Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Day Before Classes

Today was our first full day at the university on our own, and our second day being moved in on campus. Even though it was a Sunday morning, I still had to set an alarm to wake myself if I did not want to miss breakfast. I figure if that next weekend, I will want to sleep in I can just wake up later and go to lunch for my first meal of the day. Lunch starts at 11:30, so it is pretty early anyway. Today however, I decided to wake up early because I had to attend multiple meetings in the morning.

After a quick breakfast of yogurt and granola with girls from my tour group, I went back to the dorms to practice piano for about half an hour. There are pianos in our building, which is very convenient. The practice rooms are in the basement of the building, along with a small exercise room, and the laundry rooms. Each room has a different brand of piano, each with a unique sound and a different feeling when you play. I practiced my concert song, Arabesque by Debussy, for a little while before heading to the West Lounge for the first meeting of the day.

 The first meeting of the day was going over the health services. A woman explained to us that if we are having health issues, whether they are emotional, mental, or physical, we would have access to care. The meeting was scheduled to take half an hour, from 11:00 to 11:30, but it only went for seven minutes. This was the case for the remainder of the meetings as well. Some of Dani's roommates and their friends wanted to visit the library and the gymnasium, so a group of about ten of us all went. When we first arrived at the library, we found that it would not be opened for another half our, so instead we decided to visit the gym first, which was only about one block away. The gym was very large, with an outside track and field, a basketball court, a large cardio area, and multiple rooms of weights and weight machines. We spent a couple minutes going through the facility before going back to the library, which had opened since then.

Ratner Athletic Facility

 The library has two sections. One was built a while ago, and is pretty basic. The second part of the library is very unique. The library is made of glass and is a dome above ground. It is mostly a study area, but there is an underground section where more books can be retrieved from. When we entered the glass section of the library, a librarian named Romulus generously offered to show us the underground section of the dome library. He first explained to us the system that is used to retrieve the books, which they call "the crane". How the crane works is a librarian enters information about the book into a computer, which then directs the crane. The crane, underground, loads the cart of books the desired book is in, and brings it to the ground floor through a special opening. We got a tour of the downstairs and saw all of the books there were. I thought Romulus was very kind and generous to be willing to randomly give ten students a tour. 

After our trip to the library and gym, we went to eat lunch in the dining hall. Today was the last day of the World Cup, so the Chicago cohort watched the game with some other students in one of the lounges. Before long it was time for another meeting. This time the meeting was about transportation. At orientation yesterday, we received a transportation card with twenty dollars already loaded on, and today at the meeting Christian explained what this card could and could not be used for. They also explained what bus stops were okay for us to take and what stops were not the safest and not to be used by U Chicago summer students. I think this is to be expected with every university close to or in a major city.

Safety Meeting in Kent Hall
This meeting was also in one of the dorms lounges, but the next required meeting we were to attend was in a hall called Kent Hall. It was across the campus, so everyone went together with the RAs, as to not get lost. This was just another meeting about general safety and security on campus, and a Chicago Police Department officer came to speak to us. He really emphasized that it was better to be safe than sorry, and that if we ever felt unsafe, we should hit the button on the blue light emergency posts that can be seen all over the majority of college campuses.

We had the option of going out to dinner with RAs, but I was feeling pretty exhausted, so I went back to the dorms to rest, and just ate dinner at the dining halls. Hoping to get to sleep early, my cohort started blogging earlier until it was time for a late night snack. After eating Christian’s homemade s’mores, I played Cards against Humanities for a while before heading upstairs to get a good night’s sleep.

I am excited and nervous to start my class tomorrow, but I have already met several people who are taking it. I look forward to meeting them tomorrow.

Ratner Athletics Center, Mansueto Library, and Dorm Food

This is my last day before school starts, since for me junior year starts right after this program ends, so I’m trying to have a relaxing day.

I woke up at 8 AM (had a decent 7 hour sleep!) and got ready with my roommate, Kaitlyn. We went to the Dining Commons with someone Kaitlyn met, Lila. Surprisingly, barely anyone was eating breakfast or using the bathroom. I had expected mornings to be really busy.
Cathey Dining Commons

After breakfast, Kaitlyn and I went exploring around the dorm and basement of the dorm. We saw really creepy things on the walls of the basement as well as all the different places we could go to study or watch movies on other floors.

We then went to the Health Services presentation, which only took about 10 minutes to finish. It’s nice to know there’s somewhere I can run if I get really sick on this trip.

