Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Walking away as a Hotelie...

...unofficial, of course, but you get the idea. I graduated from Cornell Summer College, and that's what matters.

On graduation day, Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy greeted all the beaming students and parents with a closing ceremony. Student speaker, Emily Stinson, laid out the framework of what the Hotel Operations Management consisted of, while another group showcased their presentation on Choice Hotels. Two other students spoke on behalf of the class about the CHESS simulation as well as the computing skills that each student had excelled in by the end of the journey. Finally, to close the presentation, Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy pulled a fast one on us. They surprised us with a hard copy (binded!) of our final CHESS report for every Hotelie. To tie the ceremony up, they presented each student with a completion of Summer College certificate.

But, wait, there was more! The teacher assistants compiled a powerpoint slideshow of photos of students, whether they were inside or outside of the classroom with their usual team or friends. At that point, I was thisclose to getting teary-eyed. It was such a special moment, and it finally hit me that the whole experience was coming to an end. Graduation day was one of the best highlights of my trip.

To finish off with a lasting impression, the ILC scholars had to make our final mark. So what did the we do?

Show our appreciation by hugging Mrs. McCarthy and giving a firm handshake to the one and only Mr. McCarthy. I remembered clearly Mr. McCarthy's words: "You all represented your school district well."

This post may be one of my last blogs for a while, so to walk away, I want to reaffirm that I am especially gracious for having such a large and close-knitted ILC team who has supported and provided me resources every step of the way. From the founders to the sponsors to the faculty staff, I want to thank everyone all for such an amazing opportunity that I will forever cherish for the rest of my academic career.

Thank you,
Stacy Chan

Charmed 1%

Professor Kramnick's final words prompted me to post some links to the information he provided which he attributed to Julian Bond's 2003 commencement address to Washington University.

The information - quoted below - originally comes from The Donella Meadows Archive - (interestingly Donnella Meadows is an adjunct professor at Dartmouth). This was produced by the Sustainability Institute (http://www.sustainer.org/) and is called the Voice of the Global Citizen:


The Donella Meadows Archive
Voice of a Global Citizen

State of the Village Report

If the world were a village of 1000 people:

584 would be Asians
123 would be Africans
95 would be East and West Europeans
84 Latin Americans
55 Soviets (still including for the moment Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, etc.)
52 North Americans
6 Australians and New Zealanders

The people of the village would have considerable difficulty communicating:
165 people would speak Mandarin
86 would speak English
83 Hindi/Urdu
64 Spanish
58 Russian
37 Arabic

That list accounts for the mother-tongues of only half the villagers. The other half speak (in descending order of frequency) Bengali, Portuguese, Indonesian, Japanese, German, French, and 200 other languages.

In the village there would be:

300 Christians (183 Catholics, 84 Protestants, 33 Orthodox)
175 Moslems
128 Hindus
55 Buddhists
47 Animists
210 all other religons (including atheists)

One-third (330) of the people in the village would be children. Half the children would be immunized against the preventable infectious diseases such as measles and polio.

Sixty of the thousand villagers would be over the age of 65.

Just under half of the married women would have access to and be using modern contraceptives.

Each year 28 babies would be born.

Each year 10 people would die, three of them for lack of food, one from cancer.

Two of the deaths would be to babies born within the year.

One person in the village would be infected with the HIV virus; that person would most likely not yet have developed a full-blown case of AIDS.

With the 28 births and 10 deaths, the population of the village in the next year would be 1018.

In this thousand-person community, 200 people would receive three-fourths of the income; another 200 would receive only 2% of the income.

Only 70 people would own an automobile (some of them more than one automobile).

About one-third would not have access to clean, safe drinking water.

Of the 670 adults in the village half would be illiterate.

The village would have 6 acres of land per person, 6000 acres in all of which:
700 acres is cropland
1400 acres pasture
1900 acres woodland
2000 acres desert, tundra, pavement, and other wasteland.

The woodland would be declining rapidly; the wasteland increasing; the other land categories would be roughly stable. The village would allocate 83 percent of its fertilizer to 40 percent of its cropland -- that owned by the richest and best-fed 270 people. Excess fertilizer running off this land would cause pollution in lakes and wells. The remaining 60 percent of the land, with its 17 percent of the fertilizer, would produce 28 percent of the foodgrain and feed 73 percent of the people. The average grain yield on that land would be one-third the yields gotten by the richer villagers.

If the world were a village of 1000 persons, there would be five soldiers, seven teachers, one doctor. Of the village's total annual expenditures of just over $3 million per year, $181,000 would go for weapons and warfare, $159,000 for education, $132,000 for health care.

The village would have buried beneath it enough explosive power in nuclear weapons to blow itself to smithereens many times over. These weapons would be under the control of just 100 of the people. The other 900 people would be watching them with deep anxiety, wondering whether the 100 can learn to get along together, and if they do, whether they might set off the weapons anyway through inattention or technical bungling, and if they ever decide to dismantle the weapons, where in the village they will dispose of the dangerous radioactive materials of which the weapons are made.

(Donella H. Meadows is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College.)
Copyright Sustainability Institute. This article from The Donella Meadows Archive is available for use in research, teaching, and private study. For other uses, please contact
Diana Wright, Sustainability Institute, 3 Linden Road, Hartland, VT 05048, (802) 436-1277.

Two other links:

http://users.gazinter.net/melan/Warn/Warnenu.htm

http://www.life-cycles-destiny.com/for/100people.htm

This is a wonderful way to gain ultimate perspective.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11: And You Thought Our Adventure Ended in Ithaca...

If you haven't heard already, our 6 Cornellians have not quite made it home yet. I guess we can't help but continue our adventures during this trip!

So here is what happened...
Our flight itinerary was supposed to be as follows:
Ithaca to Philadelphia
Philadelphia to Charlotte
Charlotte to San Francisco

Our flight from Ithaca to Philly caused no problem. We left a little late, but we made it to our Philadelphia flight to Charlotte in time. Actually, we had plenty of time. The boarding process on the flight from Philadelphia added nearly an hour to our flight time. This caused us to arrive in Charlotte 20 minutes after our San Franciscan already departed. I'll admit. I was upset. I expected to see my family and friends in a few short hours, and I was emotionally drained at that point. To be cut off from going home two flights into the day was hard to absorb. After talking to supervisors at the Charlotte Airport, we were told that we could not leave for SFO until tomorrow morning at 7:30am. This meant a night to be spent in Charlotte. I was extremely upset, but I feel fine now. It's only a half-day away from being home, and I've already spent 22 days away from my homely surroundings. I think I'll survive.

Upon receiving our accommodations and food vouchers, we took a shuttle van to the Quality Inn, the hotel we will stay at for this brief visit to Charlotte. Having not eaten since roughly 10:00am, we were all dying to chow down. Lucky for us, our hotel is located right next to "Cracker Barrel" (Someone please tell me that doesn't scream Southern dining). I have never had Southern cooking, and I was quite impressed. Everything I tried was great, even though it was little hard finding vegetarian friendly food. The food made me feel loads better, and we all made the best of it.

