Carlos L. (Alumni-I)'s Journal

After going to Microcampus I discovered why I went instead of why I wanted to go. I originally wanted to go to get out of the bubble and experience learning in it's truest forms and these stood true during the trip. They are the first reason of why I went. But, other than this I went to meet new Puxi students. These students, as mentioned in my previous journal entry, were included in my daily routine. Seeing them everyday was actually much more exciting than it may sound so you are ensured that this will be a great part of Microcampus.

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Today is the last full day of Microcampus in Xizhou and a day of packing and getting ready to leave Xizhou. I will greatly miss all of the people that I met here from Puxi. Marcus, Nickie, Kailee, Eric, Justin, Claire, and Evian have all been key roles in my Microcampus experience. Marcus, being my roommate was one of the Puxi guys that I grew the most developed relationships with. We were able to communicate through common friends and interests. With Nickie and Claire I was also able to talk about one of my friends that moved to Puxi, Donna.

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When I was sharing with my service learning partner I could tell they were excited. When we picked him up he seemed to have forgotten that we had invited himbut he, nevertheless, walked with us. At first he did not accept the fruit we offered him but, after much arguing, we were able to succsfully give him the fruit. On our way there he talked to us about his life and how he had been to Yangzhuo Ran and went there often around 70 years ago. When we finally got there we gave him a tour around Yangzhuo Ran and he noted all of the changes the restoration required.

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Service learning was completed today and my group was the first to finish. Our final product was quite an accomplishment for the whole group considering the fact that Maddie was sick and we had switched partners 4 times during the course of the trip. Our group was able to overcome the challenges and get our act together before the trip ended and this was quite a remarkable deed. Our service learning video is a work of art and this shines especially true in the minds of us who made the video. The mountains and valleys we went through to come across this project is evident only to us.

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After long periods of turmoil, blood, and tears the majority of us were able to overcome the extreme labors of making an Inquiry Project and have finished as of today. The amount of difficulty that was exerted upon this task was indescribable but, after completing it, the majority of us are proud of our work with 28 days worth of information. For all future microcampus students I have 2 suggestions: don't procrastinate and also listen to Mr. T. These were the keys to completing a successful Inquiry Project.

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Today was our second (and most productive) day of Inquiry work. Preparing our Inquiry projects put lots of stress on us but, in the end, we were able to complete a majority of our work. I finished my entire final product and then rush of joy I felt was extremely intoxicating allowing me to have a sudden spike in calmness. I am extremely excited to become and alumni and returning back to Shanghai. I hope that my inquiry project will receive positive reviews from future students.

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Today was guys night out meaning that all the guys got to go out to the square and do what ever they wanted to. Today our guy group split into 3 groups of 2 each. Justin and Eric, Me and Aniketh, and Linden and Marcus. While Aniketh and I set out to but souvenirs the rest of the boys went to a nearby teashop to buy dried papaya and ice cream. I bought pillow cases for my parents to go along with the bracelet I bought my sister. After getting all of these items I set out back to the center of the square to meet back up with Mr. T.

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The second common sphere in Xizhou is the hydrosphere. It is currently being damaged slowly as older folks of the village claim that they could, before, drink water straight from Lake Erhai without getting sick. But, now, the sicknesses you receive from Erhai are inevitable due to the fact that its currently filled with both human and other types of waste. Also, due to attempts in controlling Erhai previous plots of land have been covered over with water. In an attempt to fix this trees were implanted to absorb the water to restore the natural state of Erhai. 

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Today was a pretty regular day and so the highlight seemed quite prominent among all of the other events of today. After Mr. T introduced to us the idea of video shout-outs not having to be about how the day was our group took a while but with a quick spark created by me we were able to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. My final decision was to create a video dedicated to future Microcampus students. We decided to make a scenario simulation for the students to allow them a bit of insight on what life is like here.

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Today was Mr. T's deceased moms birthday so in honor of that promise we vowed to be nice for the remainder of the day. This did not work too well for our group and Mr. T, instead, suffered the exact same obnoxiousness he had from day 2. With great regret many of us felt unsettled knowing we had caused such great dismay to Mr. T. Many of us still currently suffer the same pain that he suffers because of this. But, now I, as part of the group permanently vow to contribute as much to Mr. T's happiness as I can (or at least not harm it) for the remainder of the trip. Mr.

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Today was the day after the hike and it was us settling in and getting back into our regular schedule. Most of the time was dedicated getting back into our regular schedules. It was a pretty big change since the hike but I really do appreciate the time they have given us. We have a lot due by the end of this week especially since Microcampus is ending soon. We have much to do and much to catch up on in SAS Essentials, Service Learning and Inquiry Project. I sincerely hope that in the coming days I will have enough time to catch up and further elevate my work in these areas.

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It was the last day of our hike today and it was a downhill. It took us around 7 hours to get down to the base of the mountain where our bus awaited us. There were a lot of challenges along the way but we were able to overcome the challenges of the mule trails and slippery rocks and we reached the bottom. The bus ride back was the smelliest and laziest bus ride I had ever had due to the fact that there were 20 people who had not showered for 3 days and had just hiked for a total of 17 hours. There were a few groans and moans of pain and disgust before we finally got back.

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Today we hiked up to the highest point of our entire hike. This point s called by Mr. T 3232 because as of that point we are officially around 3232 meters above sea level. The power I felt standing at the peak of the height. Not for the reason that I felt superior to all those below me but because I was able to reach my goal and the challenge was, as it turns out, worth it. The top was extremely cold and unbearably windy but I was able to suck it up and enjoy the view. Everything was amazing and the challenge that brought me there enhanced the greatness of it all.

