Sunday, August 30, 2015

First Game of My Life

Today, there was a baseball game and a mall trip and because I did a mall trip last time I decided to sign up for the baseball game. Plus, it was my first.

Sign-ups were last Wednesday, so it was easy for me to go and put my name on a paper saying I wanted to attend an event. This morning when I woke up feeling the exact opposite of how I felt at first. I didn't want to go to the game at all, I was tired and wanted a day to rest.  But, I decided to suck it up and go. Which was a really good idea in some aspects. One of the aspects of the goodness was that I got to spend time with my friends, the ones I came with and the ones I gained. One of the not so good things were the seats we had and the temperature.  We had seats that were really high up an it was 98 degrees.  Luckily, the R.C's had sunscreen available upon request.

When the game started, I was sitting there really excited. I looked over at Joanne,Chiamaka and Justeen who looked just as excited as I was. When the first player stepped up to bat I just knew that it was going to be a home run or a three run score. Sadly, I was wrong it was a single run score and he got out.

After, sitting in the heat for a while  decided to go down to the concessions area to get out of the sun. Yet, that didn't really even help me escape the heat. Although, I was able to meet a Philly native through Jun, who had been sitting with the woman for awhile. She was very nice and told us a lot about the badluck of the Phillies and the heat.

Talking to her and Jun made the time for the game to be over go by pretty fast. By the time it was time to go I was so tired. But, overall it was a very nice and full day. Although, the Phillies didn't win the game they played well.

I had a great time with the Summer Discovery staff, my cohort, and my newly found friends. I just wished the Phillies could have one though.

An Unforgetable Moment that Has Forever Changed Me

Coming from such a dark background, I never thought that I would have the chance to travel to so many iconic ivy league schools. In fact,  I never thought that I would travel to even one ivy league. But, with the scholarship provided by the ivy league connection  I got to experience something greater than I ever imagined. 

Like the slogan says, "When opportunity knocks some open the door, while others complain about the noise." I was one of the ones who chose to open the door. The door which lead to a completely surprising part of me. My aspirational side, the side that took a chance despite what my fellow peers were saying. It may have required a solid amount of work but in the end it was worth ut and paid off. 

Going to a school like Kennedy high, I hadn't considered the possibility of attending a liberal arts school. To be totally honest, I didn't even know what a liberal arts based school was. Through the ILC I was able to make a connection with a Liberal arts school. From our tours I learned that liberal arts schools give you a "well-rounded " education when you graduate. Meaning it not only focuses on your field of study it brings in the undergraduate studies too. Unlike a vocational, technical, or professional curriculum. I now feel as though a liberal arts maybe somewhere I apply in the future.

From this experience I gained what I would like to call long lasting friends. No scratch that a new found family.
My extended family!!!
Photo credits: John Hillyer 
I was able to meet people that I would have never been able to meet without the scholarship provided by the Ivy League. For instance, Eli Lesser the Director of Penn Academic Summer Sessions. Or Eric J. Furda the new dean of admissions over at Penn.

If it wasn't for the Ivy League Connection I would have never been able to experience such a character building opportunity. From this "roller coaster" of self discovery, I learned that I am an ambassador for the changing of my community. I hope to be able to encourage my fellow peers to push themselves to try, because they'll never know what opportunity they may have in front of them.  I want to be that push that makes them open the door. Just like the Ivy League Connection opened the door for me to be exposed to a liberal arts school.

Thank you, to Don Gosney, John Hillyer, and all the sponsors and contributors who made this moment possible. I am eternally grateful and will forever remember this moment. It has made an impact on me like nothing I've ever felt. 

A new foumd interest

I never considered social justice as something I would be interested in, but now I am a strong advocate for it. I always used to think that social justice was just gender rights for women and to not be racist. 

On the first day of class my original definition was shattered by my peers definitions. Professor Lamas had us to write what we thought or felt social justice was. The definitions ranged from male and female gender rights to equity to sexual representation. Just from those three definitions my mindset was deepened. From that moment on I dedicated my time to trying to learn why my peers felt the way they did. 

Professor Lamas, Michael Nairn, and Dr. Anthony Monteiro were excellent teachers. They taught in a way that was completely different from what I'm used too. Obviously, the difference was in the fact that they are college professors and I've only received a high school level teaching. But, they taught with a dynamic that  was confusing but made us think. They would say certain things that to me were a contradiction. But, now I see  that through that technique I was able to develop my own tailor made definition of what social justice is with a deeper understanding. 

