Saturday, July 10, 2010

Compare and Contrast

Harvard University was the only school we visited today. I knew what to look for by now - not only rigorous academics and many opportunities outside the classroom, but that special spark that told me students genuinely loved their school. I definitely got the sense of Harvard's intensive academic curriculum, and their giant selection of clubs and groups. But instead of feeling like most of this activity was being done for the sake of learning, I felt like most of the student presenters and tour guides participated in the classes and extracurriculars they did to impress others. For example, they might have their eye on med school throughout all their undergraduate years, and wouldn't end up  enjoying their classes and getting enriched as much as they could be for that reason. For me, Wellesley has that special spark, and from what I know about Brown, it does too. I'll learn about that in the next two weeks! I think Harvard is definitely the best or one of the best universities in the world, but it's not a perfect fit for me. I appreciate the info session and the tour, though, because I wouldn't have considered it nearly as much if I hadn't gone.

When we got back to the hotel, we had to grab our packed bags, stow some of them in Mr. Ramsey's and Ms. Kronenberg's car, and then take a cab to the train station. We were going to Providence! As soon as we got inside the building, a thunderstorm hit. Of course, it was still more than 75 degrees while it was pouring curtains of water. I took my laptop on the train and worked a little bit on my personal statement draft. Sue Kim, our college counselor through the ILC, asked us to have it done on the 10th, but the deadline is flexible. I'm glad that it is, since my schedule was packed before I came on this trip and now it's even more packed. I'll probably have a later draft that I can email in a day or two. The point of getting a draft out now is to have more time later to revise and improve my personal statement, which is a crucial part of my college application.

We arrived in Providence and my eyes immediately snapped to this rainbow flag over a church. As El Cerrito HS Gay-Straight Alliance President and as a person, it's good to know that Providence is a city that encourages open minds. I really liked the two icons, which most people might think is a contrast. That's not necessarily true. I think this picture is beautiful.

We had dinner at Mill's Tavern with the Brown Session I kids, both chaperones, Mr. Ramsey, and Ms. Kronenberg. I got to talk with them about their experience with Summer@Brown. All said not to focus so much on the classes (of course try your best) but to look at the entire experience and try new things. I'll keep their advice in mind.


  1. Irene,

    You're developing a keen and discerning eye with regards to these schools your visiting. You're able to see not only what they're showing you but things they are not. Good for you.

    Thanks for including the photo of the flag above the church. Like you, I'm pleased to see communities and people who are accepting of people who may not be the same as they are. We could use a little more acceptance these days.