Alexis S. (Alumni-J)'s Journal

The day I first heard of Microcampus was some time last year during electives.  Someone in our elective just suddenly dissapeared and people said that he would be gone for a month.  I did not think much of it, except for the fact that it was pretty drastic for a group of students to be sent out to a village somewhere out west.  I did not think about it for the rest of the year.  

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Today was our last full day.  It was a full day of goodbyes and cheese and packing and cheese and shopping and cheese.  As you can see, it was a really busy day.  

One of the events that we had was 

TBC

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Today we had our big Service Learning presentations.  Our partner was Mr. Gao and you can see the video we made of him at this link.  Today was also our first rain day.  The rain made the weather a lot colder and presented a new challenge for us because this was our first rain day.  

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I woke up knowing that I had a lot of work to do.  When I found out from my groupmates that I was in charge of not only editing the video, but also translating the text.  During the whole morning I felt like my head was going to explode.  

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Today was another big inquiry work day.  In the morning, our room woke up drearily after a late night from watching the meteor shower, I found out that I had crawled into my sleeping bag during the night.  After a late breakfast, we got straight to work.  I decided that it was far too cold outside, so I brought my sleeping back up and was nestled comfortably in while doing my Wellness reflection.  

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Today was a big day for Inquiry work.  All of us had finished our research time, and it was time for us to start working on our final product.  To get some peace and quiet, Katie, Kristen F, Kristen L, and I went to this backpacker cafe that Mr. T recommended.  For the first few hours it was really peaceful and the change of scenery really helped me focus.  But after that, I started getting tense and a little bit jittery because we were supposed to be spending the whole 5 hours of work on this and I couldn’t stay focused on that one thing for that extended period of time.
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For our last journal assignment we are supposed to talk about hydrospheres.  I looked at this from three different perspectives, through water from mountains, water from Erhai, and water from wells.  

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Once again, this was a pretty ordinary day.  So I'm going to just talk about a few of my opinions on the village around me.  

My first thought on the dark night that first day that the 14 of would be calling home for 28 days was how confusing the alleys and winding streets were.  When I walked into my bedroom I got my first taste on how everything here was preserved and an attempt to bring back the past.  This was special to me because in a place like Shanghai, everyone's mind is on the future and moving forward, never taking a break to reflect on the past.  

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For tonights evening activity we are going to Dali Old Town!  The rest of the day was pretty typical but hurried.  Today was focused on finishing up Phase 3 as it was due at the end of the day.  Because I want to write the journal entry about Dali Old Town, I'll put this just as a teaser and check back tomorrow for more! :)

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Today was a pretty ordinary day, except for the fact that it hauntingly reminded us that we only had 10 days (9 full days) left of Microcampus.  Because it was a pretty ordinary day, and we didn't do anything particularly special, I'm going to talk about life in general here, and in more detail, the FOOD.  

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The biosphere of my choice for my earth journals was lithosphere.  We were originally supposed to post this last Friday, but over the weeked the Microcampus group went on a hike to the top of Cang Shan mountain.  Many of the things that I noticed about the geology of the land is talked about here.

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This morning we woke up bright and early and started trekking down the mountain.  Because of the multiple mishaps that had occured in the days previously, Mr. T decided that it would be a good idea to change the plans a bit and get back to XiZhou quickly and safely before anything else happened.  

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Today was day 2 of the hike.  The day's task was to hike to about 3200 meters, reaching the ridgline of the mountain range.  We got started at about 8:30 in the morning after packing up our tents and having a quick breakfast.  One of the better things about the day was the fact that we only had to carry our day packs today, bringing a sufficient amount of water and a few other essentials things; one of the difficulities of the hike was the fact that we had to come both up and down the mountain, making the distance that we would have to travel double compared to yesterday.     

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Today was the first day of our big three day hike.  First I would like to emphasize the preparation that went into the planning of this.  We brought sleeping bags and pads all the way from Shanghai in our already overstuffed suitcases, then we went on a prep hike and and prep camping trip, all in preparation for these three days.  Now that this day was finally here, I was jittery and nervous at the same time.

