Wednesday, April 2, 2008

East coast college visits, part 3

I forgot to mention this -- but I saw glimpses of Amy Astley, editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, in her office yesterday. "We have to be quiet around here because the editor-in-chief is right across from us," whispered Evonne. I immediately turned my head left, only to be so surprised and amazed that I actually clasped my hands over my chest and sighed really loud. I'm ridiculous.

A lot of models and actresses are gorgeous -- "drop dead" gorgeous even -- but people like Amy Astley and Jane Keltner are beautiful in a different way. They shine and illuminate the room with their confidence and presence -- they're soft-spoken but firm. You see them as leaders and role models not for their perfect abs or paparazzi sightings -- but because they have an aura that draws you to them and brilliance that actually illuminates outward. Amy Astley did not attend an Ivy League school -- she attended Michigan State University. Nor is she British. Anna Wintour handpicked her to be the editor-in-chief of Vogue's little sister publication -- which is a reminder to all of us that when it comes down to achieving our dreams, it's about our character -- and Amy Astley is definitely an amazing person.

I must say, all the ladies I saw at Condé Nast are much more glamorous and poised than I could ever fathom in my imagination. The woman I shared the elevator with works at Cookie -- and she was extremely elegant looking even in a pair of casual corduroys.

The security guards at Hearst are so friendly and always up for a chat with tourists -- "It's mandatory to take photos once you're here," they joked. As I walked up the steep escalator, one of them said, "Have a ball, darling!" They are so adorable.

I did visit New York University, Columbia University and Barnard College -- all three left very different impressions on me.
New York University: New York City, NY
The truth is, New York University didn't impress me as much as I thought it would. My college counselor expected this school to be one of my top choices -- but I'm a cheerleader, and I love traditional rah-rah schools. Don't get me wrong -- I love the city so much and I feel like I belong there, but NYU just doesn't seem to provide me the academic experience I am looking for. There is no campus -- which means there is a disjointed fragmentation around the school. It's still an interesting school with lots of opportunities to offer me (because of the city) -- and I will definitely apply, but it does lack the school unity that I seek. That said, I met with my friend who is at NYU Stern (an extremely prestigious business school) and she said, "The great thing about students from our high-school is that we learn to adapt and make the best of what we have. So if you come here, you'll learn to make it your own."

Barnard College: New York City, NY
Barnard College is very interesting -- it's a liberal arts college for women, affiliated with Columbia University. There is a separate administration and admissions process, but the two schools are free to use each other's facilities and take each other's classes. I'm not too keen on women-only colleges, but Barnard is definitely an interesting alternative. The advising program is absolutely fabulous and much more personal than that of Columbia -- someone like me who loves her classes so much would enjoy this. My daddy however, is still obsessed with Wellesley College.

Columbia University: New York City, NY
I love Columbia University -- it is the closest to a close-knit college town environment that I can get in New York City. The resources are endless and the students are incredibly driven with New York City attitudes and brilliant minds. The Core Curriculum is very appealing -- when you are officially enrolled as a freshman, the school sends you a copy of The Iliad to read before you start class. A lot of the focus is on Western civilization, but luckily New York City offers a wide plethora of cultures and opportunities. The campus is much larger than I expected because some rooms are six floors under the ground.

I spoke to a friend at Columbia who majors in Economics, and she gave me one of the best pieces of advice I've ever heard: "When you get to New York City and you're living by yourself, pick up a copy of Lonely Planet. Roam around the five boroughs by yourself -- see the city. It doesn't end at West Village."
This summer, I had originally planned to spend most of my weekends (when I'm not helping out on photoshoots) at the Met or shopping. I'm sure I will do some of that -- but I'm also going to pack a pair of sneakers and walk around the five boroughs of New York City with my copy of Lonely Planet.

Behind the vacant gazes in the subway station, there must be lots of stories in uncover -- and I'm inclined to find them.

Miss Couturable
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