Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Beginning

Today, I began the day refreshed and energized after a pleasant night’s sleep.

We decided to have breakfast at IHOP, which was conveniently located near a Wal-Mart. After we finished eating, we made a stop at the store to pick up a few items that we needed, including pillows, alarm clocks, and some snacks, which really came in handy later on in the day.
Check-in at Vanderbilt’s Hank Ingram House was relatively fast, along with moving our things into our dorms.
Carrying plastic Wal-Mart bags after bags into our dorms was hilarious. Eventually, I was all settled in and met with our proctor group to begin a short tour of the university.

Vanderbilt surprisingly has a large number of hospitals and medical centers on campus—it’s not a surprise though, since their medical program is very prestigious.

After the tour, we gathered for dinner in one of the dining halls and enjoyed a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. I also tried a cherry-flavored snow cone. Later, all the proctor groups gathered in a small theater and the Opening Ceremony began. The proctors put on a few funny skits to remind us of the strict VSA rules.

Afterwards, our Activities Coordinator set up a game for us at the large green field outside the hall. Our house, the V-House, won with the most points, which was very exciting.

We had a proctor meeting in our proctor’s room and further discussed the regulations of the program.

After a quick shower (showering in flip-flops is rather strange to me), it was past 10:30 PM, and now I am stuck in my room until morning. I ate some crackers I got from Wal-Mart, hungry since I did not finish all of my dinner.

I hope tomorrow will be fun, and am excited for breakfast.

The ILC’s Maiden Voyage to Vanderbilt: The First days not always the hardest

We were finally allowed to sleep in today, a rare commodity in the Ivy League Connection program, yet today I decided to wake up early—two hours early. I worked out to control my nerves both in my hotel room and gym before I packed all my bags. I was so excited because tonight I wouldn’t be in a hotel, but with my peers. I wouldn't sleep alone; I would have a roommate. I wouldn’t be visiting the boundaries of a city; I would be in the beautiful arms of the Peabody campus at Vanderbilt University. But first, we had to gather supplies at the local Wal-Mart Supercenter. After about an hour walking back and forth within the Superstore, we finally gathered all we needed to advance to our VSA program confidently. We had so much gear it looked as though we were moving in to some apartment.
Sadly we had about two hours left before we could check in; so we got some ice cream from the nearest Baskin Robbins and headed to Nashville to explore this underrated city. After killing time rolling through these massive structures of steel and concrete we ventured to the Hank Ingram dorm at Vanderbilt to check in. After finally loading all of our luggage and new supplies into our rooms, I had to decide how to structure mine, a simple process for a creative person, but not a scatter brained person like me. I did the best organizing I could, even impressing the likes of my roommate Paul, but it was too late to switch anything else. It was time for the games to begin.
I met my Proctor group, then we headed out for a tour ending in the cafeteria where we enjoyed a nice plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
We finished eating and headed to a beautiful building where we had our official VSA orientation. We were introduced to our proctors, houses, and the rules through skits, then we were shuttled outside for a game of Human Scavenger Hunt and Guess Who. The Vanderbilt Summer Academy so far is full of nice people, and looks to be a truly rewarding experience. I can’t wait to start class tomorrow.

Moving In

Today was the first day we got to sleep in. I got nine glorious hours of sleep. We casually packed all of our things and checked out of the hotel. Last night’s waitress at the restaurant we attended suggested that we eat at this famous spot in Nashville called the Pancake Pantry. She warned us that there would probably be a line, but little did we know that the line would stretch around the corner of the eatery. We ended up choosing to go to IHOP instead, where I filled up on French toast and many breakfast sides.

We had a few hours before check-in time at Vanderbilt, so we went to Walmart and bought the extra stuff we either forgot or needed more of for our dorm rooms. With still a couple more hours to kill, we drove meanderingly through the suburbs and downtown Nashville. We witnessed a march proceeding through the streets of advocators of an end to genocide of the Nuba people.
Check in was quicker than I expected. There were only five stops, which included getting our name tag, meal card, key, and filling out a few forms. We found our dorm room assignment as well. I am on the same floor as Julia, right across the hall. My roommate is from Texas, and I can tell we will have a lot of stories to share in the future.
The dorm rooms are surprisingly spacious. We each get a bed, a closet, a desk, and two small bedside dressers. Each room can control their own A/C level, which I am very grateful for. Nashville is not as muggy as Atlanta, but still very hot.
The proctor leader of my side of the dorm floors is bubbly and comical. She is easy to talk to and very friendly. There are 12 girls total in our group, including both Julia and I, and we are part of V-House. Kye is on a different floor and part of a different house as well.

We went on a tour through our campus boundaries. The campus is so beautiful. The buildings and the fields are great and spacious, and there are so many trees. There are also a lot of squirrels on campus. Our proctor joked that instead of a teacher to student ratio, there is a squirrel to student ratio which is like 6:1. As I mentioned before, it is very hot here, and we had to end the tour early to escape the heat.

Dorm food is not actually that bad. People always say dorm food is mediocre, but I think it’s actually quite nice. There is a lot of variety, and plenty of desserts. We had a delicious meal of spaghetti and garlic bread, as well as a salad, cake, and snow cones.
The next item on the agenda was the activities section. All VSA students congregated in a building where the proctors performed skits to strike up house pride. They also played a game skit based on the TV show “Next”, which is a dating show; except in this performance, they used disobeying of house rules as reasons for the bachelor or bachelorette to “next” the suitors.

Our second to last agenda item was a game kind of like steal the bacon. All of the houses (V, S, and A, get it?) compete against each other. A proctor would yell things like, “someone with red hair”, “a double jointed person”, “someone who can recite the most digits of pie”, “four people with the same shoe size”, and “someone who can crabwalk all the way over there”, and the kids who qualify would run as fast as they can to the center of the field. Every time we scored a point, we would chant “WHAT HOUSE??” “V-HOUSE!!” It was an incredible amount of fun, and I believe our house won.

Before we went to sleep, we had a group meeting with our proctor to go over our agenda for tomorrow and house rules as well. She also passed out VSA t-shirts with the name V HOUSE on the back. Go house pride!

Tomorrow we start our class. World Religions, here I come.