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.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Final Four

With the approaching termination of our third and final Tuesday in Ithaca, NY, the countdown to our departure rests at 4 days. What a shame.

Today, we had part one of a two-day lecture on Karl Marx. The reading was rather thick, so we need two days to completely cover all the arguments he addresses in his argument. The outline is as follows...

I. "Socialism" Before Marx
II. Marx's Life and Times (1818 - 1883)
III. Industrialism and Factories
IV. Locke, Labor, and Surplus Value
V. Alienation
VI. Economic Determinism
VII. (Etc. Tomorrow)

We were only able to get to "IV. Lock, Labor, and Surplus Value," and so we will get to "V. Alienation" and beyond tomorrow. Marx was an interesting read, because his argument differed from the other philosophers we've been reading in one major way. The past people we have worked with have all founded their argument on politics, but Marx's rested on an economic foundation. As for my opinion on equality? It's a very broad question which could extend into a huge debate and discussion. With all these different definitions of equality we have being thrown at us, it is hard to narrow it down to one simple definition. I have not been able to think of my own view of equality in enough depth to provide an adequate answer to that question, but it is something I will definitely think about post-Cornell.

We had our fifth and final guest lecture today from an attorney fighting for the marriage of same sex couples. We also learned that our final would require us to make connections between our guest lectures and the main themes of the course. This will prove challenging, but I plan to get in as much studying as possible between now and Friday. In the mean time, I have my third and final draft of my Plato essay to work on. All these finals! It really is depressing. I'm going to miss Cornell more than I ever expected to. With that, I must conclude my blog and being today's work load. I will talk to you all tomorrow.

Enjoy your afternoons.
- xoxo, Julia.

P.S. The rain is back. It looks like Ithaca refuses to shine for us for more than a day! It's been pouring on and off all day. Hopefully the weather will clear up a bit before we leave. Pretty weather makes it so much easier to wake up in the morning, walk the fifteen minute walk to lecture hall, and climb that sixty three stairs up to discussion section. (Yes, I counted. That does not even include all the stairs in our dorms, the stairs walking back from class to our rooms, and all the random other staircases in between. Cornell seems to have an obsession with stairs!) Anyways. Let's stay hopeful for the sunshine. Until next time!


  1. Julia,

    You’re schedule is full for the next couple of days so it would be unfair to ask you to tell us about your views on equality. After all, as you pointed out, “It's a very broad question which could extend into a huge debate and discussion.”

    Here’s a suggestion for you, though, you have a lengthy plane ride home so rather than sleeping or coming up with idle chit chat with your seat mate, perhaps you can draft that one last blog delineating your viewpoints on equality. I’m sure that I’m not the only one that’s interested.

    And at the same time, it might help you to come to terms with your own thoughts on the subject.

    Give it some thought, won’t you?

  2. Julia,

    I have really enjoyed reading your posts. I can tell that you have gotten so much out of being at Cornell. Even though you say you are a "city girl", I can also tell that you enjoy being challenged and learning from the best. The Cornell faculty has shown you that being around the best may trump the need to study in an urban area. I am glad that you are taking a mature approach to your college selection process.

    Too much is made of urban versus suburban. The reality is that you need to be in an environment that is going to challenge you and get the most out of your talents. You have a lot of talent and you have the chance to do something dynamic when you move onto college.

    What I hope is that you pick a college that gives you a chance to be on the big stage. Stanford and the Ivies give you that opportunity. You are very talented and have a chance, but remember these schools are highly selective and you need to keep working as hard as possible to put yourself in a position to make this happen.

    Remember to thank both your TA and your professor before you leave. Give them a nice thank you card at graduation on Saturday. Let them know how much you appreciate all the hard work and advice that they gave during the past three weeks.

    Yes, this particular class is coming to a close. You got a lot out of it and you will have what you learned for the remainder of your life. What you need to say to yourself is that can I see myself in this environment learning for the next four years. Only you can answer that question, but I see that at least for one summer, you had one helluva time.

    Take care.

    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District