Sunday, July 10, 2011

Late Night No Luck

:'( my giant blog post just got deleted after an internet error, because I was too rash to think and use Word. I searched all over the draft box. And it's late, and I need to sleep for tomorrows early morning class, and I can't remember anything.


Today brings the dawn of a new week -- a week that will and should be amazingly memorable and busy and exhausting and corny in every way.  Nothing else would do this last week at Cornell justice -- this is, quite truly, something that has changed my life.  But let us save that nostalgia trip for another time, there is, after all still a week ahead of this.
The gang in front of the market.

But before everything begins, there must always be a bit of quiet time.  Well, figuratively speaking.  Today, my friends Kaan, Andrew, and Dylan accompanied me to the Ithaca Farmers Market.

The market itself was huge, as far as farmer's markets goes.  And the location, at a steamboat dock near the river, was quite beautiful.  I managed to try out my first Gyro (a traditional Greek sandwich), while getting an
Gyros are cool.
Quite possibly the only ocarina maker I will ever meet.

ocarina (a ceramic flute-like instrument) and tasting some of the locally-made ice cream, or in this case, a root beer float.

There were great shops around and the place was crowded, and got even moreso over time.  My only disappointment was that I was not able to take the hour-long steamboat lake tour.  But that is all okay, it is not a big deal.  I had a fantastic time and I am sure my friends did as well.

A massage train.
When I returned, there was a bit of work to do.  My group met up one more time to figure out what we would do as a service project for the class.  We decided on a massage hour, where we offered free neck and shoulder massages for an hour.  That project turned to be quite the success, and it sort of turned into a dance party, which was strange, but enjoyable.

Most importantly, I was able to watch the sunset from Libe Slope, which turned out to be quite beautiful.  Teri agreed to come with me and watch, so it was a nice hour of conversation while night fell on us.  We discussed what we would be doing when we returned, as well as other things, such as how to define the word corny (I believe it applies to cliche, not overly sentimental).  I enjoyed every bit of it and I knew that this week would be fantastic.  It seems like things are ending so soon, but in reality, there's still an entire experience to go through.  No need to take things slow.

Plato, Plato, Plato

Unfortunately for me, I had a long day. My long day however, wasn’t long in as good a way as Terilyn’s, although there were definitely some positives to the day. This was supposed to be a nice relaxing day, and based on most of the things I ended up doing it should have been. Although I did finish what I think is a pretty good Plato essay about his criticisms of democracy, which covered the “fact” that few were able to rule as well as Plato’s belief that freedom is actually the downfall of democracy. That took a few hours though, despite the fact that it was only a revision of my first draft, since my TA Vijay asked many questions which helped me delve much deeper into Plato’s main themes then I could have expected to do on my own, so I am already enjoying the college experience of having TAs whose sole job is to make your writing or comprehension better.

But back to my day, after a good five hours walled inside my room working only on my essay, and after I turned in said essay of course, I headed out to play more kangaroo (an interesting basketball game), which is quickly growing on me as one of the most enjoyable games I have ever played. After a nice round of basketball it was time for dinner, and just as the previous Cornellians had said, the food happened to mysteriously get better when the alumni arrived.

Anyway, back to how this should be relaxed day that consisted of really me just working on my essay and playing basketball (oh, and pool of course) ended up being stressful, it finally dawned on me that we’re entering the last week here! While the number one reason behind my concern was obviously the fact that I simply don’t want to leave here, I also just realized that I’m now entering a finals week in which two assignments will count for 60% of my grade. Let the stress begin!

Pleasure to Serve

The main focus of the day was being able to get into the mindset of a luxury service. While I originally thought it would be nice to man the elevators in the dorm, we decided to operate a joint venture with other groups in producing a spa-like environment in one of the lounges.

One of the many flyers we set up in elevators and throughout the building.

While free massages on any other day would seem incredibly out of place and odd, albeit interesting, it was the culmination of several groups reaching out to tend to people's needs in different ways that made the entire day exciting. One of my classmates knocked on my door just as I was about to do my laundry and I learned that her group was collecting trash from people's dorm rooms. Of course, I took advantage of such a fine institute! And as I was preparing to dry my clothes, I discovered another group performing laundry for students for free.

