Monday, July 2, 2012

Class Is In Session

I was awake, yet my eyes remained closed. It was my first morning here at Penn, and I was already wishing that when I opened my eyes I would see the familiar walls of my room at home. I talked to my mom last nigh, and it made me very home sick. Laying in bed thinking about my room at home really wasn't helping at all, so I forced myself out of bed. As I was getting dressed in my rommate-less room, I tried to find something to look forward to today. That wasn't too hard, there were many things to look forward to. I was meeting my cohort for breakfast, it was the first day of class, and it was the start of my first full day here.

After waiting in line for almost an hour, we finally got our breakfast. Since it was our first day, there were people walking us to class. Unfortunately breakfasst did cause us to miss the first batch of drop offs, but we made it for the second trip. I walked into my class, which isn't too large, and I could feel a butterfly parade going on in my stomach. I took the first seat I saw, which was conveniently at the same table as Chloe and Cameron. Prof. Lamas, whom I was eager to meet, arrived shortly. We began the class with an ice breaker. We paired up with somebody we did not know, and we had to try and find something unique we had in common with our partner. My partner and I are both fascinated by serial killers. It isn't the act or even the serial killer himself, but the motives behind the crime, their mentality, like what could have been going through their heads? Anyways, we discussed topics such as opression and political power. At 12 PM, we departed for a two hour lunch break, and reconviened in a different building at two. In that part of the class we went deep into discussion about freedom, and many famous philosophers. Prof. Lamas has the best teaching style I have ever seen: he encourages everybody to speak their mind, he pushed us to think outside of the box, to take it one step further, and he considers us to be teachers as well.

As class ended, Cameron, Chloe, and I walked back to the dorms. I decided to go to Chloe's room, because, well, I didn't want to be in my rommate-less dorm. Cameron stayed with us as well. Dinner was held from five to seven at Houston Market, and it was probably six when we left Chloe's dorm. As we made our way down the hall, I had the sudden urge to go to my room and check if my roommate had arrived. I was almost 100% sure there would be nobody there, but I just had to make sure. Surprise! She was just walking out of our room when I reached the door. I can't even put into words how happy I was that my roommate had finally arrived! Her name is Anika, she lives in India, but is originally from Louisiana. 

The rest of the evening was spent taking a tour of our home area safe zone. I don't think I'll remember any of what they showed us, but it's okay because Wawa is right up the street! Oh, for those of you who don't know, Wawa is, in Ed Healy's own words, "7-Eleven on steroids." That place is amazing! Our cohort also came together in my room for another legendary blog party. The night is now ending with my wonderful roommate sleeping peacefully, and me, exhausted from another long day. 

I Love Lasers

I woke up today before my alarm, something that I thought would have never happened. But the strong summer sun pierced through the blinds and managed to wake me up. Then I took my first dorm shower, which was very fun. I was in that half asleep and half awake stage before I took my shower. Bam! It hit me, classes started today!

All the students met up in the quad to be walked to their classes. This helped me a great amount because the school is enormous compared to other college campuses that I have been to. Bill Berner, our professor, is very funny, has a great personality, and seems really cool to talk to. I stop to wonder, all college professors are like this, I love it. We started class with Kinematics. That word has never came up in my high school class, which intimidated me. But then I learned that it is the physics of motion, which is something I did know and took all the nerves away. After the lecture, a comedic one that involved the tale of how the tortoise beat the hare. We later when into the lab for some hands-on experiment involving  use moving in a position-time graph, where we had to try to match the graph by walking back and forth. We do a few more experiments and then we let our early for lunch.

My Lab Partners and The Fan on a Car Experiment

When we came back from lunch, we had an interesting lesson and lab on optics. The lesson was very entertaining as well as informing. I especially loved Bill's illusion of levitating and added on to the fun by saying we were "Breaking the Laws of Physics." We did three labs that involved measuring a lense's radius using a microscope, using a lense to view the window, and finding the index of refraction with lasers and a plastic triangle. All three were very fun and cool, but I liked the lasers one the best. Our group finished at about 3PM, and it seemed that everyone else got out by 3:20PM. I met up with some of the students and decided to explore the campus a bit more.


