SIMUW Daily Entries
SIMUW Day 1:
Today is my first day at SIMUW. The day started off with an orientation and introduction between the SIMUWers, parents, and TACs. We had some delicious pizza (vertically stacked), then said goodbye to our families. Afterwards, we played a group ‘name-learning’ activity and became somewhat acquainted with where we will be having class, and the University of Washington campus. Tomorrow will be our first day of class at 9:15AM, and we will be beginning the sessions Beyond the third dimension and Introduction to mathematical reasoning. I’m super psyched to fall in love with math even more, and for the many fun memories that are sure to come.
Today we began our math classes. Just to give some background, there are 20 participants here at SIMUW, and we all live on the eighth floor of Hagget Hall at UW. We share a common room, which is where we met this morning before we all headed down to breakfast at the ‘8’ restaurant in the dorm basement next door. In between classes we played games like ‘the human knot’, ‘never have I ever’, and a puzzle involving red and yellow hats. It was very toasty today, reaching 83 degrees Fahrenheit, so a group of my friends and I went to grab some ice-cream from ‘The Nook’ beneath Mcmahn. Today was a really exciting day, I learned lots, and I can’t wait to be dumbfounded with information tomorrow!
SIMUW Day 3:
Today we headed to the HUB for breakfast, which was a much healthier and simpler option than the breakfast at the ‘8’ in Mcmahan. After breakfast we got straight to work and continued learning about groups and chains in Beyond the third dimension. All of this material is completely new to me, so I have to try really hard to understand the material. I don’t mind this at all though, I love the process of learning new things because I know that eventually it will get easier, and then I can begin to learn even more complex things. It can be slightly discouraging at times, when it seems like you will never grasp a certain subject or topic, but with the help of the amazing TACs here, I have come to understand many new concepts in which I have originally doubted my ability to do so. After lunch we had lunch at the food trucks located in ‘Red Square’, and played a game of ultimate frisbee. The weather today consistently provided us with sunshine and sweaty SIMUWers, so the journey back to class was somewhat of a slow trudge. After our afternooon class, which introduced us to ‘proof logic’, I could hardly tell if 2+2=4 is a true statement. The whole class seemed to be a philosophy lesson, but was super engaging, and made me question why we can claim something to be true in mathematics. I could only get through one of the homework problems assigned by the afternoon class (also with the help of amazing TACs), but I feel like I really understand the logic behind the proof, which is the whole essence of this class. It will take a lot of practice to become proficient and independent when working on proofs, but I am excited to get better at them, and for the lectures to come. After the afternoon class we went on a scavenger hunt around UW, I got a bloody nose for the third day in a row (the girls bathroom looked like a crime scene), went off-campus to get dinner at a small grocery store, and then settled back in our dorms to play games and have free study time.
SIMUW Day 4:
Today was the last day we had to eat breakfast together as a group before we are given the freedom to go where ever with whomever (so long as we stay in groups of three and come to class on time). We ate in the Paccar building, and I got some tasty oatmeal and orange juice. Today was our first Wednesday, which meant we had no classes for the whole day (only special lectures). These lectures were very engaging, sometimes confusing, but still super informative. The math topics are beginning to connect to real life scenarios, and I am beginning to see that so many solutions to problems in life can be proven and disproven. For example, we showed that the person who makes the first move in a game of tic-tac-toe will always win on a standard game board, so long as both players make the smartest choice (block the other player from getting three in a row). We also showed that an exact matching can occur amongst heterosexual boys and girls, where each boy and girl will not break up with one another for someone else in the group. Wednesdays are also known as ‘Pizza Wednesdays’, because we eat pizza for dinner with SIMUW alumni and learn more about our mentors history and aspirations. It is really nice to hear these stories, because it shows how even though we all share the love for math, we do not have to follow the same path to feel satisfied in life. Jack Lee taught me that each persons path is different, and that we essentially just have to choose to change our ways until we feel content. After pizza dinner we had free time in which I spent wandering campus with other participants, getting ice cream from the basement of Mcmahan, playing truth or dare, and singing songs on the piano in the Grey lounge of Hagget. It was a good day.
SIMUW Day 5:
The participants were finally free from our nest, and we could travel to our destinations of interest for breakfast. Afterwards, my breakfast group of five participants got to class early, so we got the best seats for our morning class. We explored fields, groups, rings, and vectors in greater depth, and were introduced to the concept of dimensions and how to sketch them. Our homework for the class was to sketch a 4-D hypercube in 2D (one of my favorite assignments so far). We also chose to have mandatory study hour right after our afternoon class so that we could have free time for the rest of the night afterwards (yes we willingly agreed to do math for 4 hours straight). Later that day I grabbed lunch with everyone else at the HUB, went to our afternoon class on proofs and logical reasoning, played kickball, volleyball with a kickball, and tried to solve mathematical puzzles given by teaching assistant counselor (TAC) William. Free time at the end of the day is my favorite, because there is so much to do in the dorms with each other, or even on or off campus. Today was a great day, and I finally almost solved one of Williams math problems. Almost.
SIMUW Day 6:
Today I decided to cut down the amount of money I have been spending on my meals. I decided to just buy a simple bagel and cream cheese, then some pizza for lunch. The two classes today were a lot easier to follow than normal, and I could actually do most of the homework by myself. Throughout the day the participants split up to play sports, read a book, or do whatever in between classes. Since it is Friday today (movie night), we watched Clue, which I have never seen before. It was SO bad that it was good. Probably one of the best last lines I have heard from a movie. We also had cake during the movie since it was a participant (and TACs) birthday. Another great day.Since today was Saturday we got to sleep in an extra hour. We all ate breakfasts items that we bought yesterday, and then headed on a city bus to Magnuson Park for a picnic. We played frisbee, soccer, volleyball, ate watermelon, had an arm wrestling competition, and swam in the lake. Afterwards the participants hung out in our dorm building and played piano, pool, ping-pong, or read,before we split into dinner groups. Most of the participants (including myself) decided to go to Blue C Sushi in U-Village. It was overly priced for its quality, but I still really enjoyed the meal and experience. The rest of the night we just relaxed in Hagget Hall where most of us watched Boruto, read, or played card games like Set. Once again, a very fun and fulfilling day.
It was our first Sunday at SIMUW. Several of the participants who live close by went home for the day. The rest of us however, had another free day to ourselves. With this time, we ate breakfast together in the ‘common room’ on our dorm floor of Hagget, watched the ending of Boruto, played the card game Set, played ping-pong, ate all you can eat lunch together at the ‘8’ in Mcmahan, did laundry, played Bump (a basketball game), walked along University Avenue to get bubble tea and dinner, then returned to the dorms for a ‘community meeting’ . In the community meeting we were informed of the scavenger hunt winners from a couple days ago, who won the honor of keeping the ‘prized garden gnome’ in their rooms. The winners of these SIMUW challenges also get to write their name in a small black book of all past SIMUW challenge champions. The next contest is a ping-pong tournament, complete with ATTF rules and regulations. After the meeting about five or six of the participants walked to the district market on the other side of campus to buy food for ‘sack lunches’ for the 4th of July (tomorrow). We ended up just splitting the grocery bill for several loafs of bread, cheese, and sandwich items. We were all very upbeat and happy during the walk to and from the market. We sang high school musical songs, ‘whopped’ one another with loaves of bread, and overall just had a good time. Once we got back to the dorm, most people stayed in the common room to watch a Bollywood movie of some sort. I on the other hand, just decided to stay with my roommate Zoë, do some math, write a blog post, and talk. Having great days seem to be becoming a habit of mine.
SIMUW Day 9:
Today was my favorite day at SIMUW so far. My day began with a ‘dorm floor community cereal party’, and a morning class on two column proofs. We ate lunch in the classroom after our first lesson because it was a tad chilly outside. After lunch, in the same classroom, we began our afternoon class. We expanded on the idea of how to format proofs other than two column proofs. We talked about proof by contradiction, parts, cases, definitions, and began to prove a long list of of theorems using axioms and definitions. After our last class for the day, we all ate dinner at the ‘8’ in Mcmahon, then left to gasworks for the 4th of July display. I spent a lot of time waiting in line with TAC William, Lisa, and Yexiu, and even though our mission to buy fries failed miserably, the conversations we had made up for the loss. I came to the realization tonight that theoretical computer science is the most mesmerizing and interesting subject I have ever heard about, and I feel like I was introduced to a whole new worldview. I cannot wait to hear more about it from TAC William. I want to absorb all the information he can give in one day. I was so happy.
