All Work and No Pay

My school decided early on that all incoming Grade 10-11 students must undergo an internship with a minimum of 80 hours as a requirement for graduation. To be frank, I wasn’t excited at all for “a chance to experience working in a field of science”. A job with no pay? Really???

I did a 3-week internship in the Aquatic Biology Research Lab at U.P. Diliman Institute of Biology. The personnel were really helpful and kind, and I managed to learn new things from them. My intern-mates were also really fun to be with as I found out. I managed to be friends with one batch-mate and two students from Mindanao. We all shared more interests than I thought possible and we helped each other out when needed. At the final day of the internship, all four interns including me were given a sample of benthic macroinvertebrates (I’ll explain later) from different families. Overall, it was nice and chill, and I’d recommend it to anyone else who’s interested in aquatic Biology.

I actually didn’t manage to show up on two days of the internship. I couldn’t attend the first day because of an overlap with a vacation, and the third day because of a passport renewal appointment, and a loose bracket. (The vacation’s a future post in the works. Stay tuned.)

The second day was when everything started for me. Mom accompanied me going to the building, but it was a little complicated because the main road to the building was closed. It took Google Maps to show a long but scenic route. (I found out 2 weeks in my internship that there was a shorter one that would have saved my legs and feet.) Once we got to the building, I saw the lab and all the people inside. I was left alone by Mom after she told the supervisor I had ADHD.

I was given an orientation about benthic macroinvertebrates. There’s Google for all you readers, but I’ll give the gist on what they are. They’re a diverse group of sedentary invertebrates that are bottom-dwellers, and their presence and/or absence is used to monitor the quality of water. I was tasked to sort out all the benthic macroinvertebrates from their samples. If you guys know those Hidden Objects games, then you already have a grasp on what I was doing throughout the first week. That went on until lunch, where I managed to talk to the other interns. The afternoon was fine. The personnel managed to point out certain animals I mistook for debris like leeches. My batch mate was kind enough to let me ride with them going to SM North EDSA to get on the train going home.

The following days until the end were honestly very repetitive. Commute, work, lunch, work, commute, then repeat all over again. The commute going to the building was quite long. A train ride, a jeepney ride, and a walk altogether took 1 hour and 30 minutes. Also, peak hours inside a train are no joke. You can get squeezed to the point where you have to fight to get in or out. Woe behold the people in the middle section who have to get off, because not getting out in time is a fear all the riders have. Lunch was the only thing that was different every day. We explored as many cafeterias near us as possible and ate as much food was possible. I had two lunches per day, which Mum was quite happy about with me.

Also, I was introduced to the process of elutriation during the first week. Basically, it shrinks the sample size by removing as much debris as possible to make sorting easier. Imagine rinsing out a piece of clothing and removing all bits and pieces of dirt from it, and then doing it for 4 cycles. My arms were aching by the time I did all sample bottles.

The work I was doing differed per week. The first week was dubbed “Where’s Waldo”. The second week got the name “Who’s Waldo”. The third week was a mix.

The second week was spent identifying the animals that we sorted out from the week before. We started identifying to order-level via dichotomous keys. I wasn’t so bad there. When it got to identifying up to family level, I realized I was the worst out of all the interns. Woohoo, right????? Thankfully, the personnel simply told us the features to look for to identify certain families and didn’t judge us so much.

The third week was a mix, honestly. The first day was a continuation of last week. The second day was spent wrapping centrifuge tubes full of samples with parafilm to preserve the ethanol and the animals submerged inside. The third day was the main event: fieldwork. The personnel simulated what they did when they collected samples from different water sources. They evaluate the site and check if it meets the criteria for an optimal reference site. Then they use physical and chemical measurements to analyze the site. Lastly, they start collecting the samples using either leaf packs or a D-net. The last step was honestly tiring. The afternoon was spent learning to use a software program used in Statistics. The next day was spent answering an exam and preparing a presentation for the final day of the internship. And the last day of the internship was spent mostly on the culminating activity. Lots of labs had students from different regions of the Philippines, and everyone’s presentation was nice. We all got certificates and remembrances from our lab.

It was the little things during the internship that I remember fondly. The playground near a building, the time everyone gathered around a laptop to watch an anime on the cells of the human body, the card games played during break, and all the confessions that happened over lunch tables. I also liked the times when someone had a birthday and everyone was invited for food.

This was definitely quite an experience. I really hope I can put this in my future CV.

Oops!…I’m an HP fan

Harry Potter. What comes into your mind? Suffice to say, even though you might not have read any of his books, you can say he is The Boy Who Lived, after surviving the killing curse, or the Avada Kedavra. 

I’m of a Christian religion, and I have been taught that Harry Potter has magic, which displeases God, but I can still say that he is wonderful.

After all, books let us enter their world of fantasies, where we can escape reality for a while.

