Sunday, April 16, 2017

T'was a Success

I woke up at 5 o'clock this morning incredibly confused; my lights were still on, my laptop was still open, and my headphones were still intact. Forgetting to set my alarm, I told myself I would wake up by 6. I put everything away, turned my light off, and drifted back to sleep. I'm sure that we could all definitely agree that waking up in the morning is not an easy task, especially when you're a deep sleeper like myself. After my dad's multiple attempts to wake me up, I had gotten out of bed at 7, and was out the door by 7:45.

For the sixth day this week, I was headed off to what I would practically call my second home-- De Anza High School. Arriving with 5 minutes to spare, I met with Kelsey who had also just arrived. We made our way to our way to the Information Technology Academy of the school and got settled in our seats. We were all supposed to get to work at 8 o'clock sharp, but as we all know, things do not always according to plan. Initially people were just having trouble logging onto the computers, but once logged on many began to experience connection issues. Don also had trouble connecting his laptop to the projector. Whilst troubleshooting, I realized that I talk A LOT, and not very quietly either, Robson suggested I should learn sign language.  After dealing with all of the technological issues, we got to work at about 9.

Don presented us an incredibly dense 50 page packet of everything and anything ILC related. Briefly going through the process and expectations of blogging, Don had us write a quick practice blog and then we moved onto the more fun stuff-- photography! He explained the importance of having an actual camera versus just using a good old smartphone. We all then made our way outside to practice taking pictures, which gave us a chance to all talk to one another. I, not being the most photogenic individual, took more pictures rather than being in them; however all of us just being outside taking pictures was really nice. After about 15 minutes or so we headed back inside.
Robson was the most photogenic of us all.
Once we came back inside, we uploaded our photos to MediaFire, which is where we will be uploading all of our pictures this summer. Don then discussed the dorms, what and what not to pack, how to keep our items secure, and mainly just what to expect when we head back east. We had a little practice round of securing our laptops with a laptop security cable, which it definitely quite handy, especially while traveling. Once that was over, all that was left to do was clean up the room and then we were done for the day. I helped Raqeeb and Cecilia (who I learned has a love for cutting things), take down the ILC poster out front, bid everyone farewell, and then made my way home.

I would definitely say that today was a success; there may have been some minor set backs, but having the chance to spend the day with such amazing people was such a great experience. Everyone was incredibly kind and friendly, and I am definitely glad that I got to meet every single one of them. I absolutely love meeting new people, I enjoyed today quite a bit. It brought us all much closer.With about two months left before heading to Brown, my patience really is being tested. I have no doubt that I am going to have an absolutely amazing time over on the east coast, I can't wait!
Can't wait to spend my summer with them!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Chips, Cameras, Action!

I came to the tutorial at 7:45 in the morning, which took me a 40 minute drive from Pittsburg. I was greeted by a huge ILC poster and many of my cohorts. I was pleasantly surprised to see many of them come so early, and ended up having a nice chat with them as we helped Don set up for the session. Within a couple of minutes using my strength assisting others carrying tables and food, I realized was not helping much with the tasks because, I am in fact, very weak.
Many of us wondered why this sign was placed at the front of the school. I wanted to know the stories behind the prohibition of Go Carts, Kites, and Laser Tag.
We weren't able to get to work immediately since Don seemed to have trouble with his computer booting up. To make matters even worse, only two rows of school computers had working USB ports and half of them did not function at all. When we started, Don talked about emails, phone calls, blogging, and making blog spot profiles. He also reintroduced us to his several personalities, but we all knew to fear the one and only frightful Guantanamo Don. We were reminded that being in the program is a privilege, not a right, and each of one us has to adhere the rules or we would lose our scholarship.

The next task we had was learning the skills of blogging and be able to differentiate what a bad blog looked like, compared to a good one. During this, we had to use Don's practice blog to give us some time to get used to formatting our blogs. My cohorts and I were able to let loose and create silly blogs, which still followed the format that Don laid out for us. I ended up writing two paragraphs about how Frito's chips and cookies blended their flavors well with one another. I had an enjoyable time writing and reading what everyone had posted, this task was definitely my favorite part of the tutorial.

