Monday, July 9, 2012

Guest Lectures and Basketball

Mark and Reneta invited two guest lecturers: Barbara Lang and an admissions officer from the SHA (School of Hotel Administration). Ms. Lang spoke about business etiquette, specifically about first impressions and professional e-mails. She delved into how my generation is much more different than her generation because my generation is so tech savvy that we spend more time e-mailing and texting than we do talking to people face to face. One consequence of this, she explained, is that our e-mails and texts lack tone which means that the reader can't tell the personality and as a result, the message can be interpreted as sounding angry even when the intent is to be nice. She said that this is one area that we all need to pay attention to, especially when it comes to sending professional e-mails.

The second guest lecturer was an admissions officer from the SHA. She spoke about the requirements to get into the SHA and spoke about the many different paths one can follow during his/her four years at Cornell. One way to go is to skip a semester of school as well as one summer to take a double major with the CIA (Culinary Institute of America). During the semester and summer, a student can complete the CIA's rigorous culinary course and earn a degree. When that student finishes up his/her degree with SHA, that student will have two degrees. Another path one can follow is Hotel Ezra Cornell which is basically one weekend when the Statler Hotel is run by students and the students give seminars and host the hozrspitality industry leaders, alumni, and fellow students. I found this to be very interesting because it allows the soon-to-be graduate to get first hand experience  in the Hotel Industry. Hotel Ezra Cornell is extra experience in the industry as every student has to have 800 hours of work in the Statler Hotel. I find it very awesome that even freshmen get to have a job in the Statler Hotel and get a taste for the field. This explains why Frank and I have seen our T.A.s working in the Statler as we walk by.

After class was over, Frank and I went to play basketball with Calvin, Alex, and Eric against our Chinese friends from class as well as their friends. I think it's fair to say we're pretty even talent wise, but they won simply because they're all taller than us and all they did was shoot, miss, and get a rebound, shoot, rebound, and shoot until they made the shot.

Finally, at office hours, I played CHESS one more time and brought my average daily revenue to $9,600 which is $400 short of $10,000 which would get me the $70,000 per week revenue that I am aiming for. The $9,600 daily revenue was the highest I've ever got.

Monday was a Fun Day

Today was nowhere near the standard of terrible Mondays.  It was a fantastic start to my last week at Cornell. The lecture today addressed Burkean Conservatism, and introduced the final topic of the class, equality. The discussion section was, once again, extremely interesting and engaging. There is nothing more rewarding than Ulas' smile which indicates that you have made a good point. After lunch, we had another writing workshop in which we worked on our Plato essays. Ulas worked with us on improving out writing stylistically, mainly making it more concise. Then we read each other's papers and did a peer review. Finally, at the very end of class, we got our midterms back and I was thrilled to see I had gotten an A-.

After a quick meeting with the cohort, the guys headed up to play basketball. We played with a group from China who are in the Hotel Management Class. To put it gently... We did not win. All the same, it was still a lot of fun and good exercise. Then it was time for dinner. Alex, Hannon, Calvin, and I headed off to go bowling with Morgan and Alyssa after dinner (and two games of pool, which I think I am finally improving at). Finally I watched some TV with some dorm mates before bed. 

Crunch Time!

This Monday was probably the most relaxed yet most illuminating Monday ever. First off, lets start off with the relaxing side of the day. It started off with class with a lecture about Burke and his vision of Conservatism. During discussion sessions, my TA, Gaurav, was wondering where we stood in relation to Burke's argument. It was odd seeing some student feel very passionate about there position against the views of Burke. I, on the other hand, felt indifferent in the situation. This made me realize that I am not very involved in politics, nor do I really have a strong standpoint of "left" or "right." It seems that I'm just sitting in the middle listening to both sides but not being affected by either. 

