Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Change of Mind

Georgetown University
I thought it would be hard to top Duke University after visiting the campus and speaking with several of its students, but now Duke may have some competition. I wasn't entirely sold on Georgetown, even when an Admissions Officer gave us his presentation on it; he talked in monotone and seemed like an actor reciting the lines he memorized. The tour was nothing special either; sure, the campus was gorgeous what with its verdurous landscape dotted with multicolored flowers, historical statues, awesome architecture, and trees as tall as the buildings. However, the tour guide failed to tell us what made Georgetown special. He, much like the admissions officer who recited his presentation earlier, merely stated facts that I could find on the Internet. The tour guide at Duke would tell us things about each place we visited, but she would also speak about her own experiences and opinions on each place, thus making the entire tour (and Duke) much more cordial. When the tour ended, all of us agreed that Georgetown was beautiful but wasn't really the school for us. Nothing we had been told registered with us or caught our interests, so we quickly forgot about it. 

Although we did not necessarily enjoy the tour or information session, we did learn a lot about Georgetown. For example, we learned that it is one of the most internationally well known medium-sized research institutions with a student enrollment of 13,500. Prospective undergraduate students apply to one out of four schools within Georgetown: the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown College, the Walsh School of Foreign Services, and the School of Nursing and Health Studies.
After the tour
Something interesting about the School of Nursing is that they use an interesting machine called the Georgetown University Stimulator, or GUS. According to the Admissions Officer who spoke to us, GUS can be used to stimulate thousands of different physiological mutations. "On a bad day, GUS can have a heart attack at breakfast, a kidney failure at lunch, and then give birth at lunch," he said. Georgetown medical students use GUS to pressure themselves, so the skills they learn can become instinct to them. GUS also helps the students practice keeping calm in a stressful situation. 
It wasn't until the dinner with some current Georgetown University students and some alumni that Georgetown sparked our interests. There were about six people from Georgetown at the dinner, and each of them had something different to say. "How would you describe Georgetown in one word?" I asked the three alumnus.

"Internships" one said, after a few minutes of thought. 
"Community" another said. 

The alumnus who said "internship" informed me that the professors at Georgetown help their students find internships for the field they are interested in. She told me the story of how she sat in front of her professor as [her professor] tried to find an internship for her through her own connections. The alumnus that said "community" talked about how Georgetown is so incredibly diverse. The students are amiable and are all part of the same community, so they all click well. Finally, the alumnus that said "passion" talked about how passionate the students at Georgetown are; they are all hungry for knowledge and driven to succeed.
Are you sure there’s a cannonball in here?
Had it not been for the dinner, I probably would not have considered attending Georgetown, but my mind changed after I talked to the students. I don't even know these people, and yet I revere them because of their passion and intelligence. They inspired me work hard and pursue higher education as best I can, and that is exactly what I intend to do.

Keeping My Options Open

Today was a day devoted to Georgetown. We toured Georgetown University in the morning, ate Georgetown cupcakes in the afternoon, and dined with current and past Georgetown students later in the day.

We began our day by eating a warm and filling breakfast before our walk to Georgetown University. On our way there the usual humidity and heat still filled the air; however, there was plenty of wind which made the walk to Georgetown a lot easier.

When we arrived at the session, I noticed that it was nice and small. However, the speaker for this particular session seemed overly-rehearsed and everything he said about Georgetown didn’t seem convincing. Because of this, he did not make very much of a connection with all the students present; I mean hardly any one even asked any questions. A lot of the things he talked about also did not give me a clear view of Georgetown; he only skimmed through the surface of most of the topics. Many of the things he told us about, like programs and colleges within the university, were explained superficially.

However, some interesting components about Georgetown are that there are great interactive ways to learn in classroom. For example, there is a robot named GUS who basically is as healthy as a sickly 90 year-old man. To help GUS out, the medical students take care of him and do all sorts of things to make him feel better. I think this is really helpful for the students, and prepares them for a real patient someday.

Another thing Georgetown has is speakers, and lots of them. They always have famous and important speakers around to talk to the students about a long range of topics. The speakers include anyone from the Prime Minister of Spain to former President Bill Clinton. I think a person speaking to students like this is extremely helpful to them because it can inspire and motivate them about anything the current guest is talking about.

Georgetown also has great colleges that students can apply to. There are four schools that include Health Studies, Foreign Service, Business, and Georgetown College. Although all four are exceptional programs, with many choices within each, it is not simple to switch colleges. Also, it is not as liberal as I’d like, especially since students cannot take on majors in other colleges.

