved I still got the same amount of work done with six hours of sleep while many only got three or four.

A screenshot of my personal report with two graphs I made in Excel.

We were presented with two different presentations in class today. The first one was by Barbara Lang who focused on teaching us what etiquette really means. Before this presentation, I would have thought it was just a fancy way of saying "pretentious formalities." I have strong opinions on the subject of how someone can easily lose touch with themselves in the struggle between being professional and being themselves. I feel many people fail to see the point that acting professional is not an outlet in which you can stow away all of your flaws and problems into a drawer and keep it locked so others may not judge you negatively. Humans are an undeniably flawed species and it almost sickens me when people become fake and plastic in the name of "professionalism." It also disappoints me when people fail to see the point that you are never going to find that perfect "Million Dollar Man." However, Barbara Lang's presentation truly resonated with me as it wasn't about hiding your flaws or masking your defects, but to bring out what is truly the best in you. While she didn't say it directly, the way she came off in her presentation gave the feeling that professionalism isn't about formalities, but about traditions. It is tradition during Christmas to give gifts to your loved ones. It is tradition to dress formally at a wedding. And in the case of the business world, it is tradition to do things like a proper greeting, sitting in a specific manner, and writing straight-to-the-point and grammatically correct letters.

We also had a presentation via Skype with Robert La Fleur, a financial analyzer who has a background in the travel industry. He re-enforced the fact that the recent economic downturn easily damaged the trade, but that businesses are steadily recuperating. He also went into detail about not only hotels, but the cruise ship and airline industries. Things that makes cruise ships and airlines better in a way is that when the market they are currently operating in isn't doing well, they can easily transfer to different markets altogether. He also pointed out that a successful hotel business will have several properties in existing markets like North America and Europe and will have developments in emerging markets like Asia.

It was a nice touch to be able to get a different perspective on the elements within our course. We were also assigned a group experiment in which we will try our best at some point throughout the weekend to be of service to someone in a way that responds to their needs. While many ideas have popped into my mind, I think it would be nice to be a kind of elevator bellhop for people so that we can direct them in the shafts. While the most obvious location would be our Mary Donlon dorm as it is one of the most frequented elevators by Summer College students, I want to go out of the box and visit a public building that office workers, customers, and employees visit. We were told to keep track of the different responses we get from people, and I am curious to see how a no-frills adult would react to teenagers who are randomly asking which floor they would like to go to.

Several people use the Donlon elevators every day.


I went to sleep at 1:30 am because I was working on my individual CHESS report last night (technically this morning). Then I woke up at 5:45 to work on it some more before heading to breakfast. Believe it or not, I actually slept a lot more than many of my classmates. People really did pull all-nighters for this report. Then, of course, we all headed to class to watch presentations from Barbara Lang and Robert La Fleur. Both are Cornell University alums.

Mrs. Lang gave an hour presentation on "business etiquette." She came in rather stern looking and sat down in the corner of the room. Reneta and Mark put on a video on the projector for us to watch while Mrs. Lang sat and waited for her turn to speak. Mark made several jokes as usual before and after the video, and it surprised me that Mrs. Lang did not smile at all and actually grimaced at his jokes. Honestly, I was shocked. This lady was teaching us about etiquette? I mean, seriously, she disrupted our video by walking in front of the screen to talk to Mark outside!

It turns out all of this was part of the plan.

She was making a point- first impressions matter. The next 60 minutes I spent engaging in one of the most stimulating lectures I have ever had the pleasure of attending in my life. Not only was Ms. Lang energetic, but she was also inspirational and interesting.

She talked about handshakes and different body language positions. She even gave the "taking initiative" speech that high schoolers always hear- except this time, it wasn't corny or preachy. She explained. If you want something, get it. If what you want is not available, make it available.

Mr. La Fleur skyped with us and talked about hotel, cruise and airline industry recoveries. I was extremely pleased to find that I actually understood most of what he was saying! He was using real industry jargon and explaining real business concepts- and I understood most of it!

After this, we had two lab hours to finish our reports. Everyone stressed in the lab rooms:

Then when we finished, that meant we were done for the day! Look how happy I am turning in my paper. :)I decided to visit the Art Museum and spent an hour in there before heading out to the Cornell Plantations with Kelly. It was breathtaking. I need to go back tomorrow.

Movie Night Traditions

I am currently blogging during anothe movie marathon. It has become quite the tradition to watch movies on nights after we have finished all our homework, especially because my friends have discovered the lack of movies that I have seen and have insisted on enlightening me. Tonight it was "The Town." I have to say I enjoyed it, and thanks for the "enlightenment" everyone.

