Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My class, International Finance and Investments, is a very rewarding class. It is setting me up for the many endeavors I will be facing in the future if I choose to pursue them. 

Today we were assigned another project and we will be working for a while until we can get the prime investment portfolio’s down to a tee. The class was divided, once again, by region and I chose to do South Korea. The stocks I chose were Hyundai Motor Company and the stock fund was iShares Korea. 

I am getting the chance to use programs such as Excel and PowerPoint. It would have been nice if I had a chance to learn how to use Excel and PowerPoint prior to coming to Brown. However, the teacher does a decent job at teaching us how to use the programs. I think after using my laptop almost every day for the projects, it is safe to say a computer should be mandatory.

Aside from the technology, my mathematics background came in handy with the class because I was able to solve a lot of the problems easier. The only problem I have had thus far was the academic concepts. They were a bit more of a challenge in comparison to the math, but it was possible to overcome it. What really helped were his lectures because they helped be a glue to hold down the concepts. Some things that were a problem were trying to find out what standardized deviation, but I was able to go over it with Dr. Li. Yes, he does have a PhD in Economics. Thanks to his way of teaching, it is safe to say, I now know what 'standard deviation' means.

One thing that was not so easy to control is choosing a roommate. I think I did get lucky in this section. My roommates name is Akshat and he is a terrific roommate. He has saved me once, when I locked my keys inside, he was there to unlock the door for me. He told me he is Indian, but he is from Singapore. We get along great and it is very easy to live with a roommate like him. He keeps his belongings clean and organized and he makes sure the dorm room is always locked, much like myself. I sure hope I am that lucky by the time college arrives.

Group Life

The difference between living at home and living in a dorm is that when you live in a dorm, you live in a group. Our 1,000 Summer at Brown Program students are divided by residential halls, into small groups led by hired Residential Advisors. Each group has about 20 same sex people. The Kenney Quad, our dorm building, is divided into about 4 or 5 groups per floor, especially since it is a co-ed dorm.

I'm going to introduce the first friend in the group -- my residential advisor, or RA -- Colleen. Colleen is currently a college student at Providence College, after going to a private place for high school. She is friendly and outgoing. Everyone in my group loves her. Her room is always filled with people and games -- that is how popular she is.

There are also some other friends I've met through the group rather than through classes. Louise, a quiet European girl who came to the States to enjoy American culture and learn more knowledge. Even though she is quiet all the time.

After taking to my RA Colleen this time, I got the suggestion of receiving Louise, who lives in a single, to switch to my room since I have no roommate and I live in a double.

I can't wait for the moving process is over. I want a roommate so bad!!!!!

A Weird Statue

On our way to the mess hall

The statue
While walking through a quad on my way to breakfast to the newly opened “Rattey”, I noticed an ancient statue depicting a Roman man. Every morning and afternoon I grew in curiosity over the abnormal statue. Finally, after much deliberation and talk with experienced Brown students, I finally have the facts straight.

The bronze statue is supposed to represent Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor. From the Brown website and various Residential Advisors, the Caesar Augustus statue was a gift of Moses Brown Ives Goddard in 1854. The statue was shown on the first day of the 1906 school year at the conclusion of a chapel exercise. The status is an exact replica of the original marble statue in Rome. The statue was moved to the Sharpe Refectory in September 1952. Unfortunately, his right hand was separated during a hurricane in 1938. From that point on, it has overlooked thousands of Brown students that pass by him every day, month, and year.

My Class So Far

My biotechnology class so far has been very enjoyable. I always love my labs especially today in which I used my own blood to extract DNA. Work wise, I was only slightly prepared for this course because the lecture part covers most of what AP Biology has to offer. Not having taken AP Biology before, I was discouraged at first with the numerous technical terms but I studied with an open mind, absorbing all of the information I can and applying them in the lab. In fact, I enjoyed learning about DNA, plasmids, and their roles in today’s medical field.

In equipment terms, I haven’t had the need to use any extra equipment except for your standard lecture stuff-pens, notes, text-and provided lab utensils. Having a computer is helpful, but not necessary since the only thing you need to do with a computer is to type assignments up, check on homework and updates from the teacher.

So far, I have been able to keep up the labs but I find myself periodically asking for help since I don’t have a vast array of lab experience. I usually look for help from Austin, my lab table buddies, Mrs. Hall, and the T/A (teacher’s aide). Mrs. Hall has been especially help because she will take time out of her schedule to prepare the lab, clean up the lab, answer questions, and stay after class to answer further questions. This has been one of my favorite aspects of this class.

