AP Lang 2017-18

First of all, I would like to begin with a few thank-you’s.

Ms. Magnuson, thank you for teaching me and the rest of our class with passion, care and patience. You are a stellar teacher. You truly about learning and you love us so deeply. Thank you for the challenges of this class. That poetry project was quite a struggle for many of us, but I’ve improved and learned a lot through that project. I appreciate how you value our voices and opinions. That means a lot. I love you.

AP Lang class, We did it! We took the class and the exam. But seriously thank you for having my back when I was falling apart. Thank you for editing my papers with honesty and a fraction of grace. Thank you providing me with a safe space to make mistakes.

I’m glad I took this class. My goal at the beginning of the year was to improve my essay writing skills– especially persuasive/opinion based essays where I’m supposed to argue my point in order to convince the reader of it. I believe this particular skill is useful in every context and I also thought that learning how to write better would help me communicate verbally more coherently. I’m happy to say I have seen great improvement in this area and also in my verbal communication skills.

This class has made me see writing as an art form and a vital method of communication. I have also learned that good writing is VERY hard, but after you have written something beautiful it’s very satisfactory. Writing takes just the same amount of effort or more  as any other art form and thus should be taken seriously.

Another important lesson I’ve learnt is the gift of time and how to use it effectively. I procrastinate a fair amount and in a class like this one– and any class really procrastination is your enemy! As I mentioned before good writing or decent writing for that matter, takes time and revision and re-writing so writing or reading a book the day before it’s due is ALWAYS a bad idea. The work produced cannot accurately reflect the potential and the skill you have because it was accomplished with limited time and high stress.

I want to continue to write– aside from obvious ways in which I will have to write because of school, work and day to day life, I want to write in my leisure time as well.  I want to keep a diary. I used to keep a diary when I was younger, but I stopped. Now the time has come to start keeping a diary again. I also LOVE writing cards to people. It’s one of the ways in which I affirm my loved ones.

-Diana

 

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A Letter to My Mum

Dearest Mami,

I will always be in debt with you for many, many things. Today I would like to highlight a few. I was told last year–as a sophomore that junior year was by far the hardest year of high school and to this I kind of chuckled and thought oh well I’ll take it as it comes, and I have been, but if it hadn’t been for you Mami, I wouldn’t have been able to.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting my mother she is a stunning woman with dark hair, blue eyes and pale skin that is always asking how she can be of service to everyone. She loves and cares deeply, she NEVER complains about things she would rather not do. She is like a treasure chest that never empties. She brings joy and comfort to those that surround her. She studies, owns a business and cares for her family all at the same time!

Mami, you deal with my bad moods and gloomy days, you celebrate with me when I do well in an exam, you drive me to see my friends, you watch movies with me to distract me  from school work, you drive me to school so I can sleep in more, you buy me gifts for my accomplishments. This is just a fraction of what you do for me. Another year of my life and you are by my side.

In light of the holiday tomorrow, Happy Mother’s Day– even though our mothers should be celebrated EVERYDAY!

Gracias Mami.

Te quiero,

Diani.

Why is an Exercise Poster of a Squatting Woman Sexualized?

This most probably will be a rant–proceed with caution.

I attend a International Christian School. Now, before you jump to conclusions let me just tell you how it is. It’s extremely conservative, and by extremely I mean that  when seniors last year decided to paint what looked like the pride flag on their faces for picture day they were told to clean it off and when some senior boys wore girl clothes for a presentation they were told their behavior was ”inappropriate” and were forced to change and when one of my friends (a girl) was holding hands with her friend (a girl) was told that their behavior suggested that they were lesbians which in their eyes is unacceptable so they couldn’t hold hands anymore.

So yes, the title of this post has to do with another incident that occurred this year. This incident however in my opinion was taken too far. At school there is a gym with equipment and posters with exercise positions. Naturally there’s one with a female showing squatting positions as an EXERCISE not as anything inappropriate. However, this poster was taken down because she looks ”too sexual.” There are two problems with this: first of all this is a didactic poster intended to aid in exercise, second if this were a male squatting I guarantee you this poster wouldn’t have been taken down. Why are female bodies sexualized? Why? Apart from making me angry this saddens me. As females we are constantly sexualized. In ads, movies, music videos and apparently now in exercise posters. We are seen as meat and an object for sex and nothing more.

