Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Concept or Conception

Today began like most days will now begin, and at 9:15 AM I went down to breakfast, where I would find Adriane, Aurea and Morvarid. I'm electing to go with cereal and fruit most of the time, because eating bacon, sausage, hash browns, and other unhealthy things is not a habit you would want to keep up every day. That's not to say I don't indulge at lunch and dinner, though; it's hard to stop yourself when there is literally unlimited food at your disposal.The weather today warmed up again; it's been much cloudier and cooler the past few days than you would expect for summer, but I don't mind it as long as there is variation. I love the heat as long as there's a break sometimes, and, as long as they don't come frequently, I love cool summer days as well. In the Bay Area, unfortunately, the cooler summer days are much more frequent than I'd like, so I much prefer East Coast summers.
Anyway, after breakfast I went to my class, where we spent a lot of time discussing the interpretation of the Constitution in relation to terms such as vague and abstract. We talked about how vagueness can be bad, for example, what is "reasonable?" (in relation to punishment, see 8th Amendment) Reasonable punishment, say, for a drug offense, can mean to different people anything from murder ( to only rehabilitation and assistance (many believe that drug users need help, not punishment, such as jail time). A certain degree of vagueness is necessary, I feel, though, because, as times change, interpretations of the Constitution will evolve as well. This led into the next thing we discussed: whether we should the Constitution was to rule by intended concept or by intended conception. When I say rule by intended concept, I mean rule by the general idea, whereas, if the Constitution were to be ruled by intended conception, it would be ruled strictly by the intentions of our Founding Fathers, with zero flexibility for an evolving society. We also spent time going over some of the Supreme Court cases we had read the night before,
After class, I came to my room and just took a nap, because our homework has been interesting and cool but very time-consuming and tedious work. If I were ever a Supreme Court judge, I would make my opinions on cases at lot more to-the-point, and less repetitive, just for the sake of people trying to interpret my writing. That's not to say I am enjoying my work, though, I find it fascinating, especially in how these decisions began to shape, in certain ways, how our society functions.
After waking up and going to lunch, I went to my second class. In my second class, our teacher told us the class would be one of the more boring classes we'd have over these three weeks, as it was really just an interactive lecture. I found it to be fascinating, though, I had a general idea of the United States' court system and separation of powers worked, but I had never really gotten so in-depth about it, and I came out feeling much more knowledgable about the entire governing system of our nation. Learning all of this, although the teacher has not mentioned it, has also come on the heels of a very significant Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, set to be released to the public tomorrow. I love to talk about these kinds of these in my blogs, but unfortunately, I can't say I am informed enough on the wording to say whether or not it is constitutional. I can say, though, that it is undoubtedly good for the well-being of society (in my opinion).
The sun setting in the East between Lerner (left) and Furnald (right)
After my second class, our cohort met for our meeting again, and after the meeting I stayed in the dining hall with most of the members of the cohort, where we we ate dinner (ice cream for me; 5:30 is too early for dinner, I think) and made tons of noise so that everyone in the room turned their heads. I spent the rest of the day on campus talking to some friends, blogging and doing the heavy load of homework we received today. I'm finally starting to settle into my routine here, though, so I think I feel more comfortable to go off campus now on some trips and some community service or simple group discussions (there is one tomorrow about economic inequality).

Lectures, Laws, and Leisure

My day today started off pretty early. I woke up at 6:00 AM in order quickly finished the remainder of my reading and notes. After I finished, I decided to once again skip breakfast and instead get a head start on next set of assignments.   

The morning class was led by Luke. Luke started off the class with yet another class discussion topic; "What are the differences between vagueness, ambiguity, abstractness, and absurdity?" After much debate, class eventually settled on the following definitions;  we defined vagueness as an unclear meaning, ambiguity as the presence of multiple clear meanings that vary with the given situation, abstractness as an idea without an definite meaning, and finally, absurdity as a concept that is too ridiculous to be considered feasible.  We then went onto use these definitions to categorize the clarity of various concepts that appear in the Constitution, such as due, reasonable, equal, and freedom.  

After our discussion, we went over last night's homework.  The case we covered mainly centered around issues concerning the separations of powers between the court system and the Executive Branch. The cases we went over were Clinton v. Jones, Exparte Milligan, and Youngstown & Tube Co v. Sawyer. The remainder of the class mainly focused on the reasoning behind legal issues concerning each of the cases. Soon, class was over and it was time for lunch.  