As far as the class goes, I’m positive that this class will help me in the future. After learning about DNA methylation and its role in regulating the gene expression in an organism, I’m eager in using my newfound knowledge and applying to real-world applications when I’m older.

Picture Perfect Day

--Beautiful Weather at Brown--
Today, we had the best weather we've had all program long. The sky was a brilliant sapphire blue, with smears of white clouds. The wind blew steady and strong, and the shimmering sun basked us in its bright rays. There was no humidity, and the temperature was just right: not too hot, not too cold. It was, in every way, the perfect day.

As I woke up today I felt a twinge of apprehension. For my DNA-Based Techniques in Biotechnology class, we needed blood samples to obtain pure DNA for today's lab.

--Test tube soon to be filled up with my blood--
When I went into the Health Services building to get my blood drawn, my fears were immediately put aside when I saw how professional and experienced the nurses were. Even though they seemed to be seasoned veterans at nursing, it still took them two times to hit my vein for blood. After they collected my blood, I went to eat breakfast at the Ratty with a few of my fellow DNA students, where we had the opportunity to discuss our progress in the class. Unsurprisingly, most of the other students are all very interested in DNA and I really enjoyed talking to them about a sophisticated subject in a way that most people will not ever understand or want to comprehend.

After breakfast, I headed to class, where we purified our DNA by stripping away parts of the blood that we didn't need: the plasma, the red blood cells, and parts of the white blood cells. In the end, we had a small vial of our own DNA that we are incubating for experimentation tomorrow. The laboratory experiments are very fun, and I'm glad that even though they are complicated and rather convoluted at times, they are not necessarily difficult because the lab book explains all of the steps very precisely and clearly. In addition, our teacher is very knowledgeable and she takes a hands-off approach to teaching, so she lets us learn from our mistakes and experiences before teaching us the principles behind the labs.

After class, Will, Andrew, and I went to the debate workshop. It was a fun experience, as I haven't debated for a few months, and I needed the practice. We debated about whether everybody is a little bit racist. It was an intense debate, and I'm glad that I decided to go practice.

--List Art Center--

--Unfinished Art Work--
Afterwards, I went to explore the campus with the other ILC students. When I first saw the List Art Center, I was immediately drawn to it by its unique design. It is an art building, and houses the David Winton Bell Gallery. The coolest part about the gallery is that it focuses on art in all forms of the media. Six to eight exhibitions are displayed every year, and I hope that an exhibition happens during my time here at Brown. When I visited today, the center was already closed, but it seemed like there was a work in progress on the floor, uncompleted. Hopefully, I shall get the chance to see the art in its full glory before I leave Brown.

From there, we went to dinner, where I had dinner in the Ratty. There was a delicious Orange Delight Cake, and I have to say, the food here seems to be improving.

--View Down Providence River--
After dinner, William and I went for a stroll around all of Providence. We strolled from Keeney Quad (our dorms) to Thayer Street, where all of the small college stores and shops are located. From Thayer Street, we walked to Waterplace Park, and watched the sun set behind the City Hall of Providence. Unfortunately, I had neglected to recharge my camera, and it was at this point when my camera sadly gave out. But nonetheless, we visited the Providence Court House, and then finally returned home to our dorms.

I think that one of the things I treasure most about this experience is the ability to roam anywhere I want and the ability to have so much freedom entrusted in me, so that I can explore Providence. I've learned through exploring Providence that I really do like this city, and I can imagine being here after this summer program.

Visiting Wilbour Hall

Wilbour Hall was named after Edwin Wilbour after its construction in 1888. Located not too far from the Keeney Quad, Wilbour Hall is the Department of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies. It is relatively a newer department, expanding in the 2005-2006 academic school year. It is part of Brown's plan to developing a background in the humanities and sciences.

The Department of Egyptology was implented in 1948, but just recently did they decided to enrich it. Undergraduate and graduate students can take a wide variety of courses including Archaeology of Ancient Europe, Ancient Egyptian Religion and Magic, Selections from Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, and Divination in Ancient Mesopotamia. This is just to name a few. A handful of courses are designed specifically for graduate students. Although their are no prerequisites to majoring in this particular field, students should be familiar with the German or French language in order to be more familiar to the material.

When I attended the Partnership Supper, a first-generation student Alex, majored in this field and she mentioned how it is a pretty uncommon major in the nation. Brown is fortunate to have a solid undergraduate and graduate program, and now with a little effort, students can fulfill their dreams with a degree in Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Ivy League Connection Connects!

