Saturday, July 2, 2011

We Aspire to Dance

Today was my day of rest. While at Brown, I had to adjust my sleeping habits. I take a shower at two in the morning before I go to bed and I get about five hours of sleep each night during the week. Thankfully there is time to catch up on rest after class. Sleep is very important for teenagers.

About half of the Summer@Brown population went on a trip to Newport Beach for the day. I chose to sleep in until noon. When I have free time, I usually spend it exploring Providence. After a quick brunch, Steph and I headed down College Hill into town. We stopped by the mall for a little before checking out the capitol building. On the front wall of the building, it read: “To hold forth a lively experiment that a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained with full liberty in religious concernments.” There is so much history behind this saying. Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams in 1636 to seek religious freedom in the New England colonies. Ever since then, the state is viewed as open-minded and liberal.

I was really happy that I could hang out with the cohort today. My roommate thinks that it is funny that I refer to our ILC group as “the cohort”, but she saved herself and said it was cool as well. Ms. Larson met up with Andrew, Kathleen, Frank, Erinn, and I at the WaterFire ceremony. We watched the ceremonial fire juggler, various gondolas, and embers float around on the river. At Brown, we have all made friends and hung out with different people. When we meet up for little events, it’s nice to hang out with the people we are living the experience with. Our cohort is family.

Kathleen, Erin, our friend Rachelle, and I walked Ms. Larson back to Hotel Providence from the WaterFire ceremony. We ended up sticking around Aspire Restaurant to watch some musicians perform popular oldies. It turned out that the guitarist for the little band was the WaterFire fire juggler. We know everyone in Providence. On the way back to campus, we stopped by a foreign movie being projected on a wall. I guess movies in the park work pretty much anywhere.

I enjoyed my day of leisure today. Andrew and Jose are getting started on the group project, and I have done some research for statistics of the California budget deficit. Professor Coleman told us not to stress over this final project, but I want to make sure that I finish my course with strong style. I’m headed to bed early tonight so I can seize the day earlier tomorrow!

California's Budget Crisis

Today was very relaxing and laid back because I did not have to wake up early for class. I actually missed starting my day off with an intriguing discussion with my professor. But I did have a very intriguing conversation with a young man named Mike. He is from New Delhi, India and is studying global economy here at Brown. But for the last three years he has lived 6 months in New York, and 6 months in India. When he lives in New York, he stays in a small apartment in Harlem by himself. He survives on limited funds in Harlem. He comes to New York to get away from India, but also to promote his rap album. He is very independent and interesting and this just a true testament to the diversity and liberalism here at Brown.
Also today I was able to continue my research on the California state budget. I found out that if California is to truly minimize the deficit then spending would have to be cut, and taxes would have to be raised. In the state college system 1.4 billion dollars would be cut, and in the UC system 400 million dollars would be cut. This means for future California college students the opportunity for substantial financial aid would be eliminated. After doing this research I am able to see clearly know what Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, Mr. Gosney, and all those affiliated with the ILC are trying to convey to us. Not only are there a lot more colleges beyond California but most of the colleges in California have no money to give to us. So by doing this project my eyes were truly opened to the fact that California schools are having less and less money.
Aside from that we all visited the Water fire show in Providence. It was quite an experience to see the beautiful blazing fire on the calm waters. I really enjoyed my time attending this show. There is always something to do in Providence. When I first thought of Rhode Island I thought that there was going to be no extracurricular activities or festivities to partake in, but this assumption of mine was totally off base. In providence alone I have been to a concert, seen fire on water, eat pizza in a cone, and all sorts of other things. This entire trip so far has really changed my life. I am a little distraught that the program is coming to an end in just one week, but I am more than excited to share all of my experiences gained knowledge with the people back in my hometown.

Saturday at the Beach

Today was a fun day in the sun. It was the start of our three-day weekend. I went on a trip to Newport, one of the few tourist attractions in Providence. I had clam chowder at The Black Pearl, which was extremely good. After eating, I went to the beach. At the beach, I swam, rode waves, and got sunburned. It was good fun. It was the first beach I had been to in a long time. I'm glad Rhode Island has beaches, but the Newport beach wasn't particularly good. I think it had a red tide, but I'm not entirely sure.

Nonetheless, it was a fun experience. When I returned home, I looked forward to spending the evening with Ms. Larson and the Brown I cohort. We watched the Waterfire show together.

The Biotechnology class is moving quickly. We have a couple more experiments this week and a very packed schedule. I'm looking forward to reading through a scientific article, comprehending it, and presenting it to the class. We have figure presentations as our "Final" for the class. I can't wait to get in the lab this week!

I'm ready for the final week of the Brown experience. With my freshly cleaned laundry in hand, I will take on all that is presented to me.

Dear Brown Session 2...

You girls are coming over in 2 days! As you begin frantically packing and buying certain necessities, allow me to give you the down low on life here at Brown.

I’m sure you are wondering about the weather here; I know I was. Days usually range from pretty warm to fairly hot. However, bring an umbrella as it will definitely rain. The weather forecast predicts scattered thunderstorms for tomorrow, but they don’t usually come true. You should bring short-sleeves and shorts to wear most of the time, but also bring jeans or pants and a few long-sleeves or jackets. In the classrooms and libraries, the air conditioning tends to make the buildings cold. I usually wear jeans to class and shorts outside of class. I have only worn my jacket once and that was very briefly. But I’ve seen many people wearing jackets, and the temperature drops outside at night. I remember our floor meeting with our RA on the first night. We were outside at 9 PM and everyone was shivering. That was the first night though. The weather has warmed considerably since then. Some rooms are warm at night, like Frank’s, and some are cooler, like mine. I sleep with three sheets so I would suggest you bring a thin blanket. Brown provides you with one pillow (no pillow cover) and one mattress (no mattress cover); that’s it. You need to bring the rest of your bed items. If you don’t want to bring your own sheets, mattress covers, pillow covers, and towels, a set of 2 mattress covers, 2 sheets, 2 pillow cases, and 6 towels are available for rent for $44. I believe blankets and fans are offered too, but I don’t know the price.

