Friday, June 26, 2015

Three Days Strong!

I awoke this morning at exactly 6:50 AM. I forced myself out of the welcoming warmth of my bed and then proceeded to wash my face with freezing water. In an instant, I became more aware of my surroundings. After a few morning push ups, I began to pack my luggage and prepare for the Amtrack ride to Philadelphia. By 7:40 we were already inside taxis headed for Union Station. 

Now for a train station, Union Station was beyond gorgeous. For some reason, I had expected some sort of run down building filled with the occasional cobweb. Union Station exceeded my expectations even before we entered the station. The architecture of the building is incredible. The buildings design combined the complexity of Roman infrastructure with today's modern design. Now the interior of the building was pure awesome. Part of the building's ceiling was glass, allowing natural sunshine to come in.
Entrance to Union Station
We boarded the Amtrak train after a short Starbucks breakfast. I found a nice seat next to a businessman once aboard the train. I would attempt to start a conversation at some time during the trip but this man was extremely busy as he had to handle phone conferences and respond to emails simultaneously. So I decided to pull out my book, Why We Lost, a General's Inside Account on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. After diving in to a few pages, I started to doze off for a bit until the rush kicked in from my morning coffee. In just a snap I was wide awake and going through pages like crazy! I then took out my phone and decided to indulge myself in the world of Internet memes.

Upon arriving in Philadelphia, we were all starving. Logically, we were in Philadelphia so we had to get the notorious Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. We found a nice place that served Philly Cheese Steaks so we decided to settle down. While we ate, our cohort was able to talk about the many controversial topics that surround society. We talked about the many issues surrounding society like gay rights, abortion, police brutality, religion, and  the use of contraceptives. Our conversation was really thought provoking and it felt satisfying to finally have an intellectual conversation with people my age.

Fast forward to one of the best highlights of my day: our UPenn tour.

We arrived at UPenn around 4:50ish and waited by the Ben Franklin statue for our tour guide and former ILC alum, Dyana So. Dyana is currently a UPenn student from Pinole Valley High School located in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (the same school district in which all our schools are located in, for those reading abroad). Dyana did an excellent job in providing us with information regarding UPenn's history and academic opportunities. Just like Georgetown, UPenn offers four schools for undergrad students: The College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Nursing, and The Wharton School of Business.

Aside from the wondrous academic opportunities UPenn has to offer, UPenn has a widely appealing campus. The green grass, the 18th Century architecture, and it's spacious theater all added to the beauty of UPenn.
One of UPenn's main buildings that we saw on our walk to campus.
UPenn's theater
Locust Walk
We met up once again with Dyana So and two other UPenn Alums, Michael Karam and Samantha Antrum, for dinner in a Mexican restaurant called Distrito. What a dinner it was! Not only was the dinner excellent but the people we ate with were truly inspiring. Michael Karam doubled majored in both Economics and International Relations. Samantha Antrum majored in Theater.We started our dinner introducing all of ourselves and what we do outside of the ILC. Once we started eating the UPenn alums shifted their seats with one another and I was able to talk with Dyana and Samantha. Dyana,Samantha and I talked about the transition from high school to college life in the UPenn environment and what life is like for a regular UPenn student. Once our dinner started to wrap up, we exchanged our goodbyes and a few good lucks, and as soon as we knew it, our day was done.

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