thescriptedtangent

I beg to differ

Don’t Test Me

This past semester, I have had:

  • 7 Government tests + 1 final
  • 7 Physics tests + 1 final
  • 6 AP Calc tests + 1 final
  • 8 AP English tests + 1 final
  • 11 AP Psych tests + 1 final
  • 7 AP Bio tests + 1 final

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Total: 46 tests + 6 finals = 52 tests

With 90 days in a semester, this averages to about one test every two days. I wonder how much more I could be learning in those testing days…..

And I’m sick of constantly limping from exam to exam.

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Candid Thoughts on Candide

“Optimism,” said Cacambo, “What is that?”

“Alas!” replied Candide, “It is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.”

Candide was my summer reading assignment for AP Literature and Composition. Here are some thoughts I had while reading it:

1) The most jarring quality about the descriptions in Candide is the use of black humor. Although it is meant to reflect Candide’s constant optimism, it leaves the reader feeling horrified and disgusted. It is especially effective in the description of war-torn towns and violated peoples.

“Candide resolved to go and reason elsewhere on effects and causes. He passed over heaps of dead and dying, and first reached a neighbouring village; it was in cinders, it was an Abare village which the Bulgarians had burnt according to the laws of war. Here, old men covered with wounds, beheld their wives, hugging their children to their bloody breasts, massacred before their faces; there, their daughters, disembowelled and breathing their last after having satisfied the natural wants of Bulgarian heroes; while others, half burnt in the flames, begged to be despatched. The earth was strewed with brains, arms, and legs.”

Although it is extremely difficult to elicit a physical expression on me while reading, I made a disgusted face when I read that.

2) Every time Candide says, “I wonder what would Pangloss say if he was here?” all I think of was – WWPD: What Would Pangloss Do. That would be a great alternative title to this book.

3) I mentioned to my friend how Martin was my favorite character because he made the most sense to me. “You know he’s the foil of Pangloss, right? Extreme pessimism.” Oops. (I’m not that pessimistic, I promise!)

4) El Dorado reminded me of Calypso’s island from Greek mythology. Getting there is a chance occurrence. You can stay forever, be happy with the prosperity and abundance of the land, but you won’t be with your loved ones. However, once you leave, you can never return. It’s the perfect life that can’t be, and it highlights all the terrors of normal life.

5) I loved how short and to the point this book was. Voltaire wastes no time on a boring introduction; by the end of Chapter 1, Candide is kicked out of the palace and the adventure begins. He embeds social commentary flawlessly throughout Candide’s experience. I won’t pretend I understood everything that happened, but I did appreciate all the wit and hilarity.

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You Gotta Get Up and Try

A lot of what I have learned through high school, and especially in the last year, can be summarized in the phrase “you never know unless you try”. Many of the awesome opportunities I’ve had would have never come to be if I did not step out of my comfort zone (like the Gryffindor I am). I spent too much time over thinking and doubting myself, even when I was “sure” of what I wanted to do. But, I believe that trying something that makes you uncomfortable or seems challenging can help you grow as a person.

For example: my summer internship. I wasn’t sure if asking the Girl Scout Board if anyone’s company had an internship available was something I was allowed to do. But someone was more than happy to help me, and they offered me a unique project. When I arrived at work the first day, I didn’t know what to do, but I went through the motions until found my niche. I ended up having an amazing experience that I gained so much practical knowledge about business from. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in my short, but worthwhile internship.

And this blog! I used to think blogging was only for housewives or recipe bloggers, and that as a student I wouldn’t have anything worth sharing. This blog turned into a chronicle of my time in AP English 3, and I can’t wait to share what happens in the future. Plus, I couldn’t have won “Best Overall Blog” at the OC Blogging Awards last June if it were not for the effort I put into every post.

Putting a sincere effort into a seemingly insurmountable task is difficult. The worst part is that the constant doubt and the fear of failure are all in your mind. However, I encourage to take a chance once in a while and push yourself to do the best you can. This may be: taking an AP class, applying for a new job that looks interesting, or just asking someone of higher authority a simple question. Whatever it is, you CAN do it. I won’t guarantee that it will turn out the way you expect it (because life never turns out that way), but I will guarantee that it will make you a better person. Just give it a try!

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I Don’t Know…yet

As an upcoming senior, the single question I have received most this summer has been, “So, what do you want to major in/do in the future?”

And the truth is, I don’t know.

“What’s your favorite subject?” I like biology a lot. and chemistry. and English. and Spanish. and then there’s my extracurricular interests, which I love. My junior year has made me realize that I can like any subject when I have a great teacher. I am thankful that so far in my high school experience, I have had awesome teachers that make learning anything fun. The downside of that (that I’ll gladly accept) is that I don’t know what my passions are. All I know is that I like learning.

I can’t believe the time has come to pick a major and start worry about college applications! I still feel like the thirteen year old I was when I entered high school. A word to the freshmen: don’t think you’ll have it all figured out by now. You’ll probably be more confused than ever.

I think older people should stop telling kids that “when you find your passion, you’ll feel it” or “when you step on to the campus of the college that’s for you, you’ll know”, because that’s not always true. Senior year is hard enough with all the decisions we have to make, it doesn’t help to overlook the struggles you went through (however long ago). I know plenty of others facing indecision and confusion as to what major to pick, because school/life hasn’t given them enough exposure to the plethora of career paths out there.

