MST @ MSU : Update 1

Today is Day 2 of the MST @ MSU camp, and the first day of actual classes. Move-in and meetings yesterday were no problem at all, aside from “Knee Brace” immediately becoming part of our counselor story trove.

Today, I started off by getting back to my room at 0045 from our RA meeting. I checked a few things online, thought about the upcoming day, then tried to fall asleep for the next few hours. See, I was waking up at 0625 to go running before the day would actually begin. I’m pretty sure that I got at least one hour, but I was way out of it for a while.

So, when I was partially awoken around 0600 by my door slamming while still being locked, I was less than thrilled. I got up, got dressed, finished the water bottle I had started the night before, then went outside to start the run. Troy told me to lead them around the loop, which I didn’t know what it was, so I just kind of ran what I thought it would be. It turned out somewhat well…

After two laps, everyone was done. Most had dropped out after lap one, but we kept everyone to two laps so that they could shower and get ready for the day. Needless to say, I quickly grabbed my shower things from T69, my actual room number, then rushed to the showers to get in a refresher before breakfast.

That did not wake me up either, unfortunately. I went upstairs and crashed down on a couch, which is now my couch, and talked with a few kids about how out of it I was before calling color groups for breakfast, which was good. I am slowly learning all of their names, and it wasn’t as disastrous when a few called me out on it while passing out some forms. Breakfast was fine as well; more caf food and a tired me.

First class, I had six students. I went back to “my” couch, called them over, and we chit-chatted until we walked over to BPS for Nuclear Astrophysics. I sat in the back and observed, but the stuff they did was pretty interesting and I could tell that they were already getting excited about it. We walked back after the two hours, grabbed some lunch, then they had a little free time before their second class.

This is where things start to go downhill.

I had Mechanical Engineering, with sixteen students and some of the worst within the entire group. We got to the building fine, but I had to yell for them to keep it down a few times before we actually got to the class. In class, I had to stop a few racial slur-type comments, but thankfully the group calmed down by the time the activity was over and I brought them back to Shaw.

From there, I took six very cool guys to their Basketball special clinic, and I had a blast! I jumped in all of the drills, shot around, and had a great time. I think I’ll be taking them every day, or at least most of the days, just because of the physical activity and the distance involved to get to the class.

With free time following shortly after (starting around 1630 for us), I hung out and played some frisbee with a few of the guys. It was kind of tough, because we couldn’t really play a game with no one near my level, so I was basically a Queen in chess that can’t be taken out, or something like that. Dinner followed shortly after, which is where the bad started creeping in.

I went in at the end of the color group, like I’m supposed to, and grabbed my food. One of my girls was looking at two full girls tables, each one saying that she could sit with them, when finally she said that she would just sit at an empty table next to them. Noticing this, plus the fact that I did not yet have a table either, I slowly walked over and said, “Hey, I can sit with you if you want,” just to try to get to know the girls in my group better since I don’t see them as frequently. She turned, looked at me, and said, “no, I’m fine,” and squeezed into one of the full tables, leaving me just struck standing in the middle of a bunch of tables. Thankfully I ate with Priya, my female counterpart, and two of my guys, which was great. At our nightly meeting, she said that they had more to talk about than any of the girls.

After dinner was the scavenger hunt, starting roughly at 1845. Since there are five RAs, we each just took a random team of a dozen or so, based roughly on original morning class rosters. I checked my group, and I thought Great! I like these kids, plus we should be able to do this well!

Boy was I wrong. Right from the start, I had trouble with one kid right off the bat, as he went over to the map/clue area to grab our kit, then returned with nothing, forcing me to send over another team member (one of my new basketball buddies, actually). We got two maps, plus a set of clues. The “team,” and I use that term loosely, immediately split into three groups when trying to figure out the clues I was reading.

And I felt so bad! There were a few girls on the quieter side, and they were saying the right things for the locations but were drowned out by the mob of the rest of the group. We started pretty well getting to the first location (The Rock), but once we got to the Agricultural Building, and incorrect locations, things fell through. We had either three leaders or none, and since I could basically only chaperone and tell them if the locations were correct or incorrect, there wasn’t much I could do.

Problem child #1, the one from the map/clue fiasco, started spewing off the worst comments, especially at that point. He was saying to crawl through the sewers or that random trees were “points of interest,” and I had to tell him multiple times to knock it off. We did not walk between locations well, we did not decide on locations well, and we did not stay as a group. I don’t even know if I could have counted how many times I said, “so let’s stay in a group,” and if I had tried I probably would have been even angrier than normal.

We got back to Shaw around 1950, dead last. I called a team meeting, since these kids will also be my field day team, just to learn from the experience. Thankfully many of them found out that working in a group, planning ahead, and generally just being good partners were at the top of the list. There were a couple, “I’ll need a GPS/bike,” comments, but I went with them since they were sandwiched with other lessons.

This was followed by free time, and I got shipped off to the computer lab. I got a couch for $20 from my sister, sent a message out to my roommates for next year, and helped a few girls with some of their work or just talked. I also chatted with one of my color group and team girls, and she’s up there on my favorites list. After returning to Shaw, we just made sure the guys were in their rooms and on their floor around 2200, then started the RA meeting.

We had a lot to say about students first, as we always do. I described my scenes, plus the other RAs spilled theirs, we divvied up classes and other assignments for tomorrow, discussed my situation tomorrow night, then ranted about camp years past and random things. I really like all of the people I’m working with, most of the kids, and the camp in general.

I had to yell a lot today, which I do not like. I’m erring on the more stern side than more loose, just so that the kids don’t start bending rules or anything when I’m around. Plus, I plan on tomorrow to be a yelling free day, except when necessary to be heard for crosswalks or special clinics or color groups. Should be interesting.

Well, since I’ll be running again tomorrow morning, which I’m waking up for in six hours, I’m going to try to catch some sleep, plus decide if I want to shower now or not…

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