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Monday, July 6, 2015

What We Came Here For

Today was yet another extremely long and exhausting day. I'm still trying to adjust to the campus and the college lifestyle, but I'm surprised that I actually feel at home here. I woke up to my alarm at around 6:30 AM, but I accidentally fell asleep again, which was definitely a big mistake. Yesterday's move in just drained all of my energy and I just fell asleep so easily to the point where I did not want to wake up. Anyways, I quickly got up and changed, then I met with my RC, as well as the other girls on my floor at 7:15 AM. By this time, we simply all walked to the 1920 Dining Commons, and just ate breakfast there.

Waiting in line for breakfast
Afterwards, we went to the quad to group with others from our class at 8:45 AM, and we all walked in our separate ways. Since I am a part of the Physics Academy, I was actually expecting there to be a lot of guys, knowing that males mostly outnumber females in the STEM fields. Of course, I was correct. There were only around 10-12 girls and about 35 guys in the entire class. I didn't mind it because I just see everyone as equals.

The building to my classroom
We walked through a lot of different ways, which made it more confusing to remember how to get to class. The RCs were only going to guide us to class for today, so we would be on our own tomorrow. On the way to class, I was able to meet new people, and hear about all of the different places that they were from. There was a very broad variety, and I even met a person that came all the way from Turkey. I ended up talking to her the entire way, and I sat with her during class. I'm just glad that I am starting to make great friends.

The classroom we were in was more of a decent sized hall and had a lot of desks. I was seated in the 2nd row, along with Rudy, and the person I had just met on the walk. After we settled in, I was introduced to our instructors, Mr. Berner, Ms. Pandya, and Mr. Halpern. They were all really friendly, and I knew that I was definitely going to enjoy my class. 

Right after the introductions, we went straight into the lecture, where Ms. Pandya talked about kinematics, which is basically about speed, velocity, acceleration, etc. By 10 AM, we then went to our lab room, where we were all split into groups of 5 and experimented on motion detectors. Afterwards, we went back downstairs to listen to Mr. Berner speak about optics, which is about light and refraction. At first, the lesson was rather confusing to me, because in my past physics class, my teacher didn't cover much about optics, but I eventually understood what he was saying.

By 12:30 PM, we ended lecture, and the RCs walked us to lunch at the Houston Market. The place was so full inside, that you could barely walk through without bumping into others. Since this was the only place that we were allowed to go to for today, most of the academies were there. I eventually made my way through the crowd and bought pizza using my ID card, which was pretty interesting to me. During lunch, I met another person from my physics class, and I ate with her and the girl that I had met earlier. 

Since the walk took a while, we only had about 15 minutes to eat all of our food before we had to return at 1:15 PM. When we got back, we did a quick discussion about what to expect in lab, and we went back to our groups to try some experiments with refraction. This was a frustrating lab for me personally because I did not get along well with one of the members from my group. He was the type to take over all of the experiments and left us with writing whatever data that he found. I didn't really like this because when I tried to help solve some confusions that we faced, he disregarded my opinion and the group went along with him. I sort of felt like they undermined my intelligence because I am girl, but I hope that that is not the issue. 

We ended class at 4 PM, so I had free time until 4:50, which was when my RC wanted to meet up. I ended up just walking with one of my floor mates because my RC couldn't meet us, so we all went to dinner separately. Throughout dinner, I simply asked how everyone's first day of class went, and everyone seemed to be rather pleased, which is good. 

A little bit of the orientation
After dinner, we went to the Chemistry building to sit through an orientation about the rules and expectations. Then, we went on a tour with my RC around the area to make sure we knew the boundaries of the campus. I was sweaty and exhausted after the tour, and we eventually made it back by around 9:30 PM. At this time, I had to deal with the long line through the gate, and I then went to the sign-in room to sign up for activities to do after class. I was one of the lucky ones that was able to reserve a spot for the bus to go play laser tag. Anyways, I ended the night with a quick supply run with my cohort and took a nice, long shower to get rid of my fatigue.

I hope I'll be able to make more friends throughout these next few weeks, and be able to thoroughly understand most of the material within my class. I'm definitely becoming accustomed to this lifestyle, and I look forward to the rest of my stay here at UPenn.

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