Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Long Road Ahead -- To The Big Green!

A copy of Dartmouth Magazine
Y'know this early bird gets the worm thing isn't really what it's all put out to be. Over the past 3 days I've gotten up at 2 AM, 5 AM, and 5 AM again, respectively. Waking up early isn't so much the problem that we've been constantly on the move from station to station, school to school, so that the sleep that I do end up getting (never more than 5 hours) is really all for naught. A hot shower and a cup of warm hotel room coffee help to ease the pain but I think It's the fact that I'm getting the opportunity to see all these extraordinary colleges which is really keeping me going. Today is Dartmouth.

I finish changing and packing my bag for the day a bit earlier than expected so I decide to head down to the lobby a bit early. I have about 15 minutes till the scheduled 6:20 AM meeting time so I decide to fool around on my phone for a bit. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are a few of apps that I pull open as, being a talkative guy, social media sites tend to be some of my favorite things, but only in moderation. It can be dangerously addictive and as a result I have refrained from downloading any others like Twitter, Kik, Vine, etc. Either way, the time passes quickly and soon Alana, Kevin, Brandon, and Arnold join me. Jing is the only one left and she arrives right on the dot at 6:20, which to my loathing, was because she got up at 6:04. Oh what I would give for that extra hour right now, maybe I'll try that tomorrow...

Dartmouth Outdoors Club Logo
It's a very cool day in Providence as the weather report reads 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which combined with the humidity equals out to be perfect temperature for a striped polo, some jeans, and my black sneakers. Last night I said that I wouldn't make the mistake of overdressing again and I meant it, however, I did bring a full suit and when we go out to dinner with the people from Brandeis I feel that it's necessary to look at least somewhat formal. I just pray that on that day it doesn't hit more than 80 F, otherwise I'm going to be in trouble.

The short walk to Providence Station is becoming more and more calming as the city is late to rise and early to bed, thus making is seem like a ghost town at such an early time in the morning. The only buzz of activity actually seems like it's inside the station itself as when one enters they can easily hear the commotion and the different noises going on. Business calls, personal calls, typing softly, typing powerfully, and even a few people lip syncing the song that they're listening to. Personally, I feel that the way to get to know a town is through its people and because of this "people watching" has been an interest habit of mine this summer. You learn so much and even back home in the Bay Area you can learn something either about the city or about the people in an instant. I don't have much time to indulge myself in this activity today as we head down to the platform soon after arriving to wait for our 6:56 train to Boston's South Station.

Now I know you must all be thinking that Boston isn't anywhere near Dartmouth but it's OK because we take a connecting shuttle from there all the way to Hanover. It's a long trip there but it will definitely be worth it. I use the future tense here because I'm actually writing this part of the blog at 7:44 AM while we're on the train to Boston. The train is actually really nice if you're able to find a seat with an outlet that works, and it gives me plenty of time to work on my blog. I'll be writing the rest of it on the return journey and I can say now that I'm not looking forward to it. Our schedule today is fairly similar to yesterday's but instead of getting back at around 7:40ish we'll be returning a few hours later around 10:40. For this reason, I'm trying to get as much work done as I can, but the train is stopping now and I think this is our stop so I guess I'll continue on the way back!

Wow... That's all I have to say. Before I even get started on Dartmouth I need to recap the rest of the journey there. After getting off the train at South Station we pulled a few tables together to wait for our 9:30 Dartmouth Coach, which would take us all the way from Boston to Dartmouth, a trip that I highly underestimated. During this layover we decided that getting breakfast would be the best course of action, as all of us except Arnold seemed to be hungry (he bought a breakfast sandwich in Providence). There were a plethora of choices but au bon pain seemed to stand out a bit more than the others. I ordered a 2 Egg, Cheese, & Ham Breakfast Sandwich while Brandon just got a plain 2 Egg Sandwich. For train station food it did the trick as I didn't feel hungry almost all the way to Dartmouth.
At 9:30 we boarded the Dartmouth Coach and found some seats together in the back. I took a window seat and Brandon sat next to me. We didn't really talk much because the movie playing on the bus was The Great Escape, which is one of my favorites. The ride took about 3 hours but it wasn't terrible because when I wasn't watching the movie I was looking outside at the beautiful scenery surrounding me. Hanover is almost the farthest place you can go from the Bay Area whilst remaining in the US yet I felt like I was at home. The untouched nature made me feel like I should only take what was necessary, no more and no less. This is a very hard value to find nowadays and so the rarity of this situation only enhanced these feelings. There's not really much else I can say except that New Hampshire is beautiful and Dartmouth is definitely no exception.

