Thursday, July 3, 2014

NYU and Columbia Morning Craziness!

Cute Little Washington Square Garden

Today was another tiring but also exciting day. For example, I'm not sure my alarm went off today at 5:00. Maybe it was too far away from me! All I know is that I woke up at 5:45 rushing to get downstairs and not be late to catch the Amtrak bus. Thankfully I didn't, but it was still a pretty scary and stressful situation! After the Amtrak bus brought us to New York City, we stopped and ate at a diner. It was pretty exciting because it was my first time visiting New York. Surprisingly, New York reminded of Chicago with its magnificent skyscrapers, cool breeze, and concrete jungle. However, there were still some slight differences such as New York having a little garden called Washington Square Garden-actually the largest in-city garden in the U.S.-in the middle of the city right next to NYU.

Metropolitan NYU!
After visiting the garden, we all took a college tour of NYU. The information session was pretty helpful as it highlighted what made New York University stand out rom other Ivy League colleges. For example, the NYU admissions officer stressed that NYU was in and of the city. NYU had no gates because the whole city of New York was the university if one took advantage of all the resources that were available in New York. NYU students embraced the urban cosmopolitan setting that they were in. One of the tour guides wisely said that NYU is for students who are wholly comfortable with all the positives and negatives of New York. Another cool thing of NYU was that while it had programs that allowed people to study abroad for a semester, it also established full fledged universities in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi which didn't really have American universities like these before until now.

Look at Who We Encountered at Columbia... Some of the Columbia Cohort!
Right after the NYU tour, we hitched a ride on the New York subway system which was very stuffy as there's no AC in the waiting terminals but only in the trains. Then we walked to Columbia University which was so close to the subway. The Columbia tour was also pretty enlightening because the admissions officer there started talking about what made Columbia so unique. One thing that made Columbia different from other schools was that it had Common Core classes that everyone were required to take at the university such as humanity classes such as English, foreign language, math, sciences, and even dreaded P.E.! If one wanted to be an engineer however, the Common Core classes were different in that one didn't necessarily have to take a humanities class or a foreign language, but a computer language which is something I really wanted to supplement with my engineering classes. Another interesting thing that I learned was that they had no pre-professional majors such as pre-medicine or pre-law which could be either good or bad. For example, one could still take classes related to medicine but also major in history if they really wanted to. 

Fatty and Gigantic New York Pizza! Yummy!
When the Columbia tour concluded, we decided to get lunch/dinner at Kolets which is a controversial New York pizza joint. It was the first time I ever had New York pizza and it was delicious, but also so huge and fatty. I have a feeling if my doctor asks me why I have heart problems 30 years from now, I'll be able to point to this. After feeling fat, we decided to see the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park. It was pretty cool seeing it in real life than in just only pictures. It made me feel very patriotic and what good timing as tomorrow is 4th of July!

Seeing the Green Lady With the Torch!

In conclusion, today brought some more college insights such as helping me see if I want to go to an urban or suburban colleges or if I want classes dedicated to my major or classes that cover a whole variety of subjects. It was also pretty exciting seeing New York for the first time and some exciting landmarks there. I wonder what I'll discover in Philly tomorrow as I did today in New York!

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