After a productive morning of work with Lauren, from my grad program, I headed over to campus to meet up with the Pride of 2016 from KIPP: Gaston College Preparatory, the school I used to teach at. A big part of the school is preparing the students for college (hence the name), and that involves a lot of college visits. One of the 6th grade trips is to NC State, so I was more than excited to hop along and help with a ‘tour’ (in quotations solely because of my insane lack of knowledge of my campus. Case in point.)
TECHNOLOGICALLY UPDATED PARKING GARAGES: 8
While Lauren (a climbing friend who went to State for undergrad, and agreed to help out with the tours as well) and I were waiting for parking on campus, I discovered a brilliant system for pay-as-you-go parking garages. I’ve never seen anything like it. Once the garage is full, it actually refuses to open the gate at the entrance until it registers that a car has left the other side. That way, once you enter, you’re guaranteed a spot. It’s just a matter of finding it. I love this use of technology and think it makes a ton of sense.
-2 for the long lines created at the entrance when the gates aren’t opening. Once you’re in, it’s impossible to get out, so if you’re running late there’s no way out to find a better solution.
Luckily we eventually found parking and quickly met up with our group of students.
PHOTO SCAVENGER HUNT WITH THE PRIDE OF 2016: 9!
I have to say, it’s always super exciting to be around kids again. It’s not that I forget how much I love being around them, but I’m still reminded every time I get to spend some time with them. My group was incredible, well-behaved, excited by what we were seeing, and inquisitive. Plus, incredibly photogenic (see below).
-1 because we were running late at the end and missed one of the photos on the scavenger hunt list 😦 And then, after getting back on time, we waited on the wrong side of the building so ended up late anyways.
MY FIRST GCP SOCCER T-SHIRT: 10!
Afterwards, before heading to the library to knock out some more work, Wu gave me the best thank-you gift EVER. A GCP soccer t-shirt!
Let me explain. During my second year a good friend of mine, and the 8th grade science teacher and soccer coach, created a new soccer shirt with an awesome/clever quote (?) on the back. Everyone wanted one, but he kept them very exclusive. You had to earn them either by playing on the team, coaching the team, or showing up as a fan for at least three games (I think that was the magic number). I never managed to earn one during my time there, but was surprised with one today after the tour!
As you can imagine, I wore it proudly the rest of the day and received many compliments. Heck yeah!
Following the tour I diligently hit up the library to knock out one of my two final papers this semester, and then decided to take a study break at the local mall. It’s Christmas time, and in my opinion, nothing beats malls at Christmas. While there I discovered several fabulous things.
COOKIES & CREAM MILKSHAKE WITH ANY COOKIES YOU WANT: 8.
I never realized until I saw this sign that while Cookies & Cream flavor is called ‘cookies’ & cream, it always comes with the same kind of cookies (Oreos). What if I like cookies, but not Oreos? I no longer get to enjoy the cookies & cream flavor? Not anymore! Mrs. Fields is now making Cookies & Cream milkshakes with any of their cookies you choose. BRILLIANT!
-2 because I didn’t actually try it so I can’t vouch for the flavor, but I’m totally digging the idea. You can get one at the food court in the Crabtree Valley Mall (and I’m guessing other Mrs. Field’s locations).
MALL CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS: 8
I may be one of few, but I love how early they put up decorations. If I’m beginning my Christmas shopping, you better believe I want to be surrounded by Santa, wreaths, lights and Christmas music. Luckily the malls are on the same page as me. Crabtree was looking pretty good 🙂 In fact, I’ve pretty much decided my dream part-time job would be working as one of Santa’s elves during the holiday season. What could be better than getting to spend several hours a week at the mall, all Christmasy and decorated, spreading Christmas cheer?
-1 for the lack of Christmas music at the mall.
THIS PHOTO: 9. It doesn’t showcase my true photographic talent when it comes to taking pictures of myself with the iPhone, but you can see the decorations in the background and it makes me laugh.
All in all I’d say today was a pretty fabulous day. And I’m almost done with all my big projects for this semester! Until then, just living for the tens 🙂