Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The research has just begun...

Today's class was perfect. It is so much better than any high school class I have ever taken. I'm not sure if it's the class size, but being able to have our professor's full attention is something that I'm so eager to get in college.

Our morning session started off by Dr. Z. going over exactly what we needed to turn in to her and Pavel (our TA) by this Friday. She went into complete detail, stating how long things should be, what we should be thinking about while we write, and the importance of our thesis. Yesterday, I was uncertain about whether my thesis was appropriate or strong enough to carry a whole 20 page essay behind it. I emailed my professor asking for her advice on my thesis and she got back to me the next morning. She is so helpful! Definitely not what I had expected coming into the program. I thought I would be figuring out most of the things I needed to do by myself. The professor and TA really want you to ask questions and really want to help you. They check on us frequently asking if we need help or how far along we are getting with out work. I like how she has us turn something in every Friday so we can stay on track and have time management with our papers.

After discussing our requirements for Friday, we went into great detail about the Declaration of Independence. She showed us exactly what other countries looked for when deciding whether or not to accept the US as an independent nation, which can be found in the last paragraph. The fact that our country had some form of government, wanted the power to go to war and establish trade, and expected all other privileges a free country had convinced Morocco and France to recognize us as our own country. Tomorrow we are supposed to discuss the Federalist Papers we read as homework last night, which are a group of documents written to urge the country to adopt the Constitution. We might start discussing another book we are supposed to read for homework tonight called Inventing the Job of President by Fred Greenstein. The professor assigned volunteers to start a discussion on the president found in each chapter. I volunteered to start the discussion on James Madison. I'm nervous because I've never been in a discussion like class and have no idea how to start one. However, they say you get out of it what you put into it. I want to most of this experience and I plan on putting all of my effort into it, even if it means going "cold turkey".

I find the afternoon sessions in the library to be the most helpful part of my day. They allow me to focus directly on my paper and use the library's unlimited amount of resources. I finished some of my outline in that time and even stayed a little bit after to finish my thoughts. The library here is calm to do research in because there are no distractions.

It is only day three, but I feel like I've already learned so much! I've learned how to conduct research and how to use my time efficiently. Of course, everyone must have their free time to do the things they like, but this class is my priority, play can come later. I'm really enjoying my class so far. I find it weird that there are only 3 girls in my class, including myself. Maybe it's a sign? Of what I don't know.

Will, Eric, Beilul, and I plan to spend our evening in the library. Being time efficient is key. Especially since most of the RAs and students heard that the course we're taking is the hardest. It's really hard to jump out of a high school curriculum and be pushed into a college level course. Not to mention when you're supposed to crank out a 20 page paper in three weeks when the longest essay you've had to write in high school is a maximum of 5 pages.

This program is only three weeks, which seems like a short time to me. But, I'm very grateful I was offered this opportunity. I mean, how many other students can say that they already experienced a college level class. I feel that this program not only is broadening my horizons to other schools but giving me the preparation to succeed in college. I have learned to adjust to my dorm (including the traffic that used to keep me up at night), socialize with other people, and lead to become more efficient in my work. Like I said, today is only day three and I have already learned so much.

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