Monthly Archives: July 2010

MST@MSU | Days 12, 13, and 14

You can tell how hectic the end of camp is for the counselors based on how long it takes the final repot to be posted, or how many of the last days that final report needs to include. In this case, two full academic days and the closing ceremonies and rolled up into one a handful of days after the end of camp. Sounds fine, right? Unfortunately, since it is basically a week later, I barely remember what happened each day, and the little cards that have the daily schedule on them can only help so much (especially since I decided not to date them). So, I’m just going to focus on the main events that took place: Talent Show and Closing Ceremonies.

Talent Show
The 20th Annual Talent Show took place on Friday night. Our RA skit was thrown together earlier that afternoon, since we were so busy with a ton of other events and occurrences at camp that had distracted us. Since the programs had already been printed up, and since we had put down that “Bye Bye Bye” would be part of our performance, we had to throw that in their at some part…

All of the campers acts were really good, with a few nice stand-outs (Chinese Yo-Yo, Oboe, etc.) and a very funny skit making fun of the RAs, with my antics being one of the focal points. The funny part is that everyone poked fun at me sleeping all of the time, which is close to true, but the other RAs slept just as much as (if not more than) me, but who cares? It was funny just watching them laugh at me carrying around a pillow and falling asleep on the ground.

Then came our skit, with the seven of us saying some funny lines, dancing a little to “Bye Bye Bye,” throwing in a few camp inside jokes to get the kids laughing, and showing off exactly what happens when the campers go to bed each night. I think it went pretty well, but then again I was part of it and working on no sleep and a Red Bull, so I could be way off…

Closing Ceremonies
The night before, we worked with all of the student speakers about what they would say about their classes and clinics, so we had another later night (ignoring our pranking antics, of course!), but we did get some pizza out of it. The morning of the ceremonies, I helped make sure that no one left anything in their rooms, that everything was clean, and directed them back over to Broad for the last act of camp.

I barely knew what was going on, from staying up late to being tired from two weeks of camp, so the speeches just flew by before Mazur and I had to get up for the RA speech. We had made a quick list about who we needed to thank, then decided just to switch off between each one for the speech, making things up as we went. We threw a “whoopsies!” and “french roast!” in there as well, and I think we did fine. We actually forgot to thank the instructors, but then again we barely had an idea of what we were saying half the time.

After a few more speeches, camp was over. I called color groups one last time, handed out the packets to all of my greens, posed for a few pictures, and said good-bye to a bunch of the students. It was both more and less sad than last year, as everything was this entire camp, so I won’t even bother trying to compare them.

Once that was over and the last kid had left, we held our staff closing ceremonies in the office, passing out our own awards and grabbing lunch together before splitting to finish moving out of the dorms. Mazur and I moved out at the same time, with him crashing at my place that afternoon before a staff dinner and that night before moving back home. It was good having a mini-celebration after everything was said and done, especially since a larger one will be held in a few weeks time to officially close things out.

But camp is still over, and now with August right around the corner, I’m back to my normal life of strange sleep schedules, buying groceries, and not looking after sixty middle-schoolers twenty-four hours a day.


MST@MSU | Day 11

It’s strange to think that camp is almost over, but it is. So much has happened this year that the days seemed to fly by, especially with all the changes from last year. It’s been a great camp, and I know I’ll miss it once we hit closing ceremonies on Saturday.

Today, however, was relatively normal. I woke up to run, although I simply did some crunches and push-ups while the five kids ran. It felt good, since I hadn’t really done anything like that in a while, but I knew that running would’ve been a bad choice. I’ll probably run tomorrow, since I haven’t in a few days, but we’ll see when I wake up tomorrow morning. At breakfast, they had French Roast again, so I was very excited about drinking that all day. My calls of “French Roast!” have become part of camp, so much so that some kids actually ask me to say “french roast” even when no coffee is involved.

I went to Nuclear Astrophysics this morning, and brought my pillow since I planned on sleeping. I grabbed a newspaper on the way in, then spent a good part of the class period trying to solve the Sudoku puzzle in it. I wasn’t even that tired, even, but I guess it was good that I didn’t sleep since the class went out to the parking structure for the second half of the class. I ran into two of my friends while walking with them, which was pretty cool, but otherwise I just watched as they used their cosmic ray detectors for the entire period.

I had the afternoon off again, but I still went to lunch and had some more french roast before taking a two-hour nap. Following the nap, I took Creative Writing and simply listened to some Futureheads songs on YouTube for the entire clinic. Afterward, I rounded up my color group for an early dinner before helping to take thirty-eight of the kids to the MSU Dairy Store for some ice cream. I used by two-scoop voucher to get some Honors Coffee Toffee, which tasted delicious!