We went to dinner at Houston Market, which was very good. I think that they had an extra amount of curly fries because I asked for some and the lunchman filled up my plate. When I met up with other students, they all appeared to have gone through the thing. After dinner, we had an all student campus tour around the entire home area. The more I walked around the campus, the more I loved it, but then we walked by it...the fitness center. I love working out, but that I can't go because I am 15, I feel that it has actually helped me meet new friends. For example, instead of going to the gym to slip on my headphones and forget about the outside world, I decided that I am going to be doing a lot more of the physical activities that involve teamwork, the basis of friendship. New friends, new life, and most importantly new experience here I come.

Kyle, Jacob, Me, and Jacob

Bill Berner The Science Learner

Late last night I went to bed atop of my lofted bed with the fear that during the middle of the night I'd fall off the bed and wake the entire floor. I woke up this morning with the surprise that I survived the night. I hurried out of bed at 7:00 AM and prepared for the day. My roommate and I woke up around the same time but we really didn't have time to socialize because we were rushing to meet our friends for breakfast.

We all arrived at McCluland Hall in what seemed like sufficient time to eat. Boy were we wrong. I had to wait in line for about an hour just to get a breakfast sandwich. We hurried back to the quad to be walked to our individual classes.
Have fun in class, Clara!

The physics academy is located in the Rittenhouse building a few blocks from where we are staying. During the first half of physics we went over something that I actually learned in my physics course during my sophomore year. We also did the exact same lab! During lunch I went to set up my PennKey for internet use and wifi. I then want back to class a few minutes earlier. After a second lecture and lab, we were let out at about 3:30.

Professor Bill Berner demonstrating how mirrors can aide in optical illusions.

After classes, we had time to eat dinner and hangout before going to the group orientations and campus tours. The orientation was super fun and gave me even more time to get to know people on my floor as well as some of the males I haven't got to talk to. The activities they have planned all seem to be pretty fun and I can't wait to get out and meet even more people!

First Day Of Class

When the alarm clock rang at 7:30 , I immediately thought I was at home preparing for a busy day at school. This was not the case , as I remembered that I would be taking a college course.I immediately got dressed and headed down to the quad for breakfast.Not to my surprise , the line was amazingly long , so I decided to eat one of the many things I had prepared before this trip such as granola bars. While I ate my granola bar I walked around with a few people that I had met the day before and we actually met new people.When our RC's came out they held up signs for the particular academies , so I headed over to mine. There I waited for everyone to arrive and we headed over to our classroom. Which we would be doing on our own for the next 26 days.

When I entered the classroom the seats were arranged in groups of four. I sat with someone I did not know , and when it was time to play a game to get to know each other , we found out that we both have a brother that is 27 years old ,  played basketball, works at a bank ,and who also has a tattoo or two.I was very excited at the fact that I got to meet someone that lives in Turkey whom was born in India.The class itself was very interesting itself. We viewed the schedule for weeks to come , and we have many interesting things coming up, such as museums.We actually discussed a view different topics today such as an issue on freedom.

After classes we had a couple hours to hang out with one another until we had to meet once again for a tour of our boundaries. We discovered a couple nifty places to eat, and even a movie theater that we will be attending every Friday night with our RC groups. When that was complete we had the rest of our nights to chill but most importantly make sure we signed in by 11pm and in our rooms by 1145pm.

It is very good that Don has us doing blogs because it really makes us think about all the things the we are able to do through this program, and also think our day through.For example upon writing this blog I knew that I had to sign in by 11. When I went to the office at approximately 945 , they turned me around and said come back at 10. Well, I went back to my room and got very comfortable. When I mentioned signing in by 11 above it was approximately 1050, and I hadn't signed in yet.So me and my roommate dashed over to the office and signed in ON time.What a scare. Thank you Don and the ILC!

