Friday, July 11, 2014

Finally at Chicago

Today was our last day at Washington, D.C. My cohorts and I were happy that finally this week was over because this whole week we needed to wake up very early and travel a lot. I mean it was a good week too because I met a lot of interesting people that gave me an atmosphere how college is in the east. I like how the classes are not bigger than 600 hundreds students but that is just in big classes such as chemistry, biology and you name it. About 70 to 80 percent of the classes have fewer than 20 students; that is still less than my high school classes.

Chicago beautiful airport
Omni Hotels & Resorts
 My cohorts and I met at the lobby of the hotel at 7 AM because the shuttle bus was coming at 7:10 AM. When the shuttle bus arrived to the hotel we put our luggage in the back and headed to the airport for our last trip until three weeks more when we go back home.  We arrived at the airport at 7:40 AM, and our flight was not until 10 AM. As you guys can see we had a lot of extra time and then Alie asked us if we wanted to get something to eat and we said no, but we got water for everyone because there were still six cupcakes left from last night. We each ate a cupcake and we started talking about how excited we were to finally go to Chicago. After two hours of waiting we started boarding the plane. The trip from Washington, D.C to Chicago is an hour long.When we arrived at Chicago I was amazed because Chicago has a huge International airport.  We got a shuttle bus to take us to our hotel and in the ride to the hotel I was admiring the sky’s scrappers that Chicago has. 

 When we got to the hotel my cohorts and I were shock because the hotel we are staying in is very fancy and is a huge building with 25 floors. I was excited because I knew I was going to get a room by myself. When Alie told me I was going to get a room with a king size bed the girls got jealous of me because I was lucky enough to enjoy this one night at the Omni Hotels & Resorts. We didn’t get to enjoy to explore our rooms because we didn’t had a lot of time; our tour was at 2:30 PM and we needed to get something to eat.  We went to get sandwiches at L’Apetito that is just one block away from the hotel. When we finished eating at L’Apetito we came back to the hotel because the girls had leftovers and they decided to come and put it in their room.

After the girls got back from leaving their leftovers, we went to outside to get a taxi so it can take us to Northwestern University. When we arrived to Northwestern we went to the admission office to sign in and went straight were they are going to give us a presentation about the school.  The school offers more than 4,000 courses per year by every six undergraduate schools. Their six schools are: Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, School of communication, School of Education and Social Policy, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, and Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music. In the presentation they also talked about that they have more than 180 majors, minors and certificates. They also have two decisions the early decision and the regular decision. They talked about Financial Aid and that they will give financial assistance to those who really need it. One thing I found interesting is that a lot of students from California come to school approximately more than 300 students.

Inside of a Northwestern class
When the presentation finished our tour guide came in and introduced herself. Her name is Marie and she’s going to be a rising senior with a major of Spanish. Marie told us that the school doesn’t run by semester but by quarters. That instead they have three quarters every year and the last quarter (summer quarter) is optional you don’t need to take it. The classes are at least an hour long well that’s depended on the class you taking but almost all of them are about an hour long. Northwestern University is ranked as a top national university by U.S News & World Report. The campus is a mile wide and is next to the shore of Lake Michigan and is just 30 minutes away from downtown Chicago. The university offers over 130 study abroad programs in 50 countries and in the summer you can apply for internships, field studies and research opportunities that Chicago companies offers to the students. There’s a lot of thing students can do in the school so majority of the students are always busy. During the tour Marie showed us a building that Ford donated to the school. I would tell you guys the name of the building but is way too long to remember. Northwestern have more than 480 student organizations and you can even start your own organization with the support of the university. The school does not offer pre classes because they want their students to focus more on their major. The school also offers you to transfer from school you only have to get three signatures from people. What I like about the school is that they have a lot of trees and that builds a good atmosphere in the school. Your classes would not be more than 10 minutes apart; it will at least take you 5-6 minutes.

