Monday, July 7, 2014

First day of Physics

Today I woke up at 7:15, after sleeping on a hard, uncomfortable bed last night. I got ready quickly and went to breakfast with my roommates when the dining hall opened at 7:30, hoping to get there before the crowds--unfortunately, the line stretched out the door and around the side of the building. There was some good hot food like potatoes, eggs, and sausages for breakfast, but the lines were so unbelievably long that I just had a bagel for breakfast.

Two new teachers and their assistant--Mary, Craig, and Brian
After breakfast, we got into groups according to our classes in the quad, and the RCs walked us to our buildings so we would know where our classes were. I sat in the front when I walked in first--only to turn around and find that no one else was sitting anywhere in the first three rows. Then, though, Bill Berner, one of our instructors, came into the room and told us that we could sit wherever we wanted--as long as there were no empty seats in front of us. During the first part of class, before lunch, Bill, Mary, and Craig (the other teachers), mainly lectured to us on the basics of Newtonian mechanics and optics so that we would know what we were doing in the labs that afternoon.

Bill Berner levitating by magic--and the power of physics
Then we had an hour for lunch at the Houston Market, where I had freshly made sushi and apple cobbler for lunch. After lunch we went back to the physics building and, and a short explanation and instructions, we were sent off to do labs in groups of four. The labs were interesting, but I felt that the explanations and instructions were so rushed that a lot of people got confused and didn't know what to do. I know that my group and the two groups next to us had problems.

Bending light
Finally, after the Physics class ended at 4:30, and after we had dinner at the dining hall, we went to the orientation. We learned a select few of the facts we had heard at the information session on the Penn tour, and they told us the boundaries and rules for our program. Then each RC took their group on a tour of the boundaries, so that we would know where most of the shops were and where we weren't allowed to go beyond.

Then we got back to the dorms after nine and had to do all of our homework... It was an exhausting first day, but fun and exciting as well. I can't wait to see how the rest of the program goes.

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