Wildfires - Student Journals

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becky01px2023's picture

“When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.” -Looking for Alaska 

emilly01px2023's picture

Last full day in Xizhou. 

Spring 2019 Microcampus is coming to an end. 

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." 
                                                                             -Dr. Seuss

joanne01px2023's picture

Today is the last full day here in Xizhou, and I will miss this place very dearly, as well as the people in Xizhou. After staying 28 days here, it has become my home, and I do not think I will ever forget this place and the people here. 

xander01px2023's picture
I am part of Microcampus as most of the people reading this know. To look at why I joined Microcampus you have to look back about two years to sixth grade where I first heard the term Microcampus. All I knew was that people went somewhere. Just knowing that and who I am I was intrigued. I have always loved adventure and travel.
pepijn01px2023's picture

Yesterday was the second trip to Dali Old Town. Luckily this time all the Microcampus students got to go and see the amazing experience them selfs. I had an amazing dinner with Xander, Emily Z, Dora we went to an amazing Sushi restaurant and later a small treat at Sweet Tooth. On the way back we had there was a misunderstanding and Mr. Tafel was disappointed in our decisions from what we had done tonight. He mentioned a few harsh things but luckily later he said sorry for what he said and did not mean it.

emily01px2023's picture

Last full day in Xizhou. 

Last. Such a melancholy word. Last, is when we are towards the end of something. Last, is when there is only a bit left. Yet last could be something that leads to another beginning. 

erin01px2023's picture

"Goodbyes are not forever, are not the end; it simply means I'll miss you until we meet again."

Today was the last full day of Microcampus. Although we had much to do in the morning, in the afternoon we had free time to spend time with the community and say the last of our goodbyes. After walking around with my friends, we sat down with Ms. Ma a store owner that we have grown close with throughout the four weeks and we just talked. We also tried to help her get customers. Today was a really nice day to just be totally immersed in the community.

audrey01px2023's picture
Before I came to Microcampus, I knew I wanted to experience the interactions between the citizens here and myself, to learn about the culture and history of Xizhou. After I came here, I realized I came to Microcampus to study myself.
audrey01px2023's picture

Xizhou, my dear home away from home, you had been such a spectacular host for fifteen classmates and myself. You take up such an important part of my heart. You are truly irreplaceable with anything in comparison, nothing can change how much you mean to me.

becky01px2023's picture


My absolute favorite feeling in the world is laughing with someone and then stopping right in the middle and realizing just how much you appreciate them and their existence. 

That is how I feel about this place, this authentic, genuine place. 

Today is our last full day here in Xizhou and in the midst of everything I've realized just how much I truly appreciate this town, the people, this...world. It's existence.

And you know, maybe college, work, success, does not matter in this moment of gratitude. 

dora01px2023's picture
The first and foremost reason to answer this question is simply beacuse I wanted to try something new and fresh. Trust me, I love my life back in Shanghai with my family, but when things stay consistent, it gets "boring." I wanted a change. I wanted to see myself change. I wanted to prove to my family how much growth I can have without the same old daily schedule I have back there. I heard about Microcampus when i was in 7th grade, and the moment I knew what it was about, I told my mother that I wanted to go.
claire01px2023's picture

The most of today is to finish reflections and check-ins, and to prepare to leave on Friday. There are a lot of things that I will be missing in Xizhou: the lifestyle, the different aspects of its culture, and how open the community seems to be. However, I do look foward to returning to Shanghai, as there are many things I miss back home as well. I look forward to reconnecting with folks at school, and perhaps see if I have changed in any way as well. See you all soon!

erin01px2023's picture

When our video started to play, our group was sitting in front of the audience facing the audience. It was an exciting experience since I have never watched my audience watch my product. I have always become the audience and watch my product with them. 

lifan01px2023's picture

Today we won the Trivia Night, even though we had the least amount of points at the end of the second round. During the second round, every team put in the maximum amount of points and tried to answer 6 out of 7 questions correct in order to double the points. If less than 6 questions are answered correctly, all points are lost. We were the only team to get everything correct and we won!

xander01px2023's picture

I have many feelings about leaving Xizhou. The most prominent one the feeling of excitement to meet my friends back in Shanghai. I feel like I have missed a lot and can not wait to get back. But there are other feelings of sadness that I wish I could stay here longer. I think that I have come to really enjoy Xizhou and wish I could stay longer. I think that there are many people but in the community, I think that I really like Mr. Yang and do not want to leave. From the linden centre, I think that I will miss the most, Mr. Yang and Mr. Linden.

lifan01px2023's picture

I think that the most difficult thing to say goodbye to in Xizhou is the quiet spaces. There are rarely any spaces or times in Shanghai where everything is so quiet. I feel that once I return to Shanghai, I will think everything is very loud, opposite of what I thought when I first arrived. Another thing is the amount of freedom we get every day, from doing field research to still time at Erhai. This is limited in Shanghai due to the constant classes and activities every day.

alan01px2023's picture

I think that watching the audience and my service learning partner react to my video was a really powerful moment. Zhang nainai seemed very pleased with the entire video and looked very interested in how we turned her speech into a little documentary. Towards the end of our video, I could see that she began to get a little bit emotional, and was really happy with our group's efforts to portray her story in such an impactful way.

jasmine01px2023's picture

When the time has come, my service learning group and I walked Ms. Zhang into the dining area of Linden Commons. "Be careful," we insisted her as Ms. Zhang stepped onto the staircase that leads to the garden nurtured by Mrs. Linden. As soon as we walked into the garden, I could tell from her eyes that she loved this place.  She loved the flowers in the garden and could almost name them all due to her years of experience in making flower crowns.

jacob01px2023's picture

The dining room was arranged to have two rows of wooden benches along the walls, an aisle between like a church, leading up to the projector on a wooden table that became the podium. The elders sat in front, students sat in the back, teachers standing in the back. An old man or two sat at the doorway, listening to the videos play, sighing while smoking. 

emilly01px2023's picture

Sitting there watching the audience watch our video, without looking at the video ourselves was an unusual experience. Due to the lighting, I was not able to see our partner, Ms. Zhang's facial expression clearly, but without a doubt, she was touched and caught some emotion toward the end of the video presented. After the sharing, Ms. Zhang told us that this is the most interesting and happy week with us in comparison with staying at home and selling flower crowns.