Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Productive Days

The past two days have definitely been a workout--physically and mentally. As you all know, we have lectures from 9 am-11:30 am, 1 pm-5 pm, and 6:30pm-9:30pm. Excluded are the times spent during breakfast and lunch working on our Marshall Brief presentations. Yes, every morning and afternoon, rather than thoroughly relaxing and enjoying meals, Ivy Scholars are found with laptops on their lunch tables, simultaneously munching on Yale's cafeteria cuisine. While we are all pressed for time, we manage to find some time for small talk (while we're walking to and from class) and I sincerely enjoy creating relationships with these new and intelligent students.

Yesterday began with breakfast and a morning presentation from admissions officer Liz Kinsley and another whose name has slipped my mind. They spoke of the characteristics one must have in order to gain entry into the world-class Yale University. I've only been here since last Friday, and I'm beginning to really love it--with the exception of New Haven security. The excitement the two presenters exuded makes me believe this attitude is emulated by all of the other students at Yale. I'm sure this belief is nothing but the truth.

After lunch, there were two seminars. The first seminar I attended was education policy with Bryce Adams, followed by environmental ethics with Bryce Adams and Benjamin Elkins. Education policy addressed several current issues, from No Child Left Behind, to standardized testing, to teacher certification. 1.2 million Americans fail to graduate each year, and with 60-75% of today's jobs requiring a college degree, problems have inevitably occurred. Environmental ethics was about moral consciousness of the surroundings. It was described in terms of philosophy--biocentrism, ecocentrism, ecological feminism, etc. I'm pressed for time so I won't go too into the two lectures, but those were the basic ideas.

We received a break from lecture after dinner--which, might I add, I had with Mrs. Larson, Yohanna, and Jessica (as shown in the picture)--and instead watched a movie about Robert McNamara, then listened in on the final lecture of the night: an introduction to persuasive speaking and advocacy by Bryce Adams and Chelsea Goldstein. I found the tips very helpful because, as I've repeatedly affirmed, I'm inexperienced in public speaking.

Today began with a speaker whose name shall remained disclosed. For the purpose of security, the content of his lecture will not be revealed either. Anyway, after his lecture we had lunch, then returned to the lecture hall, where Rick Brundage and Dr. Dr. Minh Luong elaborated on the Marshall Briefing essentials. By following the procedures they proposed and explained, all of us should be successful!

For dinner, Jessica, Matt, Mrs. Larson and I went to a restaurant near Drew's Blue State Coffee. There, Mrs. Larson briefly interviewed us--the video is viewable on Mrs. Larson's blog--and we ate a yummy meal.

The day drew to a close with Marshall Policy group meetings. For several hours, my group and I worked on modifying and correcting the gaping holes in our policy/goal. Bryce is a good mentor--he told us what errors we were making, listened to us, and answered our questions. At 9:40, we left to walk back to TD. There was rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning. As a result, Sydney, Jessica and I nearly sprinted--might I add that I was wearing heels and a dress?!--back to the dorms. What a rush!

Before I leave, allow me to introduce you to my new friend, Cason! He has been reading and following our blogs for who knows how long. As a 16-year-old rising Junior, he attends Choate Rosemary Hall, a boarding school in Connecticut (although he hails from Princeton, New Jersey). And a little fun fact: Cason has been tri-varsity since his freshman year! Anyway, I just thought I'd give a little shout out to him for following our blog!

It's fairly late and I've got to get to reading. Good night and I hope to blog soon.

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie,

    We could spend forever discussing the reasons why so many of our kids fail to earn a diploma but what you mentioned about needing a college diploma for employment doesn’t even come close to the problem. I spent my life in heavy construction as a member of a building trades union. In order to get into our apprenticeship program you have to have a high school diploma (or a GED). Even though our work can be very technical most people think that construction is a good fit for the high school dropout and that’s really not accurate at all.
    By the way, the photo you posted in this blog is right up there as one of my favorites so far. Nothing personal against Matt, but how can you go wrong with a photo of four good looking gals?
    How cryptic of you to keep the nature of the lecture topic and the presenter a secret. Now I’ll be staying up thinking what you all might be doing that you won’t share with us.
    I’m getting a little jealous of your new pal Cason. He seems like a nice enough guy but when I see photos of him with his arms draped over your shoulders…