Wednesday, June 17, 2015

From Atlanta to D.C.

Following an amazing first day where the Cornell cohort and I traveled from our homes and got a taste of Atlanta  (as well as being able to watch my Golden State Warriors winning their first NBA Championship since 1975), we were able to see what Emory University had to offer, as well as fly into our nation's capital, Washington D.C.

I woke up at 7 o'clock on the dot this morning to the fine symphony of an iPhone alarm.  Stephen and I had the same alarm tone, both set to 7 o'clock, but the time in which they went off was a second off from one another, so my exit from dreamland and entry into the real world was greeted with two loud and annoying alarm tones buzzing into my ear.  I freaked out when I heard the alarm, causing me to jump out of bed and quickly shut off both alarms.  I was wide awake, but Stephen, however, was not. To my surprise, he was still sound asleep, which I found hilarious considering the loud nature of the alarms.  We both went to sleep around 12:45 because the game ended late, but it was worth it.  Now awake, but a little groggy, I proceeded with my daily morning routine, which consisted of showering, brushing my teeth, putting my contacts in, and putting my clothes on.  Following this routine, I re-packed all the items in preparation of our departure.  Around this time, Julie knocked on my door to get us for the free breakfast.  The meal was standard for a free buffet-style continental breakfast, consisting of pancakes, eggs, cereal, muffins and toast with orange juice and coffee offered as the drinks.  After finishing up breakfast at around 8:20, we relaxed in the lobby until the shuttle picked us and took us to Emory University.

Emory's Barnes & Noble
We arrived at Emory University's Barnes and Noble, which stood high and tall.  We entered the building, the first aspect that I noticed was the incredibly large Starbucks on my right, which looked like a restaurant rather than a coffee shop.  We were later informed on our tour that Emory's Starbucks is the largest collegiate Starbucks in the country, which I found amusing because that implied these students needed buckets of coffee to keep themselves going.  We took stairs up into the main hall, where we checked in and received a booklet that provided a minor breakdown of the school, as well as an area in the back to take notes.  The first  pages were dedicated to facts about the class while the last couple pages were dedicated to advice from the admission offices, a list of majors and minors, the neighboring sibling of Emory, Oxford College, and student life.  I read through the booklet while waiting in the lobby and it got me excited for the tour ahead.

At around 9:00, we were greeted by Timothy Fields, who brought us into a presentation room filled with chairs and a large screen used with projectors.  I noticed he was wearing a thick, tan suit, which shocked me considering that it was about 90 degrees outside and humid like a sauna.  I had barely been outside for more than a couple minutes and I was already burning up, so I don't know how he fared with those clothes.  Granted, he wasn't giving out any tours outside, but a suit is a suit.  Once we were all seated, Fields greeted everyone in attendance and showed us a 10 minute video about the college.  Just like the booklet, the video went over basic topics about the school.  The video was incredibly informative, covering admissions, campus life, majors and minors, the difference between Emory and Oxford, scholarships, extracurriculars, and financial aide.  It featured a lot of students, all of whom seemed very happy that they chose Emory University to be their college.  What really caught my attention was that the students all had a tremendous amount of pride in their school and were more than happy to be there, a key point that I personally thought would be a point to consider when choosing a college.  Their optimism wasn't fake either, as they all had a genuine appreciation for their college.  Following the video, Fields delivered an hour long presentation, going further in depth to the topics that the video covered and answering questions from the audience.

Dooley the Unofficial Mascot
After Fields wrapped up his presentation, four student tour guides of different grades made their way into the rooms and introduced themselves.  Kari Burdzinski, a rising junior who spent all three years at Emory, was a tour guide for the hour.  She did an excellent job of navigating us throughout the campus while being able to walk backwards about 90% of the time, a testament to how well she knew her campus.  Burdzinski would navigate us from building to building, then go into either the history of the building, or a general description of the building.  Along the tour, Burdzinski took us to various libraries, lecture halls, dorms, as well as the Duck, the name of Emory's large and beautiful cafeteria, as well as their physical education center, which displayed their various NCAA trophies and pictures of memorable students of years past.  She also introduced us to the school's unofficial mascot, known as Dooley.  This mascot came about when a student working for the newspaper wrote a piece from the view-point of a skeleton in a biology classroom, which became a hit and prompted the school to pick up the mascot.  Every year, a senior is selected to put on a skeleton suit and play the part of Dooley during Dooley Week.  Due to an occurrence a couple years ago where Dooley was kidnapped by Georgia Tech students kidnapped a student playing Dooley and broke his/her ribs, Dooley is now surrounded by bodyguards.  This is just the type of class spirt personified at Emory that really caught my attention.

Part of Emory's beautiful campus
Just like in the video, she was another student that really loved the school she attended and it was easy to see because of the way she talked about Emory.  She originally hailed from Los Angeles, California and found out about Emory on a thirteen school, six day college tour when she was in high school.  Emory was the last school on her list, and right before she entered the campus, she said it got to a point where the previous twelve colleges all looked the same.   She said that Emory was different from the rest and the school captured her heart, persuading her to attend for college.  Because of this constant emphasis on school spirt, Emory seemed like a great college and a great place to go.  I love how the student body is relatively small and really connected, as well as the student's school spirit and the campus itself, which, is beautiful.  The only aspect of Emory that I did not like was the weather, but I'd like to say that's because I'm not accustomed to the heat of the East.

Washington National Airport
After we concluded the tour at 11:00 in the morning, went back to our hotel, gathered our luggage, and headed out to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to travel to Washington D.C. for our Georgetown visit.  Just like yesterday, we checked in our luggage, went through security, settled down, then grabbed a bite to eat before departing.  At 3:00, we boarded the plane and by 3:50, we were up in the air.  Almost immediately upon sitting down, I was knocked out.  At one point in the flight, I woke up incredibly disoriented and asked Julie how long until we landed.  She told me we were 15 minutes out and I was incredibly confused and groggy.  At around 5:20 in the afternoon, the plane landed, and we went through the standard airplane procedure of getting our luggage and catching a shuttle to the Holiday Inn in Washington D.C. at around 6:45.

Old English Schnitzel
We settled into our rooms and were able to chill until 8:00 in the evening.  When everyone headed down to the lobby, Mr. Chan-Law presented us with a decision: German or Vietnamese food.  I wanted to stay basic with Vietnamese food, but everyone wanted to broaden our culinary horizons and get German food.  We settled on this place called Old Europe and I regret ever wanting to choose Vietnamese.  Right when we walked in the restaurant, we were greeted with polka music and a lively atmosphere.  I had no idea what to get so I turned to Chan-Law's Yelp app, prompting me to choose the Old English Schnitzel.  The table ordered liver and tar tar as appetizers.  I never had either before, so I was a little scared when taking the first bite, but they both turned out to be delicious.  After the appetizers arrived, we waited about 40 minutes for our entries and it was worth the wait.  The schnitzel was incredibly rich, while my sides, sauerkraut and home fried potatoes, provided a nice touch to the meal.  I walked away stuffed and happy that I decided to try something new.

Tomorrow, we head to Georgetown University, as well as our dinner with the Georgetown students and alums.  I cannot wait.

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