First Post in a Year!

Holy smokes! This is the first post I have published in a year! I’d like to make writing a more important aspect of my life, but I often find it hard to fit in creative writing when I have so much homework and other responsibilities. First, I should mention that I am writing this from my dorm room at Wright State University in Fairborn, OH (a suburb of Dayton)! I just started my second semester of my first year of “real” college (as if it’s more “real” than EGCC). I am having an okay time, but am still in a really sucky adjustment period. I find it difficult to make friends because I am extremely shy and introverted. I am making progress though! I am also finding it hard being 4 hours from home, as I am very close to my parents. I do see them often, between their visits to me and my voyages home, but I still find myself homesick from time to time.

This semester, I am taking a really challenging senior-level/graduate level class on stem cell research, as well as General Chemistry 1, Organisms and Ecosystems, and a one-credit half-semester course for aspiring resident assistants! I have applied to be an RA for next year, and this class is one requirement for employment. I think being an RA would be an excellent way to strengthen my leadership skills and grow as a person. I hope it might even help with my shyness! It also doesn’t hurt that I will receive free room and board as an RA, which will pair nicely with my free tuition scholarship I received for being salutatorian of my high school graduating class!

Joyce Ivy Foundation, CUSC, College, Applications, and Other Stuff

I have been nominated to run the Cornell University Circle of the Joyce Ivy Foundation Mentor Program! I will e-mail past and future Cornell summer scholar alumnae and host 2 conference calls to connect them. I am really honored that they decided to nominate me, and it feels good to be able to help out such an amazing organization. The Joyce Ivy Foundation helped me to have a life-changing experience, and I can never thank them enough.

Since Cornell, I have kept in touch with all of my Cornell University Summer College (CUSC) friends. I talk to Rachel, Candy, Faisal, Mye, Fio, and several others. I have sent letters to most of them, and I have received a few more back! I miss all of them so much. I am thinking about the possibility of traveling to Washington D.C. this summer, where Rachel lives. Mye is flying in from Thailand to visit several cities, including Washington D.C. I would absolutely love to meet up with both Mye and Rachel, because I doubt I will have another chance to do so. Plus, I’ve always wanted to visit D.C. :)

I have started my fourth semester of college at EGCC, but I haven’t had any classes yet (I have Tuesday/Thursday classes only). I will be taking Calculus 2, Nutrition, Business Communications, Microeconomics, and Sign Language 2. These classes aren’t extremely captivating, but they are necessary for graduation or the only classes available to me. I am looking forward to Sign Language 2. :)

Phi Theta Kappa has been going wonderfully for me. As the Public Relations Officer of EGCC’s chapter, I send out e-mails and update the Facebook page. I often do things throughout the week to help out, including running bake sales, manning information tables, and attending meetings. It is actually a lot of fun. :)

So far, I have applied to Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and Princeton. I will also be applying to Oberlin. I am crossing my fingers and praying for the best. Cornell is my first choice, but Princeton and Johns Hopkins are also great candidates. Oberlin is an excellent school, and I like that they also are home to the oldest music conservatory in the US. I think that would make campus life really interesting. :) I have already been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh. I like that it is close to home, and that they have a medical college.

This Sunday, I will be attending Edison’s semi-formal dance. I am excited to be going, but I’m also saddened by the fact that my high school experience is coming to a close. I’m going to have to start acting like a real adult soon, like do my taxes and stuff. I don’t want to grow up, but at the same time I am excited to start a new chapter of my life.

Days 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44 & 45

The problem with not keeping up with my blog regularly is that I usually forget what I have done. So, I am going to skip over days 39, 40, and 41.

On Friday, Day 42, I had my last day of classes. It was bittersweet – I was happy that classes were over, but I knew that I would most likely never see any of my classmates again. After my writing class was over, we took some group pictures:

English pic 2

English pic

I’m really going to miss them. I went to my biology class and we had an activity where we looked at chicken and mouse embryos. It was rather fascinating to see them at different stages of development, and they eerily look the same early on. After class, I met with my English teacher for my second required meeting. We talked about my essays that I have written throughout the course, and how I’ve improved my writing skills. He was so enthralled with one of my essays, that he suggested that I publish it. I was dumbfounded. I have never thought that my writing was anything spectacular, but now I’m seeing it in a new light. I’m going to look into publishing it in the coming weeks, but I know that there is a large rejection rate and it can take months before I get a response. I am okay with that, as I want to be a doctor more than a writer!

