Friday, July 15, 2011

Checking Out of Class

Like a hotel, there is always a time when you simply have to check out. While it may seem like an odd metaphor to summarize my day, it certainly is a proper one that fits.

While everyone's mind was focused on getting the final report done, Reneta and Mark held some closing words for the class as a whole before every student went back to finishing and polishing their last project of the program.

With an emphasis on relationship and group building, Reneta went through a slide show of the different groups within the class, including ours! Amusingly enough, she slipped in a few inside jokes that made many of the pictures worthy to laugh of! In one instance, she made a rabbit pop onto the screen in reference to the fact that one girl owns a thirteen-pound rabbit! In another instance, she added the name "Frenchie" to another student as that is what everyone simply refers to him as (as he is French after all).

She then shared a video about Marriott Hotels and one example of a customer having a strong relationship with an employee for many years. Afterwards, she went into a presentation on the importance of relationships and shared her anecdotes of working at one of her previous hotel. She then struck a philosophical chord within each of us in providing motivational and positive thought to sprinkle throughout our daily routine. While it can seem a little corny, Reneta obviously overshadowed it with sincerity. And while so many students were itching to get back into the computer lab, all I was thinking of was how I am going to miss all the relationships I have made here at Cornell. While she emphasized that strong relationships will never break, this may be the last time I will ever see my cohorts face-to-face.

My group as we finally finished our report.

But without wasting another minute, we all scrambled to our chairs in the computer lab and went to finishing up what we had left to do. The day was crazy and chaotic as the pressure of finishing it "efficiently and effectively" (a term Mark has used throughout the course) was getting to us. While some compromises had to be made, we managed to get everything done from head-to-toe! When groups began to leave one-by-one as they turned in their report, it was hard to accept the fact that this would be the end of a remarkable journey.

The "pressure" got to Jobel's group.

Throughout the day, however, I was seeing my friends and cohorts around campus and giving them a warm welcome as I passed them by! But the icing on top of the "farewell cake" was being able to play bowling with many of our friends and the head teacher assistant of the class, Gorka. If you were there, you could have obviously felt the energy and joy this event brought to us. And while I may have been ultimately horrible at actually knocking pins down, the game was worth every minute as I was able to hang out with people I enjoy.

A group picture outside of the bowling alley.

Unfortunately, all things must come to an end and this program happens to be one of them. I think that this program has set such a high standard for similar summer colleges. The class is extremely different than anything that is taught at a high school level and it absolutely felt like a breathe of fresh air in curriculum. And while sometimes forced, the group mechanics that are thrown at us only help with the bonding of cohorts. With all the amazing people I have been honored to meet and know, it has been hard to pack up and part ways. But as it has been said before, I hope these relationships will continue to bloom and grow.

Ad Finem

Translated, my title means "the end" in Latin, a bit fitting considering starting Freedom and Justice with our roots in antiquity. I just wanted to share with readers about my final before going out- I actually haven't done anything else today but sleep! I got back to the dorms and immediately conked out. I plan on going out to dinner tonight with all my friends but basically this exam governed over this whole day.

Honestly, the two hour exam was a doozy. First of all, we had an hour to write an exam that culminated everything we have learned in the course and to find connections throughout it. I wrote about (there were a variety of choices) how Plato, Wollstonecraft, and Marx compared and contrasted on how their ideal economic, societal, and political orders were to come about in the societies they currently lived in.

Next, I wrote two shorter essays, the first regarding the difference and similarities between Locke's and Marx's conceptions of the link from labor to property. The second was on guest lectures, wanting us to bring contemporary cases we have gotten guests to discuss into the age-old themes of freedom, justice, and equality. I wrote about the case of a local girl who had been discriminated against because of her race and tied that in with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Last but not least, I identified quotes and stated their significance, in context and what effect they have on society today.

I am not sure that I did very well on this test as timed tests do not always bring out my best writing when I feel rushed, but it is always good practice, but I did my best and knew all the material I had to- so let's just hope I presented it in a way that my TA agrees. :P Either way, this class has truly been a joy to take and I have learned so much information that will be valuable in the future.

See you for one last time tomorrow readers, I'm off to my bed once again. I think I'm sleeping off all the stress of this final. And it's finally over! Which I find hard to believe in fact, and slightly nostalgic about already.

Endings Part II

After the chaos of finishing my final report with my group, and after lunch and a bit of exploring with a couple of friends, I headed back to my dorm room to start the dreaded task of packing.

I didn't bring a lot, so packing was relatively easy. The feelings that came with packing, on the other hand, bothered me. Reneta's lectures for the past two days had been painfully reminiscent of her lectures from the beginning of the program, and packing was like that. When I was done packing, my dorm room was nearly restored to its original state. It looked very much like it did when I had just arrived three weeks ago. That depressed me a bit since it was like everything was back to how it was. Then I thought about how much I have changed during the course of the three weeks. Even though I am leaving my room the way I found it, that doesn't mean nothing has changed.

Incidentally, our Head TA Gorka planned a bowling get-together today for the Hotelies at the bowling alley on campus. Some of our friends from other programs also joined us.

Gorka ended up paying for most of us! Since Jobel, Kevin and I will not be able to make it to the graduation ceremony tomorrow, today was our last day seeing Gorka. After bowling, we all took pictures and begged him to meet us at the Talent Show tonight, and he ended up coming! That was a great surprise, and gave us a little bit more time with him.

Meeting our wonderful TAs and Reneta and Mark and the friends I have made here has only made me even more excited about building relationships. A huge part of the Cornell experience was about learning people skills.

I definitely plan on writing letters and keeping in touch with the people I have met here.


