Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bon Appétit!

Last night was yet another step that brought us so much closer to our Columbia experience.
It was the first and foremost day that our Columbia cohort had the opportunity to meet one another and learn more about the experiences that await them on their journey.
Our Chaperon Mrs.L arranged for us a potluck last night fusing the Columbia cohort and the Brown cohort for the main purpose of getting to know one another and gaining a better understanding about what is going to happen in the next few months.
I was anxious for the potluck all week, and once it came to the official day, I could do anything but hide my excitement. I rushed to Trader Joe's right after school and did some last minute grocery shopping before arriving home. Upon arrival, I quickly washed my hands and went straight to business; preparing the food I planned to take a long to the potluck. I made chicken pasta that night, and I later noticed a lot of others that also brought Italian food.
I actually arrived early so I was there in time to help Mrs.L and the Brown chaperon set up and prepare for the gathering. We all wore name tags to familiarize others with ourselves, and I had the courtesy of meeting a few new people that I was going to attend Columbia with that summer. I was delighted to notice what an amazing cohort we had, everyone seemed like really nice people and that definitely made me feel reassured. The food on the other hand were splendid, there was such a wide variety of different foods. From sushi, to lasagna, to even lumpia, there were a lot of different tasty dishes that I simply found irresistible.
After an hour or so of eating and socializing with others, our chaperons gave us all a presentation about what our parents and I should expect from our trip. We talked about some of the activities we could take advantage of, the plans that were set for the future, and even the most simple things such as how life was going to be like and where we would be living. I was delighted to hear that we were going to all have our own rooms in a suite. Not that I would mind sharing a room, but I think it would be so much more comfortable having your own room and bed for an entire month. Aside from the course itself this summer, the second thing I'm most excited for after our presentation is fourth of July. Doesn't it just sound ten times more fascinating to watch fireworks in New York City? You make think it sounds cliche, but it's true!

Aside from that however, Mrs.L also discussed how much time professors will spend with students and how much attention is given to each individual. She told us how professors meet with us in the library and have a lot of "one-on-one" contact with us. That was probably one of the things I really liked hearing. Probably throughout the whole presentation, I was the one asking most of the questions. I was just so fascinated and curious about everything that will be happening!
One thing I can almost guarantee, my excitement for June 18th will grow daily, and every morning I wake up in New York I will wake up with a smile, because I sure know I will be proud to be a student that summer in Columbia University.

Yum, Yum, Yum, Delicioso!

Last night was yet again another step towards Columbia.

While attending a potluck with different delicious foods, I was finally acquainted with the rest of my Columbia cohorts. At last I have met the rest of the people I will spending the summer with; Adrianne Ramsey, Lucas Lochner, Oluwatomi (Tomi) Balogun, and Ms. Lilihanand. After breaking the ice with a few ILCers I had yet to encounter, the meal was quite pleasing along with a good conversation with my fellow Columbia partner and two Brownies participating in the Macroeconomics and DNA technology courses.
Brownie David  Fang and I
Once everyone was settled and well into their meal, Ms. Kaplan-the Brown chaperon-and Ms. Lilihanand-the Columbia chaperon-began the information portion of the evening. Information about clothing and luggage, college tours and traveling, and weather on the East Coast was revealed. We have learned the secrets to packing light (*hint not everyone will see one wear an outfit twice!), the counting system to ensure everyone is on the NY subway, and that NY rain in the summer is hot and muggy.

After the basic information, the two groups divided to get into better detail about our particular adventures on the East Coast. Ms. L laid down rules for us during the summer. The biggest rules of all were to a.) never leave campus by oneself and b.) always contact Ms. L of her whereabouts. She also advised us to open a Citibank account for easy access to cash while having the pleasure of not leaving the campus. Once my cohorts and I gained new knowledge of our future dorms and meetings, Ms. L discussed the exciting adventures we will have together as a group. What I really like is the group's freedom to choose where we get to go. We are all able to pitch in ideas on museums, landmarks, and other attractions of our interests.
Ms. Lilihanand, the Columbia chaperon
Ultimately, the evening ended and everyone parted ways. Now I'm even more thrilled of my trip to the Big Apple with such a great group.
2012 Columbia Group
We're raising the bar!

