Monday, June 30, 2014

Time is of the Essence

Bright skies. A beaming sun. Glistening Waters. Today was definitely that ideal summer day that I expected. Though the morning was a bit on the cloudy side, as the day progressed, the skies cleared up and offered plenty of sunshine. 

Italian for today! 
As per my today's class, it was the usual Monday routine. A lecture followed by a discussion, and eventually this led to a writing workshop. Today's topic concerned John Locke and his ideas over certain inalienable rights including life, property, liberty, and health. I found this topic quite intriguing as this was the one I was able to relate most with. The philosophers that we've studied in the past -- St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Plato -- had a view that was centered mainly around the society they grew up in. These views were either largely focused on Judeo-Christian values or Greco-Roman traditions. But being the most modern of all, Locke's ideas just clicked and was much easier to follow as our standard American lifestyle is in a way based off of Locke's ideas. Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence "borrowed" such ideas concerning natural law and inalienable rights from Locke and now, these ideas are a part of the body that we call American government.

Once class and discussion session was over, I headed back to my room stressing about the mid-term that was fast approaching. Tomorrow is the last day to study. Oh no... Perhaps, it would be nice to stop time for a bit so that I'd be able to get more done in a day's time. Unfortunately, I'll just have to work with the time that I have in my hands. This brings me to something that my dad has repeatedly advised, "Once time is gone, it will never come again. Learn to use it wisely." If I were at home, I would take this advise easily and move on. But now, I truly realize that time is of the essence. And this need not apply just to studying, but to life in general. Don't wait until tomorrow. Seize the moment and get things done now, not tomorrow. Perhaps, this will instigate a crusade to help stop procrastination: the deadliest killer of all. Until then, back to studying.

The Start of a New Week

This morning I had the opportunity to sit with a few other kids from my class for breakfast. I had already met Sofie but then I met her close friend whose name is also Sofie and a guy named Will. My breakfast had started out with Kevin, Sue and Natalie but they left so I hung out with these guys and they were actually cool. Since Sofie (the first one I met) is from San Francisco, we talked about the bay and the beaches that are available to us but are too cold to actually go to.

During class, Professor Kramnick gave a great lecture as usual. At the end of the lecture, however, there was a girl sat in the front of the class that fell asleep and wouldn't wake up. We all got a bit scared but she finally woke up and then we all went on with our lives.

I am delighted to say that the lunch I had today at Trillium was the best thing I've eaten since I've arrived at Cornell. I had a chicken parmesan with pasta and zucchini. It was all beautifully cooked and all of the flavors went perfectly with each other and I was just so happy to have eaten something so delicious.
The amazingly delicious Italian food

We had our writing workshop after lunch which I was a bit scared for since I wasn't feeling very confident about my essay. However, I convinced myself that I'd just have to accept my fate and hope for the best. We peer edited a bit and I realized my mistakes so that I'll be able to adjust it for my final draft.

Class ended on a good note and then I went back to my dorm to read, which I've been doing on and off since then. We all met with Mr. Chan-Law right before dinner to discuss our Niagara Falls trip, which I'm extremely excited about. I've never been there so it'll be exciting to visit for the first time. 

Dinner was usual and the food was pretty good, as always. I wish I could eat a bit healthier but the only extremely healthy options available are salads and I'm not really a salad person, but I'll make an attempt to get back on track with healthy food this week.

It is now bedtime, but I'll keep you all updated with everything that happens this week (and the next)! 

I am Homesick

Today was the big day. It was finally time for our presentation. I woke up at 6:15 AM and attempted to do my make up. It looked fine as long as you didn't get to close to me... So I decided not to wear my business suit to class because I get sweaty on the 15 minute walk there. I rushed to breakfast to please my mother, who told me to eat something before I left. I grabbed a cinnamon bun and was out the door. By 7:30 AM I was in the building, ready (sort of) for my presentation. 

We didn't start of course until 8:30 AM, but I prepared myself as best as possible while I waited. Unfortunately, when it was time to present, I didn't do as well as I had hope. I never got to practice with the clicker before so I messed up my slides. I was so nervous I was shaking. I do that a lot. I was disappointed in myself. So the rest of the day dragged on painfully. 

Accomplished at least one thing here at Cornell
At the very end of the day, Mark told us that we were going to take a picture, full out a group sheet, get our memos back and then we could leave, which meant there were no office hours. We took our picture--I was in the very front because I'm short-- and filled out the survey sheets. Then Sabrina handed me my graded memo. And lo and behold! I got an A! I was so surprised. I guess even though I didn't do well on my presentation at least I did have a good memo. 

I walked back to my dorm feeling good--a little too good because instead of taking a nap, like I should have, I watched Neflix. I met up with my cohort and Mr. Chan-Law at 6:30 PM and we ate dinner. I tried Cornell chocolate pudding. It was tasty, better than a pudding cup. 

When I got back to my dorm, I began studying for my quiz tomorrow. It will cover hotel companies, their brands and their corporate structure. I have to study once again! Thanks for reading and for your ongoing support!
My study guide for tomorrow

Heat Just Got Hotter

Today I was out of bed by 7:25, which was a few minutes later than I had hoped but still plenty early to go up to RPCC for a breakfast of Cream of Wheat, a little chocolate Danish, and coffee. We ate with Sophie, the girl in our class from San Francisco. By 8:45 I was seated in the lecture hall, leaving me time to review the Locke readings we'd been assigned.

Professor Kramnick surprised us today by adding extremely baggy cargo pants to his too-smart-to-care Birkenstocks. The extra fabric made his gesticulations in his lecture about Locke's background and thoughts all the more impactful. In discussion, Vijay helped us clarify and contextualize Locke's thoughts on the natural state of humans and how a logical progression from that state could justify government. Although Locke can be verbose, today's lecture and discussion were uncomplicated and fun. However, there is tension in the air from our approaching prelim on Wednesday. There will be at least one essay, some short-answer questions, and some quote identification work on Plato, Aquinas, and Augustine. I can barely remember their views on human nature, let alone identify their writing styles, so I'm quite nervous.

