Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 2 - Less to do, but still more learn

I read outside and had this view before Ennette found me.
The only major event for today was the three-hour Crash Course held at 1:30 PM in Bailey Hall, so I got to sleep in until 9 today (probably my last chance to do so). Breakfast was uneventful; it seems that the gluten-free section is only stocked with bread and cookies during the summer. I've consumed mostly fruit and lettuce since coming here, and have had to tighten my belt a lot. In between breakfast and the event, I decided to try to finish my homework early. Unfortunately, I was not too successful; I ran into one of my new acquaintances, Ennette (hopefully I'm spelling her name right), and we ended up talking in her room for an hour or so. Then we walked together with my roommate and her friend Lynn to Bailey Hall, taking a short-cut through the Physics building.

Despite the formal hall, inside was a little chaotic.
The lecture was mandatory, but I wish I had brought a book to read. The woman speaking (Janet Snoyer) covered things I had long since learned from AP classes - the right way to organize homework, get sleep, and avoid stress. Overall, I did not learn anything new. The only exciting thing was twice during the lecture, Janet threw several beach balls (big and small) into the crowd in order to revive us and refresh our attention.

Afterward, Ennette and I walked down to Statler Hall before returning, just to see how long it would take us to get there. She told me some more about her school, and her passion for singing; she actually is very energetic and gregarious. It took some getting used to, but it's also fun to meet people with so many different personalities and backgrounds. So far, my favorite students to hang out with are from out of the country. I am learning so much already about different cultures, and I haven't even started class yet! Tomorrow, though, I agreed to have breakfast with my cohort; I really haven't spent much time with them today, except when they came to pick up the laundry detergent. According to their blogs though, they seem to be keeping just as busy as I am by exploring the beautiful and seemingly unending campus. Tomorrow class officially starts; my homework is done, my stuff is organized, and I feel adequately prepared for what lies ahead. The only thing I don't really look forward to is the 20- to 30-minute walk between my dormitory and campus. However, if that's the worst part of tomorrow, I think I will do just fine for the next three weeks. Currently someone is singing right outside my door...perhaps that is my signal to call it a night.

Things Are Looking Good

Today, we had the luxury of waking up later so for the first time in a week, I got a full eight hours of sleep! After washing up, I headed up for breakfast at around 9:30 AM and met up with the ILC Cornell cohort and Matt (our new friend). After a quick breakfast, we all decided to find the routes to our classes for tomorrow and explore more of the campus. Surprisingly, we didn't get lost this time despite not having a map. After we asked the route to our classes, we decided to go to the Cornell Bookstore but to our dismay, it was closes. We then tried to go up the Cornell Clock Tower, but it too was closed. After being denied twice, we prayed that the nearby library was opened, but (as you probably guess it) it was also closed. I guess not much happens on Sunday. We ended up being drawn into the Science Building by its modern architecture in comparison to its neighboring building. We explored the building and were astounded by the advanced technology in the classrooms. Shortly after, we headed back for lunch, a mere one hour after breakfast. Once we were done, we headed out to Bailey Hall for our College Crash Course.

Great view of the campus of Cornell
Our scenery walking to class
The Cornell Clock Tower
The seminar was led by a Ms. Janet Snoyer. Coincidentally, a huge portion of the seminar was about sleep and our group was talking about how much sleep we were lacking. Ms. Snoyer spent the most time about how the sleeping pattern works: five cycles of 90 minutes. She also told us some techniques of how to sleep throughout the day. While sleep seemed to be the main theme, Ms. Snoyer also talked about Perception, Autonomy, Connectedness, Tone. During the seminar, it was quite evident that most people were getting drowsy, so for about five minutes, we were throwing beach balls around. Unfortunately, we didn't get to, throw the ball too much due to the location of our seats. After the seminar, we met up with Mr. Chan-Law and Mrs. Kronenberg to talk about our classes tomorrow and our laundry situation.

We then went to go do our laundry from last week. Surprisingly, the process was not as difficult as I thought, plus we met some new people in the laundry room. While waiting for our laundry to finish, we played some catch with Alex's tennis ball. A little while after, we went to the Activities Fair to sign up for some extra-curricular activities. There were an array of activities such as intramural sports and field trips. I personally signed up for ballroom dancing and the field trip to Buttermilk Falls. After the Fair, we ate some dinner and we are now in the lounge having a blogging party.

