Whoo. Much to talk about.
I just got back about an hour ago from Pittsburgh. The University offered me that scholarship, so I had to go visit before I made a decision. My dad and I drove up there last night so we wouldn’t have to do the “hard-core, up at 4am” thing. We got on and off the turnpike with no trouble, even though it was boring because it was night by that time. Nothing to see but dark and hills. Lots of hills. Mountains, really.
Getting to our hotel was a bit more difficult. MapQuest and the odd numbering of the exits threw us. For those of you who’ve never been that way, the roads are confusing like nothing. They curve and loop and intersect and cross bridges at random. There are a lot of bridges (to cross the three rivers, even though they’re really only two rivers). And they’re all painted yellow, which they did for Inspector Gadget. It’s cheap to film in Pittsburgh; a few movies have used the Pitt campus.
We found the hotel eventually. Nighttime complicates things. I’ve never actually heard a buzz saw, but I’m sure my dad’s snoring was louder. My mom told me today that she should’ve warned me to hit him to stop the snoring. That would have required getting out of bed, though, and I was tired. The pillows were weird, too, so both our backs hurt in the morning. And I was still tired from listening to my dad snore for, like, an hour. Impossible.
We woke up the next morning and drove to campus. I’d only been to UMD and UMBC before, so Pitt was startling. UMD and UMBC have basically suburban campuses. You have to take the highway to get there, but the campus streets are lower-traffic and such. Not so with Pitt. You’re in the city (Oakland; Pittsburgh has boroughs like New York City), and then you’re on the same roads, but the signs say “University of Pittsburgh.” I was expecting a gate or something like at UMD.
Overall, I would describe Pitt as “different.” It’s like going to the museums in DC, only there are classrooms and residence halls instead of artifacts and exhibits. The Cathedral of Learning is incredible. It’s 42 stories high, and decorated inside exactly like a real European cathedral. (I know; I’ve been to several.) The Cathedral also has the Nationality Rooms inside. To help fund construction, local ethnic groups donated money and got to design first-floor classrooms in the styles of their countries. They had everything from French and English to Lithuanian, Czechoslovak, and Syria-Lebanon. Very cool.
The thing about Pittsburgh is that it’s built in the mountains. We took a bus tour of the upper and mid campus and the city, and we were going up hills and big escalators the whole time. I can’t imagine walking anywhere, but that’s okay because city transportation is free with a student ID. It was disconcerting to see the top ten floors of the Cathedral when we’d been craning our necks a few minutes before, at the bottom of the hill.
I enjoyed my visit. I managed to meet, in the span of an hour or so, another Lindsay, a military brat, a nice Asian girl from Pasadena (!), and a guy from Oxon Hill. The world is smaller than we think. I can’t make a final decision quite yet, but Pitt is looking good.
So what happened last week? I got my Adkins paper back — a 92, raising my grade just enough to hit 90. I’ll bet there was some rounding in his gradebook. I want so much to get a higher grade, but I don’t think I can try any harder. And I’ll have fewer points to work with this quarter because we leave in two months! Hope wasn’t around yesterday or Thursday. I think she went on that college trip, though I forget whether it was to Carnegie Mellon, Rose-Hulman, or Case Western. I got accepted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but I don’t know anything about scholarship money yet. I finished re-reading The Giver, by Lois Lowry. It was just as haunting and fabulous as when I read it back in middle school.
You’d think I’d have more to say, to sum up an entire week of my life, but I really don’t. That’s kind of sad.