Like yesterday and the day before, I spent lunch with Aurea, Rowland, Morvarid, and Adrianne. Not too long after meeting up, however, Morvarid had left our group to attend a seminar on how to write a personal statement for a college application. Although I initially decided not to attend, I now regret that decision as now I feel as though I’ve missed out on a lot of useful information. This is why I’ve now decided to spend my daily lunch hour participating in productive on-campus activities, rather than just hanging out and eating. After making this decision, I was overcome with the need to do something productive. Our group quickly disbanded, and I was left to study in my dorm room until class resumed.

Jeffery was the one to lead today’s afternoon session. The lecture covered four main topics—how a bill became a law, how the separation of powers fundamentally works, and the structure of our court system. The last topic, which was in my opinion the most interesting, was the factors that interpreters use to decipher the meaning behind the Constitution. The main factors used include the text’s structure, the apparent intention of the framers, prior precedence, natural law, as well as any past or present social, political, or economical contexts.

We then went over some the most common interpretation methods of the Constitution. First we went over texturalism (also known as Strict Constructionism), which focuses solely on the written language of the Constitution and disregards and inferences. Next was originalism, wish is the usage of both the text and the framers’ original intent. Finally, there’s developmentalism (also known as Hypothetical Intent) which relies on the morals of the present day.

It was soon time for dismissal and time for our daily meeting with Mrs. L. This time, we mainly talked about our upcoming ILC events, as well as the importance of participating in both on- and off- campus activities.
For dinner, I had a light dinner of curry and rice. Not because I wasn’t feeling very hungry, but because I had plans to go out on an RA dinner with Adrianne to a local restaurant called Mel’s Diner. While waiting I met Christine, a rising senior who also happens to be from the Bay Area! The three of us decide to pass the time waiting by talking about school.

After about an half an hour of waiting for the RA to show up, we realized something—the group had left us behind! We tried running after the group, but to no avail. And so, we ended up walking to the diner ourselves and meeting with the rest of the group inside the restaurant.

I ended up going back to the dorms earlier than the others in order to study. However, when I returned home my room key wouldn’t allow me into my room, forcing me to study outside. Arguably, this was actually better—being locked out kept me away from any possible distractions!  

I think that today was a fairly good day, and that I’ve a lot of progress in class since the first day. The only thing I think I need to work on now are my extracurricular activities, I feel as though I need to branch out more and try new things. Starting tomorrow, I plan to do just that! 

Making My Way Downtown

Working hard at Butler Library.
Today was another casual day in class as we discussed yesterday's reading and worked diligently on our final research paper. During the discussions, I try to participate the most I can without stopping others from being able to also share their opinions, but I plan that from today on, I will work even harder. In my room, I thoroughly read our articles every night they are assigned, but I don't just read it. I take a lot of time to fully analyze it and make sure I understand every aspect. Of course, the tactic I'm using is a lot more time consuming, but I really want to make the most out of this class and to fully take advantage of it. In order to do this, I must commit the most time to what is assigned and make the course my overall priority. Also, I guess deep down I just really hope I can impress the Professor and make him proud of me.

During the library sessions the past few days, I've been researching different topics to write about finally made up my mind last night. I sent Dr.Porwancher a message saying;
"Hi Dr.Porwancher,
This is Morvarid from the Presidential Powers class. I have decided to continue with the initial research idea which generally revolves around the public perception of presidents. Over the years, the creation of the radio and later tevelsion have highly influenced the way presidents are both viewed and selected. Today, importance has shifted more towards "how" something is presented rather than "what" exactly that particular thing is. In other words, its no longer the quality, or even quantity as apposed to the previous generations.
To prove this I can use the FDR fireside chats as an example and perhaps use direct evidence of individuals back in that era who documented their sentiments in regards to the new usage of radio in politics. I can also use Kennedy and Dixon debates and show the differences in opinion of those who viewed the debates and those who listened to it on the radio, proving my point as to how media affects our political decisions. Of course, the main position of the paper will work against the causes of media on our political/presidential system."
I was happy to get a prompt reply stating that he approved of the topic, but I won't be fully content until I finish the paper and make sure it is well written. Wish me luck because tomorrow, things will get serious. As for today, I just dug deeper into the topic and planned out what exactly I'm looking for. However, tomorrow will be the day I will go to Lemer library with Rowland and actually initiate my search for books and sources. I must admit, the topic I chose isn't a topic I'm quite confident with. I chose it because I wasn't looking for something easy, I wanted a challenge. I wanted it to be something new to me where I actually have to take the time to research about and discover an aspect in politics I had never been introduced to. After all, I am in a rigorous college course, I might as well fully live up to the college experience in order to bare the fruit of success upon completion and emerge victorious from the challenge.