The Difficulties of Finding An Empty Shower

I woke up this morning with one goal–find an empty bathroom and take a shower. The floors and dorms are arranged such that one bathroom with one shower services about eight girls. However, we’re free to wander throughout the connected dorms in search of a free bathroom. After walking through 4 dorms, I found a bathroom that no one had claimed yet and quickly took a shower. When I got back to my room, I grabbed my backpack and headed down to meet with the rest of the Penn Team for breakfast.

The guys shunned our company, but we girls, along with a few new friends, all went to breakfast together at McClelland Hall. Unfortunately, there was only one cash register for the whole café, so the line inched along. We were barely able to get breakfast before it was time to meet up in the quad, and some of the other four-weekers didn’t get a chance to get any food at all.

Our RCs walked us to class for the first time so that we didn’t get lost on Penn’s huge campus. Our class, located in the David Rittenhouse Lab, has 36 students from all over the world. I’m really excited to be working alongside all of these incredible people! Our professor, Bill Berner, is just awesome. In class we’ll cover the basic areas of high school physics, but focus on the more modern aspects of physics because we don’t get a chance to learn about them in high school.

Our mornings will be taken up by lectures and our afternoons will be spent doing labs. This morning, we reviewed kinematics, the study of motion. Our professor focused on relationship between the actual situation and the math and physics explaining what happens, which was great because that’s how our high school physics teacher liked to teach. In the afternoon, we studied optics, light, and lenses. This was completely new material, but it seemed fairly straightforward and my group easily completed our labs.

Tonight our RCs took us on a tour of the Home Area, the area of Philadelphia that we’re allowed to wander in. We located the movie theatre, the fitness center, and other important buildings. After the tour we were left to our own devices, until quad time at 11 PM. We all went to Ivette’s room to blog, and met her very accommodating roommate who doesn’t mind us congregating in her room every night. I should go check in right now, but I will keep everyone posted about class and weekly activities.

Meet The New Resident Of 108-b, Hopkinson!

My bags were packed, teeth brushed, breakfast was over, and we were all ready to go. That would be the last morning I would be waking up in a hotel room. The last morning I would be waking up next to my roomie, Alysa! Our cohort spent five days together, and since the dinner at Tony's we have all become extremely close. Now everybody is in different rooms, and it feels as if we will never see each other. 

Okay, so we walked to the campus from The Sheraton , and were greeted by a young man in a bright blue shirt. It took almost no time at all for all of us to get our envelopes containing everything we needed to get started. One by one Mr. Lawrence dropped us off at our dorms, and made sure we were all settled in before moving onto the next person.

I really wanted to beat my roommate, and get to our dorm room first. But I was still a bit dissappointed when I opened the door and saw two empty beds. I guess I was kind of hoping that she'd be there to welcome me. Well, she wasn't, so I welcomed myself. My dorm room is a double, it has two beds, two wardrobes, two desks, a sink, and three juxtapositioned windows. The beds are pretty high up, and that's because there are drawers underneath them. They are rubbery, and feel very hard. The wardrobes are big enough for me to hang up every single item of clothing I brought with me, so super happy about that! They also have two drawers right underneath the main part. The desks are are also very spacious. Power outlets are not  under the bed! I am so glad about that, they are in very convenient locations. The lighting is a bit dim, but I like it, because it reminds me of every restaurant our cohort dined in. Our bed frames, desks, and wardrobes are all made from the the same wood. The AC isn't working too well in the room, but I don't mind. Once everything was unpacked, I went to the quad where I met my RC.