At lunch today I had a grilled cheese on whole wheat, a coconut yogurt with chocolate and almonds, and a Diet Pepsi. The yogurt was my favorite kind, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it offered at the Trillium.

After lunch, we returned to class for the writing workshop. After Vijay had instructed us in building a good thesis and fixing a bad thesis, we split into pairs to look the rough drafts of our Plato essays. I found errors in mine like terrible organization and long sentences. I've got a lot to fix before I hand it in next Thursday.

Confused clouds over the libraries
After class was dismissed for the day, I went with Kevin and Carla to the bookstore for a few minutes to buy face wipes. There I saw a great collection of funny, prankish gift options which I look forward to purchasing for people at home. I then walked back to North Balch while there were two minutes worth of showers, and left again ten minutes later under clearer skies to go to Vijay's office hours in the cafe of Olin Library. He offered great tips on how to structure my essay, for which I was grateful.

After office hours, I returned to North Balch for a few hours before dinner. Then, at 6:25, I hiked up to the RPCC lobby for the scheduled meeting with Mr. Chan-Law. He told us the travel details of Friday's upcoming trip to Niagara Falls. Then we all went upstairs to eat dinner. Mr. Chan-Law filled his plate multiple times in order to get the most bang for his buck. Meanwhile, I ate a bit of rainbow pasta with Alfredo sauce, a bean salad, and a bread stick. I had milk to drink. Later, I had a bowl of strawberry frozen yogurt and chocolate soft-serve ice cream. It was delicious, even if it wasn't as pretty as Jun's combination.

After dinner I returned to North Balch to read and blog. Today has been perhaps the hottest so far that we've been in Ithaca, and for the first time I was obligated to turn on my fan. Even dressed in my lightest apparel, I was totally wiped out by the heat, and had little extra energy to spare. I could barely move to drink from my water bottle, let alone adjust the fan. Tomorrow is meant to be even hotter, which makes me wonder whether I'll meet with any success at all trying to study. Perhaps the single air-conditioned lounge area in North Balch will be quiet tonight and tomorrow afternoon.

Although I have only a day and a half before taking the prelim, I am hopeful that I can get to sleep by midnight tonight in order to be rested for tomorrow.

Unpredictable Monday

Alarm clocks aren't dependable and it was proven by a classmate of mines today. Luckily, her presentation was scheduled in the afternoon so her group's presentation didn't suffer from her tardiness. But she was three hours late to a college class. I'm not sure what kind of consequence she ended herself in but I think it's not too harsh since she was in a good mood before and after presenting.

Today I woke up at 6:45AM to find myself rushing to RPCC to grab some breakfast. I still needed to get dressed for our presentation today so my breakfast concluded in ten minutes. I was ready to go at 7:55AM with butterflies in my stomach. Once everyone got situated, presentations began a little bit after Mark's jokes. I think the joke is primarily to subside our nervousness. Mark can tell who's nervous; he's taught this class for for many years. Furthermore, he wants us to understand that by doing this presentation, we are gaining something out of it and not just for the sake of our grade. Group 1A started off this long day with an excellent presentation. It's only natural to stutter when presenting first. I admired and loved their presentation; both their flaws and strengths. My group, 3A, was fifth in line so that gave us time to watch a series of presentations, and also a short ten minute break before our presentation. I used that time to calm the butterflies raging inside my stomach. 
A group using break time to practice. Can you see the intense atmosphere near the front? 
Our rehearsal yesterday was a complete failure and many changes were made last night. Today, our hard work was displayed. Interstate Hotels and Resorts is a leading global independent management company. It was hard to address a pure management company to investors, so we decided to direct our audience towards newly hired employees. Lily started our presentation with confidence. She dragged our nervous peers' attention back to our presentation with her persuasive tone. Patrick discussed Interstate's history on a level that connects to our employees in a family-like way. I was in charge of closing our "orientation" to the new employees by welcoming them to the Interstate family. I believe our group was the few that didn't direct our presentation to investors. Not that presenting to investors wasn't good; it was a really common standpoint. Our group was also one of the few that didn't get suspiciously questioned by Reneta and Mark after our presentation. I guess we can look at it in two ways: In a positive perspective, we had our information correctly displayed; On the other hand, our presentation was simply too boring. It will be stressful for the next few days before finding out what category we fitted into. 

After all twenty groups got their chance to show off what we've accomplished, my notebook was full of sloppy notes of just too many hotel brands. Our whole class took a photo commemorating the first week after. Since formal clothing was worn, the photo turned out to be very professional looking; I guess that's why Mark said, "No no, you can't're gonna stay in that suit and look pretty all day...yup". 

There were scheduled office hours today from 4-6PM, but our kind professors let us, the sweaty monsters, go home. Boy was I glad that we were released at four, because I can finally take this armor off. Yes, I call any formal clothing, "armor". 

We were assigned two readings and a scheduled quiz for tomorrow, so I decided to make use of my time before the scheduled meet up with Mr. Chan-Law at 6:30PM to study. Turns out I had forgotten my notebook inside the classroom. My lovely teammate, Lily, sent me photos of her notes right after receiving my text that contained "save me"! I now know why  having a team is so important. Thank you, Mark and Reneta for stressing that!

Now that today's over, I shall do my homework and get ready for the quiz tomorrow! 

Neat, Neat, Neat

The coolest professor to wear cargo pants.
The moment I woke up this morning I saw the sun from my window and thought I was late. I quickly jumped out of bed, waking up my roommate in the process and looked at the digital clock on my microwave and realized that it was 6:00 AM--no reason to panic. I fell asleep again and then woke up at 7:30 AM and began my morning routine. Unfortunately I could not go jogging in the morning because I was much too tired from reading Locke at such late an hour the night before. 

I got to breakfast and ate with some of my cohort, while our "hotelies" were preparing for their presentations today. My weekday breakfast has degenerated to a simple combination of coffee mixed with milk and a banana (which is why I eat a lot for weekday lunches and breakfasts).

