Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Dream School Already?

Last night Carla and Sue had a sleepover in my room. Even though we all had our own rooms we were nervous about waking up at 4:45 AM to leave for Chicago and we needed each other to wake up. Promptly at 4:45 AM my alarm blared in my ear and I began my day with a little over 2 hours of sleep.
A gloomy Chicago welcoming

By 6:00 AM we were on our way to the airport, where we ate breakfast at Chili's. I order the usual: eggs, bacon and toast. While we ate we decided our hotel roommates at random. Sue, Jun and Natalie in one room and Carla and I in another. Soon we were on the plane and before long we were in Chicago! The weather was less than pleasant, as you can see in the picture. We all hopped into a shuttle and went to the four-star Drake Hotel. From the exterior the hotel looked exquisite and the rooms sure did live up to my expectations in regard to glamour. Below is a peek at our suite. There are two bathrooms, two beds, in addition to a pullout bed, and a living room area. We are staying on the first floor, however, so the room doesn't have much of a view.

We had the opportunity to settle in for about 45 minutes and at 12:30 PM we hurried to our 2:00 PM information session and tour of University of Chicago.
Chicago skyline en route to the University
UChicago lunch (tuna salad)
We barely had enough time to squeeze in a quick lunch at UChicago's bookstore. We grabbed a little bit of everything: sandwiches, salads, sushi, pretzels and muffins. It was all surprisingly tasty. I even found one of my favorite drinks, a Diet Sweet Tea Arizona. Once we finished up, we went onward to our activities.

The information session was addressed by an admission officer, Zack Evans. He went over UChicago basics, so it wasn't incredibly interesting. So after that dragged on, we went on the tour. It was a normal college tour, beginning with a historical background of the school, a walk around the campus and a view inside one of the dormitories. Our tour guide gave us insight as he led us down all the paths. He even talked about UChicago traditions. One was about the seal; if you step on the seal you will not graduate (not too interesting considering this was the same tradition at WashU). But one tradition was especially sweet. At convocation (basically the opposite of graduation) parents and students walk down a path that eventually splits, representing students starting off on their own. Then, at graduation, parents and students walk the opposite direction and conjoin, representing the children returning to their parents, so to speak. The tour definitely piqued my interest in UChicago.
Beautiful campus of UChicago
Library that makes you feel as though you're in a snowglobe
when it snows... so I've heard
Raining cats & dogs
Delectable roasted chicken

We took a taxi back to The Drake and got ready for our next dinner. We were supposed to walk to the restaurant, David Burke's Primehouse, but the weather had other plans. It was pouring and we ultimately had to call a taxi to drive us 5 blocks. Two college admissions officers, Troy Carlson and Matt Rosenbaum, along with two current University of Chicago students, Teddy and Elizabeth (pardon me, I never received their last names), met us at the restaurant. I was seated alongside Mr. Carlson and Teddy. To my left was Mr. Carlson, the California Admissions Officer for the university and to my right was Teddy, a student majoring in Art History and in another subject about the social repercussions of law--I apologize for not knowing the exact name, I do know it is a major unique to the university. Teddy comes from southern California, so I could relate to him and thus envision myself going to UChicago. Speaking of UChicago Californians, Mr. Carlson said this year's class was comprised mostly of Californians, surpassing students from New York, and that gave me hope that I, a small-town Californian, could possibly get accepted. Mr. Carlson also
Kept dessert simple!
shared a lot of helpful tips about the application and financial aid. One quick note: the University of Chicago asks applicants to respond to one of a selected number of quirky prompts in an effort to learn more about potential students' personalities. Last year, one prompt asked, "What is the value of x?". Teddy told me he created his very own prompt, relating himself to French macaroons. That's one thing I admire about UChicago: its' quirkiness and individuality! For example, I learned that UChicago runs on a quarter-based schedule rather than a semester-based one. Elizabeth, a rising junior, apparently has already taken 22 classes, thanks to the quarter-based schedule. So it sounds like a plus to me! On another note, I am a water polo player and, though I will be focused on academics, I would love to play in college. UChicago does not offer a varsity team, but is does offer club water polo and I think that'd be an awesome extracurricular to participate in. Mr. Carlson, who was a NCAA Division III wrestler could not further reiterate how glad he was to be a student-athlete, emphasis on student, at UChicago. Thanks to our lovely guests, I am seriously considering applying to the University of Chicago this fall! I learned a lot and I will definitely try to keep in contact with the admissions officers for advice in my upcoming college quest.

Our dinner party
VIP look at the meat aging room
At some point after dessert, Mr. Chan-Law told us that the chef invited us to the meat-aging room. So we walked through the kitchen and saw all the meat. It smelled terribly foul, but it was as though we were the special guests, receiving VIP access. After our meat adventure we returned to the restaurant, then gathered to take a group photo. Several flashes later, we all received swag bags (which I am extremely grateful for) that included sunglasses, a t-shirt, and a flag! It was incredibly nice. We said our goodbyes and then parted ways. My cohort and Mr. Chan-law then walked backed to the Drake Hotel. I was wearing high heels so it was a mini trek, but we were back in no time and immediately went into blogging mode.

(from left to right) Kevin, Mr. Rosenbaum, Jun, Sue, me,
Carla, Natalie, Teddy, Elizabeth & Mr. Carlson
Tomorrow we're going to visit Northwestern University, University of Chicago's "enemy", so it'll be interesting to compare the two. But, boy, UChicago seems tough to beat... Time to rest up! Until tomorrow everyone, good night, all!


  1. You got a VIP pass to the kitchen?! That's really cool, I never got to go inside a restaurant's kitchen before. And nice pictures, the food looks too good.

    1. I know right! The food was amazing. Thanks for reading!