Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Heated Tour Session

Today, on our third day in New York, we set out on a tour to Yonkers' very own Sarah Lawrence College. Fortunately, unlike the day before, we were able to sleep in that morning! Unfortunately, today was also happened one of the hottest days of the week! 

Once again, we gathered in the hotel's Lobby before heading out towards the nearby subway station.
After the subway ride, we arrived at Grand Central Station--which, as it names implies, is certainly grand indeed. 

While at the station, we stopped for a quick lunch. While searching for a place to eat, I quickly found out that the Station was even larger than I originally thought. The Station houses many different restaurant that offer a variety of foods. Because of the choices, Adrianne, Lucas, Lenny, and I ended up enjoying pizza slices from one restaurant, whereas Morvarid and Aurea ordering sandwiches from another. After lunch, we boarded our train and after a fifty minute ride we arrived at our stop. We then took a taxi to Sarah Lawrence and as soon as the taxi pulled up to the front gate, I fell in love with the campus. 

After I had finished gawking at the school's gardens, we entered Sarah Lawrence's Admissions Office to take part in the school's informative seminar. The first thing I learned was that Sarah Lawrence is a fairly small school. For instance, compare UPenn's 10,000 students to Sarah Lawrence's 1,400. Another thing I learned is that a student's education is very personalized. While Sarah Lawrence has 4 main departments consisting of Sciences and Mathematics, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Creative and Performance Arts, they don't have majors. Instead, that have what they call "concentrations", which allow students to choose classes that are related to their main line of study, but are not usually apart of the conventional curriculum.  Upon admission, students are assigned a class adviser called a "don", who helps a student personalize their class schedules and concentrations. Students of all years have dons to assist them when needed, but first year students have the special opportunity of meeting with their don at least once a week for the entire year. Generally, there are on average 12 students in a seminar class and 30 students in a lecture. In terms of admissions, Sarah Lawrence relies on a student's common app, a personal statement saying why they would like to attend Sarah Lawrence, and an analytical essay that includes a previous teacher's comments. Sarah Lawrence also makes interviews and the submission of test scores optional. Once accepted into Sarah Lawrence many students get some form of financial aid, with 60% of the school's undergraduate populace receiving aid that covers over half of their tuition fees. 

Much like yesterday, the informative seminar was followed by a tour of the school with our tour guide being on of Sarah Lawrence's current students. Unlike UPenn's tour, however, we were able to see the entire campus due to Sarah Lawrence's comparatively small size. Some places we visited included the school's music hall, library, dining hall, science department, gym facility, as well as the exterior of the the dorm rooms. While the tour itself was very informative and entertaining, the combination of the heat, humidity, and walking made it almost unbearable. We ended up walking over 3 miles in 91 degree weather! 

After the tour was over, it was time to head home and get ready for our dinner with our UPenn alumni. Unfortunately, getting back to the hotel wasn't as easy as expected. Our dinner was supposed to start at 7:00 PM, meaning that we had to leave at around 6:20, but when we arrived at the hotel it was 6:05. This was because of our taxi being, resulting in us not missing one, but two trains, resulting in us having to spend an extra hour in the heat. The ironic thing is that when we first arrived at Sarah Lawrence, we were an hour early, but when we left we where an hour late. After the disastrous trip home was over, everyone quickly got ready and met in the hotel lobby. Despite out efforts, we arrived at the restaurant, Brasserie 8 1/2 a little bit late. 

We met with two of our UPenn alumni at the restaurant, Carlin Yuen and Lissette Duran. Unfortunately, our third alumni, Monica Chen, was unable to make it to our dinner. Also joining us today was Mrs. Kronenberg, one of the founders of the Ivy League Connection. During dinner I mainly spoke with Lissette about her experiences with UPenn, which she eagerly answered with a passion. 

Lissette helped me see that UPenn really does aim to please their students. For example, Lissette happens be be very proud of her Dominican heritage, and she was surprised to see that her culture was not represented with student union. Because of this, she approached UPenn with the idea of starting such as club, which UPenn immediately agreed too, which coincides with the information I learned yesterday about proposing club ideas to the school. Other things I talk to Lissette about included what she loved about UPenn, her personal experiences with the school's staff, weather, and facilities, and her current experiences as graduate in Columbia's law department.  

For dinner I had sirloin steak, onion rings, bone marrow, and mac and cheese.
Hearing Lissette speak out for the love of her school ended up slightly changing my opinion about UPenn. Yesterday, when I visited it, I really liked the school, but I had a hard time getting a good idea of what life was really like on campus. Now after hearing Lissette speak, I can see myself actually going to UPenn and really enjoying it there. 

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