Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It Gets a Little Intense Sometimes.

Not many people know that I am a fiercely competitive person, and that I can occasionally be a bit argumentative. This can probably be attributed to the fact that I don't really play sports, so I rarely have an outlet to really let it shine in front of other people. I do verbally participate a lot in the classes I am in, but not a lot more than any other driven student. However, in MHS and in our activities the last few days, this has really been coming out in full force.

After starting my day off with a somewhat healthy breakfast of yogurt and fruit, I walked out to find Zach, the TA, standing in our designated spot. We chatted about our evenings, and waited for the rest of the students to arrive. Ms Talley has asked us to call her by her first name, so from now on I will just refer to her as Monte. The first thing we did when we walked in was discuss culture shock. From an anthropological standpoint culture shock is a fairly common occurrence, and she explained that she believed that it also would apply to teenagers that have been away from home for a while now (VSA students) When she outlined it for us we were told that the first stage is excitement, the second is withdrawal, next is adjustment, and finally enthusiasm. It is common for one to oscillate between these stages often when placed into an unfamiliar culture.  I feel like I was stuck in the first stage for the last several months, and that I only stayed in the second stage for a day. In my opinion, I think that it is totally normal for me to be oscillating between the last two stages, as it is only the third full day. We then gave our presentations, and I believe that mine went very smoothly, as we touched on all the points that we had planned to. After a more in depth analysis of the article from yesterday, a 20 minute documentary about the perils of organ trafficking (about as cheerful as it sounds, honestly) and a new reading assignment, we were let out of class.

I still don't really know how to explain what we did in Arete since every exercise we do is a lot easier to explain when the actions that accompany it are shown, so all I will say here is that it was more engaging than it has been the last few days, as I learned a new exercise that I will probably bring to my theatre class when I return home. In the break between Arete and dinner, I was really tempted to nap, as I have had incredibly busy days since we started this trip, and not much sleep to go along with it. I suppose that that will just be a part of the "college experience" as well. I contemplated whether or not it was worth it to sleep for only twenty minutes, and how groggy it would make me afterwards. I decided that it would be better if I took a shower, since that would probably wake me up more than my power nap. With that done, I FaceTimed my mother and showed her the campus through the window, as well as just updating her on the last few days. (They seriously have been some busy ones!)

Our designated activity for the day was to meet admissions councilors and go over fake profiles. Then, as a group we were to decide which of the three profiles we were handed to admit, which one to wait-list and which one to reject. We had our proctor group, and then one male proctor group so that we could have a relatively balanced point of view. We chose to admit the valedictorian that had his mother die, and still worked two part-time jobs to support his family, but we were left trying to decide between the other two. Maybe I should explain this activity a bit more clearly. We were given a school profile, and what that school values in a potential student. Then, after going through the application of three students very thoroughly, we were to decide which one would be the best fit. One of the prospective students was named Roberta, who wanted to become a theatre major. She had fairly good grades, and all of her extracurricular activities were concentrated in the arts. There was nothing that was part of her application that the school was vying for, but she seemed like a solid candidate. Then, we had Johnathan, who was from the state that the school wanted to recruit from, and was the captain of the crew team at his school, which the university was very excited about. However, he had really low grades, and all of his recommendation letters stated that he did not apply himself in academics. Our debate got very heated, and I felt myself becoming very invested. Many of the males in that room seemed to be vying for Johnathan to be chosen as the one on the wait-list, while Roberta was being championed by the females. The argument against Johnathan was that while he had above average test scores, he did not apply himself day-to-day. He also was the captain of his crew team, so the people arguing for Roberta didn't think that he would want to come to a school that had just established a team. My proudest moment during that discussion was when someone was still pushing the point about SAT scores, and how his were clearly higher than Roberta's. When I said that "Four years of your life should matter a whole lot more than four hours." the room quieted down a bit and I had a chorus of people agree with me. I have felt this way about the college admissions process for a long time, and I am glad that people agree with me. Eventually, we took a vote, and we rejected Johnathan and wait-listed Roberta. Later, I felt like some people in that room were simply championing Johnathan based on his gender, and if he were female, they would have found more issues with the fact that his grades were so low, and his lack of extracurricular activities. When I brought it up in my proctor group meeting, they all seemed to agree.

We came back and had some free time, and as always, I used that time to start my blog, in hopes that I would be done before the proctor meeting so that I could spend time with some of the other girls on my floor. Once again, people walked by me in the commons and started up conversations so I abandoned it in favor of engaging with some extremely interesting, diverse people. I adore the atmosphere here. Everyone has a different focus in their field of interest, but there are some things that bridge the gap. 

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