Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Can There Be More Time in a Day?

There are so many amazing things to see and discover in Boston, unfortunately, there just isn't enough time in one day (that this trip will allow or that we can take) to do all of it! 

To start the day off, we ate at this very cute cafe right next to the hotel called Au Bon Pain. I got a little sandwich and some fruit. After that quick breakfast, we taxied over to MIT. We sat through an information session and then preceded to a campus tour. During the tour the guide was telling us history about each building and overall information on the college. She, too, told many anecdotes about funny little things we would stumble upon campus; the story behind a water fountain with a fire hydrant attached to it, how a police car got to the top of the dome, and the rules for "safe" hacking over at the school. As gorgeous as the campus was, the school did not seem like the right fit for me. I really did enjoy being exposed to their academic philosophies and educational values; the site visit was most certainly not wasted!
You'll never guess how they pulled off getting a cop car up there.
We took a speedy lunch break down at the school's little food market, debriefed the college tour and information session, and then hopped onto another taxi that whisked us away to Harvard. There, we piled into a theatre where the information session was to be held. A few minutes later, an admission officer, Caroline Weaver, and two current students walked onto stage. What made this presentation much different from the one at MIT was that the two students were there giving their insight on what their actual experiences were like at Harvard. Caroline would introduce a broad topic and the students would elaborate on it, siting silly stories about housing or how they found their true callings in one of their extra curriculars. Another factor that stood out for me at Harvard was how supportive the community was, socially and academically. They talked about all these programs that the school offered to check up on new freshmen, how each grade has an adviser to guide them through that year, and how the school had a very engaging and supportive faculty. That really made the school seem even more appealing to me; a school that can really guide me and help me when I need it is crucial to my success. 

Being the lucky kids we are, the ILCers enjoyed a private tour with three lovely students, Emily (a to be sophomore), Joanna (a to be junior), and Drisana (a to be sophomore). As they took us around campus, we all had lots of one-on-one chats with them about school life and academics. I, for one, was very impressed with all that each of them were involved in: Model UN, volunteering to teach sex education to high school freshmen, and volunteering to teach science were among a few of their activities. I asked Emily how she felt, tackling so much during school. Her response was one I really took close to home; she said that it was about finding balance. Furthermore, theatre, one of her extra curriculars that takes up the most time, is actually relaxing to her and doesn't feel like work. I really hope that when I get to college, I find that one true passion that I can invest my energy into and feel good about!
Everyone posing at Harvard!
The tours were so fun and informational! Unfortunately we had to part ways, but would be meeting up again for dinner, so the goodbye was merely a "see you later"! At this point we were a bit crunched on time, but we all still wanted to stop by the Harvard gift shop so Ms. Thrift made an exception. She said that we could only go if we hurried. We quickly burst into the shop like there was some Black Friday deal going on or something (the prices were ridiculous; I wish there were sales going on!) After the shopping madness, which I left empty handed from, we got to the hotel and spent another hour before heading out again. 
We ended up getting lost on the way to dinner; the directions seemed to be taking us in a roundabout way to our destination, but nonetheless, we arrived. Even after being fifteen minutes late, our dinner company greeted us with warm welcomes. There were the three students who took us on the campus tours, and another three whom we had never met before. Their names were Helen, Shane, and Lizabeth. I didn't talk to Shane or Helen much because they were seated far away, but I mostly talked to Emily and Drisana, who were sitting on my left and right, respectively. 

The food was amazing (a trend I've noticed in the meals of this program). I ordered a smoked salmon dish that had little pinwheels of smoked salmon rolled with herbed mascarpone. It was as delicious as it sounds. Dessert was a game changer. Everyone ordered different ones and we all got a taste of each others'. I ordered the "citrus" one, which was a fruity and fresh dessert of this lush, creamy custard like substance atop a spongy green tea flavored cake. It was light and the absolute perfect way to end my meal.
We all parted and said our goodbyes (not "see you laters"). As we were walking away, the cohort was all talking about how we all felt so close to the Harvard students and how it was so sad to just walk away from our newfound friendships. Justin said, and I really couldn't have said it better myself, "We shared dessert with them, we are practically family now!!" Justin I agree; I don't want to part ways with them either. But what needs to be done, needs to be done. 
The dinner group! Our "family". 
The rest of the night I am going to... sleep. I, along with everyone else, really need some rest. Tomorrow's adventures await!

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