Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pick (Me) Up

Most of this week has been dominated by preparations for tomorrow’s trip to Hershey Park, and today was the culmination of all the prep work. Morning lecture consisted of familiarizing ourselves with the different equipment we’ll be using tomorrow, as well as choosing our groups and rides. I’m in a group with Clara, Alysa, and Jessica (from Connecticut). Tomorrow we’ll be analyzing the Wildcat rollercoaster by recording the accelerations on the x, y, and z planes and linking our data to video feed of the ride.
The vest that looks like terrorist gear is actually a great way to carry a GLX
Bill shows off the homemade car track
In the afternoon, we learned about the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment and conducted a form of the experiment ourselves. The experiment was originally conducted to find out the charge of an individual electron by using X-rays to knock electrons off of tiny drops of oil suspended between two charged plates. Our experiment didn’t use any X-rays, but we were able to simulate enough of the experiment to gain a profound respect for the difficulty of sorting through all that data and coming up with conclusive results.

I went to pick-up soccer again today. A group of about 14 Summer Discovery kids walked over to Penn Park together and we stayed for two hours. The softball people relegated us to a small portion of the field, but we still had a blast. Just like on Tuesday, various college students joined our pick-up game, but this time there were a few women, not just guys, which made me happy. We made it to Houston 5 minutes before closing time, but thankfully we didn’t have any trouble getting our food. After dinner, we returned to the quad, saw a game going on in the lower quad, and joined in for another hour.

I’m so happy to have found other people who love soccer just as much, if not more, than I do. I didn’t have that kind of network last summer at Brown, and I really appreciate it here. It’s been a great way to meet new people who share the same passion that I do, and talking with these new friends over dinner has been quite eye opening. Ed and Eli were absolutely right when they told us at orientation that the best learning experiences here would be gained from each other.

I talked with Ricardo (Spanish, taking a six week econ class) during dinner and it was really interesting to hear what he had to say about differences between the American and Spanish cultures. I was really surprised to hear that not many girls play sports in Spain, and especially surprised to learn that not that many girls play soccer. Spain obviously has such a huge soccer culture–Kim, the other Spanish guy, has never played on an organized team but he’s better than most of the college players–yet Ricardo told me that playing with Kaley, Gabby, and me is a new experience for him. However, he also told us that we play like Spaniards, which was an incredible compliment. I’ve noticed that U.S. girls tend to play more cooperatively (we actually pass to each other) than U.S. guys, so that’s probably the main reason that Ricardo formed that opinion of us. I’m so grateful to have this soccer experience before I go back home and join my new team. I think that thanks to pick-up, I’ll have the confidence I need to do well this season.

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