Tomorrow we're waking up bright and early for a flight. I think
I'll actually prefer arriving at SFO in the morning. I'll have the whole day ahead of me! While our trip was meant to end today, I'm happy at this point that it didn't. I got a taste of a state that I had never been to and learned the art of preparing for canceled flights. Also, being a huge NASCAR fan, I'm in the state with one of the most famous tracks: Lowe's Motor Speedway. Maybe, the next time I visit N.C. will be a previously planned arrangement!

Since I'm already blogging, I think I should tell you about my ENTIRE day, aside from the airport mishap. This morning began with chaos throughout Mary Donlon. Parents were showing up, and rooms were being dismantled. I am very happy to have packed last night, for I enjoyed that extra bit of sleep this morning. Checking out of the dorm was pretty simple. I put all of my luggage in Mr. Crossley's van, had an RCA review my room, and I was outta there! Before our informal graduation for Freedom & Justice, Julia, Ramiah and I enjoyed our last meal at Appel Commons. We then headed out to our graduation in Kennedy Hall. I really enjoyed the graduation. It was a great sign-off to a wonderful, compacted semester. By the way, we finally got a picture with Des! Here's the man we've been raving about for the past 3 weeks! I particularly enjoyed Professor Kramnick's speech. I urge you to watch the video below. It's a tad long, but make sure you find the part where he talks about the population of 100 humans. After the graduation, we ran to the airport where we had time to spare. That is where I crazy adventures began. Adventures always seem to follow us Cornellians!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Final Report: Le Petit Papillion by Yueming Wang

We've been reading for three weeks that our students in the Hotel Management Program have been working on a project to develop a means for their hotel to maximize their profits.
The following is a copy of the report filed today by Yueming Wang and her team.

For ease of viewing, place your cursor over each page and click to enlarge.


































Promised Pictures & Video

It seems that I hadn't keep some of my previous promises regarding photos! I'm so sorry for the delay, but I have finally uploaded pictures!

While I usually plug in pictures in the middle of my blogs, I have to change it up a bit because I have so many pictures I'd like you to see. I've attached URL's along with slideshows in this blog so that you may see all of the photos. This way the blog won't be cluttered, and it will be easier to navigate through all of the photos. If it is at all confusing, just let me know and I'd be glad to do it the "normal way." It's very timely, so I'm finding the "Photobucket method" much easier.

This first set of photos comes from our visit on July 6th to Uris Library, more specifically the Andrew D. White Lib
rary. It is better known as the "Harry Potter Room." During our visit to Cornell, Julia, Ramiah and I took two visits to this library. It's visually stunning, and the pictures truly don't do the room justice. So if you're ever in Ithaca, make sure you check out Uris Library! (I actually realized that I DID upload some pictures from Uris Library. If you check out my blog from July 6th, there are two pictures. I know that my audience loves pictures, so I think you'll enjoy these pictures more.)


Link to Uris Library Photos

In this URL, you will find pictures from our tour of Cornell on July 10th. Although much of the information we heard from our guide Dan was a tad repetitive, it was nice to get a nice, thorough look of the campus for one last time. Cornell is stunning, and I'm happy we took the tour. That means more pictures to treasure!



Link to Tour of Cornell Photos



And here is the video of the musical steps! It's short, but you get the idea.


Has it Come to an End...Or a New Beginning?

Wow! This has certainly been a journey full of new and wonderful experiences. As I, as well as everyone back home, expected, I had an amazing three weeks here at Cornell University and partcipating in the Summer College program. I know I have complained about some aspects of being here, but all in all I love everything I have encountered and everything I have seen and heared.

Today, students of every other course had a final, or at least I think so. I am not quite sure if architecture students had a final or a project. Anyways, while many of the other courses had finals, the hotel program had a final group report due. My group and I were pretty confident and relaxed at first, but then as time was crunching down, we began to stress ourselves out. I truly enjoyed working with my group and producing such a great product. However, one member of my group said upfront that she disliked everything about our final report ten minutes before the deadline. I was incredibly angry. I did not see how that was rational or professional of her to do so. The entire group accomodated to what she wanted, but she could not accept the changes we would suggest. She basically wanted it her way. It is people like these that make group work so difficult and difficult to enjoy.

I have to say that this trip has provided me with many firsts in life. It is the first time I have needed to walk to and from school everyday. It is the first time I have stayed in a dorm and had a roommate. It is the first time I have really needed to take care of myself and my well being. At home, normally my mom would always be there to tell me to eat my vegetables or do my laundry for me. This, however, was definitely a major change. Besides having the five friends that came along with me on this trip and the new companions I met through the course and program, I have basically needed to depend on my own. When I needed certain amenities, I would have to go out to purchase them. If I wante ice cream, I would have to walk across the street to the Robert Purcell Community Center to get some; not like taking it out of my freezer in the kitchen. I find that this experience as allowed me to understand what it feels like to be independent, to live life on one's own accord. I did call my mother every so often and contacted my dad, so I did always have a little piece of home with me. Who doesn't though? This lesson I know I will forever cherish and take along with me where ever I decide to go in the future.

Since Freedom and Justice and Hotel Operations Management had significantly different schedules, it was difficult for the two groups of students to meet on a regular basis. When the program itself began, the only time we really saw each other was the weekend of the first week. That was the week we saw the awesome Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The subsequent weekend we met up for the uneventful Fourth of July. Basically, we tried to see each other every chance we could. Although we knew we would see each other back home in California, we missed each other and thought no matter what we should always keep in touch regardless of how busy we were under the loads of work given.

I have said once to Ms. Kim, the college consultant, that I do not find myself fitting in large classrooms with large amounts of students. I was correct. I found staying awake in lectures a challenge. Not only were they long, but I felt uncomfortable in the seats in the actual classroom. Let me tell you. They are attached to the leg of the desks that hold it up and the swing. When you pull it out enough for you to sit in, it swings you all the way so that your belly hits the edge of the desk. You literally have to use your feet to stop yourself from swinging back to the desk; what a nuisance. However, most lectures were fun. My professors and many of my classmates always kept me laughing with their jokes. When things like this bring smiles to my face, you know I am having a blast. What I also liked about my class was, it wasn't like the typical college class. We did not have typical lectures and discussions with our TA's. All the work we turn in is graded directly by our professors rather than by the TA's. Classes with this set up allows more opportunities for communication and conversations with the professors in which was the case for me. At the beginning of the program, I did not think the class would be so interactive or that I would be so connected with my professors. I have had various times where I just walk up to Mark or Reneta McCarthy and asked a question and it would just sprout into different topics to converse over. This is the type of relationship I would like to have with my teachers. Hopefully, I will still be able to keep in contact with my professors somehow.

Living with a roommate has definitely taught me the art of compromise. I know my five other comrades have developed close relationships with their roommate. Unfortunately, I was not able to engage in such an intimate connection with mine. I wish I did, however. Since my roommate, Leann, and I rarely ever saw each other, and therefore, rarely ever spoke to each other, we were only able to develop a sense of respect for one another. That is the very first step to living with a roommate. Without respect, nothing will ever go in the right direction and there will never be room to grow. Sometimes, I feel that time was not the only factor in our lack of relationship In college, most times people roomed together in a single dormitory became quickly and exceptionally familiar with each other. However, sometimes it just depends. I really do feel I should have made more of an effort to connect with my roommate. Living in a dorm building is an entirely different story. The floor I lived on was always so lively and always in action. No one could stay bored. When one has nothing to do, always look at the activities that may be going on in the building's lounges. Life can always be found in the dormitory building.

