William Perez: My Summer Experience

raw_20140805_0873The most important thing that I’ve gained from the Sundial Program is be an open person.  Ask questions, meet people, form connections, be part of the ASU Community and contribute to it. There are so many resources available at ASU that I wouldn’t have known if it were not for the Sundial Program.  Research opportunities for undergraduates,  tutorial services, Social events, volunteering opportunities, and many more.

When I arrived to ASU I didn’t know anyone or anything because I’m an out of state student. Going from a place that you know to a place you don’t is really hard because you are essentially starting all over again. I had to learn the area and begin to build a place that could temporarily replace my home while I do my studies here. This program helped me do that by allowing me to meet people, make friends, and assist me in my studies.

I came in as a freshman that knew nothing about the college life but now I feel that I have constructed a foundation to build upon for the beginning of my freshman year. I have meet with numerous upperclassmen and Graduate students, became very familiar with the campus, and prepared for my fall course by taking math and physics classes in Sundial. When you meet the people from the sundial group you not only get to know their name, you get to know who they are, what they have achieved, how they did it, and they potentially become guides you can use to help you get through your freshman year easier.

My Freshman year is going to be smoother just because I decided to join this program and enter 2 weeks early to college. This program is definitely worth ending your summer a little earlier because it has saved me from the troubles I would have face if I had entered college without knowing anything.

I always thought that science was just a system of questioning how everything works and solving it with math to prove why things do what they do. When in reality its much more than that. Our first week of physics we did optics and I had never thought of how light bends or the world being a network of energy. From day one of the Sundial program my view of science completely changed. I went from questioning plus math equals science to experimentation plus ask for help plus trials and error plus do some math equals science. The courses in the sundial program aren’t your regular physics and math class. They offer more by having more than one teacher in the classroom plus mentors to help you solve problems you just can’t seem to understand. I’ve been able to learn so much more that way than any class i’ve ever taken.

We rarely work alone in our classes and are usually always working in groups.

I’ve learned from working in groups that you don’t have to be the smartest or the best at something when working with a team. All you have to do is be able to contribute in some way because if people see that you are helping the group they are going to want you to be part of their team.

 

My group and I had a difficult time trying to solve a microbank illusion that we had to recreate for our final project. What this box does is pass a quarter through a tiny funnel that seems impossible to pass though but can due to tricky mirror placement and a lens. We spent about an hour trying to figure out how this box worked and why it did what it does. The reason why we took so long to solve the problem is because we couldn’t use the internet to tell us how it worked so we had to analyze the box and come up with ideas of how it worked.

 

We couldn’t open the box so what we did was run a laser pointer through the box to identify where the mirrors and lens were.  We passed quarters countess times through the bank to see the way they entered and wrote down key details from what we observed. In the end we discovered that the quarter was never passing through the funnel but was actually passing through the back. The reason we weren’t able to identify that was because the mirrors were placed in such a way that it made an illusion that there was a 4th wall behind the funnel but really it was just the mirrors reflecting side walls.

 

It was very stressful not only for myself but also my teammates. There were so many mistakes made but we corrected them together and made sure that we had identified and incorporated as many details as we could to our recreation of the microbank. In the end we solved the box of lies and were able to successfully recreate it with minor detail flaws. I think the best thing I learned from this problem is don’t give up, keep going even when you think the problem can’t be solved. The best thing you can do when you don’t understand something is ask someone and if they don’t know the answer then bring your minds together and solve it together.
Over all I am glad I made the choice of joining this program and ending my summer a little early. I enjoyed meeting so many new people and I even made my first friends from it. Two weeks ago I didn’t know anyone or anything and now i’m glad to say because of this opportunity I have started down the path towards being successful here at ASU.   It has helped me so much and it’s even going to help me throughout my freshman year by having its own class and a mentor for each student. If you are an incoming freshman from this state or even if you aren’t be open like I said and create a networking system because that’s what’s going to help you the most.

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