Thursday, July 11, 2013

Reflection, Warfare and College Admissions

My learning experience today was spread out among several subjects. It may have been the most diverse day in terms of discussion topics thus far. We started out finishing up with our Theater of the Oppressed workshops. We did numerous exercises to warm up, performed a final forum scene and discussed it, and then did an activity similar to Scattergories, in which we tried to come up with the most original words to describe social justice as possible. This activity seemed a bit counterproductive, as I don't understand how competing in a time restricted environment will help us to understand or create social justice. The reflections afterward, however, were probably where I learned the most in the past two days. We reflected about how doing the forum scenes opened our eyes, helped us gain confidence and gave us ideas on how we could properly address oppression that we witness.

In the afternoon, we had two guest speakers come talk to us about drones and the Iraq war. The first speaker, Zohra Ahmed, presented to us a PowerPoint which explained what drones are, why they're used and the up sides and down sides to using them for warfare. The class asked her questions and personally, I learned so much. I never realized how much I didn't know about what goes on with the United States military. A friend of hers, Cassidy, who participates in a program in Washington DC involving foreign affairs then led a discussion about how the actions of the United States affect other countries. Because we have students from all over the world, we were able to hear first hand about how American decisions affect normal civilians internationally. 

After class, we had to rush to eat dinner because we stayed later than 5:00 PM again. This happens the majority of the time. We had to meet at 5:45 PM with the rest of Summer Discovery to walk as a group to the same building we had orientation. The Dean of Admissions of UPENN, Eric Furdas, talked to us about the application process and how to decide which college was best for us as individuals. Of course, he said a lot of great things about UPENN and encouraged us all to apply there. I actually found the meeting very helpful. He had "5 I's" that helped us to understand ourselves. They were:

  • Identity: How I see myself and how others see me.
  • Intellect: How I think and approach the acquisition of knowledge.
  • Ideas: What I think about.
  • Interests: What I choose to do in my free time.
  • Inspiration: My motivation.

  • He also shared with us "4 C's" to identify what we would want in a college, which were:

  • Culture: History and mission of the institution and it's relevance.
  • Curriculum: Design and aim of the courses I'll be taking.
  • Community: The people and relationship of the campus to the local environment.
  • Conclusions: Expected outcomes at the end of 4 years.

  • I think these will be very helpful in deciding which school is best for me, although I do not plan to restrict my search to only these criteria. They do serve very well as general guidelines, though! These can be found at

    I am a bit worried about my ability to get in to my dream school, but I have learned that there is always other options and there are definitely a ton of schools that I'm sure I'll be happy at that I will get into. 

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