Friday, July 6, 2012

One Adventure Ends, And Another Begins

A slide at the Lincoln Memorial

Not many girls my age can say that they have had the privilege of traveling to several different cities in different states to tour some of the country's most prestigious universities all in the span of a week. I still can't believe that I rode on a plane three times, visited several major cities in the southeast, and toured Duke University, Georgetown University, and the University of Pennsylvania all in a week. All those tours and dinners have helped me to narrow down my once broad options for university, and now I have a better idea of which schools I like and which I don't.

Today my cohort and I woke up at 5 o'clock AM to visit the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. We groggily made our way to the lobby and took a taxi to the Amtrack station ( which looked more like a mall than it did a train station). I was excited to ride on a travel train for my first time, but sadly it was nothing too special; it was just a fancier version of the BART train service  back home. 

Chris and I on the train to Philadelphia
We were pleased to discover that Philadelphia was not as hot as Washington DC. We walked a short distance to the university campus and looked around for Cameron, a fellow ILCer as well as our peer at Pinole Valley High School. However, he had class and we were going to be busy learning about the university. 

The information session was similar to the previous ones we had; the admissions officer for UPenn talked about the history of the school, the various programs and schools the university offered, SAT statistics, and the admissions process.This admissions officer spoke with more conviction than the one at Georgetown, but she was not as jovial as the one at Duke. She answered questions from the audience for a majority of the session, which I enjoyed because many of the questions asked were ones I had flowing in my head as well. By spending more time answering our questions than spewing out facts about the school, she made the session feel more candid and personal. 

After the information session we had a tour of the campus. Our tour guide was, once again, better than the one we had at Georgetown, but still not as friendly as the one we had at Duke. However, he was still a very good tour guide even if he was a little more distant than our Duke tour guide. He answered all our questions thoroughly, gave us interesting facts about the university, and talked about his own experience and that of his friends. He kept us all interested in him and distracted from the heat by sneaking in subtly jokes here and there while he talked. 

On the train ride back to Washington DC I began to think about the past week and my experiences at each of the three schools we visited. I learned a lot of very interesting facts about the University  Pennsylvania, and I loved all the history behind the school. The campus itself is also very beautiful; there is a good mixture of tall trees, historical buildings, as well as newer ones. However, despite all of these positive attributes, I found myself comparing everything to Duke University. Although I liked UPenn much more than Georgetown, it still could not compare to Duke in my eyes. I did not get the same feeling from UPenn or Georgetown that I did from Duke, which tells me that Duke is more my type of school. 

We ended our very busy ( and long) day by relaxing a little and exploring DC for one last time. We visited the Lincoln memorial and saw a man propose to his girlfriend there. Then, we went to the Martin Luther King Jr. center afterwards. We finished off the evening by grabbing a quick dinner at a sushi place and reminiscing about the first time we were interviewed to attend Vanderbilt as ILC ambassadors.
Chris, Myself, and Abraham Lincoln

The Lincoln Memorial

My delicious Chicken Teriyaki dish for dinner.
Today one series of adventures and discoveries have ended. Tomorrow, however, we leave for Nashville and then the next day we move into the dorms for Vanderbilt. I am nervous about my classes and meeting new people, but I am also incredibly excited. One adventure ends, and another begins.

I saw a dragon at Philadelphia

Our train back to Washinton DC was twenty minutes late, so we took pictures to pass the time.

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