Today after class, the Ivy League Connection, along with all the other partnership programs, had a chance to have a pizza social. With this, we had the chance to meet and see who else had the chance to attend Summer@Brown. Not only did we meet up with other students and make new friends, but we had the chance to meet up with alumni and an admissions officer. One of the best parts was that all this was conducted by the dean of the program, Dean Robin Rose.

The day before this event, we all received letters under our doors informing us of the event. We then went to the event the next day, being sure to represent the Ivy League Connection.

When we walked in, the smell of pizza filled the air conditioned room. To the right there were about 15 pizzas waiting for us and two liter bottles of diet everything. By the time the festivities began, we had about forty to fifty people. We started the evening by getting in a circle and telling our names and where they came from. I heard many different places where names came from, from having an Asian decent meaning “god praises and rises” to having no idea where the name comes from.

After that, the alumni sat in a panel style formation and they would talk to us and tell us about themselves. We would sit around them as they talked about their past and where they came from. One of them was from San Diego, California and she talked about how she is from Tijuana and her family would have to move from one side of the border to the other. This was very inspiring because it shows what types of students attend Brown. 

After that, we all split in half and then wrote anonymous questions on cards. The group I went with had alumni named Walter, Alex, and Mayte. Most of the questions were specific to Brown such as “why was Brown right for you” but I wanted to be a bit broader. The question I wrote was “How do you choose a college that fits you.” They said to not to worry about the name, but focus on finding a school that is right for you. 

After that, we had a chance to enjoy some left over pizza.

Partnerships Invite

In one of my previous blogs, I mentioned my first team assignment: analyze the political and economic conditions of the selected region. My team chose Western Europe as a region and I chose Italy to present. The project was due on Friday, but due to time, not everyone had the chance to present. Some groups continued on Monday, some today, and the rest will finish tomorrow. 

I was a little nervous to present in front of a group I had just met and more importantly, in front of my professor. In my part of the PowerPoint presentation, I discussed Italy’s GDP rate, GDP per capita rate, percentages of trade import and export, and Italy’s largest trading partners. By doing this assignment, students are able to look into their selected country in depth and view the area in an economic and financial perspective. 

At school, we normally don’t analyze a country with such profundity but in this class we concentrate on analyzing information and looking at it from an international ecumenicist’s outlook. We have already been assigned to our next team assignment. Professor Li encourages us to work with our original group so we will be working together another time.

This evening, I was invited to the Partner Scholar Supper at the Arnold Lounge which is located in the Keeney Quad. As soon as I walked into the lounge, Dean Rose greeted me and we both exchanged a handshake. I introduced myself and she was incredibly fond of The Ivy League Connection. 

The five other Brownies were there also, along with 150 students from different partnerships from all over the nation. 

First generation Brown students were there to speak to us of their hardships during high school, applying to college, and the difficulty in transitioning and fitting into Brown’s community. Shortly after that, the students split into two smaller groups so that the first generation students could answer any of our questions. 

First Generation is an organization/club from Brown that is made up of any sort of first generation students including those who’s parents did not graduate high school or from a four-year college. Seeing and hearing these students voice their stories reassured all 150 of us that people come from completely different backgrounds and that everybody should consider Brown.

How Do You Communicate With People When You're In College?

When you're in college and away from home you may find it difficult to communicate with your relatives and friends. Phones are a viable option. Phones have been popularized as the most common form of communication among people in the world. Phones are portable, easy to use, and are widespread in most nations. In my past week living as a college student, my phone has been so useful in contacting my friends, scheduling times, and talking with my family. The down side is that my phone is a prepaid phone without a service plan so I have to allocate my time well. That's one negative aspect about using a cell phone.

What do you if you don't have a cell phone? The next and best option is a computer. Since the production of laptops in the past few decades, laptops have been one the most useful tools in communicating. I can't tell you how much my laptop is helping me in college so far. First, my laptop allows me to contact my relatives and friends through instant messaging and webcamming, all free of charge. Secondly, I use my laptop to surf the web and to research about Biotechnology. Thirdly, having a laptop allows me to blog about and giving my experience here so far at Brown. Staying on the same note...

Before starting my college life here at Brown, I thought the Ivy League Connection was the only partnership program in the nation who sends students to Ivy League College. The partnership meeting in Arnold Lounge this evening changed my opinion and experience on things.

