Friday, July 1, 2011

So Much To See, So Little Time

Today was another long day for the Penn Ivy League Connection group. It being our only full day in Washington, D.C. we set out to learn as much about the area as possible before our early departure for Pennsylvania tomorrow.

Our adventures started at Georgetown University where we met with Admissions Councilor Mr. Chamberlain. We talked with him about admissions and financial aid in general, as well as specifically pertaining to Georgetown. He also shared with us some interesting insight into what colleges look for in perspective students. He mentioned that many people automatically jump to the term "well rounded" when describing an ideal candidate, however the question he posed was, "Would you really want to go to a school full of well rounded people?" He admited that a diversity of experiences is helpful when applying to college, but assured us that specificity in focus was not something to shy away from. He was a very interesting speaker and it was an extremely valuable experince having a college admissions officer as a rescource to answer all the questions we had regarding the application process.

After our discussion with Mr. Chamberlain, we watched a very well delivered presentation on what Georgetown University has to offer. After that, we were guided on a campus tour by a very knowledgeable rising junior who attends the universtiy.

The impression I got from the college was that it fostered a very tightly knit community. The freshmen take their core classes together and are required to live on campus for their first two years, there is only one dining hall where everyone goes to eat and socialize. We heard about an amazing number of diverse clubs and groups. The average class size was also quite small, only about twenty-something. However, it seemed as though the college was more focused on social sciences, and of course being in D.C., politics and foreign affairs. As a science and math-oriented student, it was hard for me to imagine fitting in at Georgetown, however, learning about the campus was still an interesting and beneficial experience.

After Georgetown, we walked up to Wisconsin street past all the nifty shops and resturaunts in the college town. We stopped and ate and once again, had delicious food.

After lunch, we visited the Holocaust Museum. I was very greatful for the opportunity to see the exhibit. Coming from a Jewish family, I have been taught that being as educated as possible regarding past atrocities is the best way to honour those who suffered through them and to prevent them from happening again. In this way, the historical exhibits were very moving for me. Having enough information to begin to understand what life may have been like during the war was incredible. We were able to walk through an authentic train car used to transport prisoners to labor camps and get a glimpse of the terror they might have felt. It was a completely unique experience. I think it took us all some time to process because the taxi ride to our next destination was a little quieter than usual.

In an effort to see as much as possible of Washington, D.C., we decided to take an open-top bus tour as our final activity.

Apparently, these buses were not built (and the trees were not trimmed) with people as tall as brian in mind. In fact, some of the branches were so low we were all in danger of a branch to the face at one time or another. It really kept us on our toes.

From the bus, we were able to see all the major monuments: Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson as well as some very impressive government buildings such as the Capital Building, the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. These buildings were impressive not only in size but also as uniquely artistic architectual masterpieces.

We also passed the Federal Breau of Investigation which, despite its lack of artistic design, was very impressive in its own way.

Finally, with aching feet and rumbling tummies, we sat down to a lovely dinner. Although much less fancy than the previous night's, the people at the resturaunt we chose were very friendly and the food was still great. Plus, we got to sit outside and enjoy the hot weather that still hangs around even at 8:30 PM.

We walked home from dinner, managing to only take out our map once, marking the end of another very evenful day in our nation's capital.


  1. Julia,

    Your blog title says it all. Mr. Ramsey and I were discussing this when he called to wake me up this morning. Between the Holocaust Museum and the Smithsonian, you simply cannot do them justice in just a few hours. Sadly, this trip is supposed to be about the college experience ad not a vacation so the site seeing stuff has to be abbreviated.

    Brian (and even you) will go through life realizing that the people who design buildings and even clothing seem to be short pencil necked geeky type people who tend to ignore the rest of the world that are taller.

    Brian is significantly taller than I am but even as short as I am at 6'-1" I have trouble renting cars because the majority of the cars have roofs that want to crunch my head down or the top of the windshield is below my sightline. Major department stores carry clothing sizes that I grew out of when I was your age. Showerheads that are installed to wash my chest instead of the top of my head. The list goes on and on.

    But...on another note: cool bus. I wouldn't mind a paint job like that on my minivan.

    My own feeling about architecture is that if the structure is temporary and utilitarian then you can slap it up using the designs you bought online. But when it's supposed to be your showcase, try to make a statement.

    The architecture of the FBI building was overseen by J. Edgar Hoover who wasn't known for his flair. Long after the rest of the world moved into the 1960's and 1970's the dress code at the FBI was still stuck in the 1950's which made it pretty tough todo undercover work with hippies and radicals when you're sporting white socks and a crew cut.

    As much as I appreciate the photos of the food--and I hope you continue to post them--I'm baffled trying to figure out what some of it is supposed to be. I guess I'm just a basic eater.

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