As a post-secondary institution, Cornell is extremely elite and highly selective. Everything about it suggests quality. It has been said the Cornell is named as one of the most beautiful campuses in America, or maybe even in the world. I must agree. It is different from other campuses in that it is surrounded by the beauty of nature itself. Each and every day, I found myself realizing a new feature of Cornell's surroundings that contribute to the beauty it presents. Today, some of us hotelies took a different route to class. We took a side bridge that went over one of the waterfalls in the gorges. It was absolutely breathtaking. Only Cornell would be able to offer such a splendid adventure. Even after taking the campus tour today and learning so many new facts, I must say Cornell can never cease to amaze me. The only flaw on campus that I can find is the construction of a new science building that disrupts the peaceful aura of the campus.

Sadly, after being here for three weeks, I do not really see myself attending Cornell or live in such a rural environment everyday. I am not saying will not consider applying to Cornell, since I know Cornell will be able to offer me a wonderful education. I do not see myself working well in this type of environment though. Having experienced what it is like to be at Cornell and this type of college environment, I feel that I fit better in a more urban setting. I found it incredibly inconvenient to have to walk 20 minutes to class everyday. Although, walking did seem to grow on me. I needed the exercise anyways. I hope no one gets me wrong. I am definitely not degrading the school in anyway nor am I speaking for anyone else. My opinion about Cornell is solely my own. For others, Cornell could ultimately be the perfect choice.

If anyone would like to attend Cornell or participate in the Summer College program, some suggestions I would make are 1) BRING AN UMBRELLA AT ALL TIMES!, 2) download Microsoft Office 2007, 3) pack light, 4) make sure to bring a calculator is definitely needed for Hotel Operations Management, 5)hotelies should learn business jargon, 6) be confident in and optimistic of all the opportunities you encounter, 7) work hard, and 8) HAVE AN AWESOME TIME!

THE END

Hello my darling, darling readers. Today was my last time in McGraw Hall. Today was my last time in Trillium Dining Hall. Today is my last full day in Ithaca, NY. I am feeling extremely sentimental, so brace yourself for my following blog. I feel as though I have so much to share! Please bare with me in regards to its length. I have a feeling it's going to be a long one. Here goes everything...

Typing my blog title alone musters feelings of deep, deep sadness. I sit here in Olin Library, having officially completed Government 1615 - Freedom & Justice: An Introduction to Political Thought. It is over. I cannot believe it is over.

For the past three weeks, Ithaca has been my home-away-from-home, and in less than one day, I will be gone. Every day since June 19 has required me to live independently and on my own. In that sense, Cornell has given me more than three credits from an Ivy League institution. This entire trip has provided me with crucial insight into the life I will soon lead in just one year. As a rising senior, I have one last year in the comfort of my hometown of Hercules, in the security of my parents' home, with the life I have led for the past seventeen years. After that, I enter the real world. AND EVERYTHING CHANGES.

Ending junior year, I was filled with so many doubts, so much anxiety. I was terrified of graduating, of leaving my parents, my friends... of leaving the environment I had grown so accustomed to for something entirely new and foreign. Back then, I knew of nothing else other than my life in Hercules. And, honestly? I didn't want anything to change. But that was all pre-Cornell. These past three weeks have altered my mindset in the most drastic manner possible. I no longer fear leaving behind what I know for what I do not, for I have realized I am more than capable of adapting to a new environment and finding happiness in something different. I do not look with terror to the future, but instead I am ready and willing to welcome it with open arms. High school will mark the termination of my old life, and my entrance into college will signal the commencement of a brand new one - full of all these chances, new experiences, and opportunities.

I have my experience at Cornell to thank for my change of opinion. I feel a huge weight lifted from my shoulders knowing I can survive on my own. This will make my final year of high school much more enjoyable, since I will not have to worry about crying every single day about leaving... because leaving opens a new set of doors I now know I can easily open.

I have loved my Cornellian experience in its absolute entirety, with no reservations or exceptions. Even the bathing and sleeping arrangements, I was okay with. Every bit of this journey has been worthwhile, challenging, inspiring, and, most importantly, beautiful. Speaking of challenging...

Today, Justine, Ramiah, and I took the infamous FINAL EXAM. Thankfully, our TA Des went over the material and the outline of the test very thoroughly, and so there were no surprise components when we received the questionaire. Justine, Ramiah, and I joined for the final time in our study group to go over the philosophers and discuss their concepts. As always, I found our meeting very beneficial. The power of communication is very powerful, indeed. On a side note: discussion is a tactic which has, for me, personally, proven to be extremely helpful. It is one thing to sit quietly in a room and memorize the material, but it demonstrates an entirely new level of knowledge and comfort to be able to discuss the philosophical ideals with outside individuals. It is, furthermore, a tactic which I have utilized during this trip, and one I recommend to all incoming Ivy Leaguers. An important lesson I learned while at Cornell: The competition from high school does not exist in a collegian atmosphere. You are, instead, to join forces with your colleagues, bounce ideas off one another, and share your knowledge.

The knowledge Justine, Ramiah, and I have shared throughout these past weeks, in addition to the hard, hard work we have put into this course, have payed off. The final was not bad at all. I will not know my final grade until I receive it in the mail upon returning home, but I do feel rather confident about what I turned in. All three of us also did very well on our Plato essays, so we are all crossing our fingers for a positive turn out with our final grades.

I do hope to receive a high mark on the exam and in the course overall, but regardless of what I get, I am walking away with so much more than I could have ever imagined or anticipated. I feel such pride in the fact that I was able to survive a college-level course, while at the same time being expected to fend for myself. It is rather intimidating in the beginning trying to keep up with the course work, while trying not to get too homesick and also attempting not to get lost in the entirely new environment. But I did it. WE ALL DID IT. And I believe in every single person who will enter this program in the future. The Ivy League Connection does an amazing job in scouting out the creme de la creme of each high school, and I know the program will continue to flourish just because of what it does for so many talented, deserving students. Once again, I would like to take the time to thank all those who have contributed to the enrichment of my education. I would like to thank the people who have made my stay here possible, because I am returning home a completely different person, altered in only the best way possible.

When I first arrived in Ithaca, I was unsure as to how I would take to this extremely rural location. I knew I'd enjoy my experience and I knew I'd be able to take so much out of it, but I wasn't sure I could see myself attending this university. But, oh how much can change in just three weeks! As I have mentioned in previous posts, every passing day at Cornell, I find myself more and more in love with this school. The girls and I actually took a campus tour this afternoon. (Finally, right? Haha.) Justine, Ramiah, and I have done much exploring, however, and we have heard many stories from currently enrolled students, so we did not see or hear much of anything that was too new for us. It was still an enjoyable experience. It was very long and the sun was beating down on us, but I think it was worth it. It provided me with an even more in-depth view of Cornell, and I loved everything I was told about the school during the tour.