Prior to beginning the lecture, Professor Kramnick had some questions to ask the class concerning our weekends. He asked if we went to Buttermilk Falls, the Ithaca Farmer's Market and even the Ithaca Mall--at which point he exclaimed "Oh my God!" in the astonished voice of a 14-year old social media savvy girl, as a response to some of our class's replies. Getting to the lecture, Professor Kramnick's main focus of the day simply said was the rise of the individual, with Lockean philosophy all over the place. As always, he began with some contextual background concerning when and where the philosopher lived. He explained the conflict between the the Stuarts (Catholic) and the Protestants of England who were fighting over the throne immediately after the Commonwealth of England period. I slowly began to remember all the history facts concerning this time period from studying European History during the school year. 

Lunch food.
He explained how Locke was simply voicing the common thought of his day where the individual could become someone, so long as hard work was completed and one could take as much land as he could utilize. Furthermore, it coincided with the other big trend of the era that was capitalism. The economic system fashioned out in a book by Adam Smith, can be considered a result of the Protestant Reformation, for Protestants were allowed far more autonomy as individuals as opposed to Catholics who were more entrapped in the "community." Towards the end of the presentation, Professor Kramnick coughed, and then coughed again--eventually it turned into sporadic coughs that made it sound as if he was slowly dying. I felt bad because I had no water on me to offer him but thankfully the lecture was just about over and he also thought it was best if he stopped.

The discussion with Vijay was centered on Locke's most important principles including how he believed in natural laws which everyone is born with. They are basically inalienable rights, including those of the right to life, liberty and property. Not only that, but Locke also promoted religious tolerance for all Christians, excluding Catholics and all non-Christians. Furthermore, everyone has the ability to execute the law so long as someone violated the natural law(s) in some way shape or form. We also turned in our rough draft essays and went over how to create an effective thesis.

Right after class Carla, Natalie and I all went to the Cornell Bookstore because we all wanted to see some products and Natalie needed to mail some postcards. I found a really nice Cornell cap that was on sale and so I bought it. 

My new hat.
Afterwords we all went back to our dorms and me and Natalie decided to visit our TA Vijay for critique on our essays and for information on the upcoming midterm. We both spent collectively about 50 minutes getting feedback on our essays and he hinted very little as to what to expect on the midterm. At least we both have a better perspective on what he expects to see on the essay. 

Immediately after we went back to our dorms again, I decided to have a 30 minute rest and remembered that I needed to go for a jog, so I began around 5:30 PM and ended at 6:00 PM. It was less exhaustive than the last two times but VERY HOT outside--I haven't sweated like this since cross-country. Well it was exactly the work out I needed and not too long after the entire cohort went to dinner. As usual, I ate a whole lot--a little of everything and finished it all off with some chocolate cranberry ice-cream with soft-serve on top. Looks like I'll be jogging on Wednesday and I have to study for the test so I'll fill you guys in on the next blog.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

End of Weekend One...Darn

Olin Library.
To begin with, I've haven't slept in for more than 7 hours than as of today. I went to sleep around 12:30 AM and then awoke at 7ish AM and then fell asleep, only to re-awake at 10:30 AM. Upon realization of the time, I got up showered, changed, brushed my teeth, etc. and went to "breakfast" around 12:00 PM. I went with Jun and Natalie and decided to have a salad (because I ate a lot of domino's pizza the night before) and went light on the junk food. 

Afterwards I went back to my dorm and began the Locke readings. The thing was, it was so HOT at this time that the two fans in my dorm didn't really stop me from sweating. I could only muster so many pages that I had to get back to it in the afternoon when it was much cooler. Later on Natalie and I met up at the Olin Library to work on our Platonic essays. The essay seems very simple at first with a basic question with what was Plato's stance on democracy. Then one has to compose a strictly coherent explanation of why Plato says this and how it lead to that, etc. I managed to pull together a rough draft at the library and found all my quotes later in the day. 

Sports camp is going on as well apart from Summer College.
Now its time for a new segment: disappointing story of the day. While Natalie was creating her essay on a chair next to a coffee place (she brought her laptop), I went to go look for the nearest open computer. I went on the computer and apparently I had to log in. My NetID and Cornell passwords wouldn't let me go threw and after rebooting the computers like the person at the desk told me--there was no success. Then she said she was going to find the solution to it, but it came with no avail for she said that only the tech assistant (who wasn't there) knew how to do it and 20+ minutes was wasted. I was kindly directed to other computers where I began my essay. 

Starting the intro was fairly easy, but I had to read through all my notes and some passages in order to structure my essay so that took around 30 minutes. After that, I went to talk to Natalie about citation rules and we happened to see our TA Vijay at the coffee place looking rather lonely and she told me that it would be a good idea to ask him about it. My one question turned into an entire conversation about many things of the class as he explained to me that he didn't want a list of reasons for Plato's disliking of democracy, rather a well-structured coherent essay. He also told me how all of Socrates's thoughts and words had been manipulated by Plato and that there was a good chance that none of them actually ever came together and even had the conversation. We also talked about the history channel and how they only show reality TV shows like swamp, pawn and truck driver shows.
My late night snacks.

The talk with Vijay was actually very helpful for getting a grasp of what to write on my essay, I'm glad I came there with a question. Fast-forward to a little past 6:00 PM and Natalie and I headed back to our dorms and just about everyone in our cohort congregated to dinner at 6:30 PM. I'm not quite sure why again, but I basically had a hunger attack and chowed down on every fatty food there was and finished it off with chocolate ice-cream and peach pie. I was planning to go jogging again but finishing the Locke readings and finding the quotes to my essay got in the way. While finding quotes I got hungry and went to Bear Necessities for yogurt and sour patch kids. 

Today was relatively subtle if anything and I'm just glad that I'm ready for tomorrow. Perhaps I might even go for a morning jog, we'll see.

School on a Sunday???

I tried sleeping in today again, but that didn't work out. I ended up waking up at 7:30 AM. It wasn't such a bad thing though. I immediately remembered that my white clothes were still unwashed so I rushed down to the basement to start my laundry. Then I fell back asleep. Panicking when I woke up, I raced to the basement and moved my clothes into the dryer. I wasn't late though so while my clothes dried I went breakfast. I was enjoying two hard boiled eggs by myself, when I saw Dani, my group member. She joined with me along with her friend Jared, but I had to leave to get my laundry. 

