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Monday, July 13, 2015

Entering the Digital World

Today was finally the start of my second week here at Penn. Time is actually moving really fast, because I realized that I only have two more weeks here at this program. My morning went as usual, but I'm actually starting to wake up earlier than my alarm. I think my body is finally getting used to waking up at the same time everyday because I actually woke up at 7 AM today, which is pretty early for me. Anyways, I had breakfast at the Dining Commons with my friends, and we also ended up sitting with Robert, one of the main coordinators for Summer Discovery. 

After breakfast, I walked with Rudy as usual, and I eventually met up with a Audrey and Ruchi, two girls from my Physics class. We all walked to class together, and we made it a little bit earlier than usual. When we walked in, there wasn't much out on the table other than a sophisticated looking piece of technology and a device that was used to demonstrate the behavior of a wave. Apparently, the piece of technology in the front was called a digital oscilloscope. I had never seen it before in any of my classes, but it's used to measure the speed of something, such as electricity or sound. 

Our professors discussed about the functions and controls of this device, and it was rather complicated at first. After their explanation, operating it seemed much easier. During the first part of their demonstration, they measured the speed of sound. I was surprised at how much I actually understood because it usually took me a long time to process everything that they were teaching. Afterwards, they demonstrated how to measure the speed of electricity. This part was a little more confusing to me because I'm not that comfortable when it comes to circuits, but it made a little more sense than when they first talked about circuits. 

Afterwards, we then went to lab. I was actually pretty excited for lab because we were getting new lab groups. To my surprise, my group consisted of all girls. Even though 70% of the class consisted of boys, my group had 4 other girls. We asked one of our professors, Mary, about whether or not they did this on purpose, and she said yes. She told us that they usually make one all female group in the second week because they wanted to perform gender experiments and see how much better the girls would do with other girls because the guys' opinions sometimes overpower the girl's if she's by herself. I'm actually glad I'm in an all girl group, because it's much easier to talk and ask questions about the lab. In my old group, everyone tried to move so quickly that I didn't really know what was happening, but now I'm able to actually understand everything that we're doing.

We finished the group early, and so we had a few minutes as our break. At 11:30 AM, another speaker had come again. This time, it was Professor Alison Sweeney, a Marine Biologist that uses Physics in order to study the bio-luminescence in marine life. Her talk was actually really interesting because of how much enthusiasm she had. Prof. Sweeney talked about her project, where she observes squids and other animals to study their structures and natural abilities, such as blending in with the environment, or emitting a light deep underwater. This led to her project of using algae as fuel, which could essentially eliminate the use of fossil fuels. 

During her talk, you could see how enthusiastic she was about what she did for a living. She was so passionate and driven that I hope I can be like that one day. I would want to be able to find a career or project that I would truly enjoy for the rest of my life. She did not seem bored about her project at all, even when it came to the petty details. 

After her presentation, Sema and I went to eat at the Houston Market for lunch, and we were back in class by 12:30 PM. This time, the professors took time to answer some of the questions that we had about the oscilloscope. This really helped clear up all of the questions that I had regarding the machine. We then proceeded to talk about measuring the speed of light. I didn't think that this was possible, considering how fast light travels. We then proceeded to lab, and it actually went by smoothly because we finished at 3:50 PM. That's the earliest I've ever gotten out of lab! 

Shopping at a shoe store
I went back to my dorm right after lab and I was just expecting a quiet afternoon in my room, but Jun, Elexis, Chiamaka, and Joanne wanted to go out and walk around, so I only ended up staying in my room for 10 minutes. I don't mind though because it was nice to walk around. We ended up shopping again, but I simply just looked around. Then, we bought food at Wawa's for dinner before heading back to the Quad. Chiamaka left earlier, so it was just the four of us, and we actually stayed at one of the lounges in the Quad. After a while, it became crowded, so we just went back to our own rooms. Everyone wanted to have another blogging party, so they all just went to my room at around 10 PM and stayed until it was floor time. 

I believe that I'm definitely used to this new lifestyle, and I'm actually adjusting pretty well. I don't even get lost around the campus anymore! I'm just looking forward to the rest of the days to come.

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