Rena J. (Alumni-I)'s Journal

Today at 3:00 PM, all four work groups presented their Service Learning Videos. My work group picked up Mr. Yang at his house at around 2:30 PM and walked him to Yang Zhuo Ran. I was actually much more excited that I expected to be. Mr. Yang had came to Yang Zhuo Ran the year before, so he knew his way around quite well. We were the first group to arrive, and we still had 10 minutes before the presentation, so we walked around the house with Mr. Yang. When another group arrived, we brought our service learning partners together to meet each other, and was surprised to see what happened.

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Since my Final Product for my Inquiry Project is now completed and approved, today Annie and I took 1-hour shifts, passing my computer back and forth to finish our Service Learning video. We had tech trouble, so only began putting together our video at 11 clock, which meant we had three hours until 2 o' clock, inwhich we would have to have our video checked. By the time we had to have lunch at 12, I cut out all the unnecessary parts of the film and reduced a 30 minute clip to a 6 minute clip.

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Today was another productive day where I finished up on my final Inquiry Project and finished Service Learning filming.

I had a check in with Mr. T for my Inquiry video, and edited some of the problems here and there throughout my video. Two people from my work group headed out to visit Mr. Yang again, since they didn't have many chances to speak with him yesterday. Eric and I stayed in to finish up on Inquiry. I did not feel too stressed today, which is a good sign, and I think I will have just enough time to finish my Service Learning video tomorrow.

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I know I have a lot of work I need to finish over the weekend, so my schedule is packed. Today two local girls came to visit from Kunming to see what the Microcampus life was like, so they tagged along with me and Maddie to do our laundry. After laundry, I spend the rest of the morning filming for my Inquiry Project.

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The highlight of the day today was getting the opportunity to visit Dali Old Town! Three other girls (Evian, Maddie, Yun Kei) and I left Yang Zhuo Ran at around 6:00 with Ms. Mai to go to the popular town. We were all excited since we heard very good things about it from Microcampus alumnis and our chaperones.

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Today was another normal Microcampus schedule. The day for me went pretty good with everything that I needed to do done. However, it was a very rough day for Mr. T since it was Mama T's birthday and she had passed away a year or two ago. To add on to this, he called everyone in for an emergency meeting at 5:20 to talk about how his day went. Turns out, many people were doing the wrong thing. Mr. T and Ms. Mai had planned a trip to Dali Old Town tomorrow but it was obvious now that not everyone will be able to go.

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Today we woke up to sore backs, shoulders, feet, and pretty much every other body part that was worked during the hike. We ate the first normal breakfast in a very long time and quickly got back into the normal Microcampus schedule. From 8:30 to 9:55, we worked on homework and school work from classes back in Shanghai, and from 10:00 to 10:30 we had a daily meeting were Mr. T went over some important deadlines with us. After this, we had until lunchtime at 12 to do out committee work and chores for pitching in.

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Last day of the hike! Most of us were sad to have to go back down and leave the beautiful mountains (and to return to our responsibilities and work). Mr. T woke us up at around 7:20 to watch the sunrise and dry off our rain covers of our tents. Then we had a noodle soup breakfast at eight, packed out tents, and began our hike down.

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Today's hike was much shorter, but also much steeper since we took the mule trail. It only took us about an hour and a half to get to the hights peak of our mountain, which we called thirty-two thirty-two, since it was 3,232 meters above sea level. We were much used to working our bodies so despite the high altitude, we all thought the the second day's hike was relatively easier compared to the day before.

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Today we spent around eight hours hiking up the mountain! We packed everything the night before so when we woke up, we ate breakfast, packed our lunches, and headed straight out. A bus took us to the foot of the mountain and from there, we hiked up to lunch which took about four to five hours. Everyone was extremely happy to be able to feast after a very long hike with little breaks. As Mr.

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"Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details." This was one of the quotes of the day Mr. T shared with us during our daily meeting. I think that this quote is very closely related to what we are experiencing in Microcampus. Getting every small thing right - chipping in, collaborating, helping others, and other minor things like this are what makes the Microcampus trip what it is.