As you all know, I am very much a city girl and I need my urban setting... or at least I used to. As my stay in Ithaca progressed, more and more I could see myself attending this school, but its rurality has always been a concern of mine. With the trip at its end, however, I have realized my love of this university far outweighs any issue I may have with its lacking hustle and bustle. If anything, New York City is a reasonable four hours away if I'm in a desperate need of a city-fix. With that said, I will most definitely apply to Cornell University. I have not found one thing about the institution I found disagreeable. The hills and the stairs are a bit much, but the gorgeous setting totally makes up for that extra effort in walking to class. Stanford has been my number one choice since I was a little girl, and it still remains at the top of my list. Cornell follows a close second. Not even second! More like a close 1 1/2, if that makes sense. A few days after my return home, I have a scheduled campus tour of Stanford. I took a two week summer program there last summer, so I am familiar with the campus, but I want an in-depth review from a trained tour guide. After that campus tour, I will be able to better weight Stanford and Cornell side by side and determine which is a better fit for me. More research is also in order about the strength of the programs I am interested in. As two of the top universities, however, I am sure that will not be an issue.

Tomorrow, Freedom and Justice will reconvene for the last time during our graduation ceremony. I am hoping I do not cry! This experience has been so wonderful, I hate to see it ending. I am also very sad about my roommate. She has quickly become one of my best friends, and going from seeing her every day and staying up late each night updating her to simply communicating via phone and computer will be a difficult transition. She does, actually, give Cornell another point in my Stanford v. Cornell mental list. Her first choice is Columbia University, and if I attended Cornell, we'd be in the same state! We've actually toyed around with the idea of what it'd be like if she went to Columbia and I went to Cornell. We agreed that if we got into our respective schools and decided to go, we'd take turns visiting each other. Natasha and I plan to communicate at least once a day, be it through texting or what have you. I feel like I am taking a part of her with me when I get back home. I have spent so much time with her, I feel like we have rubbed off on each other a little bit. Do you remember that culture shock Louisa talked about? We Californians say "hella," while east coast people say "mad." I have been saying "mad" so often, and just yesterday Natasha said "hella." I am going to miss her so much! But the possibility of our Columbia/ Cornell arrangement is so great. It sounds so perfect, doesn't it?

THIS ENTIRE TRIP HAS BEEN PERFECT. I loved my class, my professor, my TA, my classmates, my roommate, my RCAs, my dorm room, my new amazing friends... everything. Coming home will be such a crazy experience, because I feel so different from the person I was when I first left Hercules. The routine I developed while here has pretty much become my life, and resuming my Herculean lifestyle will take some getting used to. Especially the time difference! My sleeping and eating patterns will be so off. It will be interesting getting back in the California time zone. Though I am so very sad I will soon be leaving Cornell University, it will be nice to return home and actually see the family and friends I miss very much. Many updates are called for!

I hate to see my three week stay at its end, but who knows? Maybe I will return to Ithaca, NY in the fall of 2010 - except for a four year stay, as opposed to this way too brief three weeks. It's a great thought, isn't it? Gives me butterflies just thinking about it!

I hope you, my lovely readers, have enjoyed reading along about my daily experiences and the constant happenings while I've been here at Cornell University. It was such a beautiful journey, and I am so glad to have shared it with you all. I hope you have enjoyed the glimpses I have provided you with about my stay here. I know it is nowhere near as great as actually experiencing it all first-hand, but I hope it will suffice. With that said, I will end my blog. Thank you all for sticking it through with me these past three weeks. It's been one hell of a journey. And I will never, never forget it.

- xoxo, Julia.

P.S. Just a fun fact to end my blog. WORD COUNT: 2,069. This is officially the longest blog I have EVER written.

The Grand Finale

I am so happy, I feel very good about the final. Unlike the preliminary exam, on which Julia, Justine and I all chose different essay topics, this time we all wrote the same essay. It was not easy, but at the same time it was nothing I was not prepared for. I am very glad that I invested so much time studying. Since we got to read all of the material before coming to Ithaca, I was able to read more critically when rereading the text here. I was able to pay more attention to details because the concepts were not knew to me.

I also just spoke with my ta and learned that I got an A- on the final draft of my Plato essay. I do not think I have ever worked so hard on a single paper. I went through numerous drafts and lots of trips to office hours. I read and reread The Republic so many times I practically have it memorized, and I am so glad that it all paid off. All of our hard work paid off, because Julia and Justine also did extremely well.

This class really changed the way I approach reading. Never before have I had to look so critically at every single word and analyze its meaning. In AP language we did have to look closely at what we read and talk about what it meant, but here we had to put more thought and more personal analysis into it.I have also definitely learned to be a more aggressive student. I cannot wait to see how this translates into my work senior year.

After the final we had our last lunch at Trillium. On our way to the dining hall we all called our parents to share with them the joy we felt. Julia, Justine, and I have grown so close over the past three weeks, and I am very glad that we have done so. I have never spent so much time with a particular study group and I love the way we are able to focus when we need to focus; but can also have fun together. We have learned each other's strengths and weaknesses academically, and help each other based on that.

Then it was on to the campus tour. Mr. Crossley was at Day Hall waiting for us to arrive. After a short wait our tour began. Some of it seemed rather redundant because not only have we been on campus for the past three weeks, but also Professor Kramnick and other Cornellians have been telling us about life at Cornell. Nonetheless, I am glad that we took the tour. I did learn some new things. We got to explore parts of campus we have not had time to see, and it was really nice. One thing that really stood out in my mind was when the tour guide, Steve, was telling us about "Dragon Day." I have already heard the story from the presenters who come to California with the "Exploring Educational Excellence" seminars we have attended. The difference, however, was that we got to see the road they parade down with the giant dragon all of the freshmen architects build. It was very nice, although we have gathered lots of information over the past three weeks, the tour provided us with a very organized recap. It was also a great time to take pictures I had not yet taken. (It is rather unfortunate that I cannot upload them while here.)

I know that I have truly grown over the past three weeks, but I was rather surprised at how I grew. I thought that I would not miss home at all, but I have come to miss it quite a bit. I always saw myself getting as far away from home as possible for college. Do not worry I am not abused at home or anything like that; and I do not have bad parents. It's actually quite the opposite, and I am ashamed to say that it took three weeks away from home to realize how much I love it there. (Right about now I can imagine Mr. Ramsey, Mr. Gosney, and Mrs. Kronenberg's faces dropping; do not worry I am not set on staying in California either.)As of now, Cornell is definitely on my list of schools to apply to. Over the next couple months my parents, Ms. Kim, and I will be discussing and analyzing which schools will be the best fit for me; and after this experience I have so much more to add to that analysis. So far I have been the only one in the conversation who had never experienced college, but now that is slightly different.


*Ramiah

Reflection

As I look back in my journey, I am astounded that I have been able to complete a summer college course at an Ivy League institution: Cornell University. Most importantly, I am privileged to be able to study under the direction of Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy, who have been some of the best instructors I have ever had. I think highly of them simply because of their contribution to the class and their extended depth of knowledge about the hospitality industry.

