Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Out on the Hudson

I usually have trouble waking up in the morning, but over the course of this trip, I have developed an ingenious method of forcing myself out of bed. Would you like to know what it is? Basically, I just choose the most annoying noise my iPod can produce, turn up the volume all the way, and set the alarm for a bunch of times, each 5 minutes after the last. I'm usually on my feet by the 2nd or 3rd installment. I don't know how my suite-mates get up before me, because they don't seem to use any alarms at all.Maybe they just have fantastic internal clockwork.

The subject of today's class discussion was obscenity: whether it was protected by the 1st Amendment? If so, to what extent? Who decides what is obscene? etc. I like how the teacher (in this case, Luke) was able to approach a subject that could spark a lot of crudeness with the same scholarly method as he did with  all other topics. Like those of yesterday, these cases showed us how unclear and open to interpretation the law is on the protection of speech. Many Supreme Court decisions seem to contradict previous ones, while still using them as legal precedents.

We got out of class early for the lunch break. Once again, the food in the afternoon was far superior to that in the morning. Today's culinary genre was Italian. After eating, Liam (a student in my class) and I spent about twenty minutes trying to find the room of the second college admissions talk. Despite having wandered aimlessly around the campus for so long, we were some of the first people to arrive. The main message of this session was that a college application should be one fluid resume. Your transcript, personal statement, recommendations and supplementary essays should all emphasize the same basic strengths and interests, but in different ways. Often, your academic essays should express one of your strong suits that your teachers may not be aware of.

In the second half of class, we were broken up into six groups of five people. These groups will be our teams for a mock debate on Thursday. Our team, Group 3, will be suing Group 4, in the imaginary case of Smith v. California. Smith was arrested for burning a flag as an act of protest to the war effort. Under California law, flag burning is only a misdemeanor, which gives us grounds to sue for damages. There are many ways for us to win over this case, but we'll have to discuss which approach we will take in our meeting tomorrow. I can't say anything about our arguments in this post, because Tomi is in Group 4, and she might read this. No cheating, Tomi.

After our research session, I went back to Carmen Hall to do laundry.

At 5:30 PM, our cohort headed down to the subway. We met Ms. L. in Times Square, and caught the bus down to the pier. The boat we boarded was packed, so we're lucky that Ms. L. booked tickets in advance. The boat ride was fantastic, the whole way through. Everything about it was awesome (except, maybe the food). We went from Manhattan, past Ellis Island, past the Statue of Liberty, under the Brooklyn Bridge, under all the other Bridges, and next to Queens, before we made a U-turn and did the whole voyage in reverse. It was honestly, one of the most fun things I've done on this trip, so far.

Back at the pier, we caught another bus, back to the subway. We departed ways with Ms. L. about halfway through our ride; she gets off on a different stop than us. We got back on campus a little before 10:00. I felt a little hungry still, so I went across the street to a Japanese grocery store/ sushi bar to grab a bento box. Tomi decided to accompany me, although she didn't get anything.

Tomorrow, of course, is the 4th of July. I'm still not totally sure what my plans are yet, but I know I'm meeting with our debate group in the morning and watching fireworks at night.

No comments:

Post a Comment