Monday, July 10, 2017

Is Balch haunted?

J'nai is so great and  beautiful, inside and out.
I woke up at 7AM today to prepare my presentation one last time. Sonali, Steph, and I would be speaking on behalf of Humanitarian forum Yemen, a group of local NGOs addressing human rights violations in the region, to the “Security Council” (TAs and professor Brundige). I arrived at class early so that our group could have plenty of time for last minute preparations and adjustments.

My walks over to the law school are great. Usually, I spend the time listening to music. Today, I settled on Instrumental Central Asian tunes. They reminded me of home and helped ease the anxiety that I had about presenting in front of the whole class. Usually, public speaking doesn’t affect me to this extent. All I could think about was the fact that these were accomplished, intelligent individuals that I wanted to impress. It’s silly that I consider peoples opinions of me so important, but it shows exactly how much I have learned and been exposed to these past two weeks. My classmates come from various backgrounds and are diverse in many ways, especially in the way that they think and process information. These students have taught me a lot more than I could ever learn anywhere else.

Studying at Statler
Our group was among the first to present. I managed to do pretty well, I think. I certainly didn’t stutter or break down as much as I thought I would.  We spoke about our concerns regarding the situation in Yemen and immediate and future actions that should be taken by the international community. I was in charge of discussing the future actions and insisted that the implementation of shelters for women, educational facilities and opportunities, and vaccination campaigns be prioritized. Overall, our presentation went smoothly and we were prepared for questions asked towards the end.

Pooja's waffles!! She deserves 
a Nobel Peace Prize for these.
Presenting took up most of class time. It was interesting hearing everyone’s perspective on the atrocities and ways in which we should deal with them. I felt a little bit bad for the students picked to be ambassadors for Saudi Arabia and the U.S in this activity. I wouldn’t want to have to justify or explain the war crimes and alleged torture carried out by these nations. Some of the representatives for Saudi acknowledged the crimes and said that they would ensure that victims were compensated. I’m quoting my professor when I say, “If only the world was really like that.” If only Saudi’s government was like that.

We ate at Trillium and headed to Statler lounge afterwards to study. It was spacious and air-conditioned, both huge pluses. I had the chance to read some of the assignments we had been handed today and work on my blog. Our professor sent out an email informing us about an admissions application workshop for Cornell being held at Uris Auditorium. We spent an hour there, as did many other summer college students, learning about holistic admissions and how to master essay writing and the application process. I’ll admit that I was just a tad heartbroken when the officer described journalism as not as great and developed of a choice offered here at Cornell. Who knows, my career interests may change in the next year, but as someone looking into that field, this simple fact disappointed me.
Sultana in the Balch lounge.
Let's be honest, that smile melts your heart.

I was very grateful for having attended the workshop. We were shown actual examples of essays and provided with a do’s and don’ts list. It allowed me to learn a lot and gain insight into what works and doesn’t work. In particular, we learned that badmouthing and using fancy words would not help with these essays. The admissions counselor mentioned that a lot of the times they too have to check up the words used in a thesaurus. All in all, I was excited about working on my college application after having heard all of that. I felt prepared more than anything. Maybe this won’t be the case when I actually do start the process, but at least I have even more background knowledge and skills to assist.

On the way back to our dormitories, J’nai and I hugged it out and listened to classic Disney music such as ‘Prince Ali.’ I’m going to miss this girl so much after she leaves for Brooklyn. She’s truly genuine, sweet, and smart and I love her so much for that. The world is missing out on people like her.

J’nai and I arrived at dinner a bit later than everyone else. We decided to stop and take our classmate Wendy’s reaction experiment test before heading upstairs.

Cornell Crew
Dinner at the RPCC was bland and tasteless. I had pasta and a breadstick, both of which tasted like cardboard. Pooja made her ice-cream waffle again, the best one that she has ever made! I think it might have been the addition of hot fudge on top that made it so great. I ate as much as of the dessert as I could possibly fit in my stomach.

When we finished eating, Robson and I went off to our dorms to pick up the gear that we had bought at the Cornell store for group photos. I wore my black sweatshirt with Cornell written on it in bright Red. It was a bit warm for the hot and humid weather here, but I only had to put it on for 20 minutes or so. We did our little photo-shoot and then Noor had to part for dinner as did the rest of us.

I spent the rest of my day in the Balch Lounge. For a while, I was the only one in there. Stories of Balch being haunted have always scared me because I live on the highest floor and it is an old building.

Earlier, one of the girls knocked on the window directly behind me. It was dark and I didn’t want to turn around to face whatever monster was there to take my life. I had a mini heart attack, but realized that it was someone who had forgotten her ID inside and wanted me to open the door. Sultana joined me in the lounge later on and we spent the rest of the day reading for homework.

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