But that’s okay, summer is still young and there’s plenty of time for more research. Check back on the Class of 2015 in two months (we will most likely be crying). We’ll figure it out…somehow.

I should go start summer homework now.

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Dear Parents

A minus

Dear Parents,

 

Your child’s report card comes home. You glance through, and horror of all horrors, it doesn’t have straight As. There are two Bs for your child’s hardest classes.

All your life, you’ve taught them that Bs are bad. Bs are unsatisfactory, substandard, and caused by negligence by kids. How could they think of bringing home a final report card with a B?! They’ll never get into a top college now. They’ll never be successful. They shouldn’t have been so careless.

You say you’ll be the good parent – you won’t yell at them. You’ll be “understanding”. You’ll talk to them about this horrible mistake. The both of you will reflect over your child’s mistakes so that it never happens again.

 

“________, your report card is here.” You fail to see your child’s smile as they come to tell you how proud they are of their hard work.

“And even though I got a B in this class, I learned so much and -”

“Why do you have two Bs?” you cut across sharply.

Your child’s smile drops.

 

Let’s reflect upon your school year, you say. When did you slack off? Was it that one month you were too involved in your extra-curricular activity? Why didn’t you work harder? Why didn’t you get an A? I bet _________ got an A. Were you distracted? Why didn’t you ask me to get you tutoring? What could I have done to help? This is an important year of your high school career! This will affect your college admissions!

Your child and you go to sleep angry at each other over what should have been a celebration. Your child wakes up sad and guilty.

 

If handling this situation could be graded, you’d be given an F.

 

 

Sincerely,

The ex-Straight A student


 

Parents, there are three things I’d like you to know:

1) If your child has done hard work, and is proud of it, you should be proud of them, too. No ifs, ands, or buts.

2) An A grade is not normal. It is not average. It is not easy. It is not what everyone else gets. Especially not in AP and honors classes.

3) Appreciate the good. Yes, your child got a few Bs, but they also got a lot of As. They took challenging classes. You saw them working hard all year. Reward them for that. Definitely don’t make them feel horrible for it.

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Why I Hate your Twitter Feed: Subtweet Culture

“Subtweeting” is a passive-aggressive form of ranting/complaining about other people (without mentioning their name) that takes place on Twitter. And it makes me lose faith in humanity.

In the beginning of the year my English class made Twitter accounts because Mr. Z does a lot of online activities such as #litin6, #showyourwork, online class discussions, and we can get participation points for posting on the class hashtag #zapfv. In the beginning, my Twitter was strictly for school use. Eventually, my friends found my profile. They followed me, and with no reason not to, I followed them back. This was when I got my first-hand experience with subtweeting.

You might be thinking, “if you don’t like someone’s tweets, then don’t follow them!” and that would be an easy solution. But the truth is that some of these people are my good friends in real life. The sad reality is that sometimes, the only way I know what is going on in their lives (if we don’t talk often) is by seeing their social media updates. When I first saw subtweets by a close friend, I grew concerned and asked her what was wrong and how I could help. It so happened that there was nothing I could do to help her because her problem involved someone else. So the next times I saw subtweets by any people, I dismissed them as useless and attention-seeking. It’s more of a boy-crying-wolf situation than an I-don’t-care-about-you mindset.

People turn to Twitter to rant about personal things they would rather share with the world for attention than discuss and resolve with their families and friends. This baffles me. Why scorn your enemies who are on Twitter and can see your complaints about them instead of just saying it all to their face? It only fuels hatred and starts “twit fights” (but that’s a story for another day). You say “HA!” but you didn’t show them at all.

Admittedly, blog posts (like this one!) and other forms of reflective media could be considered massive subtweets because they are inspired by the people and situations in our lives. But most of the videos, op-ed articles, poems, and blogs I have read ignite valuable consideration and make me ponder. Seeing subtweets makes me sad. Plain sad. Expressing your frustration at the world once in a while is one thing, but using twitter only to competitively deride your foes in 140 character-bursts is sad. That frustration and anger can be used for to express something valuable – songwriting, poem-penning, or mural painting. You have so much potential, and believe or not, anger can increase your creativity. Don’t waste your days stabbing your keyboard for immediate relief.

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An Intro to AP English 3

AP Language and Composition, the class this blog is for, is offered to 11th graders at my school. The course covers rhetoric, reading, and the styles of writing through mostly American literature. My goals for this year include further developing my unique style of writing, learning to analyze rhetoric, and showcasing my work to a wider audience. I hope that by the end of this year, I can honestly say I’ve become a much better writer, and have the proof to back it up. I want to read extensively and deeply, expand my vocabulary, and “remix” author’s styles to create my own. It reminds me of a interesting quote that I pushed to the back of my brain a while ago.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination…authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.” -Jim Jarmusch

This quote means that everything has already been said, done, revised, and studied. What we need to do is take pieces that spark a personal connection with us, and “remix” them – add our own unique take – and make them original.

Wish me luck on this wild ride I like to call AP English 3. Fair warning: on this blog, you may encounter complaints about other subjects, personal opinions that you may not agree with, or lame things that I find way too funny. Thank you for reading anyway.

~AJ 

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