Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wrapping Up Our Last Day Before School

Being the last day for us of life away from Columbia University, today was planned in a way that would save our energy, entertain us, and kind of wrap up the past week. We woke up much later than usual, and after a good breakfast next door, took two buses down and over to the East River at 45thStreet, the site of the United Nations.

This was a particularly important visit for me, as I am a huge fan of the goals of the United Nations. I don’t know enough about how they carry out these goals to say that I am a huge fan of everything they do, so I’ll just say that the set of goals they have are a set of goals I strongly support. It’s not that the UN is corrupt or anything, I would just like to be sufficiently informed before I give my opinion on something. Anyway, we entered the UN and slowly walked through the various exhibits, viewing the various art, photos and statistics. One exhibit concerning the protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) really caught my eye, as I have a great interest and passion for helping those in need. Internally displaced persons are those who have been forced to leave their homes to escape conflict, famine, persecution, etc. I personally believe that reaching out a hand to those in need whenever possible is not just an act of kindness, but a moral expectation, and for that reason I have great interest and passion in reaching out my hand to those in need of a helping hand. The exhibit included a number of cases of families in Colombia, Senegal and other places around the world, all displaced due to issues they faced in their home countries. Thankfully, the UN is there for support.
To give you an idea of my reasons for supporting the United Nations, the United Nations:
-provides food to 90 million people in 73 countries
-combats climate change and heads a campaign to end leaded fuel in over 100 nations
-assists over 36 million refugees and people fleeing from war, famine and persecution
-vaccinates 58% of the world’s children, saving over 2.5 million lives a year
-keeps the peace with 120,000 peacekeepers on 16 operations on 4 continents
-advances democracy assisting some 30 countries with election
-protects and promotes human rights on site and through treaties/declarations
-fights poverty helping 370 million people rural poor achieve better lives in the last 30 years
-mobilizes $12.4 billion US dollars in Humanitarian aid to help people affected by emergencies
-promotes maternal health, saving the lives of 30 million women a year
Some other alarming statistics
After visiting the UN, we made our way back to the hotel, although it took much longer than expected. Nevertheless, we were able to grab some delicious pizza, explore a part of Manhattan we had never seen, and we even stumbled across an awesome Colombian fair on 49th Street. At the fair, we stopped and listened for about 10 minutes to an amazing group of artists performing some Latin music that excited the entire crowd of about 100 people watching.
Later that night, after returning to the hotel for a nap/start to my blog, we went out to a Greek restaurant on 56thStreet for a fancy dinner with four alumni and two current students from Yale University. I sat again next to Yohanna Pepa, and we talked about an assortment of things, such as how we can best utilize the Ivy League Connection to help more students generate a college-going attitude to how I can best utilize my Ivy League Connection experience to get into the schools I would like to attend. We both have had trouble at times with science in the past, and I asked her how many science classes she had to take. Thankfully, she said it was only a few, and she was able to weave them all into her interests, similar to what I did with my physics class this year, so it wasn't bad. I would go over more about what we discussed, but a recap of my day would take way too much time (although I've taken way too much time already).
To recap the four of our college visits, I found something that appealed to me in each of our visits; however I can picture myself enjoying myself much more at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. I’ll start by stating why I ruled out Sarah Lawrence College and Vassar University; Sarah Lawrence I found to be far too small, and Vassar far too isolated. My reason for wanting a larger university is that I’d like to have the opportunity to meet new people every day and see new things every day, and I feel that going to school at Sarah Lawrence (and Vassar, although not as much) would become much too repetitive. I’d like to be in a urban area when I go to school for a number of reasons; I like to be very involved in my community and an urban area leaves with me with far more opportunities to be involved and volunteer. Additionally, similar to my reason for not wanting a small student body and campus, I’d like to always have something to explore in the area I live in so that my life would not seem as repetitive. While I am no longer considering these schools, visiting them has helped me to direct my focus more on schools with a student body of at least 3,000 (hopefully 5,000) and in more urban areas.
Yale University and University of Pennsylvania gave me exactly what I was looking for in this regard. Both are in urban areas, with sizable campuses and large enough student bodies. Students at the schools also seemed to have extreme passion in calling themselves a Penn or Yale undergrad, and gave me a really warm atmosphere to learn and live in. The campuses of each also were gorgeous, and it goes without mentioning that these are two of the best schools in the nation. Core curriculum at both of these schools is not extremely flexible, but loose enough. My top reasons, though, are the location, the campus, the atmosphere created by the passion of students, and of course, the academics.

No comments:

Post a Comment