Monday, June 23, 2014

Explosive Education with Kramnick…Literally

My Professor
I don’t know why I set my alarm to 6:07 AM in the morning, but I did. Either way I woke up at this time and decided that it was far too early to get ready and got comfortable in my bed again and rested. I pried myself out of bed at 6:20 AM and took my time on everything, beginning with a shower. After that I was pretty much done and put on some clothes and it was still super early. Eventually around 7:20 AM I went to go get breakfast and wait for everyone else in the rest of my cohort to eat breakfast. At first I was sitting there all by myself and then a boy named Jack from Phoenix, Arizona sat next to me (it was very random) and introduced himself to me. After a while I was fine with this, because he was very friendly. Not too long after, Sue texted me saying she needed a banana from the cafeteria as a substitute for not having breakfast. As soon as I fetched a banana from the fruit stand, I came back to find another plate of food was at my table and I asked Jack if he knew who that student was and he said no. Eventually that student came around and introduced himself as Ryan who is taking the Economics course at Cornell. Apparently I have some sort of power of attracting lonely people to my table when I'm alone...odd. Well eventually Natalie and Carla came and they both had breakfast as I just practically watched them, since I already devoured my own.

We met Sue at around 8:21 AM in front of Risley Hall (her building) and we all walked to Goldwin Smith Hall, which at this moment is under construction. We had to enter the back way, travel down a flight of stairs and few doors down was our lecture hall. Its a nice old room (I know its old because of the chalkboard and tearing back cushions) with goes with our professor's age. Kramnick is one of those people that you instantly realize connects with students and opens up their minds to new ways of thinking through. He's also funny, with citing stuff that may not be so obvious like how the Declaration of Independence is actually a prime example of plagiarism and one can say he's fashionable with the "hipster" birkenstocks he sports to class. He gave us a very detailed introduction of the course in less than two hours, explaining how to think of things, if you need help don't be afraid to ask or if you didn't hear something, just stop him so he can repeat it. He also mentioned how if you need to go to the bathroom--just go--and if you "need" to chew gum go ahead with you mouth closed and if you interrupt him, he said he will not tolerate debates.

TA Kevin presenting himself.
He then went on about his class and about how all information is important and how highlighters are useless (I've always had the same opinion). He also mentioned how there will practitioners of the law from the local area coming every Tuesday and Thursday for presentations that will correlate with some questions on the test(s). He also introduced the TA's who are both majoring either in political science or something very closely related. Kramnick also mentioned how some TA's have differing views than him and thus may grade differently, but if one feels that if he/she has had the wrong grade assigned to him/her, then Kramnick is always approachable.

Later on during the lecture as Kramnick was orating/pausing/orating, there was a BOOM, that shook the entire building--even causing the mighty Kramnick to shudder in at first unknown fear. He later explained with a smile that the entire building of course is being renovated and part of the renovation deals with blasting holes in the foundation for a coffee room and some other room. When the lecture was finished, I had 3 pages worth of notes and then we headed to our discussion rooms where I was luckily matched with the rest of my cohort. My TA's name is Vijay Phulwani and he kind of looks like my former AP World History teacher even with some of his nonchalant attitude. 

My TA Vijay
We opened up our discussion after introducing ourselves on something very broad, which was the meaning of "freedom". Next to everyone used different examples in the essays that we all formulated in 30 minutes time. What I did was compare what many foreign nations peoples perceive as being freedom, concerning the laws in America such as freedom of speech, the right to vote and freedom of religion. I also discussed it can be little things too, like teenagers who perceive freedom as buying whatever food or clothes they want and going to a friend's party at an upcoming weekend, etc. I also delved into how too little freedom on a community and larger scale may lead to uprising and thus anarchy, thus with the absolute ability to make decisions without the consent of another individual/group/authority. Then again too much freedom is a bad thing as history has shown, there must at least be some rules in place. I didn't talk about the human sub-consciousness and how the meaning of freedom and can also be applied there. I basically would've taken a Platonic approach to it, in this case starting from top to bottom, in other words begin with governments and end with individual concerning freedom. I thought we weren't going to talk about the mind yet, so that is why I withheld that. Oh well, next time I'll be able to impress my TA hopefully. With that, the first day of Freedom and Justice ended.

Of course we had a break in between  the introductions and writing part we all headed to the Trillium building and got lunch. I have to say, the trillium building lunch is much better than the Robert Purcell Community Center building lunch is. I got the sesame chicken, brown rice and spring roll options and they were all fantastic. I ate with the rest of the freedom and justice people and then we all headed back to class. 

Some of us went to the bookstore to check out the merchandise and realized that I Cornell has the largest selection of college appearal that I have ever seen one school possess. I didn't buy anything because I didn't feel like carrying all the possible weight with my backpack (which has my heavy readings and laptop). I'll purchase my gifts for family members and myself some other time this week.
Chinese food at Trillium

We all headed back to our dorms and funny story, I was trying to guess Sue's height and said 5' 12" when I was still thinking about the first day of class. I haven't felt that absurd since this morning when I turned on my shower and forgot my shampoo in my room. She is going to haunt me with this forever, guaranteed--and for a good reason too. 
Gorge dividing that divides North Campus from the rest of Cornell
Later on we all ate dinner at around 6:30 where I came to know that the "Hotelies" get out of class at 6:00 PM and will have a quiz tomorrow. I feel for them, knowing they are stressed out of their minds. At the same time, surviving that course will probably allow them to survive nearly any coursework from any class. I believe in them and I also believe they should help each other out. On another note, when I came back to my dorm I rested for a bit and then ran some errands, answered a few emails, did some of the readings, modified my laptop, felt good that Mexico beat Croatia 3-1, etc. There was no time for much and I even conversed with my RCA about Freedom and Justice (he took it two years ago) for a while and my neighboring floor-mate who is also stressing about his hotel management class. I wish them the best and I will review all of my notes and readings once again tomorrow morning.

1 comment:

  1. The Chinese food is the best! :D glad to see you're being social! (^_^)/