Sunday, May 31, 2009

College Choice 

Sorry to leave you guys hanging.

For those of you who don't remember my post about my college choices asking for advice, my
main options were Hofstra, Drexel, Virginia Tech, and Cornell College. I decided not to go to Hofstra, because it seemed less than fantastic, and I received much information that Long Island is not a great place to live (putting it mildly). That left it between Drexel, VTech, and Cornell. Here is a list in the same format as last time.

The outlier. I revisited that college a couple days before May 1st (The Deadline, in title-case), and it seemed to confirm my first impression of it, which was that it is a lot like my high school, George School. The students seemed friendly, and I stayed in a dorm and watched Blood Diamond with them. The place was smaller and the faculty seemed very smart. I attended a Computer Graphics lecture, stayed awake with a bit of effort (it's something I know almost nothing about, so I couldn't talk, so my mind wandered, so I was drowsy, ok?!), talked with them a bit about robotics, and went on my merry way. Overall, I decided not to go there, because there were fewer opportunities and it was in Iowa.

This University was very close to Virginia Tech in a lot of ways. First of all, it is a good engineering-type school. Secondly, it was pretty big, with somewhere around 20,000 people. The main two differences were what made it unique. First of all, it was the only school I got into that was in a big city. The other places were in college-town environments or smaller cities. Philly is a pretty cool place, but I did not like how disjointed Drexel's campus was. Maybe it's a picky issue, but it's one of the things I didn't like about Rutgers. Anyway, there's always something to do in the city, so that's a good thing. Plus, the co-op program at Drexel is a good idea. (They have a GOOGLE co-op!!!) However, it precludes free time or close friends, and it's a 5-year program. Overall, I decided not to go, in favor of:

Virginia Tech:
First of all, may I say that the food at both Cornell and Drexel is of either "meh" quality or actively bad. Virginia Tech has the best state-university food in the country. It also happens to be in a really cool college town, in a state where all of my grandparents live and where 1/3 of my aunts and uncles live, a state that is closer to home, and not Iowa. My cousin also goes there. But enough about the location. It is really famous for its academics and it has a beautiful, contiguous campus. If I went to Cornell, people would constantly be confusing it with the University, and Virginia Tech has far more choices than Cornell does. People at VTech also just seem friendlier than at Drexel. I decided to go here for college for this myriad of reasons.

As Dad would say, "Release the hounds."


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun May 31, 11:39:00 PM:

Congrats TH Son you are going to have a great experience in Virginia, it is a beautiful state. Best wishes on this new phase of your life. Study hard but have fun.  

By Anonymous Iowa_John, at Mon Jun 01, 12:01:00 AM:

An excellent choice. Congratulations!  

By Anonymous tyree, at Mon Jun 01, 12:15:00 AM:

Every job you ever hold will evaluate you on the quality of the first job you just left. The first job is the only one that is really going to care much about the school you go to. Remember that when weighing the choice: study or midnight bowling.

And make sure to schedule the time to see your family whenever possible.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Mon Jun 01, 12:50:00 AM:

What is much more important than the school a student attends is the effort the student puts in at that particular school.

There are many temptations on a student's time: activities, concerts, bull sessions, browsing the stacks and the magazines - not to mention the Internet-etc. Remember that your first priorities are your studies, even with all those interesting temptations. Don't get behind, as it is very hard to get caught up.

For science/math/engineering courses: previewing the material before lectures will assist, more than in social sciences or humanities, as the material takes a while to sink in. It is better to use the lecture as a way to review than to learn for harder courses. That approach helped me in Physical and Organic Chemistry, especially. But consider the above along with a particular prof. No one size fits all.

Bull sessions etc. have their place. You can learn a lot from them, in addition to entertaining yourself and others. Study groups are good for hard courses. The saying in engineering school is, "cooperate and graduate." IOW, it can be easier sharing ideas on how to solve problems; you can internalize different approaches you learn from others. But this doesn't mean you sponge: you need to try also.

Engineering students put in 60+ hours a week. It is a issue of workload assigned. Ask older students how many hours a week they put in.

Most of the above I learned the hard way.  

By Blogger joe buz, at Mon Jun 01, 08:08:00 AM:

Congrats, good choice. Consider spending some time on the New River and in the Mtn.s when you need a break from the academic grind. Watch the speed traps on I81. Welcome to Virginia and good luck with the studies!  

