This morning I first woke up at about two-thirty, because some electronic device of my roommate's was making noises and wouldn't stop. However, she turned it off as soon as I said her name. Unfortunately, it was my deepest sleep of the night that was interrupted, so I'm feeling extra tired as I write. Still, today I was out of bed by seven, a few minutes earlier than usual, but got ready quickly because I had to print the newest version of my essay from the RPCC computer lab. That task was completed successfully within a few minutes, and I was sitting down to breakfast by seven-forty. I ate my watery oatmeal, mini chocolate Danish, and potatoes slowly, then washed them down with a mug of coffee and left the table at eight-seventeen, just as Sue and Kevin were arriving. I marched briskly down to the lecture hall alone, and settled in to review some readings. Eventually the rest of the class arrived and Professor Kramnick started his lecture. Today we learned all about the life and works of Edmund Burke. While his writings basically disregard the idea of basic human rights in favor of perennial hierarchy, he expressed himself wonderfully.
In section, Vijay helped us clarify Burke's thoughts in contrast with those of Locke, and again with those of feminist Enlightenment thinkers like De Gouges and Wollstonecraft. We learned that although Burke was a founder of true conservatism, he thought in a modern way when he set forth to justify hierarchy beyond "the powers that be are ordained by God." Of course, as a member of the English Parliament after the French Revolution, it was in his own best interests to do so.
At lunch, I had my usual grilled cheese along with a soda and some chocolate cookies, which were so gross that even I couldn't finish them. It had begun raining as we walked to the Trillium, and by the time we left it was pouring at a sixty-degree angle thanks to the wind. We made it back to the classroom ten minutes early, with nothing to do but worry about what our midterm scores would be when Vijay handed them back at the end of writing workshop.
During the workshop, we were given about an hour to peer edit our essays. Vijay had a worksheet which we were required to use that covered the usage of a main idea, evidence, analysis, and a link back to the thesis statement for each body paragraph, and entirely separate pages for the introduction and conclusion paragraphs. Since this is a complicated essay, the questions he asked were very helpful for editing.
At the end of writing workshop, we sat in dread while Vijay tortured us for a few minutes with ambiguous statements about how we'd performed on the prelim. Finally, however, he returned our little blue exam books and we got to see our grades. I'd been worried about both the essay and the short-answer questions, and guessing that I got a B, but the grade circled in Vijay's handwriting on the last page of my work was an A. Wahoo!
After we were dismissed, some exuberant and some frustrated, most of our discussion section walked to a presentation by Cornell admissions officers for Summer College students. We arrived a little late, which couldn't be helped, and sat in the back. The officers focused exclusively on the personal statement essay. While I'd heard all their advice before, we did get to see a collection of essays written by students applying to Cornell, which I found interesting. Some were very strange - one person basically wrote a book report, and another wrote about overcoming a phobia of plants gotten from a video game. I was astounded when at the end we were told that each of the authors of those essays had been admitted. So today I learned that while the personal statement is still my only space for self-expression in the application process, it is not the only factor considered by admissions officers, and its importance may be overrated.
After the presentation, most people went to the library to study. I, however, was feeling too tired to work in a group, so I went back to North Balch until it was time to go up to RPCC for our 6:30 meeting with Mr. Chan-Law. We discussed our departure day and midterms, and then headed upstairs to eat dinner. I ate my usual bean salad, except that I didn't bother with the lettuce this time, and had whole grain pasta with Alfredo sauce and a breadstick as well. After that, I mixed some vanilla frozen yogurt with chocolate sauce and candy pieces to create the effect of a fancy milkshake.
|If I take this side door into North Balch, I|
only have to take one flight of stairs to
get to my room.
At seven-fifteen I headed back to North Balch for a shower, and then came down to the ground-floor study lounge to work with Jun. Tonight I have to read about thirty pages of Marx, which I found almost impenetrable the first time around and which I do not look forward to revisiting. I should also revise my essay based on the comments I got during the peer review session. Still, perhaps I can be in bed by eleven-thirty.
Although I will be sad to leave Cornell in five days and let my self-determination evaporate, I am ready to come home. I am sick of my roommate's odd hours, and ready to eat something other than beans and pasta for dinner. Of course, these are complaints about the most trivial parts of my experience here, and I love being part of an intellectual community. I may be singing a different tune as the final exam approaches, but I think that when I get to college for real I will be deeply content.