SIMUW Day 10:
Most of us were pretty tired from our long night yesterday. I could notice a couple of people dozing off in class. For breakfast I decided to get something ‘healthy’ for breakfast from the HUB with my roommate and a couple of other participants (healthier than the box of Reeses Puffs I have been eating for the past three days). The classes today were a bit hard to follow, but definitely easier than the previous lessons. It seems like we are now past the ‘definition phase’ of learning what everything means, or rather, the end of being confused about the meaning of new terminology. I felt like I understood more of my homework, and could confidently and correctly respond to the majority of questions. For our ‘mandatory fun’ activity, I learned how to play poker, and was winning by a lot until the last two rounds where I began a betting war against one of the TACs. I lost, but it was still a lot of fun. The rest of the night was free-time, in which I spent editing photos, working on math, and hanging out.
SIMUW Day 11:
I ate breakfast with almost all the other participants at the little cafe in Paccar (in the business building). Today was a Wednesday so there were two lectures instead of two classes (this means no extra homework for the day!). The lectures were super interesting and were about machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data compression. I am really beginning to think that I want to pursue computer science along with math at the university level. I feel that there is so much more to discover within the field of computer science, including its operational limits, applications to technology, and efficiency. I believe that computer science is an important field of study that will significantly affect how humans will live in the future, and the idea of significantly altering the beneficially of technology intrigues me. After lectures, we had our traditional ‘wednesday pizza dinner’, where we meet SIMUW alumni, give presentations on math topics and hear about our mentors pasts. The pizza was especially good tonight. The participants and TACs then headed to our dorm Hagget, and played a ‘mandatory fun activity’. It was called the Labyrinth, and was a logic game of sorts, where we had to choose directions to walk in a maze, without knowing what the maze looked like. The objective was to remover hidden treasures from the maze, given certain weapons, information, and obstacles. I lost horribly because I messed up where the other players moved in the maze. The rest of the night was free-time in which I spent preparing for future events here at SIMUW, such as a presentation on a math topic of choice that I will be giving at the next ‘pizza Wednesday’.
SIMUW Day 12:
My roommate and I have seemed to have formulated a morning routine, At 8:00 AM we leave Hagget Hall for the HUB, where I grab a pizza bagel with cream cheese, some blueberries, and a drink. Zoë on the other hand, buys some sort of fruit, pastry, and a small carton of milk. Our classes today were more interesting than they were when I was initially being introduced to the material, but the participants didn’t seem to be participating as much. I think we all forget what we learned on Tuesday, due to the assumption that we focused on the Wednesday pizza special lectures, rather than doing homework for the following day. I ate some soup and carrot cake in the HUB for lunch, and just hung out with TACs and participants in Hagget after study hour. I learned how to solve the first two layers of a Rubiks cube, and several patterns. I also ended up watching Divergent with my friend Yexiu. I also learned how to play the card game Koo for the first time, and won. Overall, a good day.
SIMUW Day 13:
Once again we ate breakfast at the HUB. Today was our last day of class for our first two-sequence. We explored countable and uncountable infinities, and defined how infinities can be ‘larger’ or ‘smaller’ than other infinities. We also discussed unprovable conjectures such as The Continuum Hypothesis. I also continued learning how to solve the Rubiks cube today, and plan on being able to solve one by myself by the time I return home. I can solve the first layer by myself pretty efficiently, and finish the cube given certain patterns. This seems like a significant and satisfying amount of Rubiks cube training to have accomplished in a day. Lunch rolled by, then study hour, and then movie night. We watched James Bond 007: Skyfall, and it was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It was humorously bad, but not even the purposeful kind. The movie was defined as ‘masterfully bad’ by my roommate and I, due to its lack of plot, intellectually stimulating script, and exceptional acting. How the movie managed to be made up of pure actions scenes, yet had no climax, was truly impressive. The rest of the night was free-time in which I spent singing songs on the piano with other participants, talking, and preparing for our trip to Theo’s Chocolate Factory and Fremont tomorrow.
SIMUW Day 14:
This morning I reverted to eating Reeses Puffs cereal and soy milk. The SIMUW participants and TACs met up at 9:30 AM so that we could leave the dorm in time for our bus to Fremont. Before our preplanned tour of Theo’s Chocolate Factory, we were sent on a two hour long scavenger around Fremont. Items on the scavenger list included things from taking a picture with a purple flower, to having a stranger pick you upside down and pretend to shake lunch money out of your pockets. While my group was at the John Lenin statue, I decided to buy some pistachio gelato, with a classic ‘lennin scoop’ (a miniature ice-cream scoop) on the top. It was a prime decision on my part; top-quality gelato. Afterwards, we ate pre-ordered sandwiches from Jimmy Johns (which I abstained from), and ate them by a river of ducks and geese. I should mention that these ducks were pretty feisty, and one of them even ended up attacking TAC Jade. Then came our chocolate factory tour where I consumed more lactose than I probably should have (considering I already had a cup-full of gelato). I learned about the chocolate making process in the hot, chocolate scented factory, ate raw cocoa beans (which happen to taste like slightly acidic sunflower seeds or peanuts), tasted chocolates, and browsed the chocolate shop. I did not buy any extra chocolate, because by the time we arrived in the chocolate shop, my stomach had already well-informed me that all my previous decisions to consume selectively dairy products throughout the day (as a lactose intolerant human), were poor. The rest of the day was free time on campus, sans a ‘family style dinner’ with all the TACs and participants. The family style dinner turned out to just be a jumble of separate groups playing games and eating on a shared community area on our dorm floor. I ate cheesy pesto pasta. Yet again, my poor decision making skills were made clear by my knotted stomach.
Sunday, the day we are free to do what we choose to do (also laundry day)! Most of the participants took the light rail to Pike Place Market during the afternoon (including myself), and we explored, ate, took pictures, and chilled on some grass for a while. Afterwards, we decided to stay at the dorm which involved a mixture of activities including dance parties, card games, board games, ping-pong, reading, painting bananas on shoes, a SIMUW community meeting (in which we shared our favorite parts of the week), piano playing, singing, imitating TAC William, studying, and laughing. There was great energy tonight from everyone. Tomorrow is our first day of our new two-week class session, and I cannot wait to learn so much more beautiful math! Everyday that I am here, I feel like there is an endless learning opportunity. I have no idea what I am going to do, who I will meet, or how my life will be changed by the conversations had here. I’m so glad I decided to apply even though I seriously doubted I would ever make it in the program. I can tell I will be crying the last day. There are so many great people here.
This morning I skipped breakfast so that I could work on my presentation which will be on Wednesday afternoon. The only topic restriction is that it has to relate to math. I will be going over a logic problem involving prisoners and trees, then construct a proof regarding the problem. I’m super excited about it, because it was really fun working with TAC William on the proof. He basically just sat down in a chair and managed to come up with a complete proof for the logic problem, which is totally insane to me. The end of the proof also comes down to a really simple step and conclusion, which is always nice to see after lots of deliberate thought. Today was the first day of a new set of classes. The morning class was super goofy, eccentric, and open for discussion. I don’t think there is a concrete topic for the class, other than exploring math concepts and numbers. The name of the class is literally What are Numbers? The instructor, Max, made clear his teaching style by recommending that we rearrange the desks out of their current orderly rows, into something more comfortable and encouraging for inter-peer communication. Needless to say, the classroom was a jumble of disorderly desks, and vivacious students; very fun. The afternoon class with Ioana was focused on graph theory. It was very easy to follow, but the information was new to me. After our afternoon class, we all headed to the HUB game to go bowling and continue our SIMUW ping pong tournament. Then came study hour, followed by free-time (which most participants spent attempting gymnastics moves and/or poses). I spent my free-time preparing for my ‘math relating’ presentation on Wednesday.
