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Saturday, July 11, 2015

We Are Here for Business

We have almost been in the dorms for a week now and I can't believe how fast time has passed. According to Summer Discovery, every Saturday that we are here, they will take us to outings such as Hershey Park and Jersey Shore. We were suppose to go to Hershey Park (amusement park) today but Mr. Hillyer picked the cohort up today to go to New York City to tour Columbia University. I was excited because it will be my first time in New York. 

I woke up at 6:20 AM to get ready for the trip and met up with the cohort at 7:00 AM. We met at the nook which is inside the gate of the Quadrangle (Quad). Due to the time constraint, we had to take a taxi over to the Amtrak Station-PHL, which is located on 30th Street. 

Mr. Hillyer walked quickly to the entrance leading to the Regional Line trains and bought out tickets for us. He said that Amtrak is much more expensive than taking the regional train to New York. We immediately went to go find our train and as soon as we boarded, the train immediately left. Since we have to transfer to a different train to go to New York, we stopped at Trenton, New Jersey and got breakfast at McDonalds. After getting all our orders, we only had one minute to catch the train that goes from Trenton to New York City. We sat and ate all our food on the train and then transferred to other seats because we were sitting on seats that were reserved for the disabled. I sat next to Justeen and talked about the things we did in the classes we were taking. Our whole train ride from start to end was about two hours. 

Immediately after getting off the train, we went over to the ticketing booth and Mr. Hillyer bought us Metro cards which contained $10. This was enough money for us to use for the rest of the day. We took the Metro subway to Columbia University and it took us about twenty to thirty minutes to get there due to construction underground. By the time we got there, the info session was already over but there was still a campus tour. We decided to join the campus tour group and explain our situation with them. The tour guide gave a lot of good advice about the admission process and about how to chose our dream school. He said that if a school asks us to write a 2,000 character essay focusing on why we want to attend the school and we can't write it then it's probably not the best school we should go to. I don't have a dream school so I thought that this was a great way for me to find colleges that I am really interested in. Regardless of everything that has happened, I am considering about applying to Columbia University. 

For lunch, we ate pizza at a pizzeria near Columbia University. The slices were huge and the food was alright. After we were done, we crossed the street to reach the underground subway station. I thought that the subway station in New York City was much more cooler than the one in Philadelphia. We got off at Central Park and walked across it. Although we didn't do much sightseeing, I thought that the park was gorgeous and reminded me a lot of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. People were sun bathing in the sun on the grass there and on other places of the park, people were holding live performances and would invite the audience to join them. I thought that this park was very diverse but I didn't see any play structures or anything for kids to play. Perhaps play structures were in different parts of the park. I thought that this park was more adult friendly than kid friendly. 

We hopped on the train to Brooklyn next so that we could see the famous Brooklyn Bridge. We walked up all the way through the Brooklyn Bridge. Occasionally, we would stop and go towards the right to take pictures of the view or ourselves. On the bridge, we could see Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, and Brooklyn. It was amazing to see that everything that defines New York could be seen at a distance from the bridge. After getting across the bridge and the walking traffic, we were able to stop at a park and sit down for a couple of minutes. We saw a statue of a man, William Jay Gaynor, who served as the mayor of New York from 1910 to 1913. 
The famous Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge!
Times Square
When our break was done, we had to cross the street again to get to the subway station. Time Square was our last stop. Many of us slept on the ride to Time Square and were exhausted from the heat and the walking. When we tried to look for a place to eat, it was full so we were left with no choice but to turn Penn Station in New York to go back and eat food. 
At the station, Mr. Hillyer bought snacks for us so we could eat it on the train. Getting onto the train was difficult because there were a lot of people. Everyone was rushing to get onto the train so they pushed and shove. Luckily all of us were able to get on the train and our ride home was as smooth as silk. There were no problems on the way. 

Mr. Hillyer bought us some hamburgers after we arrived in Philadelphia. We went to a restaurant called "Shake Shack". I ordered the smoke burger which included bacon, patty, and cherry peppers and also a caramel shake. This was by far the best burger that I have ever eaten. It's was juicy and there wasn't a lot of sauce put on it, which is how I like it. Unfortunately for us, I believe that the area is out of our boundaries so we can't go outside the borders. Mr. Hillyer walked us back to our dorms and signed us back in. We were sad that our adventure today ended so fast but at the same time, we were all too exhausted to talk to one another. 

Tomorrow is Sunday so I will go to church to attend Sunday Service and then the shopping trip that is provided by Summer Discovery. I can sleep in for a little bit tomorrow and hopefully I will have time to revise my blogs. One week down, two more weeks to go. Time flies. 

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