When we finished our tour we called a taxi to come back to the hotel but traffic was looking ugly around 5 O’clock.  We arrived to the hotel around 5:50 PM so we needed to change really fast because our dinner was at 6 PM at Spiaggia. We arrived at the restaurant at 6:10 because it was close to our hotel just like 6 minutes away. When we arrived we crash with Jamie that she loves her school so much that’s why she ended up working for the school.  Jamie has visit California to go visit 40 school and learn how the school systems works in the west. Jamie fell in love with California and she said that if she would ever move she would move to California. Then the others alumni came they names are: Andrew, Viral, Vermon, Monte, and Chris.  All the alumni said that they chose Northwestern because it felt right and that the school is big but not so big that you will see unfamiliar faces. They said that you will meet interesting people and that they would talk about the weirdest thing ever for hours straight.  That the upper classes will help you out and show and tell you things about the school that you would of never know. Jamie was very interesting to me because she did a lot of stuff in her school. She was a director for theater plays and performances for her school and she directed many performances and one was a standout comedy. I think that’s very cool because is a lot of work that you have to put in for these performances. At the end like always we took a group picture and said our goodbyes.

Tomorrow we go to Chicago and we get our dorms. I wonder who my roommate is going to be. I hope I get along with him and get to know him.
The Group Picture

Northwestern University, Chicago

We awoke at about seven o’clock this morning to catch the ten o’clock flight to Chicago from Washington D.C. The flight was about one hour long, but because of the time change, we actually gained one hour. The flight was over quickly and we went straight to our hotel. Our hotel, the Omni Hotel, was in an area of Chicago that was very trendy with many clothing stores and skyscrapers. We entered the hotel and right away saw it was going to be very fancy. Our rooms were more suites than rooms, and the interiors of the rooms were beautiful. We did not spend much time in them immediately though, we had to hurry to have enough time to eat lunch and arrive at the Northwestern University campus tour and information session on time.

At 2:30, the campus information started. The senior admissions officer leading the presentation was named Tony Garcia, and she had graduated from Northwestern with a degree in communications about ten years ago. Northwestern has six schools; The Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communications, the School of Education and Social Policy, The McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Medill School of Journalism, and lastly, the Bienen School of Music. Like many other schools, the most populated school was the school of arts and sciences, because of how general your studies can be in that school. Financial aid was also need-based, but unfortunately, students could leave school with up to 21,500 dollars in student loans. This is unlike UPenn, which did not have students graduating owing any money to the school. A positive thing though, is that students in one school can take classes from another school if they are interested in the topic. They can also switch schools, or transfer, if they think the other school may be a better fit for them. In this aspect, Northwestern is similar to Washington University.

Northwestern Campus
Dissimilar to our anticipations, the weather in Chicago was much cooler than we thought it would be. In fact it was near raining and windy, and Chicago is expecting a second polar vortex in the summer. Temperatures may be down to 40 degrees according to our taxi driver. We began the tour with our tour guide, Marie Donaldson, a student on a pre-med track. We saw many buildings on the campus, which seemed to be very compact, and all in one area. This is true, although, Northwestern does have a campus in the actual city of Chicago. The architecture of the buildings was very modern, although there were some classic stone buildings covered in ivy. It started raining soon after our tour began, so we headed inside a classroom to learn more about classes and class sizes. Like the other schools we visited, only a very small percentage of the classes have more than 100 students, and if they do, are broken down into smaller study sessions occasionally. She told us at the end of the tour, that in the end, she chose Northwestern for its spirit, its sense of community and support, and its accessibility. It is very close to Chicago and can be easily reached with public transportation.

As soon as we arrived back from the tour, we had to quickly change into formal wear for our dinner with Northwestern alumni, students, and admissions officers. The dinner was only a couple blocks away from our hotel, so we walked. The restaurant was an Italian restaurant with multiple floors and different sections. We met our guests, four students (Vyril, Monte, Andrew, Chris, and Vernan), and one admissions officer (Jamie). I sat near Andrew, who just graduated this past year and was on the pre-med track. He is from Michigan, but coincidentally, he wants to head to California for medical school. The other student I sat near was Monte, who was from Indiana and studied sociology and psychology. Something he told me about is college experience was that he struggled at first balancing his academic life with his social life, which is something that really caught up to him in a negative way eventually. Though his first couple college years were not all positive and good, he did say that he ended up learning a lot about himself. The admissions officer, Jamie, sat diagonally from me so I did get to learn a little about her. She was very involved in theatre at Northwestern and said that one of her favorite things about the university was the amount of support students give each other, whether its peer to peer, or upperclassman to underclassman.

