Friday, July 22, 2016

I Couldn't Make This Up: A Productive and Fantastic Day

Walked out of the dorm today and saw a tiny golden brown rabbit standing in front of me on the sidewalk. When it noticed me it dashed off into the bushes, which was frankly a little disappointing. Guess it was looking for one of the other Alices.

From left to right: Kelly, me, Kevin, Sophie, and Rihanna
(for reasons that will hopefully become clear later) working
on our final research project.
When I got to class I checked my email and realized that the professor had emailed back the intro sections to our papers with corrections. I was quite anxious and excited to see what she suggested for me, but the lesson was starting and I had to get to taking notes. In today's lecture we learned about the development of the brain by studying its basic structure and how this structure relates to function. After this short introduction, we spent the rest of the first half of the class watching two different videos. One was on the brain development of infants, specifically premature babies whose last stages of brain development must happen outside the womb. It included a short tangent about babies with cataracts at birth that could affect the way they are able to see for the rest of their lives. The other video was about the development of adolescents, which got a lot of laughs from the class when it talked about things like teenagers not wanting to get up in the morning or feeling like their parents don't understand them. While both of the videos were quite dated, their findings still ring true.

At lunch I got to see our chaperone Ms. Scott again, but only for a few short minutes. After that it was straight back to Beecher Hall to finish our experiments! Since most of our testing would be happening later that evening in the dorm, our group got together to work ahead on designing methods for analyzing our results and putting together our slideshow for the final presentation. I also got a chance to look over my introduction and see what I needed to change. I am proud of how much my group has accomplished and how well we are able to work together. Once Kevin and Kelly finish our last round of testing tonight, all we have to do is write our papers and wrap up the presentation!

From left to right: Kain, Alice, Alice, and behind me to the
right an unintentionally photobombing Alice. I guess improv is
an Alice kind of a thing.
With all of this progress, I figured it was okay to take the evening off and go on the RA trip to see Improv Shakespeare! Definitely some of the best spent $16 of my life. The troupe was made up of five actors, each incredibly talented and with their own style of humor. They IMPROVISED an entire two hour play, with intricate characters and a somehow coherent plot, entirely in Shakespearean language (with short drops of character for effect) and sometimes even in rhyming verse! Even more impressive, they built the entire thing around an audience suggested title, some nonsensical phrase about a turkey and a coop. The play resembled the structure and style of a Shakespeare play, but was unique and created on the spot. It was one of the most astounding feats of acting I have seen in a long time, and showed so much creativity and talent. I laughed so hard I almost cried, and recommend this troupe to anyone with an opportunity to see them. Such a fantastic experience to share with everyone there. On the way out, I ran into Ms. Scott again sitting at a table, I presume waiting to go in. What an amazing coincidence!

It was a long trip back to the dorm, and all the exhaustion of the week started to catch up with me. I have an excellent day lined up tomorrow (the last full weekend in Chicago, I can't believe it!), so I should go and get some rest so that I can enjoy it as much as possible.  


  1. I am thrilled that you were able to see Shakespeare at iO! Isn't it just incredible? When I tried to buy tickets last night it was already sold out, so I saw another show that did not disappoint.

  2. Love your description of the Shakespeare improv. Love even more that you get to work with a team made up of people like yourself who actually contribute. Hugs and kisses. Elena says hello.

    1. Yes, William, I love your description and joy at our wonderful contributor Alice's description of the Shakespeare improv.

      Best wishes,
      Mr. Leonard

  3. What a day you had. A full day of learning and fun. How I envy you.