Saturday, July 20, 2013

Right Under Our Noses

Sleep is a precious thing. Today we received the wonderful gift of being able to sleep in until 8. This was a reluctant gift I feel though, because the school we were touring, Yale University, only does tours at 1:30 pm. I felt so much more alert today with the extra hour of sleep (and coffee). 

So pretty!
We got on the road at 8:45 and settled in to our longer driving trip thus far; it was only two hours. Since we were in the car for such a while, we decided to absorb a much as we can from the drive. It just proves how despite what we do, one can always find a learning experience in it, and find the good. We realized that in contrast to Californian highways, the East Coast highways are submerged in nature. You cannot see the cities from the highway, except in a few areas. It is actually a nice idea and picturesque to be able to drive in the calmness of the East Coast's forests.  They also have a lot of rivers which you can easily see while driving. 
Saw this on the drive

 When we did alas arrive at Yale University, we still had about an hour and a half until the Yale campus tour. To pass the time and also see the most recommended thing in New Haven (according to Ms. Neal), we went to the Yale University Art Gallery. It is 4 large levels of art, ranging from statues and coins to modern art. Some pieces were really beautiful and others I didn't quite understand, which pretty common with art. They had floors dedicated to different continents of art: Europe, Asia, Africa.

The Gallery
We also met up with a Yale alumnus, Lauren. She showed us around the art gallery and said that she went there often for classes and took some third graders she taught to visit it. The gallery was free too, making it even more of an asset to the community.  It proved the fact that Yale has a great sense of community and is very generous. 

"Welcome to Yale"
We then went to the visitors center to take a tour of the large campus. Our tour guide, Alyssa, a junior in American studies, actually new Lauren! That just proves the large network the schools, such as Yale, have. Alyssa new a lot of facts about Yale and I tried to remember as many as I could. 

We first visited old campus, the oldest part of Yale that used to consist of one building and then was added on to. The oldest building was built in 1714! Yale also didn't start out in the city where it currently resides, New Haven. It actually started in another Connecticut city with a different name than Yale. It also moved one more time before settling in New Haven: Saybrook, Connecticut. Yale University became Yale when a man, Elihu Yale, donated a large amount of money, books and art. He didn't even know it was changed to his name! A joke Yale has is that a man with the last name Dummer was who they were going to name the school after, however they would then not be Yalies, but Dummies. 
A pile of fans on the Old Campus Lawn

The college crests
Another interesting thing about Yale is that it has a very unique way of separating its students into dormitories. Their dormitory places are actually called residential colleges. Residential colleges are large ornate building enclosing a courtyard in which the dorm rooms are located. Residential colleges are also named after important Yale benefactors, and have great pride in to which you belong to. They even have their own crests! The colleges also have their own dean and master. The dean is an academic counselor, whilst the master is the a coordinator to ensure extracurricular health and happiness. The master puts on events from teas at their house (located in the college itself) to an annual spring fest with jumpy houses.The colleges really encourage a sense of community in Yale, which I really enjoy. The colleges are also in the olden, Gothic, ornate theme of Yale and are truly beautiful. They are actually newer than the old campus of Yale and are architecturally built to resemble old campus despite being built almost 200 years later. There are 12 colleges, 13 including old campus. 
"The most beautiful courtyard in the World" - Mark Twain

On the tour, we also saw the two main libraries at Yale. The first library is the largest library at Yale. It was unfortunately under renovations to keep in good condition since it is old. It was beautiful even though we couldn't go inside. It is themed like a cathedral but instead of religious figures it has scholars depicted on the decor. 

It really does let in light!
 The second library, the Beinecke, for rare books and manuscripts, for precious  was spectacular as well, built without windows and with granite slabs. An amazing part of this library is the fact that it can let in the sun's light through the granite because it is thin enough. It gives this I luminous glow throughout the library without the harmful UV rays of the sun destroying the books. Another safety and protective feature of this library is the fact that the books live in a glass column in the middle of the library. The glass column has less oxygen than normal air, a mix created especially created for books. Librarians can only stay in the column for about 7 minutes safely. Also in the case of a fire, the column shuts down and all the air is sucked out of the room so it cannot possibly catch on fire. The books get better care than the students!  (just kidding) 
Inside the Library. The column of books on the right, the granite walls on the left.

After the tour ended, we visited the Yale book store and all got Yale t-shirts. Thanks ILC!  
Yale, unfortunately, does not have an information session like all the other schools, and Alyssa didn't say anything on that aspect. Luckily, Lauren went out to lunch with us to explain the application process, how Yale operates, and college advice in any case. We went to a classic pizza place in Connecticut; supposedly the first pizza was made in New Haven.  

Lauren told us about how to get into Yale you fill out a common application, interview with an Alumni in your area, and then wait for the email where a bulldog (the Yale mascot) dances and sings if you get in. She also told us advice for college that I've never heard before. She emphasized how important it is to apply to all types of colleges and keep an open mind. She said that you should keep your options open and then once you get in decide closer what you truly want and don't want in a college. I think this is important to consider as a strangely because that way you can avoid disappointment if you are declined and decide easier. She also said you should apply to lots of varieties of schools because each school is looking for a different type of student despite your academic successes. I will definitely take this advice and think everyone should try new things and different styles of schools. 

I snapped this quick picture of Brown. So Beautiful!
After we left New Haven, we drove home, and on the way decided we should probably stop by Brown University to pick up our course load. I typed it into the GPS and we were surprisingly close. I then went about writing some blog notes and talking with my new found friends, all the girls of Brown ll cohort.  When I looked out the window I realized we were right at the hotel and it said that brown was right in front of me. I had seen those buildings the first day and I had thought "Wow,those are absolutely beautiful!". It turns out Brown had been right there all along. Ms. Neal had said that wasn't it when I asked before but it turns out it was. When we arrived at campus we hopped out and quickly walked to the book store. It didn't matter that we only walked through the campus once, I was completely enchanted by the place. I cannot even describe how wonderful Brown looked and felt to me. It was almost like a home I never had. I fell completely in love. This contradicts what I said earlier about not on deciding one college, and I will definitely apply to others, but I love everything about Brown. It is in a small town with a campus that has enclosed and open areas with both beautiful nature and gorgeous buildings. I think back to the first Brown dinner and I remember speaking with Ms. Kronenberg and she said "Now, Michelle, where do you  want to go t college." I told her I wasn't really sure, there are so many options and I wasn't sure what would be right for me. All she said was, "Darling, you're going to want to go to Brown." 

How could Brown have been right under our noses yet I didn't notice. How can we so easily blow off the highway's beauty when we're so busy. How could Mr. Yale have not known the school was named after him. Today taught me that sometimes, we overlook what is right before us, and that it is important to always be aware to the world around you. 

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