Friday, July 3, 2015

What is Worse than a Bad Grade?

I would never forget the time I was rude to a vendor during my trip to China. It was about our fourth day touring in Beijing when we came across a small stand where a man was selling fried ice cream. Seeing the peculiar dessert, my mother bought some for my sisters and I. Little did we know, fried ice cream is wet on the inside, and a gush of ice cream spilled all over my shirt. From the corner of my eye, I noticed someone handing me a napkin and without thinking, I snatched the paper and began dabbing at my shirt. It after I cleaned the mess that I noticed the vendor grumpily looking away and my grandmother apologizing in Chinese. Then it dawned on me-- the vendor offered me a napkin and I didn't thank him.

I realized just how rude I was after a man handed me a napkin. Today, another man handed me a piece of paper which made me realize just how rude I am. His name is Mark and the sheet of paper he handed me had the words "Quiz" printed pleasantly at the top.

That morning, all the Hoteliers gathered bright an early in the morning to finish their hotel analysis report. Some students stayed up as late as three getting their work done. In the midst of our typing, Mark ushered everyone into the lecture hall where we collapsed in our chairs. Suddenly, everyone's jaw hit the floor when Mark waved a stack of quiz papers in the air. There was going to be a quiz on our guest Barbara Lang. I panicked, racking my brain about the video I absentmindedly watched while writing my report. I scribbled what I knew, completely unsure about my response and the feeling of failure overwhelming. Suddenly, Mark waved his hands in the air and instructed everyone to put their pens down. The quiz was over. Everyone jumped with joy at his remark, wiping the seat off their brow and stuffing the page at the very back of their folders. It was shortly after I slipped the page back into my folder that I realized I was extremely rude this morning.

Barbara was kind, funny and energetic. There was no hesitance when she took the stage, only
confidence and openness. She welcomed everyone with open arms and a bright smile. Barbara is
the epitome of a hospitality leader. Despite everyone’s inability to answer questions about this magnificent woman, Barbara simply waved this issue away and, instead, offered the class a more valuable lesson to take home—research about someone before meeting them. Then, it hit me. I didn't just fail a quiz that counts as a part of our grade. As a matter of fact, it was worse than failing any quiz. I was extremely rude to someone who took time out to join us because I didn’t even bother to research about them. This is a lesson that will surely follow me into the future.

Not only was Barbara a great teacher, but she is also a great person. She is honest and personal in her speech. She mentions key landmarks in her life, discussesing how hardships have made her a stronger person and sharing how privilege is something we often take for granted. After her speech, she openly invited everyone to send her an e-mail to receive a list of books to read. An entire group of twenty-five crowded around the front of the room for an extra questionnaire session with Barbara.

Barbara is a truly inspirational individual. Although she is a prominent figure, she makes everyone in the audience feel welcomed by stressing that status is not an important factor. In addition, the work she does outside of the lecture hall is phenomenal. The lecture with Barbara has opened my eyes and motivates me.
A picture with Barbara!
After the speech, everyone returned to the bin lab where their dreadful reports awaited. For three
Look at all that nail polish.
hours, the rooms were filled with groans and hair pulling moments as students typed frantically to meet the two o’clock deadline. Mark and Reneta were very generous and provided turkey sandwiches, snacks and fruit for the students during the work period. Finally, the beautifully formatted papers were submitted and we were out the door. The weekends are here!

The rest of the evening was leisurely. Natalie, Katie and I went down to the Ithaca mall where we bought toothpaste and got our nails done. Afterwards, we went out to dinner. Natalie and I explored the halls, comparing the antique elevator in Balch to the sleek silver block in RPCC. Our cohort met shortly to discuss the events of the next day and, to our surprise, only the girls were there! I guess you can’t count on boys to make it on time.
The female cohort.

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