Aside from course work, I am particularly determined to make good use of my lunch time as well. Today I attended a college workshop! Although it was short, it was really informative and I'm glad I attended. I will most definitely attend the next one and persuade all my friends to come along because the information shared is very valuable. If there aren't college work-shops, I plan to do the community outreach every day after I eat. It's going to be really hard considering the fact that I won't have an adequate amount of time to rest between classes or enjoy my food for that matter, but it's something I'm willing to sacrifice.

After everything was over (including our session two class), I visiteed downtown for the first time with one of the RAs in order to visit the Body Exhibition. Although it was really short, it was a time well spent and I truly enjoyed the opportunity to visit. I tend to think deeply when attending places like these (if you remember my past post about the UN you might have already seen a slight glimpse of this side of my personality). As I tentatively examine each item, I think deeper in deeper into a more philosophical sense of what is being presented to me. I later think about how every single day of our lives we're constantly stressing over miniscule and unimportant issues such as a boy crush not paying attention to us, what brand shoes we wear, or even how we look. What we fail to realize is how short our lives are and how soon they fade away. By then, that boy, those shoes, our even how we once looked makes no difference. What does make a difference is the everlasting effect you leave on the planet and those around you. In the end, it does not matter if your rich, poor, ugly, or pretty, we still end up the same and in the same place. We are all born the same and leave the world the same way we came.

Each body I looked at, I tried to imagine how their lives were and how they were like character-wise.  I wondered to myself if they ever imagined ending up this way in an exhibition, or even having their lungs turn dark due to their smoking habits. Either way, the message that they sent to the visitors were extremely powerful. The room was silenced and only our thoughts spoke to us. Thoughts of guilt, interest, and even amazement. I would see in the eyes of many individuals the light of inspiration as they passed by a glass box in front of a lung display, throwing away the packs of cigarettes they had purchased just hours ago.

Overall, I'm really proud I went to visit the exhibition. Upon exiting, I noticed a nice view on the pier and went on the deck to snap a few photos before coming back to my suite. However, now the "fun" time is over, and I have to go back to my "serious" mood. Therefore, time to finish reading tomorrow's article for class! There's going to be a big day ahead of me tomorrow, wish me luck!

FDR, how did you pass all these bills?!

I decided to wake up a little earlier this morning so I could not only eat breakfast earlier but read up some more on last night's reading. I ate breakfast with Lucas, Aurea, and Morvarid, and after we took some pictures out on College Walk. The weather has finally cleared up and it is so nice and sunny outside.

Aurea and Morvarid
Morvarid and I
Low Library
College Walk
My gorgeous friends from Cairo, Egypt! (From left to right) Khadijah, Talia, and Nancy
The four of us (:
Class today was definitely jam packed. Even though we didn't read as many Supreme Court cases last night, there was a lot to discuss. Luke led the morning session, and the main topic of the discussion was: Vague v. Ambiguous (just to note this is NOT an actual Supreme Court case, it is based off of interpretation). Being vague can mean you are being imprecise, abstract, and even absurd. It is easy to use these three synonyms in defining the constitution. But being ambiguous can mean you are doubtful and willing to interpret something in a different way, which can also apply to the constitution. Humans may agree on the concept of justice but have a different conception of it. We can either be ruled by the intended concept or the intended conception.

