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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Back from NJ-TSA!

Whew, what a long day. As I type this, I have been winding down from a really intense day at the College of New Jersey - and yes, middle school kids do get really intense college experiences, too.

Why was I at college, you may ask.

Why, it was because today was the much-awaited, nail-biting, hair-raising day of the TSA state conference! And our middle school had signed up for the first year, thanks to a very fortunate grant given to our school.

I had to get up pretty early to catch the bus to get to school. Nearly forgetting to wear formal business attire, I had to rush out of my room right as my mom was going to call me out of my bedroom. TCNJ was way too far for us to get to the competition on time (8:30AM) any other way, so to the bus we departed. Since we normally go to school at 7:00AM anyway, getting up early to catch the bus wasn't a problem.

By the time we got to school, though, we had learned that all we would be getting for this incredibly spectacular competition would be a tiny little kindergarten ride. Imagine the humiliation. Of course, once my friends and I boarded the minibus, we realized that it wasn't too bad (hahaha) anyway, because the floors were clean and the leather smelled nice. And my back was thankful for the brief respite of rest, too.

The ride to the college was relatively peaceful. I was able to catch up on some sleep in my itchy formal wear, but the arrival was later than I thought and I even grew a tad bit bored. But enough of my boring banter.

Soon, we'd arrived at the college (Bower Student Center) and we had set down all our stuff and other. My adviser had to attend to a board meeting, so we had to lug around our heavy bags with us for practically the entire day. I happened to have the most inconvenient purple drawstring bag a girl could have (because it just had to be me) and I was practically dying the entire time. Enough of my moaning, though.

First stop was my Prepared Speech event. They told us to report to the speech room at 9:30, but by the time we got there, we had to wait an extra half hour for a group of four kids to come in because they were late. Then, the assigned us numbers and I got the last number, so I had to come back two hours later. And thus, my morning was wasted.

Luckily, the student center still had food left. Some friends and I sneaked over to the tables and borrowed some knives to spread cream cheese onto our succulent bagels. You will not believe how insanely awesome the bagels at TCNJ can possibly be. It was but a few moments before I was caught in the eye by the college giftshop - also known to the guests as The College of New Jersey Bookstore. T-shirts and mugs and of course books galore! All with watermarks of TCNJ and logos that I'd never dreamed were possible!

My legs were getting tired, but soon my walking partner showed up. See, my adviser had insisted that every student had a walking partner. I didn't really like the idea of limited freedom, but what could I say? She walked with me through campus and we took a few nice pictures of the on-site events - Medical Technology, Go Green Manufacturing (yeah! solar powered cars!), Career Prep (my event!), Digital Photography, etc.

Nearly getting lost a few times, we soon found our way to the computer labs. Video games and websites were on display, and hordes of nerds were fighting over to get to the best games. In fact, I was pretty sure the video game makers, aka middle schoolers, were getting a bit uncomfortable by this point. I even pretended not to like one of the games out of amusement. I kind of regret making that poor wide-eyed kid run away...But then again, I wasn't the only fanatic in the room.

Blah,blah,blah. Prepared Speech drove by, I delivered my magnificent yarn to the peering audience, and I was done for the day.

The dining hall was close by, so I decided lunch time it was. And yes, my walking partner did follow me (not stalkerish, but closer enough :D not to offend). We were issued lunch tickets, so I expected a tiny boxed object that was mushed up. Instead, upon opening the doors to the dining hall, my mouth literally fell open. You should've seen the food! And all-you-can-eat buffet wouldn't even describe it! They had the best sandwiches, pizza, ice cream, parfait, and pasta that you could imagine! Plus a revolving belt to put your dishes on! I spotted a few of my good friends here, and learned that they had done poorly at their events :(

After lunch and a quick election for the next year's TSA president (where I got a free pin, pen, and name tag), the award ceremony commenced! I was kind of surprised, as were the other kids, to see that the entire ceremony was conducted by juniors in high school! I might want to be a state officer one day.

The biggest surprise was when I received a 1st PLACE TROPHY! And I was the first of our team to do so! There was this really awesome podium that the officers announced our name from and I practically tripped over it on my way to get my trophy! Ok, maybe not really...

Our school hadn't signed up for too many events, but everyone on the team ended up with a trophy (they only gave out 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, sadly, but then again, the events were kind of easier to win at). So, a fun day, a successful day, and more details some other day! Ciao!

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