The commencement of the summer

Firstly, I wish to, as has nearly become my custom, apologize.  The last few months have been exceedingly hurried – the S.A.T. was the first to come forth; in-school examinations occurred after the eighteenth of June.  They were followed by T.O.P.S. Night, the annual celebration of all that our program has grown to be.  Even amongst the logistical discord that is always present with the end of an academic year, further celebrations ensued; on one occasion, I, Neil, and several other friends engaged in playing music; later in the week, on Canada Day, we braved Woodbine Beach.

At present, though, I am once again at the cottage that my family rents yearly, and am at last ready to begin a restful two-month period of academic and interpersonal enrichment.  Whilst at the cottage, I will primarily strive to venture outside and chart the varied members of Animalia, Plantae, and Fungi that I locate.  When the weather doesn’t permit me entrance to the non-human world, however, I will work on a variety of projects (and tasks that mayn’t be called projects) that I’ve hoped to undertake for some time.  They may seem exceedingly ambitious; some may even strike you as comical, but I hope to generate something effective, and I will update you as to how I proceed.  These will purely be begun at the cottage; they may take the entirety of my summer to complete.  The below is a list of them.

  • Try to perfect my Hungarian in under a week in a highly methodical fashion.
  • Do some so-termed “impossible” physics – try to, for example, decipher precisely how much force is being applied by each component of the human hand.
  • Re-work the karyotyping exercise typically given to ninth-grade students.
  • Write some longer work of fiction.
  • Create an interactive dichotomous key.
  • Translate fragments of GEB into Czech.
  • Work towards claiming enough knowledge to write the M.C.A.T. in January (I will not actually brave the examination, but I wish to learn the required knowledge by that time).
  • Publicize Top Tutors, the free online tutoring service that I founded two years ago; get our tutors and students organized.
  • Prepare for the M.A.T.
  • Conduct several experiments geared at transgenically modifying phytoplankton.
  • Establish a group geared at caring for, rehoming, and further protecting stray cats.
  • Compile a résumé for Suite101.
  • Write a guide to the flora and fauna of Algonquin Provincial Park.
  • Translate fragments of M.I.T. O.C.W. into Czech.
  • Compile a set of lectures for Helix Club that discuss all A.P. Biology material.
  • Establish an English literature help site.
  • Establish a YouTube channel geared at aiding students in the areas of biology, calculus, physics, English, and S.A.T. preparation.
  • Derive several equations that accurately describe the leg kinematics of D. discolor; search for the possibility of an echolation system in these beetles.
  • Attempt to determine whether eidetic memory is more common in native Chinese readers than in others (I’ve a rather lengthy theory about this).
  • Spend time writing and rehearsing music with several friends.
  • And, of course, blog regularly!

Upon my return from the cottage, I will have some time to spend with friends, thankfully.  On the twenty-fourth of July, however, I will depart for Texas to participate in an astronomy-related program.  On the very day that I return home, I will proceed to Waterloo to take part in a physics-related program.  I will then be free to spend my summer where I wish.

A holistically exciting time awaits, then!  Reality, however, must settle in once more – when I return to school, I will effectively have to decide, for example, between taking A.P. Physics C and journeying to the Antarctic for several weeks.  The aforementioned course is far too fast-paced to permit me to skip more than two weeks of instruction.  I am currently leaning towards seizing the polar opportunity and simply self-studying the physics; which would you choose?

Additionally, what are your summer plans?

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5 Responses to The commencement of the summer

  1. Andrej says:

    Hi! My name is Andrej and I happen to be a fourteen year-old from Ottawa. I don’t know you, aside from the little that I’ve assimilated from this blog, but I do know Brian Bi. As for my summer plans, I will be taking a Reach Ahead course at a nearby school for most of July starting this Wednesday (tenth grade Civics and Careers). Soon after that, I will be vacationing with my parents for two weeks in the Balkans because that is whence our lines of descent are traced. I’ll have the remainder of August to do essentially whatever I please, and I plan to use that time to continue improving my math (e.g., my performance on contests, my ability in differential geometry [most of which I’ve learned from OpenCourseWare]). I should probably do more practice N.A.C.L.O.’s as well in preparation for what will occur if I actually find a way to participate in the competition during the upcoming school year.

    Anyway, if you’ll pardon the cliché, that’s enough about me!

    Were I in your situation I would immediately seize the opportunity to journey to the Antarctic, given that it would be far easier for me to pass up on A.P. Physics C and learn the material autonomously at a later time than it would be for me to take A.P. Physics C and likely miss the memories of an epic high school adventure, which appear to have quite a high probability of being treasured for an exceptionally long time.

    Your goals in general are scintillating. I imagine Hungarian is quite a fun language to perfect as it is agglutinative. You see, I have had a long-held bias towards agglutinative languages ever since I first looked into John Quijada’s conlangs Ithkuil and Ilaksh (which will soon enter their final revision[!]). Though these languages are enormously complex, relatively speaking, I still hold the rather lofty goal of one day learning them. I came somewhat closer to this goal several months ago when I learned Navajo. (In retrospect, it was somewhat more tedious than it had to be because of the limited resources available on the language. I ended up using mostly research papers as tutorials.) On any account, to get off my tangent, Hungarian is great and I hope you have fun learning it and perhaps achieving fluency!