When I entered the Arnold Lounge this evening for the partnership program meeting, I expected to see only 20 people in the room. However, I found more than 40 people in the lounge. I was thinking wow, there are people like me out there in the nation who went through the same process as me. I felt great to have some people to share my experiences with and to talk to when I need someone to converse with. The name game started off the meeting with a smile since many of our names had unique history. One person said that she came from China and actually went through the dictionary to find an English name. I said that my name had no special origin but my parents wanted a set of American names to mark their immigration into America. It's just a thought.

The pizza party was a fun and sociable way to talk to each other. I sat down on a table with a group of 5 fellow students. One of them was Mike, who was from Missouri. He stated that he was the captain of his soccer team and had reasonable academic skills. After inquiring about how he got here, he, like me, went through an intensive application process to get here. From this social, I began to create an appreciation for partnership programs. I also developed the reassuring knowledge that there are people out there who didn't pay to get here but used their hard work as a way to get here.

After having a Q & A session, I gained more knowledge about college life. For instance, one question asked "When should you begin your application process?" Aaron, a rising junior at Brown, said that you should start early with your application process because near crunch time, you won't be able to do 5 essays and still produce amazing applications. He also stated that you should have a person to back you up when you try to go to a college because doing things alone is almost impossible. Now I know that I need to concentrate in working on my applications early and to find a teacher in which I can rely on to help me through the college process.

Hope this helps you prospective students and parents. Till next time.

More Learning of DNA and college

At 9:00 AM my group of wonderful classmates walked through the blazing hot environment to our cool and comfortable Biomedical Building. 

In our lab class yesterday, we isolated DNA from E. coli and put in solution (added what liquid to it to create the solution). Today we took that DNA solution and added it into an Agar plate to observe if the cells would start a colony. There were plates with Amp, Kan, and one that contains both. We needed to spread out the cells thinly and evenly throughout the plate. 

Because of this one procedure, we had to learn a new technique called "Sterile Spreading Technique." This is important because one does not need outside contaminants to ruin the experiment. Once we finished spreading nine plates, we incubated them overnight. Hopefully tomorrow we will see some new colonies that have grown!

In the first lab, we took the plasmids we made in last lab and put them through a gel electrophoresis. The results showed us that every plasmid was a different length due to the digesting them with restriction enzymes. I thought this was very interesting because we all had the same DNA samples; but, we learned that the DNA plasmids can bind wherever they want to.

Later in the day, at 5 PM, I followed the invitation to attend the Partner Scholar Supper. It was a pizza party which provides opportunities to meet more students from partner organizations across the country like ILC and current Brown students. It was very helpful hearing from current Brown students. We had about 5 Brown students who talked about their experiences at Brown and college preparation works. It was nice to meet new friends, but even more pleasant to know that there are more than one hundred of us who are supported mentally and financially by our programs. Again I felt lucky to be one of them out of a thousand students. We shared many similarities: most of us needed financial help because we are coming from different economic backgrounds; many of us are from public schools and are challenged in terms of study conditions; and most importantly, we are all here to pursue our dreams and attain life experiences at such a great place like Brown.

We Are Not Alone

As an member of the Ivy League Connections, I pride myself on being a part of one of the few who qualify to participate in such a prestigious program. But today, I had the opportunity to meet some of the others who are part of other programs that offer similar benefits.

Today, the Summer@Brown program hosted a dinner for all the students who are here because of sponsorships by various partner programs. Over 140 students attend Summer@Brown because of partnerships around the country, all of which invest in their most talented youth and thus the future. These partnerships include Jack Kent Cooke, Minds Matter, KIPP Schools, Schuler Family Foundation, Providence St. Mel, Joyce Ivy Foundation, Summer Quest, The Coalition for Educational Justice, The Young Women Leadership Foundation, Mission High School, HighSight, PRISYM, Blackstone Academy, and of course, our very own fabulous Ivy League Connections program.

During the dinner, Summer@Brown treated us to pizza, which was oddly cut into squares, making the meal very messy. Nevertheless, the meal was very tasty and it was an interesting experience, compared to our slices back at home. While eating this messy feast, I talked to some students who were from their own partnership programs and also current Brown University Students. The other students were all from similar backgrounds as we were, from poor-performance districts, and they all were as overjoyed to be a part of this program as we were.

After the dinner, we were able to submit anonymous questions to the Brown students for help with college applications. We had the chance to talk to Anna, Aaron, and Alicia all of whom were from disadvantaged backgrounds like we were. It was inspiring to listen to them describe their obstacles, and how they were able to overcome those troubles to eventually soar to new heights at Brown, even if their family and colleagues didn't expect it of them. This meeting with them inspired me to try my best and to reach for the stars to achieve my dreams. Even if their counselors or even their own families doubted them, they continued to strive for the best. They exemplified the meaning of true hard work and dedication to a dream, and the sheer will power to achieve their goals.