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Today was day 14 and we had our first day of the hake. It was excruciatingly tiring and it definitely pushed my far off my limits further than I expected myself to be able to go. It was one of the most challenging hike but aside from this was a really good hike. We went through a couple of mule trails which were all extremely difficult due to the fact that they were intended to be used for mules making them extremely steep, slippery, and skinny. But, in the end once we finished the hike we were filled with great relief, glad that we had arrived.

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Today Mr. T told us to write a journal relating to a quote of our choice. The quotes he layed out for us were "Every instruction we give is an attempt to solve a problem before it becomes one." -Mr. Tafel, "Discipline yourself and others will not need to." - Mr. T's Friend, and "Big things are accomplished through the perfection of minor details." - Alan Stein. The quote I chose was the one regarding discipline. I believe this is the one that regards most to us microcampus students.

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Today was a ragular day with not much interesting happening. The greatest event of today was my wellness time which I shared with Justin, Linden, and Yunkei. Despite my uninteresting day, I was able to find one fun and relatively interesting event compared to the rest of the day. As we began our run I did not expect to go further than the Linden Centre so I remained calm and at the regular pace I ran at.

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Today was another Monday and my room's second time to do laundry. The day went on quite boringly... but in the end we were able to join in "Mr. Tafel's All-Star Wizzbang Wonderful Trivia Night" or in short, MTASWWTN. In this we joined together in our work groups each with our own team name and uniform. There were the Anti-Social Students, or the A.S.S.es which each bore a pair of sunglasses that hung down from their shirt collar. Also there were the Bad Ass.................ets in which everyone wore pig-tails.

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On our second day at microcampus we began touring the village with Mr. T and learning about it so that we could familiraize ourselves with the area. Here we discovered how "old" the town actually was. Among these "ancient" structures was an old and traditional building that was built 2 years ago. Tourism altered the community a lot over time and it caused the town to bcome something that it wasn't supposed to be. It represents the people there as a barbaric minority with extremely long lineage.

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Today we learned about service learning. Service learning is a secondary project we have while in Xizhou in which we interview elderly around the village and learn about their life. My working group, comprised of Maddie, Charlotte, Claire, and I, were able to interview 2 people. Both of which had not lived in Xizhou their entire life. One of them was 85 years old and had previously lived in Tai Huo. He had a daughter and a son, both of which were already more than 50 years old. Another one of them was over 70.

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Today was a pretty normal day until evening time began. There was raucous ringing throughout all of Yangzhuo Ran all because the Evening Planning Committee (which I am a part of) failed to complete their work. Aside from this people were also very disorganized and loud making "unsound" decisions and having a negative effect on their environment. I hope in future events my committee will be more organized and complete their work earlier along with everyone being more conscious of their surroundings.

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Today was my first laundry day of the whole trip and, thanks to some input from the previous laundry group, we learned how to best do our laundry. But, due to unwanted weather conditions we were left with but a small rack to hang our clothes up on and minimal sunlight to dry off the leftover moisture. Althought the weather did not help very much, we did our best to make do with what we had and were able to get a few dry clothes by the end. Today, not much happened except for rain and soggy laundry.

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All around of Xizhou there are various large plots and patches of greatly organized rice and corn crops. They're all completely level and organized in a method that is greatly pleasing to the eye. The large masses prove with great evidence that there is much produce harvested throughout the whole of Xizhou. But, for the first days that we were here it seemed that this was no wonder to me and that all rice fields look like this. Beautiful, clean, and elegant. But, thanks to the further percieving eye of Mr.

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Today we completed our first "real" day of Microcampus. It was much more successful than the previous days but, it could still use a lot of work. Today, due to the motivation of bike rides, I was the first one to finish my work out of all the people that hadn't. I am not completely proud of mentioning that I was behind but now I have caught up so all is well. The bike trip was great and I was very glad that I had completed my work. We got to bike around all around Xizhou.

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Today we began the day with a quick tour of all of Yang Zhou Ran. Afterwards, we learned more about WIPPIS (Wellness, Inquiry Project, Pitching in, Still time) to be specific, Pitching In. We learned how to do our laundry, and also the daily, every other day, and every few days aspects of Pitching In. The best part of today was eating at Shi Fang Jie. It's a great local place with lots of great local restaurants consisting of many cultures.

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Today we finally arrived in YangZhouRan! We started off a bit shaky due to the lack of instructions followed and a small percentage because of the time (5:00am!). But, in the end after constant remarks by Mr. T repeatedly reminding us that we were talking too much, not with our buddy, and so on we were able to mitigate, but not completely diminish, the issue. So, a message to all future Microcampus students please be reminded to constantly be following Mr. T's instructions while he is still being eloquent and speaking with tact.

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Friday:

Once the Puxi kids got to the private library room at around 3:15pm we officially began the lock-in. We started up with standard hellos and introduction and a short question and answer portion with some microcampus alumni from Pudong. We got a bit of insight on the trip (what would be happening on certain days and the standard schedule etc.) and then began our first task.

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I'm currently 13 years old and have lived in Shanghai for nearly all of my life. Though I was born in the Philippines my family moved to China even before my birth. Microcampus was a great experience where I got to meet new people and learn more about old friends. During this trip I not only fulfilled Inquiry requirements, but I was also able to learn more about myself, others, and China as a whole. Many people have tons of regrets in the course of their life but despite this Microcampus has not yet been a part of any of these lists.