SIMUW Day 17:
This morning I ate a donut at Paccar (a business building) with the majority of ‘Simlettes’ (SIMUW parcipants). I don’t really understand the grand appeal Paccar hold for most of the Simlettes, the HUB has more options, and way more space to sit. Classes with Max and Ioana went well, as did study hour. Afterwards, we had another ‘gnome competition’, the Fashion Show. We had 15 minutes to construct an ‘outfit’ for each participant out of limited materials found in a box provided by the TACs (leftover office supplies). Each participant had a partner, who also had to design an outfit that was within the ‘fashion theme’ imposed by TAC Jade. The theme of the fashion show was, Fish of the Sky and Fish on the Ground. My partner Enoch and I made a mermaid costume out of construction paper and twine, and a ninja bird costume. Later that night I had to do a run-through presentation of my math topic I will be presenting tomorrow at pizza Wednesday, along with three other participants. These participants, two other TACs and I, headed down to the communication building to practice, and ended up staying there until 10:30 PM. I was tired, slightly nervous, and excited for the next day as I fell asleep.
Like most other mornings, my roommate and I headed to the HUB for breakfast. Then we headed to our first special lecture An Introduction to Generating Functions. Then came lunch at the HUB, and because it was actually sunny out, we decided to chill on the grassy lawns outside and absorb some vitamin D. Our second special lecture was The Mathematics of Musical Harmony. It was really interesting to hear about how notes sharpen over time, and that if we were to play a classical song from hundreds of years ago, it wouldn't sound the same as it did in its historical time frame. Pizza Wednesday had a different ambience than all the previous ones. This is because I had to present a topic related to math in front of everyone, so I was a tad nervous, and all of the sudden the ‘important people’ in the room became 10^n times more important. I presented a logic problem, then proved how it could be solved in every circumstance, if it could be solvable in a single circumstance. After eating pizza, the results from the fashion show contest were in! My fashion partner Enock and I won (tied with another group), so we got to write our names in the infamous ‘Black Book’ of all past SIMUW contest winners. We call these contests ‘Gnome Contests’, because if you win, you get the glory of sleeping with The Gnome watching over you in your dorm room. I signed my classic eiffle tower in the book. After the announcement, the participants and TACs broke up into two groups, once to compete in a Harry Potter Trivia competition, and another for free-time back at our dorms. I went with the Harry Potter trivia group, and failed miserably with my partner Enock, but we came up with the most humorous answers. I believe that we deserve a ‘troll’ award, for ‘trolling’ the entire game. Q: What school did Dudley go to, when Harry left for Hogwarts? A: Muggle Middle School. Since we didn't make much progress on our math homework during yesterday’s study session, we had another ‘mandatory fun’ study session (to catch up). I do enjoy these study sessions because we are not graded on anything, it is just to learn, discuss, and deepen our personal knowledge of math. The rest of the night was free-time, which I spent brainstorming ideas for the SIMUW 2016 T-shirt with a couple of other participants. I believe we have come to a final decision regarding the design. I will likely explain what is on it during a later post.
SIMUW Day 19:
This morning my roommate and I seemed to have convinced the other participants that the HUB is a much better, and diverse choice for breakfast than Paccar (a business building with a cafe). Almost all of the participants joined us for breakfast today which was nice, and I hope they have realized their dire error in their morning routines. I have managed to spend only .59 cents on breakfast each day since my brother dropped of some blueberry bagels for me. I now only have to buy a little packet of cream cheese to satisfy my bagel needs in the mornings. I know that I will have enough money on the card that was given to me by the SIMUW program to last until the end of the 6-weeks, but I want to see how much I can splurge on the last couple weeks. Perhaps I can save money for some UW sweatshirts, or even eat in the ‘fanciest’ of the dining options here on campus. My morning class with Max was probably my favorite class at SIMUW so far. To maintain our routine of moving the classroom desks in inconvenient and un-uniform arrangements, we turned all the rows of desks exactly 90-degrees (so that we were facing the windows outside, rather than the whiteboard. Max didn’t react. It is like everything abnormal is normal and acceptable to him. His style of teaching works great with me. I just get to sit in class, pose questions that may even only slightly connect to the topic at hand, and then we can talk with whomever to explore the issue, collaborate, and satisfy whatever curiosity we have (or perhaps inspire personal inquiry and exploration of the topics at a later time). During Max’s class, he started wondering about the possibility of decrypting sound messages. If it were possible, we could send messages in high pitch frequencies that humans cannot hear, so messages or instructions could be sent to other devices invisibly, and basically undetectably. This was an interesting thought to me. Then came our afternoon class on graph theory with Ioana Dimitriu. Fun fact about her, she was the first woman to score in the top five on the Putnam exams (super awesome). For lunch, like always, the TACs and all participants headed to the HUB. HOWEVER, we did switch things up a bit and sit at a table different than the usual large table. My table group consisted of about four other participants and TAC William, and our whole lunch-time was spent talking about the philosophy of math, physics, and dragon notation (the latter may not make sense to most). It was a super interesting conversation that questioned the origin of mathematics, and whether or not it exists apart from mankind (discovered vs. man-made). I managed to spend only four dollars on dinner, consisting of Stacy’s pita chips, string cheese, and teriyaki jerky. The TACs planned a traditional prank on TAC Cole, because he left SIMUW for a couple of days. I say traditional, because a prank is usually pulled on those who are late for an activity, or leave SIMUW for personal reasons. Our cue word to start the prank was “Okay, lets go!”, then we all proceeded to pour water on Cole. However, I think me managed to dry off during our game of rugby. This was another “mandatory fun” activity, where we didn't move very far in either direction of the field, but rather the game was based on competitive and intimidating body positions and ‘trash talk’. After our group rugby game, the rest of the night was free-time in which I spent playing a drawing game similar to telephone, and making music with other participants in the gray lounge.
SIMUW Day 20:
Once again, breakfast at the HUB. I decided to gamble with my breakfast items, and bought a container of breakfast tots. There were more tots than I needed, and I don't think I would try and eat a container of them, if I already have a bagel. Lesson learned. I love morning classes with Max so much. It is like he has no lesson plan, and we just begin exploring whatever questions we have in greater depth. The conversations I have in that class of some of my favorite, because I truly feel like I am learning, and gaining logical skills that help me make choices and decisions in life. I am a very indecisive person, so it is nice to have a clear choice or answer in math. The truth is valuable. Lunch came around, I ate some vegetable minestrone soup and pita bread, and figured out how a K4 graph is planar. I also sat in on a discussion on why every tournament graph contains a hamiltonian path. Our afternoon class on graph theory explored what it means of graphs to be planar, and how it related to the amount of edges, vertices, and the duality of itself. During study hour today, I worked on some graph theory homework, and proved by induction that every n-hypercube where n is greater than equal to 4, is not planar. Rather than our usual movie night, we decided to have a karaoke night. It was very ‘lively’. Most people left the gray lounge (where we had karaoke night), with a sore throat and out-of-tune pop songs lightly playing in the background of their heads. I preferred the time after karaoke, where we just relaxed in the dorm community floor, talked, watched tv, and worked on whatever we wanted to.
Happy weekend! This morning was a relaxed and easy going one. I walked to the dorm next-door to grab some cheerios, lactose free milk, and packed a lunch for our trip to the Woodland Park Zoo today. The rest of the Simlettes and I ate breakfast on our common floor room, where we slowly began to wake up. We watched some golf on TV (not sure why), read books, and/or spaced out at a wall. The zoo trip was a whole lot of fun. I ate cookies n’ cream Dippin Dots, saw a baby gorilla, and plenty of other animals. I will attach some of the pictures I took while I was there. While heading back to the dorms, we stopped at a garage sale on our way to the bus stop, and picked up some 25 cent items including, multiplication flashcards, french flashcards, money-printed paper lunch bags, and a dog tennis ball thrower. If you are curious as to why we bought these items, there was really no concrete reason. For dinner, we all decided to go to an all you can eat buffet on the Avenue. They didn't have many choices, but I ended up eating two bowls of chicken strips and fries. I was more interested in the conversation we were having than the variations of food items available. My roommate Zoë, TAC William and I, spent the whole dinner talking about quantum mechanics, or rather, William did all the talking, and I eagerly listened. I was introduced to concepts such as cubits and entanglement. The rest of the night was free-time in which I began stressing out about college applications. I have so much to do after this camp ends.
