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

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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

So Close, Yet So Far

41. That is the number of days left of the school year, including weekends. Now, as a junior, I am ECSTATIC that this gruesome and tiring school year is slowly coming to an end.  But you see, it’s not that easy- this is the last stretch, the final sprint, the full-speed-ahead part of the race. That means I’ve got to work the hardest I’ve ever worked, even with upcoming AP tests.

I can guarantee that not giving up and working hard will be a struggle- then again when isn’t it? At this point of the school everything in me screams to stop worrying about school and just relax. It seems like all I want to do is sleep, eat, and watch new episodes of  Modern Family, but unfortunately I know I can’t.

So just how do I plan on sprinting towards the end of the school year? Well, by working my butt off and doing whatever necessary to complete this junior year. I strive to do the absolute best I can and to stay positive about school. It’s not always easy, but by staying positive, school will seem at least a little better than if you were to constantly think about school in a negative light.

I encourage all of you to push on and finish the school year strong. When you think about giving up, know that by working hard know, the end result will be so much sweeter and you will be so proud of yourself for getting through any challenge you may have had . Just believe that you can do it, no matter what and as the Joads would say faith overcomes all. You got this!

So here’s to AP tests and finishing the year with all you got!

-Kim

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

Live Up To Your Own Expectations

Expectations. We’ve all had experience with them. Whether they were set for us, or we made for them for other people, everyone knows a little something about expectations. They can make or break us, literally. Sometimes when expectations are set, we push ourselves to reach them and thus are successful, but when some expectations are too high, disappointment is usually the main result.

Being a junior in high school with very involved parents, I have had first had experience with expectations. Of course every parent has expectations for their child- have manners, be kind, get good grades, make a difference- but to be completely and utterly honest, there are many times when I feel like the expectations that my parents have for me are the reason of my unhappiness. I spend so much time trying to live up to what they want, that I don’t do what I want- what makes me happy. There is no doubt that they only want what is best for me, but at the end of the day to truly be happy, the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.

Recently in English class, in preparation for the upcoming AP exam, we read an essay prompt that was a father’s letter to his son. In this letter, the father (Lord Chesterfield) writes about how important reputation and knowledge are. He expects his son to be the best of the best because his son reflects his parents.

While reading through this letter filled with expectations, I couldn’t help but think about a recent event that occurred that dealt with expectations in my own life.

 

The March SAT scores were recently released and well, to be frank, I didn’t do as well as I- or my parents- anticipated. My score dropped by 70 points from the last time I took the test and I was quite disappointed in myself. However, my parents’ disappointment was much more than mine. After crying through a gruesome lecture about how much better I could have done and what I should have done instead of apparently “wasting my time on frivolous things”, I laid in bed reflecting on these expectations my parents held for me.

In some weird way, my expectations encompass my parents’ expectations for me. They want me to be successful in any and every manner, and as do I. However, I also want to show them that I am capable of the things they tell me I’m not good enough for. I want to say “Remember when you lectured me about not doing something good enough? Well look what I can do now.” I want to prove that I am good enough to surpass their expectations. But other times I want to prove that I don’t have to live up to their expectations to be happy or successful. The bottom line is that: it’s all up to me.

How hard I want to work for something, how hard I want to push myself, that’s up to me. The only way I can be happy with my results is if I work for myself and myself only. I have to work to make me happy.

Go out and make your own expectations. Ones that you will be proud to reach. Ones that will show the world how good you are. It’s your life, so live it well.

-Kim

Loneliness is OK

In class we read  The Box Man by Barbara Lazear Ascher which was a mysterious and heart-felt short story about loneliness. Typically loneliness is associated with sadness and is something many people try to avoid. However, this story described how it was okay to be alone and how someone could be perfectly content with being alone. In the story, the box man went around alone  at night collected boxes, yet he was not saddened by it, in fact he “welcome(d) the night, open(ed) to it like a lover”. He chose to be lonely and “knows that loneliness chosen loses its sting and claims no victims”. Being lonely doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, it actually can be a quite good thing.

I think that being lonely doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have anyone to talk to or hang out with, it means you take time for yourself and reflect on your life. You bask in the silence and you think about what you can do better and what you need to improve on. It is as if it is a moment to meditate. I look forward to moments when I get to be alone because in those moments I get to really focus on myself. I don’t view being lonely as sad or as something to be ashamed of because at the end of the day, this life is my life and and it my “voyage”. Sure there are going to be people who help me out along the way, but I am solely in charge of what happens. I am in charge of my happiness, my attitude, and my perceptive on life. I ALONE decide how to live my life, even though I may have outside forces influencing me. Don’t be afraid of loneliness, it can lead to great things.

-Kim

Going Seed Shopping

In English class, we get to do this cool project called The DIY Project; in which we, the students, are able to take our interests and passions and channel it into something creative. Our project can be anything we want it to be and the whole point of the project is for us to learn by connecting with what we like to do. Since our goal is to go from seed to feed, we have to go seed shopping first and foremost because of course we can’t make something without planning it out first. I think planning is the most important part of a project because it is the base in which we build off of and the foundation to which we need in order to keep the project stable. The whole idea of “seed shopping” (which is really just thinking about ideas) interests me because every day people come up with great things and it is amazing how these ideas come to be. Where do people get their ideas? Where is their motivation stemmed from? Personally, my ideas are reflected off anything and everything I see. I get inspired by people in the news who conquer their fears, things I see on social media sites, or even topics that my friends and family and I discuss.

Since ideas can sprout from just about anywhere, I was very curious to see where artists get their song ideas from, more specifically Ella Yelich-O’Connor, more commonly known as Lorde. Ella is a sixteen year old singer and song-writer from New Zealand whose music is captivating and unique. Upon hearing her new album, Pure Heroine (which has nothing to do with the drug heroine), I was intrigued to find out what exactly inspires her songs. While researching her and her motivations, I found an interview with Lorde discussing how she was encouraged to write her songs about her everyday life and how she was wanted to write about normal life. Unlike many artists, Lorde does not sing about the high life and the perks of fame, instead she sings about an average life and topics that many people can relate to. She expresses her thoughts about why it was important to relay the idea that not everything in life has to be so exciting and fast-pace all the time, in fact she states that we spend most of our time waiting for something to happen to us and that is okay. All in all, Lorde’s ideas for songs stem from what she thinks is important to voice and I believe that it is the same with anything anyone does.

From all my research, I came to one conclusion about where people get their ideas from: Our ideas come from what we think we should do; things we think the world needs more of.  Our ideas are based off of what we think will make the world a better place, because after all, we are all just trying to make the world a brighter place, after all.

Here is the interview if anyone would like to read it!

-Kim