Updated 10 months 1 week ago

In Phase 0 I had to pick a topic of interest from a long assortment of topics. In Phase 1 I was doing background research and generating questions on my topic. When I was in Phase 2 I was spending my time on looking and finding helpful people and contacts on my topic. When I moved on to Phase 3 I was gathering information on my topic and inserting it so then my audience can read and find out all the information that I had. Finally, I had reached my last phase, Phase 4. In that phase, I had to make a plan and post it for a final product so then my viewers will not be surprised and wondering what I am going to do. 

Microcampus is a once in a lifetime 28-day experience where a group of eighth-grade students will be going to Xizhou to investigate a topic of their choice. I chose the topic of Local Food and Cuisine Within Xizhou. I chose this topic because I wanted to know what the was like in Xizhou and also how to cook. I have talked around with local people about who are citizens of Xizhou and they have given me information from questions that I have asked. I chose these people because they seemed to have some influence on religion and I wanted to learn more about how the religion affects they food that different people make. A person named Mr. Ma said that he just makes what the citizens like even though he is an owner of a Muslim restaurant which made he question his integrity for the religion that he supports. I met an employee at another Muslim restaurant that said they have to have the meat prepared a separate way because of their Muslim religion. They said that they get meat from a local Hui lady. The last person that I interviewed was a local Bai lady named Mrs. Zhang who said that they had to take one part of the month away and not eat meat. I chose to come and talk to these people because they have been nice in the past and they have a religion that could potentially influence the way get to prepare or purchase their food. I knew what religion they were because I went around with a teacher that knew the place we were going and were knowledgeable on all of the topic that Microcampus has to offer. As I have previously mentioned, I chose the topic of local food and cuisine in Xizhou. I had to come up with questions on the topic under the topic of food, I had created questions on the religion, tea, and food in general; when my Phase 2 was marked completed and approved by Mr. Tafel I was extremely excited to go out and ask my questions. To make sure that I would be able to move on to my final product I needed the have a thesis statement for my project. My thesis statement is, In my message to "Four years from now Michael" I want to make sure to share tips for success that include how to adjust to new places, keep up with work, and contribute to a new team. 
Sharing My Learning:
Throughout the whole Microcampus trip, while I was interacting with my group mates and strangers from the Xizhou community I learned a bit more about myself than the food. I learned how to adjust to new places, keep up with a lot of work at one time, and how to contribute to a new team. I am proud of myself that I have experienced new things and have brought out new parts of me I have never known. 
Final Product:

Many students make a video on all of the information that they have learned through their topic of interest. Instead, I chose to take you on my personal journey, throughout my time in Xizhou I have learned many things and including things about myself. As my final product, I will take you through what I have revealed about myself and also to the community that I have been around. To do this I have written a letter to myself four years from now. I have done this because I will be in college in four years and I have given myself things to remember to ensure a good life at school. I have bolded the main things that I will want myself to remember.  

My letter to me

Dear Michael, (To be opened on August 1, 2022)

I know that you are now moving off to college and that you will be far away from home. When you are there I will give you seven immensely important subjects to remember for your college life on. I am giving you this to take with you because remember that school trip you took back in eighth grade? Well if you don’t it was called Microcampus where you went to learn about the food in a village called Xizhou for a whole month. I remembered that you had a great time talking with your friends out in Xizhou and that silly teacher Mr. Tafel that had to give reminders to his lovely student periodically. You would go out with your group mates and walk around the square, and eat this common snack called Xizhou Baba. I also remembered that you learned many new lessons about yourself along the way and that it was hard work too.

When you go off to college I want you to remember how to adjust to new places and that new experience brings out new personalities.  how to appreciate and acknowledge new cultures, and that living outside of your comfort zone is valuable. When you get out of your comfort zone more things to open up to you and you can have more experiences. 

When you're away, school is going to kick your butt more than it did during your time at Microcampus so I want you to keep up with your work. To ensure that you do this I want you to have a plan before you do any work and when you are doing an important assignment make sure that you monotask so distractions will be limited. When you are monotasking your work is better and you get it done faster so you can have more free time.  

And the last thing is that you will need to be more independent and help out people and be a great part of a team. You can achieve this by always doing your part and always do the right thing and be a leader for others. When you are doing to right thing people will look up to you as a leader and the image you set for yourself is better and that seek respect, not attention; it lasts longer.  

If you go off to school with these things in mind you will have fun and learn a ton. I can’t wait for you to experience all of the wonderful perks that college has to offer. If you have these things in mind you will have an even better time than you have.

Go be a leader,

Four years ago Michael. 