Sunday is my sleep-day. Even though I can’t sleep in past 8:00 AM (force of habit), it is nice to wake up naturally. I didn’t really eat anything for breakfast this morning, other than some salted sunflower seeds and chips I had leftover from yesterday at the zoo. I knew that some other simlettes were going to head over to the Bite of Seattle this afternoon, so I abstained from eating any large meals prior to our departure. Before leaving, I did my weekly laundry run, and caught up with my blog entries. It had been two and a half weeks since I updated my blog! At the Bite of Seattle, I went to a filipino stand and ate lumpia and pork adobo. Yum. I also went to a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream stand for desert with the rest of the simlettes. Also yum. It was really hot out, so the ice cream was an especially nice treat. The rest of the day was free-time. I played The Settlers of Catan for the first time, and also attempted to sort through all the photos I have taken during the camp for far. So far I have several hundred, and enough to fill up my google drive space. I would have much rather enjoyed relaxing with my other participants, but I knew I wouldn't have much time during the week to do tedious work like dragging pictures into folders. I still had a really good day.
I love it here so darn much. Even though I wish I could sleep in a couple hours longer each morning, I am so excited for each day, that I convince myself I have no reason to be tired or experience any otherwise negative effects while participating in SIMUW. I have no reason to feel sick, or fatigued, or anxious… I am at MATHCAMP! I ate breakfast at the HUB with my roommate Zoë and friend Yexiu. I had my usual bagel and cream cheese with blueberries, and I enjoyed the time I spent with them. We had some good laughs, and Zoë got a little aggressive with my blueberries when I got a Justin Bieber song stuck in her head. I have come to realize she is not a Belieber. Morning classes with Max are one of my absolute favorite things. There was a bit of a ‘switch up’ within his usual uncoordinated and unusual lesson routine (excuse the oxymoron). Rather than just straight up asking us to give him math questions, he stepped out of the classroom to catch some Pokemon on Pokemon Go, leaving us with the instructions to “Write down some questions on the board or on a slip of paper by the time I catch me some Pokeman” (the use of PokeMAN was intentional and quotational). Max walked into the classroom having caught a Crabby, Zubat, and Pidgey. He also was surprised with a board full of primarily non-math related (and/or personal) questions. Needless to say, he didn’t answer all of them. He also didn’t know the answers to all of the questions, for instance, what his sleep number was. For lunch, all the girl participants had scheduled a group conference with the other female TACs, and a past guest lecturer. The lunch was selectively girls, because the intention of the get together was to promote, encourage, and inform girls of the difficulties posed within STEM fields, as well as how to overcome them. Lunch was provided for us. I always appreciate not having to use my UW food card when I don’t need to. After lunch, I headed with my other lady simlettes to our graph theory class with Ioana Dimitriu. She went over definitions of coloring, what it means to be chromatic, and walked us through several proofs that elated to these concepts. Following lunch, all the TACs and participants explored the Burke museum on the UW campus. I saw some dinosaurs, mammoth skeletons, native artifacts, and my ultimate favorite, the giant ground sloth skeleton. It is an absolute beast. The rest of the night was free-time (sans a study hour at 7:30). Zoë, Jojo, Yexiu, Gabrielle and I, decided to try an Indian restaurant on the Ave. Oh my goodness I have not had a meal that good in a long time. I ate butter chicken curry and naan bread. Even though the service was slow and terrible, the food was worth it. For study hour I focused on Max’s class, and ended up doing math until 10:30 PM, when I had to get ready for bed. It has been an amazing, interesting, and eventful day.
SIMUW Day 24:
Once again, during the early hours of the morn, I consumed a bagel with cream cheese. I ate quickly, then rewrote my homework that I worked on during study hour last night. I wanted to be prepared for class. I proved, and explained definitions relating to p-adic numbers and distances. However, we never actually went over the homework in Max’s class, so I didn’t really have a chance to show what I studied last night. That was okay, because we talked about other interesting subtopics relating to p-adic numbers. For lunch, I ate a cheeseburger, then climbed some trees on campus with other simlettes. I scraped my knees, but it was definitely worth it. Then came Ioana’s afternoon graph theory class, in which we talked about ‘coloring’ graphs again (so that no colored edges is next to another edge of the same color). For the spare time I had before study hour, I made a graphic design for the SIMUW 2016 annual T-shirt, then sent the design to TAC Kristine to finalize it. For study hour, I explored p-adic numbers more, and focused on Max’s class. We were free the rest of the night to do whatever, sans a ‘mandatory fun’ trivia activity, where we were asked questions about our roommates while given certain challenge tasks to complete within a given time limit. It was actually a lot of fun, and the responses some people wrote down were pretty hilarious. According to my roomate, my unique characteristic is my medical history. Haha.
SIMUW Day 25:
Gabrielle, Jojo, Yexiu, Zoë, and I ate breakfast in the HUB. This was a very important moment for me, because I was down to my last bagel (the ones my brother had dropped off for me). I have enough money saved now to ensure the ability to purchase a sweatshirt at the end of the camp with my leftover money. I am happy to say I wont be eating another blueberry bagel for the rest of the camp. Our first Wednesday special lectures about robotics, and we faced a challenge to program lego robots to traverse a maze. No teams fully succeeded in the challenge, but one team managed to get their robot to enter and exit the maze (in one direction). The previously set challenge was for the robot to be able to enter and exit the maze from either side. After lunch, we all sat outside on the HUB lawn in the sun. It was nice and relaxing, and I ended up braiding several people’s hair. After lunch at the HUB, our second special lecture was about sequences, and analyzing tableaux. In the free time provided before our planned Wednesday Pizza Dinner, I worked on my original math song that I will be performing at the SIMUW talent show. At the pizza dinner, more participants gave math presentations (some were hilarious), then we had a yearbook and dance committee meeting. We were in a different room today, because there were different people giving presentations in our usual meeting room. The rest of the night was free-time, where I accepted this weeks ‘Feat of Strength’ challenge. I had the fasted female participant score of 33 seconds. The only person to beat my time was Jack.
SIMUW Day 26:
I woke up very early this morning (around 5 am), not due to any electronic alarm, but because I was slightly anxious to see my SAT scores. They were posted early this morning, so I ‘naturally’ woke up to check my scores. They are what I expected, and I still have a lot to improve on, but I managed to bump by score 200 points (on the old scale) by retaking the test once. I have two more tries, and I believe I can reach my goal score if I study everyday. I should mention, I firmly believe the SAT does not very accurately determine who can and cannot succeed in college, but I also realize that my score will be taken into account by all the schools I apply to. I want to show that I AM capable of scoring well on the score, given practice. Even though I take the test multiple times, I am improving greatly each time, which I hope displays personal qualities of perseverance to the admissions staff of each school. Morning class with Max was a little sluggish (because we didn’t have enough questions to ask him). I also think that many people were lost in the class. We discussed the uniqueness of p-adic numbers, and found some square roots which can be expressed by p-adic numbers. I really enjoy Max’s classes, because I can usually follow everything, and I find the topics super interesting. It is sad knowing tomorrow is our last day with Max and Ioana, but it is also exciting meeting new professors! For lunch I grabbed some teriyaki chicken kababs and rice, then listened to TAC William explain the axioms of real numbers, and error correcting codes. After we ate lunch, the TACs and participants hung out on the HUB lawn in the sun, climbed trees (where one student got stuck), and worked on math. In our afternoon class with Ioana, I had a very hard time connecting what we have gone over in past graph theory classes. It was all still very interesting, but I felt lost for the majority of the class. We talked about Stirling’s Forumula, and asymptotic approximations of graphs. The TACs had planned another ‘mandatory fun ‘ activity for us, called the Iron Chef Competition. We had less than 30 minutes to buy ingredients for our three course meals, with under 30 dollars. We were split into four groups, and could not use heat of any kind to cook, so we had to combine common grocery items into something that was somewhat appetizing. We were scored on the taste, visual appeal, and backstory of our courses (appetizer, main, dessert). My group won the competition with a colorful fruit salad (representing our trip to the firework display at gasworks), a cold veggie wrap (in honor of TAC Kristines sick rapping skills during karaoke night), and a spongecake with sweetened condensed milk, blueberries, and frosted animal crackers (in remembrance of our sweet trip to the Woodland Park Zoo).
