Today we got to sleep in until 9 AM, which felt so nice. Don told us that we could finish our blogs about Washington, DC the next morning, which means that I got a full 8 hours of sleep for the first time in a while. Once I did wake up, I relaxed with Diana and Kamillah in our room for awhile as we worked on our blogs. We also went to the lounge on our floor, where we grabbed some free breakfast provided by the hotel.
After I finished my blog, I started getting ready for the day and packing up my bags. Thankfully, even with the things I've bought in the last few days, everything fit! We went down to the lobby at noon to check out, and then we hauled our suitcases across UPenn's campus to the Quadrangle, where we will all be staying during the program. There, we checked in and were given our room keys and our Penn ID cards. They warned us not to lose track of them, because there would be a fee. With this in mind, I tucked mine away where I knew I would find them. Then, I found the area that my room is in, Povost Smith. My room is on the second floor, and some staff helped me carry my bags up.
Once inside my room, I found that my roommate and her family were already there. Her name is Shai, and although originally from New York City, she and her parents now live in Israel. Its pretty interesting that I get a cross between an international roommate and someone who lives in the United States. Our room is a double, so it's just the two of us. Shai and her family were really sweet, but I had to leave my room again about five minutes after I arrived to meet back up with the ILCers. I was hoping to have more time to get to know my roommate, but I'm sure we'll have plenty of time for that!
Mr. Hillyer took all of us into the main office building to look at the schedule for the next three weeks, which was full of interesting things to do. Then, we walked down to the barbecue place where the UPenn cohort traditionally has lunch on the first day of the program. Apparently, they always end up at the same table, as well! Our next stop was the UPenn bookstore. Most of us had already chosen what UPenn gear we wanted when we last came, so we were in and out pretty quickly. Outside on the sidewalk, we said goodbye-for-now to Mr. Hillyer. He'll still be available at the hotel where we were staying to meet up if we need him, but we won't be spending every day together anymore. It was kind of scary and kind of sad to be given more independence, but I was excited for the program itself to actually begin.
We made it back to the Quadrangle without being lost, which was a good sign. The ILCers checked out each other's rooms, and when Chris and Diana decided to start unpacking, Kamillah and I went to find the laundry room and the bathrooms near us. 5:00 came quickly, and it was time for us four to separate. We all went to meet up with our RCs, the staff who will be living in the dorms with us and making sure we have everything we need. I got a little confused and it took me awhile to find my RC, Lauren, but she eventually texted me and I found my way to my group.
My RC group consists of about ten girls all living on the floor in my building and a couple of the neighboring ones. We're not all right next to each other, but pretty close. As we walked to get dinner, we chatted about where we were from and what classes we would be taking. It was then that I started to talk to my roommate a little bit more too, and found out that we get along great, which was a relief. That was something I had been worried about.
After dinner we came back to the quad as a group to play some icebreakers with another RC group. We played "Move Your Butt", which is a game where someone stands in the middle of the circle and says something they have done, and in the people in the circle who have also done that have to find a new spot. The last one without a spot ends up in the middle for the next round. We also played a rather confusing name-game which I don't think I can explain well, but which involved a lot of screaming.
The staff tried to get the group as a whole to play "Move Your Butt", but it didn't work out very well. Eventually they just had to give up and we separated back into our RC groups to have a meeting where we discussed the logistics of the program. Then, we had free time for the rest of the night! My RC group and I ordered cookies from Insomnia Cookies, who deliver. My new east coast friends told me that I had to try them, and they were right. They were really good. Most of our group went down to the quad in the middle of the Quadrangle to mingle with other groups. I got to meet a lot of new people, and everyone was very friendly! I was surprised by how quickly we ended up talking, exchanging contact information, and joking around with each other. I'm not sure that I will be able to remember everyone's name in the morning, but I'm glad that I'm here with a group of people that I feel comfortable with.
I went back to my room around 10, where I was able to get more of my stuff set up and take a shower. I'm pretty impressed with the accommodations. Our beds are comfortable, our room is clean, and the shower wasn't bad either. I was expecting a lot worse, but I was pleasantly surprised. Hopefully, this is a trend that continues throughout the program, which begins full swing. Tomorrow, we will celebrate Fourth of July in this patriots city, and I will probably get to bond more with my RC group. Looking forward to it!