Example slide from our presentation

I returned to RPCC at 10 o'clock to meet my group. We were putting all of our slides together because we were having a "dress rehearsal" at 1:30 PM with a TA and Mark. We were feeling pretty confident so we went to lunch together, even though I wasn't really hungry. I really love my group. We get along so well and work great together. Moving on, around 11:45 AM we started off towards our class. We went to the lab and realized we need to fix quite a lot before we were ready to practice present. We barely made it and at 1:30 PM we nervously shuffled into room 391. I, personally, messed up a lot, but overall I think we did fairly well.

For the next five hours, we fixed everything. And I mean everything. We adjusted colors, size proportions, spacing, titles and completely re did some slides. At 6 o'clock we decided we better go get some food and agreed to meet back up on the second floor of Donlon at 8:00 PM. For dinner, I met up with Sue, Carla, Natalie and Kevin. I ate a delicious cookie from Cornell for the first time... I feel like 75% of my blog just describes food... Oh well.

Anyway, my group did meet at 8:00 PM and went through the entire presentation about three times. I made better notecards, so I feel a little more confident. I need my rest for the big day! Wish me luck! (Again.)

Ready For Presenting

Disclaimer: " For all future ILCers, bring your water bottle everywhere...EVERYWHERE".

Dehydration is the last thing you would want to experience in Ithaca. Whether you're inside a building or not, you should always have water by your side. Today I've experienced this tragedy.

So, as you might have known, today was the day of which I've forgotten to bring my water bottle and thus resulted in me drinking the whole water fountain's supply. Waking up at ten, I realized that today might be the only day to sleep in, so might as well take advantage of it. I skipped breakfast and went straight to RPCC for lunch with Natalie and Kevin. Natalie, as usual, took her ice cream servings into a whole new level. We're astonished everytime to see Natalie walking back to our table with her ice cream. After eating yucky chow mein, I headed back to my dorm first to get ready for our office hours happening today from three to six. Last night our group decided to meet thirty minutes before, so that leaves me having to start walking to Statler Auditorium at two. We thought this would give us enough time into editing our PowerPoint.

As the clock ticked to four, my group headed down to the hallway to get ready for our scheduled presentation rehearsal. Five minutes went by, the group that started at four still occupied the conference room. Twenty minutes went by; they were still inside! Finally at five, my group went inside and thus we delivered our practiced presentation to Melody, one of the TAs. Upon finishing, I was saddened to hear that she was only satisfied with our last slide. Hearing that, I was horrified to hear what else she had to say. Melody explained that we were overusing SmartArt and should use accordingly, or "smartly". Additionally, simplifications should be made to our PowerPoint. Another word out to future ILCers; listen to all the things the TA says, they help you a LOT! Because of our SmartArt and overly scripted issues, our group stayed in the lab fixing and editing to our dictionary of perfection, until eight.
Binenkorb Computer Lab C: A nice working environment
I know that today will not be the latest of which we leave. I also know our dedication and effort put into this presentation will be shown tomorrow. Tomorrow, here I come!

Hanging Out on a Sunday

Today my day started a bit later than usual. I woke up at around 9:45 but didn't get out of bed till about 10:30. I took a few minutes to change and get ready then I went to the RPCC to eat lunch, since I had missed out on breakfast. I had a bit of pasta as well as a salad and sugar-free soft serve, which was actually not very good. 

After finishing my food, I went downstairs to the TV room to watch the upcoming Mexico vs. Netherlands game. I met up with a friend Joel, who's from Mexico, and we cheered on our team. Although the first half was boring, Mexico scored a goal at the beginning of the second half but the Netherlands quickly scored a goal and then scored another point through a penalty kick. Mexico lost their game in a matter of 10 minutes and although I'm sad that they won't be continuing on in the World Cup, I'm glad they made it as far as they did. 

Delicious ice cream! Chocolate raspberry
After the game ended, I went to my dorm to work on my essay, but most of the time dedicated to writing resulted in going on Netflix (oops). I got a bit of my essay done and soon enough it was time for dinner, so I met up with Sue, Natalie, Kevin and Katelyn to eat. Jun was nowhere to be found, but we assumed she had to work on her presentation for her class. I got an opportunity to try the ice cream today and although the picture doesn't look very appetizing, it was actually delicious!

When I finished dinner, I went straight back to my dorm to finish my essay. I'm now putting the finishing touches on it so I can print it out at the RPCC in the morning before class starts. 

Eating Rice One Grain at a Time? Don't Do It!

As Katelyn probably mentioned in her blog, I too have problems sleeping in. It's as if I was born with an in built alarm; I just can't sleep in. And when I tell other teenagers this, they look at me as if I have some major problem. Sleeping in just isn't my cup of tea. 
Why do I do this to myself?!
After all that rambling, you could probably tell that I was awake quite early again. Since I spent all of yesterday planning out my entire essay, today was the day to write. I started at about 8:30 and went all the way to 2:00 as I tried to craft the essay one sentence at a time. Probably a bad idea and today I have learnt my lesson. Imagine eating a bowl of rice one grain at a time -- not the wisest decision to make. Anyhow, I finally finished the essay and honestly, I was satisfied with how it came out for a first draft. I still have tons of work to do on it regarding structure and logic, but now all I have to worry about is tweaking the essay rather than composing a totally different one. Hard work never fails! But the rather downside to this was that I was so focused on writing my essay that I didn't keep track of time. By the time I looked at the little clock on the right hand corner of my computer, it was already 1:55, meaning that lunch would end in another 5 minutes. :( Hence, I had to work with BelVita breakfast biscuits and Kashi cereal that I had bought at Target a couple days ago. Not the best lunch, but it did keep me full until dinner. Advice to some of you: if you're working, don't forget to eat. It's possible to forget, but you need it to keep you running. 

After my improper lunch, I headed to TA Vijay's office hours where we discussed my essay just for a bit since we'll be going over the essay in complete detail during tomorrow's writing workshop. Anyhow, TA Vijay gave me some great tips regarding my thesis, structure, and citations. 