When we went on the tour at the university, I saw how beautiful the buildings were. All the buildings were modern-looking and made of brick. The campus reminded me of a huge, spotless high school; it was so – perfect looking. Also, the campus was small and easily accessible, making it easy to travel from class to class.
A Beautiful Building
A Classroom
Great View
After the tour, we all decided to go eat. One of the things we ate were these famous cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes. There is this show on TLC called D.C. Cupcakes where it is said that this place has the best-tasting cupcakes. Since they had such a good reputation, I wanted to try them for myself to see if they were that good. The line for the cupcakes was long and the sun was burning on my back but the Chocolate Birthday Cupcake was worth it. I mean, it wasn’t the best cupcake I’ve eaten but the buttercream frosting was absolutely delicious and I loved every bit of the soft and creamy frosting. The funny part is though, I hate frosting. To me, this proves that these cupcakes were pretty good. After eating we headed back to our room to get ready for our dinner at Peacock Café.
Once we arrived at the classy restaurant, we ordered our drinks and waited for our guests. It didn’t take too long and before long, we had a total of 6 current and past Georgetown students. I sat next to the mellow and down to earth student body president, Clara, and the friendly and intelligent undergrad, Hao. However, I did talk to all the guests throughout the dinner and learned a lot about their thoughts about Georgetown. In all honesty though, I learned a lot more through them than I did through the informational session and tour.
In Georgetown, you can actually still take classes in one major while majoring for another, which is a pretty cool thing you can do. Another helpful thing Georgetown offers is internships. There are many types of internships and there is a very high chance of having one. These internships help you in work experience and will aid you in your journey to find a job once out of the university. This would save a whole ton of time for me in my journey to find a job when I get older. These internships also help you make connections with other people as well.
Clara also told me about the great study abroad program Georgetown has. I have mentioned before that I am interested in this type of study; however, the difference with Georgetown is that you can make your own study abroad program. For instance, one of her friends was able to make a trip to Iceland and this fall, she and a few other students will be on their way to this beautiful country.
Hao then began telling me one of his favorite things about Georgetown – the teachers. He says that they usually work around the area and teach at the same time. All of them are very knowledgeable and are involved in the community and world. For example, one of his favorite teachers went on a week leave to help in the Korean hostage situation. When his teacher returned, Hao learned exactly what happened through his teacher, who experienced this first-hand.
Overall, the dinner was a success. I learned so much more during the dinner, than I did through the tour. One of the alums, Sean, who was president of the alumnus organization of Georgetown, also agreed that they needed to work on their plain tour. Anyway, I am glad I got to meet this wonderful group of people and I hope all goes well with their future plans.

Nevertheless, Georgetown still remains as an undecided university for me. They have many pros; from their teachers to the campus. However, I still feel that Georgetown is not completely suitable for me. One reason is because I did not feel an attraction with the school. I trust my instincts on this case; however that does not mean I absolutely won’t think about this again, and maybe my feelings will change later on.
In the end, Georgetown is a great school and I wouldn’t mind going here; even so, I would still like to keep my options open. The next college on our list is the University of Pennsylvania, the home of the Quakers.

A Day in Georgetown

This morning, we visited Georgetown University. Like Duke, the campus was beautiful. However, as you can see from the picture below, I thought Georgetown was going to be very similar to Duke, because of this building's old-fashioned, gothic look. It looks like the castle, Hogwarts, almost straight out of Harry Potter, am I right? But it wasn't. Most of the buildings were modern brick buildings (still nice though). The entire time during the college's presentation and tour, I couldn't help but compare everything to Duke.

I learned quite a bit about Georgetown this morning. There are similarities in comparison to Duke. Georgetown has a medium enrollment of students (a little over 6,000 undergraduates). I think that's a great size, because you get to experience very small classes or a little bigger ones. The average class size here is 26 students--smaller than my high school classes! This university as well has students from all 50 states and at least ONE HUNDRED countries. This tells me Georgetown is very diverse, something that I, of course, really want in a college. Many students also study abroad.