Overall, the day was very smooth. Thanks to Cornell for clearing up my situation yesterday. Things are now getting better and better, and I am extremely excites for class tomorrow with our enthusiastic professor.

A Relaxed Day

I woke up on my new bed at 8 AM and set off to breakfast. The food was good, and we met new people. We hanged out with a man named Matt. He was very interesting, and it was fascinating to find out about new people.
 After filling our bellies, we set off to explore the campus. Eric and I wanted to know the route to our classroom, so we went to the hotel building. We met up with the El Cerrito students later and visited the clock tower. It was closed, but we went to the other side of the tower. The view was incredible. It was very different from California, because there was so much green. The next stop was the science building. It was completely different from the other older buildings. It was very clean, and their bathrooms were much nicer than the dorm's. We finally went back to our dorm after a while.
Wonderful View
Cornell's Clock Tower

New Building in Cornell
At 1:30, we had a crash course. It lasted for about 2 1/2 hours, but it was intriguing. The speaker explained college life. She explained the importance of sleep, and why teenagers should get around 9 hours of sleep. She was fun because, when everyone was getting tired, she let us bounce beach balls in the auditorium, though the balls never got to us. Overall, it was nicer than expected.

Us Playing with Beach Balls
When we arrived back to the dorm, we finally did the laundry for the first time. It was confusing, but at last, we just decided to throw everything in the washing machine and see what happened. In total, all five of us needed three washes because everyone had huge loads of clothes. We past time by playing catch with Alex's tennis ball. The washing was fine, but then the dryers was very complicated. When we put the clothes in, the time was set to 45 minutes. We were afraid that our clothes were going to shrink, so we checked back 35 minutes later. They weren't all dry, but we decided that that was enough. I would say that  it was a good first experience.

After this day, there won't be any leisure time left. It's going to be work work work at the hotel course. It was a great adventure while it lasted. Hotel Management, here I come.

A Day Around Campus

Our first morning on campus was spent with a leisurely walk to breakfast with the ILC group plus a couple people we met yesterday. So far I have loved the selection the Robert Purcell Dining Hall has to offer. Again, the Cornell has been very considerate toward dietary restrictions and they have list the main ingredients (dairy, wheat, etc.) of each dish. Next, our group split up into our restive classes to simulate and time the walk down from the dining hall to our classroom.

Ithaca Gorges
Seventeen minutes later we arrived at the lecture hall where tomorrow's class will take place. Afterwards we began to explore the campus into greater depth, touring the southern part of the campus especially. We tried to climb the Cornell chime tower (where they played tunes earlier such as Beatles selections), which was unfortunately only available to faculty members at most hours. We took a walk through the newer-looking science building, sandwiched between two older brick structures. After returning to the community center for lunch, we walked down again to Bailey Hall for a college "crash-course" that focused specifically on time management and work ethic while attending college.

In order to wake us up...
Along with organizing your life as a university student, the course focused a lot on the importance of rest to able to properly function. One thing I found funny is that the presenter advised us to get 9 hours of sleep, but with the mandatory 11 o'clock check-in time and the 9 o'clock start to our weekday classes, 9 hours of sleep is almost impossible. As I began to get sleepy, my favorite part of her presentation must have been her point on how to wake you up during the day by being active, not by consuming caffeine. She proved her point by distributing beach balls around the room to be volleyed by the crowd, which really did work.
The Clock Tower, same as on blog cover photo
In the afternoon, we met again with Mr. Chan-Law and Ms. Kronenberg to discuss our classes and check to see if we are all prepared and properly equipped with our literature and materials. We did our first load of laundry and spent some time playing outdoors while we waited for our loads to finish. Afterward we all attended the activities fair, where various events such as a hike to Buttermilk Falls, a Fourth of July barbecue, and many others on campus became available to us. We decided to be outgoing and sign up for many activities, including the hike, barbecue, and a ballroom dancing class, taught by my R.A. Asher.

While in Philadelphia, I was reading the Brown blog, where many of the students' writing revolved around the unbearable heat and humidity that they were experiencing in Providence. Today, the temperature in Ithaca was beautiful once again, with a temperature no hotter than 70 degrees with a consistent breeze throughout the day.  It was even raining in the later afternoon! We are all blogging from the Mary Donlon Hall lounge, where the temperature would be suitable for a jacket and long pants.  Today was even predicted to be the warmest day of the week! Maybe we will need to unpack the jeans out of our suitcases!

