You are better than who you think you are.

This is so important. Please remember that not only should you be kind to those around you, you need to be kind to yourself as well. Whatever flaws you think you may have, others might not even notice them at all, or even appreciate you more because of these so-called “flaws”. Accept yourself. And love yourself.

– Karen

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Just Keep Blogging

As the year comes to an end, so do all of our projects and assignments in most of our classes. Although I’m ecstatic about the fact that no more school means no more work, there are some things that I’m going to miss. I think it goes without saying, but the friends, experiences, and school events will never be forgotten and I’m going to miss them more than anything I’ve ever missed before. School-wise, I’m going to be honest, there isn’t much I’m going to miss. The rigor of junior year was overwhelming and it wasn’t fun, I can tell you that, but there is one thing I am going to miss. As cheesy as it might sound, I’m really going to miss the weekly blog posts on this blog. At the beginning of the year, I started to do these and felt obligated to do them, but as time progressed and as we just kept swimming, these blogs became an outlet for my ideas and emotions inside and outside of school. Instead of dreading the posts, I began to appreciate and look forward to them. But now that the year is ending, where does that put us?

Well, I would be lying if I said that I was going to post everyday, every week even, but I definitely see myself posting regularly. Honestly, I’ll never be able to keep up the kind of posting that I do now, but I know that for the sake of you guys, the readers, and even for me, I’ll make sure that I just keep swimming. These blog posts have taught me how to voice my opinions without worrying about what others think. I’ve also learned a lot about the way blogs and such work. I’ve always been interested in the concept of sharing one’s ideas on any sort of social media and blogs were the perfect way to do that.  These blogs have kept it real and I’m stoked to see what else I can think of and share with the world.

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-Matt

Universal Truths of English

Seven days. That’s the number of school days left until summer break. As much as I can’t wait to smell and taste that summer vacation, I will admit that I will miss my AP English class with Mr. Ziebarth. For the past 173 days in English class, I have learned an abundance of information regarding rhetoric, analysis, and the English language in general. From all my newly learned knowledge, I have made a list of main ideas that I learned this year.

1) Everything is an argument, so fight for what you believe in. 

Mr. Z probably said “Everything is an argument.” about 200 times this year, and when I first heard it, I laughed. C’mon Mr. Z, not everything is an argument. If I took out a bag of chips and ate them, that wasn’t an argument of any sort, that was simply me easing my hunger. But that’s just it. I was arguing against my hunger. I was countering it by eating. When writing papers, everything you say is an argument. If you state that the media negatively affects the body types of women, you are arguing against the media. So if everything is an argument anyway, fight for what you believe in. Write about what you thinks needs changing. The more you care about a topic and the more passionate you are about fighting for it, the better your writing is. I found that in each assignment I had to do, if I related it back to something I had strong views about or cared about, my work was better.

2) Write with no limits. 

Often in class, Mr. Z had us to zero drafts, in which we had seven minutes to write about whatever we wanted without editing. Each time we wrote one, Mr. Z had a prompt that we could follow, but we weren’t necessarily bound to it. Zero draft was a time to let your mind free. You could write whatever came to mind in that moment. You make think, what is the point of spending seven minutes free-writing? Well believe it or not, zero drafting was very liberating. Often when instructed to write, you are given a prompt that you must stick with, but with zero draft, you were free to let your thoughts out. By “killing the editor” and not fixing any mistakes, you are able to put your thoughts on paper, which is hard to do when you think about how you want to articulate it too hard. By jotting down whatever comes to mind, the writing process is much easier and gives you a chance to write how you really feel about a topic.

3) Life is a learning process. 

This last tip is more of a life lesson than anything. English class was filled with projects, discussions, and teamwork. No matter what we did, we learned from it one way or another. If we made mistakes in our essays or presentations, we learned what to do to improve. If we rocked a discussion, we learned how to do things correctly. Even Mr. Z learned with us through the year. Take everything as a lesson and learn for it. There’s always room for improvement. Learn that you will not always be right and accept it. Let other people help you when you need it, and don’t be afraid to ask. No one is perfect and knows all the answers, so don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Lastly, you can make any experience a good one if you have a positive attitude. Writing essays isn’t the greatest, but if you learn to make the best of it, I guarantee that writing won’t be so bad.

