Our second day in Wisconsin went much better than our first.  For one thing, we didn’t get into any accidents.  I made sure we left an hour early to make a 15 minute drive to the college so that Angel could take his time and not feel rushed.  It worked out nicely.

So we went to the college early to walk around before auditing our classes.  We entered a music store off campus where the salespeople were super friendly and super helpful.  Angel asked one question and the salesman had an entire conversation with him.  And it wasn’t even the traditional sales pitch either.  He just offered friendly advice.

Angel audited a pre-modern Japanese Literature class, while I sat in on an Intro to Religious Studies class.  My mind was blown.  My Spring Break is actually the beginning of their Spring term, so both classes I audited were in for their first days and I got to see the syllabi and hear the “welcome to my class” spiel.

The Intro to Religious Studies professor gave a speech that started with explaining what a thesis is.  It went from there and he started to talk about how we are sometimes undermined by the very educational system that’s meant to help us grow.

It starts to become less about what you learn and more about your grade and about pleasing the professor, he said. But this is YOUR education.  So when you write your thesis, you can write whatever you want.  You can even write about motorcycles.  Can motorcycles be religion?  I think they can, I love motorcycles.  Of course, you want to stay in the realm of what we’re studying, but you can and should follow whatever interests you.  You are free to explore.

I wanted to cry during the lecture.  Everything he said sounds like the way I’ve always wanted to learn, and the way I thought college would work the very first time I attended.

After leaving our classes, we grabbed lunch in the cafeteria.  The place was HUGE, and we didn’t have to pay because the admissions counselors gave us meal vouchers.  It was all you can eat, and they had a pasta station, a grill station, a pizza station, a salad bar, dessert trays, drinks, and so much more.  It was amazing, and the food tasted so fresh.  We later found out that 37% of the food they use is locally sourced, and that there’s no set menu so they make what they make based on what they have for the day.  They even use produce from student-run garden across the street.  It’s an incredible operation.

We noticed that every student left their bag and coat on the stairs before entering the cafeteria.  We thought this was bizarre and figured out that everyone was just that trusting.  I’m from New York City, I don’t play that shit, and my bag stayed with me the whole time.  But it made me think that there must be something wrong with us instead of with them.

After this, Angel and I met up with one of the admissions counselors who took us around to look at apartments in the area.  Larry U. owns some apartments just off of campus, and we got to see them.  They were super small and kind of dingy, but you can’t beat a 2 bedroom apartment for $365 a month which INCLUDES all heat, hot water, electricity, gas, cable, internet, and a parking space, as well as a laundry facility and storage space in the basement.

Just sayin’.

He then drove us around the general area, showing us where the good housing was if we didn’t want to move into the “blue box” apartments, and giving us some of the history of the town.  After this, we drove back to the hotel and ordered dinner.

Day 3 was the busy day.  We got up, had breakfast, drove to the school, and then waited for Angel to be able to meet the general manager of the school cafeteria.  This was also arranged by the admissions department because they wanted Angel to get a sense of the employment in the area.  Angel impressed the general manager so much that she had him speak with the head chef, who offered him a job for the fall.

After this, we went on a campus tour.  The tour was personalized; in fact, Angel and I were the only people on the tour.  We got to ask a ton of questions, take detours to things that interested us, etc.  We then had lunch with the transfer admissions counselor, who gave me the low-down on transfer credits and the like.

Then we sat in on two more classes.  Angel did Intro to Philosophy, and I did Fictions of Africa.  My class was an upper level course (in the 500′s), and there were only 5 students in the class.  The professor took half an hour after class to speak with me about the anthropology major (one of the majors that I’m considering) and the college in general.  She was super helpful, and her philosophy about education reminded me a lot of the Intro to Religion professor.

Our last event for the day was a dinner with three Lawrence students (one freshmen, one transfer, and one non-traditional), and we sat with them for about an hour and a half discussing their experiences with the university as well as the area in general.  We drove to the hotel, packed, slept, and got up at 5am to travel back to NYC.

This was a hugely helpful trip, and I was sad when I left because I felt like I would probably never see the place again.  I have no business attending a school that great.

I’m waiting on so much information: acceptances from other schools, financial aid info, housing info for the schools that offer non-traditional housing, etc.  I really hope Larry U. comes up with a good package for me.  I’d love to go, and I think Angel would love to live there.  He’s even thinking of applying himself, so we’ll see how that goes.

Side note: we got back to NYC on Wednesday night, and I was up at 4am on Thursday to travel to Massachusetts to visit another school.  I compared that school with Lawrence every step of the way, and I felt like they didn’t compare at all.  I think I know where I want to go.  As crazy at it sounds, this city chick is now POSITIVE that she wants to go to Wisconsin for a few years.

We’ll see how well that works out.