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Today I woke up to a painful stomach, had diarrhea multiple times, and vomited twice. Mr. T and Ms. Mai put me in the nurse's room to take the day off in bed, "locked in quarantine". I mostly worked on some papers for school and had a pretty relaxing day. It was much quieter than usual, and I felt a little bit uncomfortable because I wasn't used to not talking for an entire day... 

I hope to be fully recovered by tomorrow so I can catch up on some work and get back into the Microcampus daily routine, especially since I need to be ready for the big hike on Friday!

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This journal is continued from Day 4 for humanities, where I wrote about the impacts of tourism in the Xizhou area. As I have now spent a full week here in Xizhou, I have observed many more things about tourism, especially since I have been researching more about this topic for my Inquiry Project.

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We woke up an hour later than usual, since breakfast on weekends open at 8:15 and don't close until 9:20. I used this opportunity to catch up on some more sleep and felt much more refreshed afterwards. After breakfast, we were introduced to our hardest project of Microcampus: Service Learning. Mr. T gave us a brief overview of how this would work, and we had a good idea from watching previous Microcampus student's Service Learning projects back in Shanghai.

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Today's rain was the first of our Microcampus trip. It was much colder than it usually was when te sun was out, and all of us were wearing at least two layers of clothes and long pants. The rain made it a little harder to get around places, since we needed to wear all of our rain gear, boots, or umbrella. For wellness, three other peers and I went out into the rain to run and get time in zone on our heart rate monitors. We did end up getting thirty minutes, but we were all soaked by the time we returned - hair wet, sweaters dripping, shoes squeaking.

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For today's journal entry, I will be writing about the impacts of tourism in the Xizhou area for my humanities Global Issues unit homework. Some of the things I have noticed and Mr. T has pointed out are many new houses that have been renovated and modernized, especially down the main touristing street. There were also many street sellers, ranging from tie-dyed fabric art to woven baskets to silver accessories.

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Day 3 started out as a normal morning, with breakfast at 7:30 and SAS Essentials from 8:30 to 10:00. After this, we had our first daily meeting, where we sorted out our committee work and other important things that needed to be done. We also had our first pitching in period to do our actual committee work and, and make sure our home was clean. After lunch, where half of us went out and half of us stayed in, we learned how to use our heart rate monitors and the procedure for checking out our bikes.

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Today, the microcampus students woke up early in the morning to eat breakfast and begin touring around the area. We were first walked through our home-building, and then given a 2 hour long tour around the area. Then we stopped for lunch in groups of 4 at a 25 RMB budget and managed to find our way back to Yang Zhou Ran, where we live. After we came back, we worked on our Inquiry Project and learned more about WIPPIS (Wellness, Inquiry Project, pitching in, and still time).

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Today is our first day settling into what will be our home for the next 28 days here at Xizhou. Our flight from Shanghai took off at 7:40 AM and landed at around 10 o' clock. The Microcampus students split up into two groups after getting off the plane, half of us claiming our luggage, half of us buying ourselves lunch at KFC. When our bus arrived, we unloaded our checked-in bags and hiking bags, and sat on a 6-hour bus ride to get to our village. It was six o' clock by the time we finally got to our village. We unpacked our suicases and walked a long way to finally get to our home.

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We are now three weeks away from leaving Shanghai to Xizhou for our month-long Microcampus trip. In order to make sure we are ready and set, the 16 students and two teachers had a two-day overnight school lock-in.

It has now been about a day since the other half of our I-Group Microcampus students walked through the door, and in my opinion we have all bonded together very well. By the time we got off our bikes at the small village in the morning of the second day, most of us were in our groups cracking jokes and taking pictures together.

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Hey everyone, my name is Rena and I am a student in SAS Pudong. I have lived in Shanghai for around half my life, and grew up in New York. Some of the extracurricular activities I do in school include swim team, AMIS orchestra, and MUN. Microcampus was a great experience and I am so glad to have embraced this opportunity! Good luck to all future groups, and have fun in Xizhou!