Monday, June 29, 2009

Second Day At Columbia

I know it's been awhile, but I could not figure out how to connect to the Internet. Julie connected me in 30 seconds, while yesterday I spent well over an hour trying to connect. I have a pre-written blog from yesterday though.

This has been my first full day in New York City. This morning we got to sleep in for a little bit, after a six hour long flight and walking near Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and the Waldorf Astoria. At 9:45 we met downstairs of the lobby of the hotel. Mrs. Lilhanand took us on a walk to Trump Tower for breakfast. As we were walking there, we stopped in front windows full of quilts that were made in memory of AIDS victims. Then, one of us noticed that barricades were being set up along 5th avenue. A passerby said that a gay pride parade would start at 12. All of us wanted to see it, so we rushed ourselves over to Trump Tower for breakfast. Inside was a beautiful waterfall that we almost didn't see. After breakfast and a change of plans (the van would pick us up at 1:30 instead of 1, and we would get a late check-out at the hotel) we went to 5th Avenue and waited in front of the barricades. The parade started and rainbow colored flags were waved. I never realized that there were different organizations that weren't primarily gay that had a lot of gay supporters and volunteers. Those drag queens were so fierce with their tall high heels and neon colored dresses. But then, we had to leave early and go back to the hotel. On the ride to Columbia, all of us were quiet, I don't know if it was from the tiredness or the nervousness. I was worried about being late to check in to Columbia, but they were really nice about it. I got my room key and Jackie, Jessica, and Sophia are in the same building as me. My residential advisers (RAs) are really nice. Joy is from Long Beach, while Ursula is from Barcelona. The people in my suite are international and out of state. I'm so amazed the international students speak perfect English without missing a beat. Some are from Turkey, another from Colombia, one from Brazil, and one from Lebanon, one from New Hampshire, another from Pennsylvania, and one from Miami. I think around two are from New York. I have a single room and I'm on the top floor of the suite. My room is pretty roomy and the welcome barbecue had a lot of good food. I went with my RAs and my suite mates, which is where I learned more about them. After, we had about an hour to kill, so I tried to connect to the Internet (and I think you know how that turned out). Then we had a suite meeting on the lawn in front of Hartley and we just went over the rules and got to learn everyone's names again. After, we all went to Pinkberry, which was very delicious. Then, Gabe and I decided to go walking along the Columbia campus. It was kind of dark, but it was still really beautiful. We saw fireflies for the first time! We even saw a church that was closed on Sundays. And now I'm at my suite typing it up and it's about 10. I'm still used to that California time, so I'll probably be going to sleep soon.

Here are my thoughts on Day Two at Columbia:

I woke up really early to get breakfast with my suite mates so we could make the orientation at Alfred Lerner Hall. It was my first time eating in the John Jay dining hall, and it was pretty good. After breakfast we waited in line to get into the Hall, and then we received our student IDs, schedules, and a map. Luckily the chemistry classes are going to be held in the same building, just on different floors. After the orientation we were led to the Havemeyer building by our mentors. There we met our professor, Luis Avila and we learned more about the other students, the professor, and mentors. One of the mentors, Aaron Goldman, told us that he was from Berkeley and that he taught around the area. One of the other mentors even commented "What's with all the California people?" after we introduced ourselves. He gave us a binder full of our labs and schedule. then we got our own lockers in the buildings. I did not know there were lockers in college. Professor Avila stressed that he wanted us to become "active learners," which means we will research the things we don't know and not just what he tells us. He's also pretty funny.

After, we had lunch and went to the carnival on the lawn for some snow cones. Then, we went to Gabe's room to chill out for ten minutes in air conditioning. After, we made the trek back to the Havemeyer building to be there before two. There, Professor Avila did some experiments using lights, liquid nitrogen, and magnets, just to name a few. By far, my favorite was the Gummy Bear Sacrifice experiment. Julie took a really good video of it. After he went over some safety rules. Then one of the mentors, Dr. Mahamud Subir, taught us how to find science journal articles online. Then, we ended the class for the day.

At 5, we met Mrs. Lilhanand in front of Wallach Hall for our daily meeting. Mrs. Lilhanand was kind enough to take us to the bookstore for some last minute school supplies. Jessica, Julie, Sophia and I went to go eat dinner and then we walked up and down Broadway just looking around, and we did go to Pinkberry (I think I might have an addiction). After, Sophia, her suite mate Jenna, Gabe, and I went to my room and we just talked and tried to do homework. I'm going to go do some "active learning" because I did not get a lot of terms that we learned about today, but first I would really like to thank Mr. Ramsey and Mrs. Kronenberg for giving the amazing and awesome opportunity and for continuing on with this program. I would also like to thank Mr. Gosney for taking his time to photograph us in the wee hours of the morning and commenting on every single blog. I want to thank the sponsors for funding this trip of a lifetime. And especially thanks to Mrs. Lilhanand for being a wonderful chaperone, she really knows her way around the city. Goodnight!


Mrs. L said...

I'm glad to see you are now able to blog right from your room. And yes, Pinkberry's is a popular retreat.
The group has seen quite a few things in a couple of days. Now it is time to hit the "active learning" part, great start from the beginning. Dr.Subir gave you a helpful support system when he taught the group how to access science journals on line. I am sure that will come in handy on your research projects.

Don Gosney said...


It worries about the problems you had with the Internet. I'm glad that Julie was able to step in and help resolve the problem for you. It seems that Julie has a lot of very useful skills aside from just being smart and a great gal. I may have to tap into her expertise myself when she returns to help me sort through my own computer problems (whacking things with a big hammer hasn't been all that effective yet).

Day 1: Unless you're hard core anti-gay, Gay Pride parades can be a real hoot to watch and they're a photographer's dream. Wild outfits and colors to die from. I'm glad you had a chance to see at least a part of the parade.

As for your suite mates, I'm betting that yo had an easier time understanding some of the foreign born kids better than some of the locals (like Nu Yawkers).

You'll have to get back to me about that church that was closed on Sundays. A synagogue, perhaps or maybe a Christian sect with services on Saturday?

I hope you take plenty of notes while in class so when you come across something you don't understand you can follow up on it afterwards. This is a critical part of the process.

I'm curious abut the "mentors". Are these TA's or are they something between TA's and the Prof? You mentioned that one of them had a PhD and usually TA's haven't earned their doctorate yet.

Don't worry about any addiction to Pinkberry's. Of course, you may have to worry in a week or so when your clothes are all too tight to wear.

I have one advisory for you: please don't tell us about some great experiment or discussion and then drop it. That's just teasing us. Now you have to tell us about this poor Gummy Bear that was sacrificed.

Sounds like you're having a good time and assimilating pretty well. Keep up the good work and have a fun time. Oh, and come home a whole lot smarter, too.

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