Taking this course has allowed me to confirm with conviction that studying business is a future prospect I plan on pursuing in the fall of 2010. The Hotel Operations Management course has given me a window filled with insights about the management realm, and ultimately, has provided me a head for business.

To prepare students, including myself, for the world of work, Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy specifically have designed the course to emphasize teamwork and group projects. From the get-go, the Hotel School has always fostered group-learning style, which has prompted me to become a better leader. I, along with other students, have been tested all along during this three-week period to see if we can overcome challenges. After taking this course, I can say with assurance that I have learned how to share leadership, to play to another's strengths, and most importantly, to take on responsibility without necessarily taking ownership. These items, by far, are the tools that I have walked away with, and I plan on using them in my lifetime. For me, I believe it is necessary to apply and to utilize these tools. For example, I plan on executing my leadership and computer skills when I take over a school club this fall. This is just one instance, but I am positive that this will not be my last.

Furthermore, being at a college setting for 24/7 has prompted me to make my own decisions for myself. If anything, I must admit that this odyssey is a self-learning process. I have engaged myself with other school officials or representatives, as well as having the chance to meet other students from the East Coast and from countries abroad. Among some of the nations include China, Thailand, and Greece.

The chance of living a dorm life has proved to me that understanding people is key. Being in a household, filled with resourceful residential advisers and other talented students, has shown me what college is all about. The lengths that RAs travel (to put on special events and activities) have demonstrated to me that a wide range of people out there are willing to lend a hand and to take on positions of mentors.

During this three weeks, I have been able to better know my roommate named Remi Ojurongbe, who resides in Landover Hills, Maryland. She is studious, and as her roommate, I especially admire her patience and her flexibility. Having her by my side has allowed me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After this whole experience, I have more drive for myself as an individual.

Being a Cornellian and a Hotelie has been a wonderful thrill for these past few weeks. This institution has a large wealth of academic opportunities available. In addition to that, the Hotel School is populated with professors at large and passionate students who are willing to seek work experience and to demonstrate professionalism and maturity. I respect Cornell University for its well-recognized staff as well as its endless opportunities of preparing students to become innovators in whatever realm they decide to pursue. To describe the campus, I have to say it is modern meets passé, enriched with many, many long-lasting traditions.

Will I apply to Cornell University? At this point, I am still deciding on whether this may be one of the schools that I might add to my list of possible institutions. I will have to say it is rather unfair if I just completely rule out this university, but I do see the light in this school. How much do I see in this school and will it be enough for me to apply are indeed two tricky questions I cannot straightaway answer.

As a member of the Ivy League Connection program, I have worked diligently for my gateway to success. It will eventually allow me to have my foot in the door, be in now or later down the line in the workforce. I have always taken my academic career seriously, but this program has allowed me to set higher standards for myself and to take on other novel challenges. Having the chance to study at one of the most-respected schools in the United States has been incredibly rewarding, which has only whetted my appetite for more. All in all, I have walked away from this program as a sharper student with a keen eye for academic success. If this program cannot do the trick, then what will?

July 10: FINALLY!

After 3 weeks of mild confusion, academic growth and college experience, it is all over. The final began at 9:38am and by 12:08pm, I could finally say that I "graduated" from Professor Kramnick's Freedom & Justice course. I am so proud of our trio, and I also commend the Hotelies for all of their hardwork in the past 3 weeks. I'd like to place a little interjection in here before I say my final words. Minutes before beginning this blog, Julia, Ramiah and I ran into our TA Desmond. He happily let us know that we all received A-'s on our Plato papers. I am EXTREMELY proud of the three of us. He even told us that if we manage a B or higher on the final, we may receive A's for our final grades. How cool is that!? Now back to our day. As of right now, the 6 of us are in Olin Library making sure we complete our blogs before 5:00pm. After doing our daily duties, we will do a little more campus exploring, making sure we visit every last spot before tomorrow's afternoon departure.

This morning started with nervous butterflies, for it was our last day of class and the day we have been dreading: Final Day. While we spent many hours studying over the course of a week, high-achieving students like ourselves couldn't settle our nerves and believe that the final would be a cinch. After doing a last minute review over our last breakfast at Appel Commons, we made our last trek to McGraw Hall. Upon our arrival, we took our seats, grabbed our pencils, and hoped it wouldn't be too bad. To our surprise, it wasn't. We knew our concepts, and there was nothing on the exam we could not answer. I wrote so much that I required a 2nd exam booklet. Time wasn't too much of a constraint as well. All 3 of us had extra time to review our work and assure that it was the best we could produce. Again, I'm so proud of us 3 ladies.

After running out of McGraw in pure excitement, we made our way to Trillium where we met up with our Hotelies. We then made our way to Day Hall for a campus tour. It may have been a little out of order considering we've been here for 3 weeks, but I did learn a few new things about Cornell. For instance, on a outdoor stairway next to Olin, there are "musical steps." There are thousands of small rocks around benches that are meant to be thrown across a patio, which produces sound! Because I am in Olin Library right now, I cannot post any pictures or video. I promise I will once I return to my dorm after exploring. Overall, I was proud to say I knew a majority of the information presented during the tour. I've really come to know Cornell. I can even tell you a few myths if you'd like to hear!

This being my last Cornellian blog, I have been asked to reflect on my experience. In regards to my personal experience, I learned that I can handle being away from home, but I just don't prefer it. I love seeing Julia and Ramiah every day, but I miss those familiar faces at home as well. When I go off to college, I know that I will be just fine, for a few calls home always eases any hints of homesickness. All in all, I think my emotional state of being is just great, and I'm sure my mentality will carry on to my upcoming college entrance.

College is about working in groups. Luckily, I came to Cornell IN a group! High school is an individual competition, and I've broken that habit upon arriving here. I enjoy discussing concepts and ideas with Ramiah and Julia. It is a great way to reassure what you've learned and know what you're saying isn't made up (Sounds a lot like J.S. Mill, doesn't it?). I've also learned the power of TA's and office hours. There are so many resources for students on college campuses, and I found my experience here much less stressful thanks to those accommodations. I wish that this concept existed in high school, but I fear that students wouldn't take advantage of it like college students do.

Who would've thought that a girl who grew up in the public education system could excel in an Ivy League college course? I can assure you that I would have never thought of myself in that way a year ago. The class experience was a nice change. I found out that I enjoy college lectures much more than high school "lectures." I also enjoy discussion sections in that you have a TA who really gets to know you as a student. Desmond has been a great instructor, and I am certain that I will keep in contact with him this upcoming fall. He has great knowledge, and I will make sure to learn as much as I can from him, even when I return back to California.

The roommate experience isn't as pivotal as it is made out to be. Due to hectic scheduling, I hardly found myself in my dorm room, let alone in there at the same time as my roommate. When we were accommodating our room at the same time, we found that we had many interests in common. We're both looking into applying at the same colleges, and we both love certain subjects in school, i.e. math. I'm definitely going to miss accommodating a "mini-household" with someone of my own age, but it won't be too bad going home and seeing my family. I'm certain that Julie and I will keep in contact after our Cornell experiences.

