Sundial Summer 2014: Jakayla Neal

b3The most important knowledge I’ve gained through the Sundial program is that there is so much I have to and want learn and that I need to go sleep earlier. Coffee is amazing, but running off caffeine and fumes isn’t going to end well in the long run. Before I came to the sundial program most of the things we did in physics I hadn’t seen before. Everyday we learned new and exciting things. The more I learned from physics and touring labs the more I realized that I still have so much I want to learn. Everyday we learned something new pertaining to optics and we learned the math involved in how mirrors and lens work. Even though the material was sometimes confusing I was helped and was able to eventually understand what we were working on in physics and math. While the everyday was long and filled with so many activities, it was a lot of fun. The great thing about the Sundial program is that I was able to make friends easily and learn where most places are already in ASU before the rest of the freshman class arrives. An important thing I’ve learned where to go for math tutoring and writing centers for help on writing a paper. The information on how get undergraduate research was very useful and helpful for trying to do research maybe in the summer after freshman year.

They way I’ve thought about math and science has changed a lot since I’ve started The Sundial program. Math for me use to be really boring and I use to get distracted easily and wouldn’t pay attention very often to what I was supposed to be learning. Now that I can see how the math that we do directly applies to physics it makes it more interesting and I want to learn more of it. I’ve always had a love for astronomy since I was 8 years old and I knew that that’s what I wanted to major in. Throughout high school when we had to learn other sciences like biology or geology i didn’t really pay too much attention because I figured that wouldn’t need to know it because I was only interested in astronomy at the time. Now I realize that other sciences kind of intertwine with each other and they’re equally important. It makes science in general so much more exciting because now i know about so many cool sciences exist like astrogeology and astrobiology. It all so awesome and cool and there’s so much to learn. The way I look at science is a lot different and now. I’m not hesitant or unwilling to learn new things that don’t directly have to do with astronomy.

My favorite part besides the physics in the Sundial program was the social activities. The social activities helped a lot with getting to know the other kids and the sundial program and becoming friends. The first night we got here we play a scavenger hunt with the Biology students. It was a lot of fun and my team actually won! We had to run from each point and do an activity to retrieve a clue. After we got the last clue we went to the roof of the PSH building. There was telescopes on top of the roof pointed at the moon, saturn, and a binary star system. It was so awesome! I had never seen the moon in such detail and i had never seen saturn before except for in pictures. It was a really fun time and a really cool experience.

Tuesday night for the social event we had humans vs zombies night! We ran all around campus to find clues and avoid zombies. It was so much fun! After two hours of not seeing many other humans we decided to quit the game because we thought the game was over. Later that night though, I found out it wasn’t for and my suitemates team had won the game afterall. The thing I liked most about the humans vs zombies game was the adrenaline rush.  Wednesday night we went to this awesome 3D movie showing at the SESE building. The movie was really amazing.  It took us all the way through the universe and back to Earth and it was incredible. When I have the chance I want to go to another showing. Thursday we paired up once again with the Bio kids and we went dancing. There were two rooms were we could either salsa or tango. I went into the tango room to dance and it was actually a lot of fun. While some of it was a bit awkward it was still a good time. Friday was lots of fun because we went bowling. While I’m usually really bad at bowling I actually did really good this time. Especially when I wasn’t tossing the bowling ball over when the pins were still being set in place. My favorite day here so far has to be Saturday because we went to the Challenger Space Center and on a mock mission to the moon. It was so much fun and it was a really cool place to look around. We did two separate missions to the moon and the first one failed. The CO2 level had gotten too high and there was a hiccup in communication between the shuttle and mission control. The second time around though, the mission went smoothly and we all survived.

Sunday afternoon we finally went to the pool and we played battleship on canoes. The objective was to fill for opponents canoe with water using buckets to sink their ship. It was a lot of fun and a great time to just play in the pool. The social activities helped me to gain a stronger sense of teamwork and working together. Now I know a lot of cool people before the semester starts and now I’ll be even more inclined to just go out and meet new and interesting people.

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