Soon afterwards, my roommate I decided to go to the library to get Biotech books for class tomorrow. After hearing our plans, the rest of the cohort, Lila, and some other people Lila introduced us to (Jordan from Rochester, also taking Biotech, Michael from Philly taking poetry and philosophy, and a girl from Brazil) decided to join us.

Gerald Ratner Athletics Center
We went to the Ratner gym on campus before visiting the Joe and Rika Mansueto library. The Ratner gym is really nice—it has multiple treadmills in a complete circle on the second floor with mini TVs attached to them (like the ones we have at CCC, but newer and better). They also have a basketball court and personal fitness room that look really well-maintained.

On the way to the library, I talked to Michael (a boy who walked with us) about UPenn, since he comes from Philadelphia. I knew that whatever he said would probably be trustworthy since he’s a local. He told me how people there are pretentious (which disappointingly isn’t the first time I’ve heard that), and that he wouldn’t want to go there since a lot of people from his high school attend UPenn and because he feels it's too close to home (I totally understand both reasons).
The Mansueto Library

At the library, we found out books couldn’t be checked out unless requested for in advance. We were discussing places to eat when a man named Romulus approached us and asked if we would like a tour of the library. Of course, we said yes.

The crane
He showed us how they take books from the reserve shelter to the book elevator, where they can then check the books out. Romulus also showed us the enormous basement, where the books are kept. He showed us how the cranes that retrieve books work, which was really cool to watch. Apparently the whole library took $80 million to create, which surprised me, though I really shouldn’t be that surprised considering the cranes, book reserve technology, three kinds of glass needed to make the ceiling of the library, and all the desks, chairs, shelves, lights, and more in the library.

I thought that was a nice thing Romulus did for us. I don’t think many people would take time out of their day to do that for a bunch of high school teens.

After going to lunch (which was a salad I made! I haven’t gotten tired of the food yet so far), we went to the Residential Services and Safety Meeting and learned more about the emergency blue lights and how the police are willing to trail us in their patrol cars if ever we feel unsafe. Again, hearing that kind of information makes me feel really safe on campus.

For the rest of the day Oyin, Jimmy, Alexa, and I ate dinner at the Dining Commons instead of going out to eat with other Insight students (where I ate mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets). After dinner Oyin, Alexa, and I hung out until getting our blogs done.

I was really nervous for my Biotech class tomorrow, but I checked my teacher’s evaluations and found out that there is a lot of new material he gives us. I was worried other students’ education might have been more in-depth, but I’m not as anxious anymore. I can’t wait for tomorrow!

Exploring UChicago

I woke up before my alarm clock this morning because I wanted to get ready for the day and then go to breakfast. Things didn't go as planned. I took one look at the time, turned off my planned alarm and then I went back to bed. It wasn't until 10 AM that I woke up. I don’t know why I slept in so much but it was probably for the best seeing how the first day of class is tomorrow from 9 AM to 4 PM from Monday-Friday, so it was probably a good idea.

After I woke up and got dressed, I went down to the West Lounge for a mandatory presentation of the health services that the campus had. It wasn't much of a presentation because it lasted about 7 minutes and we got free highlighters. It was basically telling us that there is a health service available to us here and we were told of some of the services that they offer. Once we were dismissed, I went exploring around the campus with my cohort and some friends that I made.  We wanted to go to the library because some of the BioTech kids need to get some books but it wasn't open yet so we went to the gym to kill time. The gym was really big and had everything in it from a basketball court to a weight room. Jimmy and Vicky made themselves right at home while the rest of us decided to go back to the library.

The Library
The library we went to had two separate buildings. One of them looked like a normal building while the other one to me looked like an Easter egg cut in half and placed on the ground. The BioTech kids couldn't get their books then but to make up for it, one of the librarians gave us a tour of where the library books are stored. The books were stored six stories under the building and whenever a certain book was needed, you would type it in the computer and a huge crane would go to where it is and pick up the drawer that it is and bring it up. One of the claws is bigger to accommodate some of the older and larger books that the library holds. The really valuable books aren't placed on the bottom level but the upper ones, just to be safe in case of flooding and other emergencies. There are five claws in total and about 7-10 rows of books that are about 6 stories high. There is an inner wall built around the books to protect them even more so that nothing happens to them. The outer wall is covered in concrete and has beams through the walls which are there to be pressure absorbers. The librarian said that this was one of 18 storages that are like that and I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to go see it all.

