Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lots of Blue

New York University is a peculiar institution. The tour I took was led by 2 current NYU students who happen to be RAs at the Columbia program. Though I knew before going on the tour that NYU, being an extremely urban campus, was not a good fit for me, I still wanted to check it out partly because of my curiosity but also because my best friend loves the school.

My favorite school in NYU is Gallatin, the school of individualized study. One of our tour guides, Nancy, just transferred into the school and really likes it. Many of the majors in the Gallatin school can be a bit unusual. One student graduated with a degree in “Keeping It Real” and another is studying “What does it mean to be human?”

The dorms at NYU are also supposed to be very nice. They are also mostly apartment style and include personal bathrooms.
Washington Square Park is the center of campus. It is a public park and often features street performers.

This is the Bobst library.
This is the Stern Business School.

All the purple areas on the map are NYU buildings (and there are many that are too far away to be on the map). The most surprising part of the tour was realizing how spread out NYU is in the downtown area.

This is Cooper Union, a ultra-selective school that covers all tuition of all enrolling students. The school specializes in only art, architecture and engineering.

This is a building designed by a Cooper Union architecture graduate.

We stopped at a street fair while waiting for the show.
The Blue Man Group is amazing. The show is very unusual and includes a lot of interaction from the audience. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.


I'd like to start off my blog today by looking at some of the accomplishments I've made this far in my trip. Though they may not seem that important, it's not just about the class here, it's about taking that class and also using it to develop you as a person.

#1. Laundry: I put this high on the list because I am very proud that nothing so far (knock on wood) has happened to my clothes while in the process of washing and drying. Yes, everyone can do laundry. But, this is one of the things most people are used to having done for them. So couldn't we call it the first step of independence? I would think so. If I want clean clothes to wear, I have to go down and wash them myself. It's also a part of time management that I never had before. I can get my laundry done in the morning before class or even during lunch when I can juggle properly.

#2. Procrastination: I am no longer a procrastinator, thanks to my professor who was set up a well thought out timeline to get our assignments in. Because she has a dead line for all three assignments I feel pressured to get the homework and paper done and therefore, finish it on time or even early. I feel like this was just the push I needed to separate myself from a regular high school student and a high school student who is willing to go beyond the expectations. Of course, in high school procrastination was my one true love. But, it looks like we'll have to go our separate ways.

#3. Dining hall food: Not many people think that the dining hall can teach you a lesson. I found a way it can. Before I left, I took my family for granted. I took the home cooked meals for granted and being able to wake up and have whatever I wanted to eat. That is not the case here. I have found a new appreciation (even though I've always had one) for my grandmother's cooking. Time management comes in here again because if you don't get up for breakfast, sorry my friend. There's a Starbucks down the street.

#4. The Subway: It's funny that before this trip, I didn't take being on time seriously. I mean, I knew that for certain things I had to not only be on time but early. The subway had definitely changed that attitude. It is really troubling that if I don't make it on time to the train, I have to wait forever to catch the next one. It's really taught me an urgency that I've never had before. This whole city has taught me this... At least I'm always at least 10-15 minutes early to my class everyday!

#5. Single suite room: Being by myself in my own room has made me become more independent. Maybe being dependent may have nothing to do with academics, but how can you really focus on your academics if you're dependent on someone else? If you're always home sick or waiting for someone to be with you 24/7? In order to take this opportunity and really consider going to school on the East Coast, you need to have some sort of independence. I feel that having a room to myself has given me that. Even if it is for only 3 weeks, it has given me the taste of being on my own. And I can confidently say that I believe in myself that I can survive out here.

After giving you 5 things this program in whole has taught me, these aren't the only things that I've noticed. The program still has a week left and there is a lot more that can be said about the amazing things this trip has done for me. I am convinced that Columbia is almost certainly the place to spend the four years or more after graduating from high school.

By the way, today we saw the Blue Man Group. A picture speaks a thousand words, but the one I'd like to start off with is AMAZING, followed by hilarious!

Work Hard Then Relax

Today was a very productive day. Not only did I manage to finish my paper, but I got to watch the Blue Man Group for the student rush price of $30.

After grabbing a quick breakfast right off campus with Milani, I returned to my dorm where I finished and proofread my paper. Having already started yesterday, I didn't make any changes to my thesis. Instead I spend the better part of the day supporting my thesis: the speech, racial or not, should be prohibited by the government if it presents a clear and present danger to society. From reading Irene's blog I learned that we're writing about the same topic, just taking different stances. While I believe that the government should have the power to regulate speech, which is supported by past Supreme Court decisions, Irene argues that because the first amendment says "Congress will make no law that...abridges free speech..." that the government shouldn't have the power to regulate speech. The one problem I have with Irene's argument is that, according to her belief it would be perfectly for someone to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre to cause mayhem. For society's safety government should be able to prohibit speech if it presents a "clear and present danger".