I’m a Harry Potter fan. I wouldn’t be called that if I didn’t take various quizzes about Harry Potter and getting high marks. I computed what year he went to Hogwarts. I read and re-read his books. I watched all the movies. I watched all videos about facts on Harry Potter. I get mad at Harry Potter’s enemies. Too bad my Harry Potter fantasies can only be shared with only one friend in my batch. 😿

Harry Potter has a lot of mysteries woven in the book. As you read, you will find things that may seem normal and weird, and later on, you will find the explanation. Why has Gilderoy Lockhart seemed to fail at every single thing he has done, even though his books show otherwise? It turns out that he was a fraud (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Book Two). 

One HP (Harry Potter) debate you have probably heard of before was our debate on whether Professor Snape is good or evil. Well, it turns out he was originally evil, since he was a Death Eater, but he crossed over to become good. No wonder everyone was confused on how come Dumbledore trusts Snape and why he killed Dumbledore. Also, even though the Malfoys were evil, they were unfairly accused of almost every bad event that happened.

Almost all the characters had some lesson to give out. Here:

“Me! Books! And cleverness! There are more important things-friendship and bravery…” -Hermione Granger

“I don’t go looking for trouble. Trouble usually finds me.” – Harry Potter

“That’s chess! You’ve got to make some sacrifices! I take one step forward and the queen takes me – that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Harry!” – Ron Weasley

“Don’t trust something that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps it’s brain.” – Arthur Weasley

“The thing about growing up with Fred and George is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” – Ginny Weasley

“Wit above measure is man’s greatest treasure.” -Luna Lovegood

“Only the difference between truth and lies is courage and cowardice.” – Professor McGonagall

“There is no good or evil, only power, and those too weak too seek it.” – Professor Quirrell

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – Sirius Black

“It is our choices, Harry, that defines what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore.

Harry Potter gives a lot of lessons, if not values, that we can apply into our lives. It can justify your argument on why we should still keep reading Harry Potter. By the way, I recommend you read the whole series. Thank you!

Grade School in HEDCen from the Eyes of a Graduate

From first grade to sixth grade, if I were to check if we in the sixth grade had changed, I would say that it’s rarely noticeable with behavior, but with appearances, there are changes obviously seen.
In our class, 6-Armstrong, we are still noisy, naughty, a bit irresponsible, but very social whether by FB or others. In fact, up to now, we still get scolded by teachers, end up not following directions, and threatened by our teachers to behave or else we would get low grades. Good news is that we still love soccer, have lots of fun, and always be with friends either face-to-face or by FB (friends on FB).
In HEDCen, there are students who come from all kinds of families. There are those who are intellectuals academically, those who are naturals in being social, and those who are always disciplined. There are those who love art, those who love to play, and those who are so historical, they can remember the whole history of the Philippines from the early times until President Arroyo. That’s what provides the spice to life found in HEDCEN.
In every year in HEDCen, there are teachers who stay, and teacher that come and go. They always give their best in teaching, that’s why they get mad at you if you forgot to bring the materials for a certain experiment or activity. (Aren’t we forgetful?)
There are lots of changes occurring in HEDCen, not just with the school itself, but also within the students themselves, such as the beginning and fading of friendships, students who are gonna transfer because of the tuition fee increase, or for other personal reasons. But, there are also things that will never change, such as the gimmicks, the jokes, funny moments, the school assembly every Monday, and more.
Every year in HEDCen almost seemed to never be the same, even though we still have the same events happening. But, we know our classmates very well, and we think that they will never change in terms of personality.
Throughout my stay in HEDCen, here are some lessons I learned:
1. Don’t bother yelling “Quiet” when your classmates are noisy. The teacher’s authority is higher, so let the teacher say it.
2. You don’t have to tell everything to the teacher or whoever unless it’s really bad. You’ll be called a “sumbongero” .
3. It’s a bit of a hindrance if you don’t stay updated with the news and show biz because that’s what your classmates talk about.
4. When writing a journal, brace yourself for the remarks of your classmates. They always think you’re writing a diary.
5. HEDCen is a bit obscure in details, so be ready for your mother’s probing questions and looks of confusion.
6. The teacher only wants to help the students to learn. However, not everything is being taught by the teacher, so be ready for social lessons that are only taught by experience.
7. The principal is very kind and nice, so don’t think that the principal’s office spells TROUBLE.
8. In writing a journal, don’t show off with a colorful notebook. Your classmates will read it, even if you say no, and it means big trouble.
9. Cramming happens when you do things only right before the deadline. This applies to important but not urgent things, such as science expo, yearly projects, and others.
10. Always try to get a high score on quizzes and projects, since they are considered for exemptions from final exams.
11. Be mindful of the bell because it tells you when recess is over. Don’t be late for class.
12. Being absent also means that you miss out on great activities and events that happened on the day you were absent.
13. Never ever talk at the same time when the teacher is giving a lecture, because it pisses them off.
14. Be understanding to those having a hard time in Math because some lessons are simply hard to simplify, and the math teachers do their best to make them easy to comprehend.
15. The Subject Matter Outline is often a seemingly good lesson plan, however, we are always left behind because we have to make sure everyone gets the lesson before we move on to the next one.

To sum it up, grade-school was never boring. I had a blast from first grade up until the sixth. All in all, we spent five years because we were accelerated one grade, meaning we skipped fifth grade because of K-12, because the school’s curriculum is advanced.