This week will be quite hectic as I have a Preliminary Exam fast approaching on Wednesday. Wish me luck and before I go to bed, I've got to read John Locke's ideologies. Good night or good morning, depending on when and where you're reading this from.  :) 

Mixed Bag Sunday

Today I woke up at about 10:20, not because my alarm had gone off yet but because the girls next door like to blast their music and videos rather loudly. Having promised myself a bit longer to sleep in I tried to ignore the noise and go back to sleep, but to no avail. So by eleven I was dressed and sunscreened. I checked my email and wrestled my hair into a braid, and was at RPCC by noon for a meal with Kevin and Jun. My bean salad was lovely as usual, as was the whole wheat pasta with Alfredo sauce. Those items are becoming my go-to picks for meals at RPCC. After that I had a nice bowl of strawberry and vanilla frozen yogurt with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and rainbow sprinkles. It was nice, but in the future I won't mix the strawberry with the vanilla because it just tastes like a bland version of the strawberry.

At lunch Kevin and I worked out a schedule for balancing our workloads for today. I returned to North Balch for about two hours and started rereading the John Locke assignment, which went more slowly that I thought it would. Perhaps I was distracted because I was studying in a new lounge, which had huge windows and a grand piano, as well as an almost deathly silence. North Balch's dorm rooms are mediocre at best, but the common spaces are breathtaking.

At about 2:30 I walked down to Olin Library to meet Kevin and write the rough essay draft due tomorrow. I wrote steadily until a little before six, interrupted only by occasional conversation from members of the class who were also working on their essay and stopped by my chair to chat.

Olin Library
After I'd manipulated the library printer into obedience and Kevin had wrapped up his work, we marched back up to our dorms to drop our backpacks off before going to dinner. Approaching RPCC I met up with Carla and Katelyn, and inside we found Sue and Kevin. Jun, I believe, was tied up working on a big presentation. I once again ate the whole wheat pasta with Alfredo sauce, but had lentil soup and a bread stick rather than bean salad. The soup was lovely, but the bread stick mostly just salty. Carla announced that she'd found a partially hidden ice cream freezer, so even though I'd already had frozen yogurt I had a little scoop just to try it. I'm so glad I did. The chocolate with cherries ice cream was superb. I'll never eat the cafeteria's soft-serve again.

After dinner I came back to North Balch with a shower, blogging, and some more reading still on my agenda. After this post I only have about twenty pages of Locke to finish, and then I can sleep in preparation for a long day tomorrow.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tanning, Dancing & Jogging all in a Day's Work

Tanning under the hot sun
Today I slept in. Well, until 9:00 AM anyway. I went to sleep at 3 o'clock so I still need to rest. I laid in bed until 11 o'clock before going down to the basement to do laundry with Carla and Kevin. Unfortunately, all of the washing machines were taken except for one, so we only did one load (I still have my white clothes left).

After we started washing, Carla and I went to eat lunch and then we went tanning... sort of. We went to the middle of a grassy quad and relaxed under the sun. It got incredibly hot though and eventually we decided to go back to our rooms. Back in my room, I worked on my group presentation and tried to take short naps, but that didn't work. So I decided to workout. After I was soaking in sweat, I cleaned up, and by then it was time for dinner. I ate some delicious watermelon and soft-serve ice cream. Carla and I also discovered there is an icebox in RPCC full of Cornell ice cream! I'll have to try tomorrow.

My free shirt with signatures from Katie, Alli & Carla
Around 7:00 PM, we decided to check out the highlighter party, the RCAs were putting on. It was pretty cool because we got free t-shirts and highlighters. Katie, Alli, Carla and I signed each other's shirts and our writings were illuminated under the black light. They also handed out glow sticks, which people broke so that their shirts also glowed. It was fun, but it was hot and I knew I couldn't get back to late. We left early and as soon as I got back I went for a jog. My shoes are worn out and my feet hurt terribly afterwards.
I got back around 10 o'clock, showered then met up with Carla. We watched Netflix and checked in right on time. Now I'm back in my room, half-awake going over my presentation. I better rest up. I have to be at the lab by 10:30 AM tomorrow!
9:10 PM in Ithaca, NY

A Day with Katelyn

It felt really good to wake up without having to worry about class today. I woke up at 9:30, which is still pretty early for me, but I felt satisfied with the amount of sleep I got. After getting out of bed, I took a shower and then met Katelyn and Kevin in the basement to do some laundry. When we got there, all of the laundry machines were filled, save one, so we all just washed a bit of dark clothes.

When our clothes were finished, Katelyn and I ate a bit then went outside to tan. While tanning, Katelyn practiced her presentation and I spent my leisurely time listening to music. It got a bit too hot to be outside so we went back inside and picked up our clothes, which were dry by then. I hung out in my room a bit and thought about what I would write in my essay for class so I could be prepared to write about it tomorrow.

Before I knew it, it was dinnertime so Katelyn and I met up yet again to eat dinner. We got to watch the last part of the Uruguay vs. Colombia game, and Colombia won. Today they were serving pork chops and rice at the RPCC, which were both very delicious. I also discovered that there is an icebox with ice cream so I'll have to try that sometime.

The view from the RPCC
Following dinner, Katelyn and I decided we would check out the Highlighter Party hosted by the RCAs here at Summer College. It was pretty cool and we got to write on each other with highlighters, but it was very crowded and hot so we left a little early. When we got back, Katelyn and I watched some shows on Netflix then went to check-in. Now it's time for bed!

The clocktower lit up.

Ithaca at sunset.

Slow Saturday

Today I awoke only an hour later than usual, despite today's weekend status, to meet Jun downstairs at 8:30 and do laundry. Once our machines were running we went up to breakfast, where I had a banana, bad French toast, and coffee. After eating, we transferred our clothing to dryers, then sat down to catch up on our written correspondence. Today was my first opportunity to finally write the postcards I've been buying, which numbered ten in all. Still, I was done writing by the time the dryer was done. A few minutes later Jun and I met Sue outside North Balch and went to lunch, where we were soon joined by Kevin. I ate my bean salad, along with a few bites of whole wheat pasta with Alfredo sauce and a small piece of pumpkin pie. Then, after a quick stop at Bear Necessities to replenish my stock of shampoo, conditioner, and late-night snacking material, I headed back to my room for an afternoon composed of various odds-and-ends activities.

