Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How About Let's Not Start Packing

Team Trevor--taking it back to the 90s boy band times (some of the members from my proctor group and our proctor)
I keep mentioning that the good times always pass by so fast, but it's true, am I right? My friendships grow stronger with my friends as every day goes by here. It's sad to say that in just two days, I won't be able to say that. I wish I could say that my friendships with the students here will grow stronger still, but that just isn't reality. I hope that we all try out best to keep in touch, however, because I truly made some friendships here that can last a lifetime. I feel like I'm stuck in a wonderful dream right now, but in just a few days, I'll wake up, and all of this will just be a beautiful memory.

The first half of class was saved for creating a research question for our mini research presentations. It was interesting how our teacher made us come up with a topic. Instead of giving us plenty of time to brainstorm a topic, Ms. Carolyn Davis rushed us and gave us pretty much only a minute. Every time she gave us more time, we kept making subtopics and questions for the subtopics, when finally we found our research question. It was interesting how we were rushed, because honestly, thinking about what you're researching is probably the most difficult part about research presentations/projects. One tends to over think, and it was interesting how much we were to condense our topic in such a timely manner. Usually in research, you need a very specific topic and question, because some topics if not sub-topiced would be too broad. I'm glad I have had the chance to learn about research in this class, because research will be the basis of my learning in college (most likely).

We also had a guest speaker who worked with an organization at Vanderbilt relating to interfaith. Our discussion helped me to reflect upon my own community. It made me realize, oddly enough, that my school has no club related to a religion or faith. It's as if Pinole is so ethnically diverse, that we're too afraid to tell and express to others our own religious beliefs, because although I have plenty of different friends from different cultures and backgrounds, we hardly ever talk of our religious beliefs. Looks like I'll talk more about it to my friends and peers when I get back.
The Tree of Knowledge
Today, we went to the Vanderbilt Divinity Library for the second half of class. This was where we conducted our research, and learned some helpful tips about using a library catalogue. The library was enormous, and I felt a little overwhelmed to be honest. The class also had a chance to have a little peek inside and outside the Divinity School. The chapel was beautiful, too.

My research question is: Why is the Trinity so important in Christian beliefs if it is so vaguely mentioned in the Bible? You might not believe this, but this was my 2nd sub-topic branching off from "conflicting beliefs" and then "the after life". This question that I came up with is actually very broad still. I found this out, when I discovered a ton of books just about the Holy Trinity. If you don't remember from one of my previous blog posts, I was very curious about the Trinity, and this is why I'm doing this topic. I'm glad my teacher told us that we're most likely not going to be able to finish our research--that it should actually be an ongoing process. This made me so relieved, because there are just way too many books and readings of the Trinity. I'll see how much research and new information about my question I will get tomorrow, though.
Anna and a lot of books
Proctors performing a "Willy Wonka" skit
The Talent Show was today, and I had such a great time. I've mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again; the students (and staff) here are extremely talented. Everyone's acts were wonderfully performed, and I really loved how the audience was so encouraging and excited for everyone's acts. I especially had a great time doing the two acts that I was in. I was in a boy band with a some members of my proctor group, along with our proctor, Trevor! We were called Team Trevor, and we did a cover of the Back Street Boy's "I Want It That Way". I was pretty nervous, because being in a 90's boy band is just very normal for people today. But thanks to the wonderful audience, we had a very loud applause, and I actually think we did pretty good. I also performed one of my old love poems that I performed at my first-ever Open Mic at Pinole Valley High School. I just couldn't believe the standing ovation at the end of this performance. Everyone really liked it; even the guys asked me to marry them. I'm just happy everybody was so touched by it; this evening really made my day.
But I guess everyday makes my day at VSA.



VSA Has Talent!

“Don’t pack yet!” This is something my friend Anna has been saying to me while I was packing most of my stuff. Yes, our time here at VSA is coming to a close and it is about time I started packing. Still, every shirt and every shoe I put in my suitcase makes me feel a little sad inside. I really do miss my home and family, but I have become so attached to some people here, I am not sure I can keep a straight face on Friday when we say our final goodbyes. However that is still two days away and I should really be focusing on the big project for tomorrow. Unfortunately, (for some) Dr. Sulikowski was not able to get us graduate students to evaluate us so we will just be presenting our projects to the class – which is fine by me.

Anyway, class today was filled with a whole ton of different topics. There were so many different kinds ranging from, male contraceptives, caffeine, nicotine, and anesthetics. I swear, today was probably the most information-filled lecture yet. Since we talked about so much, it is expected that I learned so much. I learned about a “Male Pill,” said to be the guy’s version of birth control, which is currently in stage 3 of clinical trials. We talked about how this drug would affect the real world once it passes the clinical tests. We talked about gender issues and cultural issues involving this drug, which is pretty interesting.
Besides the lecture time, we also played a pharmacology jeopardy game, involving 3 teams, each with 5 players. Let me tell you, this game was not easy – not even for my classmates. I mean, one team ended up with -800 points by the end of round two. I also feel pretty bad about one round we lost which was pretty much my fault. I am an impulsive person, so I usually think of something real quick, stick with it, and not pay much attention to anything else. This brilliant plan ended costing our team a whole 500 points which could’ve been used to win. Anyway, I think our team did pretty well, considering my blunder.

Later on during the night, we finally had the long-awaited VSA Talent Show. Let me tell you, there were SO many performers tonight; the whole show lasted about three whole hours. Regardless, it was three hours well spent. The show started off with a little surprise by our proctors who decided to reenact Willy Wonka! It was enjoyable to see all our proctors act all silly and sing the funny songs. I thought it was really nice of them to do this for us, and I appreciate the time spent on making this for us.

