Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Last but Not the Least - Harvard and MIT

Eight forty-five was the time I woke up, but I still only got almost six hours of sleep because I slept at three in the morning. Although we got to get up later today, rushing was still an inevitable part of our trip. The line at Starbucks was long, so we could only eat our breakfast while speed to the train station.

Differed from other days, we had two colleges to visit today: Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Traveling with the same method as yesterday-train and then subway-we still had to be aware of the direction and the line we were traveling. But, definitely, we were more familiar with the system today than we did yesterday.

We got off at Harvard Station. When we first went up the stairs, we already saw the beautiful campus in front of us: the red buildings with historical architectural style. I thought, "Wow! I am stepping on the oldest education institution in the United States!" Today was also the moving in day for summer school students, so the campus was full of parents and students touring around and setting up their dorms.Since I did my research on Harvard, I already had some basic understandings about the university. We met Eric, a rising-sophomore who majors in economics, and Nu, who majors in sociology, at Massachusetts Hall, and we started our tour in this amazing campus.

Harvard Yard
First, the science building. We stood in the building and talked about some academic questions. In Harvard, majors are called concentrations, and students can have joint concentration in their college life. Also, students are able to take classes in the graduate schools, which is an opportunity that not many universities provide. We passed by the dome, and we arrived at the church across of Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, which is the third largest library in the United States. The library was built to commemorate Harry, who was an alumnus of Harvard that died in the Titanic accident. The library was spectacular. Sitting there, both of them told us about the college life at Harvard. It seemed that they had close relationship with their professors, and that they really enjoyed their education at Harvard. We also stood on the Harvard yard, which was super green. Around the yard is the freshmen dorms, which all freshmen are required to live there. Later we visited the upper-class residential hall. Harvard sorted dorm mates by their compatibility. Roommates might have different concentrations, but they might have some same hobbies or play the same instruments. By doing this, every student can be motivated by other people even though one might originally not interested in certain subjects. At Harvard, there is also a lucky left foot that all the visitors want to touch, but I did no touch it.

Fruit Cake
Time to get some food. We went to a nearby restaurant called Henrietta's Table. We ordered fruit salad and crab chowder as our appetizers. I ordered chicken as my main dish and berry fruit cake as my dessert. This meal had a different taste than the other ones before. It tasted organic and rural. Instead of the fine decorations on the food, their food had that special taste that made me feel fresh and healthy. While eating the meal, we had some deep conversations about both schools and even lives beyond. I asked them to describe students at Harvard, and they told me that it was a hard question because Harvard accepted all kinds of students. But, they found a word that describes all of Harvard students, and it is "driven." They are passionate about what they do, and they care about others. Also, community is really big part of the Harvard student life because they all have the connections between each other. They help and support each other when needed, just like what a family does. That was a really great meal with all these inspirations from people's past experiences, but it was time for us to head to MIT, so we said bye to Eric, Nu, and Harvard.

When we arrived at MIT, the scene was totally different; everything was in modern form. After we met Megan, a MIT graduate who majored in chemistry, we first went to the souvenir shop, and I saw a very interesting design on shirts, At first, I could not understand what those math and physics equations were tying to represent, and after our groups' discussion, we found out those equations represented MIT. What a surprise! That design was really smart. After shopping, we headed in the MIT campus. Megan said that all MIT buildings are named with numbers, and all the rooms are also named with numbers. These constructions are really modern. Some of them have many pieces of big windows, and some of them have weird shapes, which gave the campus a  lively feeling. They even has a underground tunnel that goes through the whole campus. That's really cool. In spare spaces, they also put some art pieces that make the whole campus more artistic. Walker Memorial is the most memorable building for me on the campus. The pillars and the huge words on the top of the building, "Massachusetts Institute of Technology," were really amazing and striking.

Walker Memorial
Megan said that MIT students have a characteristic of problem-solving. They differed from students from other schools that they use what they know to invent something new or figure out solutions on problems using technology. I really agreed how she said that in MIT, no one is showing how smart he/she is because everyone already knows that people in the campus are smart; people are looking for how one can solve problems using what they know. This is a really good philosophy. Besides studying science and math, students here also focus on liberal arts materials because being a scientist or mathematician, communication is definitely a part that everyone also has to be good at. The tour ended in the student information center, and this officially ended our school tour.

Cheese Fondue
We ate our dinner at Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant. It was my first time to have fondue, which at first I did not even know what it was. There were four parts of the meal: the salad, cheese fondue, the entree, and chocolate fondue. I later realized that it was similar to hot pot, which people dip in their food and cook them until the food is ready. At the same time, the juice will be able to enter the food and create a better taste. It was a really good experience that I was able to try a new type of food. I was pretty full at the end, and the food was awesome.

Today is the fifth day we are in the East Coast, and it is also the last day of our college tour. I feel a little bit sad since this week has been hectic yet fantastic with We all these interesting tours at these elite universities and informative conversations with all the nice people from all these universities. Like what Ms. Kronenberg said, these tours did change my life by opening my eyes to more possible opportunities and letting me realize that there are possibilities.

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