The main issue I have with this, is the lack of communication. The people in authority make decisions on their own. If a student has a problem with an issue they are completely ignored. Their voice is shut down. I understand that my school has certain policies and that it’s very conservative, however we should be able to express our opinions–respectfully. Even if they don’t agree with us, they should at least listen.

Instgram For Two Hours or Tea With Mum Instead?

The scale at which entertainment has escalated to in the 21st century is great. Most people have some sort of mobile device. This might be a cell phone, laptop, I pad and many others. These devices have the internet which is used to acquire information and also for entertainment. Now, one can argue that some of the information one might search for– is a form of entertainment, but for now we’ll leave that possibility aside.The internet is a platform to access social media sites like Facebook, twitter, Instagram; it’s used to access Netflix and YouTube. There are endless forms of entertainment that the internet gives us the option to access. There’s one problem. As we all know (or at least I hope we do) the internet– that is all the social media platforms and other forms of entertainment are addictive. We can easily spend two hours scrolling through Facebook. Yes, we like and comment on our friend’s pictures from their holiday to Greece, but for the most part we just scroll through junk in the time we could have spent tidying our rooms or better yet. speaking with our moms.

The problem is just what I said in the previous sentence. This thing that’s supposed to be a form of entertainment–meaning it’s supposed to be a tool to distract one from the business of life, but not enslave us to spending four hours doing virtually nothing. Entertainment is dangerous because we become addicted to it and in turn we get distracted from the important things in life that occur around us because we are too busy liking a celebritie’s picture on Instagram.

In conclusion, how we use entertainment must be carefully monitored.

Is Education Just a Diploma You Receive?

We usually think that to be educated means we have studied in a prestigious school or that we have studied at all. This in some senses is true, but education also has to do with the morals and values that one is taught and follows– in our culture and home. Many values are taught to us from a young age and can differ from culture to culture.  For example, how one should give up their seat in a bus when an elderly person enters or how one shouldn’t speak with their mouth full. Many of these unspoken rules draw the line between an uneducated person and an educated person. Also, another important distinction is that just because someone who has had the opportunity to be educated formally–that is to say they have in some way, shape or form attended school, that doesn’t mean they are a well mannered individual with morals, and on the contrary a person that hasn’t had any formal education might be very well mannered and disciplined.

For a person to be considered educated, they must have basic educational understandings like rhetoric, critical thinking skills, the ability to question and challenge ideas and also as equally important, they must carry with them moral standards by which they respect the differing opinions of others, they challenge others ideas respectfully and also that they recognize and adhere to certain unspoken rules like giving up ones seat for an elderly person to sit or gifting a friend a present expecting nothing in return and any other unspoken rules or gestures that one is taught to be moral.

 

Until the next,

Diana.

Why Hasn’t The School System Evolved?

Cars, T.V.’s, and telephones have greatly evolved since they were first invented. Cars were first invented in the late 19th century. They began consuming too much fuel and had doors that would open backwards which was inconvenient. Today, there are even cars that run on solar energy! T.V.’s began to be commercialized in the late 60’s. The screens were small and there were only two to three channels. Today, there are 60-inch flat screen t.v.’s with over five hundred channels. Telephones, were first invented in the late nineteenth century. At first, they were very expensive and difficult to access, but by the 1920’s, they were available to the general public at a reasonable price. By the 1950’s there were public telephone cabins and now there are wireless, smart phones with internet access! How much have school systems changed?

The school system has changed only slightly since the beginning of time. Students still sit in rows in closed classrooms the whole day. They still learn using the same methods that were used two hundred years ago. Students are expected to memorize everything! Tests and exams are worth a significant amount of their overall grade. What if they’re terrible testers? What if they can’t concentrate by sitting in a desk the whole day? Are they just dumb? Or they probably just had ADHD right? This is a sad reality. How is it that material objects (that are much less valuable than education) are the ones being improved and changed with time, yet the education system (that holds the future generations in it’s hands) cannot manage to evolve and cater to the needs of the students.