Yes it's true that Dartmouth hasn't been completely untouched but everything built in such close proximity to everything else that it really only accents the land in an interesting way. The buildings, many of which were made out of the classic red brick style, almost seemed to radiate in the sunlight. We didn't explore the campus first, however, in fact we first had a lunch appointment at the Pine Restaurant with 3 current Dartmouth students, Fermin Liu, Charles Park, and A.J. Dillione, along with a most delightful Dean of Students, June Chu. Fermin was a Taiwanese international student who decided to double major in Government and Gender Studies w/ Geography. Charles, another international student, was from South Korea and after disregarding his original major, Psychology, decided to major in Economics. This made him particularly interesting to me and Kevin due to the Macroeconomics course at Brown that we start in 4 days. Last but not least was A.J., a Sociology major who really wanted to go into law, and as such was interning at the Public Defender's office. As for June there really isn't much to say... except for the fact that there's actually tons to say! As soon as we entered the dining room June was there waiting to greet us with a big smile on her face. A bunch of random questions proceeded the introduction as we waited for the students to arrive. Throughout all of these she didn't seem the least bit annoyed at all and in fact it seemed as if she was actually enjoying it. Honestly, I know that college these days is all about finding a "practical" major, as Fermin was saying earlier, but if I can find something that I love doing like June then there won't be any complaints from me.

 Here comes the transition that some of you may love and some may hate: food. As I'm sure you've all learned by now the ILC program takes us to some of the best restaurants in the area and pays for everything. Well this restaurant was my favorite so far, and here's why. I just have two words for you: Steak Tartare. I've never had it before and I never really thought I could ever stomach the thought of eating raw meat mixed up with vegetables but it was very delicious. The texture really tricked me as I thought it would be kind of chewy instead of being perfectly tender. I believe it's the use of fresh fruit juices high in acid like lime or lemon which helps to tenderize the meat but I may be wrong, either way it was the perfect way to start the meal.
Lobster Club

As for entrees I had to think long and hard to decide between the Lobster Club and the Bistro Steak but in the end my love for seafood won. I could go on and on describing it but I think that this time I should just let the food speak for itself. I sat next to Charles who got the Bistro Steak and although it looked delicious I'm fairly confident that I made the right decision. I mean what could go wrong with Lobster and Bacon? From first hand experience I can tell you that nothing could ever go wrong and that they're a match made in heaven.

Creme Brulee w/ Chocolate Chip Cookies
I hadn't really decided whether or not I could even eat another bite when the waiter came out with the dessert menu. It didn't take me long to land on the decision that dessert was a must. Many of my fellow cohorts had the Creme Brulee at lunch yesterday so I decided that today was my turn. I'm sure you can all tell by the picture but needless to say it was very good. Light yet rich and the perfect compliment to the meal as a whole. Once we were all finished we took a quick group picture and headed quickly towards the undergraduate admissions office, where the campus tour was due to start.

Top Left to Bottom Right: Jing, Brandon, Kevin, A.J., June, Alana, Fermin, Me, Arnold, & Charles
Arriving a little earlier than expected we waited for about 10 minutes for the tour to begin. Before the tour began, however, I received an unexpected tap on the shoulder from someone who I had not expected to see until later this summer. It was Erika, a middle school classmate of mine who I got along well with but didn't really talk to very much until this year. It's kinda crazy how interconnected we all are and how often people accidentally bump into each other. It was a pleasant surprise though, and we were able to catch up a bit and discuss what we were doing with our summers after the tour. 
Erika & I
Once she left I caught up with my group in the Undergraduate Admissions building and we went to have our very own Q&A session with a Dartmouth admissions director. We were introduced to Ms. Adrea Belin who was happy to answer any and all questions we had about Dartmouth. Everyone had at least one question about the school but it seemed like Kevin had a million! He thought that he was being rude by continuously asking more and more questions but in the end it was very informative and she was so nice that she kept reassuring him that the more questions asked the better. We didn't actually learn about financial aid, number of majors, or any of the concrete statistics but those things are easy to find and I'm glad that instead we got the opportunity to customize our own little information session.

We then walked back to the Hanover Inn to wait for the next Dartmouth Coach to swing by and take us back to Boston. In fact, we didn't think that they all made the same stops so we watched a couple go by and we ended up getting on the very last one headed to Boston that day. The ride back was pretty much the same exact thing as the ride there except for the fact that on this ride they were playing a movie based on Helen Keller. It looked pretty depressing so I wasn't really interested, plus I really needed to get started on my blogging so that I'd be able to actually get some sleep when we got back to the hotel.

Chinese seafood restaurant in Chinatown
And this leads us up till now, because as I'm typing this I'm sitting on the Amtrak back to Providence just waiting and listening to the sounds of the train. I don't really know what I'm going to do when I get back to the hotel, I'm still full from the dinner that we just had during our 2-hour layover. We decided to go into Boston's Chinatown and eat at a place called Bubor Cha Cha. It was quite delicious and we have tons of leftovers which I assume we will eat for breakfast before we leave. Who knows though, maybe it will make a good midnight snack? Either way Brandeis is tomorrow, a school of which I have never had much interest in, but then again I never really held much interest in Yale or Dartmouth before this and now I absolutely love them so I'll have to wait and see... Jusqu'a a la prochaine fois!

1 comment:

  1. Jack, I love that the tours have given you new perspectives on these two campuses, Yale and Dartmouth.

    I recommend that you give the Helen Keller movie another shot. As a teacher, I find it inspiring how her teacher never gives up on her, and how even when others cannot necessarily see the progress she is making, it is clear that Helen is learning and progressing, little by little.