Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Goodbye Already?

Nonstop walking, constant inflow of knowledge, cute furry animals, insightful interactions. There was a lot to take on today, but we made it! My main goal when I arrived here was to enjoy every moment I had and to make the most out of this trip. So to accomplish this goal, our schedule was very jam-packed but every second was worthwhile.
I was surprised to find my language,
Tamil, embedded in this structure.
This morning started off with a light breakfast. Some cantaloupe along with some cinnamon bread. As soon as I finished packing my backpack for the Washington University Information Session and Campus Tour, we all headed to the university which was literally in our backyard as the four-star hotel we were accommodated was located on campus. The information session sparked a major light in me. Beforehand, when looking into colleges I would only consider the colleges that I thought would be the fit for me, but today is when I realized that it is just as important to know which college is not best suited for you so that your list can be narrowed down further.

As per Washington University, it is a research school where students are encouraged to research on topics related to their majors. And I have decided that I would love to go to a research based school as opposed to a traditional classroom setting, but these school would also receive consideration based on other criteria such as housing, weather, student faculty ratio, etc. Why research school you may ask? It's just the tremendous feeling of discovering something new and allowing future generations to benefit from your findings as well. So a big thanks to Washington University for opening my eyes to that perspective.
In front of the university.
Following the information session was the campus tour. We walked and walked, and you guessed it, we walked some more. The tour guide was extremely informative and shared insightful fun facts along the way. Did you know that Washington University of St. Louis took part in the 1904 Olympics?
Our campus guide Grace next in the largest science classroom
My lunch
Following the rather tiring tour, we had lunch at the dining commons at the university. We had an $8.00 food card, but sadly no one had told us that if we used it once we weren't allowed to use reuse it regardless of whether the $8.00 limit was reached or not. Not informed about this, I asked for a Jumbo Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce yet it turned out to be quite small contrary to its "jumbo" title. And my card was taken away without having reached the money limit. However, Mr. Chan-Law (our teacher chaperone) allowed us to get anything extra as the charging procedure was a bit bizarre.
After taking a quick 5 minute halt at the hotel to drop off all the information packets we had received at the Information Session and the Campus Tour, off we went to the museum and zoo. (Minus Katelyn and Natalie as they opted to rest in the hotel.) After a gruesome walk in the hot afternoon sun through Forest Park, (the largest park in the nation -- even larger than New York’s Central Park!) we finally arrived at the St. Louis Art Museum. After cruising through, we headed to the much awaited zoo. Claimed the 2nd best zoo in the nation followed by the San Diego Zoo, my expectations were high but the zoo turned out to be just ok from what we saw. I hoped to see tigers, elephants, and monkeys but upsettingly, I wasn’t able to see any of these as we were crunched for time.
On our way to the zoo.
The dinner turned out to be the highlight of the entire day. Today, I met three people from Washington University who totally changed the perspective I had about this city and the school. Two were students attending the “Wash U” originally from the Bay Area: Akhil and Ellie. Akhil majors in biomedical engineering with a minor in computer science -- the exact combo I’m looking at -- while Ellie takes on political science and writing. The other one was an admission officer, Danielle Anderson. They were among the most fun people I’ve come across. The dinner was super fancy, but the atmosphere that was set for us was extremely casual. We started off with the traditional topic of college and progressed onto today’s technology and cats. Extreme ends of the spectrum, yet it was so engaging and I had kept laughing the whole way through. Honestly this was one of the best dinners I’ve had, not just in terms of the meal but in the terms of the conversations we shared. So insightful yet light-hearted. They gave such a great taste of what student life at the campus is like --- quite a quirky place with lots of fun-loving people to share your college experience with.
From left: Danielle, Ellie, Kevin, Natalie, me, Jun, Carla, Katelyn, Akhil

We just landed in St. Louis yesterday afternoon and I feel as if I had created a bond with this city and now it’s time to leave. Already. At first I was quite hesitant about this city, but now I’m already starting to enjoy it in only two days. Every day just got much better. This is sad, but life moves on. Thanks to ILC for exposing me to a part of the world that I didn’t even know existed. Tomorrow, we’re headed for Chicago. Goodbye St. Louis and hello Chicago.

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