Friday, June 21, 2013

The Cornell Experience

Today we finally said goodbye to Chicago, Illinois. Though I was a little sad to leave the city, I was excited to finally get to see Ithaca, New York and Cornell University in person. At 9:20 AM, we convened in our usual meeting area, The Drake hotel lobby. After saying our final farewells to the hotel and the city, we hurriedly loaded ourselves onto our airport shuttle and began the journey towards O'Hare International Airport. 

We went through the usual airport procedures as per the norm, checking-in our bags and passing through the security checkpoint with relative ease and by the time we arrived to our gate, we had over half an hour to spare. In the meantime, we spent breakfast eating at one of the in-airport restaurants, where I was finally able to get to try Chicago's famous specialty—the Deep Dish style pizza. 

It wasn't until 11:35 PM that we finally boarded our plane. Over the course of the forty minute flight, I occupied myself by previewing the course reading for Hotel Operations: Tactics for Profitability. The selection I read was a case study, entitled Westin Hotels and Resorts Case. As insinuated by the writing's titles, it is a twenty page excerpt that details the procedural history and business protocols of the Westin Hotel franchise. I found the reading to be very comprehensive and informative, as I had never before realized how much effort hotels put into updating and perfecting their array of hotel services so as to meet their customer's needs and expectations. It also put into put into perspective just of how much hotels have evolved and expanded over the past several decades. 

Our voyage to Ithaca encompassed two flights; the first flight started in Chicago and landed Detroit,  Michigan, whereas the second was from Detroit to Ithaca. We spent out one hour layover Detroit Wayne Airport, enjoying the rest provided by the short interlude between flights. For the second plane ride, I reviewed the operating manual for CHESS program. CHESS is a virtual hotel simulator that the Hotel Operations: Tactics for Profitability uses to teach it's students about important business skills, such as the importance of budgeting and adhering to patrons' needs. The CHESS integral part of our class instruction, as it students with an interactive learning tool that is both educational and engaging. 

We didn't land in Ithaca until late afternoon, whereupon we promptly gathered our luggage and left for Cornell University. Using a rental van, Mr. Chan-Law drove us to Cornell University, allowing us to get a wondrous view of the school. The first thing I noticed about Cornell was it's breathtaking campus; not only is it ridiculously large, it's also ridiculously beautiful with its gorgeous buildings and landscaping. 

Connie double majors in both International Agriculture and Rural Development
Upon driving up to Balch Hall dormitory where we were met by one of the Resident Community Advisors, Carol. Carol then led us to get our ID cards and room keys. Jenna, Tamilyn, Michelle, and Christian had been placed in Balch Hall, whereas Rochelle and I were being housed in Risely Hall, albeit on different floors. Another Resident Community Adivsor—or RCA, for short—soon arrived as well, and she helpfully offered to guide Rochelle and I to our respective rooms. I soon found out that the second RCA's name was Connie and that she was, in fact, my RCA. 

My room is situated on the fourth floor of Risley Hall, a temporarily unisex dormitory located in the northern portion of Cornell's campus. I'm happy to say that I have a single dorm room. Although having a roommate to get to know and bond with would be lovely, I'm more than eager to take advantage of my new found solitude. I spent the next hour unpacking and settling into my dorm room, followed by getting ready for our final cohort dinner. 

My room; small, yet cozy!
Our dinner was hosted by John Thomas Steakhouse. Our guest of honor for the night was James A. Schechter, the newly appointed Program Director of Cornell University's Summer College. The dinner party as a whole enjoyed a amiable group conversation, where we discussed various topics such as our expectations for Cornell and our thoughts on our trip thus far. In turn, Director Schechter told us of his professional career as well as history with Cornell University and Ithaca. 

The dinner party enjoyed shared appetizers of calamari and baked deviled crab. For my main course, I had filet mignon with a side of mashed potatoes, and for dessert the other girls and I shared a set of assorted cakes and pies. After the past few dinners, I'm not sure of how I'm going to handle transition of gourmet meals to dorm food, but I'm sure I'll be able to adjust eventually. 

It's hard to believe that I'm finally at Cornell University! And it's even harder to believe that there's only two more days until classes begin and I'm absolutely ecstatic for them to begin. Aside from an orientation late tomorrow evening, Saturday is a free day, so I hope to get to explore more of the campus and acquaint myself with the others students. Here's hoping for a productive first day at Cornell University!   

No comments:

Post a Comment