Friday, November 9, 2012

Something About that White Dress

The second day of our four day weekend consisted of activities that lead to me almost passing out right when I jumped on my bed. Yes, it was tiring indeed... VERY tiring.
First, we visited Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. The trip to Amherst reminded me a lot of our trip to Dartmouth. Both are roughly a two and a half hour drive from Providence. The scenery that I saw on the way to Amherst was a lot like the one I saw on the way to Dartmouth: trees, trees, and more trees. I suppose we were in the deep rural area of New England.  One difference worth noticing, though, is the snow. It was wonderful to see snow on the ground on the way to Amherst.
Amherst War Memorial
Amherst College is a beautiful place. It is a fairly small school with only about 1800 students. Some facts that stood out to me include its diversity, its five college consortium, its open curriculum, and residence halls. During the information session as well as the campus tour, we were told that Amherst is one of the most diverse colleges on the East Coast. This is a plus, especially for someone like me, who lives in such a diverse state. I also learned about Amherst’s five college consortium. Basically, Amherst students can take classes at any nearby colleges, which include Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith College, and UMass. All of these institutions are within 10 miles of Amherst College. Isn’t that wonderful? In addition, Amherst runs on an open curriculum. Similar to Brown, Amherst students have no core curriculum to fill. This means that there are basically no required classes, such as taking general education classes for the first two years. I am in love with the idea of open curriculum programs, simply because I love the idea of being able to explore my options and expand my horizons. Lastly, during the campus tour, we actually went inside a residence hall for the freshmen. Though we did not get to enter a real dorm, I was impressed with how modern the building was. I really liked it. It was neat, modern, and welcoming.
The only thing that bothers me about Amherst College is the fact that it is in such a rural area. Sure, it is only 2 hours away from Boston and 3 hours away from New York, but I cannot imagine myself living there. I don’t know why I feel that way. I am guessing it is because I am a city girl. I love the business of the city. However, this surely does not outweigh the benefits of being an Amherst student.
Right when the campus tour ended, we were given the greatest opportunity to speak to one of Amherst’s admission officers, Kia. She was able to give us a greater insight in the college admissions process for Amherst. Her down to earth personality really connected with me. We spoke about personal statements mostly. She even gave us a little bit of personal background about her life. I realized the beauty in the fact that everyone’s life is so unique. We are born to unique situations, and they might not always be pleasant situations, but in the end, everyone has a say in how they want their life to be. I could tell that Kia was able to face her adversities and live the way that she wants to. I someday wish to share my stories with other people and hope to inspire them to take control of their own lives (Well, I have to take control of mine, first. But hello… that’s what college is for, right?!).
Emily Dickinson Museum
After our visit at Amherst, we made a quick trip to the nearby Emily Dickinson house. It was literally 10-15 minutes away from the college. I would say that it was an interesting trip. We even saw a replica of Emily Dickinson’s infamous white dress. She definitely intrigues me. Of course, her writings are magnificent, but I think that her personal life is far way interesting. I’m sorry, it’s not that I don’t appreciate her poetry, but it’s just that her life was so controversial! I learned that she began isolating herself from the rest of the world until she died and strictly only wore white. I could never imagine myself doing both, I mean, without logical reasons of course (and plus, white does not complement me at all).  I guess this visit to the museum made me want to do more research on Emily Dickinson just to learn why she did the things that she did….
Mayor Angel Tavares Speaking
Next, we made our way back to Hotel Providence. Upon arrival, we checked in with the Brown people that had a booth set up. We checked into our new rooms and met our new roommates. I am sharing a triple with a girl from Texas and another girl from Pittsburg. They are both very nice. Around 6 PM, my roommates and I went to the ballroom for dinner. It was awesome to reunite with many familiar faces that I met from the summer program. Even my roommate in Perkins Hall was there! After dinner, we had the chance to talk with Angel Tavares, Mayor of Providence. We received a little background on him and he talked a whole lot about his dream. Unlike me, he knew what he wanted to do with his life at a super young age (I’m talking in the 3rd grade!), which was to be a lawyer. After persevering through school and going to college, he achieved his dream. Later on, he decided to get into politics. He reminded me how powerful laws are. Even more, he made me realize how important it is to have a dream, or a goal. Having something to work towards is a way of keeping yourself focused.  It’s definitely a helpful thing to do.
For the next hour, we watched a presentation from Providence’s Youth In Power organization. This non-profit organization focuses on helping the youth be heard. It was definitely inspiring because the youth does play a huge role in any community. We are the fresh minds that have a lot to offer. We are, as corny as it sounds, the future. I think that having organizations like Youth in Power helps the community shape policies for the youth, with the help of the youth. I mean, that is only logical because it would not make sense to make policies for people without even taking their opinions into consideration. One of the Youth in Power staff members explained how they make their voice heard through organization and persistence. When they need to convince adults or authorities about an issue, they do tremendous amounts of research before even approaching those adults. Then, they show up in large numbers to show how committed and unified they are. This makes so much sense, especially because adults will take teens more seriously if they can see that the teens know exactly what they are talking about. Also, organizing in large numbers show how committed you are to really getting your point across.
After Kisa gave us an overview of our weekend, we went through some community building activities that were similar to those that we did during the summer. For example, we played name games to help each other remember each other’s names. We retired to our assigned rooms around 11 PM.
I am beyond exhausted, and tomorrow is another jam packed day! How exciting it is to get up at 6 AM and sleep at 12 AM and get up again at 7 AM…
I would not have it any other way though. This is way better than doing nothing productive. I cannot wait to revisit Brown University tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Ynah,

    I’m so glad that you all got a chance to meet Kia. She is so interesting and such a joy to be around. You can’t help but be impressed by her and her story.

    We were fortunate enough to take her to dinner a couple of weeks ago and since she had nothing going on that Saturday we invited her to participate in Pinole Valley’s college fair where she was by far the most popular table in the room.

    You’re right, though, about the differences between a rural and an urban setting for a college. It comes down to personal preferences. This is one of the true values, though, for these site visits. We can tell you about urban and rural college settings until we’re blue in the face but it’s only once you’re isolated out in the middle of nowhere or when you’re crammed into the hustle and bustle of a major city that you get the real feeling for the pros and cons of both.

    I’m amused, though, when you write that you’re a "city girl". Until recently you lived almost in the woods in El Sobrante and even now you’re living in pretty much a small city with only one major road cutting through the middle of it. The way you wrote it it made me think you were living in downtown San Francisco or something. I guess it’s all just a matter of perspective.