Monday, July 11, 2016

Exploring the Boundaries of my Comfort Zone

After realizing that the activities offered here as part of the Summer Discovery program are quite popular and that the spots fill up quickly, I decided to make sure I got one of those coveted spots by getting to the sign-up room at 9:30 AM, even though the sign-ups started at 10:00 AM. It turned out that I wasn't the only one with this idea, as there were already over 20 people there, already waiting. However, I still managed to secure a spot in the Laser Tag group on Wednesday, as did Trisha and Serina, so I was glad our efforts were not in futility. 
The MoBo room, where we signed up for activities
Later, once brunch had ended and I had returned to my room, I decided to be somewhat productive and research my topic for social justice a bit more. My topic is the correlation of air pollution to the poorer demographic of the population. I discovered that the air quality tends to be worse for this demographic and disproportionately affects minorities. This is largely because residences near refineries or other sources of pollution are considered undesirable, and as a result, housing options are more affordable there. However, I also discovered that this pollution is harmful to the health of residents in the area, who typically suffer illnesses such as asthma due to the concentration of harmful particulates present in the air they inhale.

After spending some time researching my topic further, I went with Sravan and Humberto to kick a soccer ball around in the grassy area of the Quad. We rented the soccer ball and a Frisbee from the counselors at the Class of 1928 building, although we didn't use the Frisbee much. Various people went in and out of our game, some only stopping for a single kick while others stayed in for much longer periods of time. Although soccer isn't one of my strong suits, I wasn't particularly bad (at least, I hope I wasn't) and I had fun just kicking it around. Eventually, I got somewhat bored and decided to go to the fitness center, where I hoped to try the rock climbing wall they have there. Upon my arrival, however, I found that it costed $5 to try it for a day, as well as that the wall would be closed at 6:00 PM, and I had arrived at 5:50 PM, so I'll just have to wait for another day to try it. After running on the treadmill and doing strength training using the equipment they have in the weight room, I returned back to the Quad, where I found some people playing volleyball, so I decided to join in. To supplement my subpar volleyball skills, I put in a bit more effort, and consequently, I managed to avoid messing up too much.

Once I had showered and changed, I went towards the entrance of the Quad to wait for Mr. Hillyer and the rest of my cohort, as we were meeting up to take a group picture and to get some dinner. Once everyone had arrived and we all gathered together, we set off for the easily distinguishable red LOVE sign near College Hall and the Van Pelt Library for our photo. Upon reaching our destination, we all assumed various positions around the sign, with Allonna climbing onto the L, Diana standing on the base, and me and Kamillah standing on either side of the sign. Mr. Hillyer took a bunch of pictures of us before asking some passerby to take a picture so that Mr. Hillyer could be in the photos as well. After finding the photos to our satisfaction and thanking the people, we continued on to Bobby's Burger Palace to get dinner. Along with the burger that I had ordered, I also got a milkshake (my first), since my cohort as well as other people I've met during the program have been encouraging me to do so upon discovering I had never had a milkshake. Although it tasted decent, I decided milkshakes aren't really among my favorite foods and drinks. I found it rather similar to melted ice cream with some added milk, and, considering I'm not a very big fan of ice cream, the milkshake too didn't seem very special.
Bobby's Burger Palace
After waiting about half an hour for our food, it finally arrived and we took it to go. As it came for Mr. Hillyer and my cohort to go our separate ways, we said our goodbyes once more, agreeing to meet up again soon. 

Today wasn't as action-filled as usual, so I took advantage of the free time we had to experiment outside of my comfort zone and try new activities, such as meeting new people (which I don't do very often), playing soccer and volleyball, signing up for a group activity, and even trying a milkshake for the very first time. I also found the time to research my social justice topic some more, and I'm glad I chose the one I did, because it fits my interest with promoting concern for the environment, it's pertinent because I live nearby a Chevron refinery, and it's somewhat of an overlooked issue. Exploring the boundaries of my comfort zone today was definitely an interesting experience, and although I wasn't great at some of the activities, I have no regrets about trying them.

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