It's really nice getting out early on Fridays with just one lecture and discussion group leacing you fresh to enjoy the afternoon. The lecture itself was on J.S. Mill again, but rather his opinions on liberty as opposed to women's rights like yesterday.

I actually had the priviledge of having lunch with Professor Kramnick today! He really is a wonderful person which I was convinced of even more as he tries to get to know every individual student just a bit more in-depth, as made evident when we sat down to lunch today (a group of six of us) and asked us a few questions so he could have some idea of who we were. After telling him our lives story- or as much as a professor needs to know- we got to learn a little about him. Did you know he was the first in his family to attend college, getting a scholarship to Harvard University? I found it pretty interesting.

After enjoying the afternoon I met up with our old ILC group to all discuss with Ms. Neal about the service learning projects we wish to undertake in the fall when we return home and bring something back to our communities. To try to help others succeed and just show what the ILC has done for us, we figured a good thing to do would be give personal presentations, maybe a couple of slides, in classrooms at schools around the district with some helpful hints and just overall summaries of our experiences so that our peers can share in them, learn more about the ILC, and hopefully get inspired themselves!

Well I'm off to bed, I should get some sleep for tomorrow, since we are lucky enough to get to go to Buttermilk Falls again! I'm really excited. Goodnight everyone.

Gotta Get Down On Friday

It gets harder and harder to wake up in the morning goes on, but it is always reassuring to wake up on Friday morning knowing tomorrow is Saturday. Today was not too exciting. I woke up, met the ‘crew’ downstairs, got breakfast, and then went off to class. However today, as you will see on Joe’s blog, our section group had a great discussion about how people from different states pronounce things differently. It became a heated debate it was Joe and I against the 5 New York girls in our group. It was a very funny way to start off class.

In lecture we talked more about John Stuart Mill, but instead of talking about his desire for women’s rights we talked about his view on liberty and freedom. Professor Kramnick talked about how in the 19th century people started using democracy and freedom interchangeably. He talked about as democracy took the stage there were issues between democratic freedom and liberal freedom. He talked about how people, even and especially today, value one or the other freedom. The Supreme Court is constantly faced with making discussions based on one or the other freedoms.

Today, even though I didn’t come home and do homework, was a productive day. I had a meeting with my lovely chaperone Ms. Neal at 12:30, next a meeting with my TA at 2:30, then a meeting with my RCA at 4:20 and lastly a Cornell Wolf Pack meeting at 5:30.

In my first meting with Ms. Neal, she and I talked about my trip so far, how prepared I felt and what I saw the role of a chaperone being.

In my second meeting, my TA Simon helped me rework my essay to make is stronger. I realized (in both meetings so far) that I had never really learned how to write a good college quality essay, and that I am not a strong essay writer.

Then in my third meeting I got to spend about 20 minutes getting to know my super cool RCA Fiona :). We talked about everything from college to my AP scores. I had a lot of fun talking to her. I found it odd, but great, that I could just talk to her and open up and not feel worried about her judging me.

My final meeting was a Wolf Pack reunion :). It was really nice to see everyone again. I do see my fellow freedom and justicers everyday, but I don’t really get to see the hotelies so it was great to see them and hear how they are doing. We talked about up coming activities we wanted to do and then about a service-learning project. We all decided that we wanted to spread the word about the ILC around our school to make sure kids new what a great opportunity this is. We want to try and get kids who might not normally think of going to an Ivy League reconsider and really try and get into this program. I know I am going to talk about the connection it gives you. I have met so many wonderful adults that make a difference in the application process while being on this trip and it has really helped me shape out what I want colleges to know about me. I also got to meet the Cornell Coach and have a face-to-face talk with her; I would never have been able to do that on my own.

Tonight we are going to watch the Town, I can’t wait. Until tomorrow, Over and Out blog readers.

Joe Arciniega: A Day in the Life

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome, to Joe Arciniega's July 8'th! In this blog, you will be me, and I will be the narrator of your day. Excited? You should be! Because You are in for one fantastic day!

You began your day by waking up, right on time, getting ready, and then waiting with a few of your friends in the lobby of the dorm to go to breakfast.

Look at how handsome you look, even at 8:00 in the morning! Great work!

Once all of your friends made it down to the lobby, you all began to walk towards the Robert Purcell Dining Hall, where you have breakfast everyday (unless you sleep through it, which only happens occasionally).

