Scholars visit – or The adventures of an IQS t-shirt

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This week Richmond Scholars finalists came on campus. Still under the powerful impression of my visit last year, I volunteered to host a scholar and participate in events. Even before scholars came, this was the number one topic of discussion and enthusiasm with the other current scholars that I am friends with. But when they did, things started to explode: the fun, the awe in realizing how accomplished our scholars were, the discussions about high school vs college, and …my instincts to promote the school. I really feel like I should change my major to advertising or something.
Anyway, the girl I hosted is called Laura. I didn’t even need any other reasons to like her, because my younger sister’s name is Laura, so I felt like it was destiny that we should get along. I tried to create for her a perfect experience here at UR, and I tried to treat her just like I wanted my host to treat me last year. I was there for her whenever I could, I showed her around campus and walked her pretty much everywhere (I was afraid she would get lost as I did last year), and I introduced her to all the Physics professors that were then on campus since she is interested in Physics. At some point I saw a student in a Physics lab and I knocked and asked him to show her the facilities. He then took a long break and showed her everything around the Physics department and talked more to Laura about what she can do in Physics here (thanks a lot Adam!).
Apparently I did a much greater job than I was anticipating. I heard from a professor from Laura’s interview committee that she is excited about coming to UR, and one reason was that she had a great ambassador to the university: her host, aka me. I hope I did my job well to the end and I’ll see her here next year, as a UR student.
I and Laura, the scholar I hosted
When I wasn’t hanging out with Laura, I spent some time with a Romanian scholar who came on campus. I showed him around, and talked to him from a Romanian perspective about all the great advantages UR offers. He is interested in Math and I really hope he’ll come here to take advantage next year of the school’s LURE program, that takes first-year students and makes them do research in Math for 2 years, starting day 1 of freshman year. He really deserves it, after I saw him thinking about this former Putnam problem that a Math teacher told him about during the interview. I am so excited at the possibility of not being the only Romanian on campus when I am a senior and everyone else graduates. I hope he comes here next year together with Laura and all other awesome scholars I met!
I and Tinu, a Science Scholar from Romania.
with one of my best friends and her scholar
On Thursday morning, scholars had an optional presentation of the science facilities from the university. I woke up even earlier than usual, put on me the first t-shirt I found in my closet (my IQS t-shirt) and went to drop off my scholar to Gottwald, the Science Center. Once there, a teacher asked me if I could take the scholars to the room where the presentation was going to take place, and in that room I found one of my IQS teachers wearing a t-shirt just like mine, and a screen with a presentation slide that had a huge IQS title. This is how I ended up staying for the half-hour presentation as a current IQS student, and this is how I saw some not-so-great pictures of me from IQS events on several slides…so being the IQS photographer has drawbacks too.
scholars listening to the IQS presentation
a slide that summarizes the first IQS semester, with teachers included…
A few hours later, before the scholars left, I went to a farewell lunch. While I was eating a delicious meal in peace, I was listening to the provost as he was talking to the scholars about how unique is UR because of its new freshmen seminars that will be taught by teachers from all schools, not only from Arts and Sciences as most other schools, until at some point he completely and unexpectedly changed the topic, saying: “I saw someone here wearing an IQS t-shirt!” The next millisecond he was standing near me and making me stand up. “Can you please stand up and tell us your name?” But I was having my mouth full and I couldn’t speak! It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life! Someone near me came to my rescue and said my name for me…Then he asked me what IQS stands for an, still swallowing, I tried to say something, but I have no idea what people understood. Then he went on telling how awesome and unique the IQS program is, while I was asking myself why did I choose to wear that t-shirt, and I was afraid to eat anymore in case he should come back to me again.
Moral of the story: avoid wearing school-related clothes at school-related events unless you are asked to, otherwise you’ll stand out and who knows what the outcome will be?
Of course, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday a lot of scholars sat in the IQ Science course, making the room more crowded than usual, but the course more funny than usual. Several scholars chose to sit in the IQS lab on Thursday after lunch, before their time to leave campus. They were leaving one by one during the lab, so every half hour or so there was someone standing up and hugging their host and sometimes other people.It was a very interesting and emotional lab. Laura was one the scholars who left during the lab, and I started missing her one minute later.
I entered that lab as a scholar host, and I exit it as a student who would have 2 tests the next morning and hadn’t studied for any. I did something beautiful for my school, and I had a huge amount of fun along the way, but I totally neglected studying (as in, I didn’t have time for anything). It was time to face reality and hurry to grab my Organic and Environmental Studies notes.