Monthly Archives: July 2009

Post-MST Stress

Yes, MST was a great experience, but a few problems still cropped up following my departure from the camp. It was a huge shock to be returned to the real world, and now I’ll be handling these few things.

Getting Paid: All through MST, my forms for employment (W-4, SSN verification, etc.) were not being processed, even though I had submitted them no less than three times within the few months before and during camp. I, thankfully, have recently received news that I am finally ob the payroll for the camp, meaning that the $1000-payment will eventually be in my bank account, and by eventually I mean sooner than four months distant.

EDIT 8.14.2009 : I got paid earlier today, so the huge lump of money is in my checking account. I haven’t had this much money in a while, since before buying my guitar a year and a half ago.

Preparing the Apartment: This one’s a little tricky… I’ve already bought a new desk, bought a new chair earlier in the summer, and got a couch from my sister for only $20, so I am probably much further along than my two roommates. I don’t, however, know any information about our kitchen and cleaning supplies, although the cleaning supplies are less essential. I’m supposed to call one of my roommates’ parents to figure out what he can bring, but I keep forgetting until late at night. Why? I’m going to the store with my other roommate to buy some more things, and I’d like to know exactly what I need to buy without going over.

Painting Projects: While this normally would go over on my other site, I’m including it here since it’s taking up a large chunk of my life. I received some free gaming things from a company in New Zealand so long as I paint up the free stuff (along with some of my own models) and send them some pictures. Since I was gone for two weeks, I’m a little behind… meaning I haven’t finished and the deadline is this weekend. To make matters worse, the camera that I was planning on using broke on the last day of MST, and I have yet to get it repaired. I could always borrow my sister’s camera, but I do need to eventually fix this one anyway, plus I already know how to set up all the “model” settings for pictures.

The “Other” Summer Job: I was already disliking Mathnasium before leaving for camp, and was dreading the return once I got back. Thankfully, that return only lasted three days. I told my employers that I was moving back to school next Wednesday (a full three weeks before my actual date), and thankfully they bought it, plus gave me some extra time to get ready to move. I’m not saying that it wasn’t a good experience, but I just didn’t enjoy it as much this summer, especially after returning.

Well, I need to sort a few of these things out tomorrow, but the rest can wait until later in the summer since I still have a little over three weeks until I am back at school. There also is another worry I have, but I’d rather not talk about that here…


MST @ MSU : Final Update

I’m writing this a little late again because of the MST closing ceremonies and moving back home after the two weeks. Plus, delaying it allowed me to think things over, start mulling over the end of two of the best weeks of my life. Hopefully I won’t forget much of what happened, but of course it always might happen.

I didn’t even bother waking up to run, as I just wanted to get some sleep before the day started. I didn’t even get out of bed until around 0720, and I was still pretty tired by the time breakfast color groups rolled around. I finally got used to drinking coffee, dropping down to one cream, two sugars and just drinking it.

I went to Physiology for the morning class and took a video camera with me. The Video class didn’t have any footage of Physiology, and they wouldn’t be able to take any that day, so I filmed some stuff for them. The class was pretty boring, but I did get some footage that was used in the final video. For the second half of the class, I took a nap on the futon just outside of the classroom and was out cold until one of the students woke me up. We went to one of the many conference rooms so that the instructors could talk about college work in Physiology with the students, as well as give them some snacks.

We got back to Shaw at 1135, much later than we should have. I missed a Thriller dance rehearsal that was supposed to be before lunch, which I really needed to go to. For the second class, I took the kids to Genetics and brought Harry Potter with me. I just read the entire class, even sat outside during a movie so that I could still read. I wanted to finish the book before leaving camp, since I needed to give it back to Steph.

I then took the kids to Flash II, dropped them off, picked some stuff up from the GATE office, took them back to Shaw, then changed into gym shorts. Why? We were going to have our annual Staff vs. Clinic basketball game, but I didn’t want to give it away to the basketball kids beforehand. I wore all black, grabbed a water, then walked with Troy, Mazur, and Darin over to the court.

We ended up winning 12-7, and were up 8-2 earlier in the game. I had most of the points for the Staff team, although with our lack of subs we got pretty lazy on defense and my legs were tired. It felt good just playing against the boys, plus I was able to play fully instead of a tired stumble across the court like in earlier games.