Residential Services and Safety Meeting
After our tour, the group split up so some of us went to the get lunch on campus while others walked off to get bagels. I think I shouldn't skip breakfast anymore because by lunchtime I was starving and I ate like a pig. When we were done eating we looked all over campus to find a foosball table but we couldn't find one. We had completely forgotten that the World Cup was on and as soon as we saw that someone was streaming it on the TV, we decided to sit down and watch it instead. We didn't get to watch the game fully because we had a mandatory transit orientation and a residential services and safety meeting. I didn't mind that much because I would rather be briefed on how to get around and safety than watch the game.
In the residential and safety meeting, we talked about the importance of being safe around the campus and using common sense all the time. We were also let known where we could find stuff like the basement, where to do our laundry, and where we could find the vacuums and irons. After that a UChicago police officer gave us a presentation on campus safety. He gave us the university police number and made sure we all had it saved on our phones. He then talked about the emergency blue buttons placed all over the campus. We could push the button for things like for medical emergencies, if we feel unsafe, or if we needed somebody to escort us where we need to go. I hope that I don’t have to push the button while I am here at UChicago but it is nice to know that it is there for me to use just in case.
"The Great Hall"

After our meetings was dinner time. Everybody had the option to go with our RA’s off campus to go and get something to eat but I decided again to stay on campus and eat. Earlier in the day I found a space in the dining room that was similar to the Great Hall in Harry Potter and I couldn't resist sitting in there for dinner. It was really nice and I felt like I was actually sitting in the Great Hall. When we were done eating, we decided to sit in the courtyard and enjoy our free time. At our study break later that evening, I met a girl named Bailey and I was glad to find out that she would be taking the same class as me tomorrow. I've been on the hunt for kids who would be in my class and so far I've only found two including Bailey. She seems really nice and energetic and is someone that I could get along with without any issues at all. It’s calming knowing some people who are taking the same class as me before it starts.

I’m ready and excited to start my class tomorrow. I've done my research and I know where the class will be. Luckily it is about a five minute walk from my dorm room and that is a plus. My cohort member, Dani’s class is all the way on the other side of the campus. This time I won’t sleep in and I’ll wake up on time and get myself out the door in a timely fashion. I’m going to eat breakfast because the class ends in the afternoon and I don’t want to crash in the middle of the day. At this point, I’m not nervous at all for my class tomorrow and I’m more excited to see what unfolds than nervous so that’s a bonus. I have my alarm set, backpack ready, and a positive attitude so I feel ready to take on tomorrow.

Getting to Know The College

  At 11 AM, we had a mandatory meeting about Health Services at South Campus West Lounge.  They told us if you are not feeling okay or you think something is wrong or strange to call the Health service to make an appointment in 24 hours’ notice. The Health Service is available to all students in the campus and they are located in the hospitals on school campus.  They also talked about Student Counseling Service that they could go at any time to talk about relationship, homesick, depression, tips to not procrastinate and how to flex your time. With Student Counseling Service you can pretty much talk to them about whatever situation you are going through.
Where we had our Student Counseling Service Meeting
This morning I woke up at 9:30 AM to get breakfast because breakfast is between 7 AM to 10 AM. I went to get myself a small, quick breakfast. I served myself some scramble eggs with fruits and a bagel.

After the meeting finished my cohorts and I went to see if the library was open but it was close. Then we decided to go check out the gym. When we go to the gym Vicky and I stayed at the gym working out for approximately one hour. It felt very good working out all the food I ate this pass whole week. 
Watching the World Cup

