I woke up fairly early today in order to get ready for today's first class. At 6:50AM there were only one person using the sink so I was lucky to be next up in line. While brushing my teeth, I reminisced over our travelling days and recalled how clean the bathroom was. It had puddles everywhere early in the morning so you have to be especially careful of your steps. I got ready at 7:30AM and loitered about my room until it was time to meet up with my RC and floor-mates to walk to breakfast together. Really though, I do not understand why we have to do that but since this was the first day of class so Summer Discovery most likely wants everyone to know where it is. They promised us more freedom after today so I'm looking forward to it.
After breakfast, everyone met back at the quad for program separation; the Social Justice program was the second largest out of all programs so it took a while to sign in to the roster sheet. We then headed out to the building which we'll be at for the next three weeks. The exterior of the building was made out of bricks (something you will never see in California) and ivy grows a few feet here and there of the building. Right in front of the building laid a beautiful grassland that fits everyone. Dr. John Gilmore, a pronounced professor, started the introduction by interpreting what social justice means in various aspects of culture, life, etc while conducting motions to alleviate stress and take full control of the mind. There were three Qi Gong exercises that we did but I especially liked the one where you bend your knees and have your hand in a YuGiO motion; push out and pull in.
We ended the Qi Gong exercises after an hour and we headed to the second floor of the McNeil building to enter a big (not big enough) classroom. There were way more people than chairs. This was uncomfortable. We situated ourselves around around the room and listen to professor Andy Lamas introduce the 2015 Teaching Fellows and joint professors. Our theme for today was art. We discussed how art is protrayed in today's society and a renounced Philadelphia photographer, Sarah, came to show her artwork on screen. Every one of her pictures were full of emotion: fear, disappointment, and sad. As she showed her album it made Sarah recall many things and couldn't control the teariness of her eye. Our class reassured her that her art is being viewed by safe hands. We also viewed other pictures which had symbols of America and such for us to depict the problems. The morning session came to an end at 12PM and I met up with Elexis, Emily (a new friend of ours), and Joanne to go to the Houston Market for lunch. The walk to the Market was dreadful; I had to smell and resist all food trucks. The Houston Market was crammed with people. Everyone was walking touching shoulder to shoulder. I selected a salad bowl with a hint of curry and tuna because it was the shortest line. Other lines like Grills and Sandwiches had more than twenty people lining up. Wow.
Elexis and I met up with Emily, Chiamaka, and Joanne in front of the Houston Market. We decided it was a good idea idea to take our foods and eat it inside our building. The Houston Market was unnecessarily crowded so that was a good choice. We did not have to rush back to our building since we ate lunch in the tables there. At 2PM, the afternoon session got broken down into Teaching Fellows group and I got assigned to Carly. She's a recent graduate from University of Michigan and pursing a graduate education here at University of Pennsylvania. Our group had around ten people and we first went around and said our names and such, but we quickly got deep into storytelling after the minute passed. I heard some astounding yet sad stories about people's childhood. I was surprised since everyone started introducing themselves as "very privileged" and yet they still had socioeconomic problems. We ended class today with writing the group norms which we will follow these three weeks.
I had to get my PennKey setup before heading to dinner so I followed a RC to the discovery office and thank goodness there were two PennKey officials there ready to help. Immediately they helped me and Eli kindly instructed me to go ahead and set up the PennKey right there. It finally worked and now I officially have WiFi! Because that took some time, Eli offered us some Philly pretzels in substitute for dinner so we could head onto orientation that held at 7PM. They discussed the rules and regulations of this academy. Also, our RCs gave us an University City boundary tour to enforce the perimeter of which we could wander off and about. My tour ended way later than others so when I got back, I was musty and sweaty (disgusting) from top to bottom. My lovely cohort agreed to meet up after tours to sign up for laser tag but I was a step too late. We decided to go to CVS and buy some essentials we missed last time we went with Mr. Hillyer. I missed they days when we all travelled as a group and I was glad everyone made it to this quick meet up. Also, Professor Lamas has just sent us our schedule for tomorrow and I am excited for those events coming up!