After the game, I walked back to Flash II to pick up the kids, played a few of their games, then walked them back to Shaw. I showered quickly, got dressed for the talent show, ate a very quick dinner, then walked with Darin over to McDonel to start setting up. We re-arranged more chairs than I want to think about while the kids walked over, after which we started setting up the sound system and running through a bunch of things.

The talent show went well. I had to rig up (with a kid’s help) a mic stand for me, since I wouldn’t be able to hold the mic and play guitar at the same time. I messed up, since I started singing the second verse first, so I just started over. Thankfully, it was close to the beginning so it wasn’t that bad. Once I was done, I quickly changed into my Thriller costume, which was just a few garbage bags, then had scary make-up applied.

I messed up the dance a little bit, but I don’t really care. I think all of us, aside from maybe Darin and Steph, messed up a little, but it’s not like we had a bunch of time to work on it anyway, right? Since we were last, we just had a meeting in McDonel about the rest of the night before walking back to Shaw. I worked with my kids and their speeches for closing ceremonies before getting them all in the rooms.

The RAs grabbed some walkie-talkies and we crept around checking for lights out or kids doing bad things. It was pretty fun, plus we got to pretend to be covert ops or something. After, we had a meeting about the closing ceremonies, then went off to bed.

I woke up and helped with the wake-up calls, then went up to the lounge to relax before breakfast. I ate quickly, since I needed to head back down to terrace to check rooms as the kids moved out. Once the kids were ready, I went to their rooms and checked everything. One mom, after I pointed out a bunch of things the kid missed, just kept saying how good I was at making sure things were all set in the dorm room.

Once everyone was moved out, I walked over to the Business College to go to closing ceremonies with the other RAs, sat down in the chairs on the right, and made sure to stay awake as best as I could. They showed the movie that the film class had made, then went though the speeches about each of the classes. A few were pretty bad, but many were good. Once all of the speeches were done, we took pictures with the kids and then met in one last color group to pass out their packets. It was pretty sad, and a few cried, but otherwise it was nice to just end all of the stress from the two weeks before.

The RAs went back to the dorm for the last meeting, where we got certificates and talked about random things, then we did celebratory shots, then walked to Noodles for a quick lunch. It was a great end of camp on that end, plus we got some food which was greatly needed to dilute the alcohol and prepare for the night. I went back to the dorm, finished packing up, took a shower, then called my sister for her to pick me up and move me out. I stored all of my things in her basement, then Nichole picked me up and we headed over to Darin’s apartment for the end-of-camp party.

And with the end of the party, camp was over. I finished moving out on Sunday when my dad picked me up and picked up my stuff from my sister’s house. It just seemed to blow past so quickly, but at the same time it felt like the camp had started months before. I really want to work there next summer, and I hope I get called back, and it was a great experience.

MST @ MSU : Update 10

Well, the second-to-last full day of camp finished up today, with only classes tomorrow and moving out on Saturday to get through. It was raining this morning, so running was cancelled. I got up a little late and staggered into the lounge, my newly-buzzed head a surprise, shut off the television, and said, “color groups.” A few kids immediately asked me what had happened to my hair, while most of the others didn’t notice.

I took Physiology to class again in the morning, so we walked to BPS in the rain. Of course, when we got there (based on Priya’s instructions), we had to go to IM West instead. So, we walked there in the rain with half of the group walking slowly forcing everyone else to slow down. Once we got there, I spent the first part of class trying to dry out as much as I could. For the second half, we did some exercises to determine our VO2 Max, although I didn’t get a sheet with all of the equations and calculations on it so I couldn’t complete it.

We then walked back to Shaw and went to lunch. Kathee was there, so we couldn’t really sit at an RA table or hang out late in the cafeteria. I then took Mechanical Engineering to the afternoon class, and Mazur on his afternoon off went with us. I just read Harry Potter and got to the part where Harry learns of the Yule Ball. I’m trying to finish it, but I don’t think I’ll be able to.

I went to Basketball again today, although I hadn’t planned on it, and was in for four-on-four. I was not feeling good or in shape, and my team lost both games. I wasn’t really playing well, plus I only made one shot total. After, we went back to Shaw and I headed up the roommate switching for tomorrow night and worked with my two teams for their speeches on Saturday.

