Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cloudy with a Chance of Heat Stroke

The morning started with the familiar electronic tones that began Ellie Goulding's remix of Flashlight. A smile found itself on my newly awoken visage. Oh, my favorite song. The melody flowed to my hands and I beat rhythmically at the pillow with my fingers. My eyebrows furrow. This isn’t my pillow. My eyes snapped open as I dove for my phone, concerned that my alarm bothered my roommate. I almost forgot I was in Atlanta.

Shanti was already awake at time, thank goodness, so I hopped out of bed and begun my morning routine. Part of me was still surprised I made it halfway across the United States in one piece without my family nagging me every second, but it was too early to dwell on the subject. We only had half an hour to prepare for the day.

Shanti and I phoned the other cohort members in case their alarms didn't rouse them and waited at the lobby. After catching some breakfast, our group hopped into a car for our tour of Emory College.

Timothy in the front dressed in a white suit and black tie.
Looking Good!
We got there ten minutes early, giving us time to observe the building before us. From the outside, the structure stood tall and sleek, tinted in a humble grey. The inside exerted a similar atmosphere. The ceiling was high and grand. Auburn polished wood composed the walls. The room was beautiful. The sun peeked warmly though the window to create a soothing mood for book openers. A little after skimming through our informational pamphlets, a refined African gentleman politely informed us that the meeting would begin shortly. Once everyone was seated in the lecture hall, the man stood in the front of the room, introducing himself Timothy Fields.

The presentation began with a short clip followed by an informative discussion led by Timothy. He discussed the long-standing traditions on campus, difference between Oxford and Emory, as well as key components in the application process. Each section was accompanied by an opportunity for questions which Timothy expertly handled. After the seminar, four young women filed to the front of the room. The audience was sectioned off into four groups, each accompanying one of the guides.

Our cohort had the pleasure of following Kari Burdzinski. We moved out of the recruiting station and
Kari (far right) starting the tour.
wove through the campus. The university was, without a doubt, wonderful. Because Oxford was founded in 1836 and Emory in 1915, the school was rich in culture and polished in education. Kari explained that in the past, wednesday was free of class to allow students to catch up on their work. Instead, many scholars spend their Wednesday snoozing in their dorms past noon. The admission saw this as a necessary change from a quarter to semester system, bringing class back on Wednesday. However, their old system was not forgotten. Campus organizations all come together on Wednesdays and offer students food and club information in memory of the leisurely Wednesday.

There are many other traditions on campus including Dooley the skeleton putting an end to classes or
The popular mascot-- Dooley.
the competitive battles between campus dorms. Aside from all the amusement on campus, the university is heavily focused on academics. This factor is blatantly apparent by observing the eleven extravagant libraries on campus. I gave myself a mental slap when we stopped by the Robert Woodruff Library. My school library has at most twenty full shelves of books accompanied by miniature book shelves scattered across the center of the room and ancient box windows computers lining one wall. I thought my local library was quite impressive compared to this, with different rooms and books sectioned off by genre and three study rooms for the locals to concentrate in silence. This was on a whole new level. We were only taken to observe the building from the outside, and the sheer size of the structure was breathtaking. The colossal library had ten floors of books, study rooms, as well as technology. As Kari explained, I peered into the glass windows, catching a glimpse of their plush colorful couches and modern computers open for students to use. To think there were ten more of where this came from. Aside from the libraries, students are also encouraged to study in study rooms available in their dorms. Each floor is supplied with at least two rooms for collaborative work, each room complete with rolling couches, tables, and a white board.

Kari led us into the sports building and everyone’s jaw dropped the second we stepped in. We walked on a bridge inside the second floor of the building, giving us the complete view of two full size basketball courts on either side of us. The high ceilings were decorated with awards achieved by the student athletes. As we continued down the hall, I had to contain myself from running into the fully equipped dance studio and busying myself with the untattered gymnastic mats. As we made our way to the end of the hall, Kari explained that there was also an indoor and outdoor track, an Olympic size swimming pool and many more facilities for students to maintain their physical health located in the building. Kari explained that the school strongly believes in academics, therefore competition is held among schools with the same ideal. Their focus on education over athleticism is also apparent in their lack of a football team. Emory admissions and student leaders came together and agreed that immense funding required to establish a football team should instead be used to develop the academics. We made it to the end of the building and I looked back at the flags with disappointment. There were no golf awards to be seen.
Sports building from the outside.
We met back at the recruitment building. Kari took the last few moments to explain her journey to becoming an Emory student. Our cohort mused when she mentioned she is a native of Los Angeles and fell in love with the campus during a college tour with her junior class. Although I enjoyed the campus tour and the academically focused culture, I wouldn’t say this is my dream school. Of course, it would be an honor to attend a campus with eleven full blown libraries and a gym with more equipment than I could ever get through, Atlanta heat does not mix well with a bay area native. On top of this, the school lacks a marching band and golf team! That isn’t to say I won’t apply though. I respect their ideals regarding the relationship between academics and other activities. In addition, the students on campus all seem very engaged and outgoing. Who knows, maybe I’ll be back in two years as a freshman.

We returned to the hotel for a moment to freshen up and pack our bags before heading to the airport once more. I released a breath I was holding when the metal detector didn’t sound as I walked through. Supplied with our memories of sweat and back-ache, we decided to try the tram today. Soon after, we boarded the plane and arrived to Washington D.C. in the blink of an eye. Just like the Atlantic airport had its quirks, the D.C. airport had a beautiful wall decorated with movie and magazine covers. It was, truthfully, one of the most patriotic murals I’ve ever seen.  
The bold D.C. wall of media.
I thought the worst of East Coast weather was over when we spent an entire two hours dragging our burning legs under the hot sun during the tour of Emory University. I was wrong. I saw the hidden blue sky as a greeting from cool breezes and chilly water droplets. Instead, I was introduced to humid air, returning heat, and fat spheres of rain. We spent a swell fifteen minutes adjusting to the new weather before our ride arrived.

Although this is the second day of many, I already knew dinner would be fantastic. Our cohort agreed to dinner at a local German diner titled Old Europe Restaurant. Everyone giggled about the idea of
Inside of the diner.
pronouncing German dishes, but the jokes ended the moment the door flew ajar. The first thing that caught our attention was the sound. From the inside, a man and a woman played traditional English music with none other than the accordion and guitar. We squeezed through the narrow door one by one, each person slowing down as they entered to stare at the furniture in awe as the others from behind ushered them forward. They didn’t lie when they said this was an Old European styled diner. The walls were decorated with old oil paintings, the tables were elegantly decorated with a classy crimson cloth and dim yellow lights added to the old atmosphere. Once we thought the acts were over, the group performed a knee-slapping dance as we ordered our food. Our final surprise was the dinner itself—authentic German food in both taste and size. We thought the liver and raw beef would be the highlight of our meal in terms of flavor. Wrong again. People tend to mock the serving size of American dishes, but German meals are another story. The food was, without a doubt, delicious to every bite, but there was so much food. Even leader Chan-Chan had trouble finishing his dish. We took our leave at 9’o clock, both Justice and I surrendering to take-out boxes. 

We left the building with full bellies and stepped into the soothing evening drizzle. I can’t recall who started it. Maybe it was the eager Stephen rushing to get back to the hotel, or competitive Shanti who followed behind him, but our entire cohort began a sprint. We all shared a liberating laugh, disregarding the raindrops soaking through our clothes, and continued the rest of the way to the hotel. 

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