Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today's Theme Is...

Day 5: Tuesday - Boston College and Boston University
Yay! More college tours! So much fun! Boston College was the first stop for us. A very nice looking campus, though with a lot of construction, it was our first Catholic college of the summer. Run by Jesuits with a strong commitment to service, it was very interesting to a different perspective to the collegiate experience. With a strong history program, lots of student theater opportunities, and that special Jesuit influence, it definitely looks a strong contender. One special note, BC has been the only school to admit to being a research school. Every other school has tried to avoid saying that. Honesty is good, though admittedly, the nest words out of the Admission Director said was "Of course, there is a strong focus on teaching and undergraduate research." Next stop was Boston University. (Yeah, BC and BU in the same day.) A much different atmosphere: large, very large, university in the city. I really enjoyed the combination of city life coupled with a close-knit campus. Again, good theater and history. Got to have a long chat with a Theater Design minor, which was quite insightful. It was really cool because BU is in Boston, and right in the city, but doesn't really feel like it's in the city like UPenn does. Large population, 16,000 undergrads, but I felt like I could find a community there. Things I learned: Don't be afraid to walk the extra mile (literally) to find out what you need to know. Also, take lots of pictures of random of people is loads of fun.

Day 6: Wednesday - UMass Amherst & Amherst College
Today was my first state school. Wow...that was an experience. First off, UMass Ahmerst reminds me a bit of Soviet city. It has these huge brick and concrete towers dotting campus, and the campus center is this very odd cement building. But more importantly, I don't want to go to a school where the average class size is larger than my high school classes. And with 26,000 thousand students and a student-to-faculty ratio of almost 20 to 1, the time I would realistically get with my professors would be significantly less than I want. Amherst College, on the extreme other side of the spectrum, is a tiny (1,800 students), elite liberal arts school. It has lots of money and has a strong commitment to the liberal arts with its Open Curriculum that lets you take whatever course you want. No strings attached. So, interesting contrasts between huge and tiny schools. Lessons attained: Don't be afraid to not like a school based your impression. Because UMass Amherst just ain't happening. Also, don't miss a chance to talk to others going through the process. Random people in the pool can provide good feedback.

Monday, June 27, 2011

College Visits Day 1-4

Day 1 Friday - Columbia
An early departure, well early for summer, and mildly uneventful trip to New York City mark the beginning my first long string of college visits. First stop on the tour is Columbia. Columbia's information session takes place in the most filmed classroom in the nation. Highlights from the admissions officer included a string of bad jokes and a focus on the Core Curriculum. The Core is the academic hallmark of a Columbia education. (I would discover over the course of the next few days that most of the schools have the exact same litany advantages: Small "average" class size, focus on undergraduate research, 100% of demonstrated need-based aid will be met, the list goes on.) The trick, or at least my trick, is to find one special thing about each college to remember that will stick with me. The Columbia campus is beautiful, an enclave within the heart of the city. There is a belief that New York should be used as a resource for learning and many classes go downtown as part of the curriculum.
Day 2 & 3: The Weekend
Saturday involved a trip into NYC with my Dad and the two Scarsdale cousins. We went into Times Square and got half-price tickets to see Chicago. With a slight detour to visit the Harry Potter Exhibition, we headed off to the theater to thoroughly enjoy the Chicago revival. After the show ended, we returned via trian to the suburbs and headed out to Fairfield , CT to stay the night with some old neighbors. Sunday morning we visited the new Jesuit house at Fairfield University. Then we swam in the near-by lake before driving up to Boston. Early afternoon brought us the Boston suburbs, where we hoped the Green Line into the city. Once there, we walked over to the Boston Commons. There we played some frisbee. (A very good player joined us for a bit. He likes to play shirtless apparently.) After a enjoyable time where we learned a new throw, we walked along the Freedom Trail to the wharfs. After enjoyable dinner and ice cream, we returned to the hotel and promptly fell asleep.
Day 4: Monday - Harvard & Tufts
An other early rising. An aborted drive to Cambridge, and a better thought out 'T' trip to Harvard marked the start of a sunny Monday in Boston. Our visit to the oldest college in the United States was a mainly positive one. The admissions officer offered some good insight into the application process and what it means to apply to a selective school. Harvard isn't always looking for well-rounded students. Rather, they admissions staff is responsible for creating a well rounded class. This means that they will sometimes pick very not-well-rounded people to admit in order to fill out the class. (An attempt to rationalize why good students don't get into Harvard.) The important thing about Harvard to remember is the "house system" of upper clansmen housing and the rich Harvard tradition. After our Harvard tour concluded, we grabbed a taxi and headed out to Tufts. Here we were greated by an especially insightful officer. He posed some truly thought-provoking questions (I'll finish up with those), as well as discussing the small college feel that Tufts holds onto even as a small university. Our tour guided lead us through the beautiful campus, which is also quite hilly. Apparently it's good sledding. Also, there are 25 shows per semester, all of which need Tech. I don't hink I'll be out of work in college. Here are some questions you should answer about college before you apply:
Where am I going to be in a year? Why do I do the things I do and how do I do them? Why do I want to go to college?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Teen Math

What is it about angsty teenagers that leads to poetry? I know it doesn't for most people, but for me, this year has been one filled with poetry. I'm not sure what it was about Junior year, which is over by-the-way, but it seemed to give me a lot of verse, and little prose. I guess it might have something to do with a lack of writing time, but hopefully this summer will see the return of a bit of substantial writing. Not that I mind poetry, mind you, but I do miss a bit of plot. I'm pretty excited for school to be over. I plan on enjoying my summer as much as possible. It promises to be an art-filled summer with lots of writing and photography. One nice thing about having a lot of artsy friends is it provides endless encouragement to continue doing some type of art, whether it be taking pictures of writing. But tonight is a night to relax and sleep. It is the first night of summer after all.

Teen + Angst = Poetry?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Poem....Really?

A word, a phrase
Oft spoken to convey
A message
That has no need for words
Some find humor
Others apathy
A few anger
There is little cause
A message
doesn't need to be
spoken to the point
of fatigue
A message should be
Concise and to the point
Or flowery for purpose
But to continually blabber
A message
For no cause,
Deserves nothing but distaste

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lonesome Travels

Often, some of best times for reflection can be found near the end of hectic times. The sudden release from overwhelming obligation gives one the ample time needed to consider things. I, the proud new owner of a Decades-less existence, have found myself without anything to do for the first time in weeks. It's an unexpected occurrence and I'm having trouble finding things to occupy my time. (That last bit's a lie; I'm currently an hour into a five hour rehearsal.) But with the chance to have a large chunk of time (mostly) my own, I figured it would be a good chance to fill my lonely blog with some more writing.


Never one to complain
He ran to and fro
Completing tasks
Filling roles, Saving the day
A cliche
An overachiever
A Misplaced sense of duty
Driving onward

He talks big, but doesn't speak
Of anything real
Lounges about
Overlooks all, attempting to direct
Those whom displease
A man
An underwhelming figure
Puzzled at a lack of respect
From those he covets most

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Poetry Binge

How do you
Define yourself?
It is by the awards you receive
The games you win
The books you write
The songs you sing
The tests you ace
The friends you have
The things you have
The things you want
Or is you internal definition
A bit more
Do you find that you
Define yourself as You