After dinner, I went with Darin and Steph to McDonel to work on some talent show things, plus walked a few groups back to Shaw in the middle of the practice. I left my binder in the kiva, since I took the second group all of the way back and stayed at Shaw. I went to the computer lab and checked some e-mail and things, plus got in a little Counterstrike with the kids. It was pretty fun, with games not lasting that long, but I enjoyed it.

We had a short meeting, then worked on our Thriller dance for the talent show. We went through the entire dance and learned everything, so we should be all set for a few run-throughs tomorrow before the show. After, Darin had to leave for a little bit, so we had a little fun with some of his stuff…

MST @ MSU : Update 9

I was more tired than I thought, since I slept through my alarm and missed running, waking up at 0725 roughly an hour late. I felt terrible, so I made sure to apologize to the three kids who had woken up. They all didn’t mind, since they didn’t really want to run in the morning anyway. That made me feel a little better, but I still didn’t like the fact that I had slept in late.

I took Harry Potter 4 with me to Physics and Mechanical Engineering and read a lot of it. I’m going to try to finish it by Friday, although that goal may not be achievable based on where I am in the book and how much time I have to read it. I fell asleep a few times while reading it in class, despite the fact that I had a cup of coffee with breakfast and lunch, plus a large Monster during Physics. I think I was just so sleep deprived that I just couldn’t function anymore.

I jumped in 4-on-4 during Basketball, since Coach was also playing, and that was a lot of fun. I just got to run around, shoot, block a few shots (which my team loved), and just have fun. The only hitch was when one kid forgot his phone at the courts, not noticing until we were crossing Bogue. I sent the rest of the kids on to Shaw while I went back with him. Once I got back to Shaw, I put the basketballs in the storage room then walked along the Red Cedar looking for a soccer ball that had gone in before the special clinics; I didn’t find it.

After dinner, which I enjoyed, I took a mental health break, as prescribed by Mazur and Troy, and just slept. I went to my room, took off my shoes, and climbed into bed. I woke up around 2145 when the kids were busy getting ready for bed, but I didn’t mind. Yes, I missed out on going to the pool and playing some games, but I really needed that break. It just felt good to sleep and relax.

Our meeting went by smoothly, and I got the classes that I wanted. We also scheduled in a firsbee game before dinner, so hopefully a bunch of kids want to do that. Once our meeting was over, we went downstairs to practice our dance for the talent show, but not before playing a couple songs on Rock Band with another camp. We’re doing the Thriller dance, which Steph choreographed for us, and we went through the first few parts before calling it a night.

After, Mazur and I had our hair buzzed by Darin. I went first, and once I was done I grabbed my guitar to play a few songs while Mazur was on the chair. It was a nice bonding experience, plus I won’t need to get my hair cut before I go back to school. There are only a few days left, and I am already starting to miss it.

MST @ MSU : Update 8

Well, with the weekend over and the eggs finally washed out of everything, camp returned to a pretty normal affair. I was still dead tired from the late night at the Observatory from the night before, so the run this morning was not that good. We are down to four campers, which is pretty rough. I didn’t run much, plus I went slow to stay with the girl at the back. The shower after felt amazing, especially since I just relaxed for a little bit after getting in.

For Astrophysics, I dropped off some forms for the instructors to fill out about the end of camp ceremonies, then slept on the couches outside of the room for the entire class period. Kathy, the leader of MST, walked past me sleeping, but it was fine as I’m pretty sure that Troy explained the late night, plus the class stayed in the room the whole time.

I got the second class off, so I finished the update for the weekend (read it here) then took an hour nap before running off to basketball. I jumped in a few of their games, winning one game of Ultimate Lightning, then watched them play some three-on-three. When we got back to Shaw, I took some kids out to the basketball court to play some four-on-four, which I reffed, before dinner.

We then went to South Kedzie to listen to Melissa Mattingly of the Honors College talk about college as a whole and the Honors College. We had to answer a few questions, but I was more upset that I couldn’t read Harry Potter 4 since we were at the front. My dad dropped off my guitar just before I took (with Mazur and Priya) three classes to the SOAR Observing Room in BPS for an extra class.

It was kind of dull, since it was cloudy down in Chile, but the explanations of what they do and how it works out for MSU to control something across the globe was pretty cool. I got some nice pictures, plus got to see Horace but couldn’t talk to him. I did find out that he’s in his late fifties, or around there…

I played a little guitar to practice, then hung out with some of the kids on the floor, then went to the RA meeting. We picked our classes, talked about chiggers, and laughed at Priya for a bunch of things. We had to pull three kids out of their rooms because of something they did earlier in the day, and Troy had a stern talking to with them.