You might want to bring fitness clothes because they offer yoga twice a week and other recreational activities. For the total body workout that Erin, Erinn, and I attended, we sweated through our clothes. Luckily, they weren’t anything fancy.

On our second day on the East Coast, we visited Boston. We didn’t have time to drive all the way back to our hotel to change so we wore our formal attire out the hotel. I had to wear a dress for the tours of MIT and BU. Erinn walked in high heels the entire day. Moral of the story: bring slacks and comfortable dress shoes.

There are mosquitoes here, quite a lot outside at night. Save yourselves from the agony of extreme itchiness by bringing mosquito repellant. I speak from experience.

For toiletries, you’re welcome to bring all of them if you’d like. As for me, I chose to forgo extra packing and bought my shampoo, soap, toothpaste, detergent, etc. here instead. CVS is on Thayer Street right next to the campus so buying these items is convenient.

You should also bring a reusable water bottle if you can. You can fill it up at the dining halls or most buildings, although not the dorms. I know some people who buy packs of bottled water and keep them in their rooms, which is completely fine too.

My room gets a lot of sunshine in the morning. If you’re like me and cannot sleep in light, bring a sleep mask. I wish I would have.

You might want to bring plastic bags in case you ever need them. You will when you take out your trash.

You usually won’t get bored at Brown. But bringing a deck of cards would be advisable. Erinn purchased a deck at CVS, and it was a great investment. Better to bring your own.

Remember your alarm clock, your electronics, chargers for your electronics, sunscreen, lotion, and school supplies.

That’s it. I hope this helped. I probably forgot to mention some stuff so Andrew, Frank, Erin, and Erinn, feel free to add anything I’ve missed. I look forward to seeing you girls soon!

A Night of Fire Dancing

Even on a Saturday, I wasn’t able to sleep in. In fact, I slept less than a regular school day last night. Because my RA lives right next door to me, I can’t go to bed until past curfew due to the commotion outside her room. This meant I slept at 1 AM last night and woke up at 7 AM this morning. There was a trip to Newport scheduled for today and buses were supposed to leave at 8:30. I didn’t sign up ahead of time so I arrived there earlier at 8. Seven buses arrived, and all of them filled up. After an hour and a half of standing in line, a large group of students, including me, were told to “go home”. I was unhappy, but I took advantage of the situation and headed to my room for a nap.

I spent the entire afternoon with Erinn on Thayer Street for souvenir shopping. We also went down to Dunkin Donuts for the first time. Unfortunately, it was 10 minutes before closing time so they ran out of donuts. I decided to get frozen hot chocolate, something Erin and I were dying to try. Although it looked nice, the drink tasted like nothing more than chocolate milk with ice and whip cream. What a disappointing first experience.

At 8 PM, Erinn, Erin, Andrew, our friend Rachelle, and I headed down to the water for WaterFire, a well-known event in Providence that includes lighting up fires in the river. We met Ms. Larson and Frank there and watched flames being lit up and a fire dancer performing in a boat. This WaterFire was much larger than last week’s. The turnout was greater, and there were many more side tents and food stands. The fire looked spectacular in the dark, and I could feel the energy of the many people surrounding me. WaterFire is truly a must-see in Providence.
After the show, Erin, Erinn, Rachelle, and I walked Ms. Larson back to the hotel, where we saw live music and danced to it. We all have great dance moves. We even saw Spogga, the amazing fire dancer from WaterFire, and took a picture with him. It turns out that not only can he spin fire, but he can sing, play the guitar, and beat box as well. The summer program held a Karaoke night tonight, and we went back to campus to see 20 minutes of it.

Today was a long but extremely fun day. Tomorrow, I will work hard on my group project.

Spreading Good Fortune

Laboratory technology is new to me; I haven’t had enough basic experience to measure the difference between Brown and my high school. In my AP Biology class, I could not conduct certain labs because of time restraint, so I never saw the breadth of what my school has to offer. I am entering a high school biotechnology class, and with my mentality of college technology, will I be too ambitious?

I just thought, as I am nearing the end of the program, how much I take advantage of the Biotechnology class. I have a teacher who knows how to solve a problem encountered in a lab, a teacher who can iterate how the technology operates and a teacher who has enough time to answer every question. I have my own work station, equipped with my own pipettes and a centrifuge at every table. I get to work with students that listen to the teacher, ask questions that I wouldn’t have asked and are already experienced with the equipment. It is the perfect lab experience.

When I get back, I will teach the class what I have learned, and I will not have someone to ask questions to. I will be unfamiliar with the setting, and students will not be as understanding. There will be less of an opportunity to make mistakes because high school is not as forgiving as Ms. Hall.

I want to bring what I learned back to the classroom. So far, I have asked Ms. Hall how I can do research with limited technology and limited supplies—this is the first step and I am sure it is more complicated than it seems. With Ms. Hall’s help, I could improve my school’s biotechnology courses; I also might want to expand passed my own school.
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