It’s all over. Final = DONE. Everything is done. I am almost all packed. My roommate already moved out. Wow it is really all over.

The final wasn’t as horribly scary as I thought it would be. I felt that after studying with the gang that I had covered most of the stuff that was asked of me on the final. I am not going to say I did great or anything like that, but it is nice to know that all that stress and pressure is off my shoulders. I have really learned so much these past three weeks, and I must admit I was very worried that I would be behind the game because I have not had the best history classes while at ECHS, but I never felt like I was not a competitor while being here. I think I gained a new level of confidence while being here.

I am going to miss Professor Kramnick and Simon my TA. They have been amazing support through this whole trip. I have learned so much from both of them and I know there is no way I can thank them enough for everything they have taught me. For you future Freedom and Justicers out there I really hope you get Simon as a TA because he is a lot of fun to get to know. And for anyone interested in the ILC Cornell Freedom and Justice is a ton of fun and extremely interesting. I will never forget what they have taught me.

Gosh it is just such a shock that it is all over. It feels like I haven’t seen fog in a very long time, but my three weeks here have not felt very long at all, and now it is over.

I owe a HUGE thank you to the ILC. This has been a trip of a lifetime I will never forget it. Being here at Cornell opened my eyes to everything I have to look forward to in life. There are so many people out there for me to meet, so many places for me to go, and so much for me to learn.

I have enjoyed my time here at Cornell and cannot believe that I am leaving tomorrow morning. I would really just like to say I have learned so much about myself while being here. I have learned new time-management lessons (the hard way at times). I have learned how to be more confident and out going person. And I have just learned a lot from the other student that I have been surrounded by these past three weeks. I could never have learned all these things if the ILC had not believed in me so thank you so much.

I am going to miss Cornell!

Over and Out blog readers.

Is This It?

It still hasn’t hit me in any form that I’m going to get on a plane tomorrow, leave this awesome place, and go back to my home. It’s a bit weird even calling my house in California home right now, since I’ve been here so long, it feels like I’m about to go to my home away from home, not go from it. These three weeks have been fun and boring, short and long, relaxed and stressful, all seemingly at the same time. It’s hard to explain just how I’m feeling about going home now, mainly because it’s impossible to look at this whole experience objectively, at least at this moment.

Anyway, today I took my final, and I felt good about it. Not great, but good. It was a bit odd hearing the professor telling us we were done and to leave.

Well, off to enjoy my last night of freedom, I’ll probably be able to actually reflect over the weekend.


I'M DONE!!! I know I said last night that I didn't know if I would be sad or excited, but I am SO excited!!! Turning in my final and hearing Professor Kramnick say those final words, "You're done!" just made my heart jump. I can't believe that I have no academic work to do tonight and I definitely cannot believe that the main item on my to do list today is to pack up.

So, the final went well! I don't know if I would say great, but definitely well. The introduction to my essay was a bit off topic, which I realized after I went back and re-read the question, but the rest of my body paragraphs and conclusion were solid. The question I chose prompted me to pick three thinkers that we had covered throughout our class and compare their methods for reaching the goals that they had in mind for society. I chose to write about Plato (who wanted to lie to the people in order to make them subordinate), Martin Luther King Jr. (who contrastingly chose to show people the truth behind racism and prejudice), and Karl Marx (who differed from both of these thinkers in that he just thought his vision of a communist society would inevitably become a reality).

After that were the short essays: First one asked me to compare Locke's ideas of labor and property with Marx's, and the second one asked me to relate the message of one of the speakers we'd had to the fundamental themes of the class (i.e. freedom, justice, or equality). Those essays went fairly well and although I feel like I could have done better, the essays I wrote were about as good as I could have gotten them in twenty minutes, which was our time constraint.

The short answer questions after that went well, but I think I only got partial credit for one of them again like last time! I was solid on four of them, but the fifth one was a little shaky. I definitely knew who said the quote that it asked but I could just barely relate it to that philosopher's overall message. Oh well. 4 1/2 out of 5 isn't bad, haha.

When I turned in my paper I made sure to thank Simon for all of his help and was happy to hear him offer a letter of recommendation. It was such a happy moment. We shook hands and I was on my way.

Now it's time to celebrate. My friends are currently in my room waiting for me to finish this blog so we can go out and play basketball. I don't know what we're going to do with the rest of the night, but I'm just so excited to be done with everything.

Thank you again ILC for sending me out here. This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I would never have been able to do it without you. I appreciate everything you've done for me and I've done the best I can to represent WCCUSD. I can't wait to get home.

To my family, I love you guys, and I'll see you soon.

Have an awesome day readers! I'll talk to you soon. Good bye!

A Last Surge

As the rest of my esteemed colleagues, I have to apologize for a blog post that will be short and hopefully sweet.

My brain is fried from all the studying I have done today- a few hours here in Uris Library, a few there talking to my TA, and the countless others in my room or on the lawn- and not just today. (That was only the last-minute cramming) Hopefully I have done all I could to prepare myself for tomorrow's exam, and will give a lengthy account tomorrow after all is said and done. For now, I am going to attempt to sleep and preserve all the knowledge I have just inhaled.

On a happier note, I did want to quickly mention how today was a lovely day that included an early celebration of Teri's birthday, which Jobel had cleverly ordered a backwards cake for. My study group said their fond farewells, and the weather on campus was not nauseatingly hot. Should be a good sign for tomorrow! All it takes is a last effort and I can imagine that when I put all my energy into my exam tomorrow, I will spend the rest of my day resting and taking in as much of Cornell as I can before Saturday, the fateful day of our departure. Goodnight everyone.