Once we got all of the kids back to Shaw, we broke for computer lab and talent show. I went with Priya and Mazur to the computer lab to start, but I just played two games of Abalone with Mazur (and won both) before shuttling some kids back to Shaw and bringing others over. I also got to jump in a quick game of Ultimate behind the dorm, but it fell apart as more kids showed up and the game switched to soccer. Troy and I still tossed around until we had to get the kids inside, though, so that was good.

Following room checks, we held our meeting and set up who the closing ceremony speakers would be, as well as set the classes for tomorrow. We also talked about the memory book that Mel was putting together, and it looks like it will be really cool. Once we had everything in order, we went downstairs to watch Jurassic Park, starting from where we left off the night before, then went to bed.

Another day down, and only two-and-a-half left…

MST@MSU | Days 9 and 10

Well, due to another late night, I wasn’t able to post up what happened on Monday. From what I remember, the only high points were College Night with Melissa Mattingly representing the Honors College, messing with three rooms that had left their door unlocked, watching Paranormal Activity followed by a sleep-over in the office, and winning the wind turbine contest in Mechanical Engineering. Pretty solid day, with a good variety of classes and relaxation time.

Getting back to today, I woke up for running but then decided that I wouldn’t run and just sleep on the concrete steps while the kids ran. Yes, I actually did fall asleep. I gradually let the kids back into Shaw through the back door while I waited for the rest of the kids to finish, followed by me showering and shaving in a bathroom on a separate part of the floor that the boys aren’t allowed on. It felt nice, but that wasn’t the best part about the morning.

The best was French Roast! I grabbed two mugs before the coffee ran out, and I completely enjoyed it. To be quite honest, I don’t really remember what else I had for breakfast since all I cared about was the coffee. Once I was suitably caffeinated, I collected the kids for Mathematics and walked them over to Wells Hall. I dropped them off at the room, then trounced up to the second floor to fall asleep on the couches, my pillow in hand. I set my alarm for 1030 to make sure I was back down for the end of class, then quickly drew the crop circle picture they were working on while I waited for class to be over.

Since I had the afternoon off, I technically could have just gone straight to bed, but instead I decided to grab some lunch since I knew that I’d be really hungry later if I didn’t. It was a good choice, since there were bacon cheeseburgers and more French Roast! Couldn’t ask for a better meal plan at that point. I ate relatively quickly, then went to my room to get ready for a nap. I reset my alarm, called Amazon to figure out a strange charge, then slept for a few hours before clinics.

I walked Creative Writing down to their classroom, logged onto the computer, and basically just messed around online until the class was over. It was nice again to just relax, since I had done the same thing in my clinic yesterday. Walking back went fine, and the rest of free time before dinner was pretty fun. I played some soccer with a few of the boys, but I sweated a lot due to the heat and the fact that I don’t really play soccer at all.

Dinner was fine, but for some reason I didn’t eat that much. It’s possibly because I did drink four glasses of Poweraid (two of them delivered by a kid for RA Appreciation), but there’s so many reasons for it that I can’t really pin it down. Once dinner was over, I changed into my bathing suit to get ready for going to IM West to go swimming. It was pretty fun, thought I didn’t swim much since I just wanted to relax that afternoon.

We walked back to Shaw, then got ready for study hall. I stayed in Shaw and played some Connect 4 with a camper before helping a group with their Mars mission project. It was a little troublesome since they had such a small budget, but we eventually made it work out. Once that was done, we shuffled the kids to their rooms, had our RA meeting, tried (but failed) to watch Jurassic Park, then went our separate ways for the night.

MST@MSU | Days 7 and 8

This weekend was quite a long one for camp, so I’ll quickly recap the main events: Camp Highfields and the dance on Saturday, and Field Games on Sunday. I’ll include a few other details, but since I’m a day behind (and waking up in five hours), I’m going fast.

My team for Camp Highfields was pretty good. We had a few strong leaders, some good ideas, and an ability to talk to each other to work a problem. Unfortunately, the team also talked a little too much without reaching a consensus, which slowed us down out there. They were also pretty easily distracted, especially when it came to using parts of nature to help them finish the challenge. We made it through most of the challenges, and only couldn’t complete two of them due to time and our general inability to work together.

Later that night, we had the MST Dance. I had a great time, and was able to convince a few people that seemed like they weren’t enjoying themselves to actually go out there and try, and I think they had a good time. I was just dancing and checking up on the kids and dancing some more and talking, but it was great. The only downside (not a real downside though) was that I was one of the only people not picked to dance during the snowball portion of the slow dance. Mel and I just watched from the front of the room as everyone else danced, but since I was enjoying not dancing at that point, I didn’t mind.

