Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trains, trains, and even more trains

Today, well yesterday actually, was a really busy and a great adventure through UPenn and Princeton.

Meeting time today was 8:30 at the lobby. I woke up early, got ready and headed down to the lobby, nothing exciting. Breakfast was a small buffet style restaurant at the hotel where we ate and talked about the plans for the day. It was decided that the four students and Mrs. Kronenberg would attend the tour at UPenn while Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Miranda would buy the train tickets for Princeton.

Penn: At Penn the group attended both the information session and the college tour. I have actually been to Penn before but that was six years ago when I was not even thinking about college yet. But six years later I have gained a new perspective and paid much more attention. I felt that the info session was really informative (as it should be) because it covered everything from the history of the school, to the application, to the student life. And what the info session didn't cover the college tour did. My impression of Penn changed slightly since I first visited six years ago. For me the setting in the middle of a large city is not optimal for me. As for the academics, the restrictions because of the four colleges and the many requirements make less than an ideal situation for a student like me that wants to take classes in an extremely broad range of subjects. But other than that, Penn still seems like a great school with many opportunities, especially for studying abroad and I would not mind attending this university.

During this trip tragedy struck Mr. Miranda. While in the train station buying the tickets for Princeton he lost his wallet. As a result Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Miranda had to stay in Phily to resolve the dilemma while the rest of us went to Princeton. Fortunately, everything was straightened out by the end of the day.

Princeton: After Penn was a mad dash to Princeton. After a train ride to Trenton followed by a cab drive to Princeton we arrived at our destination at around 2:40, 20 minutes after the information session started. Right before we joined the info session we visited the admissions office where, according to Brandon, I "stole a book" which was actually a free course booklet. Our group caught the end part of the info session where the person talked about eating clubs which was quite interesting. The eating clubs are not really clubs. They are only open to juniors and seniors as alternate meal plans. They are Princeton's substitutes for fraternities and sororities. After the info session was of course the college tour and the Princeton campus is definitely one of the best I have seen in my many college visits. What I liked about Princeton was the flexibility students had. Unlike Penn where there are many required courses Princeton students have less restrictions and more freedom in the classes they take. And guaranteed housing for all four years in one of the most beautiful campuses in the US doesn't hurt either.

Unlike Connor, Brandon and Marisol who all liked Penn I felt a better feeling for Princeton. What we all think was the main factor for this reason was the difference in the town setting. Penn was right in the middle of Philadelphia while Princeton is based in a small town.

On the way back from Princeton to Philly we had to take a total of four trains. The first train was from Princeton to Princeton Junction which we found out along the way were actually two different stations. Then we went from Princeton Junction to Trenton and Trenton to Philadelphia. The entire trip back took a good two hours because of the unexpected difference in stations and the waiting time. But one good thing about the time we spent from Princeton to Philly is that we got to know more about each other including some funny quirks (which I don't think I'm allowed to say). 

We finally got back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at about 7:15 so we only had about 15 minutes to prepare. I went back to my room and got fully dressed in a suit in about 8 minutes, the fastest I have ever been.

Dinner: Tonight's dinner was at Le Bec Fin which was mentioned during the Penn info session as a popular fancy French Restaurant. Joining us were two people who worked at Penn, June Chu, a professor of East Asian studies and David M. Toomer an undergraduate admissions officer both of whom I had the pleasure to talk to. During the dinner, the other students and I had the opportunity to talk to both of the Penn people about our future plans, who we are, and ask any other questions we had about Penn. Both of them are great people that I will definitely keep in touch with.

Now for the food part. The food was a six course meal consisting of a lot of food. The menu was certainly interesting consisting of regular beef to the more French food of Foie Gras. The best part of the dinner, however, was the all you can eat dessert of which everyone ate a lot of. The dinner began at 8 and we finished at around 11:30 and arrived back at the hotel at about midnight.

Tomorrow (today) we will head of to New York City and visit Columbia. It's been awhile since I've been to New York City so I am really excited to experience The Big Apple again. Well I'm off to bed now.


  1. Henry,

    You’re an old pro when it comes to looking at colleges so you already know that a school’s location is a critical factor in the selection process. Rural or urban makes a big difference. I’m sure there are even a few schools out there where the school is rural but still close enough to the urban setting where you can take a quick ride into town to kick your heels on a Friday night.

    Then again, Princeton is semi-rural and yet close enough to the the action of Manhattan and New York City which are both about 40 miles away.

    I know you had a fancy dinner, Henry, but what you described was nothing compared to my own fancy feast: a large (not a small and not a medium) bowl of cottage cheese with a healthy portion of pineapple chunks plopped on top. Yum, yum. I’m betting you’re a bit jealous after reading that, aren’t you?

  2. ^^ Does this guy comment on everything? Everything he writes is so egocentric, albeit pointless.