SIMUW Day 27:
This morning we went to Paccar for breakfast. Sadly, today was my last class with Max. However, it was probably one of my favorite, because the whole class time was spent generating questions. Some involved quaternions, others primes, as well as a variety of 'random' other mathematical topics. At lunch I learned about Turing Machine's for the first time, and some of the TACs curiously pondered the idea of "Base Pi". I ate pizza, salad, carrots, and string cheese. Not my worst meal. This was also my last class with Ioana, and we discussed probability, and the random graph (which was super interesting). However, I feel like I hadn't given enough time to the graph class to fully appreciate or follow this lecture. I'll have to do some personal research in the future. There was an optional study hour, and then I walked to district market to grab dinner. I expected the prepackaged salmon dinner to be below average (especially since the line to the microwave was too long so I decided to eat it cold), but surprisingly it was delicious. Solid 5/7. Today I also solved my first full Rubiks cube, and we watched Star Trek for movie night. Exciting.
SIMUW Day 28:
Happy Saturday! My alarm was too quiet this morning, but I managed to wake up in time to get ready and grab some breakfast from The Nook in Mcmahan, and meet the rest of the simlettes and TACs in the gray lounge before we headed to The Art of the Brick and IMAX theatre. The Art of the Brick is an art gallery in the Pacific Science Center, where the art is completely composed of LEGO bricks. It was pretty cool to see so many LEGO sculptures, but I had more fun later in the day when we were free to explore the science center, and watched Star Trek in the IMAX theatre. Me and a group of about four other participants explored the bug section of the science center. I hadn’t been there in so long (since elementary school), but it all looked very much the same. It was a nostalgic experience. For the majority of the free-time I had there, I took pictures of butterflies and watched naked mole rats squeeze as many of themselves in one enclosure as possible (super creepy by the way). They cannot regulate body temperature by themselves, so they need to huddle in compressed colonies of one another, but the rats at the bottom of the ‘dog-pile’ didn’t seem too comfortable. Around noon, all TACs and participants got in line for the new Star Trek movie. We ate lunch while we waited, then received a collectable Star Trek patch, and a pair of 3-D glasses as we entered the theatre. I won’t spoil anything for those who have not yet seen the movie, but my overall opinion was that it was a good movie, not spectacular. There were definitely some funny moments, because Star Trek is classically half-hazardous, good action scenes, but also some ridiculous gaps in the plot. We headed back to the dorm around 4:00PM, and then we all ate a buffet style dinner at the ‘8’ in Mcmahan. I learned more about TAC Cole’s mathematical focus on the topic of Analysis. The rest of the night I worked on my biography for the SIMUW yearbook with other simlettes in the gray lounge, edited some photos, and thought about a logic problem given by TAC William about claiming whether or not you have the bigger or smaller of two chosen real numbers (and you only know your own).
Today is laundry day. I grabbed some lactose free milk from The Nook, and ate several cups of honey nut cheerios (provided by my generous friend Yexiu). I got all my laundry done before me and ten other simlettes left to the bus stop to go to Bellevue. Our plan for the day was to hang out at the mall and watch the horror movie Lights Out. It was a pretty average movie, it wasn't too scary (at least not for me), but a couple of my friends were pretty freaked out because of the jump scares. Before the movie, we ate at a vietnamese place called What the Pho. It was pretty good. Once again I'd give it a solid 5/7. After the movie, our movie group split into two subgroups, one which headed back to the dorms, and mine, which stayed to shop at the mall. I bought some socks (because mine have been mysteriously disappearing), and a makeup item. The majority of my night was spent on transferring every photo I have taken here at SIMUW into one folder (about 1600 photos), so that the yearbook committee could find the photos easily. This was a huge hassel, but will make the rest of the camp planning much easier. However I also found a minimal amount of time to work on my talent show act (a nerdy math song), a speech that I will give at the closing banquet, and some ‘secret’ project (which will be clarified in a later post).
SIMUW Day 30:
Before my morning class, I grabbed some tots at the HUB. Today is the first day of our last 2-week class sessions. The titles of the two classes are On Numbers and Games and Game Theory and the Rubiks Cube. I was excited to start the new classes, so, like always, my roommate and I got to class about twenty minutes earlier than the start time (9:15 AM). Our instructor, Monty, for the class On Numbers and Games, was very quick and organized in his teaching style. A few people found it hard to keep up, but I managed to understand most everything he went through during the class time. My roommate and I sat with Monty at lunch, and talked a bit about one another (interests, history, etc). It is always interesting hearing about how everyone got involved in SIMUW. Once again, the simlettes and TACs hung out and sunbathed on the HUB lawn before our afternoon class. The afternoon class had a more easy-going feel to it. We began evaluating combinations of certain puzzle games, and were introduced to definitions involving the combinations of the Rubiks cube (which I was told we will use tomorrow). Now, we have several events coming up at SIMUW; the talent show and final banquet. In order to prepare for these events, the TACs thought we should use our ‘mandatory fun time’ to work instead. I actually appreciated this, because I still have to write my speech for the banquet. However, I am also a host for the talent show, and need to write out the skit me, and the other two hosts will be performing. We finished about a third of our skit during the work time. Another ‘feat of strength’ challenge was presented to the participants by TAC Jade, where the winning condition was to hold their arms above their head longer than Jade himself. I didn’t participate in this feat of strength, but it was super entertaining to watch. I believe the winners of the challenge held their arms up for two hours. Because their hands were in the air, it was difficult to eat or drink if they got hungry, so I ended up feeding about 75% of the simlette population. Also during this free time, I had a mini ‘jam-session’ on my ukulele with another participant Frank.
SIMUW Day 31:
This morning I resorted to my pervious habit of buying a pizza bagel with cream cheese. With two weeks left of the camp, it is clear that I will have enough money leftover on my card to buy a sweatshirt, maybe two, on the last day. My roomate, Jojo, Yexiu, and Gabrielle, also joined me at the HUB for breakfast. I felt pretty prepared walking into both classes today,which is a rare feeling after having quick-paced instructors Max and Ioana last week, who each gave lots of homework. In Monty’s class we discussed ordinals, nim-addition/multiplication, and the ‘value’ of certain game situations. My roommate Zoë, Yexiu, and I managed to finish all the homework from Monty’s morning class, during class. Since we finished so early, we explored further values of a game involving black and white lines, when the configuration of the lines changes. I ate lunch at the HUB rather quickly, because I had to walk to the dorms with several other simlettes to get dressed for the annual TAC vs Participant Basketball Game. Firstly, there hasn't been a year when the participants have won. Let me just say that, this is because the game is totally rigged. The best of past SIMUW participants were ‘recruited’ to play for the TAC team to ensure that they win. Also, one of out past instructors, Sandor, is so tall that no one can block him from shooting. If the game was honestly between TACs and simlettes, we totally would have won. As it is, we put up a good fight today. Several of the simlettes honorably displayed their obvious basketball skills throughout the game. I myself, made two baskets, which was more than I had hoped for. The afternoon class of game theory and the Rubiks Cube, was more rigorous than it was yesterday. The class itself was relatively easy going, but the homework was a bit on the tougher side for me. We were assigned lots of homework involving group theory, and its applications to the Rubiks. I managed to work through most of it with Zoë tonight during an optional study hour, but I relied heavily on her ability to know who to begin each problem. I could do the math it took to finish each problem, but I didn’t quite understand the terminology used in some of the questions enough, in order to be able to formulate a first step. Zoë really helped me with that, and I feel a lot better about what it means for something to be a group. The rest of the night I practiced my mathematical ukulele song and brainstormed for the speech I will be giving at the banquet.