Now comes the big question: Will I apply to Cornell? That's a difficult question to answer at this point. I love certain things about Cornell, but other ideas also exist that would prevent me from traveling across the country for college. I truly enjoy the "natural" feel of Cornell. I don't want to go to a college where it's building, building, building. I enjoy the trees, grass and wildlife. It's very comforting. I also like the resources here at Cornell. I'm never too far away from a library, a dining hall, or some sort of activity. I enjoy the small environment, but I also love bigger campuses. For me, bigger campuses = more to do. That's where I have a problem with Cornell. I feel slightly constrained. Ithaca isn't too much of an up and coming town. I enjoy nature, but I also enjoy balance. I find this balance prevalent in California, more specifically at Stanford, if you didn't already know. I also have trouble seeing myself at Cornell due to their academics. Cornell is very well-known for their business and agricultural departments. I want to attend a school that is known for their science departments, for I am certain that I will be majoring in some sort of science. Then of course, there is the weather. I don't think I could handle endless months of winter nor countless days of rain. I am one of those people who likes to stay indoors when it rains. Weather can truly bring me down. This is only a small factor in my college decisions, but it is a factor, nonetheless.

Overall, this experience has taught me what I am and am not looking for in a college experience. I've met amazing people, who I know I will keep in contact with for a long time. I've also strengthened my established friendship with Julia, and budded a brand new friendship with Ramiah. Upon returning to Hercules, all 6 of us will have been changed people. Hopefully, we will have the opportunities to enlighten our peers of the experiences outside of Hercules. Who knows, maybe students in WCCUSD will start to feel like, "Hey, if those 6 girls can succeed at an Ivy League, maybe I can too." If I can help in just that sense, I feel as if my job as an Ivy Leaguer has been fulfilled. Of course, I wouldn't be an Ivy Leaguer without the help of the ILC. For that, I can only say thank you. I hope that my experience and opinions will help this program thrive, for our district can only benefit from this program. Again, I cannot say thank you enough for this opportunity. I'm ready to take on higher education. Nothing's stopping me now, thanks to the Ivy League Connection.

Every ending is a new beginning

Ithaca is gorges! Hotelies are definitely gorges!

After a lightning-paced three weeks in up-state New York, I can proudly call myself a Summer Cornelian at last. I survived!

Truthfully, it was more than just surviving the summer program, I would like to call it "thriving". While we engaged in interesting hospitality lectures with Professor Reneta McCarthy and invigorating computer-related lessons with Professor Mark McCarthy, we also developed numerous life skills that will benefit us in the future. Therefore, merely calling this an exciting three weeks at Cornell would be a huge understatement. Although this may sound cliche or even vague, it does truly represent my take on this adventure: it is a once in a lifetime experience!

When I first heard about the Hotel Operations Management: Tactics in Profitability program, I didn't know exactly what to think of it. This was mainly due to the fact that I had no knowledge about the way the industry operated besides the fact of staying at a hotel once in a while. Now that I know how interesting the hotel industry is, I am glad I had gone with my guts and applied.

Throughout the course, we had various lectures and discussions regarding different types of hotels, various customer segments, demands of specific customer segments, way of catering to those demands, and achieving customer satisfaction/loyalty while still minimizing expenses and maximizing profits. Sounds like a mouthful, right?

Simply covering ground of an actual fifteen-week college course in three short weeks is an achievement, but I must credit our professors. Without Reneta and Mark and their engaging methods of teaching, I would not have learned nearly as much about any subject in fifteen days (weekends excluded). Their way of breaking down excessive amounts of information into easily understandable chunks permitted me to attain a lot of information about hotels, hospitality, and business in general. And to prove what I have learned in the past three weeks, each group wrote a financial report to analyze data from our CHESS game -- a virtual hotel simulation that enables you to operate a 250-room hotel. Here I have included a link to my group's financial report for the Le Petit Papillion hotel.

This summer college experience isn't all about acquiring knowledge pertaining to hotels (though it is a major portion of it), I also learned a lot about myself as an individual. Sure there were times when I couldn't get along with other students, times when I wanted to go home, times when I wanted to cry, but most importantly, I found a way to overcome those moments and be like myself. This shows me that I have enough strength to conquer what I set my eyes on conquering.

I must also credit a big part of my positive experience to my warm, kind, helpful new acquaintances, especially my roommate and my group mates. Although we had different opinions about certain things, the fact that we all walked away from our differences and tried to engage in similarities only made us bond together even more. Additionally, having the opportunity to resolve conflicts and to work through the ups and downs built our characters. We may all be different, but when gathered with a group of people who strive to achieve the same goals, usually the results are good. In our case, the results couldn't have been better.

Despite my initial impressions of Cornell University -- distant and isolated -- I have grown to fall in love with the college. I can now confidently say that I DO want to apply to this university for my post-high school education. At this point, I am not sure I will apply to the School of Hotel Administration but I do know that I would apply within the business or arts and science field.

Without the Ivy League Connections, I would have never had the opportunity to stay at an Ivy League college for three weeks. This is what I consider the best way to get to know a college. Take myself as an example, had I not had this three-week exposure to Cornell, I would most likely not apply to an expensive Ivy due to my first impressions. As the days passed, my first impressions proved to be more and more unreasonable as I found myself more and more attached to the school. Granted if I have a chance in the future, I would like to visit some more colleges before I decide which colleges I should apply to. I will need to decide which college is better fitted for me based on a campus tour which is clearly not the best way to learn about a college.

I can go on and on about my wonderful time at Cornell but if I were to sum it all up in one sentence, I would say that it definitely ranks amongst my best experiences!

I would like to thank every sponsor for caring enough to help make an incredible experience possible for students like me! Also, I would like to thank Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Knonenburg, Mr. Gosney, and Mr. Crossley for putting in so much of their time, effort, energy, and everything else they have given up just so we can do what we did! I am very grateful for having this opportunity and I cannot stress that point enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I agree with the proverb "Every ending is a new beginning" and I find that it is also another great way to sum up my take on this program. Being more aware of the level of student competition, getting a taste of college life, learning a load of useful information, and discovering more about myself are amongst the things I will take back home. Even though I am sad about the end of a great summer experience, I hope to apply my knowledge in helpful ways for both myself and the people around me. I feel so blessed that I will have another opportunity to do this next summer and I am already looking forward to that! Therefore, this ending isn't really an ending, it is in fact a growing experience that I have already come to appreciate.

Now I will go and soak up the last bit of fun before our departure!

So long,

-Yueming W.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Full Circle

Our last regular day of class... I can hardly believe it. Today was the last time we had to go to Appel Commons early to print papers, and we only have one more meeting for breakfast before class.

