Monday, June 20, 2011

Frisbee the Friend Maker

My class is located in the Smith-Buonnano Hall which is a 45 second walk from the dining hall. The Macroeconomics professor is very young and muscular. His name is Professor K. Coleman, a grad student, and his Teaching Assistant is John McNeill, an under grad student. Our class started promptly at 9:00AM. Andrew, Kathleen, and I sat together in a row in the center of the heavily air-conditioned classroom. There are approximately thirty students in my class.

Macroeconomics is the study of the big picture of the economy: the ups and downs, inflations and deflations, depressions and revivals. Microeconomics is the study of individual economies and how they work. We started off the three-hour class with some basic definitions. Today, Professor Coleman explained some basic concepts of economics. He told us to enjoy the material that we were going to study in the next couple of weeks and not stress about homework or tests. This course is available so students can understand macroeconomics and what it represents.

Professor Coleman explained many of the course concepts with analogies to fruit, especially apples and strawberries. I know that it is only the first day, but I am not totally solid on distinguishing the differences between the types of individual choice situations (involving resources, opportunity costs, incentives and margin decisions). If I immerse myself in all this vocabulary and take advantage of a lot of practice questions, I’ll be able to get this down. Overall, I enjoy the class and the professor.

My homework tonight is to research movies that are heavily or partially based on economics. Some are “Dr. Strangelove”, “Inside Job”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “An Inconvenient Truth”, and “Freakonomics”. So far I have found “Bourne Identity”, “American Gangster”, “Blood Diamond”, and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. I also need to read through the Appendix of Chapter 2 in my textbook to review basic slope graphing (y=mx+b).

Favorite quote from my professor today: “If you want to be wrong, you can disagree.”

After my class, I took a nice two hour nap in my dorm before I took out my trusty Frisbee and headed over to the main green. I met two girls that are totally cool. Steph and Rachel are from New Jersey. Steph is taking a design class and Rachel is in BioTech with Frank and Erinn. Here's a picture of Steph's homework. It is made out of laser-cut wood pieces.

I explored the campus today my floor mate, Erin. Grace Yuen from our L’Espalier dinner e-mailed me the locations of some digital media classrooms. Erin and I found the Center of Information Technology. We checked out the building and went to the top floor to see the view.

Cohort #1 got together to go to a yoga class, but we found out that it is tomorrow. Rachel and I took some pictures in the yoga room while we were there.

Later, Rachel, Steph, and I tossed around a Nerf football until 11:00PM. Curfew is at 12:30PM. I checked in with Mikalei early and went to my room. After all my floor mates left my and Olivia’s room, we got to work on our laptops.

I love being surrounded by intellectuals here at Brown. Everyone is diverse, but they all are extremely intelligent and interesting. People talk differently here. They are confident and witty. The girls on my floor are all very sociable and good-humored. I am very fortunate to know all of them. I love Brown University. It gets better every day. This independence is so nice and so new. I could get used to this.

My bad joke of the day: “Tomorrow, do you want to go here or go Thayer?”
(Hahaha! Like Thayer Street? “There”? Get it?)

Getting Comfortable at Brown

Woke up to the sun glaring me in the eyes, with my room light still on. It was 5:50 AM. Tiredly, I got up and took a shower. It was too early.

Before I knew it, it was time for breakfast. I met up with Andrew and we made our way to the dining hall. We enjoyed the sausages, eggs, pancakes, and hash browns that they provided us. We met up with Erin, Kathleen, and Erinn in the dining hall and we all ate together.

The first day of class was a normal first day. We had an icebreaker, a lecture, and a test to assess where we were. We were assigned a reading assignment, and the class ended. The three hours breezed by as the teacher, Jody Hall, furiously clicked at her power point--it was almost impossible to take notes.

After class was lunch. Lunch was great, nothing special. Afterward, I returned to my dorm to nap.

I got up from my nap, every bone of my body cracking in the process. I had not had a comfortable sleep, but my body was re-energized. It would be a good afternoon. I met up with Erin and Andrew for dinner along with some new friends we had met. After dinner, we planned to attend a yoga class.

