Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Day of Surprises

I attempted to go to sleep early last night, but the wireless Internet took so long uploading my post and my pictures that I ended up staying in the guest lounge until about 11:30 – and I was the first one of our group to leave! I got into bed at around midnight, and fell into a deep sleep until 5:30 AM. Ms. Stewart had planned to call our room to wake us up then, but Lydia and I couldn’t figure out how to answer the hotel phone. It’s a very strange phone – first of all, the handset and the cradle don’t match, and second of all, there are so many buttons and instructions on it that it confused us even further. We picked up the phone, but that didn’t actually answer the call. So Ms. Stewart knocked on our door to make sure that we didn’t sleep in past our 7:15 group meeting time. We would be visiting Connecticut College in the mid-morning. I answered the door half-asleep and told her what was going on, and then went back to bed because my alarm was set for 6 AM.
While I was getting ready, I mistakenly opened the sterile package of my second pair of contacts. I had already started the first pair! That meant I would have to buy a lens case and multipurpose lens fluid immediately so that they wouldn’t shrivel and dry out. I decided I would make the best of the situation and buy a few other things that I needed at the pharmacy. Since I couldn’t go alone in case I got lost in Boston, I waited until 6:45 so that Lydia could go with me (she needed to buy lotion anyways). We rushed the four city blocks to the pharmacy, and ran back in the steamy Boston air. The sun had already started to beat down on us so early in the morning! We barely got to the lobby by 7:15. Everyone else had already had breakfast in Ms. Stewart’s room. I have to be more careful, especially when my normal sleep schedule has been disrupted and I’m more tired than usual.
At the train station, Lydia and I shared breakfast, which we bought ourselves: orange juice and a chocolate chip scone. Though the whole ordeal was stressful, everything ended up all right.

It seems that public transportation in the Tri-State area gets more funding and more usage than in the Bay Area. All the bus depots, train terminals, and subway stations that we’ve seen have been large, modern, and beautiful structures bustling with people who have a purpose. I wish the Bay Area could get more funding for public transportation. The way I see it, lower prices and even small infrastructure improvements could increase usage significantly, and might even help the state’s financial situation in the long run. Then again, I’m no expert.
I took a nap on the train, but the aggressive air conditioning woke me up. I feel like Goldilocks – it’s either too hot or too cold! I’m trying to dress in layers so that I can adapt to both settings.
New London is very pretty. The red color of the brick buildings common to New England contrasts nicely with the deep blue of the ocean. However, we couldn’t stop to sightsee. We had to walk the three miles to Connecticut College because no transportation was arranged for that leg of the trip and no cabs would arrive in time. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it definitely wasn’t the best way to spend two hours, either.
The admissions office recommended that we take a group information session before meeting with Shalini Uppu (the admissions officer for the Bay Area), so we went in a few minutes late.

Here are my notes from the session:

·     CC is 60% female, 40% male
·     15% students of color or multiracial students
·     3% international students
·     “Choose Your Own Adventure” every student has a unique academic experience
·     distribution requirements, not core curriculum
·     many interdisciplinary centers that allow one to receive an “interdisciplinary certificate” in an area of focus that is somehow related to their major or minor
·     students complete internships or capstone projects in order to earn their certificates
·     This allows a graduate to have more options and more expertise in terms of the professional world
·     over 47% of last year’s graduating class received an interdisciplinary in addition to their majors and minors
·     multiple study abroad options: either a standard group trip for one semester, a “traveling classroom” with 13-15 students and several professors, or a 4-5 day short trip with a professor.
·     All options count for academic credit
·     CC has a great post-graduate support network
·     The Career-Enhancing Life Skills Center is a hub for internships, job opportunities
·     They connect graduates with workshops, advisors, alumni, internships, and contacts
·     Vibrant club, extracurricular, and student activist life
·     CC is a Div III school, also many club and intramural sports
·     They offer SYNCHRONIZED FIGURE SKATING!! I’m very excited.
·     They offer GENDER NEUTRAL HOUSING! I really don’t know yet if I would want to live in a coed dorm, but I definitely think it’s interesting. It’s nice that they offer this option (I’m all for gender neutrality and abolishing binary gender stereotypes).
·     Selectivity is going up quite a bit, but they aren’t as selective as Ivy Leagues.
·     Their application (Common App + supplement) is test-optional, so you don’t have to submit ACT/SAT/SATII scores if you don’t want to.
·     They accept peer recommendations
·     They meet 100% of financial need. Tuition is $52,000 per year and the average financial aid package is around $25,000.
·     Out of the way, hard to get to, kind of suburban
·     750 acres
·     about 1,700 students

I really liked the academic and student activist aspect of Connecticut College, but I didn’t think the location, physical size, and size of the student body was ideal. Those were the only things I didn’t like. Also, I’m not sure if undergraduates can do research there. I think I’ll email Ms. Uppu later or look on their website to find out.
We got back to the hotel without incident, rested for two hours, and then went sightseeing at Faneuil Hall. I tried on an interesting dress/wrap that apparently can be worn 100 different ways. I didn’t buy it – it was outrageously expensive! But it made for a fun picture.
Now it’s time for bed. Tomorrow will be a very busy day – we tour Wellesley and Boston College, and then have a formal dinner at L’Espalier with Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg. I’m excited.


  1. Irene,

    You say that dress made for some interesting pictures? Did you get a shot each of he 100 ways it could be worn?

    Connecticut College sounds interesting but it would have to fir your special niche--beyond synchronized ice skating--to be more of a fit for you. Still, worth looking into.

    Did you actually find a pharmacy that was open at 6:45 in the morning? I'm impressed.

    I know that people usually just tell you the bad things about a place so I'm sure that your hotel has some redeeming aspects. Nonetheless, the bad Internet and the goofy phones makes me want to jot this down so in future years we check into some of these things before we select our lodging accommodations.

  2. Haha, no, I didn't get a picture of every way it could be worn. That would take WAY too long. They even had to give out instructional DVDs because it was so complicated.

    I really don't think Connecticut College is right for me at all. I'm not even considering applying there. It's definitely not a bad college, but it doesn't have that special "spark" that would make it for me.

    Yes, CVS was open pretty early! It didn't seem that early because it was so sunny outside already.

    I figured out the phones - apparently we have one weird phone in our room and one normal one. The normal one was on a desk in the back of the room and we didn't see it. So I can use a phone now, but still, that was confusing...

    Yes, everyone in the hotel (not just our group) has been complaining about the lack of WiFi. They say it's ridiculous. Otherwise, though, this hotel is really great. It's kind of nice to all crowd on the floor close to the restaurant - we get to talk and laugh while we do all our blogging.

  3. Irene,

    As you work with Sue Kim she'll stress the need to find that perfect fit of a college. With more than 3500 colleges in this country, there are plenty that will be right for you and plenty that will NEVER make the short list. The best I can tell, you have 3 down and 3,497 to go.

  4. Exactly. I never thought it was possible to have a perfect fit.