Research and surveys should be carried out in order to better understand the reality of the school system for students. There must be a change to how students learn at school. There should be more versatile methods of learning– interactive games and activities, lessons outside (in nature), learning information in ways other than pure memorization for example: pictures and graphs. School and education is vital for the present and the future. Students should be able to enjoy the ways in which they learn, because that way they will be more likely to enjoy and engage with the material better.

Wild Thoughts

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this book, this is the story of Chris Mccandless told by Jon Krakauer in Into The Wild. Chris was a young man from the east coast who disappeared in April of 1992. He left to escape the consumerist society of his city to be in touch with nature. His end goal was to reach the Stampede Trail in Alaska and spend days hiking and surviving alone completely immersed in nature. Unfortunately, he didn’t survive and  was found dead on September of 1992 in the Stampede Trail in Alaska.

Krakauer’s message in this book is to pursue one’s dreams,but to do so with caution. Krakauer does a very good job of including many perspectives through out the book. He includes interviews with various people Chris meets along the way like Burres (pg.46), Franz (pg.58), Borah (pg.65) and others as well. He includes their perspectives on Chris and how they perceived him, and he also included Chris’s parents and sister’s opinions and thoughts (pg.115). By including a variety of perspectives this minimizes biases toward or against Chris’s situation and allows the reader to be more thoughtful and understanding. Krakauer also includes examples of other young men (McCunn and Waterman) (pg. 76-85) that brought drastic change in their lives with similar goals to Chris’. I believe he included this to further support the assertion that Chris was just pursuing his dream like anyone else would. However, the author also includes the devastating effect that Chris’ actions had on his family to illustrate the reality that as humans we are part of a community and our actions affect those we love directly so we should be careful in the ways we pursue our dreams.

Metaphors of Life

In my English class at school I began a poetry project whereby I have to pick a poet to research about their work and also their life. One portion of the project includes a series of metaphors describing the poet. I picked Maya Angelou as my poet.

Here are the metaphors I believe suit her personality.

If Angelou were an animal she would be a lion because like lions Angelou is very strong and fierce. She went through numerous hardships in her life (rape, mistreatment, racism) yet she managed to become stronger and braver through her struggles.

Angelou would be a palm tree. Palm trees are strong, sturdy and tall. Angelou is a woman with strength and someone that once you meet them you simply can’t forget them. The trunk of this tree is rough and course. This symbolizes Angelou’s scars and wounds she has from her past. However, the top of the tree (the leaves) are thick and healthy. This is Angelou now. Her scars (bark) make her who she is, but the leaves are how she overcame her suffering. They are her strength.

Angelou would be a head scarf as an article of clothing because its bold. Angelou was a feminist and activist for women’s and black peoples rights. She was bold in her actions and words.

Angelou would be everyday of the week. She is ready to face the battles or pleasant surprises that each day brings.

If Angelou were a dish, she would be paella. Paella is a Spanish rice dish that is made up of many elements such as a variety of sea foods or chicken, rice, peppers, beans, and assorted vegetables. This dish is Angelou because it’s complex and rich in flavors like her. Angelou is a woman with vast experience and a tremendous complexity to her personality.

If Angelou were a colour she would be red and black. Red as a symbol of her passion, determination and perseverance. Black as a symbol of confidence in her culture and brave character.

Angelou would be a circle because she is infinite. Like a circle, Angelou’s influence and inspiration continues today through her poetry and autobiographies.

Angelou would be a deep musk scent. One of those perfumes you smell, and just can’t forget. It is a subtly strong, mature scent. It’s a scent someone respectable would wear.

If Angelou were a building she would be a building made of organic materials (i.e. wood). I imagine her as a tree house, but a beautiful one. She would be a tree house, because like a tree house is made up of trees and plants around it, Angelou was greatly influenced by important people in her life like her grandmother, Mrs. Flowers and Martin Luther King Jr.

Angelou encompasses the word ”empowerment” perfectly. Through her hardships she came out even stronger.

