Saturday, July 12, 2014

First Day at University of Chicago

Today was the beginning of a new portion of our trip. We were allowed to sleep in for the first time today, until 9:30 AM. We left the Omni Hotel and walked a few blocks in the rain to get brunch at a nice breakfast and lunch restaurant. I ordered Greek yoghurt with granola and berries. After brunch we all went back to the hotel to gather our luggage for our half hour trip to the University of Chicago. We left at about 12 PM for UChicago, and arrived there a short cab ride later.

We went to the sign-in session first, where we received our schedules for the weekend and other helpful information. We also got our Chicago ID cards, which we will end up using for everything necessary; getting into buildings, getting into our rooms, receiving meals, etc. We had some time before our information meeting, so we went to the university’s book store, where we each got one or two pieces of clothing sporting University of Chicago logos. I purchased a red pair of running shorts as well as a pretty gray shirt. I also bought a Camelbak water bottle for myself at the bookstore.

We walked back to campus to attend the information session where the presenter, Stephanie, talked for about half an hour going over simple rules and then introducing the RA’s of the program. Each of us had received a name tag with a different colored star sticker on it at the orientation. All of the different RA’s had name tags with stickers on them as well, so RA’s and students with matching stickers would group up and head out and a brief tour of the campus.

University of Chicago Campus Building
The RA I was paired with is named Christian who is a rising senior at UChicago. He is interested in biology, and pre-med, but he still has not declared his major. That is something that is unique to UChicago that was not the case at the other universities we visited. UChicago students have longer than until the end of their sophomore year to declare their major. This tour we took today felt different from other tours because Christian seemed to point out the good and the bad about the school, not just the good. He explained that because the school has such a focus on the liberal arts and a well-rounded education, students who feel they really just want to focus on one specific subject and are very decided on what they want to do in the future will probably no be the best fit for the University of Chicago. This agrees with what a UChicago alum told me at the first dinner we had, in San Francisco. He told me that there is a lot of focus on the common curriculum and that all students learn a lot about philosophy and read and analyze a great deal of literature. Hearing Christian be more honest about what makes the school good for some, and not so good for others was refreshing because many college tours seemed to be very similar to each other, and maybe even a little bit sugar-coated.

The tour was over relatively quickly because the campus is very consolidated and condensed. After the tour, we got our room keys and were able to move into our rooms. I am on the second floor of the building and my roommate, Quincy, arrived about twenty minutes after I did. The dorms are very clean and spacious. There is temperature control, a relatively large closet, and desks. Quincy is home schooled and from St. Louis, where we were just a few days ago. I hope I can get to know her better as time goes on.

My Dorm Room Desk with a View
We went to dinner after unpacking, and I created my own salad from the salad bar. I did not see all of the other options, but I am sure I will become very familiarized with the dining hall as time goes on. I ate with Oyin and Dani, but I also met some other students, one who is taking psychology and will be in the same class as me. When I was putting away my dishes, I ran into Victoria’s roommate, who I had met briefly earlier. She introduced herself to me, and told me that Victoria had let her know that I was taking psychology. She was also taking psychology, and was one of the few people I met who was, although it was one of the most popular classes. I hope to get to know her better as well while we take the class.

After dinner we had another meeting with our tour group and RA going over more rules and just a general orientation. We played an icebreaker game where students would stand in a circle one at a time and say something about themselves. If this applied to other students, they would leave their part of the circle and try to find another spot to stand in the circle. The last person without a place in the circle would have to stand in the center and say something about themselves and so on.

Tomorrow we have more mandatory meetings and orientations. I cannot wait to start my class and get to know my peers better.

1 comment:

  1. That's a nice room you get to stay in--I'm not used to seeing a desk so clean.

    I'm looking forward to reading more about your time at UChicago. It sounds exciting already.