We ate dinner at seven. My slice of cheese pizza was passable, but the root beer float that followed was much better (I went rogue and filled a plastic drinking glass with soft-serve vanilla ice cream, then added root beer). Today I ate very badly. I'll have to do better tomorrow, but it's hard to eat well when it's served in the style of an all-you-can-eat buffet.

After dinner, I returned to my room again to reread our Locke homework and blog. I look forward to being able to sleep early and wake late, since although I'll have to spend a few hours writing an essay I don't have any other plans.

This is undoubtedly the shortest blog post I've posted. That just goes to show that our days here are finally settling into a routine in which new content and photos are in short supply.

I'm Sorry that I Lied!

Ok. I'm sorry. So I guess I lied when I said tomorrow will be an adventure on yesterday's blog. I'm guilty for lying because today was anything but an adventure. Well, that is unless you consider staring at the wall in front of your desk quite adventurous.

From all of the walking that I did yesterday, today just had to be a rest day for me. Thinking that I would be able to sleep in, I went to bed last night on a happy note. To my surprise, I found myself bright and awake by 7:15, my usual alarm timing. I am definitely an early bird; I can't sleep in even if I wanted to. :(  I still woke up with a smile on my face as I strongly believe that mornings are the times to be productive. I will turn to history to support my claim. (I've been learning in class that there must be support behind any argument.) So here I go. Before the light bulb was invented by the ingenious Thomas Alva Edison, the sunrise signaled the start of a day and the sunset signaled the day's end. Therefore, people would start working in the field at dawn and would go back home by sunset and go to bed by the time light was gone. This has been human tradition for so long and getting work done in the mornings has been proven to be more effective than staying up late nights. Only recently has mankind's invention of the light bulb been created to improve efficiency. So, I was also kind of glad that my body accustomed itself to a specific timing as I could get work done.

As mentioned before, my day was pretty much spent in my dorm. I went outside to eat for lunch and dinner, but otherwise I sat at my desk outlining an essay on Plato. I was also able to tidy up my room a bit. Quite an accomplishment indeed. 
It was so beautiful today!
On my way for lunch.
Hopefully tomorrow may be more fun, but I believe the only fun I'll be having tomorrow is writing this essay for which a rough draft is due on Monday. So I guess I'll just have to go "write" back to work once I wake up tomorrow as well.

Plato Progress and Learning Laundry

It's not as good as it appears.
Sleeping in never felt so good after literal non-stop work. Waking up somewhere around 10:00 AM I mustered enough strength to go do some laundry with Carla and Katelyn. Although before that, my funny/scary story of the day occurred. As soon as I woke up, I heard a buzzing sound in my room. I put on my glasses and found a wasp hovering around my dorm like it was patrolling its territory. I freaked out because it hid itself behind the highest portion of the blinds and I went to the hallway in order to find my RCA Solomon--to help me kill it. It turns out, the wasp left through some hole around the blinds and now I have to live in fear no matter what. Getting back to laundry, this time around we all had a lot more laundry and I ended up washing and drying about 4 articles of clothing due to insufficient space. In other words I had to learn how to do my own laundry this time hard could that be? Well not very, as I would eventually realize. 

During the time my first set of clothes was being washed I took the liberty to go eat "breakfast" with Sue, Natalie and Jun. It was technically lunch, but breakfast to me and I don't why--but lately I've been eating much more pizza than usual. It's not that it's amazing, because its really not (I work at a pizzeria so I would know), but I should stop before I start gaining major weight. 

I know how to use this now.
Later on in the day I was reminded by the mound in the corner of my room that I had to do laundry. I set to it--not knowing what exactly what I was doing. I brought my two bags of laundry to the basement where I loaded them into two empty washing machines (early in the morning they all had been taken up) and then set to unraveling the mystery of how to use a Cornell ID card for laundry services. Well, long story short--a foreign student from the sixth floor told me how to set up a laundry account with my Cornell NetID and how to use my card on the scanner. If it wasn't for him then I would have text someone in my cohort for very specific instructions--luckily avoided. My room feels much fresher now that my side is all clean, now my roommate should consider doing his laundry as well. 
My building: Mary Donlon.
Right after, I took a long nap as a reward for learning such a simple concept. When I woke up, I began reviewing my Plato notes in preparation for my essay and I got really hungry out of nowhere. I decided to get some grub at Bear Necessities (convenience store/grill) and ordered a fried chicken sandwich and fries. I was looking forward to a promising meal considering the price and small proportion of the food. It turns out I could've went to just about any other place and bought food that would easily be better. The chicken sandwich itself was alright but slightly undercooked in the middle and the fries were nearly of the same quality as the cafeteria's. This is the last time I purchase hot food there. Later on, I decided to go jogging right before dinner and took the same path as I did last time. The only difference about this time was that it was much hotter, but it definitely wasn't as difficult as last time.
Places of where I jog, except I was taking a stroll in the evening when I took these pictures.
I went to dinner and didn't feel that hungry and ate up on salad and a slice of veggie pizza. At the table we decided that we would all work on our essays tomorrow at the library but we weren't sure at what time, so organizing something after 10:30 AM  seems like the best idea for tomorrow. A thing to note was that the entire school at about this time was empty. This is because there was a highlighter themed party going on at College Town where just about the majority of the student population was at. My neighbor came back from it and said the party atmosphere was great, except that it was too crowded and humid (since it was in the basement of a building). He was also sporting his shirt that was full of highlighter drawings...and as well as glow stick fluid, which I heard was being thrown around the room.

I think I might order some pizza from Domino's and then do some pushups and curl-ups prior to the food arriving. Other than that, I'm back to work on Plato.

Half A Weekend...Already?