Mrs. Robin Dean Rose, who organizes all of the partnership foundations, shared her views on college to us, stating that with so many applying for so few spots in a college, getting accepted to Brown or any other selective college is essentially based on luck. But she told us that over all else, we must make it to college, because so many are depending on us.

We lastly each discussed what was the hardest part about being here at Summer@Brown, and what was the best part. To me, being here at Summer@Brown has taught me far more about myself than about DNA based biotechnology. I have learned to become more independent and more willing to believe in myself instead of doubting myself. Before this summer program, I relied on my friends often and I never truly believed that I was strong enough to survive alone. Although being in this program is far from a lonely experience, the past two weeks have taught me to be confident in all that I do, and I will succeed as long as I believe with conviction in the choices I make. Although every person's answer was different, I felt as if we were all united under the common bond that we were all defying expectations and rising above the challenges of underestimation, discrimination, and deprivation. To the rest of the world, we may be seen as incompetent and we have been denied far too many opportunities. But today I had the unique chance to be with others who have been through similar hardships as well. I now truly believe with total conviction that we are the cream of the crop, and we shall always rise to the top.

International Relations and Down South Hospitality

Being in an environment where people are from all corners of the world allows you to meet some interesting people and learn about towns other than your own. The program has students from Portugal, Italy, China, Turkey, France, England, and Ireland. It is amazing to think that there are so many people from all over the place coming here to spend their summer at Brown University. There are also people from different parts of America that bring another level of diversity onto the campus. During the orientation they had mentioned that there were students from all 50 states. Those from Alaska must be having a complete climate shock.

In my class there is a girl from Shanghai China but she is actually Thai. She was born in Thailand and was moved to Shanghai because of her father’s job. Her father works for Converse as a labels consultant and frequently travels throughout Asia, and occasionally Australia. She has lived there for two years and goes to an international school called Shanghai American School. She says the school is taught in English and that she speaks Thai and English with her family but speaks no Cantonese, Mandarin, or any other dialect of Chinese. When I asked her how she communicated with others she said that she always has friends that she brings along to translate. She also mentioned that her mother was trying to learn Cantonese. I found it amazing how she was able to live in a place where she could not speak the language for two years. She says that it is not that hard and that she enjoys living there.

We also have a person in our class that is Taiwanese-American from Georgia. Through our conversations I have found out that he has to take a bus to school and that it is an hour long drive. A district funded bus is unheard of in our area of California and no matter where you live there is always a school that is closer than an hour’s drive away. I have a friend that lives in the California Valley and his bus ride isn’t that long. He also mentioned that his school has a two person a day dropout rate and that they had to have an assembly to discuss the seriousness of the statistics. He has also informed me that his district has a school where every one in four girls is pregnant or already has a child. That school had a district run day care on the school campus so that the girls can drop their child off and finish their education. I really think that is sad to think that one out of every four girls at the high school has a child or is going to before they finish high school.

Through talking and getting to know them I have learned that despite whether you go to an international school in China or a public school in Georgia everyone has something special about where they are from. Some people might not think that their story is interesting but it is always intriguing to an outsider. A lot of people think that it is “really cool” that I am from California but I don’t think it is better than being from Central Pennsylvania. Everyone has something about where they are from that is “cool.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fine Dining

This morning, I woke up and went to breakfast in the new dining hall in the Sharpe Refectory. The Sharpe Refectory, otherwise known as the “Ratty” by Brown students, was far more modern and newer than the Verney-Woolley, which is nicknamed the “V-dub”. The “Ratty” featured a much larger dining area, with large television sets and fans. The “Ratty” also had two types of meals available for students daily, featuring fan favorites and foods from around the world.

According to my RA, Justin, the dining hall in Sharpe Refectory has more variety than the other dining hall that we have been accustomed to, the Verney-Woolley. The Sharpe Refectory also has more back up options if you don’t happen to like the daily special, whereas the Verney-Woolly could present potential problems if one is a picky eater, as there are fewer back ups and more daily specials.

The Verney-Woolley, although more cramped, presents a more socially active dining scene. The buffet style seating and the larger tables allows for more social interaction with others, and also features outdoor seating. The Verney-Woolly also has a soft-serve bar, for diners to make their own sundaes, which the Ratty does not have. But most importantly, the Verney-Woolley has air-conditioning, whereas the Ratty is cooled by fans alone and is therefore hotter than a sauna. Although the differences between the two dining halls may seem trivial, to me it is another area of college I am looking forward towards, to have the freedom to pick where I want to eat and what I want to eat.