I feel like in the three weeks of taking the course I developed a more open mind. Some of the topics we discussed in our teaching fellow groups were very sad and disheartening but through those conversations we found ways to make changes. One of the topics we discussed was human trafficking. We had an extensive conversation do to the fact that one of my group members did a research project about it when she was 14 years old. She became really invested and knew it was a very important aspect of social justice. We all knew that we would not be able to completely stop human trafficking on our own. But, we can help the human trafficking organizations out there. 

This experience gave me the opportunity to gain an understanding of the "world" people in other countries live in. For instance, two of my fellow students taught about the little known "Palestine-Israel war" that is taking place right now. They were able to teach on it because they have family there and have visited many times. They were each able to share with us the encounters they had as Palestinians traveling through Israel. One of them was spit on by a Israeli checkpoint officer. From that alone I learned that all of us have different struggles but we should be understanding.

I really enjoyed my time in the Social Justice Research Academy. Each and every person I met within it had, a compelling affect on me. My definition of social justice is now, the right to receive the same opportunity as another, regardless of social status, sexual orientation, sexuality, gender, race, culture, or religion. To make it short it is basically equity. I learned that equity is very important in our society and in any society. 

I also learned that I do enjoy social justice efforts. I have received a deeper connection with advocacy through this program.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Professor Lamas, Michael Nairn, and Dr. Monteiro for everything they taught me. And also, to Dato Aronia my teaching fellow and my entire teaching fellow group. But, most importantly to Don Gosney, the sponsors and contributors or made this possible for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ocean City

Today, there was a beach trip. The beach we went to was famous for being a reality television show that aired on MTV. The Jersey shore was where went. It was a 2 hour drive there and we left 9:30 a.m.  The drive there was so boring, but it was sort of funny too. It was funny because the DVD player wasn't working, but it was boring because we couldn't watch the movie. The movie we tried to watch was Captain America Age of Ultron. That was was standingcool but, I hadn't watched the first one all the way so I knew I'd be lost.

The person I sat next to was Chiamaka which was really cool, although all we did was sleep just like everyone else on the way there. I woke up maybe thirty minutes before we got to Ocean City and just watched the traffic pass the bus by.  Long before that, one of the resident counselors decided to give up on the movie.

When we got off the bus , Chiamaka and I decided to wait for everyone. Everyone meaning, Justeen, Joanne, and Jun. The only thing was that Joanne had gotten there before all of us and Jun and Justeen were walking towards us as we made a path for people to walk by.

The first place we went was to the flash-point with our resident counselors. Right after that, they let us roam freely between the 6Th and 12th street on the boardwalk. Which may sound like a small amount of area, yet it was actually quite a bit.  The same rules applied for swimming.

Next, we established how much either of us wanted to get into the water and when everyone said they didn't want to we made our way down the boardwalk. All we did was look at was on the side we were on before we purchased anything or decided what we wanted to do. We made exceptions on the food, though.

We walked for a while and then stopped in one of the amusement parks. This park in particular was very nice, for small children. We almost purchased tickets from there because we had yet to find out exactly where the other amusement park was.  It was really strange because Justeen, Jun, and I were standing near one of the rides talking about what we should in the case of buying tickets or not. And then, a woman and her husband come up to us and hand us a bunch of tickets and say "Here you guys go, now you can ride a bunch of rides. This isn't happening for him today." I'm assuming that their young son was in trouble or not in the mood and they overheard our conversation.  When Joanne and Chiamaka came back and we told then what happened and they were excited. In total she gave us 14 tickets which was a pretty good amount but there was 5 of us and most rides ranged between 3-6 tickets.

Although, we had all of those tickets we decided to head over to the other amusement park we found out about from one of the workers. This park just so happened to be on 10th street. At first we walked right passed it because it was perfectly tucked away between two large buildings.

When we got to the ticket booth we decided to all put in money to buy some tickets so we could ride the rides. The first ride I noticed was called the Airplane, it seemed to be what everybody (except Jun and I ) were looking for.  It was fast, scary, dizzining and I was horrified.

Other than the horrifying rides and the heat I had an amazing time at Ocean city with my friends. After, we had rode serveral rides we went back to the flashpoint and then loaded into the bus. I would love to go again someday to take a nice swim in the water. It was beautiful.

GoodByes and Great Sighs

Today, was the last day of class it was a very bittersweet moment. It began in an odd way, it was odd because Professor Lamas started class with a sad introduction. He began by telling us that his aunt had passed and he was really sad about that along with the fact that this was the last time he would see us. When he said those words, it touched my heart, because I have never met a teacher who became so invested in their students in such a short time.