SIMUW Day 32:
My breakfast club this morning was unusually small. We formed a group with the minimum number of participants needed in order to walk around campus. Zoe, Yexiu, and I, left the Hagget dorm bright and early to grab some yummy food at the HUB. Our first Wednesday special lecture was super engaging, fast paced, and enlightening. The special lecture was titled, Billiards, gravity, and imple algebraic geometry. The lecturer, Jayadev Athreya, taught us that some mathematical models can be used in many different contexts, and that there exist unexpected connections to number theory, group, and geometry. We also showed how low dimensional spaces can map to higher dimensional spaces, and why understanding higher dimensions is important for our 3-D experience, rational rotations are periodic, and irrational rotations are dense and equidistributed. It was really nice seeing so many elements of past classes and lectures tie into this lecture. I ate some sushi and a couple of my friends fries for lunch, then sat in the shade of a tree on the HUB lawn (until we had to head to our afternoon special lecture). This lecture was titled, Mathematical Auction. Incidentally, the class was exactly what you would expect it to be, an auction involving math. So, for the class, we were split into three groups. Each group was given a set of problems to attempt within a time interval of an hour and a half. After this time limit is up, a representative from each team would ‘bid’ to present their answer. Correct answers receive ‘shmollars’ (the game currency), and the team that ends up with the most money by the end of the class wins. Now, if another team comes up with a better, more complete answer, they can begin a second, third, or nth bid to compete for the 100 shmollars offered with each problem. All the teams were pretty close matched at the end of the game, but their had to be a winner, and my team did not receive this honor. We put up a good fight, and it was still a whole lot of fun. During the free-time in between our afternoon lecture and our Wednesday pizza dinner, I worked with my fellow SIMUW talent show MCs on our script for the show (which will be tomorrow). We didn't finish during that time, so we completed it after the pizza dinner. There were a lot of alumni at the dinner, so they each introduced themselves. We also heard the ‘life stories’ of our two instructors of our last 2-week class session. This is always my favorite part about pizza wednesdays (other than the free dinner itself). After the dinner, the TACs handed out ‘prizes’ for the simlettes that successfully completes last weeks ‘feat of strength’ challenge. The challenge was to spin around with your finger on the ground (in one place) ten times, then hop one one foot in a figure eight around two tables, while balancing a ping pong ball on a spoon. I got the second fastest time of 33 seconds. My prize was an inflatable origami paper box, handmade by TAC Jade during lunch. Well worth the seven attempts I made at this challenge. Also during my evening free-time, I practiced my talent show act (original math song), played football and ultimate frisbee in the quad with some friends we made at a game design camp who are living in the same dorm as us, and began my speech for the banquet. It was a pretty busy day, but a good one.
SIMUW Day 33:
This morning I ate some tots, drank some raspberry snapple, and stole a couple blueberries from Zoë. Once again, Jo-Jo, Yexiu and Gabrielle joined us for breakfast. It was a happy, sunny, and relaxing morning. While eating, I scanned through the news, answered some practice SAT questions on my phone, and browsed social media. In our first class with Monty, we played and analyzed the math game Hackenbush Restrained, discussed ordinal numbers, proved that the value of any impartial game is mex(B: *B [the value of any option in G]), practiced Nim-Addition, and wrote out a table of Grundy’s Numbers. It was a super fast paced class, but yet again, I thoroughly enjoyed it. All the problems feel like puzzles. After lunch at the HUB, several TACs and simlettes headed to Hagget to practice their talent show acts. I spent all the time in between lunch and our afternoon class practicing my math song. The second class of the day was filled with 3x3 and 2x2 Rubiks cubes. We were examining how many combinations they had, and related the puzzles to groups. I have come to love the cube. Such a good puzzle. By dinner time, we all saw the talent show quickly approaching. I grabbed some sweet red bean buns and peach iced tea from the district market before the show began. Around 6:15 PM the people participating in the talent show began setting up. The actual show itself was very casual, but still very fun. I believe my song went pretty well, and got it stuck in Zoë’s head. Zoë was the opening act to the talent show, and she buttered a bagel to JAWS music for 10 minutes… By far my favorite act (trust me it set very high standards). The rest of the night was free-time in which I spent working on the secret TAC project. While in Yexiu and Gabrielle’s room, we ‘stumbled’ (stalked on social media) across some particularly embarrassing photos of the TACs, one in particular that made us cry from laughter. It was TAC Cole in high school with long hair. He looked 'super fresh'. Another exciting thing happened tonight; a boy from another camp living in Hagget had a bunch of extra money on his UW card, so he bought out A WHOLE VENDING MACHINE. He handed out bags of free food to anyone who asked. He is an absolute legend in my mind. I walked away with a twix bar and a pop tart. Money Manan (a participant), walked away with a large paper bag full of a variety of candy and pop tarts. A sweet night.
SIMUW Day 34:
This morning I ate a collection of snack items, that I don’t think any health informed individual would consider ideal. Nevertheless, I was charged and ready for my morning class with Monty. I feel like I am finally at a point in SIMUW, where even when I don’t understand things, I can come to understand them quicker. I’m getting better at asking the right questions, and generally understanding what mathematical symbols mean what. During lunch, I experimented with my technology, and ended up taking some group photos of the participants (including me) on the HUB lawn. But how was I in the picture you ask? It couldn't have been a selfie… she would have never been able to fit all the people in the photo without a selfie stick…You’re exactly right! I used my super swagging tech to connect my iPhone to my DSLR camera and take photos remotely. They turned out pretty nerdy and cute, so that’s a plus. Up next was our afternoon class with David on the Rubiks. Then came study hour, which is always a good time, and then the TACs told us to change into ‘active wear’ because they had a surprise. It was super hot out, so their surprise WATER BALLOON FIGHT was really really fun and refreshing. We ate dinner, and then some of us played some basketball before we had to meet up for movie night (we watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens). We had a few hours of spare time after the movie, so I continued to work on my banquet speech and hang out with my friends in Hagget.
SIMUW Day 35:
It’s Saturday! This morning I attempted to do laundry (rather than my usual Sunday laundry day), because my friends and I were planning on going somewhere in the morning for our last Sunday trip together. Lisa and Elaine woke up really early to get the detergent and laundry cards from TAC William, then messaged me that they were going to do laundry. However, when I woke up, I didn’t check my messages, and woke William up AGAIN asking for laundry supplies. By this time, it was around 7:30am. He told me that he already gave Lisa and Elaine the supplies, so I carried my large sack of dirty clothes downstairs to the laundry room. To my surprise, I found the two of them hand-washing their clothing. This was very unlike the both of them, but as it turned out, the laundry card William gave us was out of money and the machines didn’t work. I decided to just wait until Sunday. I took the elevator back upstairs to my room, and got ready for the day. Our saturday trip today was to go to Golden Gardens, a sand beach. For breakfast I grabbed some snack items and a drink to take with me to the beach. On our way to Golden Gardens, we took what some called it, a “super sketchy dirt path that isn’t even a path”. It was obviously a path, but some people weren't into the hiking atmosphere. I do have to agree that it was a bit steep and slippery if you were wearing flip flops; I was wearing croc heels (don’t even try to picture what they look like). Once we got to the beach, we played volleyball in the sand, had a picnic, went swimming in the FREEZING ocean (we also had a land swimming competition), and several people got buried alive in the sand. At one point, TAC William inhaled sand in most of his orifices. My favorite part about being on the beach, was just feeling the sun and the sand as I laid on my back thinking about math puzzles. I hadn’t been on a sandy beach in 8 years, so this was an amazing feeling. We took the bus back to campus, and picked up dinner from the district market. I decided I had more than enough money on my UW card, so I bought two fresh salmon dinners instead of one. I was planning on refrigerating one for tomorrow, but ended up eating both. Whoops. We all ate on the outside patio of Hagget together. We had plenty of time to do what we wanted for the rest of the night. I had lots I needed to work on, so this was convenient. However, I ended up spending two hours or more of my time working on one of William’s puzzles with my roommate Zoë on the floor of our room. We didn’t solve it, but I don’t regret anything. Afterwards, I worked very hard on the TAC projects and my speech. When my focus started to sway, I realized it was because I was hungry. This made no sense to me considering I ate two full meals only an hour ago. ANYWAY. I just decided to finish up my night and sing in the gray lounge with my friends.