Saturday is the day to sleep in late if you choose to. I was up by eight-thirty to do my laundry while everyone else on my floor were still in deep sleep. Natalie and I met in the laundry room at 8:45AM to convene our dirty clothes into the washers. After placing our weekly laundry into the washer, we walked to RPCC to get some breakfast. I'm guessing because everyone was taking full advantage of sleeping in late,  so that probably explained why there were only two tables occupied. Starting a Saturday morning with scrambled eggs and waffles can only be described by using one word: splendid. After finishing my breakfast in a relaxed manner, we headed back to the laundry room to carry out the second half of the laundering process. 

Our group met at 12:30PM in the RPCC computer lab to work on our upcoming presentation. We've arranged to work for six hours to get our PowerPoint nailed down. At 3:30PM, all of us agreed that the resulting product was impressive. Our mutual agreements on desgins led us to efficiently finishing our PPT in three hours instead of six. Although I recommended staying an extra hour just to make sure we got everything covered, both of my team members wanted to play intramural frisbee that starts at 4PM, so 2-1, just like the recent Portugal vs.Ghana match. I just hope our presentation will be ranked satisfactory by Mark's scale. While my team members went off to play frisbee, I went to the RPCC lobby to check if I had mail. Turns out that North Balch Hall's mailboxes are located inside Appel Commons. Furthermore, nobody explained (even the RCA's) that our mailboxes were labeled based on our room numbers, so I was at the wrong location stuffing my key inside every possible mailbox. 

I was unexpectedly hungry today, so I managed to eat two times more than usual. I was bewildered myself by the amount of food I consumed, but the fiery sun drained my energy, so it's only natural. What I'm most worried about though, is my practice presentation tomorrow in front of our professors, and not the food.

My Right Foot is Done for the Day and a Truck can Ride a Robot Dinosaur

The mediocre burrito I had for lunch.
I woke up today around my preferred time being that of 7:00 AM and took all the time in the world performing my normal morning activities. After I returned to my dorm after showering and changing, my roommate woke up and asked me if today is a half-day for our Freedom and Justice class. I told him that we have a noon dismissal today and he reacted by falling back asleep. I ate a small breakfast consisting of pork sausages and breakfast potatoes and even a cup of Joe. I am trying to integrate coffee into my semi-regular diet (if that makes sense) so that I can become accustomed to it's taste, so far I can only bear coffee when milk is added.

The lecture today consisted of the remaining portion of The Republic that we didn't go over yesterday. Plato always had some very odd ideas about how to build a society from the bottom up and reading his work never ceases to fascinate me. The lecture today included the allegory of the cave explanation, what the differences between the real philosophers and the fake philosophers is, the contradictions in the text and more. The allegory of the cave explanation was something I found to be extremely interesting. Basically in the cave, there are prisoners there that have lived their entire lives there. The only thing they see are the shadows dancing on the wall, some of them will be smart enough and leave the group (future guardians), climb the barrier leading to the entrance of the cave (the rigorous process that guardian training involves), find the fire and puppeteers, then see the light at the end of the cave and then walk into the outside world and be exposed to real world (knowledge). I actually didn't give the full explanation because if I did, then it would probably be half of my blog and most people would find it boring.

Back entrance of the Cornell Store.
Considering how to distinguish the real philosophers from the essential followers, one must test them by how they perceive beauty. In Plato's world, beauty is something that is one thing and not many things. It can be described as capturing the essence of an object or living organism, not looking at many things at once. Explaining this concept is something that is definitely not easy and is exactly the reason why Professor Kramnick spent about 20 minutes dedicated to it.

The next thing, being our discussion, wasn't as long as the previous ones but we still covered a great deal of today's lecture. Our TA Vijay went over the main focuses of the lecture mentioned in the previous lectures. Not only that, but he went over Plato's "line" and then correlated to the allegory of the cave. The "line" is perhaps just as difficult to explain as how to distinguish real philosophers from fake ones is, but certainly not as lengthy as explaining the allegory of the cave is--and do to that reason I will not attempt to explain it on this blog. After our discussion class, we were all given a diagram of the allegory and our next writing assignment which is due on Monday. Not only that, but we also have to start and finish the assigned John Locke readings.
Us posing in front of the back entrance of the Cornell Store.

A dilemma that came up was that our cohort was tired of eating at Trillium because of its limited options but in the end we all decided to eat at Trillium because College Town was too long of a walk and we didn't really attempt to locate our other options. At Trillium, I didn't know what to get and I let Victoria and Gabby from my F & J class recommend me to the caesar chicken burrito--which they claimed was the "bomb." It was alright but nothing comparable to the burritos I get from local restaurants back home. I think I might as well stick to the Chinese food line or get a salad next time.

Right after that, while Natalie and I were walking back to our dorms I noticed that there was a relatively small pain on my foot that I didn't really pay much attention too (I would later regret neglecting this pain). I fell asleep after getting to my dorm and then had to quickly travel to the bookstore (again not paying attention to the growing pain in my foot, thinking that it was going to pass) and by the time I got there everyone was picking out their own sweaters. I quickly found a few Nike and Under-Armour sweaters and decided on choosing a  Nike one because I don't have any Nike brand college apparel. There were so many options to choose from the bottom and top floors and I will be spending time looking for souvenirs one of these upcoming days. I thank the ILC for apart from supplying us with all necessities we require on the trip, also buying us a complimentary sweater each. 

All different views of the Ithaca Mall.

We all took a picture outside in the 80 degree Fahrenheit humidity (we looked completely absurd) and then all went back to our dorms. Then again, the pain in my foot was growing at a dramatic rate I had to see what was up with it by the time I returned to my dorm. As we were walking back, Katelyn was suggesting that we should all swim at the Helen Newman swimming pool, I decided that I would go for something that would burn more calories in less time so I declined and planned on going jogging. Well, that didn't turn out to be the case. When I got to my dorm I took off my shoes and socks and there was a gigantic blister on my smallest right toe and with my manly-conscience, associable to that of a Neanderthal, I resorted to popping it. My foot felt so horrible that I walked with a sort of jump for the next 4 hours. It certainly wasn't the first time this has happened and it certainly won't be the last.

