Friday, June 21, 2013

Bye Drake

Rather than beginning the day with a light breakfast, we started the day with a substantial morning meal. After a good amount of web searching and encouragement from Rochelle, the Cornell cohort ventured down the street and eventually arrived at the curiously named Yolk. Yolk is a unique eatery specifically for lunch and dinner, and its three Chicago locations open as early as 6AM and close at 3PM every day. The menu consists of a varied range of choices, from salmon to Nutella crepes. The portions are very generous, and a mouth-watering platter of eggs and pancakes washed down with the private labeled premium coffee will spare little room for lunch hours after. The interior had a friendly vibe and the color scheme was vibrant yet pleasing to the eyes. A variety of merchandise was available, from baby bibs to sweatshirts, as well as a plentiful supply of freebies which included pens, mints, silly bands, and even egg-shaped gummies. I have yet to taste the latter, but judging from the breakfast eggs served, I am sure the candy versions will taste fine.  

The view from the train station.
The delectable breakfast provided us with the energy to continue the walk to the train station, and after a long, uneventful train ride we arrived in Evanston. A fifteen minute walk from the station brought us to our campus destination: Northwestern University. The information session was hosted by two individuals, one alumni and one graduating senior, and was very detailed. The presentation was supplemented by a slideshow and covered a range of topics from student life to admissions. The session was very informative, as was the campus tour immediately after. Our docent was Carrie Seavoy, a current student of the institution. She was extremely friendly and vivacious, and had many interesting stories to tell. 

The general atmosphere of Northwestern University was very peaceful and quiet. I doubt that the campus is always this mellow during the year, but the abundant greenery is definitely an attractive aspect unlikely to change. The buildings had a gothic accent, though most were relatively plain and not as aesthetically appealing as those in the University of Chicago. The numerous paths meandered through colorful shrubbery and the lake was enchanting. 

After touring the campus, we had lunch in the popular Norris building and purchased souvenirs from the bookstore. After four hours at Northwestern, we caught the subway back to Chicago for an interesting one hour ride. A lady sitting across from me inquired as to my ethnicity before asking me how to make crab spring rolls. Unfortunately, I hadn't the slightest clue, but she and I continued to converse for the duration of the trip. I wanted to listen to her view of the world. I will not elaborate on the details of the conversation, but I was glad to have met such an interesting character as her. 

Public transportation centers continue to amaze me. People from all walks of life momentarily converge in a single confined space before resuming their own separate paths. For the short time spent travelling down a common path, passengers are united in their quest for arrival.
The iron horse has arrived. 
My journey for the day had not ended quite yet, however. Upon arriving in Chicago, the Cornellians relaxed with some shopping before heading back to The Drake to prepare for tonight's dinner. Les Nomades is perhaps one of the most deluxe restaurants I have dined in, and serves the best braised beef short rib I have ever had. The dish was an elite, evolved form of the short rib I had eaten many weeks ago in San Francisco's One Market; as I savored the tender pink flesh glistening in the candlelight, I was reminded of how far I had come from being a simple high school student dreaming about studying on the East Coast, to actually exploring possible future paths in the Midwest and East Coast. Tonight I was very fortunate to sit next to Shannon, an admissions officer from Northwestern University, and Andrew, a rising senior majoring in Biological Sciences at the same college. I had many questions and received many answers about application components, the admissions process, specific programs at Northwestern, and majoring in biology, which I hope to study in some form in future. 

Today was definitely a day of exploration and learning. There is no knowing who you will meet when you leave the comfort of your bed in the morning, but even if the characters encountered during the day are not of the friendliest personas, they will certainly have something to teach, whether intentionally or not. 

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