The Perfect Gym

Vicky working on her shoulders
The gym has a variety of workout machines that I have never seen at Planet Fitness the gym I go with my dad. Vicky and I finished working out at 12:40 PM because we wanted to get lunch before it ends at 1:30 PM. In the Dining room we bump into our cohorts Dani, Alexa, and Oyin. Then we all sat together to eat lunch. When we were finished, we went to go watch the World Cup game in the South West Halperin lounge. That’s my R.A lounge where we meet up for meetings with her and study breaks. Unfortunately, we only watched the first half time because we had another mandatory meeting about Hyde Park and City Transit. It’s basically how to catch the bus, which buses are free for students, and where the bus stops are located at.  Jill also talked about which places we should never go or visit. Another thing that Jill said was that if you’re planning to go downtown you should have already planned how get back to the campus before curfew hours. Jill said to never go alone to always take one or two friends with you for safety purposes. When Jill finished, I went to my room and watch the soccer game and I took a nap because at 4:30 PM we were going to have another meeting about Residential Service and Safety. My group met at our lounge at 4:15 AM so we can all walk together to Kent 107 where the meeting was going to be hosted.
My Lunch After a big Workout
The Trophies collection.
 In the meeting they again talked about which places we should never go and how to use the emergency blue lights and to not mess around with it because they take it very seriously. If you do mess around with it you will get fine. They also made everyone save the emergency contact number for the campus on their phone if we see anything strange going on. They also talked about whenever you are walking to not have earphones on and have your phone out of sight because people can come at you from behind.
Kent 107
They also cover about to never leave your dorm room open and never leave valuable stuff out of sight because there are a lot of people and things go missing.
Kent 107

After the meeting was over, our RA’s were going to Hyde Park restaurants to show the students’ places they can go eat. I didn’t go because why waste money on food when I have free unlimited food to choose from so I stayed with Dani, Alexa, and Oyin. We all went to the Dining room to go get dinner. Then we started talking about if we were nervous to start class tomorrow and everyone said yes. Then we all went to West lounge to work on our blogs so we can go to sleep early tonight and be ready for the first day of class tomorrow. Our study break was at 9 PM and we had this like bread looking with Nutella inside, it was really good.
In the Dining room at dinner.

I can’t wait for tomorrow I’m so excited to get to know who’s my professor going to be and if I’m going to get along with him/her. I am hoping that I get to know my classmates and that it will be a great first day of class.

Finally in the University of Chicago

This morning I woke up very happy for two reasons: I had a very long nice sleep because we woke up late for the first time and we are going to Chicago to our dorms where we are going to stay for the next three weeks. I woke up at 9:30 AM because my cohorts and I wanted to go and get a nice long breakfast instead of just rushing everywhere. We went to this restaurant name Coffee Shoppe and it was just three blocks away from the hotel. I think this is what’s nice about the city that there’s a lot of variety of food everywhere and close too. When we finished eating we still had extra time so we decided to come back to the hotel and just chill for 45 minutes.

Then with my cohorts and I, we went outside to wait for a taxi to take us to the University of Chicago that is 10 to 15 minutes away from downtown Chicago depending on the traffic.  When we arrived to Chicago University we arrived at South Campus Residence Hall where I’m going to stay for the next three weeks. We enter the building and went straight to check in and they gave us a transportation card to ride on the buses, but only certain buses that are CTA and PACE. They also gave us a folder that has a lot of paper and they are: the rules, curfew guidelines, transportation info, emergency contact sheet, and a calendar for activities that will be available for the next three weeks. 
Our clothes from the Book Store
Then we went to the Book Store to go buy a sweater or we could have something else if we didn't want to get a sweater but I got a sweater. Then we got some snacks because we were hungry.

After we got our snacks we needed to go to the Social Service Administrator room to meet the people who are making this summer program at University of Chicago possible. After that we met our R.A and her name is Jill and she’s going to major in Classics. Jill gave us a tour around the campus and showed us a place where there’s a seat around in a circle and if you seat in the middle and say something loud you will hear your own echo, but you need to be inside the circle to hearing. She showed me the building where I’m going to take my class and those who don’t which course I’m taking is Creative Writing. Chicago University is very huge; is the biggest campus I have visited. The school is amazing because it has very beautiful buildings and is going under construction too. The building that I thought it was very cool to see it was the library building. That’s the building were a scene of Divergent was film. I think that building is very creative and it look like and egg or an armadillo.

The Library

After we finished our tour we went back to the Residence Hall where Alie was waiting for to see who wanted to go with her to CVS pharmacy to get things that we need for our rooms. The girls stayed to get their I.D but I went with Alie because to get your I.D there was a crazy line. CVS was 5 minutes away. We got there and we got only the things that we really need and it took us about 15 minutes and we were back at the Residence Hall. 

My room
There was still line but it was not that bad pretty much everyone was at their rooms unpacking. I made line to get my I.D and then I went straight to my room to unpack too. When I got to my room I was surprise that I don’t have a roommate, so I have more privacy to myself. My room is just the perfect spot because in front of my room I have the bathrooms and the showers well they both together. I love my room is pretty small but enough for one person.