The Regal Cinema.
Towards the end of the day at around 7:00 PM my cohort and I went to the Ithaca Mall and we gazed upon the empty shops, with a population of less than 4 people per 100 square feet. We eventually watched the newest Transformers movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction which was full of a bunch of action, but took up FAR TOO MUCH TIME. It took up so much time, that we all feared that we wouldn't get back to our housing facilities on time before night-check. When we got back, there was in reality nothing to be feared with lots of students still wandering the campus with friends. After all there were many events happening at school today after 7:00 PM, including the star-gazing event at the local Fuertes Observatory (I had to respectfully decline this earlier)--which I heard had over a 100 attendees.

Latter part of my title proven.
From my experience so far, I've realized that Cornell really has something for everyone. Whether it be in the Cornell store or events to go to--despite everyone saying that Cornell is in the middle of nowhere. In reality, its what the students themselves make out of it and what experience they want to have. The weather isn't even that bad considering how the humidity is comparable to Hercules. I wonder what awaits me for tomorrow.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Highlight of the Day: Transformers 4

Today is Friday. Which means Hotelies get out of class at 3:30PM. Which also means that our discussed movie plans with Mr. Chan-Law is happening today. I've never been euphoric about waking up. Subtracting the withholding pressure of my upcoming presentation, I think today was the most relaxed day of this week.

Starting off my first Friday at Cornell at seven in morning, I got up to fantasize my afternoon. Normally, the F&J group comes into the dining hall after Katelyn and I finishes devouring our breakfast. Our cohort was unusually present during breakfast. I ate a full-on American breakfast: sausages, eggs, and pancakes. I needed these calories to get through today's intensive schedule. Once class started, the lecture lasted about one hour and the rest of the day was kindly given to us to work on our memos and presentation templates. At ten, Mark released us from the lecture hall and thus we all occupied ourselves with a space inside the computer labs. For the first hour of sitting on the sqwiggling chairs, temptation of rocking back and forth aroused as I edited and put some finishing touches on my memo. When delivering my memo to Mark, he gave me a few suggestions on making the overall paper enticing. I kept those points in mind for our group memo next week since this one classifies as a draft. Our group assembled once again at twelve-thirty sharp  to work on our presentation templates and layouts. Since each hotel is being presented by two teams, we checked up on Group 3B's progress, the main reason being are possible collisions of similar styles. Fortunately, our themes were totally different and both teams were reassured. Mark gave an ok to our template and immediately our butts escalated from the chair to the street. 

Mr. Chan-Law previously told us that Friday would be sweatshirt shopping day. With everyone browsing through every section of the store, we've finally came to a solution of what to pick and Mr. Chan-Law gladly "bought" it for us (really its the ILC, but Mr. Chan-Law acts as a representative). When he was paying for all six of our sweatshirts, some of my hotel classmates were wondering why we were wearing our sweatshirts in the scorching sunlight shining right onto our faces as we took the group Cornell sweatshirt photo.
From left to right: Natalie, Kevin, Sue, Carla, Katelyn, and myself.
Natalie, Katelyn, and I went swimming shortly afterwards because the swimming pool was free for summer college students from five to six-thirty. Katelyn was petrified when I told her the truth about me. I can't swim. She thought I was going to drown and...yeah. Luckily, I managed to survive and learned some wacky paddles to keep me breathing in the 12FT area. Swimming requires a ton of energy, especially from an unsporty person like me. Dinner at RPCC really helped restore my body and at seven, we all went to the Regal Cinema to see Transformers: Age of Extinction. I've never seen a movie on its released date so today was a never before experience. 
A small theater just right for Ithaca
Transformers: Age of Extinction was probably the longest movie I've ever watched. It was approximately three hours with an additional thirty minutes of previews. I personally thought the movie itself was awesome. I guess that didn't apply to others. During our trip back to our dorms, some were discussing about how some of the scenes were unnecessary and others were too confusing. I was disagreeing with them until the point they persuaded me into looking at the movie from their perspective. Personally, action-packed movies are just the thing for me, so Transformers: Age of Extinction was just the perfect movie for a Friday evening. 

'Twas a Bad Day

Not that it was an entirely bad day, there were some enjoyable parts, but all I can say is TGIF. Class started at 9 today. When we came in Mark spent an entire hour reiterating the expectations for the group presentations on Monday. After that we were free to manage our time as we pleased until 3:30 PM.

Delicious healthy meal at Trillium
I worked on my CHESS memo until about an hour before lunch. I submitted it after I printed about four copies. Then I began gathering information for our group presentation. Around 11:30, my group and I headed to Trillium for lunch, where I decided to eat healthy. It was the best thing I've ate there so far. My group and I then went back to the lab where we finished our PowerPoint template and outline for our presentation. We spent the rest of class/Office Hours working on our content and such.

I must say, I'm very happy about my group. There's a great dynamic amongst us that allows us to work efficiently. Plus, we are all very proactive and are almost complete with our presentation. Unfortunately, I had to leave them right at 3:30 PM because I was supposed to meet Mr. Chan-Law and the rest of my cohort to go pick out our sweatshirts at the Cornell Store. Below is all of us in our great  sweatshirts as provided by the Ivy League Connection, which I could not thank more for offering me so much in addition to attending Cornell!
Thank you, ILC, for the awesome apparel!
Frozen yogurt & a movie
While I was at the Cornell Store I decided to pick up some souvenirs, which was a daunting task considering the size of the store and its selection. I have to go again before I leave. There was just too much stuff... I planned earlier on going swimming since Summer College students have free access to the pool, so after shopping, Natalie, Jun and I went to lap swim. It was really cool because the Cornell water polo team plays there and it is always fun swimming in new pools. A shower and one yummy dinner later, my cohort, Mr. Chan-Law, and I met at the movie theater in the Ithaca Mall. It is honestly a sorry excuse for a mall, but the theater is quite nice. We watched Transformers. It was action-packed and had really great effects, but it was ridiculously long. I got back to my dorm, ready to do a little bit of work, when I couldn't find my flash drive. I panicked. I checked my backpack inside and out. I eventually gave up and went to midnight check-in. Luckily, I ran into my group member, Dani, who told me she had my flash drive and everything was okay again. I did lose my water bottle today though... Anyway, I had a rough day, so it's time for me to hit the hay!