Sunday, July 29, 2012

Here We Are

One of our few restrictions here on campus. Not much time for games.
 Here we are.

We toiled, we were exhausted, and we worked long and hard to get this far into the program, to be able to say "I am able to attend Grand Strategies." And now, here we are, ready and waiting to take on the world.

I woke up this morning hardly believing that these were my last few moments at the Omni. I'm happy to say that, for once, I managed to sleep in. It was amazing.

After waking up, packing the last pieces, I had a quick breakfast with the rest of our group and we bid our final farewells to Ms. Kronenberg and Mr. Ramsey. It was great to be able to talk with them while they were out here, and I sincerely hope they had a good flight back home.

We said our own goodbyes to the Omni after packing our bags and heading downstairs to Mr. Litvin's car to unload at John Edwards College. There, we met with Mrs. Willow, one of the two residential college directors. She helped us bring our bags in and sent us to registration.  There, we received our keys, backpacks (complimentary apparently), ID cards, meal cards, and instructions.

Here, I have to give a quick tip of the hat to coincidence (or fate, or whatever you want to call it). My Marshall Brief adviser happened to be no other than Yohanna, and my roommate is, wait for it, Roger. Even all the way out here, I am getting a nice touch of home.
Me pointing at Harkness Tower.
Jonathan Edwards College, our residential college.

The local friendly squirrel.
The Jonathan Edwards Theatre.
I explored a bit of our dormitories with Roger and a suitemate we met. It is rather cozy here, with a nice common room and several bedrooms for a total of seven residents. The college itself has interesting amenities underground, everything from a theatre to an art gallery and even a printing press. I also managed to go on a quick tour of the Yale campus, which we missed out on earlier in the week. The tour allowed me the opportunity to get to know some of the kids from Grand Strategies (GS).
Bicentennial Complex and the Commons.
Sterling Memorial Library.
Later in the evening, the staff under Dean Coburn-Palo and Director Wittenstein conducted an introduction to the Grand Strategies program at the Great Hall of Jonathan Edwards College. They welcomed all of us and introduced the instructors and program officials, as well as stated that the purpose of the program was to put everything "humanly possible" in front of us and see where we take it.

After a nice dinner, Dean Coburn-Palo walked us to a theatre to watch a documentary and conducted a discussion afterwards. It was a great insight on how people thought, and I myself was really aching to be called sometime during the discussion to speak.

Today has been long, and honestly, arduous. But it's nothing I can't handle, and after being here for only 12 hours, I can say for certain that this is exactly where I want to be. I couldn't have chosen a better program.

We Now Begin

Today was the first day of the Yale's Grand Strategies course. We moved into the dorms around 11 a.m. and settled down. I was eager to find out who was going to be my new roommate. Strangely enough, I found out that Jobel, one of my cohorts, was my roommate. It isn't exactly what I was anticipating but at the same time it isn't a bad thing. We are in a suite that has five total bedrooms and accommodates 7 people. I do not have the experience of meeting a new roommate but there are plenty of people in my suite to meet and befriend.
Jonathan Edwards

The first thing I did here was my laundry. While I was letting my clothes wash and dry, I went to lunch with my cohorts and a few other Grand Strategies students. The people here are very friendly and this creates a warm environment. After I finished my lunch I went to the dining hall and met up with everyone else. Here we had our orientation and this was initiated with speeches that the dean and the director gave. We were introduced to the staff and faculty members of the Grand Strategies program. I found it interesting that all of our instructors were very accomplished and successful in many areas of education.

The cafeteria here didn’t have much food options but otherwise it was pretty good. Once dinner was finished, we met up with our Marshall Brief instructors and took a tour around the boundaries of which we aren’t supposed to cross. This isn’t a problem since the area encompasses several stores. I did not find out what topic my Marshall Brief will be on but I was able to meet my group. There are a total of 10 students in my group. I can only begin to imagine the discord during the making of the Marshall Brief but I have no doubt we will excel.
Dining Hall

My Marshall Brief Group

Once we finished walking around the boundaries, we immediately went to a building to learn about the rules and regulations. The rules were straightforward and reasonable. After this, people had the choice to go rest at the dorm if necessary or go to the theater and watch a documentary. The Fog of War is a documentary on the life of the U.S Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Once the documentary was completed, we discussed topics like the bombing of Japan during WW2 and how we would react to certain scenarios if we were the president.

The dormitories, dinners, and lectures make it feel as if I’m already in college. I can tell that the experiences to be made here will certainly prepare me for college. I’m surrounded by students that are at the top of the tier and this inspires me to do well. Coming here, I thought I would’ve been a lot more anxious but that wasn’t the case. The time spent in the east coast has made me realize that I should trust my abilities and if I try my best, I’ll be performing just as well as most people. The next two weeks will be intense, rigorous, and challenging. I’ll be looking forward to this experience.

And At Last, Grand Strategies Begins

Today begin early again. However, this time, none of us were sleepy or drowsy; rather, we were just excited for the rest of the day. After breakfast with Mr.Litvin, Mr. Ramsey, and Ms. Kronenberg, my cohort and I got ready to begin an experience that we have been awaiting for months.

When we arrived at Yale, there were not many people so the check-in process went smoothly. I found out that I live in a suite, but my room is a single, which is pretty nice. After unpacking and relaxing for a while, we went to our orientation tour, ate dinner, and had a small lecture about the rules and regulations that we must abide by. 

Afterwards, we were invited to watch a documentary called Fog of War, which is when we got a real taste of this program. Dean Coburn-Palo questioned and cross questioned us on various topics, including the justification of the atomic bomb, etc. The entire class was engaged in this discussion and everyone had a lot to say; everyone also got stuck when cross-questioned too much. This small showcase of this course was enough to excite me completely, as the topics we discussed today are definitely what I'm completely interested in. 

Tomorrow is the first real day of class and although I am nervous, my excitement surely overrides it.