On Sunday, I woke up then slept in the laundry room for two hours before Field Games started. Mel had a list of ten events ready to go, plus all of the necessary supplies for the games. She even got supplies for some warpaint, so I mixed up the green portion then painted a palm print on my face. I went downstairs, gathered the Green Team in the front of Shaw, and painted on their own warpaint. Once we were all set, we walked around the side of Shaw to the back to get ready for the games.

We started off pretty average, but then a dead last finish in Pulse almost beat us. My team was down, and they seemed like they weren’t having fun from losing and doing quite poorly. I tried to lift their spirits, but it wouldn’t be until two second-place finishes in the next two games did they finally start to chipper up. I helped Troy and Darin with the Balloon Launch, followed by me being tied to a tree as Santa wearing a bikini. After the games were done, and the shaving cream fight died down, we corralled them inside to shower and get ready for dinner.

All of the staff was so tired, so we pushed back some of the nightly schedule so that we could finish our meeting sooner and get to bed, but due to some late night shenanigans, I’m still up pretty late and will be feeling it all tomorrow. Here’s to Monday!

MST@MSU | Day 6

I had this morning off, so this should be a shorter post than the rest. I skipped running and woke up at 0930 to the sounds of construction right outside my window. The construction started there. I thought about going to bed, but figured that since I was already up (and the noise wasn’t stopping), I should just shower and get ready for the day. So, that’s what I did. Mel and I talked after in the Lobby while we waited for Steph (who also had the morning off) to get up and the morning classes to return.

Lunch was fine, especially with the mounds of food and the mug of coffee I consumed. After, I took the Astronomy kids over to BPS. We would be doing the Walk the Solar System project today due to rescheduling, which I was pretty excited about. We started at the front of BPS (after they drew their planets/dwarf planets) with the Sun. Each student said their facts about their object as we stuck it in the ground, after pacing out the distance from the previous planet. We ran out of campus right around Neptune, so Pluto and Eris had to be described without actually walking out their scale distance. We picked up the planets as we walked back, then did a quick scaling for distances between galaxies right away.

Once that was over, I took Basketball again over to the courts. One kid was feeling a little poorly soon after warm-ups, so he sat out for much of the clinic. They worked on offense and some rebounding, followed by two scrimmages. It was pretty hot out, and without much wind, so most of the students were pretty lethargic. Myself and a few of the other RAs talked about how all of the kids just drank soda all day and weren’t getting enough water, so hopefully they’ve learned for next week.

We got back to Shaw, and Red went to the Dairy Store for winning the scavenger hunt earlier in the week. Soon after, we took them into dinner, where we ate fairly quickly before heading outside to handle the Secret Pal revelation ceremony. It went pretty well, with enough Troy antics to keep everyone (primarily the RAs) entertained. Once that was done, we broke into a few different groups for the movie (which ended up being canceled), the computer lab, and just regular lounge/lobby activities.

Around 2100, we started shipping kids out to the MSU Observatory, with me going with the first wave. Basically Troy and Steph were constantly cycling between the Observatory and Shaw either bringing kids there or taking them back. I got to see a lot of cool stuff while there (three planets, some globular clusters, the Moon, etc.) while the kids did whatever they wanted. It was pretty cool, though I could tell that by the end that things were getting a little dicey, so I was glad when I finally got back with the last group right around midnight.

We got all of the kids in their rooms and with the lights off, then held a quick meeting to talk about Highfields and the dance tomorrow. It should be very interesting…

MST@MSU | Day 5

I ran this morning, alongside eight girls and two boys. The numbers seem to be remaining steady, but I’ll need to see how they hold up tomorrow (when Troy is leading) and at the start of next week when kids begin to drop off for more sleep. I know one kid will run every day, but that’s not the point. After showering, I had to handle a quick roommate dispute, but that didn’t really ruin the morning. Breakfast went fine as well, as did the color groups beforehand.

I took Nuclear Astrophysics to class today, but due to not sleeping much the night before, I knew that I should just get comfortable on the couch, and that I did. Soon after falling asleep, I had a dream that my class was standing around me, trying to decide if they should wake me up. It almost felt like I wasn’t sleeping and it was actually happening, so I woke myself up, and of course it wasn’t actually happening. This repeated again, and again, but on the third time I recognized it and slipped into a lucid dream. I remember the people in my dream telling me that it wasn’t a dream, but I just ignored it. It was pretty cool, but I even woke myself up from that early. I fell asleep again, then Zach Constan woke me up at the end of class.