Now, moving on to the Supreme Court cases. We read three last night and went into a full blown hour and a half discussion about our readings, opinions, and questions about the cases.
  • Youngstown & Tube Co v. Sawyer - In 1952, America was at war with Korea. At the same time, employees of steel companies threatened to strike due to labor issues. President Truman, fearful that the strike would jeopardize our national defense due to the war effort and stifle our economy - which at the time was suffering from inflation - ordered the Secretary of Commerce to seize the nation's steel mills. Furious, the steel companies sued and said that the government could take their property but that they were being pursued by the wrong people. The Supreme Court invalidated Truman's executive order to seize the mills. Before the case reached the Supreme Court, the district court issued a restraining order against Truman, saying he could not seize the steel mills. The legal question we came up with for this case was: Did Truman act within his constitutional power? (No) 
  • Ex Parte Milligan - This case was controversial because it was one of the first cases to reach the Supreme Court after the Civil War. Lambdin P. Milligan was accused of liberating Confederate camps by stealing Union weapons. Unfortunately for him, the plan was discovered and he was charged, found guilty, and sentenced to death. However, he filed for habeas corpus. But he didn't get much luck because President Lincoln had suspended the writ of habeas corpus for military cases. 
  • Clinton v. Jones - Paula Jones filed a complaint containing 4 counts of sexual harassment against President Bill Clinton, stemming from an incident in 1991, when he was the Governor of Arkansas. She claimed that he made extreme sexual advances at her and that when she rejected him, her coworkers either treated her very coldly or ignored her. President Clinton claimed that Jones' lawsuit was politically motivated and filed motions to dismiss the case based on "presidential immunity" and asked for Jones to put a hold on her case until the end of his presidency. However, the constitution doesn't grant the president "immunity" from civil lawsuits based on their personal lives, which answered the legal question we came up with. Jones' case was actually dismissed due to lack of evidence of discrimination at work. President Clinton settled the case and paid Jones $850,000 dollars. 
After going over the cases, we were dismissed and I had lunch with Tomi, Aurea, Morvarid, and Rowland. After lunch, I went back to my dorm and began the reading for tonight, which is quite rigorous. The reading for tonight is:
  • Gibbons v. Ogden 
  • Missouri v. Holland 
  • INS vs. Chada
  • Heart Atlanta Motel and Katzenbach 
  • US v. Nixon
  • Clinton v. New York 
Jeffrey taught the afternoon session, and it began with him reminding us that not only do we have so much reading to do tonight, but we also have our first quiz tomorrow. He tried to scare us by saying the quiz was 35 questions with 2 essay questions, but relieved us but informing us that the quiz was only 10-12 questions and to:
  • Study the legal vocabulary 
  • Study the cases we've read for the past three days, including the cases we will read tonight 
I have been paying attention a lot in class during our discussions and participating when I can. I say when I can because there are so many of my classmates that just shoot their hands up the minute something pops into their brain or just speak their minds without raising their hands. I know I will definitely have to not only pick it up but speak up much more in class.

