Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The College Hunt

I already knew that excitement would get the best of me when it came to sleeping, but I tried to sleep anyways. I woke up around 5 AM, trying to beat Nick to the showers, but ended up packing for our tours today instead. However, I was still able to finish taking my shower right before Nick woke up. Nick, Ying-An, Mr. Crosby, and I went down to the hotel restaurant at opening time, 6:30 AM, and ordered our breakfast. The food, and the rest of our group, came around 7:00 AM. The girls didn’t have time to order anything, but they ate off an order that we weren’t going to finish.

We left for Wesleyan around 7:30 AM in our large bronze Suburban. The drive was about an hour long, in which I stole my sleeping hours back from. We quickly walked into the Administration Office to try to escape the morning drizzle. A few minutes later, a student named Danny came up and introduced himself to us. Danny is a rising senior in Wesleyan and would be our tour for the morning. Something interesting and sad was that he had to wear sunglasses during most of the tour outside because he had some very strong allergies. Either way, he did very well.

One of the program houses at Wesleyan
We went to the arts center first, where he showed us some of the buildings. When looking at them, the buildings look extremely small. However, Danny Sullivan told us how the buildings were built to according to the Iceberg Concept, where the buildings would extend underground. Along with that, there would also be a network of tunnels underground to get from one building to another. Next, Danny showed us an interesting part of the arts section, which was sort of like a “tuning area” for musicians. This area was originally meant to create an echo, fixed to a specific pitch so that people could tune their instruments according to the pitch of the echo. However, over time, the area was reshaped and the pitch is out of tune.

One of the libraries in Wesleyan
He also showed us some of the libraries in Wesleyan. We actually went into one of the libraries, and I must say, they were huge. There weren’t a lot of students on the campus, let alone the library, but I could kind of get the sense that the environment there was very peaceful. This particular library was extended later on in the years. However, when the new part of the library was built, the original red brick wall was never torn down. As a result, there is a brick wall within the library.

After, we went to look at the sports center at Wesleyan. There were a lot of indoor arenas, such as an indoor track, a hockey rink, an indoor pool, and so on. Wesleyan is part of Division 3, in which their sports are less radical than other schools. Other schools who are part of Division 3 with Wesleyan are Tufts, Middlebury, and Hamilton. According to Danny, Wesleyan coaches are very understanding when it comes to sports versus academics. They will be sympathetic when you explain to them about upcoming exams and other academically related events.

Indoor swimming pool at Wesleyan

We basically concluded the tour with an informational session, which was somewhat dull. I think that if the session was more engaging rather than all “informational”, we might have been more progressive rather than half awake. Our lunch was delivered directly to the Wesleyan Admissions Office and we ate in one of the rooms in the office. One of the faculty members, Chris, actually joined us as we ate and answered some of our questions. I felt like the conversation was the most productive part of the whole tour because we were actually able to get into the philosophical ideas in regards to Wesleyan and liberal arts schools in general.

Theodore Dwight Woolsey (longest president
of Yale)
We took a half hour drive to get to Yale. The rain was pouring hard as we scrambled under our umbrellas, trying to avoid the unnecessary shower. Our Yale tour guide was Sam. Most of the tour was in and out of significant buildings such as some of the colleges (which are like living blocks in Yale), the cafeteria, and some of the libraries. Yale has an amazing, yet crazy and unbelievable, student-teacher ratio. Generally, it would be 6-1; in science, it would be 3-1; and in engineering, it would be 1-1. Unlike Wesleyan, Yale does have required courses, but are fairly easy to complete. I personally really enjoyed the Yale tour because there was more to see. The buildings around New Haven were very gothic and gave Yale this really charismatic feel.

I am not ashamed to say that I was asleep the whole way back from Yale to the hotel, because everyone fell asleep at least once (with the exception of Mr. Crosby because he was driving and Ms. Kaplan). By the time we got back to the hotel, we had to rush and quickly get dressed for our dinner with the Yale alumni. The dinner was scheduled for 6:30 PM.

One of the colleges at Yale

Nate eating his sundae and Charlotte
We ate at Providence Prime. Our group alone consisted of 8 people, and the alumni added it up to 12 people. Our half of the table sat with Nate and Charlotte. Nate was newly graduated from Yale, and Charlotte is an architect. At the beginning of the dinner, we all made our introductions in which all of the ILC cohorts gave their name, their current school, a description of their school, and possibly interested majors. I think that it also helped all of us to get to know each other a bit more. After introductions came the food and conversations. We also talked about some of the alumni aspects of Yale and contributed back with our understanding from the Brown tour. It was a very engaging conversation, though it did trail off a bit to the occasional “small talk”. Being parallel to the conversations, there were also some very delicious foods at Providence Prime.

Lemon Sorbet order for dessert at Providence Prime
Yesterday, I thought the first day was going to be one of the most interesting days for a while. I was utterly wrong, for today easily topped yesterday’s activities. Despite the rainy and gloomy weather, we attended some of the colleges that we would be touring this week. If there was anything that could make my tour experience better, it would be to have actual students around the campus while we were touring rather than making it feel like visiting ghost town. I think the most amusing part about the tours was being able to take our own pictures after having looked at all the ones online before seeing the real thing. In addition, the dinner was my most favorite part of the whole day, where we got to loosen up from the whole information strict atmosphere and switched it to a more casual exchange of dialogue with information as a side dish. I am really hoping tomorrow’s Dartmouth tour will be less wet, and really wishing that the three and a half hour drive is not as dull as I’m imagining it to be.  

1 comment:

  1. David,

    Thanks for ratting out the female part of your group. From Emily's blog it seemed as though they just didn't order enough breakfast but from your snitching it seems that they need to work on their time management.

    I've only read yours and Emily's blogs so far while waiting for the others to be posted but the one thing about all of your photos was the lack of people. Thanks for pointing out, though, just how few people there were on these campuses.

    That's always one of the problems with site visits during the summer--it's not a real representation of what things might look like during the regular school year.