Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What a day

Because we started the day out pretty early this morning, we were able to visit the famous Navy Pier, a long pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. The view was really nice and after experiencing sunny days and cool breezes for the 2nd time now, I couldn't ask for better weather. We snapped a few photos here and there and not before long, we all gravitated toward the huge ferris wheel. Since we still had some time to spare, we actually got to ride that along with the carousel. 
A view of Lake Michigan

After being able to feel like a kid again for a few seconds, we left Navy Pier and began making our way to U Chicago via bus, train, and then bus again. I have to admit, I don't know what I'd do without Chicago's amazingly convenient and efficient transportation. And due to such clear commuting directions and signs around the city, we were able to reach the campus with ease.

However, on the way to the university, I couldn't help but notice how quickly the environment around me changed. Once we reached the end of our train stop, roughly one race dominated the majority of the people at the train stop as well as on the bus we were on after. I still find it extremely interesting how just within about 10 minutes of travel time, one can immediately spot the difference in the level of ethnic diversity a city has. I find this sad how drastic these sudden shifts were the moment we moved away from downtown Chicago. 

We were a bit early for the 2 pm tour so we stayed nearby for lunch on campus as well as visited U Chicago's student bookstore. There, I purchased a few postcards for both my friends and family (Unfortunately, Michelle and I are still having a bit of trouble looking for stamps!). 

Our campus tour began with an hour long sit-down information session with our extremely passionate and enthusiastic speaker, Alex. During this time, he broke the session into three main categories: a general history and statistics of the school, U Chicago's student life, and its admissions process. Carefully going through each section, he was able to cover a lot of ground. I was able to learn so much about the university before even beginning the walking tour. He was also able to answer whatever questions we may have had. I really enjoyed how welcoming and friendly he was, giving me an extremely positive impression of the school right away.

During the walking tour, our guide Mason was able to take us to one of the residential commons U Chicago offered and well as gave us an overview of where some of the well known buildings were as well as some fun facts about the university. Through both the info session and walking tour, I learned about the school's acceptance rates, class sizes, student to faculty ratio, some of the popular clubs/student organizations, and a few of the university's traditions, which included the school's annual famous Scavenger Hunt, where each house competed. I also learned that U Chicago was known for its economics major but because a liberal arts school, they still offered an endless variety of courses. I was also really glad and lucky to have him as our guide for I could relate to him personally in many ways. He was involved in an A Capella group on campus, took a music theory course on campus before, and was interested in music as well as history-- fields that I find completely incredible.

Tomi and I before heading out for dinner
After the tour ended, I had gained so much information about the school but I was also really tired. I began to grow sleepy on the way back, but I was abruptly awakened by a very interesting man on the train. He was a very open but honest man and he randomly began to ask us what we wanted to do in college and in life in general. He began to talk to me and Christian about his past and then encouraged us to think as intellectuals because he was not lucky enough to do so when he was young. It wasn't a long conversation since we got off pretty soon, but that random talk with that peculiar man definitely was an unexpected experience on my trip. 

Once we got back to the hotel, we barely had time for a quick rest before we had to start getting ready for a dinner with the U Chicago admissions officers and alums. We headed back out again at around 6:25 pm to Perennial Virant (via bus), where we met up with Troy and Calli ( U Chicago admissions officers for the Bay Area), as well as Mario, Tanya, and Nathan (undergrads). The restaurant was a bit noisy but the food was splendid. I was very lucky to sit right in between Troy and Calli and sat across from Tanya and Christian. The school's most popular major was definitely emphasized right at the beginning of the dinner when I learned that all three undergrads were majoring in Economics. The conversations I had were very interesting for every question I could think of was answered in detail by multiple undergrads/admission officers. The undergrads were absolutely great when talking about why they chose U Chicago as well as their experiences at the school. Our conversations was so engaging and packed with information that I felt like the only time I wasn't talking or listening to someone speak was when we all took a quick occasional bite from our meal.

Appetizers: Crispy Carnaroli Rice Cake, Sweet Pea Ravioli, Klug Farm Asparagus salad
My Entree: Spring vegetable Fettucinne
Speaking of our meal, we started off with a few appetizers (shown on the left) and for the entree, I had the Spring vegetable Fettucinne.
I enjoyed every moment of today and I might be thinking about applying to U Chicago in a few months.

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