ECCT 3: How Harvard, Yet Evidently Emerson

          Today (or yesterday at this point) was more than the word eventful could define. After an early morning start and a gourmet quality Best Western breakfast, (they had little weenie sausages and everything!) we headed to Harvard. I had already been there once before on my previous trip to Boston and I remembered how Hogwarts-reminiscent and beautiful the campus was. Walking through Harvard was like a dream, with its massive brick buildings perfectly sculpted with gold and white detailing. This history-packed architecture was perfectly worn out by time and with the accessory of fresh green lawns and golden-cranberry colored trees, I knew I had to give the campus a 5 out of 5 star rating. I definitely think my favorite thing about Harvard is its campus, I have never seen anything like it before. Not only is the campus breathtaking, but it’s an absolute thrill to walk around Harvard Square with its vibrant and colorful atmosphere congested with passionate college kids and adorable shops and cuisine stops. College towns make me oh so happy. I tried to write some notes on Harvard, but I then realized it was a lost cause for me. Anyways, I still really enjoyed the tour, because it’s not just a place you go to in hopes of going there someday, it’s almost like a tourist stop in Boston, it’s truly an experience. Harvard has so much history rooted in its soil, heck there is even a huge underground library dedicated to a student who died on the Titanic! Well actually, him and his family managed to get on a safety boat but he z that all of his “valuable” books were still on the boat and he swam back to retrieve them, yet was never seen again. Well you know those Harvard kids! And when I realized that books meant more than life to these genius masterminds, I knew it definitely wasn’t the place for me, unless books meant book club meetings where you mostly ate cute little pastries and gossiped, and maybe got to talking about the title of the book we were supposed to be “discussing”. So after Harvard, I shoveled down an Italian Panini I picked up at a local Italian pizza parlor on a cute street in Boston with my friend Jenny in the little amount of free time we had, and from there we ventured to Emerson. I had no pre-conceived judgments or ideas about this school, all I knew was that it was very artsy and NYU-like which immediately attracted me. My tour guide Erin, and some other guy (sorry that seems really offensive to the other guy I promise he seemed cool too) inspired me so much. She is a journalism major, yet that doesn’t cover the least of what she is and what she does. Speaking of her experiences at the Inauguration, her interview practice for Hurricane Sandy, the many video documentaries she made and produced, and lets not even start on the amount of news casting programs and shows that she runs and stars in at Emerson. What I truly loved about this school more than anything, was the entire idea behind it being a student based school: FOR the students and practically run BY the students. I could just see from the way Erin talked about her major and past jobs and internships that she was truly driven. She discussed how the students who go here are all ridiculously passionate and dedicated to their interests; they take initiative and it takes them down roads they could have never imagined simply by one of the key ideas Emerson upholds: if you can think it you can create it. And with the amazing amount of equipment, outstanding studios and work spaces, and the internships and professors with endless connections at the palm of your hand, you can create anything from your own online fashion magazine to a news show for Emerson to even a student-made and produced musical! I love the idea of pursuing creative outlets and having endless opportunities for things like this, so that I won’t be stuck to focusing on one major. And while I am hoping to soon find this certain major that I know 100% for certain I will be passionate about, I need to still have time and opportunity to explore. The only questionable aspect of Emerson for me was the fact that it lacked a traditional, homey college campus. This makes me question the connectedness and family spirit of the school; am I going to find a warm environment of close friends and friendly faces all around me, or will I be stuck passing strangers as I walk through streets and alleyways to get to the “buildings” I call my school? I am still stuck on whether this whole college, but really independent preparation for the real world, lifestyle is what I want. I am certainly independent, but I still want to have the option to go to my school’s football games, or be in a very active sorority. I guess I will see if Boston University and Boston College, which I am seeing tomorrow, will help me get a better understanding of whether this is truly important to me or not. Now completely inspired by the dedication of Emerson students, I can’t wait to wear my new college sweatshirt I picked up there when I am a senior!

                After the tour, we lawlied through Boston Harvard and I realized how I was starting to know my way around the little area and it became a sentimental piece of Boston for me! We then, of course because how could you not do this in Boston, took the Duck Tour. I had been on it before, so it wasn’t anything TOO exciting, but I did get some really cute pictures and shared some really insightful discussion with Isabel and Danny. I feel as if just being near these colleges is giving me more brain cells! I mean who even knows, maybe I will become the next Elle Woods! After that little rendezvous, we got the freedom to go out for dinner again, and I had some delicious shrimp tacos at a really nice restaurant with all the girls. We were all in a wonderful mood and ran around taking pictures beneath the twinkling lights that draped below the trees. It was like a dream to me, I hadn’t had so much fun and freedom since France! I ended my day with a yummy scoop of Oreo Green Monster ice cream on a cone and sadly, the sun set. Well, if you could even say the sun was out today! It was ridiculously humid, yet cloudy, grey, and a bit rainy! Layers were not such a good idea, and tomorrow I am certainly cutting down on them. When we returned to our rooms, Caroline and I hosted a mini party in our room and our honorable guests included Serena, Taylor, Isabel, and Emma. We laughed until our bellies hurt from things over Caroline’s ridiculous battle wound on her ankle from a bad shaving experience, to our ridiculous conversations and attempt at getting the gum out of Taylor’s hair with peanut butter packets. A fun way to end the night, will a little help from my friends as the Beatles would say. I couldn’t be happier that I decided to go on this trip. And if you managed to read all the way up to this point, then congratulations because I just wasted a good 5 to 10 minutes of your time! I at least hope you smiled once. Goodnight, Boston.