He told us that he wanted us to go around the room and say a few words about the word we put on the board the first day of class . The word I put on the board was fairness because I felt like it described social justice. But I learned that there is so much more to social justice than that. And there are even more social justice issues than what meets the eye. When it came around to me , I simply said how grateful I was to be able to learn so much about social justice with all of my amazing peers. I also said, that in the beginning of the class I thought fairness was just treating a woman the same as a man was treated in the workplace.  But, through the course of the three weeks I learned that fairness is right any person should be able to attain regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or life circumstances, etc.

After, we finished sharing Professor Lamas dismissed us for lunch. At lunch, I knew exactly where I was going and that was to the Love statue. The reason I headed over there was because a couple of my classmates were doing a demonstration.  The demonstration was about mass incarceration, and racism. It was poetry and spoken word with interpretive dance. I was really excited to see it because I had helped one of my peers practice it the night before. And I knew that it was going to come alive because it was really passionate.  All of them were. The demonstration had a captive audience of not only our classmates, but random passers had stopped to listen to what these three young girls had to say. When it was finished, I went and got my lunch and headed back to McNeil to eat in the lounge.

When the class had started again, I noticed that the desk were no longer in a circle, but split into two sections on either side of the room facing the back of the class. I took my seat as did everyone and then Professor Lamas began to present a performer named Jose. Jose was a tribal musician. I believed he performed three songs, I wasn't exactly sure when the ended because he just changed instruments and maybe paused for five to ten seconds.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Time With The ILC!

My time with the ILC was even better than what I had hoped for. Everyone in the ILC that I had the honor to meet and speak with is very nice and supportive as well as polite. From the time I met Don my freshman year to when I saw him after we came back from UPenn he has been extremely supportive and understanding. Everyone I met at the first dinner was wonderful and that is the first time my expectations were shattered. It was an amazing experience where we got to talk about UPenn and got support from Alumni, that by the way were not suck up at all, they were polite, nice, and had great advice for us that helped me get through my summer at UPenn and were very useful. My Chaperone was an amazing wonderful person as well as teacher. He was very responsible but he was also very flexible so that ensured our safety but never compromised the fun we had every day we spent with him. The board was also very polite and supportive. everyone I met during my summer either from ILC or UPenn were amazing wonderful people you can connect with one way or another.

The ILC wasn't just filled with wonderful amazing people it also gave us much support that a lot of us need. They provided me with a laptop and many other things I needed for my trip to UPenn and my time there. they even lent me bed sheets since I didn't have the right size for the mattress at UPenn. They gave us all a sweatshirt that looks amazing, due to the fact that you pick the one you want! to me that was wonderful news since I have weird taste. I really can't think of any bad experiences I had with the ILC. The ILC is great and I am sure that any student that gets in will absolutely love it.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Goodbye UPenn and Life-long Fiends!!!

I woke up late again and missed some goodbyes. It was fine with me because I said bye to everyone the night before just in case I woke up late. By the time o had woken up my roommate had already left home so I was alone and it felt really weird. I got off the bed and started packing all my things and pitting it in my luggage bag. I was ready to go home to my loved ones. I went to breakfast with all my RC except for Johnny who had left the night before it was a bit lonely without him with us. We came back and one by one everyone left. The time we agreed to meet outside the quad came and I went outside where we turned in our keys and waited for John. I talked to some friends that hadn't left yet for a couple of minutes before we left.

John came on time and we got on the shuttle we were all used to it so it felt normal and it went by fast, we got to the airport went through the check in and though security. We had a lot of time before our flight so we ate a really good breakfast and went exploring around the airport. I bought some gifts for my little sister and my friend Saul and went to sit down and catch up with my favorite anime series. we got on the plane and I sat with a stranger and john. The flight was pretty awkward till the end when we all talked about how hot phoenix is. We landed at phoenix where we ate lunch and john put some movies into my flash drive so that I could watch them on the flight to Oakland. We had almost an hour left till our flight after we finished lunch so I charged the laptop and my phone so that I could watch the whole movie on the flight to Oakland. We took flight and I watched a movie about drumming that took the whole time so the flight home was a non-boring success.

Finally home! we arrived at Oakland and the weather was great! it was cloudy and late already but it was awesome nonetheless. We waited a while for our luggage. The whole time I couldn't stop thinking about my family and my girlfriend and how much I missed them. I watched Anime on the shuttle ride to EC. We got to EC and got instructions from Don and went on our way home. It was the weekend of my baby sister's birthday so we went to my uncles house to cut a cake for her and eat carne asada, I had missed my mother's cooking the most. I was extemely tired by the end of dinner so I fell asleep on the ouch and somehow woke up in bed the next morning it all felt like a long amazing wonderful dream. BEST SUMMER YET!!!