Every Sunday we will be eating dinner at the King's Court, so we all walked over together. The food was buffet style, and they had a bit of everything. Everybody was just as nervous as I was, so it wasn't hard to find somebody to sit with. It was a bit uncomfortable at first, because we didn't know what to say to each other. Eating in silence was the cool thing to do for the night. After we ate, we walked over to the chemistry labs, and the orientation began. We were told about our next four weeks, the rules, what to expect, and the activities we would be able to participate in.  I thought this program was going to be super serious and strict, so I was so relieved when Ed Healy began  to crack jokes in between his speech. I was also surprised when he welcomed us (ILCers) by name. I don't know if he knows all of the 260 kids' names, but it was really kind of him to memorize ours. One long orientation, a meeting with my RC, and a much needed shower later,  and I am in bed exhausted from the long day. My rommate never showed up, so I spent my first night alone. I turned off the lights, and prohibited myself from thinking about the epmty bed across from mine

A Day of Adjustments

Today was the first day of class!  I slept quite soundly last night and didn't need many covers as my room maintained a perfectly warm climate.  At 7:30 AM I woke up and tried to quickly get shower and get dressed for breakfast.  By 8:00 AM I was outside of my dorm with Mariko, Ivette, Clara, Alysa, and some new friends we've made.  We headed to McClellan Hall for breakfast, but it was so packed that it took us almost 40 minutes to get our food!  From this morning, I learned that I need to get there right when the building opens, which is at 7:30 AM, in order to have the maximum amount of time possible before class starts.  

Immediately after I picked up my breakfast, I met up with everyone else from my class in the quad.  Seeing as it was the first day and we students were all a bit confused, our Residential Counslers guided us to our respective classrooms.  During the beginning of class our professor, Prof. Lamas, introduced himself, an additional teacher, Michael, and three T.As.  In pairs of two, we students broke off into the lobby and did a short icebreaker, in which we were supposed to come up with something the two of us had in common that no one else in our class shared.  This was a fun start to the new course and the rest of the class was spent in a discussion-based manner on various political and social topics.  

At 12 PM we departed for our two hour lunch break at Houston Market.  During that time I ate with Ivette, Cameron, and two other new people we met in class.  The food was great and we even had time to go back to our dorms and chill before class started up again.

When 2:00 PM came around, Ivette and I rushed into the building for our afternoon class.  We had a little bit of trouble finding the building because it was different from the one we walked to this morning.  For this class we go to two different buildings for the morning and afternoon sections from Monday-Thursday, and then on Friday we remain in the same building all day.  During the afternoon class we had a long discussion about human equality and global unification, and even explored the ideas of a few different philosophers.  I thoroughly enjoyed Prof. Lamas's teaching style as he really encouraged all of us to speak our minds, and he posed really interesting and stimulating questions.  By around 4:00 PM, he realized that many of us were very tired so we got out of class forty minutes earlier than usual! 

The evening time consisted of a walking tour around the UPenn campus, but we only went as far as our boundaries allowed.  There were a lot of trees in this area and I loved it!  I had the chance to get to know so many more people from all over the world today.  Everyone is so diverse and interesting, I am extremely excited to get to know as many members of this program as I can!  I just know that the next four weeks are going to be super fun and stimulating, both intellectually and socially, and I can't wait for the next day to begin!

University of Pennsylvania

The excitement that I got by knowing that this was the day I would be moving into college was overwhelming. Things that constantly went through my mind were, “I wonder who my roommate will be, or will there be air conditioning? (The East coast is very hot in the summer) I finally calmed down and decided to just go with the flow of things. After the complimentary breakfast that received from the hotel, we made our way to K-Mart. There we would get all of the necessities that weren’t able to pack in our luggage, such as body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and things of that nature. Here we actually witnessed the environment outside of the college area which is said to be not so pleasant. After this prodigious experience, we were off to UPenn to meet our roommates and settle in for the next month.

Chloe moving into dorms
When we arrived, it was a sad sight because the “gang” that had gotten so close over the past week now had to go their separate ways. It was okay, because we later learned that we would be seeing a lot of each other. After we got all settled in and acquainted with our surroundings, everyone met with their RC’s (our counselors) to head over to the dining hall for dinner. Imagine waiting in a line with 200 plus people. You can imagine what I felt, in 100 degree weather, standing directly under the sun with jeans on. Dinner was rather exciting because I got to interact with people from all around the world such as, China, Rome, and Tai wan.