After I finished my paper, I used an hour of downtime to relax, eat pizza, and watch the last 30 minutes of a truly epic soccer match between the United States women and the Brazilian women with friends on my floor. While some find that soccer is a boring sport, I truly love to play and watch soccer. I found the game to be truly amazing because the Americans had led the Brazilians since the second minute, lost the lead due to a bogus red card and penalty kick, played a player short for 25 minutes tied at 1 until extra time. In extra time, two 15 minute halves, the Brazilians struck first and faked injuries over and over to burn time, which ironically brought their downfall. Because the several times the game stopped, the referee added three minutes of stoppage time in addition the second 15 minute half. In the second minute of stoppage time, as the announcer put it "At their death", the Americans tied the game with a brilliant cross and header, thus forcing the match to penalty kicks. Each of the five Americans converted the penalty and while the Brazilians missed one, sending the United States to the semi-finals.

Following the epic match, Milani, Beilul, and I went to watch the Blue Man Group. To be honest, I had no clue what the Blue Man Group was did. All I wanted to do was see a show in New York City for a reasonable price. We left at 6PM and student rushed for discounted tickets. Not knowing what to expect, I was surprised to see the variety of acts the group performed. Not only did they play a variety of drums, but they were quite good at acting, and very audience friendly. It was very cool to see the RA that took us to see the show, Ashley, get picked out of the crowd to participate in an act. While she claims that she had no clue what she was doing, she deserves kudos for following along, and at times joining in on the jokes.

After a really productive day, I'm ready to sleep and wake up fresh for tomorrow! It's hard to imagine that this time next week, I'll be back at home in Hercules. Man does time fly!


It's a topic I've always thought about, but never talked about, until about an hour ago.

There was an intense discussion in the sixth floor common area. I heard a lot, and I thought a lot, and I talked a lot. It was interesting, and it seems as though my thoughts and words seemed to differ from that of almost everybody else's in the room, initially anyway.

Anyway, I'd like to share some of my musings on the matter here. So, I will!

It amuses me to hear it in popular context. I mean, what people adhere to the definition of perfection, what people tend to define it as, is ridiculous, in part because it doesn't exist. That guy--or girl--who is absolutely the best at everything he or she does and doesn't do does not exist. So, in that ridiculous context of perfection, I firmly disbelieve in such a thing.

But that is not to say that perfection doesn't exist entirely. It's around. It's around more than you, or I, or anyone would imagine, really. And, that's because it's all mental. Our perception is perfection, so-to-speak. What we see vs. what we don't see or do not want to see is the existing context for perfection. I'll elaborate.

Matt, the guy who is the star quarterback of the football team, the guy who dates the top cheerleader, the guy who takes the hardest courses and gets the best grades, the guy who has the most friends and the least enemies, the guy who isn't afraid to give the homeless an extra dollar, the guy who has the most terrific charm and soothing presence, the guy who can out-debate anyone whom so chooses to challenge him, the guy who can can sing, and dance, and act, the guy who can draw, and paint, and sculpt, and craft, and color, the guy who can write, and script, and think critically, the guy who always gets the interview, the guy who always gets passed the interview, the guy who is always at your side when you need a hand, or a shoulder, or a tissue, or a buddie, the guy who does everything first and does it well, the guy who beats you at everything, is fictional. He doesn't exist.

Matt, however, the guy who is the second-string quarterback of the football team, the guy who dates a cheerleader, the guy who takes some challenging courses and has a 3.5 g.p.a., the guy who has a lot of friends and a few enemies, the guy who sometimes isn't willing to share an extra dime for the another on the street, the guy who is calming and attractive to talk to but that sometimes says things he doesn't mean, the guy who can talk well but doesn't win every argument, the guy who can sing in the shower and dance in his room and act in a classroom skit but cannot perform on stage, the guy who can draw and color pretty well, but is terrible at painting, and sculpting, and crafting, the guy who writes decently but could definitely benefit from his English teacher still, and can script, and think critically, the guy who always gets the interview, the guy who doesn't always land the job, the guy who is there for his best friends but not too reliable to those whom he doesn't exactly associate himself with, the guy who does everything second and sometimes is the best at it, is real. He does exist.

It's actually really contradictory to think of perfection as imperfection, but it's definitely more accurate to think of it as such.

So, I guess, perfection, to me, is the ability to see past one's faults and praise one's strengths. And, with such a personal definition, someone will be perfect or imperfect on varying levels, depending on who you are evaluated by.

My point, nonetheless, is that perfection exists, but not in the modern-day sense.

Do I view others as perfect? Definitely. The people closest to me are all perfect in one way or another. Andre is the perfect guy to tell a joke. Jorge is the perfect guy to get involved with an issue. Jaymz is the perfect guy to give you a chance when no one else will. Melvin is the perfect guy to talk to about your worries, problems, and afflictions. Barbie is the perfect girl to uplift your spirit when you can't seem to do it yourself.

Am I viewed as perfect? Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on who's viewing me. But, am I perfect in at least one way to at least one person? Definitely, as is everyone else.