Jeffrey's lecture was not only extremely long but extremely fast paced. This was the time where all I wanted to do was write down everything he said, make sure my notes made sense, and memorize it all later. When class was over I was stunned to realize that I had written five pages of notes, so bear with me as I try to make sense of them here.
  • How a bill becomes a law - This is an extremely complicated process so please try and understand. A bill is introduced by the legislative branch and a clerk gives it a title and number. The bill goes through a first hearing and then is referred to a committee, which can propose an amendment or send it to a different sub-committee. The sub-committee takes the bill to a larger committee and there are more hearings and discoveries about it. The larger committee then decides whether or not to send it to the full committee. The full committee can approve the bill and then send it to another sub-committee. A 3rd hearing is held just to agree with the title for the bill, and then the bill goes to a conference committee, where they vote on the bill. Sometimes this WHOLE process can take up to 3-4 times because some bills are very controversial. Then the president receives the bill. He can either sign it, veto it, or pocket-veto it. A bill can be overridden by a 2/3 vote in Congress or they can let it die or amend it. I literally have no idea how FDR was able to pass 15 or more bills in only one hundred days. (This is all very complicated so I hope you understand, it took me a little while to comprehend it.)
  • Separation of Powers in the Three Branches - Executive: Can veto legislation and appoints judges and justices to the Supreme Court. Legislative (most powerful of the three): Checks on executive branch, can impeach presidents, confirms presidential appointments, can override vetoes and ratify treaties, can modify the budget, impeach judges, and control the size, money, and jurisdiction. Judiciary: Controls judiciary review.
  • The Courts: Trial and Appellate - 98 percent of cases go to state courts and deal with disputes that can pertain to divorce and child custody. Appellate courts deal with appealed cases. A vast majority of federal court cases begin in the district courts, whereas county cases are dealt with in the state courts. Courts can't reach out to the public and make a case; they have to wait for a case to come to them. Two types of cases are taken by the courts: civil and criminal. Civil cases usually involve disputes between two persons and/or two organizations, or one person v. an organization. Criminal cases occur when someone commits a criminal offense. A plaintiff writes a complain to the court about why they think the defendant is wrong (civil cases). In terms of a criminal case, the government complains that the defendant needs to be fined or imprisoned for a criminal offense. If someone loses a case and appeals it, they can no longer state the facts and evidence were wrong, instead, they have to say the way the case was handled violated their constitutional rights. Cases have to be determined for appeal, if you want to appeal you don't automatically get it. 
  • Inside the Courthouse - Opening statements are given by prosecution and defense and they present the evidence. Witnesses are called to present evidence as well. Exhibits are physical evidence obtained by either the police or prosecution/defense party. The party who initiated the case ask witnesses questions (direct examination) and then the other side asks cross examination questions. Judges can either sustain (not allow) or overrule (allow) evidence, cross/direct examination questions, and any part of a witnesses' testimony. The prosecution/defense is allowed to object to questions they feel are not appropriate when the opposite party is questioning a witness. Closing statements are given to review evidence and end the party's view on the case. 
  • Who are those people sitting off to the side? - Jury duty is the process of selecting a jury. The jurors must be fair and without bias for trial cases with a jury. After the closing statements are read, the jury goes into a separate room and goes over the facts, the law, and then decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty on their charges. 
  • Appealing a Case - After submitting briefs, appeals can be sent out. There are are three types of decisions appellate courts can make: Reverse (disagreeing with the original verdict), Uphold (agreeing with the original verdict), and Remand (sending the case back for a new trial. Appealing a state case to the Supreme Court in terms of a federal question, which if revered, would change the outcome of the case. 
  • Interpretation - The whole point of the constitution is to provide a fixed way of making rules and providing a stable form of government, in Jeffrey's terms at least. There are five ways to interpret the constitution: Look at the text and structure, refer to the believed intention of those who drafted it, look at prior president's decision in terms of the constitution, refer to the social, political, or economic context, or thinking in terms of natural law. There are three types of intent in terms of the constitution: 
  1. Strict Construction-ism -  Focus strictly on the text and not let any influences get in the way 
  2. Original-ism - Determine the meaning of the constitution based on the text and intent. Those who practice this feel that the constitution is meant to be how the drafters wanted it to be. This, however, is extremely confined and you can't apply the original context to modern problems.
  3. Hypothetical Intent - Realizing that there are modern problems and ask: "What would the Founding Fathers do?" Well, you'll never know because you can't ask them. 
If you think that that must have been a lot of notes to take, well, I'll tell you, they were and by the time class ended my hand was killing me. I've noticed much more people are bringing their laptops to class and I think I may start joining them (although the thought of lugging my laptop across campus doesn't make me too happy and that I should start sucking it up more). After class, I went to the meeting with Ms. L and was happy to see that my textbook had been delivered to the hotel. I wasn't very happy to discover that it was about 1,600 pages. Fortunately, we will definitely not be reading this entire book and I have a pricking feeling that I'll end up reading it for fun when I get back home. I also still really want to check out the American foreign policy and internal relations novel I saw at the United Nations! This summer will be filled with political science, I can already tell.
My textbook
Tomi and I
My delicious meal of fries, an original burger, and shake (shake is not pictured, it hadn't arrived yet)
Group Photo! (Note: I am not wearing a sock, I am wearing my ankle brace)
Christine and I
After eating a quick dinner at John Jay, Tomi and I went to Mel's with an R.A. for a more elaborate dinner. We ate dinner with Christine, who is from the Bay Area as well!, Yung-Anne, Allie, Serena, and Selena. They are all either taking law or literature classes. It was nice to just relax, sit back with them, and meet new people. I'm also happy to confirm that I will be seeing WAR HORSE ON BROADWAY NEXT FRIDAY! I could not be more excited and thankful that Columbia has provided me with this opportunity, and at such a cheap price too (only 60 dollars!). 

It's hard out here, for a Bill

Con Law students have a multitude of cases to read tonight, so I have to make this blog brief. I'll just cover what I did today, and avoid too much opinion. I'm sorry, but I'm really strapped for time. Other posts won't be this short.

The first half of class was spent examining cases involving abuse of Executive Power. It seems that the argument of "necessity" is often made by the president's defense when tried in a criminal court. The most prominent example of this we read was of Truman's seizure of steel mills during the Korean war. The workers were scheduled to go on strike, so Truman sent his Secretary of State, Sawyer to take control of production. The Supreme Court deemed this unconstitutional, because only Congress has the power to produce laws to regulate commerce.

At lunch, I attended a "college talk," where an admissions counselor taught us about writing personal statements. She gave examples of cliche essays, as well as successful ones. We also engaged in short writing exercises on common topics, and then shared our work with the student sitting next to us.

The second half of class was a lecture on the process by which a bill is ratified by Congress. I never realized how ludicrously hard it is for a bill to get passed. A bill can get bounced around from committee to committee and branch to branch, literally endlessly. I feel bad for those little pieces of legislation. 

