Our last formal meeting before we embark occurred on Thursday. Orientation was an opportunity for all the participants of ILC to sit together and ask any final questions that were burning in our minds.
As a group, all of the ILCers learned about the importance of being on time, being prepared, and following directions from Madeline, Don, and Charles as well as a general overview about what to expect on our respective trips. We were each given an extensive packing list to help with the "prepared" bit.
Later, when we split up into our separate programs, we were able to talk more specifically about what kinds of things we would be doing in Pennsylvania outside of our academic program. Ideas such as baseball games, fireworks displays, and of course, eating some Philly cheese steaks were discussed.
We also recieved our official itineraries for the trip and reviewed the schedule that was e-mailed to us from Penn (which inclided activities such as tie-dye Tuesday and Wii Wednesday).
Cynthia Fong, a former Penn ILC participant, was kind enough to spend some time with us sharing her experiences on the campus and in the dorms as well as on the weekend day trips. She shared her difficulties with the east coast weather, assured us that the dorms were very comfortable, and told us about her favorite activities, including seeing Les Miserables.
After listening to what she had to say and reviewing our schedules, I felt very prepared. I also came to realize that there will be very few moments of inactivity for me during my month at UPenn. While I am there, I plan on learning all that I can about physics, the college learning environment, and the culture of Philadelphia. That doesn't leave much time for sitting around.