The banner we set up in front of the lobby.

the actual event began, many of my classmates and friends were well underway providing massages. I kept in mind that this assignment was to allow us to get into the service mindset that makes many hotels and stores so successful, and from the start, my attitude completely changed. While I can often be wild & crazy, I ended up becoming proper and reformed with a good posture and hands folded behind my back as I walked around our area. My voice also morphed into something warm and invitational; something people want to hear when they're greeted.

Amusingly enough, even students not part of the Hotel program volunteered to help.

While I want to believe that we "outserved" the competition, I have to keep in mind that this is all a complete learning experience and that this day is just a very small piece in a very elaborate puzzle. I learned exactly how much a warm smile and show for care and easily go a long way in the world of business and competition.

Farmer's Market Just For Me

A quick picture from yesterday Ms. Neal snapped of me at Friendly's where I enjoyed the sun and digested a milkshake.

Today was a wonderful day that just embodied my wonderful experiences of Ithaca. I went, along with Taylor, Isabela, and Carrie, to the farmer's market downtown. The array of foods, crafts, and fresh vegetables were astonishing to one even from fruitful California as opposed to a valley in Texas like Isabela. We were all sorry to have eaten breakfast because there were so many types of food, all prepared to a "T" and smelling delicious.

I perused the various stands, admiring all the handiwork of various local artists and craftsmen and women. I bought myself a wrought-iron necklace in the shape of a treble clef. I enjoyed the fresh breeze of the fingerlakes. I ate fresh blueberries. I had the time of my life. I find myself talking like the main character in the psychological thriller I just saw, "The Fight Club." It blew my mind, and I have to commend once more my peers who are enlightening me with movies.

But honestly, I was really in awe of the organization and pure beauty of this farmer's market. Making my way home with regret, I fantasized about attending college here at Cornell and being able to get fresh fruits and vegetables here every weekend. After I got home, I touched up my essay to turn in my second draft, and just relaxed. Now, I'm turning in to begin my third and final week here at Cornell.

I cannot believe how fast it has gone by! As much as I am homesick, these last two weeks have been some of the best times in my life, and I am not looking forward to leaving Cornell and all the friends I have made here.

One Great Day

Today was a good day. I woke up around 9:15AM and got a text message from my friend Carle (yes, it's Carle with an "e") about going to breakfast at 11:30AM. That gave me enough time to get ready leisurely, just the way I like it, and then head out with my friends.

After that, my essay had to get done. I picked up my computer and my list of critiques from Simon (my TA) and high-tailed it over to Olin Library. This was my first time studying in one of the 11 libraries on campus, and I have to say that it was AMAZING. I had heard from all of my friends that I should take advantage of the libraries, but they were always so far away and I was already sitting right in my nice cozy 90 degree room... No more excuses today though.

The Olin library is about a ten minute walk away, and the temperature in there is probably about 65-70 degrees...perfect. What I truly failed to realize about the library though, was that it's not just great because it's quiet; it's great because there are other people around who are doing nothing but work! You can't go on while everyone else around you is suffering! You feel terrible! You HAVE to work in there, or else you just feel out of place.

My essay was due by 4:30PM and I got it done by 3:00PM. I did not think that there was any possible way for me to finish before the deadline, but that library really got the job done. I am normally an extremely slow writer, as you can ask my roommate, but my fingers were typing away like lightning in that sanctuary of knowledge. I am definitely doing my work in there from now on.

After I turned in my essay, the rest of the day was devoted to pure relaxation. I played some billiards with Nick Shebek and my roommate, Matt, and then went on to watch Fight Club in the "T.V. Lounge", aka the theater.

If you've ever seen me blog about watching a movie, this is the place that I watched it. There were originally about five chairs in this room, but as it got more and more use, the chairs just seemed to accumulate (also, if you're wondering why the chair in front is backwards, it's because someone was using it as footrest). This is and the library are two of my favorite places on campus, and the use of both of them in the same day makes for one great day.

Good night readers! Talk to you tomorrow! I may or may not be getting my mid-term back... Wish me luck!

