So this weekend and the days before, I was in Manhattan to attend the Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University's student recruitment weekend to apply for the pharmacology program ("apply" means applying for the program, which includes free tuition, scholarship and housing). I left early Thursday morning, took an airplane at Schiphol airport and arrived at JFK airport 8 hours later. Went over to the hotel, met up with some other recruits and some of the host students. We (department staff, current and prospective students) had dinner in the house of one of the faculty staff members and went out after that. I was pretty tired, happy to be in bed at the end of the evening.
Friday was the most important day, where I got to have interviews with the faculty staff; they will ask you about previous research experience, academic results, science interest and goals and social interests. It's the same as when applying for undergraduate schools in the US, yet very uncommon in Europe. The good thing was that I already met with half of the faculty staff when I studied at Cornell as an exchange student last year. The first three talks were laid-back and easy, all in the prebytorian hospital / weill medical college building. I was basically told that they were happy to see me back and were very satisfied by the fact that I wanted to come back to Cornell (and that they would happily accept me). Actually, it was mostly just social chatting rather than an acceptance interview. So far so good. The next interview was in Memorial Sloan-Kettering (a heavily funded cancer research center) and went surprisingly well (I didn't know the guy, he didn't know me, and he was said to be fairly critical; well, he was very nice and invited me to come over in August to discuss a possible research project there). The last talks were in the hospital building again, and again all was fine. I met up with my former supervisor (who was interviewing other prospective students that day) at the reception afterwards, and he told me that I was one of the top-of-the-list students. Good to see a good feeling being confirmed.
Obviously, there's many good universities in the US: MIT, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, etc., they all have as excellent, or maybe even better, research facilities than/as Cornell. What they don't have, is The City [ok, so Columbia is in New York City, too, but that's Harlem; it doesn't count]. So in order to get all of us in love with all this, Cornell paid for a full day of New York entertainment that Saturday. A total of 125 youngsters got to go to some of the finest restaurants in town, and after that they spread out to see broadway plays or visit jazz and comedy clubs. I went to a Japanese restaurant where we had delicious wines, good sushi and good-old lobster right at Union Square. We ate some chocolate specialties as well, and had a good night of jazz with it [ picture ].
The day after, we were about to go home again. My plain left only late in the afternoon, so me and some other students had brunch together [ picture ], and after that some of us went to the park, where a bulgarian artists' orange creations were decorating the ice-skating track. The ice-skating-in-central-park is one of those things that I fell in love with last year already [ Picture ]. I just arrived at Schiphol this morning, tired but happy.
The weekend was just great. My class was great so far (obviously, not everyone may be accepted and not everyone may accept the acceptance) and the city was just as great as in my memories. I can't wait to start here in August.