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.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 8: Wrapping Up

We've reached the middle of our last week at Cornell, and it is still hard to believe that we are coming to the end. I truly believe I will not hit me until I land at SFO on Saturday evening. While I am still absorbing my surroundings, I am excited to see some familiar faces at home. Till then, I must document every last Cornellian detail to my favorite audience.

Today's schedule called for its usual events: breakfast, lecture, discussion section, lunch and one last discussion section. Today's topic was Marx again, so unfortunately, there isn't too much to comment on! My favorite part of today was our 2nd discussion section. During the session, we split into pairs and were assigned a philosopher to fill out a worksheet on. I was placed with Conor, a rising junior from Indiana. We mutually decided to select Locke because we found him both interesting and easy to break down. We will be typing up our philosopher summaries and emailing them to Des, who will make packets of the philosophers for each student. It will be a great study guide for Friday's final.

After classes, we met up with Mr. Crossley to check-in and discuss Saturday's itinerary. Apparently, there was a small issue with our flight plan, but it was resolved and we WILL be in California on Saturday night. Following our small gathering with Mr. Crossley, Julia, Ramiah and I met with Abby Eller, Summer College's director, for a meeting. During the meeting, we were asked very comfortable questions, such as how we are enjoying things, what can be improved, and how we feel we have grown. Mrs. Eller is an extremely warm-hearted person, and I hope to keep in contact with her following my experience at Cornell.

Tonight's plans include the finishing of my Plato essay revision, dinner at Appel, office hours with Des, and the readings of MLK and Malcolm X. These will be our last set of readings, and I am very excited to finally read these historic civil rights leaders.

Mr. Ramsey posed a few questions in my last blog's comments, so I'd like to take the chance to answer them. On the topic of the East Coast, I'm finding the experience very different from California. This can be determined by just the lack of sun and abundance of rain. While the people are kind and motivated at Cornell, I appreciate West Coast life. Simply, I feel more comfortable in California, and this trip has reinforced that. I enjoy my faculty and fellow students, but I cannot see myself spending 4+ years on the East Coast. While these may seem like shallow reasons to prefer the West Coast, I have more substantive reasons for expecting to remain on the West Coast. I am very interested in attending a school that has specific, prestigious programs in biological sciences, or more specifically, environmental science. This is why I appreciate Stanford so much. They have a great integrated Bachelor's and Master's Degree program in Environmental Science. Aside from the great location and prestigious title, Stanford is what I'm looking for in terms of academia. Unfortunately, Cornell has no such program, so I cannot envision myself going here, even though I have learned so much during this opportunity.

In regards to homesickness, I think we've all felt it at one point or another. I miss my family and friends everyday, but I know that Summer College, during this three week period, is my priority. There is no doubt that I will be running to my mom and dad at SFO on Saturday, but I am absorbing every last Cornell second I have hear. I love home, but I love this East Coastern opportunity, as well. For that, I can only say thank you to all of my gracious sponsors and kind audience.


  1. Justine,

    I know that you all are pretty busy but maybe you can briefly explain what you’ve learned in this class about the difference between socialism, Marxism and communism. While many people would lump them all together, others see a clear set of differences.

    We all have our preferences about where we want to live and these are based on weather, local politics, the way people think about things, culture, the way people speak and an abundant host of other factors. These are all important when selecting a school, Justine. It’s never just about what’s in the classroom.

    Part of that perfect fit we’re constantly referring to includes these items. You’re not just going to this school for a weekend conference. You’re going to live there for quite some time so you need to be happy about that.

  2. Thanks Justine for the well reasoned post. Due to my busy schedule I am not in a position to comment to all the posts from yesterday. We also had a school board meeting last night.

    Applying to college is a difficult process. There is no rhyme or reason to the process and I am always baffled with some of the student rejections that I have witnessed during the past two years. You have a positive outlook on life and I am sure that you have a handle on what you want to do. I am comfortable with your decision to remain on the West Coast. I do however hope that you will expand your search. It is wise to be leave as many options as possible.

    Keep up the good work and I am glad that you had a great time at Cornell. Seeing your family is always a good thing and I am sure that they will be happy to see you as well.

    Take care.

    Charles T. Ramsey