Alumni Dinner

The restaurant we attended was one of the most elegant ones so far. First we ordered appetizers for the whole table. An assortment of cheeses and paired honey, caprese, and meatballs arrived at our table soon afterwards. I ordered chicken with thyme and golden raisins for my entree, which was delicious. Then for desert, I ordered blueberry-lavender sorbet. The night was coming to an end and we started to say goodbye to everyone and take some last goodbye pictures.

Northwestern Experience

Today we found ourselves getting a few extra hours of sleep, two to be exact, as our shuttle to the airport was scheduled to pick us up around 7 PM. We finally left for where we would spend the next three weeks, Chicago. I thought my group would be a little more excited but I think the long week of traveling sort of got to us. We were able to get through it though and all that Chicago excitement finally hit us as we arrived at our hotel and prepared to begin our adventure.

Omni Hotel
Once we were done exploring our hotel, we walked down the street to grab some lunch at a deli nearby. I have to hand it to them, they made 5 different sandwiches pretty quickly and they weren't half bad. Once we were done eating, our cab came to pick us up so that we could go for our tour and info session at Northwestern. The school campus is located just a few miles north of our hotel and we drove by the coast of Lake Michigan. I've never been there before and I was happy to see it and how the other people were interacting at the beach. Hopefully before our time is over here, we can visit the lake.

When we got to Northwestern, we walked into the undergraduate admissions office to have the info session before our tour. The info session was presented by Tony Garcia who was an admissions officer for Northwestern. She gave us a basic overview about Northwestern like how many schools are in the college, the different types of degrees that they had, and everything else that Northwestern had to offer. After our info session, we went on our tour of the campus. Unlike all the other schools we visited, Northwestern seemed to be more modern while the other schools were a little on the older side. I like it though because it was refreshing to see something different and it seemed to fit the whole vibe of the town. What I really liked about Northwestern and what surprised me the most was how large their music program was. They have a whole school dedicated t to it and you have to audition to be placed. Auditions also need to be held for some of the bands that the school has. Music isn't something that I’m interested in majoring in but there are some smaller ensembles that meet up and play together. Out of all the schools that we visited, Northwestern seems to pay the most attention to anybody looking to major in music.
Northwestern University

We didn't have much time between our tours and our alumni dinner due to traffic so the second we got to the hotel, we went up to our rooms as fast as we could and we made our way to the restaurant. Luckily, we got there on time and we were soon seated and joined by our guests. I guess it may have been the jitters of going to our orientation at the University of Chicago was tomorrow but a lot of the questions I asked were geared towards experiences about first times in college. I sat closest to Monta and Andrew and it was easiest to talk to them both because the restaurant was kind of loud. Andrew just recently graduated while Monta is going into his senior year at Northwestern. I asked both of them what it was like when they first met their roommates and their responses wasn't that comforting. Monta and his roommate just didn't click while Andrew’s roommate had an interesting quality that most people wouldn't be fond of. Something that I will definitely take with me as we go to UChicago tomorrow is my personality. Monta’s advice was to me was to not stress and just be myself, if those around me react negatively to that, then it’s their loss.

Like UPenn, Northwestern didn't really click with me. It’s obvious that they are a strong school and they are strong in their academics but I just couldn't see myself attending this school. It was just something about the school that didn't make me too crazy about being interested to attend. Of course everybody doesn't feel this way seeing as how Northwestern has tens of thousands of applicants each year. It is in a time like this when I can appreciate some advice that I was given a few nights ago which was for me to go where I feel like I can be the most successful at and where I can envision myself. I just don’t see that with Northwestern. I will take with me what Monta said as I get ready to go to UChicago tomorrow. Who I am is something that I am not willing to sacrifice just for the sake to fit in somewhere or to make somebody else happy. My goal for the next three weeks at UChicago is to be myself as much as possible and to get as much as I can from this experience.
Alumni Dinner