Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Test...

Today I decided to sleep on an extra half hour to get more test for the midterm. It ended up being a good decision as I woke up feeling refreshed and ready. After a quick breakfast I headed off to the midterm with Calvin and Alex. 

The midterm was an hour long test, 40 minutes for an essay and 20 minutes for short answer questions. We had three choices for the essay. I chose one in which I was asked to compare three of the author's justification for government. For the short answers we had to identify the origin and purpose of five out of nine quotes and ideas. The test was difficult, but not as hard as I was worried it would be. I felt well prepared, and I am excited to see how I did.
Professor Kramnick lectured us on women's rights and the original feminists. In our discussion section we went deeper in to the topic and 

We then went to Robert H. Treman Park with Mr. Chan-Law and I finally got the chance to go swimming. After about 15 minutes in the water it started pouring, but we decided to wait it out. This turned out to be a good idea when 10 minutes later it stopped raining and we enjoyed another hour relaxing waterside in the sun.
The Falls
After dinner I spent the rest of the night relaxing first with the Cornell Cohort, Matt, Hannon, Alyssa, Sam, and Morgan. Then later in my floor common room with my floor mates while doing my reading for class. Then I blogged and now it is time for sleep. Tomorrow is like Friday, then we have a lineup of several great events for the weekend. Colgate, Spiderman, and Cooperstown.

This is the technical halfway point of the class, and so far this trip has been one of the best experiences of my life. The class is extremely intereseting and I feel like I have grown more intellectually in this week and a half of class than I do in a whole year of high school. Living away from my parents has also been quite an experience and it made me realize how important having a good work ethic and being responsible is. I am going to maintain my current ethics and keep trying to improve them, so actually living alone is not a difficult transition.

Halfway Point

Our midterm has finally arrived! Ironically given on Independence Day in a class about Freedom & Justice. After studying for extraneous periods of time yesterday, I felt fairly confident that I knew the concepts of all the writers we had covered. We got to class and Professor Kramnick told us the logistics of the test. If you have ever taken an AP Literature test, it's basically like the free response question. All you need to do is take a position (no matter how unorthodox it may be) and back it up with evidence. The second part was short answers in which we had to identify who wrote a certain quotation or concept.  The test was not as difficult as I had imagined. yet I wasted a lot of time thinking about how to start my introduction paragraph. Once we were done with the test, we convened class as normal, but with every pushed back an hour. Professor Kramnick lectured about the beginnings of feminism through Wollstonecraft, de Gouge, and Mill, while our group session focused on feminism/sexism in the modern society. 

After class, Eric Wilson, Alex, and I headed out to Buttermilk Falls with Mr. Chan-Law since we weren't able to last Saturday. We ended up diverging off the path a little and ended up at Robert H. Treman State Park. To our surprise, there were a lot of people there, especially in the swimming area. The three of us decided to go in the water which turned out to be extremely cold. To make matters worse, while I was getting into the lake, I banged my foot against a rock which eventually turned into a huge bruise, so it actually hurts when I walk now.

When we came back from the park, I hung out with my friends in the Donlon Lounge which seems to be the only air conditioned room, actually, it's so air conditioned that you could probably wear a sweatshirt and sweatpants and still be cold. 

It is unbelievable that we are now passing the halfway mark of this experience. So far, these past one and a half weeks have been beyond the description of words. If I could, I would stay here forever! 

Independence! (for the Country and the 19th Century Women...)

Today was the day.  I had spent the entire night anticipating today’s preliminary exam.  I woke up a little earlier than usual and got to breakfast with the guys to review exam material.  We arrived to class early and soon began the test.

Robert E. Treman State Park, feeding into the lake
Earlier in the week we had received a sample exam to familiarize ourselves with the format of the test.  As promised, the layout was the same, however, I found that the questions were harder.  Overall I felt satisfied with my performance on the test, and that the hard work and studying paid off.  We moved into our lecture about feminist progressivism and three major characters in this revolutionary idea of the time: Marie-Olympe de Gouges, Mary Wollstonecraft, and John Stuart Mill.  Each was considered a liberal feminist of their respective era in the 18th and 19th centuries, and had somewhat similar views.  They pushed for women’s rights and suffrage, validating their arguments around the unjust treatment of women as inhumane and intellectually inferior.  In the past, the philosophers we have studied have wrestled issues that were controversial to the point where more than one acceptable solution was valid.  It was interesting studying the feminist movement and the philosophy behind it as we had already found an answer to this problem; the perspective of the issue was just different during the time.  Our discussion focused on the different views of each promoter of feminism, but instead found many similarities through their quest for such a common cause. 

After school the three Freedom and Justice students joined Mr. Chan-Law for a trip to Robert E. Treman State Park, neighboring Buttermilk Falls.  It was a pleasant retreat after our vigorous studies, the scenery was just wonderful outside by the lake.  We swam and relaxed before a 5-minite spurt of rain interrupted us.  This East Coast weather has been strange: one minute the sky is blue and the sun is exposed, and in a few minutes the clouds come in and it pours for a short amount of time before the weather resumes back to normal.  It was nice going off campus, and riding in a private vehicle, a refreshing experience after being acclimated to campus life. 

The evening was spent touching up on the feminist idealists before heading up to Donlon lounge to relax with friends after a long day. Tomorrow we will study the feminist leaders in greater depth, and then it’s the weekend!  I cannot wait, Colgate University and Cooperstown, the Baseball Hall of Fame, are waiting for us.  I am also looking forward to traveling once again with our original cohort like the good old days.


