Sunday, July 26, 2009

First Day at Yale


My day began at 8:20 am today. Unfortunately, they do not serve breakfast on the weekends, so I skipped. On the bright side, I slept in for an hour.

Morning lecture began at 9 am this morning with Professor Luong. He started with the concept of grand strategy. Apparently, there is no universally accepted definition of the term. While Paul Kennedy has written pages and pages on the phrase's meaning, Dr. Dr. Luong summed grand strategy up in a single sentence: "the calculated relationship between means and large ends." This differs from the normal term "strategy" in various ways. It is a flexible, planned outcome connected through military capability, time, and financial means, and it also includes an implementation process.

Next we learned the principles of leadership. They are summarized in three words: Be, Know, Do. Leaders must be of great character, possessing integrity, courage, humility, loyalty, and compassion. They must know their goal, their profession, their subordinates, and, most importantly, themselves. Finally they must do things for the better of their people, seeking respect rather than popularity and encouraging initiative. I definitely have to agree with Mr. Luong's lecture, particularly the qualities one must have to be an effective leader. Most of these characteristics are found in Genghis Khan, the Mongol leader. He shows compassion and loyalty for those who return the favor. Not one of his commanders betrayed him; therefore, each of them were treated the same. They were showered in luxuries and much, much more. As for courage, Khan never showed fear, though he probably was afraid at some points throughout his reign. During these frightful times, however, he functioned and did what was needed to be done. In terms of integrity, Khan managed to follow his set of values--kill those who do not submit to defeat!

We took a brunch break and then it was back to the lecture room. Dr. Dr. Luong taught us about the important point in Sun Tzu, which need not be stated because I have spoken about it before. After a 20 minute break, Professor David Hennigan lectured on political ideologies. Everybody raised their hands to voice their opinion, but I had little or no knowledge on the discussed topics: welfare liberalism, classical liberalism, social democracy, and Marxism. I realized how well-educated these students are. I really tried to comprehend the discussion, but it was very difficult and new to me. Seeing as this is only the first official day of class, I'm sure I will adjust within a few days.

Next, seminar sign-ups were available. We all had to take our dinner time to sign up, which upset me because the dining hall is a 10-15 minute walk from the dorms. After signing up for seminars, Jessica and I walked to the dining hall, almost getting lost on the way. Yale is a rather large campus but exploration never hurts! We waited in a long line of students to get our food, ate in a quick 5-10 minutes, and walked as fast as we could to the lecture hall--we arrived just on time.

Dean Nick Coburn-Palo lectured this time about philosophy. We learned about utilitarianism and its several branches. Utilitarianism is philosophic view based off the outcome of a situation rather than the situation's initial intent or purpose. The three basic philosophers of utilitarianism include Jeremy Betham, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill. Jeremy Betham was the initial founder, who believed that pleasure is equivalent to morality. In other terms, as said by Dean Nick Coburn-Palo, when having to choose between a waving, hot celebrity and an old woman who had just fallen while walking across the street, the decisions are of equal worth (pleasure = morality). This lecture was probably my favorite of the day. By incorporating humor into his presentation, I was able to understand the concepts better and I was much more attentive. Also, the enthusiasm in the Dean's voice makes me ultra eager to learn!

Before the day was over, we were split into our Marshall Brief groups and sent to rooms. The Marshall Briefs are policies to be presented to top-notch officials in the United States. We are assigned to topics based off of our choice on the preference form. My topic is education, and I'm in a group with Jessica, Sydney, Angie, and Huong. In addition to this very intimidating, hardcore assignment, we're required to participate in one writing and two speech competitions. I'm terrified, but my fear was slightly alleviated when I was told we weren't going to receive a grade or anything. We're here for experience and improvement!

It looks like my schedule is going to be very packed--everyone's is. I may write shorter and shorter blogs if that's the case, and I'm sorry if I do. Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie,

    Considering the age of the participants in this class and taking into consideration the nature of the city right outside your doorsteps, I’, surprised that they don’t offer a breakfast on the weekends. Where do they expect you to go? Considering the potential for something bad to happen to you, it seems that the cost of the meal would be small in comparison to paying for just one hour for a lawyer to address the complaints filed by a parent of a student who was put in harm’s way.

    I’ve been reading about your days, Stephanie, and my head is about to explode. Before I retired I was a dynamo working 100+ hour work weeks directing many hundred of employees yet I find what you’re all going through as just plain scary.

    I think you’re all seeing first hand what it can mean to have well educated instructors that are desperate to impart their knowledge upon you. Compare that to what you’re going to face when you return to Hercules High this September.