Unfortunately, the class was postponed until tomorrow, so we decided to partake in the "speed friending" game in the quad. A large group of students played various games together.

In the night, Andrew and I explored the campus. I purchased Febreze for my room, which reeked unlike any other dorm. Kathleen wasn't even able to take one step inside because of the horrible stench. I sprayed in every possible corner, and the smell has gone away--for now.

Day 2 at Brown was even better than the first.

Yoga Now or Yoga Later? That is the Question

Today was the first day of our soon to be normal routine at Brown University. We all met at the dining hall around 745 a.m. and all of Brown session one ate together. I really like the family nature and aspect of our group, we are all supportive and helpful of each member. But I do believe that we do not stay solely excluded, because we have all made so many new friends, and even built the basis for a solid relationship. Just this evening as Frank and I headed to get a soda from the vending machine we met three new young ladies: the first from Las Vegas, the second London, and the final one from Moscow. So though we all are very close we never miss an opportunity to meet new, and sometimes different of people.
After breakfast we all headed to our respected classrooms. This was probably the most exciting part of the day, being able to meet all of our fellow classmates and professor. I had the pre conceived notion that my class at Brown would be the same as my class at Cornell last year, but it is completely different. At Cornell there were approximately 80 students in a large lecture room. We would be lectured for three hours none stop, then have about a one and a half hour session with our teacher’s assistant (mostly graduate students). But at Brown there are only about 25 students, the professor is fairly young, and we have small breaks in the three hour lecturing period. Also at Brown the lectures are a lot more interactive giving room for student teacher debates or questions.
Moving from our lecture session which started at 9 and ended at 11:50 we all went to lunch. But then after lunch because I was fairly tired so I took a nap, something I rarely do. After this nap we all met up again in hopes of exploring all of Brown’s extracurricular opportunities. We thought that there was yoga tonight but we were wrong. It turns out that it is tomorrow. So hopefully tomorrow I will be taking my first yoga class ever. This is just one reason that I love Brow, I am able to experience new things every day that I would not have if I was not here. I am thrilled to see what lies ahead of me at this amazing university.

A Day in the Class

The first night at Brown was difficult—it was no Hotel Providence. A light from the building across from my dorm shown through my window and created an eerie silhouette of the window and the desk. While I forgot about the horror of the light, I thought how nice it would be to have lights that resembled stars on the dorm ceiling. I was also distracted from sleep by the noise I assume was the refrigerator, which ceased its noise about an hour after the lights went off. I drifted off to sleep for a few hours only to awake at three hour intervals.

At 6AM I got out of bed and headed off to breakfast. After stumbling across the campus and hoping I remembered the ways to the dining hall, I had a nice breakfast. I did forget my backpack and textbooks that I needed, so I rushed back to my dorm and then to the Bio Medical Center to see my class.

Class wasn’t what I expected. The class introduced everyone by a game where each student chose a slip then guessed who chose that band and whoever wrote the band had to introduce himself. I got to learn that most of the class plays tennis, where everyone lived and the grade level each student is in. Later in the week we will have a quiz testing the names of classmates. Surprisingly the class consisted of mostly rising juniors, whereas Frank and I were one of the few rising seniors of the class. Each student also received a slip of a piece of paper depicting a place to meet up. I got the bamboo garden. Professor Hall expects the teams, composed of three students, to meet at the specific place and take a picture to add to the class yearbook. Besides introductions, each student was given the basic protocol of the laboratory and a syllabus of the class.

The class began with a two hour lecture review of DNA synthesis, an introduction of biotechnology and examples of biotechnology application, such as reversing differentiation of fibroblast. Although the teacher noted at the end of class that she rushed through the material, time could have been taken away from review and added to the information that the lab would cover tomorrow. The speed of the lecture was doable, but she lingered on the less important issues and repeated herself in the powerpoint and explanation.

The test however did not focus on review. It tested my knowledge of DNA sequences, the structure of a nucleotide, which although she had many pictures of the structures, I forgot which part of the molecule the nitrogen base bonded to, concentration reduction and lac operon. Professor Hall did touch on the subject of the lac operon, but she did not include most of the information that was mentioned in the test. When I left the classroom, I felt like I needed to learn what I did not know; I never took a biotechnology class, so I am not expected to know everything; the empty spaces of the free-response question were intimidating.