By Blogger MoonPie, at Mon Jun 01, 08:48:00 AM:

THT, I am a UVa grad from some time back, and as much as it pains me to say anything nice about the Chokies, you have selected for yourself a fine education, especially if you are interested in engineering, sciences or pretty much anything technical. And, of course, there's that whole agricultural thing. Ditto on the I81 speed traps. Remember also to dress warmly for those night games in November. The wind whips through that stadium.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 01, 10:25:00 AM:

I urge you to take another look at Drexel and, this time, carefully look at the resources that the city of Philadelphia offers.
VTech, as I recall, is in the wilderness, miles from the nearest airport (Tri-Cities?). Sure, family is important, but how far is NYC and DC?
Finally, isn't VTech where the administration refused to allow legal weapons on campus, thus painting a target on the backs of the 10 or so students murdered by an opportunistic killer?  

By Anonymous QuakerCat, at Mon Jun 01, 10:57:00 AM:

I am sure the rolling hills of Blacksburg are spectacular and the school is an outstanding academic institution, but let's get to what's most important - the chicks are blazing there as well...

Good hunting young Tiger Hawk!  

By Blogger joated, at Mon Jun 01, 11:02:00 AM:

You seem to have picked a great school for the subject area in which you wish to study. I've know several people who have attended VTech and all spoke highly of their experiences in Blacksburg and the beauty of the surrounding area. Additionally, it lacks many of the distractions a place like Drexel/Philadelphia would throw in your way while still supplying the necessary cultural stimuli a college student would require.

(And I have to agree with you about the disjointed nature of both the RU and Drexel campuses. That can truely be a hassel. And I speak as an alumnus of RU-New Brunswick.)

Best of luck as you pursue your calling.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 01, 11:15:00 AM:

That sounds like a pretty hoakey reason to become a Hokie! :)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 01, 12:16:00 PM:

Outstanding choice. Congratulations and have fun!  

By Blogger Kurt, at Mon Jun 01, 12:18:00 PM:

Congratulations! I had been wondering about this decision. I think you made a great choice. (Like Moon Pie, I am a UVa alum, but I went to UVa for grad school and I had friends who lived in Blacksburg, and I used to like to go there every so often to get away on weekends.)  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Mon Jun 01, 12:19:00 PM:

Note to TH: Decided on U of I, resettling in August.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 01, 05:15:00 PM:

While I congratulate you and respect your selection of Virginia Tech, I don't know where you get your information from but you should have used better sources on Hofstra and Long Island. While Va Tech may indeed be a better place for you to pursue your degree, Hofstra and Long Island has many things to offer a student and the overall person. Do better research the next time and good luck in Hokieville.  

By Anonymous NT, at Mon Jun 01, 06:49:00 PM:

VA Tech is a great school. Good choice. Good luck!  

By Anonymous WLindsayWheeler, at Mon Jun 01, 07:18:00 PM:

Tyrateaus was a poet for the Spartans. One of his lines was that no man was any good unless he stood in the Spear line.

What is wrong in this nation, is that for too long, many people send off their sons to college and foreigners enter the service. What is wrong with today's sons---are you too good to join up? Why are there 50,000 foreigners in our military service?

If you are not willing to join up and serve----should you really be voting---or speaking your mind?

First be man. First serve your country that gave you life and support. Get in touch with reality---then go to college when you have a head on your shoulders.


If you can't be in the spear line and join your fellow countrymen there, how can one call yourself a citizen?


By Blogger The Conservative Wahoo, at Mon Jun 01, 07:59:00 PM:

I join the other Wahoos here in welcoming you to the fine state. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a great place to go to school.  

By Anonymous Philip Sells, at Mon Jun 01, 08:27:00 PM:

It's funny that two of the places you picked have some certain indirect associations for me. I go to Philly a few times a year for big chess tournaments, and drive by bits of Drexel on the way. As for VA Tech, a clubmate of mine went there and still closely follows its sporting affairs. He and I play on the same league team, as also sometimes on the teams that we send to New Jersey each year.  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Mon Jun 01, 10:00:00 PM:

Thank you for all of your comments of encouragement!

Anon @ 10:25:
Bit late, the deadline was May 1st. But the best thing about Drexel compared to VTech was its location, in other words, it was close to home, major cities, and airports. Also, the co-op program, but VTech is good at that too. On the other hand, I don't like big cities much (to spend a lot of time in. I like visiting for fun), and Virginia's more my speed. Also, Roanoke has an airport.

No thanks. I understand it's necessary to kill people sometimes if they misbehave, but I'd rather advance the human race rather than keep it's animalistic nature alive. Besides, I hate conflict, and I'm rather individualistic, so I would not be very good at being a mindless tool that kills people, which is the ideal of the soldier. Heroic though such endeavors undoubtedly are.

