I had an early start in the morning today and with everything that happened yesterday, I knew that today was going to be a very long day. The good news was that it's the first day of school! The bad news is that I have to wake up early in the morning. But I know that it will be worth every minute of my time because I am doing something that can help me build knowledge and be less ignorant. Waking up in the morning is always terrible and I have been use to waking up at noon weeks before the program started. It will take some use to but I think I can adjust back to my school sleeping habit soon.
The line for breakfast was very long today and it didn't help that the sun was shining on me while I was waiting in line. Finally when I got into the dining area, I had to get a take out box because class was going to start soon. My only option was to eat while I was walking and I discovered that I'm not bad at that. Sarah took us back to the Quadrangle so that we could all group with people who were taking the same classes as us. There was another RC who was holding up a sign that said "Social Justice" and I went to him. I looked around me and it seemed like there were a lot of people who were in this class. But getting to know them might be difficult. Usually my classes at school are about 30 to 40 students per class so I have never been in a class this big and it was a shock. If this is big then how do professors teach hundreds of people in a class? We had to check in with an RC and then after everyone was checked in, we walked over to the classroom that held out building.
We were led to a open area and students spread out everywhere. A man named John led us to do some Tai Chi. I knew what it was as I have seen people do it in Hong Kong but I have never done it myself. It was very relaxing and Professor Lamas said that we would do it every morning. We were led to our classrooms and the session began. We began the class by writing our name on a name tag and writing one thing on the chalk board we think is associated with Social Justice but usually not well known. Professor Lamas uses a powerpoint to show everyone pictures that he wanted us to interpret. It was interesting to see how people interpreted reach picture. A photographer named Sarah Bloom is a professional who lives in Philadelphia and is considered one of the best. Professor Lamas showed us some of her pictures and some people in the class interpreted them. It was very interesting to see how people from other countries could have similar interpretation as us.
When class was dismissed, everyone rushed over to the Houston Market, which isn't very far from the dorms. Elexis introduced me to Emily who lives in the same dorm as her but not the same floor. Emily is from California too so it was nice to talk to her and use some California slang. There was no room to eat in the Houston Market so Jun, Chiamaka, Elexis, Emily, and I went to eat by the classroom. We figured that it would be spacious and we wouldn't have to rush back to class.
After lunch, we met with our teaching fellow who is like our mentor. My teaching fellow's name is Carly and she went to UPenn for her Masters. We spent the next three hours talking about ourselves and what inspired us to take the social justice class at Penn.
Since Jun, Elexis, and I do not have internet we knew that getting the wifi code was more important than eating dinner. So after class, we immediately went to the main office of the Summer Discovery program, which is in the same building as my dorm room. We all got out password and username set up in thirty minutes but didn't think that it was worth walking back to the 1920 cafeteria since the lines were usually long. We saw Eli, who is the academic director of the program, and he gave us a Philly pretzel. He described it as a New York pretzel but colder and soggier. When I told him that Mr. Hillyer talked about the William Penn tower he said that Mr. Hillyer didn't tell us the whole story. So he told us the whole story and that William Penn is considered good luck for the city.
At 7 PM, there was an orientation that we had to go to and learn what the ground rules were. Eli was the first person to speak and informed everyone of his position. He cracked a few jokes and made fun of Harvard. The next person to speak was Robert who is also one of the directors at Summer Discovery. There was a powerpoint and it informed us of all the rules that the program had and Robert was very clear about what the consequences are if we break these rules. The scariest part was that most of the consequences for breaking the rules involved being sent home. After the orientation, the RCs took us on a tour around the campus and told us where how far we were allowed to go. It was a long walk. Then we went back to the Quadrangle.
Hopefully tomorrow won't be as long of a day as today. The heat really drains my energy and the air conditioning makes me want to fall asleep. I don't know what we are going to learn tomorrow but I hope it will be interesting!