Saturday, July 9, 2011
My hotel roommates and I woke up late again because all of our alarm clocks failed for various reasons. We all rushed down and ended up being right on time. We headed out to Harvard and got breakfast at Au Bon Pain. Then we drove over to the Harvard campus and got a tour. We introduced ourselves and what we were interested in studying. The tour guide told us a story about one of the passengers on the Titanic. He collected rare books and when the ship was sinking, he got off the lifeboat to get them from his room. Sadly, he did not make it back to the lifeboat and died. His mother went to Harvard and asked them to make a library in his name, and put his collection inside. She required three conditions for the library: that it can’t be torn down, fresh flowers must be put in every day, and that every student must passed the swim test. The swim test was mandated because it was believed that he would’ve survived the sinking if he could swim.
The tour was an hour and the tours seemed to get better and better. Afterward we headed out to lunch. It was just the Brown cohorts 1 and 2 so we bonded because we were just talking and laughing; no alumni to chat with, which allowed us to dress casually. After lunch, we went shopping. Adrianne and I stayed at the Harvard bookstore/ Barnes & Noble and bought books and a Harvard t-shirt. Then we went back to the hotel. Our rooms were checked out so our living arrangement was drastically changed. Our room went from three people to six.
We headed out for dinner, just our two groups, so we dressed casually. After dinner, we walked outside and saw a parade. They walked out into the street and toward our hotel so we followed them. The whole town was there in the street. It was so cool and it amped everyone up. The parade went around the corner so we went to the hotel. I felt like today, of all days, the two groups bonded the most. It was the best day.
My alarm clock didn’t wake us up because it wasn’t set on the alarm mode, and we were all supposed to meet up in the lobby at 8:00 AM. Luckily, due to a text message, I woke up at 7:47 and woke up the rest of my cohorts. We quickly got ready for the day and made it downstairs right on time.
There, we were reunited with our Brown session 1 friends. Although we were really happy to see them, we just woke up and were clearly too tired to rejoice with the rest of the group. After a friendly breakfast at Au Bon Pain, the combined Brownies went to Harvard University for a college tour.
Within the first 10 minutes of the tour, I knew that this was going to be a good day. The weather was perfect, our tour guide was amazing, our friends were there with us, and the college itself was beautiful. The campus was adorned with historical buildings and statues. It also had a rich history. It was founded in 1693 and is the oldest of the higher education colleges. It has a core curriculum, meaning students take general education classes. However, the professors know that the students taking these classes are probably not going to stay in the course so they don’t make them too rigorous. Although this college is a really prestigious one, it’s really versatile and the administrators understand the students’ needs.
Afterwards, we all ate lunch at Upstairs on the Square, another fancy restaurant. For once, I didn’t enjoy my meal, as it was a sandwich and I’m not much of a sandwich person. However, after lunch, we had 2 hours to shop around Cambridge, where I bonded with Cynthia, Ava, and Andrew.
For our final dinner with our session 1 friends, we ate at Mills Tavern in Providence. My meal of lamb ribs and mashed potatoes was extremely filling and we left the restaurant full and satisfied. On our walk back to the hotel, there was a random parade that was comparable to a mini-mardi gras, according to Ms. Kronenberg. It was a fun way to end Brown session 1’s final day here.
I woke up this morning at 6:30 AM by a call from my friend Rachelle, reminding me to visit her before I leave. I rushed to finish my packing this morning and left my linens with my RA for her to turn in. I felt very sad when I left my empty room, took my name sign off my door, and turned in my key.
We met cohort #2 when we checked in at the hotel and drove to visit Harvard University. Cohort #1 stuck together and rode with Ms. Larson. As I set foot on the campus, I was immediately reminded of Dartmouth in terms of the architecture. We went to a truncated information session, which provided a general overview of Harvard’s academics and environment. After, we went on a tour with our tour guide, Lilian. My overall impression of Harvard is positive. Harvard always struck me as prestigious, but the college was not what I expected. I like Harvard’s large campus, but I dislike how the school resembles a tourist attraction because of the many people who tour the campus. My favorite part of Harvard is the upper-class undergraduate house system which reminded me of the house system in Harry Potter. It sounds exciting to be sorted into a house and build a close-knit community with your house. I also liked that the freshmen dining hall was only for first-years, allowing them to create a closer bond with students your own age.
After we returned to Providence, cohort #2 experienced some problems with their hotel rooms. We ended up with two rooms for the girls and one room for the guys, and I’m sharing a room with Erin, Erinn, and Caroline. All of us went out for a final dinner at Mill’s Tavern. The food took a while to come so I was full of water before I got my meal. We had a great time at the dinner talking amongst each other.
