Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Family Trip

Sitting in front of the Admissions Office.
It was yet another productive and enjoyable day. We began with a quick, hearty breakfast, gathered up all our belongings, and headed straight to Duke University for a great chat with Samuel Carpenter, the Admissions Officer for the NorCal region of Duke.  We entered the admissions office and they had a living room that looked like a room at the White House. I must say, Mr. Carpenter was very dynamic, well spoken, and answered our questions about Duke very straightforward.  His answers were very confident and you can tell his passion for Duke was outstanding. As he talked about diversity, he not only talked about ethnicity, how Duke has students from all 50 states, and 11% of students are international students, but he discussed the diversity of classes and extra curricular activities.  In the end of our informational chat, I learned that although Duke may not be the best college for everyone, it is definitely for one who is willing to explore different things and leave a marking footprint on the University.

Mr. Carpenter then guided us to a different part of the building, to take yet another amazing tour. We checked in, put on our “I visited Duke” stickers, gathered a big stack of brochures pertaining to the different majors at Duke and additional information, and then headed into a big room to start an informational session.

I was surprised to see so many people on a Tuesday morning gathered in a room to take a tour. The room was just about full, and as everyone introduced where they each were from, it came to prove the diversity Duke has. There was a student from a Hawaii and even a family touring all the way from Hong Kong. It was amazing to see such diversity, and know that people take the time to fly in from another state or country to explore the wonderful opportunities Duke has to offer. I never would have thought to fly to North Carolina on my own, and I am very thankful that the ILC program is giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity.

A Duke alumni presented the information session, and the three words that stood out to me as she spoke about Duke were: innovation, independence, and involvement. Being a liberal college, Duke allows you to explore classes, is very flexible with different courses, and gives you an opportunity to even create your own major and be innovative. Living on campus is like living in a whole new community. It is being who you are and becoming what you want to be. Nobody is pushing you to go a certain direction, but you are your own unique person, making your own choices, being independent. Additionally, those who are admitted to Duke are chosen because the admissions officers know they will make an impact on Duke, on their new home, and also in the outside world.

When you arrive at Duke you may think the college is in its own bubble and all you do is stay there. On the contrary, city life in Durham, North Carolina is very lively. Durham is part of The Triangle, and in The Triangle, holds the largest research park in the world. You can say it’s really nerdy, but it’s amazing to know that it has the highest concentration of MDs and PhDs in the world!

I was so overwhelmed with all the information given to us at the informational session, it’s best that you actually go on a tour of the school yourself!  I highly encourage those who like to try new things to definitely check the school out!

It was another very hot day, which was a downfall to the walking tour. Fortunately, our student tour guide, Natalie, was great! I enjoyed the beautiful views, the enormous library, and how down to earth our tour guide was. She talked a lot about her experiences, especially as a pre-med student. The amazing opportunities she described kept my mind off the weather. Natalie was able to make connections through the programs at Duke, and was able to get an opportunity to shadow someone in an actual hospital on campus. Whatever college I attend, maybe even Duke, I hope to be able to actually experience working in a hospital, in my hopes of working as a doctor someday. Her stories really inspired me to work hard, and grab every opportunity that may benefit me, because if I can set my mind to it, I can do it!

The beautiful pipes in the chapel!
The stain glass  bible stories!
During the tour, we also explored the chapel more. When I think about a chapel, I think of a small little church, but this looked more like a cathedral. It was great to see a pipe organ, and all the different sizes of pipes. It brings back memories from when I attended organ camp a couple of years ago. I was also astounded to know that all around the chapel there are stained glass windows depicting all the stories of the Bible. You can literally go through every picture and basically read the Bible through like a picture book but on windows!

This tour gave me a little more motivation and purpose to perhaps apply to Duke University. I will definitely keep my experience in mind as I apply for colleges next year.

After doing a little shopping on the campus store, and eating a filling lunch, we were on the roll to catch our next flight to Washington D.C. With a little hustle and bustle we were able to make it to the airport with even some time to spare. The US Airways plane was a really small plane, but fortunately I didn’t feel as queasy as before. I am thankful for another safe landing, and happy we had some time to cool off in the hotel pool before exploring the city.

Next, we got ready for our formal dinner at The Founding Farmers. Arriving a little early, we began walking down the street to find the White House. We took a few snap shots, and then walked straight back to the restaurant just in time for our reservation.

Black Pepper Soy-Glazed Wings!
The food was absolutely delicious at The Founding Farmers. I was amazed to find out that everything was eco-friendly. From our chairs to the food, each item in the restaurant was an effort to make the earth a better place.  The food was just to die for, from the appetizing ranch popcorn, to the nice and round crab cakes, I would never turn down an opportunity to try this place again. Everything is just so unique, and picking our entrées was a pretty tough decision. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. We had many laughs, and after eating that rich chocolate milkshake, you can say we were on a sugar high. I was endlessly laughing, it was hard to even take my first bite in the large red  velvet cake.

I can ask for no better cohort. Although it has been only two days, we have bonded as a family, and you can always see a smile on our faces. It’s been an exhausting day, but I must say it was a day well spent. I am super excited for a whole new adventure as we explore our state capital tomorrow!
We're a family!


1 comment:

  1. Wow--what a trip! This was another great blog filled with lots of information both about Duke and the trip. A great balance, Hannah.

    One thing that’s for sure and for certain is that this is a very photogenic cohort. You all seem to love the camera.

    Your use of photos mixed in with your text makes for a very pleasant read. I especially love the shot in the pool where you all look so much cooler than the temperature report on my desktop tells me you should be [96º in Raleigh and 98º in D.C.]

    You’ll have to tell us more about The Triangle, though, so we have some idea about what you are describing.

    While in North Carolina, Hannah, did you feel like you were in the deep South--with everything that suggests?