Photo Phun

Today I went to the farmers market. It was a lot of fun. I took my film camera, which has been collecting dust on my desk and got so good shots, I hope. I also tried out my hand-held digital camera. My digital camera is not really my friend. I would say I don’t like it but then Santa might get mad at me so I will refrain from that and just say I can’t wait until I can buy myself a better quality one.

Regardless of having a below par, in my opinion, camera I got some pretty nice shots at the farmers market today. I didn’t buy anything because I had eaten before going, HUGE mistake because dinning hall food < farmers’ market food. Oh well. Here are some my my shots from the market:

After the farmers market I came back to revise and look over my first draft of my second draft to make it second draft material. I am a little nervous to turn it in to be honest. The last essay we had to write, I went to office hours to get a better understanding of what my TA wanted and then he got upset because he felt that I hadn’t incorporated all of his comments into my essay. This time I really tried to write down everything he said and to put it into my essay so he will be proud of me. I guess we will see soon enough what he thinks about it.

As the final countdown begins I am starting to realize how much I am going to miss being ‘in college’. I am really going to miss, as weird as it sounds, doing my own laundry in the basement, making new friends, my dorm bed, and the food. I know I have complained about every single thing I just listed but I am pretty sure I am going to miss it all. The experience has been great and I am not sure I am ready to go home.

Off to the workout and to turn in my essay. Until tomorrow, Over and Out blog readers.

A Long Day- In a GOOD Way!

I gmail-chatted Erinn of the ILC Brown group yesterday and asked her how she was dealing with leaving Brown University.

"I feel like I left a bit of my soul at Brown."

In five days, that's how I will feel about Cornell.

My day started with a walk around Beebe Lake with Kelly. It was, as you can see, quite beautiful. The sun was shining and the shade from the trees near the lake kept us perfectly cool in the heat. Eventually we went our separate ways. I walked back to my dorm to meet with my group for our service project, and decided to spend a few minutes cooling off from the walk.

I climbed to sit on top of a stone fence at Balch Hall, another dormitory at Cornell. There, I sang and hummed and said hello to people walking by before moving along to meet my group.

The local soup kitchen was closed, as was Goodwill, so we tried to find other places to volunteer for our project. The Ornithology Lab and Sciencenter did not need help, or required a lengthy application process, so we ended up going back to the Farmer's Market! We picked up trash all around the facility. It was very simple- we were simply picking up trash, but in the first twenty minutes alone, at least five different people had gone up to us and thanked us for "our contribution." It felt very nice to be there.

After we arrived back on campus, I headed off to the Olin Library for the first time. There, I did some studying. I had two articles about good service to read (in case you haven't noticed, that is our theme in class right now)- one called The Luxury Touch and another called Three Service Rules: The Golden Rule, Platinum Rule and Double Platinum Rule.

The Luxury Touch explains how good service is the most important factor that determines whether a company is luxurious or not. Good service cannot be a quarterly or monthly initiative; it must be built into the very culture of the company.

From Three Service Rules, I learned

The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
The Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they want to be treated.
The Double Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they don't even know they want to be treated.

Superior service is about all of these things. To paraphrase from Three Service Rules, a service provider must be able to empathize with the customer (The Golden Rule), focus on the specific customer's individual and special needs (Platinum Rule ), and to always work on how to surpass the customer's expectations (Double Platinum Rule).

Studying made me hungry and that, of course, led me to the Robert Purcell Dining Hall, where I met up with some Hotelies and a new friend from the course Body, Mind and Health.

We had fun joking about "service with a glare" instead of "service with a smile" and pouncing on warm peanut butter cookies.

My friend Margot and I proceeded after dinner to explore the campus. We went to the Physics and Chemistry buildings and had mini photo shoots everywhere.

After this I had some alone time relaxing on what is called "The Slope." It's literally a huge sloped, grassy area. I laid down and called my parents before Jobel showed up.

We ended up watching the sunset on The Slope. Today was a day perfectly balanced with school work and fun time and with new friends and old friends. It was a long day in the best possible way, and have I mentioned that I don't want to leave?