I also learned this morning, however, that there are also many differences at Georgetown compared to Duke. It seems that although Georgetown is a liberal arts school, it has many limitations and requirements, although one could probably feel very free in such a lively urban environment. But in terms of the academics, there are quite a few required courses: 2 English, 2 Theology, and 2 Philosophy. This is not to mention that you must fulfill your applied school's required courses and one's general education. Don't get me wrong, I would be more than happy to take these liberal courses (I'm taking Lived Religion at Vandy). But I feel if this were a liberal arts school, they wouldn't have to give me so many limitations. They also require that you have an interview with an alum in your area. Duke gives you a choice if you want to be interviewed or not. I'm not saying it isn't liberal and that there aren't a lot of choices; it just isn't as liberal as Duke. Georgetown also is in an urban environment, yet it is still somehow secluded from the city. It's hard to explain, but let's just say it's as if walls surround you and protect you from the "danger" of Georgetown, even though the tour guide said it's a very safe town. It's actually very nice, and I'm sorry if it seems as if I'm degrading Georgetown in this post, when it really is an amazing school.

The presentation, although informative, seemed rather dull and rehearsed. The admissions officer didn't really seem to connect with me. Don't get me wrong, he was eloquent but a little too monotone. I guess he did the presentation a little too much this summer. I really didn't need to know facts that I could easily find on Wikipedia.
The tour guide really didn't connect with me either. He spoke very, very fast, and just stated all the facts--even some that we learned from the presentation--which made what some of what he said a little tedious. It was strange, because he had a very powerful voice, but I still couldn't hear him at times. Perhaps I missed some vital tour information; I guess I'll never know. He was personal, but not personal the way I thought it would be. He just pretty much talked about himself, but not really in depth. He said he likes to go backpacking, but how is the backpacking, and where is it at? He also showed us the science department, but he said he didn't really care for it, because he's a psychology major. I think the main problem of the tour was just, again, how fast he spoke and how little time he gave us to ask him a question when he asked, "Any questions?" and two seconds later says, "Okay, let's move on."

Again, I'm sorry if I seem like I really disliked visiting Georgetown, because I really loved it still! Who wouldn't want to have an easy chance to obtain good internships, discussion classes that are personal, a lovely town and a huge city, and a passionate and diverse student community? You see, an east coast school really has to convince me to come, because if I don't think there is something that makes it stand out greatly apart from any other school, then I'd probably rather stay in California. The opportunity for great internships seems like what sets this school apart from the others, but that's honestly not good enough for me. Duke has convinced me to apply there, however. But don't worry, I still might apply to Georgetown. Although perhaps applying here for a graduate degree might be a better choice for me.

Today was extremely hot and humid. Our dinners for the past four days have been pretty late, so when we were scheduled for a 6:30 PM dinner and I come with a dress shirt, slacks, and a tie, I couldn't help but sweat bullets. It's crazy how you start to sweat right when you walk outside over here. With that said, I hoped and hoped that I wasn't sweating too much by the time I met our alumnus and current students of Georgetown. Gladly, I wasn't.

The Peacock Cafe surprised me greatly. I wasn't sure what to expect, because usually when I hear cafe, I think of a more casual restaurant. But this was a fancy one. It wasn't super, five-star fancy, but it was definitely our fanciest dinner so far. I was just a little nervous before the alumnus and students of Georgetown arrived. I just didn't want to cause any awkward silence. But our dinner wasn't even close to awkward, and we shared many laughs across the whole long and rectangular table. I honestly didn't learn a lot more about Georgetown, except for how fun the basketball games are and how strong the sense of community at this school is. I did, however, have many engaging conversations about the Ivy League Connection, our district, and the importance of an education further than a bachelor's degree (because nowadays that's just too common to get a job). It was a good night well spent, and the students and alumnus were very nice, sociable, and intelligent people. I can tell they have and/or will go far in life.

Tomorrow we're taking the train to UPenn, and I'm super excited to see what's in store for this Ivy League School. Goodnight!

From College To Cupcakes

Today was another productive, hot day. We had a nice schedule that was surprisingly not too hectic. We were never in a rush, and there was much time to relax from the warm sun.  I was a happy camper to start the day with some pancakes and sausage. It filled my stomach and energized me for yet another college tour.

We burned off all our calories with a walk to Georgetown University. Sunscreen was a must, for the sun was already making me sweaty. We arrived on the beautiful campus; the very first building reminded me of a medieval castle. We quickly found our way to the admissions office, and began by filling out a quick form about ourselves before the information session.
As I was sitting in the room listening to the admissions officer talk, I wasn’t really feeling it. Although he was a very eloquent speaker, everything felt too rehearsed. To be honest, he was just dragging on and on about Georgetown University. I can’t deny the fact that it was very informative, but in comparison to Duke, nothing really struck me, except one thing: their stimulator dummy. Georgetown has a stimulator dummy named GUS which is used for medical students. It is a dummy that has many different functions. For example, it can have a liver problem in the morning, a kidney failure in the afternoon, and it can give birth in the evening. It gives the opportunity to push students to work in pressured areas with a patient of various diseases. I think it is amazing that they have this resource available for their students in not only a man form, but also a woman and an infant form. It’s crazy to see how technology has changed the world today.

