Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A New Day

Today was definitely monumental. Everything that I expected to learn about college was changed. 
It all started with a lazy morning, I was so tired from last night and I didn't know if I'd have the energy to survive today! However my morning started out well with a sandwich wrap from a local restaurant, Au Bon Pain. The food was healthy and refreshing. Next we headed out on a taxi to MIT. 
MIT information session
I didn't think that I would be interested in MIT since I figured it focuses primarily on science and mathematics. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the philosophy of the school, that all underlying problems can be improved with technological innovations. In school, it's easy for me to forget in subjects like math and science, that there are real-life applications. But at MIT, it was explained to me that what and how they learn relates to research and individual learning. I also thought that how they were trying to make sure that students focus on actually having relationships with other students and focusing more on the concepts in class instead of the grade, was something that I've always wanted in my high school. Our tour guide, Caroline, also got me interested in MIT and she gave us information on all the quirky facts about MIT and what it had to offer.
Caroline Speaking about the Fire Hose Prank
I was impressed with the environment of MIT, it seems like a college that has a place for just about everyone. It also seemed like it was very open and accepting towards pursuing new approaches and ideas.
MIT really set the bar for colleges, and I really wanted to see if Harvard could compare. The information session lowered my expectations to some degree. I enjoyed the information session at MIT much better because it focused much more on what MIT had to offer to incoming students, besides the typical "ivy league presentation." BUT, our private tour with Harvard students was absolutely fantastic! I learned so much from a Harvard student, Emily, who really had me convinced that Harvard is one of the best schools. She talked to me about how Harvard spends much of its time specializing the education for its students and making sure life is as comfortable for them as possible. This aspect had me sold on Harvard because this is the type of individual attention I feel like I could miss out on if I were to apply to a UC or a State university instead. I am definitely thankful for her being so open and willing to share her experience, but it didn't stop there. I had to wear the beautiful dress that my mom made me so that I'd know that I'd look good for the dinner!

The dinner at the Meritage hotel had not only a breathtaking view, but mouthwatering food as well. 
Venison and Lentils
The dessert blew me away as well!
Strawberry shortcake
What was most important though, were the conversations that I had with Harvard students Drisana, Joanna, and Helen. I talked to Drisana the most in the beginning, and I really admired her. I saw her as someone who was probably an ideal student in high school, but she wasn't stuck up or snobby at all. Drisana was very down to earth and friendly. She shared with me all the things I wanted to know about Harvard, even though I was bombarding her with lots and lots of questions. I think that it was so cool how she's a female AND interested in science and mathematics, and a high performing student in those subjects as well. It's not often that I meet female role models who are interested in those subjects. :)

I also enjoyed speaking to Joanna and Helen. Joanna was very humble and spoke about her struggle through high school and the application process to college. I felt as if she was genuine and honest when she was speaking. She really praised the financial aid that Harvard had to offer, and how happy she was to be attending a college with so many academic and social options. Helen, from San Diego, seemed really chill and I enjoyed her opinions about Harvard. I could definitely tell from what she was saying that there is a place for diverse students and intermingling between all different types of students.
I'm taking so much away from this experience, and I am definitely considering applying to Harvard because of the friendly students and this informative experience. I loved how they didn't just sugarcoat the school as completely perfect, they let me know about the pros and the cons of the school, but I felt like the cons weren't anything that I couldn't handle. Harvard and MIT both sound like a lot of fun to attend, and now that I know more about them besides the college pamphlets that come in the mail, I feel really excited about the future ahead of me. :)

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