Our lecture today was on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Dr. King draws heavily from the New Testament and St. Thomas Aquinas in arguing that we do not have to obey unjust laws. The Letter from Birmingham Jail was essentially Dr. King justifying his actions after being condemned by fellow clergy men. X, on the other hand, is almost the exact opposite of Dr. King. He clearly advocated violence. These two thinkers are much like two from the first week of class: Augustine and Aquinas. They are not similar because of what they advocate, but because they are two individuals who took very different stances on the same topic. (For Augustine and Aquinas it was Christianity; for King and X it was racism.) At the end of the lecture Professor Kramnick pointed out that despite the time and topic difference, they were still asking the same questions.

It seems like we have been in and out of review sessions all day. I am nervous about the final, but that is just my nature. No matter how much I study, no matter how prepared I am, I always get nervous before tests.

*Ramiah

A Long Day Indeed

I do not think I have stared at a computer screen as long as I have today. Mr. and Mrs. McCarthy devoted just abou the entire day to our group final reports. All day, we have been comprising our analysis, creating charts, and calculating values to include in our final report. By the end of the night, we actually have 24 pages worth of report. Talk about so much paper and so much ink! We tried to print a copy of our report out, but once again, the printer acted up. We planned to take it back to the dorm and proofread it for tomorrow. However, now we are unable to. I really feel like we are hanging on a wire. I am confident in my group, though. Our group efforts, dynamics, and teamwork will definitely carry us to the top.

~Louisa

Rush hour traffic

Even though we had around 7 hours of office hours, working to finish our final group CHESS report felt like driving home in rush hour traffic. After a few hours, we came to realize just how much more we had to complete before we could call it a night. It wasn't that we were unproductive -- matter of fact, I felt more productive today than last time. There was just simply a lot of work to do.

Aside from the work, it was the last official day of class. Having only one light lecture today, the day zapped right past us. I do have comments regarding our lecture about behavioral styles but I will reserve them until a time when I can do them their justice. Right now, it is work work work.

Before Professor Mark and Reneta left the Bin Lab this afternoon, we all agreed to take a few quick photos to remember our last official day of class. Enjoy! [Props to my group mate Martha Glodz for taking the photos. She is also on a scholarship program from Detroit and her trip was also entirely paid for!]


* Picture with Professors Reneta and Mark McCarthy, Hotel
Operations Management: Tactics for Profitability, Jul-9-09

What style am I?

Try to recount the first blog that I wrote about my first day of class. Okay...it has been three weeks ago, so I'll spare you.

Weeks back, all the students had to take a character/personality quiz, and based on the results, it said that my behavior style was an Analyzer-Stabilizer with Analyzer-Persuader being my secondary behavior style.

Earlier today, the professors explained to the Hotelies the reasoning behind the allocation of each member to a group. For any group to thrive, there must be at least one Analyzer, Stabilizer, Controller, and Persuader. Thus, Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy used that idea to come up with the most effective groups.

Through this exercise, I was able to learn a great deal about my character and what kind of a person I had been all along. After watching the video, I was able to pick up some tips about myself (as an Analyzer, of course).
  • I tend to be a protocal-oriented person who is more on the private side.
  • I have more tools than there are available in a toolkit.
  • I like to provide facts, data, and history.
  • My primary thrust is quality, accuracy, and perfection.
  • My strengths include being thorough, comprehensive, and complete.
  • Unlike all the other types of people who "want" integrity, I like to be in integrity.
  • I have high standards for myself (but I avoid showing it on the outside).
  • I bring focus to quality control.

As I said in the previous post, taking this course has allowed me to kill two birds with one stone. If anything, this course is all about getting to know oneself and how well we can contribute as a teammate.

Until tomorrow,
Stacy

July 9: Our Last "Good Morning Professor Kramnick"

Good afternoon, loyal readers. As you know, we are nearing the end of this amazing trip of a lifetime, and I think I can speak for all 6 of us when I say that this opportunity is most definitely appreciated and will be missed. Before I lower my head in sadness over my nearing departure, I must focus on the mission at hand: the Freedom & Justice final.

Today's itinerary followed its normal pattern: breakfast, lecture, discussion session and lunch. Today's lecture centered on Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, two of my favorite writers from this course. I enjoy the history of the civil rights movement, and hearing different perspectives of the time intrigued me. During discussion, we spent a majority of the time discussing our final Plato essays and listening to Des' college advice. On our way to lunch, Des walked with our Hercules trio and told us about fellowships and scholarships he could refer us to if we were interested in pursuing philosophy. He also mentioned how he enjoyed having us in the class and appreciated the work we put in. Apparently, he has noticed immense growth in each of us. I'm very happy that we made Des proud. Hopefully, we've made our district proud as well.

Rather than have a guest speaker, as we usually do on Thursday afternoons, our class was offered a voluntary discussion section with Professor Kramnick following lunch (a discussion a majority of our class of 70 decided not to attend, surprisingly). Loving the opportunity to gain beneficial knowledge, Julia, Ramiah and I attended the session where we
picked Professor Kramnick's brain and asked about confusing concepts. I feel like I left the session with clearer ideas of certain philosopher's beliefs. The session has left me with a drive to finish studying for tomorrow's final and hopefully, pull off a praise-worthy grade.

Unfortunately, I must cut my blog short. Tomorrow's final is nearing, and I expect my best work to be put forth. Wish me luck!

The Last Full Day

Good afternoon.

I'm going to jump right into today's lecture, due to my extremely tight schedule. I want to inform you my blog today will be relatively short. Our final is tomorrow, and I have so very much to do in preparation. I will, however, provide a full report for you all tomorrow!

Today, was our FINAL LECTURE. I can't believe we've been here for three weeks already. Our very last lecture with Professor K was on...

RACE AND EQUALITY.
I. The Historical Background
II. "Separatism" and "Integrationism"
III. Martin Luther King: Love & Justice (1929 - 1968)
IV. Malcolm X: Nationalism and the "Strategic Dilemma" (1905 - 1965)

With today's lecture, we came full circle from our first discussion on Christ and the New Testament. There's a lot of "lasts" this week, and it's rather depressing!

On a positive note, our TA Des decided to reward his students for their hard work these past three weeks with a variety of cookies and juice. It was a nice, thoughtful surprise, and a wonderful addition to our FINAL DISCUSSION SECTION. At times, Des was so abstract beyond my understanding. It was sometimes frustrating because I felt like it was impossible to follow along with his graduate level thinking and so completely out there ideas. But I realized that he pushed me every single day. His opinions were always drastically different from what I'd think, and in that way I was constantly outside my comfort zone. But I was also exposed to such a unique way of thinking, I know I'm walking away with an entirely altered thought process and outlook. I learned to cease being so one-dimensional and narrow minded and instead always push my mind to look at all sides of a situation. 

Sometimes being uncomfortable is a good thing. New experiences are scary, but at the same exact time eye-opening and beautiful. That's exactly what this experience has been for me - eye-opening and BEAUTIFUL. I have loved every minute of my journey with the ILC, and I know the termination of this program does not in any way hint to the end of my gratitude towards all those who made my stay at Cornell possible. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. These past three weeks have, undoubtedly, been the most influential, life-changing days of my entire life. I feel like I have grown so much. And I have the ILC to thank for that. (:

Well, my dear readers. I must depart and attend to my final preparations before tomorrow. Wish me luck! I hope to make you all proud.