I thoroughly enjoyed AP English 3 with Mr. Ziebarth. Not only did I learn many useful tools for my future, but I also was able to enjoy the material rather than simply worry about my grade all year. In this class, I learned to learn and I think that’s the best type of learning. These days, many students learn to get the grade. The learn so that they can get into a good college. They don’t care about what they are actually learning, as long as they get the answers on the test right, they are happy. That’s not learning. That’s the art of getting by. I’m not looking to get by high school, I’m here to absorb knowledge and learn the material because I am interested in it.

So thank you Mr. Ziebarth, for an incredible year and thank you for teaching me that life will always go on and you will prevail, even if you don’t have thumbs.

-Kim

Just Be Yourself

I recently started reading Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and was immediately intrigued by the sassy attitude of the main character, Holden Caulfield. Holden is getting kicked out of his fourth private high school and has a particular “I really don’t care what you think about me because you are fake” type of attitude. While many people reading the novel will see him as snarky and rude, but I find myself identifying with him.

High school is a place to really find your passions and who you are, so why should you pretend to be someone you aren’t? Does fitting in really mean that much? I think finding friends who accept you for who you are is more important because 30 years from now, I don’t think you will be remembering how good it was to go along with the supposedly in crowd and hide who you truly are.

Holden doesn’t believe in “phonies” and berates them for being someone they aren’t, and on some level he’s right. You shouldn’t have to pretend to like something because everyone does nor should you have to act a certain way to be considered worthy of friendship. True friends will accept you for you, and if they don’t, they aren’t true friends.

Why would want to be ordinary, when you can be yourself and be extraordinary?

Life is too short to pretend to be someone you aren’t. Embrace yourself and be the person you want to be.

-Kim

I’m sorry, what did you just say?

The book my class is currently reading is The Grapes of Wrath. Usually, by now I would have already written several blog posts about this book, attempts to find some deep meaning in it and connect it to my life. But honestly, I’ve tried to avoid writing about it. Because I can’t.

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It’s not the book; it’s me. Since the beginning of my high school career, I had been able to proudly say that I had read every single page of every book assigned to me, including Great Expectations  (that thing was huge). I even ended up liking them all, even A Tale of Two Cities (and that’s saying something because it was not the easiest read). I did it. I found a way to enjoy them all but I honestly cannot handle The Grapes of Wrath. 

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I’m sure it’s a perfectly fine book. It’s just that the way the characters speak in the book is not familiar to me. Half the time, when I’m reading the book, I have to go back and reread what they’re saying because the way they said it was awkward to me. This bothers me so much, I just want to skip over the dialogue.  However, I can’t because that’s like half the book.

Examples:

“… I got an itch that somepin’s wronger’n hell.”

“… What’s the matter’th you anyways? You gone johnrabbit on us?” 

Because I cannot connect to the way the characters speak, I find it hard to connect to the characters and the book itself. The Joads feel very distant to me, even more so than Jay Gatsby, the Count of Monte Cristo, and Odysseus, larger-than-life characters I’ve read about in previously assigned books.

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It actually irks me, how I cannot find a way to enjoy The Grapes of Wrath. I really wish I liked it, but I don’t. Hopefully, in the future I’ll find a chance to go back and reread this book, and possibly enjoy it more the second time around.

 

The Scared is Scared

I came across this video while I was aimlessly scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard and after I finished watching it, I was left with a sense of realization. “The scared is scared.” This simple, yet true statement can help me get through so much. Whenever I’m scared, all I need to do is to think of things I like in order to scare the scared away. One particular event that has got me a little worried is the AP Language and Composition test coming up for English class. Sure, it’s a big test, but if I just think about things I like to chase those bad thoughts away, I’m sure I will do better since a relaxed mind works better than a nervous one. So whenever you are feeling scared or uncertain about something, think about things that make you happy and smile instead. Life is too short to spend your time thinking about things that bring you down.

-Kim