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.



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.


Sometimes It’s The Imperfection That Makes Something So Flawless

The other day I was at Target and I noticed this painting of the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t very detailed and it looked like a sketch. I stood there for at least ten minutes just admiring it. There was just something about it that I loved. It got me thinking, every time we make something or do something, we try so hard to make it perfect and end up disappointed. Go for the gold, but don’t be disappointed with bronze or silver.I was once painting a picture of London and I messed up my brush stroke and I painted something by accident that I couldn’t paint over. Turns out, it gave more detail to my painting and I was really happy because I thought I ruined it. There will always be mistakes and screw ups but that’s what makes you yourself. It makes you an individual and the best thing to do with your mistakes are to make good use of them and learn from them. I found this quote and I really enjoy it.

I was actually watching the Grammys yesterday and a country singer, Hunter Hayes, sang a song called Invisible. The purpose of the song was to encourage people to be themselves and to be not be afraid of doing something new or different. It really inspired me because some people are so afraid to do something because of the mistakes they will make.

Sometimes its the imperfections that make something so flawless.


Welcome to the Sea!

If you haven’t noticed yet, let me just point it out: two new members have joined out Just Keep Swimming Squad!

Our new members, Nick and Matt, are great and enthusiastic writers! Keep a look out for more posts and great ones too! Check out the “About Us” to know more about the authors 🙂
Remember to be positive and just keep swimming!

Even a little makes a difference! Donate for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County :))

Hello, everyone! My friends and I were inspired to do the CHOC walk this year at Disneyland in Anaheim since our best friend was treated for cancer over there and we’re trying to fund-raise for it.

CHOC logo

It would be much appreciated if you could donate. All donation go to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County which is a great hospital!
Click on this link to make a donation to TEAM B+ of any sort ! http://choc.convio.net/site/TR/Events/General?px=1061358&pg=personal&fr_id=1040

Under the picture there should be a “DONATE NOW” button

It doesn’t matter how much you donate because it is the thought that counts! Wish us luck! Thank you!


Give Life a Chance

Recently, a member in my family had got very sick. He was my uncle and my great uncle. (inter-family marriages were popular back in the day) He practically raised my mom and he told her to come visit him. My mom left to visit him on Friday. She left with a big smile.Three hours later, we got a call that he had passed away. My mom was on a plane to see him and she couldn’t. I was his favorite kid. Whenever, we visited in summer,he would buy me anything I wanted and he’d convince me every time to stay with him and not go back to California.

In the past 4 months, I’ve experienced the death of two people who I loved very much. I feel like I should be depressed or something, but I’m not. I’m sad they’re both gone, but it just motivates me more to live and b

e happy. My uncle wanted me to go to a great college and study hard, and that’s exactly what I’ll do. There comes a point where you can’t cry anymore, and you just have to live.
I’ve been lost all this time, not knowing what I wanted to major in or what I wanted to do in life. I had no clue what I was doing, I was getting bad grades in school, I was moving to a different city and school which threw me off, and then my best friend and uncle passed away.

It’s been a horrible year for me and usually I would just sit in my room and be sad about it, but what’s the point in that? I have a chance for new beginning. I can start over and focus at my new school. I know what I’m majoring in, where I want to go, and where I want to work. I’m gonna work hard for that, and hopefully I can reach my goal.
Basically, I just told part of my life story for one purpose:

Life may look hard at one point. Everything might be going down under and it may look like you’re life is falling apart, but life gives you opportunities. You may not be willing to work hard ( I wasn’t at all) but once you find that inspiration, you’ll do anything for what you want. You just need a little patience and hope. Yes, this sounds cheesy, but life works in weird ways. I mean I decided to be computer science major based on a website and movie.


Now I’m a Warrior

A lot of the times people disregard the problems of celebrities and just believe they have a perfect life which isn’t necessarily true. All celebrities had a life before they were famous. One of my favorite celebrities is Demi Lovato. Yes, she has great songs and a decent acting life, but that’s not why I look up to her. Demi Lovato was bullied at a young age and because of that she was home schooled. After she started acting and singing, her problems didn’t really come up. After she was pressured to do many parts of her acting and signing career, she felt those words from a young age haunt her and it caused her to harm herself.

At that time in her life, I thought she was a screw up and I absolutely despised her without even looking into what her problems were. Now, being a little more wise in my judgments, I look up to her. Her music is so inspiring to many teens all over the world. They believe that if Demi could get through her problems and end up happy (She went through Rehab and took a break from her career); so could they. Not only has Demi taught me to be positive, she has taught me that i am capable of getting through any challenge that comes up to me. She taught me that I am great the way I am and that other people’s words shouldn’t affect me. Fortunately for me, my problems aren’t really anything in comparison to hers but one little thing can go a long way. Her music has inspired me and even though her music is more pop, its still great. Her albums Unbroken and Demi mostly reflect on her recovery and are great. She’s an inspiration to many people and is truly one of the greatest out there.

Demi managed to deal with her problems including bullying, family problems, self-harm, and a little bit of drugs and is successful today with a big smile on her face hoping to inspire others. That’s why she goes in the top portion in my list of the people I look up to most.
In one of my posts a lot earlier, I talked about leaving your fingerprint on this world weather it be small or big, but Demi has left a big one and I only hope that people remember her as that sort of person.

Demi-Lovato-Heart-Attack2-900-600 (1)

Just to everyone out there: Yes, people will judge. Yes, people will say mean things. Truth is that we can’t stop that. We can reduce it so that people realize the harm they’re causing. BUT, the most important thing to remember is that if other people can live in this world comfortably, then why can’t we? We have to feel comfortable with ourselves because everyone is perfect in their own way. No one will ever be this world’s definition of perfect, so we need to stop trying to be perfect for others and rather focus on being perfect in our own way. 


**Song reference in the title: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNX9Qjxf57c**