Friday, July 6, 2012

A Trip With The (Freedom and) Justice League

Unfortunately I could not celebrate the first day of my 3 day weekend with excessive sloth, but the trip to Colgate University was worth it. Calvin, Alex, Mr. Chan-Law, and I left for Colgate at around 9:30. It was around an hour and a half car ride, which we spent listening to music and talking. After a quick lunch at a local sandwich shop, we arrived at Colgate.

I was immediately impressed by the beauty of the campus. The grounds consisted of a mix of modern and old  style buildings surrounded by fields of green grass, with a large lake by the Greek Houses. After collecting a wide variety of pamphlets it was time for our campus tour. The tour was fairly standard, the highlights for me were Colgate's Geological Museum and finally learning the it IS the same Colgate as the toothpaste. The same family made Colgate Toothpaste and donated huge amounts to Colgate.
The Science Building
Dinosaur Skull From the
Colgate Museum
After the campus tour we attended an information session. The more sessions I go to I realize that they all pretty much say the same things. To really get to know the school you have to listen for the different things aside from their low student to staff ratio and multiple course and club options. Unfortunately I was not able to get a picture of the inn my grandfather worked at or the apartment my grandfather, grandmother, and father lived in for the first year of my father's life. The trip was still a great experience and it was very cool to see the school.

The Lake with permanent residents,
the swans Adam and Eve
After we got back to Cornell, we played a few games of pool then went to dinner. The entire cohort then went to see Spiderman in 3D. I enjoyed the movie. I drastically prefer the new actor to the one from the original Spiderman. I spent the rest of the night hanging out in the Formal Lounge at Donlon Hall making new friends.

Closing Another Week

Today marked the end of another busy week. Our morning started with a short video about the Waldorf Astoria and its employees. The scene was chaotic; everyone always had to run somewhere. The managers were stressed and the line-level workers have long hours of hard labor. The hotel, with all its grandeur, seems like a well-organized mess behind the scenes.Things appear to run smoothly in front of guests, and the cameras portray smiling employees who seems happy about their jobs. I have my doubts though; does the concierge at the Waldorf Towers truly enjoy searching for a vegetarian restaurant that offers meat dishes? Do runners really enjoy hefting beds and fetching toiletries for eight hours? As the doorman mentioned that the bags he lifted were often 70 to 100 pounds, I also wondered how many employees regularly had to consult the occupational health department. Or maybe just a psychiatrist to help cope with the stressful requirements present in all the jobs.

After the video, we had until 12 PM to turn in our reports. After some small editing - hindsight is always 20/20 - I tried to print my paper. Unfortunately, so did many other people, and Mark had one person out there to sort through all of the papers. I printed my work at 11, and didn't receive all of it until 11:57. I thought it would have been better to have everyone write their names on the board when they were ready to print, and have them wait and go three to six at a time (one to two per printer) so that chaos could be avoided. As the person distributing the papers could call out the next six or so names, signaling that it was their turn to print. No papers would be lost, and less time would be wasted trying to figure out what report belong to which person. I wanted to suggest this, but Mark was going in and out of the room so fast that I really didn't have a chance. Maybe they will try my idea next time. After all, as the Waldorf video proved, there must be a method to the madness.

Afterward I had the rest of the afternoon off. Alva and I grabbed lunch together, and discussed English and Chinese curse words as well as how we want to change the world - the topics every kid our age would tackle over fruit salad, soda, and cheeseburgers. I checked my e-mail at 1:50, and discovered I still had one more copy of my report to print out - and less than ten minutes to do it! I ran to the class through the wonderful humidity and 88-degree heat, and made it in six minutes (the walk usually take me fifteen to twenty minutes). I caught the TAs just as they were about to leave, and thankfully they stayed the extra two minutes it took for me to print out my copy.

The highlight of tonight was going to see Spider-Man with the rest of the cohort. The movie had some good and bad parts (I don't want to give any spoilers); the music was good, Stan Lee's appearance this time was obvious and hilarious, and it was a good way to escape school life for two hours. Overall, the movie was a B for me. As a side note, sometimes I felt like I was watching Twilight; the main character wore his hair like Robert Pattinson, and scenes between he and his girlfriend consisted mostly of almost-kisses. Those are the two main characteristics of the vampire love story, and I wondered if Jacob, having failed at attaining Bella, would go for Gwen instead (Team Jacob vs. Team Peter Parker?). At least the acting for Spider-Man was better.

After going to Target to pick up some toothpaste, we all went back to the dorms to do our own thing (I did laundry). Tomorrow we are going to Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. I'm not exactly excited about it (I've never been very interested in the sport), but I do think it will be interesting!

Toothpaste University

Today, Eric, Alex, Mr. Chan-Law, and I embarked on our trip to Colgate University. After not being in a car for such a long time, I actually got excited for the ride to Colgate. Throughout the whole trip, all we saw were cornfields and cows. It wasn't until we were in Hamilton (the city where Colgate is located) that we saw true civilization. We had a quick lunch in a stereotypical "mom and pop" store so we wouldn't be late for the campus tour. Nevertheless, the food was delicious.

Once we got to the university, the tour started almost immediately. Just like all the other campus tours we went through some academic buildings. One nice part of the tour was when we toured the inside of a freshman dorm. After the tour, we attended the info session which went over the logistics of the school. Along the way, we learned that Colgate University is the same Colgate for toothpaste, and they have a freakish obsession with the number 13.

When we got back to Cornell, the four of us decided to play some pool before meeting up with the others for dinner. After dinner, all of us (the Cornell cohort) went to Ithaca Mall and watched The Amazing Spiderman in 3D. Overall, the movie was very exciting, partly because I haven't been to a movie theater in a long time. After the movies, we went back and relaxed in the Donlon lounge.