Friday was also our last day with Candy. We watched The Silence of the Lambs in my room and ate pizza and cookies that night. She left early Saturday morning. Rachel and I miss her a lot, but we’re glad that she made it safely to Beijing. We are going to keep in touch, and maybe down the road we will meet again.

Candy

On Saturday, I went to the mall with Mye, Kai, Faisal, and Rachel. We walked around, ate frozen yogurt, and watched the movie Hercules. I liked the movie, and I liked spending time with my friends. We all leave on Tuesday, and I feel really sad knowing that I most likely will never see them again. I also noticed on Saturday that everyone in my hall moved out, including my sink-mate Bin-Bin. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to her. It is depressing to walk around the halls and see all of the doors with the name tags peeled off. It is also very quiet, and the dining hall is a wasteland.

On Sunday, Rachel and I woke up early enough to have breakfast, which we’ve only done a handful of times before. After lunch with the group, Rachel, Kai and I walked around and took a bunch of weird pictures:

Rachel

Rachel and Kai

Rachel 1

Rachel Kai Me

After dinner, we all went back to my room and hung out, ate popsicles, and talked. It was really fun. After check-in, Rachel stayed in my room and we were talking when someone knocked on my door. They were RCA’s and said they were writing us up because we were loud and because we aren’t allowed to have guests in out rooms after check-in. I didn’t recognize either of them, so I don’t know why they were in my hallway. We were both written up, and then Rachel went back to her room. I think it is a stupid rule that we can’t have guests in our rooms after check-in, especially because we weren’t bothering anyone. Oh well. At least I’m going home tomorrow!

I woke up late this morning, so I couldn’t go to my Biology review session for the final exam. I am pretty upset about that, but I plan on studying all day today so that I can get a decent grade tomorrow. I also have to pack today, which I am not looking forward to. I wish that I could spend my last day here having fun with friends, but grades come first. I am looking forward to going home because my stress levels will go down. I am so stressed out about my grades, getting packed up in time for check out tomorrow, and making sure I have time with my friends before we all leave.

Days 37 & 38

8 DAYS LEFT!! :) :( ? I don’t know exactly how I feel about that.

Yesterday, I slept in till 11 because I was extremely tired from the trip. I had lunch with Rachel at RPCC and then we had a lazy day. Yesterday evening, I went with Faisal to a religious celebration marking the end of Ramadan. I don’t know much about the Muslim religion, so it was interesting to take part in this event. There were a lot of non-Muslims attending, which made me feel less awkward. They had Indian food, and I tried Nan bread and samosa. The Nan bread was good, but I ate it plain. They had things to dip it in, but I am not an adventurous eater, so I just ate it plain. The samosa was a pyramid-shaped fried stuffed bread thing. Inside, it had spices, potato, and peas. It was very interesting, but I didn’t really like it. It was an interesting experience, though, and I’m glad that I went. :)

On a completely unrelated topic, my mom posted some more pictures on Facebook yesterday from Saturday, so here they are!

Rachel, Candy, Faisal, and Me :)
Rachel, Candy, Faisal, and Me :)

ME AT NIAGARA 1

ME AT NIAGARA 2

My eyes are so bright in this one!
My eyes are so bright in this one!

ME AT NIAGARA 4

Today I did not want to get out of bed. I stayed up pretty late talking to an old friend last night, so I was pretty tired. I thought about skipping class, but decided against it, because… you know, grades. I should have skipped. In my writing class, we didn’t do anything because most of the class forgot to bring their homework, which we were going to use during class for an assignment (I did my homework!). The teacher let us leave after 20 minutes, so I had some time to kill before my second class. I went to Libe Café and read the news (I’m such a nerd). I should have bought a coffee, but I decided not to for some reason. In my second class, we had an activity where we looked at pictures of fruit fly larva and arranged them chronologically, looked at which genes are expressed at which larval stage, and then matched a mutated larva with its mutated gene. It was kind of boring, but I’m glad I went. I learned things that will correlate with the lecture portion of the course. That class ended early also, so I came back to Balch and waited for lunch rather impatiently because I didn’t have breakfast. After lunch, I came back to my room and tried to work on my research paper for my second biology class. I have decided to write about Cocaine Esterase, which can possibly be used to treat cocaine addiction by overriding the effects of cocaine in the body. It is an interesting topic, but the act of writing the paper is quite boring. I decided to take a nap, because I was so tired, and when I woke up Rachel wanted to go to dinner. I just got back from dinner, and now I’m waiting for Rachel in one of South Balch’s lounges.