We are currently having a blogging party in the girls’ room. Our group is leaving tomorrow; I feel devastated. I still don’t feel ready to go home. I will keep up with cohort #2’s blogs and relieve the program through their experiences. I’m excited for their group but sad for my group. But I look forward to sleeping in when I get home. I don’t plan on sleeping much tonight. A long day is in store for us tomorrow.
Early morning, I finished packing the last of my luggage. It was lonely in the Olney dorms, but I was able to talk to a couple guys who were also departing late. I regret not getting to know the kids in my dorm better; I had spent too much time in Keeney Quadrangle. I finally cleaned the room up and went to bed.
In the morning, Kathleen woke me up. I had broken my phone during the trip, so the alarm functions wouldn’t work. I later found out that Kathleen woke Erin up as well. I gathered my belongings and said goodbye to my RA. I’m glad I met my RA, he was a nice and helpful person.
I turned in my key and met with the rest of the cohort to leave with Ms. Larson. A bunch of friends were gathered outside, and we all exchanged goodbyes. Leaving Brown wasn’t as sentimental today because most of my good friends had already left on Friday. We made our way back to Hotel Providence; back to where we started.
We were greeted by the smiling faces of Brown cohort II. Together, we went to Harvard for an informational session and a college tour. Cambridge was a bustling city, full of people and stores. The Harvard campus was like Brown; integrated into the city. The school looked extremely professional, and our tour guide explained the housing system thoroughly. We were able to see the science building, the first-year’s cafeteria, first-year dorms, and the upperclassmen dorms. Interesting to me was that Harvard, like MIT, requires all students to pass a swimming test to attend the school. This is because one of Harvard’s students drowned with the Titanic, and students believed that he would have survived if he had been a better swimmer.
After the tour, I was able to throw disc with Erin as we waited for some others who were using the bathroom. We went to lunch and talked about our experience at the Summer@Brown program. Spending time with the Brown cohort II has been a lot of fun. After lunch, we went to the shopping area of Cambridge. Erinn found a book titled “Epigenetics”, the topic our class was heavily centered around. Looking back, I would never have known what epigenetics were if I hadn’t taken the summer class at Brown. After everyone finished their shopping excursion, we went to the parking garage to load up and make our way back to Hotel Providence. The drive was long so, like old times, I slept on the way home. It felt like a long ride home.
Upon arriving at the hotel, we waited in the lobby for all the room arrangements to be sorted out. We went to an amazing dinner and enjoyed the rest of our night.
Today was an amazing day. We had a very nice breakfast and then toured Harvard. I enjoyed the tour. Our guide was quite talkative and I feel that we learned a lot about the campus. We had lunch at a place called Upstairs on the Square. I had a very tasty hamburger. We then got to walk around Cambridge and go into stores to explore. We tried on some fantastic sun glasses. Then we had dinner at Harvest for 4 hours. On the way back to the hotel we saw people in alien costumes dancing and playing some great music, so, naturally, we followed them. There was a small mix-up with the rooms, so all of the girls from sessions 1 and 2 are in the same room. I love these girls.
From the deep conversations that we had all throughout the day I’ve learned something very important. Sometimes the way you says things can affect people more than the content of what you are saying. It is much easier to respect a person who can express their opinions without making another person feel as though they are being attacked or talked down to. A leader should gain power from being caring, considerate, and respectful. A leader that people are afraid of or feel threatened by, is not a good thing.
Also, I get many questions about why I would like to go to West Point and join the military. The answer is simple; it is the right thing to do. I believe that anyone who can serve their country should do so. I believe in the principles that the military stands for, and everything that they defend. People always ask me if I’m scared that I might die. The answer to that is no. Everyone dies eventually, and I plan on doing so with honor. If I go out on my first day of active duty and save even one life, and die the next second, I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m perfectly happy with that. Someone needs to do it. Some people say I’m too patriotic. I’m not really concerned with what those people think.
Mariko and I awoke around six thirty to freshen up and get ready for the day ahead of us. As we arrived in the lobby, we saw a wonderful sight: Brown Session 1! They had just left the Brown dorms and seemed sad, but were excited for the day ahead of us. We piled into two cars and headed to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
When we arrived, we ate at a nice restaurant, Au Bon Pain. I ordered a cinnamon roll and cranberry juice as a quick breakfast. The breakfast was quite delicious, and I definitely plan on going to Au Bon Pain for breakfast when we're at Brown since there are two restaurants very close to campus. I made good conversation with Frank and Andrew at breakfast and on our way to the admissions office.
What immediately struck me about Harvard was the absolutely beautiful landscape. It was breathtaking and definitely stuck in my mind. We went inside and were automatically lead into the information session, which had just started.
Interesting Facts about Harvard:
- Harvard is looking for students who can handle the intense academics and do the work. To find those students, they evaluate high school academics by looking at their transcript. They don't expect students to have straight-A's. They require the SAT and two subject tests (except they do not want Math 1 and 2 as the two subject tests, and they do not want students to take the subject test in language (such as Spanish) if that language is their first language) and/or the ACT with writing. It is a very competitive school to get into.
