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A Week of UROPing by Jessica Z. '27

in few words

The first month of the year is a beautiful time for students here: no every-day classes, no problem sets, no only a few last-minute, late nights. Without classes this month to focus on, I started working under some teachers and students on Course 2 work. I talked about this in my last writing (with more words), but my work builds upon some of my high school interests.

Back in high school, I was really interested in the art of turning and pressing paper down for three key reasons: 1.) I liked the Course 18/Course 2 reasoning behind how it worked, 2.) it can be used in a lot of different fields to make work that can help the lives of many people, and 3.) paper art is pretty. With that in mind, I started reaching out to different teachers who had work focusing on paper art. After a few conversations, I found a group of people in Course 2 that I enjoyed talking to and soon joined!

To explain it quickly, we are using the art of paper cutting to figure out what makes and how to make cut paper stronger than non-cut paper.

1/22/24 to 1/24/24

In the beginning of the week, I went to meetings and started reading different papers to get a better idea of what I was going to learn for the rest of the month. After doing some reading, I had to complete some in-person training. The first thing I learned was how to use a very strong light to cut tiny lines in paper.


On my first attempt, I set the power too high for the very, very, very, very not thick paper I had to cut. The paper was cut exactly by a really, really, really, really strong light, but because the light was too strong, it burned part of the cuts. I kept slowly making the power less and that fixed the problem!

1/25/24 to 1/26/24

The most interesting part of my training to me, though, made me learn how to use this thing: it has two grips, one on the top and one on the bottom. The cut paper could be placed and fixed into position by the two grips and computer. The computer also allows me to control the direction and force, change the power, and run it quickly.


When the grips pull each end of the paper, the paper won’t immediately tear like you might first expect—instead, because of the cuts, it makes the paper much stronger and able to handle more force. Using the facts given by the computer, I wanted to make a force/area + change-in-body figure to understand how spacing between cuts changes the paper to avoid breaking.

I really enjoyed being able to learn more about Course 2 through this work, and it helped me understand that I am interested in studying more next year, although I’m not 100% sure on what Course I want to study the most for the next three years… but that’s a writing for another time (with more than just the top ten hundred most used words) :)