Friday, June 20, 2014

Social Justice After Several Turns

I finally got to get up later today. It was a really nice feeling that I had spare time to arrange my messy luggage and did not have to rush to be prepared. We had Starbucks for breakfast today, which was my first time experience, and I liked it.

Today, we rode Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) instead of AMTRAK to South Station. There were several differences between them two: there were no tables at the back of the seats, the tickets looked different, the seats were three-people seats, and they didn't offer round way tickets. But, they were both really comfortable. South Station was not our final destination; we still had to change two more trains: red-line of the subway and the Acton Line. Rushing from station to station with different transportation systems,we had to be careful that we did not take the wrong train or head the wrong way. The subway surprised me because the seats were really small and crowded, and all the seats only aligned in front of windows, which was really different from BART. 

We missed the the train at eleven forty, so we had to wait for almost two hours for the next one. We used our waiting period to try some cheese and chicken pesto pizza, which was simply delicious. The base was crispy and the meat, cheese and sauce were amazing.. 

We were finally on the train with the destination of Brandeis. It was short train ride, which I did not expect to be that short. When I saw the first Brandeis University building in front of me after I got off the train, my first thought was, "hmm...that's really different from other schools that I visited." But when I further walked in the hill, I could gradually see the shape of the campus; there were nicely planted trees and plants, and modern architectures, which were different from the traditional and European style architectures at Yale or Dartmouth. There were also modern art pieces or artwork placed around the campus that decorated the campus with beauty and creativity.

Admission Center
We met Marina, an admission officer, and started our private meeting with her. She was a nice and humorous person. She told us many interesting stories about Brandeis University to us, including the founding people of this institution, some famous faculties, and the story of the castle. Some of the founding fathers of Brandeis University included Albert Einstein and Israel Goldstein, and some of the famous faculties included Eleanor Roosevelt and Abraham Maslow, which was really surprising because I only knew these people as incredible scientists, activists, politicians, judges, and musicians, and never knew that they had such a great contribution to education. With their diverse backgrounds and the belief that everyone, regardless of one's background, should received the same quality if education, these founding people established the school on the basis of social justice. To this point, my only voice in my heart was that this is really great because everyone is treated equally here, which not many places in the world have truly accomplish this. 

The Castle
Beside the founding story, the castle story made me laugh. This castle was built by a rich guy who wanted a castle at Scotland, but the owner of the castle was not willing to give him the castle itself nor the blueprint, so he hired many top architects to build the castle by looking from the outside. The result was that there were many "special" shaped rooms in the castle, which made it the most distinctive building in the campus. 

Time for academics! Brandeis University is a liberal arts plus research universities. All the classes are taught by top processors even in freshmen classes, and these top professors are required to have office hours. In addition, the most impressive fact about their admission process is that they have three choices for applicants on their tests scores; in other words, SAT/ACT scores are not required. Applicants can give them either SAT subjects test scores and AP scores on different subjects or turn in an analytic essay. Another thing about their application is that in the personal statements, they don't want a certain type if student; they want their students as diverse as possible. 

If one is accepted to the school, one is required to follow the distribution system, which requires all students to take classes from all fields, so that one can discover what is his/her real interests. Besides academics, students here are really involved in community service activities that the biggest club in the school is about community service. 

In order to understand more about this campus, we followed Denis and Katie on the campus tour. Denis is an uprising junior who double majors in theater and English, and Katie is an uprising sophomore who double majors and neuroscience and biology and is on the pre-health track. The tour was not boring at all because Denis introduced the campus with such a dramatic and enthusiastic tone. The most memorable part of the campus was the three chapels. They three are chapels of different religions, and their shadows never covered one another, which symbolized the equality that exists in all people from all backgrounds. Also, we got to visit their sample dorm room, which was simple and neat. They told us many interesting stories regarding their lives at Brandeis including that they could give recipes and their chiefs at dining halls and tell them to cook them, and this activity called twenty-four- hour okay, which all participants have only twenty four hours to prepare for the performance. The bright sun shined directly on my arms throughout the tour, but I did not feel tired because it was really interesting. These introductions to the school had completely reversed my first impression on this school; I am now impressed by the school.

Chilled Crudo
It was again time to get two transfer of trains to get to South Station. Today, we had dinner at  a French restaurant called Menton. First walked in the restaurant, I could feel the atmosphere, and the receptionists even offered to take our bags.  The setting and decorations were fine and the waiters were really nice and good at describing food. The waiter, Merrick, handed each of us the menu. When I saw the price, I was shocked. Also, when I saw those dishes that were listed on the menu, I had no idea what they were. Well, it was time for me to lean new things! After listening to Merrick's descriptions on these dishes, I decided to order Chilled Crudo, Wild Striped Bass, Quail, and Chocolate Pave. In between each dishes, they also provided bread and butter. We also ordered some special drinks, which I chose maple fuzz. Each of the dishes was a new flavor for me; they all tasted fresh and new. After the main dishes, Merrick introduced various kinds of cheese that came from different countries. He could definitely be a food critic with his eloquence. Our fabulous dinner ended with some delicious mini macaroons, and we then walked to the train station as our after-meal exercise.

Night Time at Boston
On the way to the station, we saw the fantastic night view of Boston. Lights were shining, and the water beneath the bridge presented the tender side of the city. It was until twelve o'clock midnight the train finally arrived Providence, we were able go back to the hotel. My eyes almost closed, and the only thing that kept me awake was my willpower. 

 I can't believe that tomorrow will already be the last day of our tour and our Brown session will soon begin. We are going to visit Harvard and MIT tomorrow traveling with the same route as today. I am glad that we can get up late tomorrow, or I will definitely be a panda with really dark black eyes, and that will not be good. Nevertheless, today definitely was worth being tired for.

1 comment:

  1. Jing, aren't the founders of Brandeis incredible? And to think they actually taught and interacted with students. Imagine sitting in on a class by Leonard Bernstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Albert Einstein!