Overall, it has been a fun-filled day. It was refreshing going out of campus and exploring other large of New York. In fact on the way back from Colgate, we saw an Amish woman riding a carriage on the road! New York, you never fail to show me something new.

The Countryside and Clean Teeth

Instead of the usual routine, our Friday off allowed us to sleep in and head to breakfast around 9 o'clock. I met Asher, my R.A. on the way up to the community center and we were able to chat for a bit. He is taking linear algebra during the day to fill his requirements for his engineering degree. Two years ago he took a summer program at Cornell, which convinced him that this was the school for him. He applied early decision and was accepted. 

Colgate University
Since everyone else except for Freedom and Justice, very few people occupied the Robert Purcell dining hall; for once I did not have to wait in line to receive my chocolate milk and hash browns. We took our time with breakfast and soon left for Colgate with Mr. Chan-Law.

The car ride on the way to Colgate was amazing. Not only was it refreshing to go off campus and ride in a private vehicle once more, but also the rural scenery was beautiful. We drove through farmlands, spotting over a hundred cows on the way; on the way back we even saw an Amish person in a horse and buggy. After about an hour and a half we arrived in Hamilton, New York.

After a drive up a steep hill (similar to arriving to Cornell), we entered the admissions building and we greeted by Susannah, a rising junior at the school. We explored the campus: the Olin science building, Curtiss Dining Hall, and were even admitted into a dorm room in East Hall. In the science building there was a fossil museum that held a real dinosaur egg. Funny story: some undergraduates (Colgate hosted fewer than ten graduate students this past school year) tried and succeeded in stealing the dinosaur egg from the museum, only to return the egg the next day with a sign saying "you need better security!"  Though I really like Robert Purcell dining hall, the Curtiss dining hall allows unlimited swipes throughout the day (at RPCC you swipe by the meal) and has six flavors of ice cream!

Looking over the lake at a fraternity house
Similar to Cornell, Colgate is located right next to a small town. Before visiting the school, we had lunch at a small eatery, where we all got hot sandwiches. Eric's family used to live in Hamilton, only blocks away from the university. The town is smaller than Ithaca; the downtown consists of a couple of bars and restaurants, and a movie theater. 

The campus tour focused mostly on campus life at Colgate. Students can declare their major in the middle of sophomore year, but many end up changing their major. A variety of majors are offered at the school, many involved in the sciences. This campus tour did not focus as much on academic life as the Ivy League tours, but still remained very informational nonetheless. 

After we got back to school we joined Mr. Chan-Law for pool before leaving to for dinner. We had to be quick to catch our movie, The Amazing Spiderman, but ended up arriving with plenty of time to spare. It was fun spending the night with the Hotelies, who had to pull an all-nighter the night before, just like old times. We spent the rest of the evening in the Donlon lounge before calling it a night. Tomorrow we will visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, something that I am really looking forward to!

And finally, if you were wondering: yes, the university is named after the same Colgate family as the one's who created the toothpaste brand.


Phew. I turned in my business report! I stayed up late into the night or early in the morning, depending on how you look at it. Our R.C.As let the Hotelies work in our floor's lounge until we finished our reports. There was about six or seven of us asking each other questions about how to make the Average ADR by Segment graph, what to write, and how to structure our reports. After fighting off sleep for a long time, we all finished and when Frank and I came down for breakfast, our new friends Jiyoon and Julia gave us coffee because we tried to walk them through using Excel. That cup of coffee was so useful.

After watching a video on hotel service, our class sped away from the lecture hall to the computer labs to get our reports scanned by he T.A.s, submitted to Blackboard, and printed for grading. Frank and I sat near Kathleen, Jiyoon, and Julia. We all helped each other proofread and figure out how to make some formatting changes. We all got our reports in and then left class to enjoy our weekend.

After relaxing and taking a nap I went with Frank to meet up with Mr. Chan-Law, Eric, Alex, and Calvin in the RPCC for dinner before watching Spiderman. (Rachael came later) I couldn't hang out with all the guys the past few days so it was nice to get to sit down, talk, joke, and hang out after a grueling past 24 hours. Mr. Chan-Law took our cohort to the mall to watch Spiderman and because we had some free time, we went to Dick's Sporting Goods to play on their putting green; golf has become a new interest for all of us. It was fun to just relax and see how bad we are at putting.

We then watched Spiderman which, in my opinion, is better than the first Spiderman. I liked how this film is more centered around Peter's life in high school and provides more background information for the plot.

Cooperstown tomorrow!

Happy Friday

Today, I woke up early to add some finishing touches to my business report. Since I barely had any sleep, and I didn't want to fall asleep in class, I asked a couple of my friends to get my a Starbucks espresso.

In class, we had a 45 minute video about a really fancy hotel in New York City. Luckily, my espresso started to do its work, because I didn't feel drowsy during the entire video. At 10:30 AM, class was officially over. However, because barely anyone finished their reports, almost everyone  went into the lab room to finish them. It was due at noon so people were panicking to try to turn in their report.

After Eric and I finished our class, we finally had free time. Eric and I used the opportunity to take a nap. We ate dinner later, and finished the day by watching Spider-Man with the rest of the ILCers. The mall where the theater is located in included many shops like a Target, Best Buy, and Dick's Sporting Goods.

This was the very first time we ever visited the mall, because all the other days were too busy for a trip. Before the movie, we all went to Dick's Sporting Goods to putt golf balls. After fifteen minutes of playing, we finally walked into the movie theater. Since we watched it in 3D, the room was near empty. The movie was very entertaining, though the 3D was only cool when Peter Parker was swinging from his webs.

This Friday has been a mix of both fun and work. The mornings were all about work, but the day got easier in the afternoon. It feels good to finally not have a class the next day, which means sleeping in.