A whole lot has been going on since my previous post. In terms of the Marshall Brief, it's moving along quite quickly. Each team's outline was due at precisely 11:59 pm last night. My group managed to turn it in at 11:50 pm or so. Our rough draft is due tomorrow at 11:59 pm. Additionally, I've got a persuasive speech as well as a writing assignment due on Sunday night. It is, as some have said, CRUNCH TIME.
Yesterday began with a lecture from Dr. Dr. Luong's very own wife, Professor Pauline Luong of Brown University, about the "myth of the resource curse." They brought their twins with them--a girl and a boy--and they're simply adorable!
Following this was lunch and two seminars. I signed up for "Critical Reading and Notetaking" as well as "Written Advocacy." The notetaking session, led by Chelsea Goldstein, taught me how to take quick, handwritten notes during lectures. Using shorthand and uncovering the professor's thesis were two things she greatly emphasized, and the two of which I found the most useful. To put our skills to the test, Chelsea read three articles to us and we took notes on them. After each article, we discussed what we had in our notes and she advised us on what we needed to work on. Candy was given as rewards! Considering my mediocre studying ability, I think Chelsea's workshop was invaluable.
The second seminar was on written advocacy, instructed by Jackie Saffir. Here we discussed the six basic steps to an excellent paper: (1) Draw the reader in, (2) make it relevant to the reader, (3) identify the problem, (4) give context, (5) present a solution, and (6) provide data/statistics/graphs. Following these guidelines, Jackie gave us 15 minutes to write on our Marshall Briefs. After this, we discussed George Orwell's piece, "Politics and the English Language." What I found most interesting was his claim that "modern English" is "of the worst sort." He follows his claim with a parody containing tons of unnecessary, complex language. I realized that I, early in my junior year, tried to ornament my writing with extra tidbits here and there. These days, I try to keep it simple and to the point.
It was through these seminars that I met three new friends (shown above in their respective order): Georgi Klissurski, Rafi Bildner, and Connor Theilmann. I can't remember how exactly I met them... but they're awesome! Jessica and I decided that on our every blog post, we'd introduce a member from the YISP. I think it would interest you readers to know how diverse this program is, and where all of these people are coming from. Anyway, allow me to tell you a little about these silly (and very intelligent) boys:
- Georgi Klissurski is from BULGARIA. Enough said. I feel terrible for saying this, but I didn't get to talk to him about himself. I WILL UPDATE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
- Rafi Bildner, a rising junior, hails from Montclair, New Jersey. He attends Montclair Kimberley Academy, and listen to this: he was an intern during the Obama campaign. Yes, he actually met President Barack Obama!
- Like Rafi, Connor Theilmann is a rising junior. He goes to St. Mark's School of Texas and he's an advanced scuba diver! I had never known a scuba diver prior to yesterday. :)
Oh yeah, Jessica and I got the chance to take a picture with some of the instructors (from left to right): Chelsea, Ben, Bryce (our great Marshall Brief mentor!), Drew, and Jackie. I'm truly thankful that these wonderful people are here to attend to our little problems and to ensure that we get the most out of our experience here at the YISP.
Today followed a similar schedule: a lecture, lunch, two lectures, dinner, and time with our Marshall Brief groups. As I'd previously said, we have a lot of work coming up. We've been here a week and we've got a week to go. Tomorrow morning I will have my first experience with the Yale laundry room. Wish me luck!