Once everything was all settled, we went down to the lounge to finally watch Willow and play some card games. Unfortunately we couldn’t watch the movie since we needed to check out the DVD player and we weren’t allowed to after 2300. Instead, the six of us played Dirty Clubs again, which I ended up winning, then some Catchphrase. The entire game night was a lot of fun, with chigger noises and mocking Priya’s method of using hashmarks for numbers, plus the ridiculous clues that we had to give out.

It’s strange to think that there are really only four days left, I’ll be moving out in five days, then I’ll be going to a party and then home. That first week just blew past, and this one is already going by just as quickly.

MST @ MSU : Updates 5, 6, and 7

Well, the last few days have kind of gotten away from me, but I finally found some time today to start hashing out the last few days. I’ll try to remember things as best as I can, but I make no guarantees for what happens.

Day 5
On Friday, I again had a different schedule than the rest of the week, which again was a welcome change from the first three days of the week. I took the kids to Genetics, which actually wasn’t that bad of a class. I got some more refreshers for Biology, a tour of a genetics lab (including some shots of an older PCR machine), and an hour-long movie. I took some more pictures, then slept through the entire movie, basically. I sat in the back corner, leaned against a fridge, then just passed out. A student’s alarm went off for his medication, waking me up, so I had to chaperon him to the bathroom.

At the end of class, one of the students was missing his key. We looked in the classroom for a few minutes, then figured that we might as well look through the lab as well. Before heading back up to the lab, I went back to where the rest of the students were waiting and asked again if anyone had the key. One kid, which we’ve been having a lot of trouble with snickered and pulled out the key.

Needless to say, I took him to see Troy once we got back to Shaw since he also was still missing his binder. We talked about that and his key, and thankfully later in the day he was much better. I haven’t noticed much other problems with him since, so maybe it was the best idea.

I went to Astronomy in the afternoon, and it was great. I laughed, took pictures, thought about how ridiculous one student was, and chatted with the instructors about a ton of things. For my clinic, I went to Visual Arts, and I just worked on my own clay sculpture of a tiger for the hour-long class. I really liked it, plus it was inside and I got to act like a kid again.

That night, I played some RISK with Mazur and a few of the students, which was great. It was the first time I could play RISK during camp, plus it was just good to act like a kid again without worrying much about anything. We all turned it in early after our RA meeting, since we had an early morning.

Day 6
Wake up calls were early this morning, with all of the RAs on call, since we were going to Camp Highfields for the day. We loaded up the kids on two buses, took a forty-five-minute bus ride, and unloaded the kids and their lunches. We broke up into the teams we had created last night, which of course weren’t perfect, but were good enough (aside from Steph’s team). My team was surprisingly good, but it took a little goading from me to get them to feel comfortable with themselves initially.

We did a bunch of activities before eating lunch and moving into the woods, where we did even more. I took part in all of them, which was very nice. On the “birthday log” one, I had to get from one end of the log to the other, since I was at the December end and the only January birthday. I mostly just stepped over all of them as they crouched down.

We would’ve gone to the wall if it wasn’t for our leader being uncomfortable doing it herself, but that’s ok. We knew that we were sweet, and that’s all that matters. The ride back was nice, with a welcome nap, and after I took a shower to get ready for the dance.

I mostly watched and laughed with the other RAs and Troy, plus took a bunch of photos and videos of the kids. I also got some of the RAs, which was great. The dance lasted for three hours, included a bunch of drama (like everything involving middle schoolers), but was otherwise a lot of fun. It was another late night, so we held our meeting quickly to get some rest for the next day.

Day 7
Sunday was the first real day that we could sleep in; I slept in until 0920, giving me around seven hours of sleep for the night. I manned one of the laundry rooms while doing my own laundry and filling up water balloons for field day. A couple of the kids tried to help me out, but they didn’t do much. It was really just a good break for me from doing anything. After lunch, the other RAs helped me fill up the rest of them, which involved a lot of goofy comments from all parties.

We then started assembling all of the necessary commodities for the games, like eggs, toilet paper, the water balloons, buckets, sponges, and everything else we needed. We took them over to the field behind the Rock, started setting things up, and waited for the kids to show up with the other RAs and Troy.

