Monday, June 25, 2012

Back to (Summer) School!

At 6:15 AM my roommate and I woke up for yet another mandatory meal with the other High School Program students. Initially, the idea of waking up that the morning for breakfast seemed a little ridiculously, but when our RA led my suitemates and to the dining hall—especially since the dining hall was in John Jay, which was only about two buildings down from our dormitory.  However, when we actually arrived at the dining hall, I realized that she had the right idea. 

The place was packed—and it wasn’t even 7:00 AM yet! Ultimately, we spent about 20 minutes waiting in line just to get into the cafeteria and then another 10 minutes waiting in line for food.  After that experience, I don’t think that I’ll be going back to the dining hall for breakfast anytime soon. Though, I have to admit, for cafeteria food the meals there are pretty good!

After breakfast came orientation. Or rather, after breakfast came an hour and a half of waiting and then orientation.  Before the start orientation we were given our ID cards, maps of the school and city, and most importantly, our class schedules. While I have only one class, it meets two times a day—once beginning at 10:00 and ended at noon, and then another session at 2:00 PM to 4:00 with a two hour lunch break in-between. Before and after school, students are allowed to do whatever they please as long as they obey the rules and inform their RA of their whereabouts.

When the orientation did begin, it opened with a slideshow showcasing students from previous High School Program sessions, as well various pictures of the campus itself. After the slideshow came the speeches of our assistant dean, Mrs. Kristine Billmyer, and a representative of one of our many RAs, Sofi. Mrs. Billmyer’s speech was mainly about her expressing her confidence in us as well as how she expects us to meet, if not exceed, her expectations. Initially, I felt somewhat unnerved after hearing Mrs. Billymeyer speak. I personally felt like if we were unable to meet the Program’s expectation, I would not only embarrass myself, but the ILC and the entirety of the West Contra Costa Unified School District, considering that I’m somewhat of an ambassador for both groups.

After Mrs. Billmyer had finished her speech, she let Sofi, the RA of Hartley Hall; speak on the behalf off all the RAs. As Sofi spoke about the importance of communicating with your RA, as well as what the jobs of the RA’s were, which mainly includes supervising the whereabouts of students and accompanying them on off campus trips. After Sofi finished speaking, the orientation was over, and it was time for class.
Hamilton Hall

I then met up with Lucas and Adrianne, my “new” classmates, and began the trek to our new classroom in Hamilton Hall. We were soon met our two instructors, Mr. Jeffery Lenowitz and Luke MacInnis.  Not only are Jeffery and Luke are both post-grad students, but they have also taught this is course last summer as well. They went onto explain that since there were two of class meetings a day and two of them, they went onto to explain that it would either be one of them teaching both of the day’s classes or the two of them switching off between breaks. Today, however, it would be Jeffery that would be teaching us.

Jeffery started by introducing the course. Our course mainly focuses on how controversial court cases result the varying interpretations of the US Constitution, along with the power and role of our government’s judicial branch. Our class is mainly lectured, with Jeffery asking and answering a few questions between note taking. Our performance is graded upon or participation, quizzes, and our “final”—which shall be a 6 page legal case brief due at the end of the semester. Also during the next few weeks, we shall be partaking in debates going on field trips, and watching educational films.  For our lesson, we went briefly went over the structure and power of the Supreme Court. However, since it was the first day, Jeffery let us out an hour early, resulting in three and a half hour lunch for the day.   

For lunch, I decided to just return to my dorm and start on my homework, which were four reading assignments on the formation of constitutional law and the Supreme Court.

Once again, Jeffery was our teacher for the session. We class resumed, we went over how and why the Constitution was created. When the main lecture was through, Jeffery had us silently go over legal jargon vocabulary list. After about ten minutes of silent reading, we played “Constitutional Jeopardy” , and needless to say my team won.

When class was over, Adrianne and I met up after class and headed off to me with Mrs. L for our daily meeting. During the meeting we discussed how we felt about the school so far, whether or not we need any more school supplies, and where we would like to go in the upcoming weeks.

When the meeting was over, Adrianne and I went back to the dining hall for dinner. Later we were met with Aurea and Morvarid, and eventually Lucas. After we finished eating, the girls and I decided to return to Morvarid’s dorm for a makeshift study group. About an hour and a half into our study session, we ordered a pizza and ate a second dinner outside in the courtyard.  Eventually, we returned to our respective dorm rooms for the night after a long day of school and fun.

Overall, I think today was a fantastic day, even despite a few mishaps here and there. I’m also really excited for tomorrow class. Because of all the assigned reading we have tonight, I’m sure that the discussion portion of our class starts tomorrow, and personally, hearing other people’s interpretations and opinions is what really forward too. Hopefully, tomorrow will be just as fun as it is informative.  

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