Both halls offer buffet-style dining, which is a problem for me, because I know that I’m gaining weight here. The temptation of endless food is too strong for me to resist, and because of this I need to start watching what I eat. No longer can I eat ice cream with every meal, or pile heaps upon heaps of meat on top of my plate. I can see why the fabled “Freshman Fifteen” is so hard to avoid now, because the constant stress of classes pushes one to eat more. 

At Pinole Valley High School, we don’t have buffet meals, which is good and bad. It’s good because I will have limits to the food I consume, but it’s bad in that I am often hungry. 

Here, I’m never hungry, and I often dread the next meal. I resolve to eat more vegetables and fruits to become healthier. I’m glad that I realized that eating healthy is important, especially in college, where it is easy to get carried away by the food. It’s a good thing that I found this out now instead of when I will be in college, as I will know then to watch what I eat and not to overeat.

"Ratty" Dining Hall

Dessert at "V-Dub" Dining Hall

Exploring New Places

Although today has been extremely hot and humid, it was also fulfilling and interesting. Shortly after meeting up with friends, I noticed that a second dining hall has been opened for new arriving Brown Summer Program students. We were curious about the difference between the two dining halls so we went to try this “new one” out. The food was slightly different. We were satisfied just by watching WATCHING WHAT? and sitting in the new dining building. Even though somehow the AC was not provided in the building, I still had a good meal.

After going to the first part of the class where we perform labs, I was glad that I had a good breakfast, otherwise I might have passed out when I had to multitask to finish the lab on time. Today’s lab was pretty tough. It still involved electrophoresis, but was brought to an even higher level. Even though we used the same method of analyzing restriction enzymes and DNA fragments, it was still challenging because there were two labs and two parts for each lab. 

I also learned that interpretation skills are very important when doing labs. It is necessary to be able to read efficiently and understand the purpose and procedures correctly in order to proceed with the lab at the highest efficiency. I must master this ability to strengthen myself for college.

After class, I decided to visit Sciences Library, which is located on the corner of Waterman and Thayer Street, and it was on our way back to our dorm. 

According to the librarian, the Sciences Library “holds materials that support study and research in all fields of science” and provides a wide range of service.” It is also referred as “SciLi” by formal students and staffs at Brown University. 

After being built in 1971, it became the first high-rise library in the world. I am really looking forward to being able to study in such an amazing library with an excellent studying environment and resources.

The "Rock" Rocks!

I walked down towards my dorm after an interesting biotechnology lecture about plasmids, translation, and genetic engineering. Looking at my homework sheet, I found that I have 15+ pages to read tonight. 

I didn't want to go back to my dorm or anywhere due to the heat so I went on a desperate search for a cool room. Then, I noticed the giant Rockefeller Library overshadowing me. When I first saw the structure, I thought wow! The immense size and the unique structure of the building attracted me towards it. 

My natural instincts made me venture within the building to examine the internal aspects of the library. The first thing I noticed when I entered the revolving door of the Rockefeller Library was the blast of AC that hit me in the face. This warm reception persuaded me to keep going. 

What I saw was amazing. Polished wood shelves and desks were properly sorted into orderly columns and sections. As I looked on the map of the immense library, I found several floors, an immense collection of books dispersed throughout the levels, and individual study areas specifically designed for students. After reading more about the Rockefeller Library, I decided to look deeper inside. 

I started with the lower level of the "Rock" )as coined by Brown students). It was dark and somber walking down the endless hallways--especially with the portraits and library-feeling. 
When I finally arrived at the bottom floor, I was lost in a maze of walls and books. To the left were the restrooms hidden by the numerous shelves and sofa chairs. To the right was the rest of the collection of books along with glass compartments for meetings. Compared to our library back home, I felt envious of the Brown students because they had a great library to turn to for resources and to study. 

Then again, this is a college environment and college students need the library to have a place to do their work, use its abundant resources, and have a place to relax. Moreover, a library can help a student with help with their work and to schedule conversations with other students. When I was in CCC, I utilized a similar library with my Statistics and Geometry courses. The library provided me with a place to do my homework and discuss my work with my friends and classmates. 

I decided to go back upstairs after being mesmerized and lost on the bottom floor.
Upstairs was much brighter and cheerier. There were numerous shops including a small beverage shop for thirsty students, including myself. It felt weird because a beverage bar is unusual for a library because of all the sanitary rules and no food rules. The front librarian smiled at me while I entered through the detectors. Again, I was confused with the numerous entrances and exits. I managed to ask a student for information and eventually found my way through the floor. I again noticed the lavish brown flooring and wonderful wallpaper that gave the feeling of being in an old building. 