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Tomorrow is our big three day hike to the top of Cang mountain.  So today was basically a day for preparation.  Honestly, I was excited for the hike but also extremely scared.  Despite having previous experience with hiking and camping, I had been told by previous groups that it was a pretty arduous and difficult hike.  Other than the normal schedule including WIPPIS, today was an important day in preparation and packing for our big hike.  

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Today was a typical but pretty fun day.  I tried a few new things and had some new difficulties to face.  Some of the activities that stood out to me was lunch, Wellness, and game night.  

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Today was the day that we considered our "new flight", in Mr. T's words.  Our first week here was just testing the waters and exploring a little bit, under Mr. T's supervision.  Now, that we had sort of gotten used to the village, Mr. T was letting us go and giving us more freedom, trusting us to make good choices and making the most of our time here.

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One of things that I realised before Microcampus was that I wouldn't be able to wake up past 7AM for a month.  Even though it's important that we stay busy and working, I thought it was great that we could relax and let loose and enjoy a weekend.  But if you read my previous post, you would know that I had been camping the night before, so what happened in the morning?

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In prepartation for our big three-day-hike next week, we went camping at the tongue of Lake Erhai.  In the morning we had a history lesson on China during the 1900s from Mr. T, in preparation for our Service Learning project, and this provided me with a lot of interesting information and insight on how history has affected the way the Chinese are today.  Even though I have lived in this country for most of my life, I only knew bits and pieces of China's history in the past hundred years, and what Mr. T was talking about was really useful.

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A big part of Microcampus is SAS essentials, this is basically keeping up with homework and assignments from SAS.  For Science, we have to study two different spheres and make some observations on these in Xizhou.  The two that I picked were lithosphere and hydrosphere.
 
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Like yesterday, today we were getting into our daily schedule.  In SAS essentials we cranked down on studying for our Geometry test, and after multiple practices and assistance from my much smarter classmates, I think I finally started to understand the content.  Today I was in charge of the Daily video shoutout, so during Pitching In time, Hannah, Sara, and I went out to film content for our video.  

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Today is what I considered our first normal day.  After a normal morning of breakfast, SAS essentials, and Pitching In, we moved onto WIPPIS.  WIPPIS is basically a combination of Wellness, Inquiry Project, Pitching In, and Still Time bunched into a time span of 5 and a half hours.

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Today was the day that we started to introduce a more consistent schedule and way of life for the next 28 days.  At this point, there are a few essential parts of our schedule that I know.  There are activities such as Wellness, Inquiry Project, Pitching In time, Service Learning, SAS essentials, and DOWN TIME.  This morning we had our first session of SAS essentials, today primarily focusing on Math.

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Though officially labeled Day 2, today was the first time all of us saw the village.  Easy to say, this was the time that I most felt like a tourist.  The first thing that surprised me was how small the village actually was.  The place that we were staying at was Yang Zhuo Ran (YZR), which was a branch of the Linden Centre.  YZR was only a small part of this amazing village.  When looking out from the terrace, you could see seemingly endless rows of houses and in the distance the beautiful rolling mountains.  But that was merely what we c

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Today was the day that we finally were off to Xi Zhou.  After weeks of preparation and work, we were finally off to the village.  To be honest, the most memorable thing of the day was the fact that we had to be at the Pudong airport at 5:15 in the morning.  I was really excited and really nervous at the same time.  I was given a lot of advice on what to do before the flight, during the bus ride, anything out there that I needed, but still, I had no idea what I was supposed to be expecting.  

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I'm Alexis S. and I am part of the 10th Microcampus group, Jailbreak. Before Microcampus, I had never really experienced anything but the bustling cities of Shanghai and Beijing. Microcampus taught me a lot about myself and this experience was unforgettable. I miss the blue skies and beautiful mountains, and I really wish I could be there again.