Programing Party: The Science of Chocolate

Type: Educational/ Social

Topic: Chocolate, Chemistry, Biology

Cost: $15

Materials: Chocolate, Spice Gum Drops, Toothpicks

Overview:

During this program, residents were able to learn what goes into their sweet treats. The first thing that residents did was to assemble theobromine, which is a chemical found in cocoa and when digested interacts with the body in ways that induce the pleasurable feeling associated with eating chocolate. Residents were put in pairs, and competed against each other to see who could build the most structurally sound molecule, and the winning duo was awarded a giant chocolate bar. Following the short activity, a presentation about how neurotransmitters work in the body, as well as chocolate’s role in increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters was given by me. The residents were then able to participate in a quiz type activity, where each group would answer a question presented by me. As they got the answers right, they were awarded with mini candies, as well as points. At the end of the program, the team with the most amount of points were also awarded giant chocolate bars.

I assessed the learning by handing out a pre-assessment and a post-assessment. Both assessments contained the same question, and learning was assessed by seeing the difference between previous knowledge and knowledge gained after the end of the program. Also, the short, but fun quiz based on the presentation that I gave served as another way to see if the information was being retained. In the quiz there were also questions that discussed topics that were not in the presentation, but could be answered due to the answers being common knowledge.

The residents were able to learn about the history and origins of chocolate. How chocolate as we know it came to be as well as the modifications that chocolate undergoes to get to how it is eaten today. The residents were able to learn about the chemistry behind components of chocolate such as theobromine, serotonin, tryptophan, and phenyl ethylamine and how they interact in the body.

This program ended up being better than I thought. It was a little slow at first, but the anticipation of getting chocolate made them eager to participate. My residents are super competitive, so anything that they can win riles them up, and for this program that was a plus. The hardest part for me was keeping myself from overly explaining the science, or diving into the rabbit hole. Most of the residents who attended were not in any kind of STEM major (which didn’t mean that they couldn’t enjoy it) so I knew that getting too technical would cause interest to be lost.

Overall, it was a fantastic program!

Prep:

There wasn’t a lot of prep for this. The only thing that took time was creating the PowerPoint that I used for my presentation. I did have to separate the gum drops by color, but that took only 5 minutes or so!

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RA Training Spring Edition Day 3: BCD

Today was the last real day of training, and thank goodness! Not that this training has been particularly difficult or anything, but I’ve been stressing about my pharmacy school interviews. Anyway, this morning was kind of a wreck.  I woke up a little later than usual and prepped for my interview before taking a shower and making my way up to the desk.

I started working on my passive to pass the time until the rest of my staff showed up so that we could go together to participate in BCD (Behind Closed Doors). Unbeknown to me, every single one of my staff members thought that the time for BCD was completely different that it actually was. We had to be there at 1 o’clock, and some of us thought it was at 1:30 or at 2:00. It was the struggle to wake people up, and we actually called someone while they were still in the shower to make sure that they were up.

After the fiasco of not knowing what time we had to bee there, we piled into the car and drove to our on campus apartment complex. There has been a lot of administrative changes, so the apartments are now part of our area, which is new and fun. We met up with other halls in our area and started with a small ice breaker.

For some reason, every time the word ice breaker is said in a room of RAs we all roll our eyes and grudgingly participate. Maybe it is because we try so hard to get our residents to do them, and they never do. Or maybe it is the whole preaching to the choir dynamic. Luckily Eli, who is the area director for my area made it super short and quick. Name and major, that’s it.

The whole purpose of BCD is to expose RAs to the different scenarios that can occur in the hall at any moment. Although it is very unlikely that one RA will encounter every single one of the scenes that were portrayed, it is good to know how to approach anything and everything. Being an RA is one of those things were, it doesn’t matter how much you practice a scene, real life has unpredictable variables and each situation will be unique. However, it is important to know how to handle the different situations and have a baseline of what to go off of.

We had some heavy scenes such as a resident contemplating suicide, as well as other not so intense scenes such as making sure residents don’t open the door for strangers. The way that we did BCD this time was a lot better than at previous training in the fall because we were given the scenes as a staff and we had to act them out ourselves and resolve the issue in front of the other RAs. After the scene was other, we got constructive criticism from other RAs, RDs, and our AD Eli.

This way was a lot less awkward than before and it also allowed us as a staff to discuss how we could adapt everything to our hall, and rely on each others strengths. The only down part was the scene was as serious as the group wanted to take it, but none of the staffs decided to over dramatize the scenes which was good.

