Friday, July 29, 2011

The ILC’s Maiden Voyage to Vanderbilt: “Just Keep Swimming”

It feels so foreign, not being in Hank Ingram House playing with cards with classmates and proctors, but being alone in a hotel room preparing to go home. Vanderbilt was my home for the last three weeks and I felt its Southern Hospitality throughout its inviting campus. I’m glad to be off a set schedule, but at the same time the schedule allowed us to see everything the school and the community had to offer. I’m also glad to be out of class or not having the responsibility to wake up early during the summer; because in most instances my World Religions course wasn’t a class to me, but a precious opportunity to learn about something interesting from an expert in that field. Another thing I’m ecstatic about is the fact that I get to see my family even though I must temporarily leave the family I called my own for three weeks, full of smart motivated kids full of different interests and desires. I truly enjoyed getting to know each one of them including staff, my TA, and my professor.

To accomplish the goals we had set earlier in the trip, to see the sites of the cities in which we stayed, we had to leave earlier than the other campers, at about 7:00AM. We were quite exhausted from staying up late hours into the night signing autographs and blogging and then waking up early that we fell asleep throughout our whole ride to Atlanta, excluding breakfast and our trip to Ruby Falls in Lookout Mountain. Yes, I literally mean inside Lookout Mountain. Within the Mountain are caves, one leading to a waterfall over 120 ft high submerged in about 1100ft of solid limestone. The Falls are a beautiful attraction, but not the only one; the path to the Falls have many beautiful and unique rock formations like the onyx column and the leaning tower.

Upon our entrance into the city we immediately went to the CNN center to explore the eight stories of innovation and history. When one enters, they immediately notice they house the largest unsupported elevator, only being held by its start and end point, it spans the whole eight stories. I learned how green screen and Teleprompters work along with the stressful and intense life these dedicated broadcasters lead in order to inform us about what’s going on.

After leaving the CNN center we began to make plans to head to the Georgia Aquarium and the Ocean Voyager, the largest indoor habitat for animals. When we had finished checking in at our hotel we headed for the Aquarium, which on our first approach looked empty. Then we noticed the multitude of people in the courtyard waiting to buy tickets or to enter into the building. When we had purchased our tickets and were admitted into the building, we saw the vast amount of exhibits: Georgia’s waters, coral reef life, fresh water animals, cold water animals, dolphins, and the famed Ocean Voyager exhibit. It was amazing; we saw a huge array of animals including whale sharks, manta rays, beluga whales, otters, penguins, fish, shellfish, and even sea anemonemone (anemone) according to Nemo of “Finding Nemo”, also Nemo’s species of clownfish.

This brought me back to the words of Dori that stay with me through any circumstances especially regarding school and college “just keep swimming.”

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