Day 36

I woke up at 6 a.m. and got ready for the big day ahead. We boarded the buses around 7:15 and hit the road around 7:30, bound for Niagara Falls, NY. It was a long drive, about 4 hours with the stop we made halfway for breakfast, and at some point the air conditioning on our bus broke so by time we got off I was kinda cranky. I wasn’t having a really good time, because of the crankiness, so I called my mom when I was waiting for my friends outside of the pizza place they were using the restroom in. I complained to her about how awful of a time I was having, and I told her how much better it would be if she were there. At that moment, I realized that I really, really, really, missed my whole family. My family and I traveled to Niagara Falls before, when I was younger, and I have fond memories of riding The Maid of the Mist, a boat that takes you close to the falls, going to Canada, and visiting an awesome aquarium. Every time we went, we had a great time.

After I got off of the phone with my mom, my friends and I walked over to the falls. Every time I see them, I am surprised at how big and powerful they are. The clear water rushed over the humungous boulders, spilled gracefully over the lip of the cliff, and then fell with a thundering roar into the turquoise waters below. I decided to stay behind and just watch the waterfalls while my friends went to walk onto a tall overlook. I was alone, taking pictures of the falls and texting my mom, when I heard a woman say my name next to me. I spun around, and was face-to-face with my mom and dad. I was so shocked and surprised, that all I could do was burst into happy tears and hug them. I felt dumbfounded, elated, and quizzical all at the same time. I had no idea that they were even thinking of coming – as far as I knew they were spending a quiet day at home after sending my sister off on a bus with my grandma to see Blackwater Falls in West Virginia.

I was so happy to see them, and they were happy to see me. They brought awesome food, including a bunch of freshly-baked homemade chocolate chip cookies and a rhubarb cobbler. We sat and ate and then found my friends and I introduced them. Anyone who ever meets my parents pretty much always says, “Wow, your parents are really cool”. I am so grateful to have such thoughtful and loving parents. Thank you mom and dad for making my day!!!

I spent the whole day walking around with my parents and just talking with them. It was one of the best days of my life. It felt great to be able to sit with them face-to-face and catch up with them after so long. It was kind of hard to say goodbye to them, but it was easier than when they dropped me off at the beginning of my stay at Cornell, because I knew that I would be seeing them again very soon, on the 5th of August.

I do realize and feel bad about the fact that although my parents could drive the 4 hours to come see me, not everyone has that luxury. I couldn’t imagine being halfway around the world from my parents for this long.

Well, anyway, here are some pictures from my trip!

Niagara Falls 1

Niagara Falls 2

Niagara Falls 3

Niagara Falls 4

Niagara Falls 5

Niagara Falls 6

Niagara Falls Selfie w Mom

 

 

Days 30 & 31 & 32 & 33 & 34 & 35

On Sunday, day 30, I went to the mall to return my Redbox movies. Not much else happened. It was a kind of mundane day. Here is a picture I took that day:

Kyra and Faisal!
Kyra and Faisal!

Oh! I just remembered that I also studied with Rachel and Candy on Sunday in one of the South Balch lounges (remembered isn’t the correct term – I checked my Facebook page and noticed I posted something and then I remembered). I was reading an essay for English called Son of Mr. Green Jeans by Dinty Moore. It is a fascinating piece of literature, and set up in an abecedarian fashion. I reached the section of the essay titled Masculinity for the M section. It reads:

“Wolf fathers spend the daylight hours away from the home – hunting – but return every evening. The wolf cubs, five or six to a litter, rush out of the den when they hear their father approaching and fling themselves at their dad, leaping up to his face. The father will back up a few feet and disgorge food for the cubs in small, separate piles.”

I found this so interesting that I read it aloud to Rachel and Candy. They soaked it in for a few moments, and then Rachel said: “What if your dad came home and said, “Hey kids!” and you said, “Hey dad!” and you were all excited, and then he vomited all over the floor and you ate it?”. I nearly died from laughter. Rachel has a way of looking at things from a unique, and sometimes quite odd, perspective. She comes up with this kind of stuff all day.

On Monday, I found this YouTube video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jat3nBSzhtQ

You’re welcome!

