Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life As A Camper

At physics camp our daily traditions is to write the day of the week on the board because after a while we campers tend to lose track of time. I think the reason that happens is that we have so much fun here. What's been so remarkable about this camp isn't that 19 young students can have a great time together; that could happen anywhere. But here, unlike anywhere else, doing physics is our idea of fun, and I believe I speak for all of us when I say that the past 10 days have been some of the most exciting and rewarding days of our high school careers.

We've learned an incredible amount—that the Bernoulli effect is a lie, that IPHO is IHOP in Swahili, that E isn't always mc2 and that 2=2 isn't always 4. We've talked about the physics of Frisbees during breaks and gone out to play some amazing games of Ultimate at lunches. Our nights are alternately passed with water guns and problems sets. And we’ve annoyed the Hilton Inn staff to no end by spending dinner time testing the elastic modules of ice—in other words by engaging in ice-eating battles.

Though we've gone through dozens of high-level problems & worked through five challenging labs, I've never felt that the camp has been about setting up a competitive atmosphere for team spots. This is thanks in large part to our wonderful coaches who have challenged us, tested our limits, and drawn out our potential. Camp has been more about showing us that we each have the ability to succeed—that given a little push, we can all discover more about and better understand the world we live in. These are valuable lessons we’ll all benefit from not just in the short term but also in the long term whether or not we decide to pursue physics in college.

The purpose of this reception today is not only to honor the 19 students here, but also to express our gratitude towards those who have made everything possible for us—coaches, sponsors, teachers, family, friends, and the dedicated members of AAPT. Thank you for believing in us and for helping us reach where we stand today.

—Mariana Mao

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