We had a mandatory meeting with our R.A because everyone are divided into six groups meaning there are six R.A and we all have our own lounge were we meet up with our R.A. Today we had a mandatory R.A residential meeting that was from 7 PM to 9 PM. The meeting was basically to tell us more instructions and rules that we have to follow during the summer program. It was also to get to know each other in our group and so we can know our R.A too. We played an ice breaker to know each other’s name, you had to say your name and a fo
Jill at the tour
od you like starting with the first letter of your name. It was fun game to play and get to know each other and I hope I get to know more of my group. When we finished our meeting we were going to have a study break at 10 PM.  Meanwhile I went to West lounge with Dani, Alexa, Oyin, and Vicky to take a group picture to show off what we bought in the Book Store. Then study break arrived and we went to our lounge. Jill has Halperin lounge were the group always going to meet for study break.

Tomorrow we going to have another meeting to talk about transportation and where we should go and where shouldn't we go. I’m looking forward to getting to meet at least three student from my group or if is possible to get to know everyone.

The Move Into UChicago

One of the Many Quads
Today I woke up at 9:45 AM so that I could get ready to get breakfast at a restaurant called Sunny Side Up down the street from the hotel. We all met in the hallway at 10 AM since we all were ready at the same time. It was raining but we managed to get back to the hotel after breakfast to hangout for about 45 minutes before we left to go to UChicago. When we arrived at the school and went straight to the West Lounge to check-in and get the rules and policies folder they were giving out before we went on the tour of the school later. Before we had gone on the tour we went to a big room where the Director of Admission talked about some of the rules they have and then later introduced all of the students to the RAs. My RA’s name is Anton and he is basically the go to guy when we need anything and he is also the person we check-in with for curfew. So after being introduced to the RAs we split up in different tour groups by the kind of star color we had on our name tags they gave us when we checked in that matched the RA’s star on their name tags. Mine was a gold star and so each one of the cohort split up in different groups for the tour and Alie had to stay behind.

The Bookstore
On the tour we walked on different streets that the campus was on, seeing that it is a big campus. Anton showed us one of the many libraries that has some sort of robot that gets the books for you and the different quads they have. He let us know about the athletic fitness centers on campus. Anton also showed us the places where they held some of the sports nights. I really liked seeing the ice skating rink they have, unfortunately not usable at this time. I also got to see one of the quads where some of the science classes are held in. We ended around 3 PM and had to wait to check-in again for our IDs in order to get in our dorm rooms and a Welcome packet with maps of the school, a lanyard for our IDs, maps of places to eat, a pamphlet on how to access the internet, and a guide for guests brochure. After I got my ID I went to get my bags that was held in a room while they got all of the rooms ready and went to my room and surprisingly met my roommate a few minutes after I entered my room. My roommate’s name is Katherine and she is so nice and energetic which I like about her. She actually offered to make my bed and she waited for me to unpack my things so we could leave to go to the bookstore with other people but the bookstore was closed and I didn’t get to go with them because I was waiting for the cohort and we ended up just checking out the basement where it had music rooms, a recreational center pool tables and Ping-Pong. I was introduced to Eugenia, Amber (which I met in my tour group), Edga, and I met Olivia at a dining hall called Cathey Dining Commons when we ate dinner at 5:30 PM.
The Manseto Library

 At 7 PM we had to meet with our RAs in out dorm houses. My dorm house is called Kenwood. At the meeting with Anton we talked mainly about the rules and policies but before we started talking about that we sat in a circle and he had us talk to the person sitting next to us and get their name, where they are from, and what’s an interesting fact about them. Then he had us share to the whole group about the person next to us. The person’s name that I was sitting next was Patrick, he is from Bloomington in Illinois, and a fact about him is that he is taking the course called Collegiate Writing. At the end of the meeting we had to find out what animal has the first letter of our names and my name is Vicky the Velociraptor.

After the meeting we went to our rooms before study break at 10 PM where we would go back down to where the meeting was, in Kenwood House, and hangout. I checked in for curfew early so I could go to my room and lay down because I wasn’t feeling good and we had about 30 minutes before the study break so that gave me time to get a little better. At the study break we basically just played board games and card games but I didn’t stay for long because the cohort met and took a group picture with our Chicago things on. Then after the pictures I went to my room, took a great relaxing shower, and to bed I go.
Our UChicago hoodies and Alexa w/ her UChicago shorts