Don gave us loaner cameras to practice our photography skills. I decided to pair up with Cecilia since there weren't enough cameras for everyone to use. We all took a breath of fresh air outside and used the school's scenery to fuel our creative inspiration, making wonderful and silly photos in the few minutes we had.
Kelsey immediately became everyone's favorite model.
Evan becoming the ultimate camouflage master.
After transferring our photos into Media fire, Don lectured us on several important things about the meetings and the big trip. He also gave us a hands on experience on how to use some of the loaner items that could be provided in the trip. In our small group, we all took turns and passed around an Ethernet cable, computer, and laptop security cable. Each of us had to lock and unlock the security cable, which was an item of necessity to avoid our computers being stolen while traveling. Out of all the cohorts, Brown seemed to have the most required items due to the dorms, weather, and outdoor activities. From everything I've heard from Don, the Brown cohort sounds like a rough boot camp, but I believe boot camps can still be fun with the right people!

Today was an educational and amusing experience, and it was nice to see several faces I knew from other cohorts. I'm excited to share more of my time with all of them, I look forward to the opportunities and experiences I'll have with all five of the my teammates during the big trip.
The Brown cohort is back in business!

Overall a Great Day

The day was supposed to start at eight o’clock sharp but due to technological setbacks we started around nine o’clock. As our day progressed we learned many things like how to stay away from “Evil Don,” tips on how to take pictures, the cable test, and most of all don’t trust technology to do something when you want it to. 

Right off the bat we started by writing a practice blog to work on our formatting. Don gave us the freedom for the content and I took this a little overboard. While everyone else either wrote about nothing in general or a movie review I decided on dedicating four paragraphs to Justin Bieber. I repeated facts that I learned in sixth grade that I surprisingly still remember. Those who know me saw the title of my passage “Bieber Fever” and immediately knew it was me who wrote it. 

After about an hour of “Evil Don” threatening to become “Guantanamo Don” I realized that I would rather not bring out “Evil Don” even if it was directed at the computer lab equipment and the Wi-Fi connection. I can only imagine what it would be like to meet “Guantanamo Don.” Hopefully I will never have to meet either when they are directed at me.

Once we got to the picture taking portion we went outside and started taking pictures with our cohort, of our fellow ILCers, and of the little plant life we had at our disposal. It was a great bonding experience I got to know everyone on a basic level. We spent about 30 minutes taking pictures of anything we could find that has a small amount of color before going to back to work. 

The next task we were given was the cable test and the laptop security cable test. Now sadly the world we live in we can never know what type of people are around us so it is key to always be on alert. Being 5’-2” and a female some may see me as a target so a laptop security cable could be the difference between filling a police report and being able to go about my day problem free. We went around placing the cable back into the small bag it comes in, no one seemed to have a problem with this test. Next we tested our lock opening skills by inserting and removing the lock from the laptop. One can never be too safe.

Aside from the delays and the test it was an overall great day.

Someone Has Technology Karma

Today I woke up at 6 AM and couldn’t resist the urge to close my eyes for a few more minutes. After procrastinating to get up for about 30 minutes, I told myself to stop being lazy and just got up. I got ready and drove down to De Anza High School, where everyone would be meeting up for the tutorial. As I exited my car I saw Zunarah pull up behind me, and we walked towards the ILC banner together. I walked into the computer room and met with all the other wonderful cohorts. I think it’s safe to say that we were all pretty exhausted, especially since this was the first week of school after Spring Break.

After saying good morning, we all found a seat and sat down in front of a computer. The first technical issue raised when a few computers wouldn’t connect to the Internet, then a teacher explained to Don that only the first two rows had working USB ports. Don looked like he saw a ghost, when he heard that. I began to wonder jokingly if someone had technology karma, since our laptops weren't working at the library the last time we met up as well.

Then the technical difficulties started to really begin, it was like all technology in the room didn’t want to cooperate. Don eventually had to even switch laptops because his wasn’t working. He simply grabbed his backup and plugged it in. I was really impressed that Don came prepared like that, I would have never thought of bringing an entire extra laptop. This just showed me how valuable being prepared really is.
After some time, Don began to just explain the tutorial without his laptop. We were warned about the types of "Don's" we can encounter if we aren’t careful. We were also reminded how important it is to check emails since things in the ILC are happening rapidly. This tip can not only benefit me in the ILC but for life in general. Getting into the habit of checking your emails every day can really aid you in real life because it shows how punctual, responsible, and reliable you are.