Wrap Up

fun in the sun with bill

Fun in the sun

Friday morning, extreme sadness and happiness is in the air. I got up late and got to class late because I didn't sleep much the night before since I was trying Amy best to live in the moment and make as many last memories as I could. I rushed to class and we went straight into presentations my group wasn't the last but it was almost last. I got to sit back and listen and learn about all the cool things my peers learned and studied. Time flew and our presentation finished quickly if felt like we were done before we began.
Food Truck Food

After-lunch Snacks



Bill going 0-100 real quick

Hot Air Bag

Up & Down "just hanging"

Tying a Tie
I finally ate food from a food truck and it was quite good and very cheap. It was really cool because I did it together with my friends and it was the first time for us all. We then ended our last day of class with an amazing presentation filled with experiments that were really quite cool!!! There was a monkey that dropped while it got shot, a house that blew up, a fire extinguisher-powered cart, and bubbles floating on carbon dioxide. It was the best class ever!!! We even had snacks that we couldn't finish. Mary made a lot of backed goodies that were delicious. Before we left we hugged our teachers and our professor and said our goodbyes it was the most amazing class I have taken and by far the most fun one.

My Best Friends @UPenn
We went to eat dinner after class because it was Johnny last evening. We all dressed up and went to bobby's burger palace together. Right after that I went to the last Cherokee night where we sang our hearts out and danced till the night was over. It was one of the saddest summer nights yet since I got really close to my RC and made a lot of great friends during my time at UPenn.

Physics Department Tour and Data Recording

I woke up this morning the same as usual the only thing out of the ordinary was a feeling of slight sadness in the air. The cafeteria was quitter than usual. I ate breakfast with my RC room. We finished breakfast fast and walked over to class. We talked about how we would miss each other because we knew the day we part ways and got back to our regular lives was upon us. This was the case especially for Johnny he was leaving Friday night because his parents were picking him up early. We got to class and we went straight into our groups we were split into four groups.

I liked the people in my group and we had Peter as our chaperone for our tour of the engineering department so it was even more fun since he is indeed a funny guy. Before I knew it we had finished our tour. We learned about a prototype of an optical device that used low energy lasers to measure your blood flow. This would be used by doctors at UPenn to better their patients and will help save many lives. Then we went into a lab where they study non-Newtonian substances like shaving cream, jelly and sand. They used microscopes that can take videos over a long period of time to observe how the particles moved around and interacted with each other in the different substances. We saw an electromagnetic device that could measure absurdly small amounts of magnetism. Then we went into a chemistry lab where they grew sensors for nanoscopes. We saw a radio wave telescope that would be used to observe the gas clouds that would come to crate stars. They had to be cooled down to extremely low temperatures because the radio waves the gas clouds gave off were very low energy radio waves because of their low temperatures.

It was all very fun and exciting. We were dismissed at our usual time my group had to get back before the other groups because we had to go out to get our data. I had a wonderful lunch with my best friends from UPenn and went back right after. I was really excited to go out and observe the sun using our radio telescope and the famous big satellite we had heard so much about. When we got to the room where we had been building our radio telescope for the past three days we were ready to get our radio telescope and be on our way to the site where the big satellite was. We got held back because our professor had built an electrical circuit for us that would power our telescope instead of brining all the other equipment to power it. We had trouble with it and noticed one part was not connected so we fixed it and sutured a wire to them which I got to help with by suturing one side. We were all having fun but time was running and we had to finish quickly and so we did and were on our way to the big telescope. I was having the time of my life I really enjoy exploring and it was like going exploring to me since I had no idea where the satellite was. We got to the building where it was and it was really big. The building was old and looked really cool.

We got there and we were being filmed through the ride there and the whole time we were there. It was a little weird but I didn’t mind. We waited a while at the lobby before being led to the roof by a person that worked there. We got to the roof and the satellite was huge. We set up ours and pointed it about the direction of the sun. Meanwhile our professor turned on the computer and opened the application to take measurements of the sun. We finished quickly since we spent long on fixing our radio telescope and setting up. We packed up quickly and went back to UPenn it was really cool and I felt awesome. We went back to the quad and I spent time with my friends because there was only one day left. We hanged out laughed and just made the best memories. It felt great to know I had made friends that think like I do and I could talk to whenever I wanted. I finished my day by going to lip sync night where we laughed at one another since we picked the funniest songs to lip sync to and danced around. I couldn’t believe it was all almost over.