- It is a liberal arts institution. There are 41 majors; students declare majors in the middle of their sophomore year. There are eight distribution requirements and a General Education program. Students shop classes during the first week of school instead of at orientation. Harvard has minors, but they are known as "secondaries." There are more secondaries than majors. If students want to double major, you have to write a thesis at the end of their senior year. Most people major and minor.
- 60 percent of students who study abroad do it during the summer, but students can do it during the school year.
- Freshmen are required to live on campus. 98 percent of students live on campus all four years. Proctors have their own apartments. Graduate students live in the dorms with undergraduates and mentor them. There are 12 residential houses. Underclassmen get an academic adviser that guides them and helps them figure out their major.
- Harvard has the largest Division 1 program in the country, with junior varsity, varsity, and club sports.
After the information session, we went on a tour. Our tour guide was Lillian, who is a rising junior at Harvard and majoring in Anthropology. During the tour, I was happy to look at the architecture and beautiful buildings.
Overall, I enjoyed Harvard's campus, but I struggled with connecting with the school. I don't think that I will apply to Harvard when the time comes for me to apply to colleges, but I am keeping an open mind. I did not like the fact that the classes were very large; for example, their "Justice" class usually has 1,000 people. I prefer classes that are up to about 35 people. I also found it a little strange that they did not accept AP exam scores of 4 and 5 and IB scores. I also feel like I connected much more with Wellesley.
After getting a quick and nice lunch at Upstairs at the Square, we were allowed to go shopping! Rebecca and I had a nice time in the Harvard bookstore, where I picked up a lot of souvenirs for my family.
When we got back to Hotel Providence, I was planning on taking a small nap. I had just closed my eyes when Mariko burst into our room and informed me that we needed to pack. I was initially alarmed, but then she informed me that there was a mix up with our departure date and that we were moving into Cynthia, Josie, and Rebecca's room! I was a little iffy about the matter at first, but I can feel a strong sisterhood growing between our group, so I then became excited. So right now there are the seven W&L girls living in a room, Frank and Andrew sharing a room with my dad, and Erin, Erinn, and Kathleen sharing a room with Ms. Larson.
After the big move, we had a casual dinner at Mills Tavern. It was bittersweet. I absolutely love being with Brown Session 1. They are witty, sweet, funny, and complete the Brownie group. I'm thrilled that we got to spend time with them.
As we were heading back to the hotel, we were excited to get caught up in the Sound Session parade! It was fun and we took a lot of pictures. It was a great way to spend our last night at Hotel Providence.
This morning we met up with Brown Session I! It was really great to see them again, although they were sad at leaving Brown. We all piled into the two cars and I wound up in a car with all of the session I kids and Ms. Larson. They gave me a lot of good advice for tomorrow and the next two weeks as we motored towards Cambridge, Massachusetts.
At Harvard, we attended a truncated info session and then took a long campus tour. Our guide, Lillian, was happy to answer any questions in addition to the material covered in the tour.
One interesting Harvard fact was about the main Harvard library, the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library. Mr. Widener’s mother donated the library after her son died during the sinking of the Titanic. The twist to the story is that he was on a lifeboat but returned to the ship to retrieve some rare books from his room. He was never seen again.
We had a relaxed lunch with only the Brown groups, Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, Ms. Larson, and Ms. Williams. After lunch we went shopping in Cambridge for an hour. Caroline, Erin, and I wandered around the street, on a quest for a teapot for Caroline.
When we returned to Hotel Providence, we expected to rest for a couple of hours before walking to dinner. However, we were thrown for a loop when we learned that due to a misunderstanding, we had only booked our rooms through Friday night. Since Brown II isn’t checking in to dorms until Sunday (tomorrow), it was a bit of a problem.
Cynthia, Josie, Rebecca, Ava, Adrianne, and I all piled into the three person suite. Andrew and Frank from Brown I moved in with Mr. Ramsey, while Ms. Larson was kind enough to share her room with Caroline, Erin, Erinn, and Kathleen. I’m sure tonight will be quite the bonding experience. Currently, Andrew, Frank, and Kathleen are in our room having a blogging party.
After we all got situated, we left the hotel and went to dinner. Mill’s Tavern had delicious food, but unfortunately it took record time to get our food. We were there for over three hours! We had some very stimulating dinner discussions, which helped to pass the time.
On our way home, we ran into a street parade. It was quite the spectacle, with people dressed up as aliens, marching bands, and large crowds. The parade reminded me of Berkeley, which was interesting. I also noticed that while we haven’t seen many people out and about during the day, there were a lot of people running around tonight.
