Thursday, June 28, 2012

U of Chicago, Me of Chicago

Lake Michigan: It's not quite the Bay, but it'll do
Today, I fell in love.  After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, we spent the day at the University of Chicago.  I don't think I have ever been this physically excited about a school.  We had an hour-long information session with Callie Brown, the NorCal admissions officer who is joining us for dinner tonight.   She gave us the run down on the usual college information.  Almost 100% of what she said appealed to me.  The university is strong in science, my main interest, and offers a lot of research opportunities.  Many students study abroad, and others get paid internships.  Strangely, I was happy to hear that they have core requirements.  Most areas of study interest me and I worry that if my college doesn't require me to take classes in other fields, I won't fit them in to my schedule.  The majority of classes at U of Chicago are taught through discussion and capped at 19 students. The school is unique in it's application supplement, posing essay questions like "Find X." or "Write an essay inspired by a 5 gallon jar of mustard."  Clearly, everyone accepted has to have a high level of creativity. All of these aspects make the academics very appealing, but it wasn't till the campus tour that I really started seeing myself as a U of Chicago student. 

Edgar, our tour guide, took us all around campus and told us a lot about student life.  I loved the mix of Modern and Gothic architecture and that the campus is right in the city. There is never a lack of things to do there.  Edgar belongs to the coed community service fraternity.  I have spent a lot of my high school career doing community service, and I find the idea of a coed frat very intriguing.  I know if I attend school here, I will be joining too.
 Every year, U of Chicago has a four-day scavenger hunt called Scav.  Teams earn points by doing different tasks found on a 19 page list.  One year, Edgar attached 6-foot googly eyes to one of the biggest buildings on campus.  This year, he learned the Adele song "Someone Like You" backwards for a backwards karaoke competition.  The campus has a ton of student clubs ranging from the run of the mill theater or community service groups to the Zombie Readiness Task Force.  Not only does the school have opportunities to explore all interests and have tons of fun, it is probably the safest place to be in a Zombie Apocalypse.

Edgar also spoke highly of the all around environment on campus.  Students are close knit and supportive. Classes are collaborative and housing groups become very close.  Originally from California, Edgar knew that adjusting to Chicago weather, a.k.a. real seasons, is a big challenge.  Luckily, local students helped him out and there is always something to do in the snowy cold winter.

Mariko models the complimentary sunglasses
I ate lunch with Edgar and the girls from our cohort.  The campus food was very good, and the conversation was even better.  He told us a little more about his personal experiences and application process. He even shared the video of his backwards karaoke entry.  It sounded like gibberish at first, but once he reversed it, his voice matched up right with the song.   He definitely has me convinced that U of Chicago is a great place for me.
Lake Michigan again, I just can't get over how beautiful it is
Once back at the hotel, Mariko, Chloe, and I went to the fitness room for a nice workout.  We figured it was a good way to prepare for our dinner at the Girl and the Goat and it gave us the chance to watch Italy dominate in the Euro Cup semi-finals.  I can't wait for dinner tonight; it will be amazing to eat at such a high quality restaurant and learn even more about U or Chicago. 

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