I walked them back for lunch, with Zach tagging along to answer some more questions, but the highlight was the return of the ever-elusive FRENCH ROAST! I even texted everyone to tell them, but they thought that I was just saying it and didn’t mean that the caf had, until they arrived, of course. I ate, then got ready to take Astronomy over to class for the “Walk the Solar System” day. This had, however, been rescheduled for tomorrow due to the shoddy forecast, so I’ll be going to Astronomy again tomorrow to walk it, which I’m actually pretty excited about. They went through studying about the planets, particularly Mars, which was fun to watch.

After, I took the Basketball clinic over to IM East. Things went well, with me filling in for a kid during an ending drill after the kid started feeling a little sick, but he got better by the end. It was very hot and humid, but that did decrease slightly at the end following the severe weather alarms. We walked backed at the end of the clinic, but got caught in the rain before we could make it back to Shaw. My front was pretty wet, but so was basically every other person’s in the camp. We went through free time before color groups pre-dinner.

I ate a lot, and the RAs decided on the class schedule for tomorrow during dinner since we were planning on being both out late at the East Lansing Film Festival that night and up late picking groups for Camp Highfields on Saturday. It ended up that the movie was cancelled due to more rain moving through, so that just helped us cover more things in our nightly meeting. During free time, I was in the computer lounge as well as ferrying kids back and forth between there and Shaw. Once that two-hour excursion was over, I stood outside with some of the Astronomy kids while they took the first datapoints of their camp-long moon project.

It was here that things started getting interesting, with meetings with a few students, patrolling of the corridors, moving a student to a different room, a full hall meeting, and various other events on the boys’ floor. Once everything was taken care of, around 2030 or so, we finally started off our meeting with a joke about Darin getting fired. Our meeting lasted really long, since we recounted the various stories from the day, other happenings with the office, looking at some video clips, and creating the Highfields teams, plus the standard amount of goofing around.

All in a day’s work. It’s just weird to think about the fact that we’re already almost at the midpoint of camp. These last days have just flown by…

MST@MSU | Day 4

Running and breakfast went smoothly, as per usual. The only problems I’ve had is people being late, but even then it’s usually only a minute max. Nothing really to fret about, unless it keeps happening continuously. Once again, no French Roast, but they did have french vanilla creamer, which was close enough for my wants. I felt normal, so I didn’t need the coffee right away, but I knew I would later.

For my first class, I had the morning off. I walked back to my apartment to grab a few things that I needed, then walked back. I got back around 0905, just after first classes started, so I unpacked all of my things and grabbed my towel to take another shower (and shave). Once I got to the bathroom, I saw that they were locked for cleaning, so I went back to my room to take a nap, setting my alarm first. I woke up, dressed, and made my way to the lobby to wait for the kids to show up from their classes for lunch. Mel also showed me a cool idea that we’re doing next week as part of “RA Appreciation Week,” and I’m really excited for that.

After lunch, I took the kids to Physics so that I could take a few photos and sit in on the lab, just to watch a few kids that might have been trouble. Things went fine, and I just helped out a few groups and walked around the lab, reminding kids of the time and making sure groups weren’t just one kid working and the rest watching.

I took Basketball again today, and jumped in on a few drills and demonstrations to help out. I also watched one of the groups (since the twelve had split into two) to help them with left-handed skills while coach was busy with the other group. He was a good addition to the instruction staff for MST, so hopefully he returns for future years. On the way back to Shaw, I had to confiscate three phones since they weren’t supposed to be out while we were walking back to the dorm. Hopefully they’ll learn for next time.

We went to dinner early due to a Planetarium visit later in the night, but it was still packed and with only one station open. I didn’t eat until late in the dinner time, so I rushed it down and went back out for color groups prior to the planetarium. And boy was it cool! We had an extended show for MST, plus got to see the behind-the-scenes workings of the planetarium after the show. Then, I went to SOAR! Mazur and I walked the Astronomy and Nuclear Astrophysics kids over to BPS, where they watched a quick slideshow before walking down to the SOAR observing room. Thankfully, it wasn’t cloudy in Chile, so we got to see the image that the researcher had queued up to image, which was nice.

We walked the kids back to Shaw, and I sat in the caf helping a few students with their homework while talking with the other RAs and Mel. I didn’t get a chance to play any games, although I did notice that Hive and Abalone (courtesy of Mazur) were big hits. I want to try to get another game of Abalone in this week, but if I don’t I still have another week plus whenever Mazur and I hang out after. I’ll probably try to get some of the other RAs to play, and I’m sure that Troy would like those games too, so we’ll see.