We eventually made our way out of the crowd and back to our hotel, where we headed up to our rooms to blog :)
An interesting thing I learned today is that there is something called the, "Z list" in existence. What that is, is a guarantee that you will have a space at Harvard, but only if you take a year off between high school and college. I haven't heard of that at any other college, so I was really surprised. We had a two tour guides, one that lead the group and another that walked amongst us. Catherine was the guide that walked with us so I got a chance to speak to her personally.
Catherine was one of the students who had the chance to take a year off before starting her freshman year at Brown. She took on several jobs to gain experience and to relax her brain from studying in high school.
Furthermore, if you attend Harvard, they will usually supply you with the necessary funds to travel abroad. It seems like money is abundant for extracurricular activities on campus. Coming from a school where resources are limited, I find this really, really amazing.
I think this is a school that I am going to consider. Being on the actual campus and seeing the environment really soothes the nerves and gives me a mentality where I believe I stand at least a small chance.
Putting the key into the yellow envelope brought back memories of the other yellow envelope that I received the Sunday I checked in. I felt like I was putting a part of my soul into the envelope as well: the memories, the class, the friends and the campus. Then I relinquished the key into the Residential Life mail slot—I was officially done at Summer@Brown−and I started to feel homesick for my dorm.
After depositing our luggage at Hotel Providence, our next stop was Harvard and Cambridge.
Cambridge is comparative to San Francisco; they attract attention from all over the world, have tourist attractions, and are filled with too many people. Cambridge is urban, but there are different styles of urban. For instance, Boston is urban, but it has a moderate amount of people coming to Boston University and to MIT. Then there is Providence; it is urban, but the people come out at night on Saturdays, otherwise it is practically empty. I prefer cities that are not necessarily “bustling,” but comfortable enough where I am not encountering salespersons and other people on every corner. Cambridge is a city that should be visited once in a while, but living in that environment would cause me too much stress.
Harvard is an interesting school. It has an intricate network of alums, which helps students in the future when they are looking for jobs. The center of the school is filled with brick houses and enough trees to shade everyone on the hot day. It was a discerning that there were so many people. To imagine that would be an almost normal crowd at the yard, I was intimidated and rethought the size of the school I would apply to. I admit that Harvard would be a great school to get into, but I am not a student that fits the Harvard character. I especially enjoyed the 55 mile long shelve of books; to get lost in that kind of library or to sit down among so many rows of books.
I missed Brown while touring Harvard. I was even tempted to put on my Summer@Brown lanyard because it felt so natural, but I would have probably gotten sneers from prospective Harvard students. I was reminded of Brown when I saw a lawn that looked like the Main Green. Yet Harvard has its own style—a colonial style with every building having a je ne sais quoi quality that just inspires awe.
Harvard was an excellent ending to the college tours on the East Coast. It is the most majestic and the oldest, so I received a complete history of important East Coast schools. I am going to miss Providence and its late Saturday parties, especially the parade that just occurred.
It will be different coming back to California; I will be more appreciative of California, but open-minded to other states and their quirks. I am a change person thanks to the program, and I am honored to have been part of the cohort.
We all departed from Brown and headed to Hotel Providence to meet up with cohort two to go to the esteemed and prestigious Harvard University. It was good to reunite with them again and to finally see Mr. Ramsey and Mrs. Kronenberg. We all piled into our two large Chevy Tahoe’s and went to Harvard. We had an informational session and campus tour. I really enjoyed the Harvard campus and based on that quick glimpse I would definitely apply there. But beyond just visiting Harvard this was the first opportunity for our two cohorts to intermingle for an extended period of time. The seven young ladies in cohort two are quite the group. I really enjoy their company. They all are truly bright and a pleasure to be around, these same premises are attributed to my cohort. Our two cohorts really mesh well, be that in just casual communication, dining, or even playing a game of Jenga in the Hotel lobby.
After the Harvard trip we all had lunch a nearby restaurant. Now the restaurant was nice, but the nicest part was seeing Michelle Obama’s picture with some female chefs affiliated with the restaurant. Even though there are thousands maybe even millions of pictures of Michelle Obama, I was inspired by this simple photo. I am not sure why I was inspired by this seemingly usual photo but I think it has to do with my new reflective outlook on life. That I should take advantage of everything put before me and really appreciate what I am able to have. My motive and drive to become president of the United States has been shifted to an extra gear. I am glad that Mr. Ramsey pointed out this photo to me or I most likely would not have seen and reflected upon this “simple” photo.
After lunch we did a little shopping in the Cambridge area and then headed back to the hotel. We all settled in our rooms after a semi long day. After having a short rest period we all headed out for a dinner. Tomorrow we will be leaving back to the Bay Area. I will miss Providence and my cohort, but through old blogs and photos I hope to relive some of the things I’ve experiences in the New England region even back home.