Approaching the tail-end of my Ivy League journey here on the West Coast, I was able to complete the dinner function at La Folie in San Francisco successfully last night, and the experience was very new to the like of which I had ever experienced.
You see, I am not as familiar as preferable when it comes to extraordinary dining experiences. The very moment I realized that I had, not one, but two forks neatly coordinated presented in front of me, I could gauge the elegance of the place. For someone who is not accustomed to the petite by comparison experience of Denny's, La Folie was a step above and beyond.
Opening, student, and closing remarks were both entertaining and inspiring. I was gripped by the auditory grasp. The speech nicely bounced throughout the petite, yet lovely room, from all speakers: Mrs. K, Mr. Ramsey, Beilul, Irene, and even Don with the occasional chime-in. As long as nobody sitting was as confused as the waiter who consistently peaked into the room to assess whether or not we had finished our presentations, I feel as though all were able to gain from our intermission.
The food was incredible, unlike anything I had eaten in the past. I believe I was able to digest at least 3 different food sources than previously known. The fact that the menu was able to accomplish that feat, despite my tastebuds various objections, was impressive on its own. When I approached the food which I had tasted in the past, the delicacy reached a whole new fronteir. It was just delicious!
Most exciting about the night itself was the Columbia alumnus and Skyline High School teacher, Mitchell Flax. He was a huge insight. It was invaluable to question a primary source, so to speak. I felt as though our cohort asked some significant questions, and we recieved quite detailed responses. From fraternities, to extracirriculars, to academics, to the surrounding environment, I'm pretty sure our cohort could appropriately write Mitchell's college biography if necessary.
The largest realization on my behalf followed after I discovered Mitchell's current job, teaching 9th grade math. And, I was almost dumbfounded--but, not in a bad way. It just took an extra moment for me to process that information and form my own opinion addressing it. I had heard from many peers and aquaintances alike that Columbia's atmosphere--including its students--produced an offputting, superior vibe, as if the universal mentality centered around power, money, or both. And, before Mitchell, I was definitely conflicted with that university stereotype.
Columbia has been my "dream" undergraduate school for the past three years! But, meeting Mitchell and learning the ins and outs of how he got to where he is today allowed me to realize that maybe that stereotype was as most other social stereotypes are: flawed. While my ultimate aspirations lie within medical school and postgraduate studies, I do hope to find the time to become a teacher before attempting to become a doctor. Mitchell helped me figure out that it is perfectly acceptable to deviate from the linear patterns of society: a Columbia alumni does not have to be wildly successful, at least not within the immediate years of graduation.
All in all, Monday night was one of extraordinary venture, at least in comparison to much of what I have revolved my own personal history around. And, I am very gracious for such a generous night and the guarentee of better memories to be made as I continue my Ivy League journey.