A few of your friends walking toward the Purcell building

Once inside, you had the clerk swipe your Cornell ID and you walked into the buffet style dining hall. Almost immediately, your heart jumped, because you happened to spot the tray-full of French Toast sitting oh so gingerly in front of you. You became extremely excited (or at least, as excited as you are capable of getting at 8:00AM) and grabbed a few pieces for yourself, along with a few other breakfast favorites of yours.

Robert Purcell Dining Hall

Breakfast of Champions

A fun fact about breakfast actually, is that every morning there is an info-mercial on T.V.
Today's special was the "Shark Steam Mop".

Quality Programming
Once you finished, you began the trek across campus towards class. Almost everyone's classes start at the same time as yours however, so you always enjoy watching the student stampede as it formulates in front of you.

This is how it starts...

...and this is how it ends (those are kids all along the left and the top center).

...You're starting to realize that that picture isn't really as impressive as you thought it was. But that's alright. There's usually a lot more kids in the stampede. Guess you got lucky today.

But anyways! You finally arrived at the Freedom and Justice Lecture Hall, after sifting your way through the not-so-massive mass of students, at about ten minutes before 9:00AM.

Freedom and Justice Lecture Hall

A few minutes later, the lecture began and you began to write notes and listen closely, unlike the girl in front of you who was on

Professor Kramnick and the Facebook Felon

It was an interesting lecture about John Stuart Mill's views on Liberty and you enjoyed it very much, but after only a short amount of time, it was time to get to your discussion group. You engaged in a debate about whether restricting someone's freedom in order to keep them from harming themself was a just act or not, and you were assigned to take the negative side. You argued your points fairly well, and then asked the group if they would be willing to take a picture.
Not only were they nice enough, but a few of them even posed. Your TA, Simon, is the tall Australian-English one in the back.

After discussion, you were on your way to lunch! ...But somehow you forgot to take a picture of that....way to go.

It's ok though. Don't beat yourself up too much about it. You'll probably post a picture of it tomorrow anyways. I'm predicting a pepperoni pizza, fries, and a coke, with either a pack of gum, an apple, or a pack of cookies on the side. Just a guess though.

Anyways, after you fueled up with your lunch, you decided to go out and play some b-ball with your friends.

At one point, they decided to have a two-on-two tournament, and you and Nick Shebek taught them a thing or two about the game. WCCUSD Champions, right here.

After the big game, you and Nick decided to retire and head over to your meeting with Ms. Neal and the rest of your ILC cohorts. You all discussed the service learning project that you will be organizing in the Fall, and decided on educating high school students about essay-writing, interviewing, and the ILC as a whole (the first two things were requirements that you all had to go through to be admitted into the ILC)

The meeting took place inside of the Statler Hotel, which is Cornell's own four diamond hotel. Swanky.

But once the meeting was over, it was about time for you to wind down. You walked back over to Robert Purcell with your friends and got a relaxing dinner in. You had a lot of fun joking around as usual, and the fact that The Matrix was on T.V. just made the meal even better. You polished off your food as a few of your friends went to get the soft-serve ice cream and you took a nice picture to end the day...


SO! I hope you enjoyed yourself! Being me is pretty exciting! I don't know exactly what your activities will consist of tomorrow, but there's a chance that you might go to Buttermilk Falls...

More on that tomorrow though! Good night!

Kings of the Court

The last weekend at Cornell just started! I slept in again today, straight through my alarm, until 8:07, or 7 minutes after I wanted to go get breakfast. I jumped into the shower, same as yesterday, and before I knew it I was on my way. I ended up being earlier than I normally have been, although I was forced to skip breakfast, which is never a fun thing to do. We still worked on John Stuart Mill’s writings in class today, but shifted from women’s rights to basic liberty. I really enjoyed both the lecture and the discussion after, and after class was over five other students (including Genevieve) and I had lunch with Professor Kramnick. Everyone went around the table introducing themselves, and it was nice to hear just how diverse my fellow students were.

After the lunch, I met up with Ms. Neal to discuss how the district prepared me and what we were learning in class, and we met with her later in the day to discuss a service learning project, where we’ll get to go around to schools explaining just what the ILC can do for students. In between these two meetings, Joe and I got to play in a 2-on-2 basketball tournament of sorts, with a bunch of Long Island kids. I’m proud to say that despite neither one of us playing any form of organized basketball, we went undefeated and won the tourney! We’re heading up to Buttermilk again tomorrow, and I promise I’ll have a lot of pictures!