Thursday, July 7, 2016

Making Memories at Emory

"Just five more minutes..." Five minutes later, it was 7:30, exactly fifteen minutes before we had to meet up downstairs. Time really flies when you're in a soft hotel bed with warm blankets and a mountain of pillows. Anyways, I arrived downstairs a couple minutes late, but not blatantly tardy, ready to start our first (and only) full day in Atlanta.

Our first stop of the day was Emory University, which I had heard was a phenomenal school from last year's Vandy cohort. I was a bit hesitant, since I hadn't heard much about Emory's engineering programs, but decided to review the school as a possible school to apply to anyways. We stopped by a Starbucks for a quick breakfast, and headed to the info session.

At Emory...I was happy to be there on the inside, I swear.
Our information session was hosted by Ms. Ally Paauwe, the admissions officer for New England. She was very thorough in her presentation; I couldn't think of anything to ask her afterwards. One topic that was covered was Emory's dual degree engineering program, which really piqued my interest. Apparently students participating in this program study for three years at Emory University, and then go to Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) for two more years for a total of two degrees. This got my attention immediately, since Georgia Tech is one of the top engineering schools in the country. However, it's not really a school that I'm really considering applying to, since it's a public university. But Emory's dual degree program could offer something special to me: a liberal arts education followed by specialization in engineering, both at some of the US's best schools, over the span of just five years. There were other unique aspects about Emory that were covered, like the Oxford campus located outside of Atlanta exclusively for freshmen and sophomores, which are now pushing me to seriously consider applying here this fall...but I'll have to marinate on it for a little more.

Following the info session, we had a campus tour, led by Ms. Maddie Clifton, an alumnus of the university. Walking in the muggy heat was a drag, but Maddie kept it pretty interesting, providing random facts, as well as personal insight into campus life. While I felt like Emory University lacked a culture that truly stood out compared to other schools I've seen (the school's 2nd mascot, an all-powerful, mischievous skeleton named Dooley, was pretty cool though, I'll admit), I really liked the campus's atmosphere. All of the buildings looked near brand new, everything was clean, and there were trees everywhere.

This nice mural was the first thing we saw inside the Center.
After the tour and lunch, we went to Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta to explore various museums. While Mom, Jahnvi, and Edward went to the World of Coca-Cola (Coke seems like a huge thing here - they have a museum, they funded the construction of the newer Emory campus...what'll happen if they find out I like Pepsi...?), Jackie and I went to the Center for Civil and Human Rights. My time there was a roller coaster of emotions - indignation and disbelief at segregation and racial violence from the last century, to hope and inspiration from the speeches and actions of leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the exhibits was a replica of a lunch counter, complete with bar stools. You were supposed to put on headphones, which played audio emulating conflicts from the sit-in campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Listening to voices degrade, threaten, and intimidate me while there were sounds of a violent struggle in the background really opened my eyes to what conditions were like back then.

Edward has found another of his kind...or has he?
At around 4:30, Jackie and I met back up with the rest of the group and we spent the rest of the afternoon at the aquarium, which was surprisingly large. It was nice to relax by looking at whale sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, and more. Finally, we finished up the day with dinner at a nice Italian restaurant, Marcello's. The owner was nice, the food was shmackin', and we ate while watching the international hot dog eating contest.

Today was a good day for me. Any day where I can find a new perspective to look at things from is a good day. I hope that I can continue the streak tomorrow!

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