Later in the day, we all went to play pool due to our motivation after watching the Mosconi Cup in billiards on TV earlier in the day. We also played basketball because Frank accepted a challenge from some of his classmates in Hotel, I ended up not playing that much since I got tired fairly quickly. We ended the sports activity with bowling with Alex, Hannon, Eric Wilson, Morgan, and Alyssa (Frank and Eric had office hours). All these activities taught me that I am extremely out of shape. Sometimes, I am amazed that I can walk to class every day without passing out halfway.

As for the illuminating part of the day, we received our first graded assignment back: our midterm. I received a B-. During our writing workshop in the afternoon, Gaurav spoke to us one-by-one about the missing components in our midterm. For me, he told me that, while I understand the full and broad concept of everything, I have a hard time going into detail about certain aspects of the essay. He explained how that detail is everything. While I'm not thrilled with this B-, it has motivated me to study more every day, so I decided to start right away. After class, I headed alright to Uris Library and into the "Harry Potter Library" to start my reading and go over lecture notes for the day. For future ILCers, I highly recommend this place since for individual working time since everyone seems to mug you if you make any noise (although you may also get distracted by the beautiful scenery and not get any work done at all). The B- has really opened my eyes to the long distance I need to cover for the rest of this course. On the bright side, now that I have done my first test, I know exactly what to expect and what is expected of me in my writing. It's crunch time!

Shooting Some Hoops

I woke up at 6:50 AM extremely tired. I didn't want to go to school because I was used to the three days of relaxation. Dragging myself up, I walked down to the dining hall before heading to class.

In class, we had two guest speakers. The first one, Barbara Lang, came in before lunch and discussed the five etiquette factors. It was a great presentation because she was one of the most interacting speakers I've met. I loved her stories: the one about her sweaty adventure to an interview, and the one about giving cookies to distress herself before surgery.

We had another guest speaker after lunch. She was discussing the application process so everyone was paying attention. It was very informative, as she provided the expectations Cornell looks for in applications. We finished early, so we were able to leave at 3:00 PM instead of 3:30 PM. We got brochures, information packets, and the admissions officers were nice enough to give us a free water bottle.

After class, Eric and I met up with the other ILCers and went to play basketball with some of our Chinese friends at 5 PM. This was the first time I actually exercised in Cornell, and I was drenched in sweat. We played a 4 vs. 3 against them because we weren't as good as them...but we still lost. It was a good game, but Eric and I had to go to office hours later. We took a shower so we won't have to feel so bad, and we finished our day with our two hour office session.

Burke, Basketball, Billiards, and Bowling

Today was especially eventful.  First of all, I have decided that today’s lecture about Edmund Burke, the Irish conservative, was one of my favorite lectures we have had so far.  What made it interesting was not simply his philosophy of conservation in a very liberal France after the Revolution, but his similarities and contrasts to other philosophers we have learned about over the course of the three weeks.  His restrictive government similar to St. Augustine, his criticism against John Locke’s idea of Natural Laws and protective government, disagreements with Marie-Olympe de Gouges over the ideals of enlightenment, and critique of liberalism in general, which had only been done by the feminists of the time.  To be honest, I hadn’t read the syllabus and was expecting to be learning about Karl Marx today, but instead this was more of a pleasant surprise.  Tomorrow we will engage the philosophy of Marx.  Throughout this course one thing about me has been changed for sure: the definition of a lecture will never again be associated as boring to me.

During the discussion section we further made comparisons from Burke to all the other philosophers, something that I feel will be especially handy for the Final Exam on Friday.  We shared our ideas regarding the topic as usual before diving into a passage analysis exercise.  We broke for lunch at Trillium before returning to McGraw Hall for the writing workshop. 

In the writing workshop we learned about tips for writing clearly and concisely.  Later we exchanged the second draft of our Plato essays with a partner, mine was Sam, to perform a peer revision exercise.  After the writing workshop we met Mr. Chan-Law and the Hotelies for a group meeting, going over the checkout process on the last day, something that was actually really depressing. 

