Thursday, June 20, 2013

Adieu Chicago

Unlike yesterday's quick Starbucks breakfast, Rochelle convinced Mr. Chan-Law to take us to Yolk for a hearty morning meal. Yolk is an egg-themed restaurant unique to the Chicago area, with selections ranging from buttermilk pancakes to Nutella crepes. Rochelle's face simply glowed from the moment we stepped foot into the establishment.
Tomi and Rochelle at Yolk
Her fascination with Yolk's decorum was very amusing and I found myself enjoying the surroundings as well. The portions given to us were quite generous, so much so that no one was able to clear their plate. Fortunately, we were able to alleviate our filled stomachs while walking to the Purple Line Express subway. After an uneventful, hour long train ride, we reached the quintessential college town of Evanston to visit Northwestern University.

By 11 AM, the information session began. Northwestern University is a private research university with six undergraduate schools and over 4,000 undergraduate courses. Like the UChicago speaker, the NU speaker explained the history of the university, the academics, student life, and financial aid.
The room where the information session was held
Here a few statistics about the Northwestern campus that were presented during the session's slideshow:

1) All 50 states within the US are represented.
2) Due to the quarter system, there is an average of 48 courses taken by NU students.
3) There about 480 student-led organizations and clubs.
4) More than $2 million dollars is contributed towards annual research funding.

Once the session ended, six NU alums entered the room, introduced themselves, and started assembling their groups for the campus tour. All of the students presented themselves with such enthusiasm that it was difficult to decide who we wanted to be our tour guide. However, we gravitated towards Carrie Seavoy, a student engaged in the dual program offered by the university.
Our tour guide Carrie
With a positive attitude and clear voice, she thoroughly described many topics ranging from the collaboration between faculty members and students to the student tradition of spray painting a large boulder located on campus. UChicago and Norhtwestern both seem to be interesting and diverse schools. Both are known for their economics majors, offer many opportunities for research, and have adequately sized campuses. Visiting these colleges made me realize that the school I want to attend should be private so I could establish lasting relationships with my fellow classmates and professors as well gain a more well rounded education.
Block Museum of Art
Walter Annenberg Hall
View of some the NU buildings in front of a small lagoon near Lake Michigan
After enjoying a nice light lunch at the Norris food court, my cohort and I departed Northwestern around 3:45 PM. Since our dinner was not scheduled until 7 PM, Mr. Chan-Law allowed us to go spend a couple hours roaming the downtown shopping centers, including Water Tower Place and H & M. Concerned about the weight of my luggage, I did not want to  purchase any additional clothes.
Sale at H & M

By 5:45 PM, we returned to the  hotel and prepared for our dinner at Les Nomades, an exclusive French restaurant with a wide variety of French cuisine. This was by far the fanciest restaurant I have ever been to. My dinner consisted of the duck consomme soup, roasted duck breast with confit leg, and homemade vanilla  ice cream encompassed in a crunchy cookie shell. Unlike the generous portions at Yolk, the chef at Les Nomades prepared us well proportioned courses that did not give me a bloated feeling after eating.

The accompanying guests were NU admissions officer Shannon Kennedy and four alums. I sat next to rising senior Stephanie Ny, a Sociology major who was from the Bay Area and attended Hercules High School. We not only discussed her perspective of Northwestern, but reminisced about some of the Hercules courses and teachers. I also got a chance to speak with Ms. Kennedy about the Northwestern supplementary essay section of the application process. In addition, she thoroughly discussed with us important admissions tips and how we should approach the application as a whole. These dinners from the past couple of days as well as the One Market dinner allowed me become less afraid of asking questions and starting conversations with others. Everyone we met were kind and helpful people who were more than happy to provide us with their knowledge and advice. 

In the short time of I have been in Chicago, I experienced an entirely new city, visited great universities, enjoyed spectacular food, and met with new and interesting people. While I will miss the windy city, I am very excited to head out to Ithaca tomorrow!

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