                                                                    ~xoxo Ali~

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East Coast College Tour Entry 1

After the hectic whirlwind of adjusting to a new school year, juggling daily extracurriculars and club meetings and applications topped with homework and studying, it is nice to get a break away from it all, even if it means taking a trip WITH my school. I I popped out of bed bright and early (well not so bright) at 4:45 to leave for LAX and go on the East Coast College Tour. I have been anticipating it’s arrival since the beginning of school and to think that I am sitting on the plane right now is surreal! I am going with four good friends and am hoping to get to know some other people by the end of this adventure. The last time I had been to the East Coast was last spring break on my first trip to New York. It was like a dream to me, getting to experience the city I had longed to visit since I can’t remember. Before that, I had visited Boston with my family; I really got into the Bostonian spirit with my Red Sox baseball style tee and a 4 star view of all the cute Red Sox players strutting their stuff on Fenway. Today, I get to return to Boston as well as venture into Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and DC. I’ll know the East Coast like the back of my hand by the end of this trip! Well, that might be a hyperbole considering my sense of direction is as useful as a leprechaun with a pot of silver. I’m listening to some Franz Ferdinand and sitting next to two girls I don’t really know too well, but my friends are all in the surrounding seats so it’s not too bad, we even started a cool group chat over these fancy tv’s we all have in front of our chairs. We’ve been laughing so loud that some cranky old lady turned around and gave us a cold, cruel stare-down and I wasn’t sure if she was challenging us to battle, but we laughed at that of course as well. If you wouldn’t have guessed, I took all yesterday just to plan my outfits for each day. I surprisingly am going to make use of layers and repeating key pieces in my college tour wardrobe, rather than having a different piece of fabric on my body for each second of the day. But no need to fear, my suitcase is still packed; my fall essentials are fashionable but still sturdy and warm, I’ve got to be warm when walking through the nippy breeze of Boston while still looking chic! I have always seen myself going to some big city like New York right in the heart of where everything is for college, not some dusty forgotten state in the Midwest, it’s just not me. I am hoping that this tour will reinforce this view and that I can find some colleges to add to my list! These are the colleges I am visiting:

-Harvard (lets be completely honest we all know I am not getting in, I’m not even Asian so my chances are probably at best 1.4% and I’m not that professional anyways)/Last time I went I remember it being a beautiful traditional campus so I am excited to get the Harvard experience once more

-Yale (another school I am going to just for the fun of it; I am sure it will give me a chuckle to hear the average SAT scores needed to get into these schools compared with what I am assuming I’ll get)

-Boston College: apparently it’s a bit religious but I hope not/ equal amount of boys and girls/ 4 stars for social as well as academic so it sounds pretty promising/ good for English majors/ apparently used to be a party school but that’s fading because kegs and cases of beer aren’t allowed on campus anymore

-Boston University: big on internships and great student teacher relationship / most classes average 10-19 or even 20-29 students/ funky artsy neighborhood setting/ apparently good food court?/ campus events all the time/cool road trips and splash party?/ good studying abroad programs

-Muhlenberg: interested in their freshman first year advising team, senior experience program/ have good theatre and writing programs/ good student teacher relationship/daily bus runs to NY city, Philadelphia

-Wesleyan: small classes, good attention from teachers/ sounds like they have cool events like their 80’s party and even battle of the bands/ good music film and creative writing programs/ got 5 stars for education

-Lehigh: interesting academic curriculum: you can tailor your majors and academic programs across 4 colleges so I really like this idea/ believe the arts are valuable and so do I/ even number of men and women/ 4 stars for education and life quality and 3 for social so not too shabby/ hillside campus: workouts to class? Not such a fan of all the stairs at my school right now so yikes/ active greek scene/ big workload/lots of study abroad options/vibrant and eventful nightlife and it’s in the heart of the Lehigh valley plus they have  a really cool ten day musical festival and I definitely like those J/ $$$

-Emerson: in the heart of boston/ diverse population/ small classes so good teacher relationships also/ only 2 starts for social so we will see about that/ good theatre film and writing programs/ cool study abroad options/most parties are off campus and no greek life, but I think I would like to have the option of sororities

-Drexel: not much to say about this college yet, hopefully I will after I visit it!

-Georgetown: I have heard how beautiful the area around Georgetown with all it’s colorful shops and such, so I just couldn’t resist signing up to tour it, even if it’s a bit

I have nothing new to report except that I am ready to have the time of my life on this college trip! I’ll keep you all posted daily.

~xoxo Ali~