April 17 Potluck and Info Night

Today, I got just a little bit closer to spending four weeks of summer in New York studying Constitutional Law. Students from the Columbia and Brown I cohorts arrived at around 6:30 for a potluck dinner and an opportunity to find out more about what to expect this coming summer. The potluck was organized and hosted by our chaperon, Mrs. L, and the chaperons of the Brown I cohort, Ms. Kaplan and Mr. Crosby.

The many fine choices of what to eat - my sister's
macaroni casserole is here at the bottom.
For the event, my 15 year-old sister, a passionate cook, made a plate of macaroni casserole. I set it down on the table in the back, which, as more people began to arrive, began to fill up with more and more food. Being a passionate fan of food, ordinary or exotic, healthy or unhealthy, a potluck is an event I will always enjoy attending. On this day, I was able to serve myself a combination of the macaroni casserole, lasagna, chow mein and potstickers, altogether in an unorganized pile on my plate. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal.

After getting my food, I was able to sit down next to some close friends of mine, Adrianne Ramsey, who is studying Constitutional Law with me, and Emily Hayashi-Groves and Nick Shebek, who will both be studying Macroeconomics at Brown this summer. Adrianne and Nick were both part of the Ivy League Connection last year as well, and we discussed their past experiences and what we should expect this year, along with a decent share of stories from last year. The potluck had a very loose atmosphere, with a constant buzz of conversation between different groups around the room.

At the conclusion of everyone's meals, Ms. Kaplan and Mrs. L gave a brief presentation on some topics that applied to both cohorts, such as luggage, laundry, and the the days we'll travel, but shortly after, the Columbia cohort was sent to the room across the hall so we could discuss some Columbia-specific information. After a brief introduction---today was the first day I had met in person a few of the other members of the cohort---Mrs. L went over some of the events at which we can expect to meet again, such as a Board meeting, a fancy dinner with Columbia alumni, and a full orientation roughly three weeks before our departure.

She also gave a rough outline of what our schedule would be like once in New York. The first Monday-Friday of our trip would be spent taking numerous college tours in the area by day, and some fancy dinners with a few special guests by night. I currently have about 0.5 outfits for these dinners, so it was nice to know that we do not need a new outfit for each one. Saturday will most likely involve a day out in New York, wherever that may be (anywhere is fine by me, I'd just be grateful to be there), and Sunday we will move into our dorms.

We discussed what life during our stay at Columbia would be like. We'd be placed in dorms with numerous other students studying at the University as well, many from outside the United States, and Mrs. L emphasized that we should meet as many people as possible. Being a social person, I cannot wait to learn the different personalities and backgrounds of the new people I'll be meeting. We discussed the Constitutional Law class, which will likely have around 10-12 people and will include a great deal of research and debate (two things I enjoy). One problem I'll have to find a solution to, though, regarding the college life is the fact that I have to wake up on my own! I currently have about 20 alarms set with numerous devices around my room, and every morning, I am unable to stop myself from pressing snooze and going back to sleep all 20 times. Better yet, I also like to turn the alarms off entirely so that I can get out of bed, except I decide not to get out of bed and I go back to sleep. That is what this information night was for, though, so that I can find solutions to potential problems BEFORE they occur.

Lastly, Mrs. L went over what we should expect from the city of New York. We can expect to go to a few museums, maybe a Broadway show, and possibly even a Hudson River cruise! Mrs. L set a very clear set of rules, the most important being that she must know where we are at all times (this rule in particular pleased my mom). She also said that dealing with the Subway in New York could be very stressful (the opinion of many, many people, not just Mrs. L), but I have actually been to New York before and I am quite comfortable with the subway. In fact, I really enjoy it. All of New York actually: the loud honking, the big crowded sidewalks and subway, and the general accelerated pace of the city, I felt like I fit right in. Before even knowing I would be a part of the Ivy League Connection, I had set my mind toward returning to New York City, where I felt at home. This summer, that is exactly what I'll be doing! Better yet, I'll be doing it while studying a subject that fascinates me at one of the world's most prestigious universities! I don't think it can get any better than that, and my excitement for this experience continues to grow every day.
Photo I took of the New York City skyline from across the Hudson River in Jersey City
Also, I expected to write about half the amount that I've ended up writing here; I am really enjoying  expressing my excitement.