Take care!
- xoxo, Julia.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Las Vegas: the American Sin City

Las Vegas is like the adult equivalent of Disneyland.

That is so far my favorite description of Vegas.

Las Vegas is the American "Sin City" located in the middle of the Nevada desert. Did you know that despite its odd location, it is the most visited city on Earth? Did you know that the gaming industry in Vegas was mostly initiated by mobs? Did you know that many developments are still in progress even in today's economy? Everything about Las Vegas is intriguing!

For our class's purpose, we are relating the success of large companies in Vegas to the hotels and its casinos. Unlike hotels in other areas, the hotel casinos have more factors to consider such as how much money is the customer willing to gamble before deciding whether a guest should be accepted or declined. Whereas most hotels make majority of their profits from rooms, these hotels rely on the success of their casino counterparts to contribute a good portion of money to their bottom line.

Rather than having a lecture on casinos and hotel operations, Professor Reneta decided to approach it differently by allowing us to watch parts of a movie about the developments in Las Vegas since the very beginning. In addition, she also showed us some of the extra features from her Ocean's Thirteen movie which proved to be very educational.

When thinking about Vegas, the first thought that crosses my head is gaming and gambling, which both have negative connotations in our society. After learning more about it, I view the "Sin City" more as a location that sets innovative trends for the world and supports the most creative yet successful business strategies.

~Yueming W.

P.S. Since tomorrow is the second to last day of school, I believe I will be very busy. My group would need to finish all of our work for our final report tomorrow so I am uncertain when I will be able to blog. But I promise that I will blog!!

5, 4, 3...

Everything seems so routine now. When we got here things were so fresh and so new, but now our daily rituals are all established. During our to lecture this morning we were talking about how accustomed we are to Cornell's beautiful campus, and how plain everything is going to seem when we go home.

Lecture picked up where it left off with Marx's concept of alienation. There are four different aspects of it. 1) alienation from product 2) alienation from production 3) alienation of species 4)alienation from man to man (Do not worry, I will not try to confuse anyone by trying to further my explanation from yesterday. We did, however, have some very abstract examples in discussion today as we related workers to farm land.)

The final draft of our Plato essay is due tomorrow. I do hope that I do well, I have done my best to adequately map out Plato's critique of democracy, and to follow the comments of the TA.

After class we had our meeting with Mrs. Abbey Eller. She is the director of Cornell Summer College. She asked us about our stay here and our likes and dislikes. Honestly, my overall review was very good. I love my class, my professor, my ta, and my roommate; so I really had no complaints. There were actually two other young ladies who met with us, both of whom are in Freedom and Justice. The five of us unanimously agreed that we truly appreciate the study guides our ta has been giving us.

*Ramiah

After the basics

Since the professors have gone through the basics of hotel management, they have started to veer into a more fun direction. We had a continuation of the housekeeping lecture we had the other day today with Reneta as well as took a quiz on the weekend readings. Mr. and Mrs. McCarthy were not pleased with the scores on the last quiz so they decided to cancel that one out. I was glad. I have to be truthful, I was one of those students who did no do so well. I did some major studying for today's quiz and I am confident I will receive a pretty decent grade. In the afternoon, we began a small lecture on casinos. Mrs. McCarthy told us at the beginning of this course that when we get into casinos, things will be a lot more fun and interesting. I have to agree with her.

Hotel casinos have their own style, charm, and do not follow the same type of management as normal hotels. First of all, they are not ranked the same. They do no fall into scales of services such as upper upscale or midscale. I asked Mrs. McCarthy which category would hotel casinos fall under, and she explained to me that they do not officially fall into a category. However, if you were grouping them that way, they would be mostly upscale to luxury. They have to at least be midscale though since they proved food an beverage.

If I were to decide to work in the hospitality industry, I would choose to work in a hotel casino. Everything is so opulent and vibrant. There is always excitement in the air and everyone is there for the same reason, to have fun. Although, I must brush up on my poker hands and every other card game. Actually, I should really learn all the card games and work on my poker face.

In the evening, I went to office hours and worked diligently on the group final report. I am in charge of the rooms contribution statements. Once again, the microsoft software has challenged me again. To do the room contribution statements, or the calculation of revenues each room is contributing, there is already a sheet on Excel in which Mr. McCarthy set up. All we have to do is fill in our numbers on the expense sheet, which is also on Excel. The rooms contribution sheet refers to the expense sheet, so it basically does a lot of the work for me. However, I notice some errors. As I was comparing the data being calculated to the actual data on the CHESS game file, they did not match. For the entire two hours of office hours, I sat there playing with the Excel sheet trying to figure out what was wrong. I asked a TA for assistance and she was able to explain to me that they may not always match up. From there, I proceeded to just complete the sheet. I realized that most of it I will have to do calculations manually.

Tomorrow will be an all day work day for us. We will be working for 9:00AM to 9:30PM, with food breaks of course. It will certainly be a long day.

~Louisa

The Middle of the End

Good evening, my darling readers!

Today marks the midpoint of our final week in Ithaca, NY. How are you all feeling? I know I couldn't be more depressed! I've fallen in love with this campus and this experience overall. With every passing day, I am more and more reluctant to leave. But home IS where the heart is, and it will be nice to be back in my own bed! I guess it's bittersweet.

Today was the infamous "Penultimate Lecture." It was a continuation of yesterday's lecture on Karl Marx...

MARX & ECONOMIC EQUALITY:
V. Alienation
VI. Economic Determinism
VII. Superstructure
VIII. Religion and Patriotism
IX. Proletarian Consciousness, Revolution, and the State
X. Communist "Utopia"?

Discussion for the next few days is going to focus on studying for our 2 1/2 hour long final this coming Friday. 

After class, Justine, Ramiah, and I had a meeting with Abby Eller. She just asked us a bunch of questions on our experience here at Cornell University's Summer College. It was nice getting to talk to her on that personal level. We basically just told her what we've been discussing in our blogs - how we're taking to the environment, the abstractness of our class, how much we love our TA, Professor K's amazing lectures, and the overall experience we've had living in Mary Donlon and being on our own. It was a fun discussion. (:

I have two days and in that small period of time, I must complete MANY things. Our third and final draft of our Plato essay is due tomorrow, and so I must get started. SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE TIME. I will talk to you all tomorrow!

Take care and enjoy the remainder of your days.
- xoxo, Julia.

Casino Day

Shifiting away from the usual discussion of hotels, Mrs. McCarthy showcased many videos, featuring many casinos in Las Vegas, a.k.a. "America's playground." It was interesting to see how casinos came about, especially with its unconventional history. In 2007, U.S. commercial casinos earned $3.4 billion in gross gaming revenue.

Being under the direction of Mrs. McCarthy was just a breath of fresh air because it was nice to see her teach another field that she was knowledgeable in. Her flexibility was always a characteristic I admired.

It was super busy in the Hotel Operations Management classroom. All the students, including myself, had been prepping for the final project: the CHESS report. These days, especially during lab hours, students would start typing away. This final presentation would be our chance to make a lasting impression on our professors.

Busy, busy, busy.

Until then,
Stacy Chan