Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Cambridge Sisters, Fondue, and Pride

This was our last day in the hotel in Providence as we embarked on our final college visits to Harvard and MIT by taking the T. I regret not preparing questions for the college visits early enough as I believed that I would have asked more relevant questions that needed to be asked but in the end. I felt like I asked a significant amount of questions but not that at the level of Dartmouth. Firstly, we went to Starbucks to grab our breakfast and unfortunately due to the heightened anticipation of the Pride Parade in Providence by the baristas, my order for my drink was almost forgotten which caused the cohort to wait for me! We rushed on over to catch our Amtrak train (much comfier but not as authentic as MBTA) into Boston where we quickly dashed for the red line to Harvard Square. The T is always so lively with the hurried passengers and musicians as well as the whole underground atmosphere; it will be nostalgic later on.

Harvard Square
When walking onto the Harvard Campus directly under the gate next to Harvard Yard, we roamed around a little bit on the campus before having to meet Eric and Nu in front of Massachusetts Hall for a complimentary tour and also a nice lunch about anything Harvard related as well as questions we can ask in "our fair city" of Cambridge. When I visited, the beauty and heartbeat of the campus was incredibly dynamic, despite the nature of the campus being full of secondary school students moving in for the Harvard Summer School (a good friend of mine is doing it actually!) We later proceeded to the Science Center and talked about the essence of dual concentrations and science courses. This prompted m
Lowell and the co-op farm
e to inquire about MIT and the cross-registration program and it let me to be

interested even more in attending the school, although I think that Harvard's rapid expansion in computer science and engineering has really been because of the students' drive to make a significant impact on the world as well as following in the footsteps of Zuckerburg and Gates. It was interesting to see that Comp Sci is close to having as many students concentrating in it as in popular humanities majors like economics. I also thoroughly enjoyed Annenburg Hall with its ornate design and what was a bit sad but interesting was that our tour guides who are both rising sophomores couldn't gain access as only freshmen could dine in that building, showcasing how well groups of students who are not usually given as much priority as at other schools get the adequate attention and care they need; this can also be seen where the President of Harvard resides below a floor of freshmen dorms, showing that administration is not in some obsolete "ivory tower" as stated by Eric. We also went in front of The Memorial Church looking at the Widener Library where Eric and Nu talked about the spirit of how Widener was never found again after he went back from his lifeboat to try to retrieve a beloved book on the sinking Titantic and to know that some of his provisions were being honoured showed the prevalence of his perseverance and his vision. We then continued to other areas briefly and then we had a lively and a just down-to-earth lunch in Cambridge with a lovely chicken dish with polenta ( I think) as well as maple custard and whipped cream, And the chowder too (best place to get it!) We then stemmed on to specific parts of the application process as well as the mislead reputation that Harvard has in society of being very snooty and uptight and what I found today (as well as the majority of Harvard graduates) are that many do not reflect the stereotype of being exclusive and condescending to other students, in fact, Eric definitely embraced how academically rich Boston is with many different colleges and universities. I am pleasantly surprised I was able to visit and to fully understand to just let myself shine as well as not worrying about itty-bitty details but rather how I have grown as a person and how this will be unique or how it will cause a larger and beneficial impact on society. I thank them so much for what they do to help in the admissions office and that there is a human side behind the process (we even commented on the Forbes video on how Amherst apparently admits students, although we both concurred on how it may not be incredibly accurate).

We later took the T down to MIT to have a tour of the campus from a student who just commenced roughly the time we got out from school. I really liked how there was a numbering system for every building and major, further adding to the quantitative scope of the campus. Megan Cherry graduated in chemistry and we briefly talked about many science-related topics as well as specific programs and research done at MIT as to picking out which merchandise item was a better choice and I chose the one with all the chemistry and physics equations (many of them I knew!) to craft out the lettering of MIT on the shirt. Money worth spent.
We then continued to all the other cool areas on campus like the dome, Stata Center, the cancer research buildings, the School of Science and the School of Engineering, Massachusetts Avenue, and much more. I wish we could have seen the school or architecture as well as many of the lecture halls but unfortunately Megan couldn't get in with her ID card. I also really loved how much board space there is for students to write on and also the hack culture of the school. Also, overhang causeways as well as underground tunnels connect the campus and I also love how the art prevalent is aesthetically pleasing and also how it engages to applicability for problem solving. I really wish we could have had more time as we only had around 90 minutes but it was amazing and unconventional nonetheless. Even though we couldn't meet any AO's or do a Q and A session for someone who is in faculty or staff, the highy personable tour for a school we may have not visited was greatly appreciated. I simply fell in love even more!

Thanks to the MIT students for keeping the Kendall Chimes!

Later on, we got on a really quick train (27 min in duration) to Providence and walked to the Melting Pot for some really fulfilling pots of cheese and appetizers, entrees as well as deserts for a chocolate fondue. I also enjoyed how there was so much exuberance well into the light making me not able to sleep and to celebrate how such a small to medium-sized city can really get fervent with a ton of spirit. Go Pride! That concludes college visits and onwards to dorms! Hopefully I can see Boston soon!

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