After class I studied for a while, but at 5:45, I went with Morvarid and Aurea on an RA led trip to the Bodies Exhibition. Morvarid had mentioned this place in her list of  the top 15 places to see in New York. It was really informative. The level of preservation on the bodies was astounding. I had to keep reminding myself that these weren't statues.

After touring the museum, we took a little time to stop by Pier 17, to take photos.

Thanks, Morvarid, for telling us about the exhibit

I found one, mom

Now, I'm back in my dorm, and I need to start to reading, so I can get more sleep tonight. I had a fun day, but I can't go into much more detail right now. I haven't had time to write the other college reviews yet, but I'll probably do that this weekend.

I Challenge You to a Game of Mindball

Unfortunately my projected routine did not hold up. I only did it for one day quite frankly. So this morning, instead of running, I slept in until 8 AM. Although I was more tired and my body was craving more sleep. After a quick shower, I headed down for breakfast.

Presidential Powers Class
Once I had my fill, Morvarid and I trekked to class twenty minutes early, just to make sure we would not be late. During the waiting time, I reread last night’s homework to refresh my memory. Today’s discussion was very interesting in terms of presidential authority. George Washington was more commonly known to have advisors do his work. But from our prior reading, we have learned that Washington was more of a “puppet master.” Known now as a “hidden-hand presidency,” Washington dealt with his term in his own style. He worked behind the scenes and rarely did open-action work yet held such high respect from the public. It was fascinating to discuss the power and authority Washington exerted, even referring to the Constitution when doubted of his role.

After our hour long discussion, Professor Porwancher gave a lecture on the case of Marbury v. Madison. The lecture was a background on how the case happened, how it developed, and how it affects the system of checks and balances. I did learn about the case the previous school year during my AP U.S. History class but learning more in depth about the case was mind blowing. The more detail we got into it, the more I realized what a break-necking case it was. The case gave the name for the judicial branch in our government and set the bar for its equality among the legislative and executive branches.

Class ended and then I headed to the dining hall for a pizza-filled lunch. Who knew pizza would be so popular during lunch? Because I know I’ve never seen that many people in line for food since the first breakfast of the session. There was also an option of going to a Columbia college talk on personal statements but I declined the invitation. I feel that after my talk with alumni, I don’t want others to influence what I have set in mind for my own personal statement.

My second class literally consists of the above
I finished a quick nap and then I was off to Butler Library for my second class. I once again emailed my past AP U.S. History for advice as well as ask my professor for the Presidential Powers course on how to develop the thesis for my paper. So far my thesis will be along the lines of, “The presidencies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and George W. Bush suggests that a person’s presidential legacy is based upon a person’s reactions and ways of dealing with a matter than events outside the real control of a president.” I know it’s a mouthful.

After our second block, we met up with Ms. L for our daily meeting. Today we talked about taking advantage of college talks that Columbia University is providing for students. She told us to contemplate where the rising seniors in the group are applying for college, if some colleges are the right fit for us, and so forth. It’s really amazing to know that in a few months I will be in the dreaded application process.

Bodies Exhibition
Once we finished our meeting, we had an early dinner. Morvarid, Lenny, and I decided to go to the Bodies Exhibit near the Seaport in lower Manhattan. The exhibit was really interesting; we were able to see fully preserved human bodies. Everything from bones to muscle tissue and even blood vessels. The only downside to the exhibit was the prohibition of taking photos of the bodies. Sorry bloggers! But the tour was very nice and we even played Mindball. This game is where two people sit across from each other whose foreheads are hooked up to bands. The point of the game is to relax as much as possible and the lesser wavelengths will push the ball to the opposite side of the table. Whoever gets the ball on the other side wins. Unfortunately a couple who tried the game before told us it was rigged and that one side always wins. And low and behold it was true. Or it might be due to our belief that it wouldn’t win on one side.

View from Seaport
Since I mentioned Seaport before, I won’t have to tell you where we went next. Pier 17 is located on the port and it really was beautiful during the sunset. We passed by cute little shops ranging from handmade dresses to food vendors. On our way to the end of the dock, we passed by a restaurant playing Latino music. Not missing a beat, the residential advisor from Columbia University, Joseph Deluna, who was in charge of the trip started dancing on the dock. It was so amusing to see him dance and other people from the restaurant joining in to dance with him. After a few laughs and pictures, we headed back to the campus for some well needed rest. Now what I’ve been dreading since I left has come; homework….