As I entered the main building of the library I felt like I was truly in college. As I turned left to right, I witnessed college students reading, studying, and just chilling out in the various rooms. Even thought the Rockefeller library started out as a very small library in the colonial times, it has grown into much more than just a library. It grew into a massive social hotspot and a haven for those in need of rest. If I were a Brown student, I would definitely use The Rock as a resource and a tool. It's another aspect of Brown that I found enjoyable over the days I've spent here. Hope to see you soon.

Brown's Science Library

As I walked in through the turning doors of Brown’s Science Library, the cool air hit my face. I felt immediate relief from the hot, humid and rainy weather. The lobby of the library was decorated with colorful couches, lounge chairs, and sleek white tables for you to study and drink your coffee at. As I looked around the room I saw people busy working on a number of projects from relaxing to studying for exams. The lobby of the library was recently remodeled. As I walked up the stairs to the other floors of the library, the d├ęcor became less and less attractive and pleasing to the eye.

On the third level there is a recently remodeled from that is dedicated solely for science students and the science department. I overheard a student say that the library had been closed for quite a while and that they were glad that it had finally opened. As I walked out of the elevator I saw beautiful pictures of organisms that had been magnified through a microscope. The organisms images had been enhanced by vivid colors.

The orange and the opaque glass walls separated the floor into study rooms that students heavily utilized. Some study rooms were equipped with smart boards so that students could work individually, in groups or with tutors. The rooms also had individual study corners where students could work. The floor was very modern and cool with its layout and equipment.

To my dismay, the rest of the floors are not quite  as nice as the third floor study hall but they were instead filled with rows and rows of books. The books offered a range of information in the sciences including physics, chemistry, biology, and all the sub subjects within those fields.

The library is not only a great place to study but it also held one of the biggest Tetris games ever. They set up projectors that spanned the length of this 17 story building and played Tetris on it. Their record was shortly beat by a Korean group but it just shows the variety of things that the library provides.

A Tour Without The guide

Today Stephanie and I went out for a small tour of College Hill. We went to a few places including the Rockefeller Library (A.K.A. The Rock), admissions office and the financial aid office. We also made many small stops along the way for some "Kodak" moments.

The first time we stopped was at The Rock. It is a very large library. Upon entering the rotating doors, we could sense a feeling of a modern museum type decor. It was also a relief from the hot air outside, as the air conditioning made me think back to the cool west coast breezes back home. To the left we could see a mini snack stand and on the left, four very modern chairs surrounding a round wooden table. Go a little further and turn around and we saw a large list of sponsors' names, including Ford Motor Co. and the state of Rhode Island. Go through the safety screens and we saw many volumes of books, but to our left, we saw chandeliers in different heights and they looked amazing. Go down to the bottom and we noticed that there are five genuine leather arm chairs to relax in. Stephanie and I took this time to lament the small quirks of Brown but happy to know that the good out weighs the bad. Upon further research, it turns out that the Brown Library has over 2,500,000 volumes ranging from paper to papyrus.

The next stop was to the admissions office down the street. The funny thing is that we got lost and accidentally entered the economics building. I was not expecting what I saw. Looked up and there was a circular roof with halls running around it, from the floor level, and then from there, 5 more levels. What confused me is why our finance class was not located in this building. It was a very stunning building and I was not expecting it to be that big from the outside.

After that stop, we found the building. It was a lot cozier and close than the other buildings but still had the historic touch to it. We decided to sit in the living room and soak in the atmosphere, when one book caught my eye. It seemed very special for some reason. It was called "Up One Flight Of Stairs." I have never heard about it in my life so I did more research and found out it was made in the early 1900's and it was one of the earliest writings dedicated to children. We also took the time to ask questions of the secretary about meeting the admissions officers, but unfortunately, we were not permitted to go through and talk to them. In the end we picked up some very helpful packets and a map and continued on to the next site.

Next on our itinerary was the financial aid office. After riding up to the second floor of the modern designed building, we walked through more glass doors where we were greeted by a friendly face, which belongs to a woman named Liz. She was very helpful in answering all of our questions. Some questions included the work study and if there were varying rates paid to those who do other forms of work.

This would have to be one of the busiest after-class tours I have ever done. It was full of helpful information in helping making sure that when looking for a college, we cover all the points, being sure to leave no stone unturned and no glass agitated.