Boy were those games fun! We threw sponges and water balloons, got wet, played with a giant slingshot, and had a great time. At the end, it got a little crazy with the kids grabbing the extra balloons and eggs and running amuck, but it was still pretty fun. I was covered in egg (and still smelled like it later that day), was wet, but had a smile on my face.

I then showered and ate dinner, which was another BBQ-style dinner outside. I also organized a nice frisbee game, but we had to cut it short for color groups and a study period. During that period, I basically just talked with the other RAs and played Dirty Clubs with Mazur, Priya, and Troy, which is a great game. I also talked to my dad about bringing up my guitar for the talent show, since I’ll be doing my own act plus possibly playing for our RA skit.

After, I went with the Astronomy class and Troy to the observatory. That was a ton of fun, plus I got to see everything in the building. We spent a lot of time up in the actual dome, walking around all of the old rooms that weren’t needed anymore due to the technology now used, and looked through the main telescope and a few smaller ones. I saw Jupiter and could make out the cloud patterns and all four Galilean satellites.

We left around 0030, tried to go through Taco Bell but couldn’t, and got back to Shaw around 0100. Mazur, Troy, and I played more Dirty Clubs and ordered some Pokey Sticks to make up for the lack of Taco Bell, which was great. The other RAs had picked my classes while I was gone, but they gave me the afternoon off to make up for me having no say in anything. That afternoon off is actually the reason why I can finish this triple update, since I don’t have to put it off until tonight when I need to write today’s as well.

Anyway, sorry about the lack of updates over the past few days. I’ll be returning to the “one a day” format tonight, and I should be able to carry that through the end of camp, which is in less than a week!

MST @ MSU : Update 4

Thursday was the first day where I had vastly different classes, just because I had been in Physics and Basketball the entire time. It was a very good break from everything, plus I didn’t have to lead an afternoon class, which was nice.

I went to Physiology in the morning, and that class is slowly being considered the best class. I sat in the back and listened to what the instructors were saying and refreshing my memory on some Biology concepts. I also wrote a color piece for creative writing (text included below) for Creative Writing, the clinic I was attending in the afternoon.

We then traveled into the lab, and I walked around and took some pictures (which I still need to send to the instructors…) and filmed some video, mostly of two girls playing songs with their breathing apparatuses. I helped out a few of them with some printing issues, like grabbing the paper from the tall printer, and reminding them of what each of the peaks were or how to find the difference.

During my afternoon off, I went to Starbuck’s to get a drink then walked to Bessey to go to the MST office to drop off a few forms, just to make sure that I will be getting paid for these two weeks. Once I got back to Shaw, I took a 40-minute nap before corralling my class to head over.

In Creative Writing, I just kind of sat there, read a few student’s pieces, listened to some Michael Jackson because of the students’ music choices, and read my piece. The instructor said that she was sure that I was really an English major, not a science major, after listening to what I wrote, which I’ve copied below:

Oh, to be the leaves of the trees in summer! Basking in the warm July sun, dancing in every slight breeze, casting ever-mutating shadows on the ground.

Or even to be the grass, that soft carpet of the world. The smell of freshly cut blades, the slight scrape on the skin when rolling down a hill, or even the shimmer of far-off fields in the morning dew.

Maybe even the leaves on a flower, that tranquil backdrop to nature’s beauty? The surface of the sea above the coral reefs? The night sky just before a thunderstorm?

Oh, to be but a color, and that which the world views as its own.

Kids almost lost my frisbee in the river twice within the span of a few minutes, which kind of upset me. We will eventually be playing a full game of ultimate on the field on the other side of the river (behind the Rock), so hopefully they can handle that a little better. I played a little ERS as well, plus helped with physics homework. That class is really challenging for the kids, but they are learning a ton of stuff.

We also walked off campus to see Ghostbusters, which was an excursion. We had to get quickly back to campus at the end of the movie due to an incoming thunderstorm, but we made it. One of my kids lost his phone, but we found it after a while. The RAs all got pokey sticks, and my friend stopped by, and I introduced her as “Harry Potter,” which everyone got immediately.

I had a lot of other things happen, but I’m getting fatigued quickly and surely, so these updates will be shorter. I won’t combine two days into one, since I’ll forget a lot.