Don also said something that made a lot of sense and I take for granted. We all have cellphones, yet we rarely ever make calls, so what’s the point of even having one? Plus, things get accomplished so much more quickly with a 30 second phone call, then back and forth texting for over 45 minutes. I think that I will take advantage of using my phone to actually make calls more, instead of just leaving a text.

After praying that Don's laptop would connect to the projector, it finally did and he opened up the pdf of the tutorial on the overhead. We went over more important elements and directions until we decided to go outside and practice taking pictures. Me and Esmerelda partnered up and we took pictures of each other, experimenting with what different angles, lighting, and more does to a photo. It was really funny to see everyone acting like models. Especially when we didn’t know what pose to do, or what background we should take advantage of.
Me modeling in front of some nice greenery.
Time really does fly. The pieces are coming together, and soon me and my cohort will be off to Brown together.
From left to right: Esmeralda Topete, Bianche Cordova, Kelsey Hetheringon, Amelia Meacham, Zunarah Ahmad


A Trip to Costco Had Obviously Been Made

The plan was to wake up at 5:00 this morning, get some homework done, and then go to the tutorial. However, my body didn’t obviously like that plan as I slept through my alarm and I woke up in a panic at 7:00 with just enough time to get dressed, grab some coffee, and rush to the car.

Although Don’s previous email had stated that it would be obvious where to go once I arrived at De Anza, I was still nervous that I would manage to get myself lost, and so I was grateful when I saw Don unpacking his car out front and he was able to direct me where to go.
Don  brought snacks!

The tutorial itself started quite late due to the unreliability of technology. However, that did not stop us and while we waited for various screens to load, we read all 50 pages of the packet that was handed out, and before long, the tutorial was underway.

Don started by discussing his various personalities: Evil Don, Tickled Pink Don, Shifty don, Frustrated Don, Good Don, Flamethrower Don, and Guantanamo Don. (You don’t want to meet him.) I found this amusing, and it was a good was to start the tutorial. After that light-hearted moment, we were told very sternly the expectation for answering emails and phone calls. We also went over formatting and inserting photos into the blog. Don had us draft a blog to make sure that we had no major mistakes and posting without thinking, I did have a major mistake. I did not justify both the right and left hand margins. (This is a BIG no-no.) Hopefully I have learned from this mistake and it won’t happen again. Not having much time to spare as some ILCers had to leave early, we quickly jumped into learning all about taking good pictures and how to upload pictures to MediaFire. Once we all felt like we could take proficient pictures without coaching, we were sent to the front of the school to take some pictures.

What a friendly sign.
Once outside, no one really knew what to take photos of, so there were a lot of photos of random things we saw around the school, such as an ambulance and sign. However, we soon got in our groove and started to take photos of each other, mostly silly. We found a plant covered wall to which we jokingly referenced Hogwarts due to an earlier rant by Don and before we knew it, it was time to go back inside.

Once inside, we practiced some more uploading of pictures and blogging, but the majority of the time was spent listening to Don talk about various details about our trips. This varied from BART fare, to public speaking, to bedspread. Maybe sensing our restlessness and stiff joints from sitting for a while, Don told us to stand up and do some interactive learning.

Smashed in an awkward lump, we watched how Don attached and detached a computer lock from his laptop and place it back into its small little red bag. Then it was our turn. Fortunately, this was not hard for anyone to master, and after a few more don’t-do-this stories, it was time to help Don clean up and go home.

Although this tutorial did take a big chunk out of my Saturday, it was definitely worthwhile. I learned a lot of specifics that needed to be known, and I had a blast with all of the other ILCers and their silly remarks. If anything, this tutorial just make me even more thankful for my scholarship and more excited to go to Brown! Even though we don’t have air conditioning and nice dorms like Chicago, we will have an unbelievable time bonding over our much-needed umbrellas. 
I look forward to going to Brown with these lovely ladies!