Aside from GUS, many of the aspects of Georgetown didn’t really fit what I am looking for in a college. Although it is a liberal school, it doesn’t have as much freedom as say, Duke has. When you apply to Georgetown as an undergraduate, you have to apply to one of the four colleges: Georgetown College, School of Nursing and Health Studies, The Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and The Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business. Your options are pretty limited once you attend one of the schools, and it's difficult when you have absolutely no clue what you want to do yet.  However, if you have your mind set to something like business or law, this may be the school for you. They are the most populated academic areas at Georgetown. It is also possible to switch schools, if you have the grades and the drive to do so.

On top of those aspects, one may attend Georgetown to take advantage of the exceptional speakers, like President Obama or Bill Clinton. Being located right next to the heart of our nation, Georgetown has quite an advantage when it comes to internships. Many internships are given on a regular basis, especially political positions. Additionally, if you are passionate for politics, you are able to just walk a couple of miles and observe or even participate in protests. You can be part of an engagement that may change our world’s history.

In contrast to Duke, Georgetown has an Early Action program, which means there is no binding commitment if you are accepted early. I believe that is a great aspect for any college, because you are still able to consider other colleges as well.

The tour of Georgetown was shorter than I expected. It was very factual, but our tour guide wasn’t very convincing. The tour involved a lot of details of many buildings, and I didn’t like the fact that there were many stairs and a hill. Our tour guide mentioned that you could slip and fall while walking around campus during the winter, which kind of discouraged me from attending the school. We didn’t explore much of the school, but many of the buildings we did tour were beautiful.
A beautiful view of the city!
We couldn’t leave Washington D.C. without a taste of DC Cupcakes. We took a walk to the Georgetown Cupcake shop and unfortunately had to wait outside in the heat! The line was long, but I can tell you the wait was totally worth it! I ordered a Milk Chocolate Birthday cupcake, and a Chocolate Banana cupcake. They were just right: the icing was very fluffy and not too sweet, and the batter had a perfect texture. I also have to mention the delicious Gyro sandwich I ate for lunch! The meat was very soft, and the combination of everything was great!

My delicious Gyro sandwich!
My Milk Chocolate Birthday cupcake! 
Our dinner with current students and alumnus of Georgetown gave me a completely different impression of the college. I am grateful for the opportunity to actually engage with conversations with those who have attended or are attending the university. They were really passionate for their school, and did their best to sell their school to us!

I began asking the two young ladies sitting near me about their experiences in high school and how they made their decision to attend Georgetown. It was very interesting to find out one of them went to high school in China for 2 years. Once she came back to the United States, she didn’t join any clubs in the American high school, nor did she take AP classes, but still got into the prestigious Georgetown University.  From this, I learned that there’s no exact way to get into college, but one thing they will look for is how you will make an impact on your community.

I was impressed on the many activities and festivities that Georgetown has to offer. From having their own type of Olympics, a large party at the end of the year, and a club party at the silent library, it seemed to me that there was never a quiet day at Georgetown. The students were also very proud that Georgetown offers any club that you can think of.  It’s definitely a plus to know that the college is very lively and has a great sense of community.
This school is perfect for prospective politicians. One alumni from Puerto Rico now works at a law firm in Washington D.C. Because Georgetown is located right next to many law firms, the Supreme Court, and the White House, it is not too hard to make connections and get a job. One current student said, “You’re not putting in your money for a good education, because you can even get a good education at a community college, but you’re putting it in for the connections you will make.” We haven’t gone to college yet, but the ILC is already investing in us so that we make connections to be used as we begin to apply for college.
My baked Ravioli!
The girls ended the night with a quick picture!
Amidst the wonderful dinner of Baked Ravioli at the Peacock Café, Georgetown is a wonderful school, but I feel that it is not the best fit for me, at least not for undergraduate school. It seems like a better graduate school. However, I never know what I will think in the future. As the world changes, I am changing too! I’m looking forward to our last college tour tomorrow! Here we come, University of Pennsylvania!