To begin my assignment to find the bamboo garden, I took Kathleen and some other students that wanted to explore around campus. I did not find the bamboo garden, and I may need to ask my RA if she knows where the garden is located, but I did explore the Science Library and found a museum and a Providence library, which I will visit tomorrow.

I also experienced my first laundry day at Brown. I started to feel anxieties from being away from home and some stress because I realized soon I would have to finish a long summer assignment in two weeks. Time stresses me out. I have three weeks and three load of laundry to do, one is already done and I have not begun yet. I will try to think about the present to keep myself from getting to emotional.

I do have something to look forward to tomorrow; tomorrow Professor Hall will help us conduct our first experiment and explain the fundamentals of biotechnological techniques. There are also so many activities that the RA has planned for students. Soon I will be busy enough to forget my worries and enjoy myself.

School Officially Begins!

Today was the first day of class! Our Introduction to Macroeconomics course began at 9 AM so I woke up to my alarm clock at 7 AM. I slept like a baby last night, and it was fairly easy to wake up because of my excitement our first day of school. There was an abundance of options for breakfast including pancakes, eggs, tater tots, fruit, and muffins. I found myself trying the pancakes and eggs, which were both tasty, and grabbing an apple on the go. I wanted to be early to class and found myself in front of the classroom with twenty minutes to spare. Erin and Andrew had arrived before me, and my other classmates were trickling in. I found out that Emily, the girl sitting next to me, actually resided on the same floor of the same house as me. She is the only person in the class that lives in Marcy Hall. It’s nice to know someone in your class lives just down the hall from you.

Our teacher is Nicholas Coleman, a graduate student in the Ph. D program for economics. We also have a Teaching Assistant, John McNeil, who is also in the process of earning a Ph. D in economics. Mr. Coleman is very welcoming to us and has a great sense of humor. He uses PowerPoint presentations for a visual aid and emails them to us to print out. Today he went over the syllabus and explained the outline of the class. The textbook we are using is Macroeconomics by Paul Krugman and Robin Wells. Mr. Coleman also suggested fun economics-related books for us to read if we liked. I plan on checking out On the Wealth of Nations and Eat the Rich, both by P.J. O’Rourke.

In the beginning of class, we each introduced ourselves and shared why we took this class. My reason was because I planned to major in economics in college. Many of my classmates are international students, with three European boys, two Koreans, two Colombians, and a handful of Chinese students. I look forward to hearing their different perspectives on American and global economics.

During the course of our three-week class, we will be working in groups on group project presentations. Our assignment today was to brainstorm ideas that we’d like to explore for our project, as well as read about graphs in chapter 2 of our textbook. Today’s lesson covered the first principles of macroeconomics, including opportunity costs, scarce resources, trade-offs, and incentives.

After class, Erinn and I went to explore Brown. I have to say, Brown is very beautiful and larger than I thought. There are a lot of trees and green grass areas, perfect spots for people studying outside.

We also went to wash our clothes because our bags of dirty clothes were starting to fill up. Today is the first day I did my own laundry. Thank goodness I had Erinn to help me because we faced obstacles with the machines not working. But in the end, I had nice, clean clothes to wear and this was a great learning experience. I take pride in having done my own laundry.

We thought there would be a yoga class today, but apparently it’s tomorrow. Instead, the RAs invited many students to gather on the grass in front of my house and played “speed friending”, a friends’ version of speed dating. After speed friending, our large group of maybe sixty gathered in a circle and played train wreck and another interesting game that the RAs introduced. Everyone was laughing and having fun meeting new people.I went back to my room early to start blogging and reading the homework, but I spent time video chatting with my family and later talking to Emily. We branched off to so many different subjects that I lost track of time and jumped to check in with my RA. I was on time at 11:15 PM. Our homework assignment isn’t long, but I want to finish so I can sleep earlier tonight. I look forward to tomorrow!

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