Monday, June 29, 2009

First Day of School!

I have 12 people in my suite with 2 from Turkey, 1 from Greece, and others from different US states such as Texas, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New Jersey, and New York itself. I also realize that my laptop has no programs on it, so my picture downloads are not working well. I will have to find a different source or download something, but I shall find a way!

It was orientation day and I had to wake up at around 5:45 to get ready for breakfast. Our suite thought that we would make it past the crowd and lines if we woke up early, but I guess others had the same plans too. It was about a 5 to 10 minute wait before I helped myself to some hash browns and pancakes. Then it was off to take our seats for orientation. I was placed on the second floor of the auditorium, as many students filed in. A series of questions was asked to our portion of the group and we were to stand if it had a relation to us. One of the questions was, "Are you an international student?" The results: approximately half the amount of students stood up. It is so amazing to know that there are students from all around the world coming to this one school. Over all I believe there are about 800 students this summer for the Columbia High School classes!

After finishing with the warm welcoming, everyone rushed out to find their classes. My class, Issues in Biological Conservation, is located in the Mudd building in the morning and in the Hamilton in the afternoon. Luckily one of my suite mates knew where my first class building was, so I had no trouble finding it. My professor, Dr. Kevin Olival, has recently gotten his Ph.D from Columbia University and is currently working at the American Museum of Natural History. (My class and I will actually be taking a trip down to get a"behind the scenes" tour of the museum next week. So that will be really great to see!) There is a teaching assistant as well as an RA present to provide more support for the class. There are about 24 students, but it seems as if there are less people. It could be that the rooms are spacious, making it look like there is only about 15 students in my class.

During the morning, it mainly consisted of introductions. Then we began learning the fundamental concepts and the definition of biodiversity. I was familiar with some concepts, but there are many that I have to research. It was a PowerPoint presentation, and once it finished we went to lunch. During lunchtime there are Mid-day Activities which the RA's organize. Today there was a carnival! There was snow cones, Rock Band, sports, dancing and sumo wrestling! I actually tried the sumo wrestling with Julie, but though it was pretty funny, it was also very hot in the costumes.

Lunch is about 2 hours long, which I am very happy about. There is no rush, and a lot more relaxation before class starts again. My afternoon class was also a lecture through PowerPoint, and it was an extension of the morning talks. We dove into the more specifics and dimensions of biodiversity as well as reasons to why there are threatened ecological regions. I really hoped that there would be no homework for the first day, but just like my math classes, I left the building with a packet of reading and questions to answer.

There was a debriefing with Ms. Lilhanand, and then Julie, Cristina, Sofia and I went to the bookstore to get a couple of needed items for the class. Ms. Lilhanand is a BIG support to us through supplies as well as safety. I wanted to walk along Broadway Street, but I had to make sure I knew where NOT to go. After a quick lunch, the four of us went for our stroll. I was trying to find post card stamps, but I think I am going to simply get the regular stamps. The highlight of our walk was Pinkberry! I had heard so much about this place and it sure was GOOD! I got a yogurt parfait and I was able to choose the fruits, toppings and yogurt of my choice. It was delicious! It was pomegranate yogurt filled with granola, raspberry, mango, and blueberries. All my favorites in one bite!

Now I must get to my homework before bed. I can't believe it is only Monday, however I have a feeling it is going to be Monday again very soon!

THANK YOU! To all the sponsers and supporters of the Ivy League Connection. I am so grateful for the opportunity and experiences in the Big Apple. I am so excited to be here and I do not think that I would have seen the wonders of Columbia anytime soon if it were not for your help! Thank you Don for taking the great pictures and always commenting! I love reading the comments and it is always great to recieve one!

To Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenburg, none of this would have happened if it were not for your dedication to the ILC. Thank you for your persistence and drive to get things done! And of course Ms. Lilhanand. You are a wonderful chaperon, and am so glad that you are here to guide us through the complex city.


Mrs. L said...

Yes, Pinkberry had a large following last year. Going to Pinkberry for a yogurt is a cool, close and convenient way to unwind after a long and detailed day of lab and lecture.
I look forward to hearing about your behind the scenes trip to the American Museum of Natural History. In fact, it is not very far from campus. I also look forward to reading more details about your lectures and labs since you are the only one from our group in Issues in Biological Conservation. In fact, I so wish I was allowed to sit in the class. The subject is dear to me.

Don Gosney said...


I don't want to make you pessimistic but I'm betting that the next couple of weeks will be filled with Mondays. You're an old pro at this ILC stuff so you'll most likely have a much better time than some of our newbies but that doesn't meant that things will be all that easy.

The very high percentage of foreign students is a surprise to me. I have to wonder whether Columbia makes a special push to attract an international clientele.

I'm looking forward to reading about your adventures in class. I was a theoretical physics major while at Cal but when it comes to biological sciences I'm drawing blanks [how do you suppose they allowed me to take AP Advanced Biology without ever taking the prerequisite biology course?].

You know, don't you, that one of the reasons they give you two hours for lunch is so yo can absorb the morning lecture during your working lunch and come in fully prepared with questions and even answers to the afternoon session.

Of course, I've never been to Columbia (or even New York) but any place that has an ice cream parlor that close is okay by me.

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