After BCD there was a lunch quest that came up empty because basically all of the dining halls on campus were closed except one that was on the other side of campus. I ended up eating in my room and that was okay. I finished my passive which was exciting, and I am pretty proud of it. Not only does it tie into the theme of my learning community, I got to practice my hand-lettering on  a larger scale, that wasn’t a piece of paper in my journal.

Now that training is winding down, I can focus more on my interview for A&M which is in a few short days. I’m so excited and nervous at the same time. I can’t believe that I am one step away from the rest of my life, and its trilling to know that I have what it takes to get this far in the application process. Hopefully I’ll be accepted into their pharmacy program! I’ll keep y’all posted!

xo

Chid

RA Training Spring Edition Day 2: PJ’s and Passives

Today’s theme was Pajama Day, and it was really fun to see all of the different pj’s that people were rocking. My staff is always extra, so we wore matching shirts that spell out our hall’s name! Dana and I also bought matching flannel pajama rompers to wear as well! Looking back, I wish I had taken pictures of how spiffy we all looked together, but that’s a rant for another day.

This morning we had a diversity discussion within our halls. It was a little chilling because all of the scenarios were based on things that had happened on our campus recently. I was a little saddened by the lack of decency and respect that other people have for each other and especially for the lack of tolerance for those who are different than us.

Some of the topics that we discussed were Islamophobia, sexism, disabilities, and racially targeting insults. The key to navigating through most of those issues was having an educating discussion, whether it be with an individual or through means of a passive or a program. No one wants to feel personally attacked, even if they are the ones exhibiting the poor behavior, so inviting the perpetrator to engage in conversations that can change their thought process for the better is the best.

However, people are wack. People are sexist. People have been conditioned to think a certain way. People suck. People say things that are wrong, and feel entitled to flexing their privilege in their benefit whenever they feel like it.

That stinks.

People are also kind. People are loving. People have changed the world for the better. People have challenged stigmas, and won. People care. People need love and acceptance.

The only way to break the cycle of horrible human behavior is to appeal to the good in individuals, get them to challenge the world around them, and have positive exposure to those that are different than them.

After that we went to get a brief recap of lost and found log changes as well as mail changes. We drove to the hall that the meeting was being held at, and once again all of my RA friends were around and having a great time. When the meeting got started, I noticed that people remained talking throughout the entire presentation. I became agitated, and tried to shh the people around me, including my staff members.

I just thought it was extremely rude to talk when someone else was talking, especially during training over the implementation of a new procedure. Not only was is rude, but it was unprofessional as well. As RAs we are supposed to be an example, to be leaders on campus, however many people were failing to do so. My last RD Kendra taught me well, and one of her expectations was that whenever we were in training, we were supposed to be present. That meant, front row seats, no talking when a presentation is going on, and absolutely no phones whatsoever.

Lack of order is one of my major pet peeves, so seeing my fellow RAs being disrespectful towards an RD really pushed my buttons. I almost wanted to say something to the group, but I didn’t because I felt that it wasn’t my place to make such  a statement. Nonetheless, I was very disappointed with my fellow RAs.

Lunch came and went. Harris continued to not kill us with the food that we ate, which was a plus. I talked to Xan, who is an RA at a different hall that I went to a conference with, briefly and that was super fun. Xan has a fantastic personality and I love that we can talk about social justice issues and white privilege.

After lunch was breakout sessions and the two that I went to were about STI’s & Sexuality/Identity and then Stress Management. My RD Aja presented the first session that I went to and I liked it a lot. Our Sex Ed is not only filled with shame, fear, and guilt, it isn’t comprehensive enough. I don’t remember much about anything I learned, which is saying something because I still have my notes from middle school. Anyway, I know that I have a weakness in knowing such information, so I decided to go for my sake, and for the sake of being a resource to my residents.

As for the Stress Management session, I’m going to be real honest with y’all… I didn’t learn anything. I’m pretty sure that the slide that was used was the same one from a previous training. I admire the effort and the energy that the presenters had, but everything that was said was something that I’ve put in a passive before.

From 3-6 we had the front desk open for early arrivals. Each floor covered one hour, and my floor partner and I worked from 4-5. Can someone explain to me why the only time anyone came to check into the hall was between 4 and 5? In that one hour that we worked EVERYONE that checked in that day came in. Not an hour earlier or an hour later. Luckily, everyone that came today was kind, and there were no double occupancy mishaps like yesterday.

My passive for this month is inspired by the Hidden Figures movie! It also works well with my LC theme because we are a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) community. It is “The Women Who Put Man On The Moon” and it has six women who contributed to NASA and the space race. I also want to incorporate the importance of inter-sectional feminism somehow. Whenever I finish painting, I might add pictures of it!

xo

Chid