Fabricating the Future: Robotics and Programming
Summer College 2016
Hello, my name is Gabriel, and I am from McLean, Virginia, which is about 10 minutes from Washington, D.C. I am a rising senior and attend Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. At Cornell's Summer College, I am attending the two-week long Robotics and Artificial Intelligence program. I have lived in Northern Virginia all of my life, but I usually go to Lebanon for a month or so every summer. Both of my parents are Lebanese, and I love going back to Lebanon to see my family and friends that I don’t regularly see. My favorite sports are soccer, where I play for the McLean Pumas, and skiing, where my home mountain is Whitetail in Pennsylvania. I am extremely excited to attend this program, and I look forward to meeting new people and experiencing a new place. See you soon!
It's been a week since I arrived at Cornell, and I have had a blast every single day. For starters, the course is extremely engaging and interesting, and our teacher is very knowledgeable about robotics. My robot is finally working and moving after a week of assembly and troubleshooting. Even though the course is extremely fun, my favorite part about this program has been spending time with my friends in the 6th floor lounge of the dorm, or just walking around the campus and having fun.
I have made a lot of friends both inside my course and in my dorm, and we seem to have a routine for playing soccer every day at around 5 p.m. Many of the players are quite skilled at soccer, and it shows on the field. There have been so many nutmegs and insane goals that I have lost count. On many afternoons, we also play Ultimate Frisbee outside of Helen Newman Hall, and my legs are still sore as I am writing this. But sore legs won't keep me from enjoying the beautiful game that is soccer.
Since everyone else has been here for a week, I thought it would be difficult to make friends since everyone has had a week to get to know each other. That was not the case, as the people on my floor made the dorm feel like home. I've already formed bonds with a bunch of the people in my dorm. There is also much more cultural diversity on campus than I had assumed, and I have made friends with people from Saudi Arabia, France, Belgium, and a number of other countries. It is nice making friends with fellow Arabs who also speak Arabic, and it is entertaining to watch others try and understand your conversations in a foreign language.
The best part about this program has been the friendships that I have formed with others, and I hope to enhance those friendships in the coming weeks. Let's get started with week two! (p.s. I hope France wins the Euros, as we are going to watch it in a few hours.)
My last days at Summer College were filled with mixed emotions. I was excited to see my family and friends back home, but I was sad to leave all of the great friends that I had made at CUSC. The last few days mostly involved people studying for exams during the afternoon, while late in the evening consisted of hanging around in the lounge, playing soccer on the field, or just generally enjoying each other's company. The mixed emotions culminated in everyone's departure the next day, with some tearful goodbyes and sad moments. Even though I had only known my friends for two weeks, it feels like I have known them my whole life.
The final night was arguably one of the best nights of the programs, even though it was filled with the sadness of some people leaving early on Friday night. We played soccer, the best sport in the world, and then relaxed in the lounge, like any other afternoon. What made it special was that everyone was together, just enjoying the last night we would all be together in that setting. I don't like to think that that night was going to be the last night we were going to be together, because I know it won't. The bonds we formed are way too strong to be broken by something as simple as distance in the modern world.
When I look back on the program, the best thing about it wasn't the knowledge we gained from the actual education. I learned a lot academically from the program, but the most important aspect of it was truly the people I met and the time I spent with them. Being thrown into a new environment with people you have never talked to, and have also had a week to know each other is a challenge in and of itself. It showed me that I am capable of adapting quickly to my environment, and has also helped me become a better person. The two weeks I spent at Cornell were some of the best weeks of my life, and the experiences I shared with some great friends are unforgettable.