The next and final step was a rule and regulation sessions were we basically learned all the does and don’ts. By the looks of things we have a lot of space to explore without actually going outside of our boundaries. Check in would be 11 every night were we could be in the mall area but could no longer exit , and at 11:45 we would have to be on our respective floors, and by 12 in our rooms ready for room check. After this, is was so exhausted from the day, that I took a shower and looked over my notes than fell asleep.


The Tortoise, The Hare, and Physics

I woke up this morning shivering under my blanket, dreading putting my feet down on the cold floor.  It turns out that if you leave the AC on high all night, the room gets freezing cold by the time you wake up.  I went to breakfast around 8, thinking I would have enough time to eat before meeting for class at 8:30.  I was sadly mistaken.  The breakfast line was long and slow and I only had time to grab a few bites before being ushered off to class.

Physics is held in the David Rittenhouse Lab, about a ten minute walk from my dorm.  I love that just walking to class takes me through the city streets and past a lot of fun sights. In the morning, we reviewed Kinematics, the physics of motion.  We analyzed the physics involved in the tortoise and the hare fable and mimicked the situation in the lab.Even though I had learned some of this in my physics class, I loved getting a different perspective and going to the college labs.  Our professor, Bill Berner, let us out a little early for lunch hoping we would return a little more energetic.  

The beautiful and green quad
After lunch, we did a lesson and lab about optics.  I was especially excited about this because my high school physics class did not cover optics.  We used lenses to focus lights and we even got a clear image of the hall window from the opposite end of the hall.  All the students finished their labs early, so we got to leave at 3:15 instead of the scheduled 4:30.  Our days should follow the same general pattern with lessons in the morning and labs in the afternoon.  

After class, I hung out with Mariko and some students I had met in Physics.  I'm happy to be meeting people already, especially from so many diverse backgrounds. After dinner, which we ate at the Houston Market, we went on a tour of the safe "Home Area."  I can't wait for our second day of class tomorrow, and the 4th of July on Wednesday, when we will hopefully get to do something with Mr. Lawrence. 

Wake Up In The Morning Feeling Like Philly

I have to say, I was pretty well rested this morning after going to bed at 2:30 AM, although I’m not sure how Ivette felt upon waking up (seeing as she didn’t get to bed until about 4 AM after a vigorous workout in the gym).  Despite wanting to sleep in for days, we managed to make it to breakfast with the rest of our cohort.

After breakfast, we all checked out of our rooms and headed to the local Kmart to pick up a few last items. We ran around in Kmart for about an hour and then headed back to the hotel. I could tell that excitement was starting to build up within the Penn team and everyone was ready to meet their roommates. We gathered up our luggage and started the three block trek to UPenn. We stopped right across the street from campus to pose for one more photograph inside of an old trolley car.

When we arrived in front of the campus we were greeted by a large group of people wearing electric blue Summer Discovery staff t-shirts. The staff was extremely helpful and efficient in providing the students with great directions and instructions. Once every member of our cohort checked-in, we made our way down the row of residence halls and reluctantly bidded farewell to the team and our chaperone.

Bye Chloe!

BUT WAIT, it wasn’t over yet!
After walking into an empty room and unpacking a bit, Ian and David came by to see my room and then we moved on to visit the rest of the cohort. Upon seeing that everyone was settling in nicely, Ian decided it was time to release his little birdies nest.

The next few hours were filled with socializing and unpacking. Once my roommate arrived, we started a sort of welcoming committee that greeted everyone in the hallways. That was a great way to meet everyone in the dorms. I was relieved to know that all of the halls were connected by a long hallway to the rest of the Penn team were essentially just a few doors down.

At 5:00 PM all 260 of the Summer Discovery participants met for dinner which was followed by an orientation. The rest of the night was filled with getting to know all sorts of people. I met people from Costa Rica, Beijing, Taiwan, and Israel among other places. I also met a guy named Batman!

Just from the way the first day went, I can tell that the next four weeks are going to be such an amazing experience. Tomorrow we start class and I couldn’t be any more excited!