On Tuesday, I took my second Biology Prelim. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped on it, but he does curve the scores so I guess I didn’t do toooo badly. The class is hard because I haven’t had chemistry yet, and a lot of the concepts include chemistry terms. I met with my teacher about my grades on Wednesday, and we went over the Prelim. He says he isn’t too worried about me, because I get most of the concepts. It’s just when it gets really technical, I falter.

On Wednesday, I had a normal day like usual. I did end up getting caught in the rain because I lost my umbrella somewhere, and I got completely soaked walking back from class:

20140723_163621

 

I hung out with Rachel and Candy again in the Balch lounge. Usually we try to study and work on homework, but it usually ends up with us singing off-key to Bohemian Rhapsody or Don’t Stop Believing and playing songs on the piano. Rachel plays very well, and it makes me want to learn how. Maybe, one day in the distant future, I will learn to play piano. When we became bored of playing piano and pretending to study, we went outside and took funny pictures on Snapchat and talked. I dropped my phone behind a railing into a bush, and when I reached in to get it I developed a rash:

Hives

It was quite painful and stung, but it went away quickly. (Thanks, Rachel, for lending me some Cortisone!)

On Wednesday, I got a letter confirming my spot on a trip to Niagara Falls! I signed up on Monday or Tuesday, but it is a first-come first-served kind of thing, and there were only 118 seats available, so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to go.  Rachel, Candy, and Faisal are also going, so I’m pretty excited!

I also noticed, sadly, that Harriet and Howard’s beautiful little baby mourning doves had fledged. The nest was abandoned when I came back from class. I didn’t even name them. I shall do so right now. There is no way to tell what gender they were, but I’m going to say that there was on girl and one boy. Their names, in keeping with the H-theme, are Harold and Holly. I like those names.

So sad :(
So sad :(

On Thursday, the most interesting and noteworthy thing that happened was that a package that my mom sent me arrived in the mail! She sent me a variety of my favorite foods, and I am very thankful for having such a thoughtful mom. Here is a picture of what she sent me: (Note that on the top of the box is a card!)

 

Package! :)
Package! :)

The second most noteworthy thing that happened is that my biology class went on a field trip to the Ithaca Children’s Garden to document ladybug populations. Apparently, the population of a few native species of ladybugs are dwindling significantly, almost to the point of extinction. Although as far as I know we didn’t collect and 9-spotted rare ladybugs, we did find quite a few of them. It was actually pretty fun, and the garden was kind of kitschy. It was an interesting experience that I think I’ll remember for a long time.

Today, I had my classes as usual. Right now, I’m lying in bed texting my mom. Check-in is in an hour, so I am just going to get ready for bed and read the news. We board the bus at 6:45 tomorrow morning, and we should arrive at the falls by 10:30-ish (because we’re stopping for breakfast). I went to the mall with Rachel and Candy to buy snacks and lunch-food for tomorrow. I’m just super excited to send the day with my friends!!!

Day 29

I had a great day today. I woke up early and had breakfast with Rachel before heading out to town. Candy came with us to Walmart and Barnes and Noble. The bus ride was about 40 minutes long, which really sucked. It was packed and the driver kept running over the curb. I highly dislike public transportation, so I know having a car at college is going to be a high priority.

At Walmart, I filled a prescription, rented a couple of Redbox Movies (Her and Non-Stop), and bought popcorn. We planned on having a great movie night! At Barnes and Noble, Rachel bought a book and we went to the Starbucks to get drinks. After a 30 minute bus ride home, we had dinner and then came back to my room. We turned on Her, but I left to watch Wreck It Ralph with Faisal at the Jameson Sky Lounge instead. I did get to see the beginning of Her, and let me tell you it was awkward!

After the movie, I hung out with Faisal and a few other friends and then had to rush to check in. Once I got back to my room, I looked at my prescription and realized it said NO REFILLS LEFT when it should still have a refill. I don’t know why the Walmart would short me a refill, but my mom is going to call them in the morning to get it all sorted out. I think this is the beginning of a great headache.

Right now, I’m sitting on my bed about to watch Non-Stop before I sleep. I forgot that the plot-twist at the end of the movie sits unfavorably with me, but I paid a $1.20 for it, so I may as well watch it. Apparently, at the end, the terrorists are American soldiers. My dad is in the Army, so I don’t like when movies show soldiers as “bad guys”. I’ll see how well I like it otherwise, but I don’t think I will.

I hope that everyone had a great day and will have an even better one tomorrow! J