SIMUW Day 36:
This morning I woke up early to try and do the laundry I couldn’t do yesterday. However, I realized I would be kind of rushed to finish my laundry before going on the Sunday trip to Bellevue with my friends. It was the last Sunday trip we would spend together, but I decided that I had enough work to do at Hagget and would be perfectly content finishing that up. Also, I didn’t need to spend anymore of my money on movies and food (but I’m glad everyone else had fun). I went down to the nook and grabbed some cheerios, lactose free milk (thank goodness they have this available), and raspberries for breakfast before TAC Sarah and William graciously took me to church with them. Most people went on the trip to Bellevue square, three other went to the Fremont Saturday market, and I was alone with the TACs for the early portion of the day. I ended up going to church with two of the TACs, which was really relaxing. And then TAC Sarah and I worked on speeches and writing a thank you note to the donor. I really enjoyed my morning, and was glad I didn’t feel pressured to go on the last Sunday trip. For lunch, I didn’t see anything at the nook, so I decided to splurge my UW money on the ‘8’ buffet in McMahon. I sat by myself, worked, took a break and watched some cartoons, then returned to the community lounge floor with a snickerdoodle for TAC Sarah. Soon enough, it was 7:00PM, and all the other simlettes returned from their trips, and we assembled for our last Sunday community meeting. I’m going to miss Kristine and her classic line, “Questions?Comments? Concerns? Suggestions???” I organized folders of photos for a couple of my friends, to allow them to choose which picture they wanted in the yearbook. Once I returned to my room for the night, I began to feel sad about the thought of leaving SIMUW. I know I will break down at some point, but that’s alright.
SIMUW Day 37:
I walked down to the HUB as usual, picked up an amazing pizza bagel as usual, along with a tall bottle of OJ. But wait, things got a little crazy this morning. I added a donut to my food consumption line (not quite the healthiest choice), but heck, I am in the last week of camp and am going to enjoy every bit of it. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed my morning class with Monty. The TACs did not join us for lunch today. They apparently had some “secret business” to take care of. Nonetheless, lunch was pretty busy. I had to turn to Kristin for help on a proof for the afternoon Rubiks class. The story behind this, is that I signed myself up to prove a statement in class, just to realize I had a proof for the wrong thing. Thankfully, Kristin helped me formulate a proof in time for class. I worked on it all lunch, as I drank a bubbly glass of Ramune (a Japanese pop), and ate sushi. I proved that any pair of unoriented ‘corner cubies’ could move to any other different pair of ‘corner cubies’ (which will help us formulate a solution for the cube in the future). Since tonight is the annual SIMUW dance, we had study hour directly after class. I prefer to have study hour immediately after class (so that we have a longer period of free time), but for many, the break in between class and study hour is essential to their well-being. A fire drill interrupted our study session briefly, so we were temporarily forced to exist outdoors. Thankfully it was pleasantly sunny. Although I still had a sufficient amount of work (TAC project, yearbook page, and speech), I decided to enjoy dinner at Mod Pizza with Zoë, Yexiu, and Gabrielle. I had a pineapple and pepperoni pizza with one of the best cream sodas I have ever had. Some zombie movie played on a screen behind me, captivating the attention of my three friends. As the dance drew nearer, I ended up braiding two of my friend’s hair, and then got dressed into an actual dress. I was excited to just have a night of fun, and no worries. I was also excited because the dance theme was FERNS (they are truly beautiful plants). I did had fun, showed off my ability to do ‘the worm’, and enjoyed the collection of sugary food. Running in the dark on our way back to Hagget is also always a good time. Now, tonight the yearbook pages were due, so Frank and I got permission to work on the patio downstairs (after check in hours) to finish them up. After completing the pages, I attempted to work on my speech once again.
Why does time go by so quickly?
SIMUW Day 38:
Once again, I chose taste over health as I consumed the meal of great importance (aka breakfast). I ate a glazed donut, a bowl of fruit (okay that wasn’t too bad), orange juice (same here), and hot chocolate (oh the SUGAR!). I also began spending my card money on UW paraphernalia. I bought a white sweatshirt that says WASHINGTON across the front for myself. Monty’s class covered an especially hefty amount of content this morning, which I eagerly tried to absorb. During lunch, half of the participants left to have ‘lunch with Ron’ (SIMUW Director Ron Irving). During the scheduled lunches with Ron, we are supposed to give feedback regarding our experience at SIMUW. I sat, spaced out at a wall, and ate my food until class started. In the afternoon class with David, we investigated the 5-puzzle, and questioned it’s characteristics by observing it’s possible permutations and solutions. During the break after class and in between our scheduled study hour, I grabbed dinner and tried to work on my speech again. I also finally got to put my laundry in the washer after waiting a couple of days (the laundry cards had to be refilled with money). However, hand washing single outfits doesn’t take too long as I have found out. Now, for our “mandatory fun” activity, my roommate Zoë led a yoga session on one of the fields, which happened to be completely FLOCKED with geese (and goose poop). Nevertheless, it added a sense of danger to the activity (hehe). After the yoga session, most people went to play ultimate frisbee, while those who had to give their math presentations on our last pizza Wedneday (tomorrow), stayed behind. I ended up staying behind, because I still hadn't finished my speech, and wanted to rewrite the whole thing. Eventually, all the ultimate frisbee-ers returned, I had gotten the majority of my new speech composed, and I spent the rest of my night falling asleep at a table in the community lounge to TAC William presenting his infamous puzzles to my fellow simlettes. It’s super easy and enjoyable to fall asleep to mathematical conversations (but not because it’s boring).
SIMUW Day 39:
I woke up super excited for today. Why you ask? Well, my excitedness shouldn’t even be a question. For one, I am usually always excited. And two, there hasn't been a day at math camp where I HAVEN’T been excited. But today, I was especially animated, and ready to get to class. Today the TACs were going to give presentations themselves (TAC Talks). I was ready to hear what interested them, and essentially why they chose to pursue math. My classic pizza bagel and orange juice survived my morning selection process. I spiced things up a bit again and bought a mini sparkling apple cider with Zoë (because we wanted to be fancy and celebrate one of our last days here). As I expected, the TAC talks were GREAT. They were very entertaining, brought up some really cool mathematical concepts, and made me question a lot of things. And even though their topics were chosen without consulting one another, they randomly managed to focus on a common concept of randomness (ironic right), and probability.
Today was my study group’s turn to feast with Ron (Ron Irving). I gave my input in regard to the program, and enjoyed my bubbly mini cider bottle with Zoë. More TAC Talks followed lunch, which were equally as enjoyable, and similarly relatable to the topic of randomness and probability. For instance, TAC Phoebe talked about ant colony optimization algorithms, and how patterns can form amongst many individualistic choices. TAC Kristine ‘helped out’ by dressing up like an ant and ravaging around the classroom looking for food (an avacado), while releasing a trail of pheromones (cards), to help demonstrate how ants collect food. The whole situation was pretty funny. One of the simlettes was supposed to hand over the avocado to Kristine when she got close to him (sort of like a hot and cold game), but he withheld the avocado even when TAC Kristine was crawling on his desk.
The last pizza Wednesday was filled with past alumni, and I tried to actually converse with all of them this time around. Most were pursuing computer science, some oceanography, and others physics. It’s great to see what people are planning to do, but I didn’t get the chance to talk to them on a deeper level. If I had the time, I like asking everyone, “What is the question you want to solve in your lifetime?” It tells me a lot about their personality, as well as their driving interests. Maybe I will see some of them again at a future pizza wednesday.
Tonight I finished my portion of the presentation we will be giving in Monty’s last class (Friday) early, so that I could finally finished the TAC project (which I did). YAYY. Also, another “mandatory fun” activity was scheduled for tonight. We were told to get our sweatshirts, because we might get cold outside at night. I was personally hoping that we were going to roast marshmallows or something (I guess this is what I associate with sweatshirts), but we played Duck Duck Goose. It was actually really intense at some points, because the grass was damp and slippery, making it insanely difficult to run without slipping. However, when we ended the game, TAC Sarah pulled out a watermelon candle, lit it, and told us this was a SIMUW tradition to pass the candle along the circle and say what being at SIMUW has meant to you. I am not usually a super emotional person, but I do cry when something has truly touched me. I knew at some point I would break down while at SIMUW (as you could tell by some of my previous posts), and I had a strong feeling I was about to break down during this ‘truth circle’. I was right. Once my friend Lisa got the candle, she couldn't even speak, so she had to pass. I was only a couple places down the circle from her, so I knew I would have to speak soon. There were too many things I wanted to say, but I had no way of putting them in a logical manner before it was my turn to spill my emotional slur of words. I told myself just to speak clearly, and say whatever comes to mind. I did just that, and ended my confession by wiping the smeared mascara off of my face. I don’t remember what I said. All I know is that I will miss SIMUW so much, and even though my white UW sweatshirt is now stained with makeup, I’ll love it even more.