The afternoon was spent playing sports and relaxing.  First, we met with some of Frank and Eric’s friends from the Hotel School, who are all exchange students from China!  We played basketball with them in the Helen Newman Recreation Center, which was fun and very tiring.  Afterwards I went back to Risley to shower before dinner.

During dinner we watched the MLB All-Star Homerun Derby.  Unfortunately, it has been many years now since a player from the Oakland A’s has been represented in the Homerun Derby, however this year closer Ryan Cook will represent the team in the All-Star Game tomorrow in Kansas City.  After dinner we joined Hannon, from Albany, for pool.  We have all experienced improvement at the billiards table over the three weeks; playing pool with the buddies is one of the things that I am really going to miss.  However, Hannon’s high school is two blocks away from ours and Frank and Eric are about 15 minutes away, so organizing a pool game may be possible after all, it just won’t be the same. 

After pool we received a kind invitation to go bowling with Morgan and Alyssa.  We gladly accepted the offer and headed back to Helen Newman Hall, where they have an underground bowling alley.  I would have loved to have pictures for you all, but unfortunately I had forgot my camera in my room.  We bowled until about half past nine before heading back to Donlon Hall.  I spent some of the evening there before remembering that we had a floor meeting.  Again, the topic of the meeting was in regards to check out unfortunately. Asher and Riley, our Room Community Advisors, have been so nice to us over the three weeks.  I have gotten to know them each a little and always enjoy seeing them around campus; I always forget that they are students too.  Riley is actually only a year older than I am (he skipped a grade), but I always feel that he is at least three years older.  They both have just completed their freshman year at Cornell. 

I spent the rest of the night reading and blogging, preparing for Marx for tomorrow.  Ganeev, from Cincinnati, came to give me a visit, something the two of us have been doing as of recent, just to keep each other company.  He is in Body, Mind, & Health, and has a lot of work as well.  I cannot believe that this is really the last Monday in Ithaca!  Time has flown by so fast!  I soon called it a night after reflecting on an eventful day.  

The First Mellow Monday

As far as a hotelie day goes, today was pretty easy. The morning and afternoon portions were filled with two guest lectures (one concerning business etiquette, and the other discussing the hotel school admissions process), two quizzes, and one brainstorming session about service mindset. The first lecture was okay, but I didn't learn anything new; the second lecture also didn't contain any new or unusual information, but we did get free water bottles. The quizzes had some difficult questions and some easier questions; Mark is more detail-oriented, so sometimes I can't answer a question or two because my brain naturally remembers the main ideas (for instance, I know that the Ritz-Carlton is customer-orientated and treats its line-level employees with respect; I didn't remember that their service credo: "We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen."). Thankfully I am not the only one who has trouble with the detail-based questions, so I don't feel too guilty. The other quiz was math-based, and I always forget the equations for contribution margin and contributions before other commitments - alas, math will never be my strong suit. During lunch I stopped by the post office to mail my postcards, and we got out early from class.

During office hours, my group discussed our final plans for our hotel simulation. The final for this class is a group-written report that once again analyzes our strategy, though this time in greater detail (it will be about ten pages long). We all agreed to focus on one budget, except Alva, who wanted to try running his own strategy through once. We agreed, and it turned out that Alva actually had the better strategy.Tonight Colleen is going to organize the data, and together we will start writing tomorrow. Ideally, we can finish by Wednesday night so that Mark can go over it with us and point out mistakes on Thursday. A lot of work needs to be done, but I feel like it's all possible (though stressful). I will be glad when it's over with.

Alva and I walked back from class together; he decided he wants to apply to the hotel school and focus on food management, but he's worried that they won't accept him. I advised him to have confidence, and include his statistics from his last hotel simulation (he has the necessary average department income of $70,000 per week, which is actually really hard to achieve). I'm an optimist, so I don't think he has anything to worry about. Every student worries about college, but we all find a place somewhere. Until then, though, I am going to relax (no homework!) and maybe ice my foot; this morning my roommate pulled her chair out and I walked into it barefoot. The bruise is starting to look colorful.