Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We Love Each Other!

After a leisurely breakfast on the second floor of our hotel, we headed off to admissions for our 10 AM info session. The info session was lively and packed with information about student life, campus resources, and the application process. Elise, an alumnus of WashU and admissions officer, and Jacob, a rising senior and president of the WashU Model UN, enthusiastically spoke of their experiences at WashU.

The beautiful admin building
One of the things that WashU prides itself on is its emphasis on flexibility. By that I mean that WashU students are encouraged to take classes outside the requirements for their major, and 70% of students double major. Everyone I’ve spoken with, both today and last night, has said that it’s very easy to double major. In fact, a couple of students said that they declared a second major after their advisors told them that they had almost fulfilled the requirements on for the major without intending to. Since I have diverse interests and don’t yet know what I want to concentrate in while in college, I thought it sounded great to have that diversity of classes.

Chloe tried out the seats in the chemistry and biology lecture hall
I was also really impressed with the care that is lavished on each student to ensure that he or she has the best possible experience. Each student has access to a 4-year advisor, a major advisor, a pre-professional advisor, and a career center advisor. Together, this team ensures that each student gets the classes they need, has opportunities to get valuable internships, and offer assistance compiling resumes. As a student from the WCCUSD, where funding for counselors is minimal and one-on-one meetings with counselors are hard to come by, it was amazing to hear that each person has at least 4 advisors who are readily available to help with anything needed.

After our info session, we toured campus under the guidance of Elizabeth Chen, a rising sophomore from San Francisco, California. She was able to give us great advice about adjusting from the Bay Area culture to that of St. Louis. The main impression that I’ve been getting over that past two days here is that while everyone at WashU is academically focused, there is a strong emphasis on inclusion and support on and off campus. 

Elizabeth shows us a typical freshman dorm

The Malaysian Sun Bear paces around its enclosure
 In the afternoon, we visited the free zoo in Forest Park. Everyone recommended the zoo to us last night, and our tour guide also told us to visit, so we thought we had better check it out. I really enjoyed the visit, as we got to see several different species of bears, penguins, and baby and juvenile elephants. I always feel a little conflicted when I view zoos and aquariums because it’s sad to see animals penned up in such relatively small spaces, but I know that zoos and aquariums often play important roles in research and conservation. 

The baby Asian elephant was adorable!
Appetizers: penne, shrimp, and scallops
Tonight’s dinner at Tony’s was the most formal dining experience I’ve ever had. With only a small plaque bearing the word “Tony’s” outside the restaurant, it seemed like a well-kept St. Louis secret. Our waiters pulled out our chairs and unfolded our napkins for us, and we were given new water glasses with the dessert course. It was a great chance for our cohort to bond, and I’d like to think that we all enjoyed each other’s company throughout dinner. At the moment, we’re all blogging together at the Knight Center, so we must not be sick of each other yet! It felt appropriate that we all got closer today, as we spent our day touring a college that prides itself on the openness and friendliness of its students.

The famous Gateway Arch

 Tomorrow, we’ll fly to Chicago. With luck, we won’t have any problems at the infamous O’Hare Airport. Over and out until tomorrow. 

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