Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back from Boston

Recently we spent a few days in Boston visiting university campuses to see if any of them were a good fit for my daughter.  We spent the most time at Boston University and at Northeastern.  Both schools are on Olivia's short list because of their excellent programs in both biology and studio fine arts.  She is still torn between graphic art and bioengineering, but I think her innate sense of practicality is winning out, in that she realizes that becoming a successful comics or graphic novel artist is difficult (to say the least) and that she is going to need a day job, at least for a while.  And if you're going to have a day job, pick one that you love.

Bioengineering caught her interest last year in junior biology when her class did things like inserting plasmids into bacteria and teasing the DNA out of strawberries.  When I took high school biology we didn't even get to dissect the frog.  Our teacher was too busy making inappropriate remarks toward the female students and showing us how to make blowguns out of glass tubing.  And this was the chairman of the science department at one of the finest high schools in the country.  Go figure.

The differences between my daughter's education and mine are profound.  She has access to things like computer animation and is creating bacterial colonies that glow blue under special light.  I still used a slide rule in my high school physics class and did not have access to a computer until halfway through my college career.  It just blows me away.

Boston remains a beautiful city, and we were lucky enough to have spectacular weather while we were there.  B.U. was not quite what Olivia is looking for, although it's a wonderful school, but Northeastern seemed to be a very good fit for her.  She like the people there a lot more and was interested in Northeaster's "co-op" program of internships and community service.  Finding this out was more than worth the trip.  Add to that the fact that we got to have a spectacular dinner (French/Cambodian fusion at The Elephant Walk) with an old friend whom I had not seen in entirely too long, and you come up with one of the best trips our family has taken in a long time, albeit a pricey one.

And seeing the Ossining Correctional Facility, aka the former Sing Sing Prison, overlooking the Hudson River on the trip home was a nice bonus too.  Scary prison, October foliage, great trip.

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