My lovely proctor! (in the yellow)

When Violet turns into blue...

Literature and Cognitive Theory

The Backstreet Boys!

After the proctors it was time for the class showcase. All the classes did some pretty interesting, witty, and hilarious skits and I had a great time laughing in my seat. Later on, the VSA students came on stage group by group to perform whatever they were going to do for the talent show. This part of the show was absolutely incredible. I have never seen such a talent show in my life – I mean, it had everything, from hula hooping to dancing to singing to juggling; the whole nine yards. At the end of it, I was pretty tired; sitting in my seat for 3 hours is pretty strenuous stuff. In all seriousness, I had such a great time tonight and I hope I will have even more fun at tomorrows’ dance!

The End Is Near

Once, when I was younger, I was playing soccer when a ball hit me in the stomach. The impact caused me to topple over and gasp for breath; " I got the wind knocked out of me". It was a very painful and frightening experience, and it happened to me again today. 

Today, it finally hit me that tomorrow would be my last day here at Vanderbilt. It dawned on me as I sat around at a table eating lunch with my friends that I would probably never see them again. I had been so preoccupied with my class and finishing up my mystery that I completely forgot about the last day. I suddenly lost my appetite upon realizing this, and quickly threw away my plate. My friends assured me that they would keep in touch, but it still won't be the same. 

After dinner we had a showcase/talent show. All the classes preformed something and conveyed what they learned in these past three weeks. My class performed a short little skit that our professor had prepared for us that incorporated all the mystery cliches we learned about. It was a fun little skit, and I really enjoyed preforming it. 

The talent show commenced after all the classes had completed their presentations. I saw many of my friends get up on stage and preform (including Chris, who preformed twice). He had not told me that he would be preforming, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him preform. 

Unfortunately, my room is a mess because my roommate and I have already started packing for our departure, and I can't find my USB cable to attach my camera to my computer and download the pictures of the talent show I took tonight. However, I will try to mix them with the photos I plan to take, and I plan to take a lot of pictures tomorrow.  

Going Through Changes

We all go through changes and change is constantly occurring in the world around us. As I begin to pack and get ready for our departure here from VSA, I have realized that I personally have gone through changes. I have changed my outlook on East coast schools, I have become a more independent young lady, and I have become more knowledgeable of drugs and its impact on society. I have even changed my mind on what I want to be when I grow up! Not to mention I have changed to a darker shade of brown, I have adjusted to the daily schedule here, and I have changed my eating habits. It’s amazing how these past four weeks can change you even in the smallest ways.

Speaking of changes, there’s a change of plans with our final projects. Unfortunately, our professor couldn’t get any graduate students to listen to our presentation; so our professor and our teacher assistant will be our audience tomorrow. To some, it was a big relief since we each have presented to the class many times already, to others it was like, “Wow, this is not too bad after all.” I am less stressed about our presentation tomorrow and pretty confident with our group. Although our professor notified us that there is a competition on who actually receives grant money for their project, I will just do my best and not expect too much.

One fun part about class today was playing Drug Jeopardy! We were divided into three teams, with one player from each team playing at a time. Honestly, I’m not very good at thinking on the spot quickly; I’m more of the type of person who needs to study before asked a question. It’s especially harder when you absolutely don’t know the answer, and cannot get help from your team members. At other times it’s embarrassing when you think you have the right answer, but it’s actually wrong. Would you rather guess and risk losing points? Or play it safe and just move on to the next question? Many questions were hard, while some were pretty simple. The game got really competitive. You had to be really quick when raising your hand; a split second made all the difference.

We continued our day with lectures on contraceptions, aphrodisiacs, caffeine, NSAIDs(Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), and anesthesia! There was so much information to take in, in just one class session! Some interesting facts I did learn was that just as a female uses a birth control pill, the male "pill" is on the process of being put on the market. In addition, caffeine has the same psychological effect as nicotine.  A lethal dose of caffeine is 10 grams which is equivalent to 100 cups of coffee! You may have never considered it, but you most likely take drugs every day. If you drink coffee or soda, it contains caffeine which does alter your body. It makes you feel good and increases your productivity. Aspirin is a NSAID, under the category of analgesia, which means it blocks pain. Did you know 17,000 people die from the over the counter drug, Aspirin in one year? Looking at the big picture, drugs are a huge part of society today. You may have only classified alcohol, marijuana, and other street drugs as drugs, but in reality there is much more to it. 

We all ended our night with an academic and talent showcase. Each class had a short presentation representing what they learned these past three weeks. The Pharmacology class did a little skit on the drug dating game. In the end, the audience chose methamphetamine to date the bachelorette. It was pretty funny, and I’m glad the audience enjoyed it a lot.
My proctor performing in their surprise Willy Wonka Skit!
Janet doing amazing tricks with the hula-hoops!
 My favorite part of the night was watching all the wonderful talents the students have here at VSA. From hula hooping to dancing, I enjoyed each one of them. One of my favorite performances was a boy band, which included Chris. They sang and danced to the famous “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. It was a humorous and enjoyable performance. I think there were many extraordinary acts of the night, which is definitely making VSA memorable. Although our time here at VSA is coming to an end, I’m enjoying every bit of it! Tomorrow is our last full day, and I hope to make the most out of it!
                              The boy band!
Chris reciting his love poem! (Awwww!)