Admissions and Financial Aid

The weather was quite extremely humid today. I woke up to a room that was already hot and stuffy. When I finished getting ready and walked outside my residential hall, the sun began to burn my face and body. Walking under the blazing sun was not enjoyable at all. Everyone was ready to get inside and eat breakfast in the new and air-conditioned dining hall at Sharpe Reflectory only to find there was no air-conditioning. The weather in Bay Area is never overly hot or overly humid so adapting to the weather here takes some time. One should be wearing shorts, sandals and a t-shirt in the day time, but in the afternoons, rain would unexpectedly start pouring heavily which is confusing.

Despite the overly warm dining room, we still stayed to give this place a try. For the past week, we have been eating at Verney Woolley or VW, so we decided to switch gears and give Sharpe Refectory (SR) a try. Both served the same level and type of food, except the SR had fewer options. The waffle machine wasn’t in sight, or the ice cream, and the salad bar only consisted of a few items that can’t really be deemed a “bar”. On the bright side, the SR dining hall is much more spacious and the ambience is more stylish. Large plates of lights hang about our heads as we enjoy our meal in the hot room. Large fans were running, but still did not do their job effectively to cool down hungry Brownies. Moreover, SR was closer to our dorms and classrooms as compared to the VW. Everyone prefered the VW over the SR, but in any case, we won't forget about eating at the convenient SR when we forget to wake up on time. Fulfilling your stomatch well before each activity is essential to performing your best and getting the most out of it.

The food here is not outrageously delicious, but it does meet a level of decency. After eating at an actual college dining hall, I can now narrow down my list of questions when I visit colleges. I can be more specific when asking these questions as well as other questions regarding the college itself. Not only can I be more specific when inquiring about basic necessities, but also about the class structure and the  culture of the campus.

After class, Andrew and I went to the Admissions Building on Prospect and Angell. The lady at the front desk already knew we were part of the Summer@Brown program because of our red lanyards around our sweaty necks. I asked her if we could meet or even ask a few questions with an admissions officer, preferably the one who is in charge of the Northern California area. Unfortunately, she told me they can not do that but referred me to go on a tour and information session held frequently. I gave her a friendly smile and thanks and headed out to the Financial Aid department located a few blocks away in the modern J. Walter Wilson Building, on the second floor. There, fianncial aid counselor Liz, greeted both of us and asked if we had any specific questions. She answered a few questions for us and referred us back to Brown's website and the financial aid tab. She reasurred us that everything will be available there, and all the information we need can be obtained from the website. Nevertheless, she invited us to come back if we had any specific question not listed on the website. Once again, Andrew and I thanked her and proceeded with a financial aid pamphlet.

Three R's, rest, relaxation, realization?

Today was a day for recuperation from our hectic week and an action packed Saturday. We spent the day in a relatively relaxed fashion, so I go up to my room and sit. Then I look to my left and there is a large laundry bag that is filled to the brim with the week’s laundry in it. I guess it hasn’t dawned on me until now that there are chores to be done, even outside home. I know I planned on doing it, and that I have been warned about it, but it is different when actually done.

Also, this being the Ivy League Connection, I think meeting new people is in order. Today I had a chance to exercise my people skills by meeting some mutual friends to have a small gathering. We had a great time and it was nice to have someone other than the same faces to hang out with.

I knew today was the last day Ms. Bulls would be having the car, but as she was driving off, dropping off items to last the week, she yelled “make sure you make this last the week!” Even though it was a mountain of water and other goods, it never caught on that rationing and budgeting is part of the experience. Sure it is possible to scarf down all the things we portioned out to each individual, but what will we have the next day? By the end of the week, will a box of “Cheeze It’s” be the best thing I hope to eat when I am hungry and the dining hall is closed?

I was skimming the map today and I noticed that there is a police station on it. It had me thinking about security and how people like the RA’s, the police and even Ms. Bulls form a cocoon around me. I think of it as a three part system, but just today it had me thinking “what if I don’t have a chaperone.” Ms. Bulls is doing a terrific job being our chaperone, taking us out, telling us about real college life, and being a parent when the time calls for it, but what if there isn’t anyone with that connection. You can’t go up to the police officer and hug them. That is when real life steps in.

This day was full of realizations and there will be more to come. All these components are what will help me choose a college. Although I am capable of doing my laundry myself and can pick up a phone and call my parents, but can that keep going for four years and beyond? And if I can keep it up, was It worth it? I know I can’t find the answer during these three weeks, but I can come close.