Friday – Day 284

May 14, 2013

Friday I woke up early to drive Dani Levine’s car back to center city with Ariella. Unfortunately our run that day was cancelled as she didn’t want to have to shower before her interview the following hour. However, our walk back was lovely, and I really treasured all that time I had to talk with her, knowing that I would soon find it difficult due to a large time difference.

The rest of the day I spent preparing to leave, packing my bags, clearing my room and taking a short nap.

In the evening I again donned by Glee Club uniform to perform for the first of the big Alumni  Weekend gigs. The president’s reception. Alumni weekend is the one weekend a year when all alumni return to celebrate their alma mater, and are treated to all sorts of fancy events while being prodded for donations. The most prestigious of the events was the President’s reception. A function for high level donors. This weekend our repertoire was somewhat limited to traditional songs of Penn. Mostly, a medley of Penn songs, the Red and the Blue (our school song) and the Glee Club anthem; Afterglow.

Following the reception and an hour and a half of rehearsal, I headed to my room, changed for shule and headed to Hillel. Dinner tonight was with Chaim, Jacob Chevitz and Ben Fisch. Dinner was delicious (particularly the cajun brussel sprouts) and was a good chance for me to get to know a few people I didn’t know as well before. Ben Fisch was particularly interesting as he worked on proving an interesting result in computer science for his thesis that was significant enough to need peer reviewing by the scientific community at large, rather than just his individual professors. After dinner I was straight to sleep.

Sunday/Monday – Day 279/280

May 12, 2013

Sunday I realized that I actually needed to study for my final exam. I spent the entire day in my room attempting to make good on a promise to myself that I actually would put significant effort into it, however many distractions came up and I didn’t get far.

One lovely thing however was dinner that evening. At around six thirty, I received a message from Ariella, letting me know that I should dress up nicely and come downstairs to meet her Mum and Stepdad (Bob). After meeting them Ariella, Aviva, Louis and I piled in to Dani Levine’s (Ariella’s sisters’) car and drove off to the suburbs. As we drove further and further away from the city, the scenery improved dramatically with more greenery and nicer houses. Eventually we reached the center of a smaller town where we stopped in front of a nice looking restaurant named ‘Citron and Rose’.

While we had a bit of a wait before we reached the time of the reservation, once we were seated the service was very good. The wait staff were attentive and knew the menu well. Better than most of the kosher restaurants I’d previously been in. I ended up ordering a carpaccio followed by lamb as recommended by the waiter.

However, far more important than the delicious food was the company. Bringing friends to meet your parents can sometimes be a bit of a nerve wracking experience but at least from my perspective both Ariella and Dani’s friends were all on our best behaviour and the conversation was light hearted and enjoyable. More than anything, this contributed to making the evening wonderful and helpful in many ways.

Getting back I finally started to err.. study… err… read interesting academic papers in the field. Before getting to bed around two AM. Far too late for the night before an exam.

Monday I was up at eight, actually studying this time. I made a little progress, but nothing spectacular. At eleven I headed to Hillel for lunch, my last meal there, making sure to thank all the dining staff (Marti and Dottie specifically) for their efforts in making the dining experience such a communal and wonderful experience.

I raced off to Engineering to sit the exam, and while I felt it was fairly poorly worded, I still managed fine. Perhaps a little worse than I had hoped, but I still managed to leave well before one of the two allotted hours had elapsed. Ended up doing above average as I found out after exams came out. More than sufficient.

The afternoon passed in a bit of a blur, more time at Hillel, more time with Ariella and Yoni and an interesting coffee date with a certain Professor Max Mintz. Max Mintz has the reputation for being a very difficult but fascinating professor. An article in the New York Times mentioned him and his introductory discrete math course, noting that though he ran a difficult course and often took tangential routes to the subject material, he was respected as really knowing both how to teach and how to excite and interest students. After coming out of engineering I ran into Rigel Swavley talking to an older looking man, and so I asked him if he was indeed this legendary professor. He replied to the affirmative and invited me to his ‘office’, a nearby coffee shop. There we spoke for around twenty minutes on whether social media was filling an existing need or creating one. Most fascinating.

The evening was chilled, Ariella, Louis and I went to see Iron Man 3, which while not fantastic in terms of plot, was a fun action film and a good break from semester.

© 2012-2024 Shaanan Cohney