Today, I was in charge of wake-up calls which means I had to wake up extra early. After we all met in the hotel lobby, we walked towards the Philadelphia 30th Street Station to go on Amtrak to New York City. Surprisingly the weather was not to hot, but was still in the upper registers compared to the San Francisco Bay Area. Upon arriving at New York City, we were greeted by a temperature in the mid 90s. Unfortunately, I was slightly disappointed at my NYC Times Square visit. Once I arrived it was very hot and crowded; it reminded me of Union Square in San Francisco. Well, I guess my expectations of Time Square was a little too high. I realized that the only interesting places in Time Square were where the annual ball-drop is and the Good Morning America studio is. Other than that it was not that exciting, the thrill came more from the fact that I was actually in Times Square rather than the attractions in it.
|30th Station in Philadelphia|
|Good Morning America studio|
|Different view of the studio|
|The ball seems to just live there throughout the year|
After a quick walk-around in Times Square, we took the infamous subway system of New York to get to Columbia University. We had a quick lunch and went straight to the informational session. During that time, we learned about all the required classes every student needs to take and other interesting information (like how Columbia student need to take a swimming test in order to graduate). After the informational session, we went on a campus tour that seemed to last forever because of the scorching heat. I quickly realized how small Columbia was. Throughout the Columbia visit, I noticed many similarities between Columbia and UPenn in terms of how their academics are run.
|Butler Library in Columbia University|
|Low Library (not a library anymore)|
After the visit, we quickly headed back to the subway system to get back to the Amtrak station as to make sure we would not miss our train. However, our train was delayed but only for about 20 minutes (another train was delayed an hour and 15 minutes). Since we got back late, we only had about 20 minutes before we had to head out to dinner. I was a little disappointed that we couldn't have dinner with any of the Columbia admissions officer because the trip from NYC to Philadelphia is too long and the main reason: Columbia admission officers are not allowed to engage in outside activities with prospective students.
Although we didn't get to have dinner with Columbia, we still had a great time with ourselves. We went to a Spanish restaurant called Amada located in Old Philadelphia, a few blocks from Independence Hall. There we order the "Chef's Selection" in which the chef chooses what he wants to make for us (this helped out a lot since there was an array of items on the menu). We ended up having three courses of four to five different dishes per courses. In the end, we were completely stuffed but still managed to wipe the desserts clean. As a token of my appreciation, I ended up drawing a picture make out of melted sorbet on my plate to present to the chef. Amazingly, he turned around and gave me a thumbs-up sign, an okay sign, and a nod of approval.
|My art piece for the chef|
Overall, today was one of the best days so far. I learned a lot about Columbia University and can now compare the pros and cons between it and UPenn. Although I was a little disappointed with Times Square, going to NYC was an experience all in itself; everything from the people who don't follow the traffic signals to the crazy cab drivers. Tomorrow, we're off to New Jersey to visit Princeton!