SIMUW Day 40:
I’m not sure why I have chosen to highlight breakfast as a recurring topic of importance in my daily blog posts, but I have definitely been able to distinguish exciting breakfasts from others which have been anything but distinguishable. This morning was a pretty distinguishable morning.
Most of the participants went to breakfast together, unlike most of the previous days. We were initially going to eat at the ‘8’, but it turned out most people couldn't afford it anymore. The UW card balances are dwindling. For those of us who had the money, we offered to sponsor some people, and go to the ‘8’ tomorrow morning. Before heading to the HUB, I tried to look for another sweatshirt for myself at the Nook, but everything was 2XXL, so I bought one for my dad. This morning I was content with a fresh batch of tater tots, which unfortunately decided to fly out of my bag and all over the HUB floor and cash register (sorry Mr. Cashier). Even still, the tot cashier has always treated me nicely during my time here at SIMUW, and quickly handed me a new batch of tots. However, I still feel pretty bad about the whole surprise-tot-ambush-thing.
Morning class with Monty covered content pretty similar to what TAC Sarah covered in her TAC Talk. Wilson’s Formula, the sum of squares, and primes, were all mentioned in both cases. Lunch was laid back. We ate, we chatted, we sat on the HUB lawn, and I continued to try and get my speech to a point where I was satisfied with it. The afternoon Rubiks class went well, and I enjoyed working on the problem sets.
Another (and final) “feat of strength challenge” occurred today after our classes, and the challenge was to prime factor large numbers while playing tag. If you get tagged by a TAC, you had five seconds to give the answer. I attempted it, but I am so unfamiliar with prime factoring, I knew I wouldn’t be able to correctly reply even if I was running for 10 minutes. Some of the other simlettes are amazingly talented at it, so props to them.
Study hour was designated to working on our final presentations in Monty’s class. I was basically done with mine, so I helped make some slides for my other group members, and then left them to fend for themselves as I struggled to finalize my speech. After dinner, I worked for two hours and had FINALLY finished a version of my speech that I found socially and personally acceptable to present at the banquet. Success.
The remainder of the night was spent receiving, thumbing through, and signing one another’s yearbooks. I tried to write sincerely for each person, and ended up writing several brief essays over the signing period. I can’t believe I only have one more day of class here.
SIMUW Day 41/42:
(WARNING: This is a really long post)
On Friday morning I got up bright and early, along with Zoë, Yexiu, and Gabrielle. We had to finish our google slides for a presentation on Wythoff’s Game and it’s relation to the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio. Rather than our usual routine of eating breakfast at the HUB, we decided to spend our last breakfast together at the‘8’ in McMahon. In case you don’t know already, it is an all you can eat restaurant (which happens to be overpriced for it’s overall quality of food). However, it was nice to eat as much fruit as I possibly could. After we had finished eating, our presentation group headed to class early, so that we could run through the slides at least once. The entirety of our last class with Monty, was spent giving presentations, and listening to TAC Cole talk about math for the last 30 minutes. All the TACs and participants ate lunch at the HUB together, and surreptitiously brought up the fact that the participants had prepared a surprise for the TACs, to signify the end of our journey here at SIMUW. (I will finally explain what we did for them… soon). For our afternoon Rubiks cube class, we finally established a method of solving the cube that related to the group theory we have been learning about. It is not the most efficient method, but it was proven to always work. After our last class, we began to pack all our belongings, and get ready for the final banquet. I ended up braiding a couple of the girl particiant’s hair before we headed down to the UW Club. It was a formal banquet, so I dressed up in the only article of clothing I hadn't yet worn at SIMUW, a white dress. We arrived at the banquet to an outdoor room and were greeted by our families. We drank ice tea and lemonade while we waited for the ceremony to begin. I signed my instructor Monty’s yearbook, and took pictures of my fellow participants. I hadn’t seen my parents for longer than a day, in 7 weeks, so it was exciting to finally bring their vacation to and end ;) All the parents, instructors, TACs, and simlettes, were then told to move to the dining area for dinner. I sat with TAC Cole and his family (including participant Marshall), TAC Phoebe, and TAC Sarah. Afterwards, we all moved downstairs to watch the slideshow prepared by TAC Kristine. She drew many of the photos from the 1600 photos I have taken during my residency here, and it turned out really well. I have made so many amazing memories and friendships here. After the slideshow, we walked back upstairs for dessert, and then began the graduation ceremony. We were called up one by one to receive a certificate of completion, and our year’s T-Shirt. I designed the shirt with a couple other participants, and it turned out awesome. It’s deep purple, and on the front it says (MATH, +, *) and on the back it says “I liked it so I put a ring on it”. I received my things, shook the director and my instructor’s hands, then nervously waited until it was my turn to give a speech. Two other participants had to give one before me. This was my first speech, so I didn't know how things would turn out, but I hoped for the best. I believe I did well (seeing as I didn’t trip, choke, or run away crying), so an overall success. To finish off the banquet, TAC Sarah gave a speech to represent the TACs, and then the director told us we could go. Some of the simlettes had to leave after the banquet, so we quickly got some photos done in the outdoor room at the UW club, and then presented our TAC project at our dorms. Everyone was in a hurry to get somewhere, say their goodbyes, and check out of their dorm rooms. However, we found five free minutes to assemble everyone in the dorm common room. I then took out a large, orange, manila folder labeled “TOP SECRET”, and began reading an intro my roommate and friend Yexiu have prepared.
“So, as TACs, ya’ll have been keeping tabs on us participants— but we too have been keeping tabs on you. Since it is now the end of SIMUW, we feel that it is necessary for us to come clean and reveal our little “secret” (hint hint wink wink). Over the past few weeks, you might have noticed us acting suspiciously: asking odd questions, laughing too hard, and keeping secrets. Some of you even thought that we were plotting crimes— well, WE haven’t lit anything on fire, but one of YOU sure has. We also noticed that some of you were ridiculously obstinate in answering simple queries… In fact, we may have scared a few of you in the process of our investigations. We also saw small improvements to some of your bad habits, but simultaneously others of you underwent dramatic and sudden personality changes due to strange factors… while at various times some of you were just annoyingly hard to track down. In the past six weeks we have bonded, but in all honesty, you TACs weren’t roasted enough— so we hope you enjoy the little “secret” we have put together for each and every one of you!!”
Each TAC was then handed a ‘case file’ from the manila folder, with pictures of them doing what we considered to be ‘crimes’ along with crime summaries, and a list of past infringements the investigators (simlettes) have noticed over the six-week residency. After that, everything happened so fast. Well… the whole six weeks went by to fast… I said goodbye to the people who left after the banquet (including my friend Gabrielle), and then we began the late night shenanigans. We got out of our fancy clothes, and into jeans, pajama pants, and the multitude of sweatshirts we have accumulated at SIMUW. We started off the night with a game of Sardines in the UW quad. We ended up only playing one round of it, because it took so long to find TAC William. Well… most of us found TAC William… but then Kristine tricked everyone by saying, “Hey, why are all of you huddled in here? William isn’t even here. I just sat down.” William was so surprised her trick worked. The vast majority of people left the hiding spot (but not ME!). I could see William curled up like a tiny potato in the corner of the hiding spot. Super fun start to the night, but the best times came later. We played basketball in the dark (sound super safe I know), rolled in tires and swung on bars at the outdoor ROTC workout space, watched the sunrise, and a few of us listened to William give various math lessons from 2am to 5am. Totally worth it. Then soon enough, the sun reached a high enough point in the sky, where we had to spend the rest of our cash on our UW cards, and check out of our rooms so that we could go home. I said goodbye to the friends that were still at the dorm, and hugged all the TACs goodbye. I will miss them all so much. I can only hope that in a few years I will return as a TAC myself, and impact a future simlette as much as these TACs have impacted me.