P.S Before anyone misinterprets that as me hating soldiers, that's not really true. I would just hate to BE one. They're generally good people, but they have a crappy job. Being a commando/hero is the ideal that people have: being an elite warrior so skilled and strong that were it not for him, civilization would fall to the barbarians. That's why the story of the Spartans at Thermopylae, to use your own example, is so famous it has its own movie. Sadly, such people are individualistic, think about the moral implications of their task, etc.

So, um...yeah. *nervous laugh* College. Thanks again, everyone!  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Mon Jun 01, 10:02:00 PM:

Left a loose end of a sentence:
"...Such people are individualistic, think about the moral implications of their task, etc. and might not be good at killing the enemy because of it."  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Tue Jun 02, 10:14:00 AM:

"Besides, I hate conflict, and I'm rather individualistic, "

This is a good reason to not enlist. It's not for everyone. We have a modern society with protected classes of people who can afford to (and should) devote their energies elsewhere.

"No thanks. I understand it's necessary to kill people sometimes if they misbehave, but I'd rather advance the human race rather than keep it's animalistic nature alive. so I would not be very good at being a mindless tool that kills people, which is the ideal of the soldier...

P.S Before anyone misinterprets that as me hating soldiers, that's not really true...Sadly, such people are individualistic, think about the moral implications of their task, etc."

This is not. It demonstrates your ignorance of the nature of the US armed forces and the world in which we live. It implies that you 'sadly' believe Soldiers to be automatons without opinions, independent morals, or any life or purpose outside of the destruction of others. Which is retarded.

And an off-hand reference to them as 'necessary' animals?

You're right. Stay out of the Service, and simply benefit from the protection they and their blood provide for you. Especially nowadays, when you might have to face down some icky terrorist (dangerous!) that will make you re-think your individualistic, superior moral code; could you give medical aid to save the life of a wounded terrorist who maims little girls because they go to school? Are you sure?

Maybe your opinion of soldiers will change when you really need them... in the meantime, please try to keep your condescension to a minimum when any are within earshot.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Tue Jun 02, 10:29:00 AM:

Noticed an article on School Fuud and just had to link it in.

Also, I used to work in food service at the university, and was just *amazed* at the food that was served during the "Bring in the new prospects who are looking at colleges" time of year. Things we had never seen before, and never saw again went past, most of which just did not really appeal to us farm raised kids (we prefer our fish without heads, tails, and bones, and preferably deep-fat fried. Naked lightly-singed trout staring at you from a plate is just not right)

I am looking forward to a food-based posting *after* they have cashed your check to the school.  

By Anonymous WLindsayWheeler, at Tue Jun 02, 06:57:00 PM:

I appreciate your honesty TigerHawk teenager. The first rule of thumb is always, "Know yourself". And I am glad that you know yourself. Yes, it sounds that you are too individualistic to join.

If one is not conditioned to obedience and a tough life under hierarchy then soldiering is not for you. Actually, the training of soldiering starts early, way early. If you are not prepared to go, don't go.

As a footnote, it says in the Bible that "God is a man of war". Who are we made in the image of? God. The essence of a man is to be a warrior.

Good luck in your studies.  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Tue Jun 02, 10:48:00 PM:


That's exactly what I didn't want you to think. EXACTLY.

For the record: I DON'T THINK THEY ARE. They are wonderful people who have been put (or have put themselves) in dangerous circumstances so that hopefully the world can be a better, safer place.


The army conditions you to stop thinking for yourself and to start thinking as a whole. By its very nature, its design, it discourages individualism. Thus, free thinking, which means they have to be obedient and do horrible things they don't want to do for the good of the mission, and the greater good of the country or the world.

That is why being a soldier is so tragic, and that's why we honor them so much: they shoulder the burden of having to kill people and do horrible things to keep us and the world at large safe.

If the barbarians are at the gate, rest assured that I will pick up a gun and fight them to the death. But they aren't, largely thanks to our soldiers, and I'm very grateful for them.

Anyway, sorry. Why do you think I put up such a big notice saying:"I DON'T HATE SOLDIERS, IN FACT I RESPECT THEM QUITE A GREAT DEAL!!"? I hope you read this so your opinion of me is restored.  

By Blogger Semper, at Tue Jun 02, 11:19:00 PM:

Some people really are too much. We have a fine young man here who asked us for advice and actually listened to us and we get hung up on some poster berating him for not choosing a completely different path in life. Weird.