Overall, the day before our classes started was relatively relaxed. We all familiarized ourselves with the campus and prepared for what the week has on store for us.  I cannot wait to share my first day in Freedom and Justice with you all tomorrow night!

Sun and Rain

Sunshine followed by rain. That describes today. The weather this morning was beautiful. There were clear skies and there was a nice breeze which kept the temperature relatively cool. Eric, Alex, Calvin, Frank, Matt, and I took advantage of our free time to time our walk to our classrooms and just check out the surrounding areas. We tried to climb McGraw Tower, but we didn’t know there were only specific times when people are allowed to climb the tower. Following that, we toured the science building because we thought it was the architecture building and took our time walking back to the RPCC for lunch.

The view from the walking bridge.

McGraw Tower

We enjoyed our lunch and then made our way down to Bailey Hall for a college crash course. The crash course taught me that college is about time management because in college, the vast majority of learning takes place outside of the classroom. The better college students manage their time, the better he or she will do because he or she won’t be stressed. Stress, according to the speaker, is arguing with reality because it’s physically impossible to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Also, having better time management allows for more sleep which our speaker said is crucial. She said that we need five cycles of sleep, each of which is 90 minutes. She said that it’s crucial that we finish a cycle before we wake up because if we’re in the middle of a cycle and we wake up then we will be really groggy and won’t be able to focus which will result in us not being able to absorb as much as we can.

The speaker also let us take a test to find out what kind of learner we are and I found out that I am an assimilator like Frank and Eric. As assimilators, Frank, Eric and I like to focus on concepts and the big picture as opposed to focusing on minor details.

The view from the bottom of McGraw Tower

The view from the bottom of McGraw Tower

Following the crash course, we spoke briefly with Mr. Chan-Law and Mrs. Kronenberg before we made our way to Mary Donlon Hall where Eric, Alex, Calvin, Frank, Matt, and I all did laundry together. I was an interesting experience because we weren’t quite sure what settings to use and a girl walked in to do laundry for one pair of shorts. While our clothes were cleaning, we went to check out the activities fair where we grabbed a free t-shirt and signed up for a trip to Buttermilk Farm, which I heard was beautiful.
As we began to wind our day down at dinner, the weather changed from being sunny to raining and we walked across the damp pavement to Mary Donlon Hall where we’re all blogging.

A Lazy Sunday

The Clock Tower
My first night in the dorms was actually quite pleasant. My roommate lives in New York, so he brought a bunch of his own gear including a refrigerator, 3 fans, and plenty of snacks. We were very comfortable. I slept well, and for the first time this trip I had no set wake up time. Unfortunately my body did not let me take advantage of this and I was wide awake by 8:45. Luckily, so were my friends, so we headed off to breakfast.

After breakfast we used our free time before the "College Crash Course" at 1:30 to explore the campus. First, we made sure we knew the way to class and checked how long we needed to get there. Then we headed to the clock tower with the intent to climb it, unfortunately it is only open at specific times during the day and we missed our slot. On our way back to the dining hall for lunch we explored Science Department's building. Then it was back to the buffet.

Beach Balls!
 The College Crash Course was essentially a 2 hour long speech with brief intermissions given by a Cornell faculty member, named Janet. She talked about four main topics: perspective, autonomy, connectedness, and tone. Within those topics sleeping habits, alcohol and drug use, and time management were addressed. We were given some basic tests to help assess how we think and start to think in different ways. According to an assessment that I am an "assimilator," which means I like abstract conceptualization and reflective observation. During the intermissions, beach balls were thrown out in to the crowd and we had innocent fun hitting them around the building. I think the summer program is run really well and I already feel very comfortable in this new environment.
A View From the Base (unfortunately)
 of the Clock Tower

After the crash course we did laundry for the first time and played catch with a tennis ball while waiting. Since we did not have enough laundry individually we combined loads. Unfortunately we had some technical errors and everything came out a little damp. Right before dinner was an activities fair where we could sign up for various clubs and groups. I signed up for intramural sports and ballroom dance. We also got our free Cornell Summer College t-shirts. Then it was dinner time, during which I enjoyed a plate of various casseroles and a root beer float for desert. After dinner we hung out in the lobby blogging. Then I headed up to my floor to spend time with my neighbors, shower, and go to sleep. We had our first glimpse of East Coast weather patterns today when it went from a beautiful sunny day to a rainy afternoon.

Tomorrow is our first day of class and I cannot wait! I am very excited to start class with Professor Kramnick.