Today is the anniversary of our nations independence. Today isn't  just July 4th that we celebrate with barbecues and fireworks; today is also  Mark and Reneta's wedding anniversary. When we walked into class today, the PowerPoint slide looked like any normal beginning slide because it said "HAdm 1101 Welcome to day 8". However, when Mark changed they slide, the new title said "Love You!" and Mark and Reneta's wedding song began to play. After a chorus of "awwwws" Mark and Reneta got right back into the swing of things and began the lecture as if it were any normal day.

Today, we learned about financial statements which sparked more thoughts about how my CHESS hotel should be managed. We found that if we have two samples, one where there is a set occupancy and set ADR (Average Daily Rate), and one where the occupancy is the same but the ADR is higher, the second sample is obviously more profitable. If we extend this to where the first sample is same as before, but the second sample has and occupancy rate that is 3% lower and the ADR is 3% higher, the second sample was still more profitable.

This got me thinking be wise yesterday I was pretty much set on just keeping lower rates open longer so the occupancy rate will go up as part if a two part plan. If i do that, then my ADR would be lowered because I would be accepting more low rates than I originally was going to accept. Based on the two examples about occupancy vs. ADR, I think should ditch the part of my plan to just try increase occupancy by accepting lower rates and focus on keeping my ADR in the high 90s.

Today's lecture also covered the second part of my plan: cut expenses. We covered variable cost which is the commitments per occupied room, the variable amount which includes guest room supplies, divided by the ADR. This gives us a percentage and Reneta explained that most profitable percentage is slightly less than 20%. After Mark walked us through how to find the variable cost on Excel, I discover that my variable cost for business and group travelers was right at or below 20% while my variable cost for leisure travelers was well above 20% at 24%. This told me that I need to cut expenses on the leisure group and hopefully this tactic will help me reach the goal of a department revenue of $70,000 per week.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Happy anniversary Mark and Reneta!

Independence Day for the U.S., Lecture Day for Us

Despite it being July 4th, all of the hotelies had to get up early for a full day of class (not that we were the only ones; the Freedom and Justice kids had an extensive midterm test today). Even though it was a holiday, class was not too bad because the building has air conditioning. Unfortunately it was hard to stay awake during the lectures; everyone is becoming weary, and I see more people dozing off before an hour is even up. Most of us don't get a lot of sleep because we start on projects early, and during class we fix the multitude of mistakes we made. Overall, it is an exhaustive process; in the end, I am still not sure if I am completing assignments correctly.

Today was packed with information. First we had a lecture with Reneta (continuing the discussion on yield management), and then my group went with her to the computer lab to learn about CHESS data, and what we will need for our report (due Friday). Afterwards we took a short break, and then worked with Mark on how to use Excel. It was not particularly hard, but once again he went too fast for me to catch everything. Finally it was time for lunch; Mark and Reneta had to provide us with food because all of the cafeterias were closed today. It was also their 14th-year anniversary, so the TAs got together and surprised them with flowers, a balloon, and a gift (that was the surprise I mentioned yesterday; the entire class was e-mailed about it). Lunch was only an hour today, but we did get out a half-hour early.

During my break I went for a walk and read a book on my iPod. I also grabbed a hot dog from the barbecue they were having outside in celebration of Independence Day. The break from class ended too quickly, and during office hours I hurried to complete my report template and submit the basic data from my simulated hotel. If anyone is interested,  I have it copied here:

Ted E. Bair Inn
Average Daily Rate $90.23,  Occupancy 78%
Department Income
Week 1  $55,636.76
Week 2  $72,319.85
Week 3  $57,865.97
Week 4  $62,901.49
Week 5  $66,924.58
Week 6  $63,611.82
TOTAL  $379,260.47
I was about average with the rest of the class, so I think I am on track. My report will include this data, plus other information from the performance details of the simulation. For now though, I am going to try to catch up on my sleep.

A Day of Celebration

Today was a special day. Not only was it the 4th of July, the birth of our nation, it was also Mark and Reneta's anniversary. Independence day was of lesser importance to me this year because we still had class. Nonetheless, it still was a national holiday. However, since our professors were celebrating their 14th anniversary, they seemed to be in a very happy mood. The class felt more enjoyable because of both the anniversary and the holiday. 

As class started, Mark had a decoy presentation that had their wedding song on one of he slides. It said "I love you" and then he played their wedding song. It was a happy moment in our class but after he music was done, it was back to business. Reneta began The day with a detailed discussion about the CHESS financial papers and then, we learned how to calculate the statistics.

After finishing up Reneta lecture, we went to lunch. Since our class was the only class on the fourth of July, trillium hall, where we usually go eat lunch, was not open. Thankfully, our professors brought every one pizza and subs. It was better than I thought it would be. I expected something like cafeteria pizza, but it was actually very tasty. He subs weren't on subway standards, but enjoyable nonetheless. At the cafe where we all stayed for lunch, our TAs surprised Mark and Reneta with an anniversary card and balloons and a picture of the two. We applauded to them after they received their gifts.

We finished off our class with the same routine. Our class was split and Reneta talked to us about the business memo, and Mark finished class off with a Microsoft Excel overview. We left today half an hour earlier and all that was needed to do was going to office hours.

Office hours went by fast, because we had something due at the end of it. This finished our rather dull Independence Day. I was envious of the people that were relaxing outside, especially the El Cerrito group, who went to Buttermilk Falls.