TT, you seem to know who you are and that the military is not for you. Who am I to judge otherwise? While you're at VT, you'll have the opportunity to meet several military members, both currently serving and about to serve. I don't think you'll find an automaton in the bunch. But that's in the future.

In the present, I merely want to say 1) Congratulations on making a fine choice in college selection. Have fun, work hard and remember to look left when entering the drill field and right when exiting the drill field... and 2) My my my the food has surely changed for it to be the best state institution food you've ever had! When I was there, there were hand-written signs all over Pritchard bathrooms saying "Flush twice, it's a long way to Detrick!"  

By Anonymous WLindsayWheeler, at Wed Jun 03, 12:37:00 PM:

I have noticed that "college" is for self-aggrandizement. What hardship is endured?

Party, girls, what? That is what college is about---and oh yea---a degree that opens doors to monetary riches.



It is about self-sacrifice. It is about Duty. Duty, Honor, Glory. That is what military service is. Duty to your countrymen and forebearers.

Western culture and civilization is built on Duty. That is what a man performs. Socrates counsels that on the road to higher learning, there must be a twenty year break between initial learning and higher learning. The break is about getting to "know reality". What better place to begin, than in the military.

Life is War. That is the natural law. No one can escape that. It is reality. If you don't know what reality is--what good is higher education. Except what passes at colleges and universities is really propaganda. And only years of real life experiences can one protect oneself from the BS of college professors.

If one can't handle the soldiering life of the army or the Marine Corps there is always the Coast Guard or the Air Force.

Or if the military life is still impossible---I suggest a couple of years working on farms or in Amish country. Live the agrarian life. Be a farm laborer. Get in touch with reality before one heads off into the mists of the ivory tower league.

I hope college is NOT seen as a door to monetary success. All Western colleges and universities trace their lineage to Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum. Plato did not start his academy for the purpose of filthy lucre, nor about "fixing the world". It was about finding Truth. That is what college is supposed to be about.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jun 04, 10:58:00 AM:

“I hope you read this so your opinion of me is restored.” Don’t worry about what Dawnfire thinks of you. Worry about what you think if him – I think he’s an idiot. I think this “Lindsay” guy is worse…become an Amish for two years? Are you intentionally trying to lead this young man astray, or are you really a freak?

Good choice on the Va Tech..for what it’s worth (being in Texas), Va Tech is a more “known” school than any of the others you’ve mentioned.

Do yourself a favor…sit next to a member of the Corps in one of your engineering classes, get to know him, you might change your mind…or not, you might realize you were 100% correct.

Background: I attended Texas A&M, very similar in most ways to VT, and was in the Corps. I’;d have joined the military, but this was the early 90s, and the US government decided we didn’t need a military. So I became a civillian.

Above all, trust your gut. Your father seems to have a lot of common sense, which you’ve absorbed by eating at his table for 18 years. You know more than you think. Good luck!  

By Anonymous WLindsayWheeler, at Thu Jun 04, 06:10:00 PM:

I did NOT mean to become Amish; I meant to work with them. Or work with any farmer or rancher.

Don't po-po the agrarian life. The most central feature of Western Culture and Civilization is the Natural Law.

Ever heard of it TigerHawk teenager? Very important concept. How would you know the Natural Law if you haven't done any farm work? Ever heard "Birds of a feather flock together"? Or "Cream rises to the top"? Or "The Good comes thru the Hard"? Or "The Pecking Order"?

These are ALL Truths of Reality that any farmer knows. This is what is called the Natural Law---the Law embedded in Nature. With your revolutionary and fixing the world mentality---living in nature will disabuse you of your current mentality. The Natural Law is real---and needs to be experienced.

Live a REAL life, Know Reality, Know the Natural Law and feel Her presence. You can't know or live properly in Western Culture without the Natural Law. Live the Hard life, learn the truths of Nature First. Learn what life is about.

The strength of the Early American Regime was its agrarian character. Thomas Jefferson said, "The Yeomen of America are not the Canaille of Paris".

There is a difference between the Yeoman, the country squire, the agrarianist and the effete urban elite. What built this country was the Citizen/Soldier/Farmer class!!!!!!! That is what built this country. It was the Citizen/Soldier/Farmer that built the Spartan and Roman Republics.

Be one!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jun 04, 11:38:00 PM:

I'm still rolling my eyes. You're a condescending twit, and I hope young Tigerhawk ignores you, Robin Williams from Dead Poets Society.

Again, I had summer jobs on a ranch, and have gotten to know ranchers through my deer lease. I've learned more about "natural law" from trading commodities than I did from any of that.  

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