Monday, July 13, 2015

Bulldog Riding With the Army Black Knights

College. College. College.

Today I had the most amazing opportunity to visit two of the most renowned institutions in the world. Both colleges are home to America's most intellectual minds and offer the most unique academic experiences that can suit any student. Sounds like a dream right? Nope, it's Yale and West Point..

The day started off with a trip to Yale University located in New Haven, Connecticut. The required meeting time was early- too early. By 6:25 AM I found myself hastily dragging my feet to Alma Mater. I was cold, tired, groggy, and a bit frustrated about the fact we had to meet so early. Once everyone was accounted for, the RA took us all towards the subway station to get downtown.

After some breakfast, we walked down towards Grand Central Station and boarded a train bound for New Haven. 

Upon arrival at New Haven, we were greeted by the sweltering heat that just pounded us from out of nowhere. It wasn't a long walk, but it felt like it was due to the baking heat.  But the walking soon paid off once we arrived on Yale's campus. We were first sent to Yale's visitor center, which looks nothing like an office space since it literally is a house. The campus is nonetheless, extremely alluring. The old fashioned architecture, the sprouting trees, and modern walkways all contribute to the beauty that is Yale University.

Former president of Yale University, Theodore Dwight Woolsey, and his "lucky" left foot.

The Women's Table, designed by the same woman who designed the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC.
After our Yale tour, I headed back towards the train station early with my friend, Ryan, and his group of friends. We decided to catch the 1:45 PM train back to Grand Central, Halfway there, the time read 1:39 PM. In a panic, Ryan stated that we were running the rest of the way if we were going to make it on time. The group got in a brief argument but when the clock ticked 1:40, we booked it. We sprinted through busy sidewalks and then through the terminal. Luckily, we made it just two minutes before the 1:45 cut off time! On the train, I texted my Uncle Jimmy and asked him if he was free and willing to go visit the United States Military Academy.
Upon our arrival at Grand Central Station, I said my goodbyes to my newly founded friends and parted ways. Uncle Jimmy and his wife, Grace, picked me up outside of 42nd Street in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. After some brief introductions, we started our one hour drive to West Point.

West Point's Newspaper
West Point's campus beats Yale by a long shot. Sadly, I wasn't able to take many pictures since my phone died, but that doesn't mean that I couldn't enjoy the beauty of West Point The campus is located in a really quiet area surrounded by trees and forested land . The Hudson River runs by West Point's campus, creating the most peaceful and gorgeous view. As I walked around campus, statues of the greats (Douglas MacArthur, Sylvanus Thayer, Dwight Eisenhower etc.) stood prominently on the school grounds as a reminder to the cadets of the legacy they're apart of. It was these statues and paintings of these men that made me aspire to be like them. To aspire to achieve their kind of success and to be able to serve based on the ideals of Duty, Honor, and Country.

Eating the sadness away
Visiting my dream college really took a positive toll on me. I told myself that this is where I needed to go, not where I wanted to go. Seeing the multiple statues and paintings of generals and former West Point alums only inspired me to work harder and strive for more than just a regular college education.

Prior to going back to Columbia, Uncle Jimmy, Grace, and I head towards Shake Shack for dinner. Besides a greasy gut busting dinner, we had a great conversation about career plans. I told them the main reason why I wanted to go to a military academy was because I wanted to take advantage of the free tuition and not put all that financial burden on my parents or myself. I told them that among all the colleges that I've visited, Georgetown really exceeded my expectations and was definitely on my college application list along with the military academies. 

Once I got back to Columbia, I met up with Izabel and Alyanna to get fat by getting some ice cream. Oh boy was it amazing, Ben & Jerry's really does a fantastic job in nailing weird flavors (banana and peanut butter for example). We were able to catch each other up on today's events and reflect on our past two weeks.

Wow, I can't believe it's been two weeks, it feels like it's been months. With two weeks down, the final test stands, this week is gonna be a week filled with nothing but hard work, I can already tell. But that's what I came here to do, and that's what I'm gonna do.

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