    I am not really a biology nerd (though I’ll probably end up one one day), so I can’t say as much for your biologico-medical pursuits. I am sure they are also cool though, and I find that D. discolor (and by extension your work on D. discolor) is particularly interesting, what with the precision of the beetles’ leg motions and the like. Also the mad scientist within me appreciates the transgenic modification of phytoplankton. ;D

    Well, I’m rapidly running out of even mildly interesting things to say so I’ll leave you to your summer and I hope you have a truly great one!

    • Sophia says:

      Hello, Andrej!

      Firstly, I am so sorry that it has taken me such a period of time to respond to your comment. I’d read it immediately upon your submitting it, but I simply did not retain the time management skills required to reply to it with vigor. I am, however, finally at home, and may therefore take my time in addressing you.

      I’m very pleased to, erm, “meet” you; haha, if I may say, I doubt that there is much more to me than that written here. I too know Brian, as it is obvious that you are aware, given your mentioning him; he has only told me good things where you are concerned 😀
      I hope that you found Civics and Careers fun – I recall undertaking it in the ninth grade as part of the T.O.P.S. curriculum, and whilst it was not particularly challenging, it was at least a slightly useful means of finding out more about myself. As to the advancement of your mathematical knowledge, I think that’s admirable! The contests are very fulfilling if approached correctly; I too, actually, am using my August to piece through science-related endeavours, as the above post suggests, haha. Erm, if you would like, then it would be entirely possible for you to visit Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute and write the N.A.C.L.O. here this school year – I run it at the aforementioned institution, and we welcome guests.

      Haha, I’m certain you’re considerably more fascinating than I am, but all right – in reference to the Antarctic trip, I have decided to seize it, and I will be self-studying A.P. Physics C. The material is not particularly frightening, and I enjoy A.P. examinations, so I am not too worried about what will result.

      Yes, most definitely – I’m biased towards the Romance and Slavic groupings, as I managed to study several of their members during my early childhood; I most enjoy the Sinitic languages by dint of their tonality. Ilaksh is another project entirely; Hungarian I’d already had some experience with prior to attempting fluency, and it was therefore not particularly difficult to master. I am currently in the process of approaching Thai – the writing system is immensely intriguing, and the spoken language is enthralling. I would suggest that you take a look at it. Which would you say is your favourite language? Mine would have to be my mother tongue, Czech – grammatically complex, considerably useless, but highly appealing to the emotions.

      Lastly, biology. The previous incomplete sentence is ironic, haha – I am not one to leave the best for last, and I would therefore typically rant about bio prior to pursuing any other subject. The D. discolor project is particularly interesting by dint of its enabling me to combine field observation, wave dynamics, and three-dimensional modelling into one cohesive attempt at charting a truly perplexing creature’s behavioural patterns. Truly, I think the most fascinating thing I’ve stumbled upon thus far is the evidence of an echolocative system. That’s really something. The modification of phytoplankton is far more grueling, and far less immediately rewarding, but I hope to take it to Intel I.S.E.F. this year. Knowing me, however, that will not occur.

      Come now, all of that which you’ve said was highly intriguing! Thank you for taking the time to write 🙂 We should converse at some point regarding mathematical, physical, linguistic, or biological phenomena!

      • Andrej says:

        Hello again!

        I don’t mind the time it has taken you and your business easily explains it. 🙂 As you can see by my own delay, I too have been somewhat busy because I was visiting the Balkans, as I mentioned I would in my earlier comment.

        I’m pleased to “meet” you too, and where Brian is concerned I also have only good things to say.

        Civics and Careers was about as good as I expected it to be, which is to say unexceptional but not terrible. I have heard exceptionally many bad things about my school’s CivCar teacher, so I decided to avoid the risk of disliking the class by taking it over the summer. The advancement of my mathematical knowledge is being quite enjoyable. I hope that you are enjoying your endeavours as much as I am enjoying mine. As for the NACLO, I will first try to organize it here and if that does not succeed my actions will depend on how many other commitments I have. If possible, I would be glad to write it at Marc Garneau and I thank you for the offer. ^^

        On the contrary, I feel that you are more fascinating than I am. I approve of your choice and I’m sure you’ll succeed in your autodidacticism.

        I would say that my favourite language is Vedic Sanskrit, given its aesthetically pleasing pronunciation, the influence it holds over many modern languages, and the rich verses composed in it. My native language is Serbian (properly Serbo-Croatian), which is amusingly convenient because I can say I also speak Croatian, Montenegrin, and Bosnian. However, I find it very genial and somewhat dull, so I can’t honestly say it’s my favourite.

        It looks like the study of D. discolor would make for a fascinating research project, so I hope you have fun with it! I wish you luck in discovering even more about these beetles. I don’t have much experience with the Intel ISEF, but a quick scan of the works of notable alumni suggests that the phytoplankton engineering idea has the potential to garner some awards, if you do choose to pursue it. In any case, your judgement is surely better than mine apropos the matter.

        Where writing is concerned, the pleasure has been mine. 🙂 If you wish to converse, you can contact me at the Gmail address I’ve provided (which I suppose you can see), or via Facebook.

  2. Theo says:

    Wow, you have a chance to travel to the Antarctic? I’m Jealous. Take it. That would be awesome, if a little cold. And have fun at QCSYS! You will enjoy it.

    • Sophia says:

      Thank you! I do have a chance at that; I think that I will end up self-studying the physics and seizing the opportunity. I feel honored to be able to attend Q.C.S.Y.S.; I [figuratively] can’t wait!

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