I have learned a ton from my final product and I have learned many valuable lessons. When I was thinking of what to write about for my final product I was collaborating with Mr. Tafel on what I should do. He was thinking that I could talk about five things to remember in five years, I thought that it was a good idea and said that I would think about my five things. While I was thinking I was given another idea from Mr. Tafel, he said that I could write a letter to myself to me four and a half years from now. He said this time period because I would be moving on to college and it would be more work than Microcampus. I liked the idea even more because I was keeping the original idea and also adding on to it. I kept thinking and wondering what my letter would look like, as I thought I realized how much Microcampus teaches me about myself, my topic, and even school wise. After I realized this I started to think in a more outward direction and not totally focus on what I learned academically, but what I have learned and grown as a person too. As I kept all of this in mind the due date for my plan got closer and closer and I realized and learned more and more. When I had all of my thoughts gathered and in line, I reviewed over this and I wish it took less time to realize this so then I could find even more learning opportunities like this.

Throughout my research, the most difficult part was finding the major things that I needed to remember. I needed to go back through all of the events that I have been a part of in the Microcampus experience and new things that I learned along the way. When I had gotten all of my thoughts together I needed to categorize them and sum them up into sentences. I was having the most trouble finding words and categories for all of the lessons that I have learned. I had it all figured out after I took time to sit down and focus on what I needed to sum up and how to do so. 

While I was thinking about my final product I was having a ton of very valuable realizations about myself that I can take with me along with my daily life. I realized that I how much the Microcampus can truly teach everyone that has been lucky enough to participate in the once in a lifetime opportunity and all of the non-academic things that I talked about in my final product like: New experience brings out new personalities, how to appreciate and acknowledge new cultures, living outside of one's comfort zone is valuable, and always doing my part. 

Unfortunately writing a letter I was not able to talk with the citizens of Xizhou. I wish that I could have been able to go out and about, but I was able to interact with them through other things. I have been able to communicate with the people with things like service learning. My group and I have been able to find a nice service-learning partner and even find friends along the way. I have also been trying to be able to use my Chinese language skill to talk and make connections with the people. I have made many new connections and even friends that have been nice enough to invite me to their houses. The generosity and kindness here are way different from in Shanghai.

When I was thinking of a plan on what to write and how to categorize things I realized how much I can work if all distractions are limited and all of the work I do is me just focusing. When I was trying to make a plan in the past I was distracted and trying to focus at the same time. When I took time to sit down and eliminate all distractions and even monotasking. I was astonished at the how much I could get done. When I then looked at the work I had completed I realized all the things that I have learned about myself and felt great. From now on I will always focus on one thing at a time with no distractions.   

When I first started to work on my Microcampus Phase 0 work I did not know how much time and effort that was needed to be put into this process to ensure that I will get my work done. I only first realized this until I got behind on my work. I then had to start putting in 30 minutes at least a day to make sure that I got caught up. When I had gotten all of my work done and was at the same spot as all of my friends I felt great. I then noticed that the inquiry work has taught me that I am a hard worker. 

If I could do this all over again from the start I would want some good advice first. If I could pick the advice that I could get I would ask for an example of how much work would need to be put in a day. I have been told how the amount of work that will need to be put in, but if there was an example I think that I would not have been as behind as I was in the past. I would also ask for one other piece of advice. I would ask how much responsibility and freedom that I would get. The pieces of advice that I have wanted has been mentioned and described, but I feel as though when I went to Microcampus I was shown the jists of it all then told off I go. If I was prepared before or again given an example then I feel like I could have had a better understanding.  

If I have invested more time and kept researching on my topic I would go in more directions. I would go farther in depth on what I have learned and looked for more things that I have grown through during my wonderful experience. I would do this so then I could have an abundance of information that I could take and use as I pleased. I would also talk with alumni and students on my trip to see if they agree and what else they can offer to me and my project. I could also check for any opposition in my topic and see if they have any thoughts to make it better. 

During my working time, I was having some lack of ideas and I would like to thank Mr. Tafel for giving me a variety of different ideas to keep me thinking of what I want to do and how to portray it. I would also want to share my gratitude with my parents because they gave me support and ideas throughout the process too. I have had many good resources throughout my time and I would like to say thanks to them for it. 

I have been lucky enough to be able to have been on this wonderful once in a lifetime experience. I would not have had a great time if it were not for the Ultimate group. I wish I could have had more time to interact with the people of Xizhou and expand my knowledge of people and the Chinese language itself. I have had one heck of an experience and it all comes down to me and how I interpret my time and how I go out and experience what I do. My time is coming to a wrap here in Xizhou and I know that I will never forget it. 

I had been lucky enough to be able to join the Ultimate group with eight others to go down to the village of Xizhou. I had been able to grow through this experience and learn about my inquiry project and even about myself. I have made bonds and friends with the students on my trip and also the community of Xizhou.