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

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

Your Journey Will Be Worth It

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Life is like a journey. You have to work towards your dreams and aspirations. You have to persevere, no matter who tough it gets. There will be bumps along the way, but once you reach what you that goal, all your hard work pays off because quite frankly, you have made it. You have completed yet another journey in your life.

I think that is what kept Tom Joad, from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, going. After being released on parole from prison, Tom embarks on this journey to find his way home. It’s a tough and long voyage- filled with hitch- hiking and strange conversations with a pastor he used to know- but nothing stops him as he strives to get home to his family. Things don’t go according to plan when he finally arrives home, to find his house empty and broken down. A familiar local tells Tom and the pastor, Jim Casey, about how his family had moved to his Uncle John’s house- which was eight miles away- because they had been chased off their land by money hungry banks. Now if you think that another eight miles will stop Tom from reuniting with his parents, than you are dead wrong. He spends the next day continuing his journey home until he finally saw the “house, a square box, unpainted and bare, and the barn, low-roofed, and huddled” from afar. The looks on his parents faces was the moment his hard work to get home paid off, I’m sure.

As I read through the chapters of Tom’s expedition and reunion, I couldn’t help but think about Finding Nemo and how the moment that Nemo’s father found him was probably a lot like Tom’s reunion with his family: emotional and filled with joy. It didn’t matter that he had to encounter sharks, or that he almost died in the process the only thing that matters was the Nemo was back in his arms. Of course this example may be a bit cheesy, but think about it.

How many times in your life has your end result justified what you had to go through? My guess would be many times. Giving up may seem like such a good option at times, but trust me, if you keep trying and work through your battles, you will make it and your journey will be worth it.

You don’t even have to be working towards something, but merely working to survive and make it through. Living another day is an accomplishment to me. I guarantee you that your journey will be worth it because you are worth it.

-Kim

Just a Little Pep Talk About Tackling that Mountain of Homework…

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I look at the clock and it’s 10:33 pm. I think the thought that probably most of my classmates are thinking right now: “I’ve been at this for hours. Why does my homework never seem to end??” I don’t know about you, but most days, there is at least one moment during the long, brain-draining, mind-numbing hours of doing homework where I want to just to flip a table or two. Stack my textbooks in my driveway, and set them on fire. Forget college and settle into a life of raising alpacas in Peru… I can honestly say that school wouldn’t be half as stressful if it actually ended at 3pm. But no, you go home from school to do more schoolwork at home. For all of you who completely stress out over homework, I get it because I’ve been there. But after my usual complaining, I get back to work because I know that it’s gonna take more than a couple incredibly ridiculous and boring assignments to take me down.The same goes for you too! So come on, stop complaining, stop procrastinating, and get it done, because we both know you can. Take your time, let the knowledge sink in, and maybe you’ll even learn something!

– Karen