Angelou would be the drums. Angelou is loud and confident. In a song the drums are the main instrument heard. It also gives the song a certain life to it. Angelou inspires millions of people today with her song (story).

Angelou would be Spring as a season of the year. Spring is considered a new beginning where plants begin to grow again and animals end their period of hibernation. It’s also a symbol of new life. Angelou was able to see the hope in her life and allow herself the new beginning.

If she were a movie genre she would be a drama movie. Her life was quite the drama. She faced hardships and also great blessings.

Angelou would be the rainbow after a rainstorm. Just like a rainstorm Angelou went through dark times, but eventually got to the good and beautiful. She eventually saw the rainbow.

If Angelou were a lipstick colour she would be a deep burgundy. Angelou is beautiful woman because of her story and her strength. This colour is like that too. On it’s own it may not be so striking, but once it’s put against someone’s lips it’s transformed.

Until the next,

Diana.

 

 

 

Résumé Writing

The skill of writing a decent resume is very useful and necessary. You want to present your education, work experience and virtues in an organized, professional manner.

This is a skill I began to learn in class. I was so excited because in school at least, you rarely learn skills or information that directly applies to life.

So, with the excitement in mind, I decided to research some tips on how to write a resume that your employer won’t just toss into the “not interested pile.” but into the “I-want-to-interview-this-person-because-they-are-interesting pile.”

Some of the main tips I found while researching were:

  • Make sure your resume is proofread very thoroughly- any spelling and or grammatical mistakes often result in a direct elimination of your resume because of lack of professionalism.
  • Make your resume visually appealing (i.e. small, short paragraphs with important information)
  • Omit personal information like religion, political affiliation, and age ( These details for the most part are unnecessary, and can also lead to disagreement and therefore a quick toss of a resume).
  •   Include information that’s relevant to the job you’re applying to ( If you’re applying to work at the World Bank as an accountant, don’t include your work experience at an animal kennel because it irrelevant).
  • When writing your work experience or education, write them in order of the most recent to the least recent. The employer is generally more interested in the more recent experience because you are probably going to remember the skills and the experience better.

I hope these tips were helpful:)

Diana.

Source: Jolla, Dr. La. “Writing an Effective Resume.” Career Service Center, UC San Diego, 2010, http://career.ucsd.edu/undergraduates/prepar-resume-covlet/writing-effective-resume.html. Accessed 26 Feb. 2018.

 

 

The Truth About Bias

In school we are taught to avoid Wikipedia, and to only use credible sources. We are constantly reminded that a lot of times the first website that pops up on our google search is not the most educational and credible source out there. Many teachers recommend websites that have the URL ending of “.org” as they’re known for their credibility.

Why is this important?

Most students can answer this seemingly simple question. “It’s important because in order to write a solid essay (in terms of content) we must begin with factual information found in credible sources.” This is true, but there is a deeper ethical implication to careful research. Careful research involves a credible source(s) but also the realization of  biases of a particular website or author. As a student from a western country who attends a western school, I’m inevitably exposed to western ideals and values at school, at home and even on the internet. Google is the most popular search engine worldwide. However, it is American which in it of itself presents a certain bias. Google does provide a large variety of websites and other sources, but they almost always are from a Western perspective. The ethical issue arises, when we are trying to find information about another country (other than the U.S. or other Western countries). This is a problem because we are ONLY exposed to one side of the story. A good example is the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The U.S. ( as a whole) is on The Israeli side, so if we attempt to find information about this conflict from an American search engine or website, chances are the biased will be toward the Israelis. If this is all we are exposed to, it becomes dangerous. If we are only taught one side of the story, there will never be room for peace and understanding.

This dilemma also applies outside of an educational environment. Taking the same example of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. This is obviously a very complex issue, that I only intend to simplify for the sake of understanding. If an Israeli is brought up to hate Palestinians and to consider them all enemies, then how are they supposed to listen to their side of the story, and similarly if a Palestinian is brought up to hate and consider all Israelis their enemies how will they ever listen to their side of the story? How will there ever be empathy between these people? How will there be understanding and peace? However, if both Israeli and Palestinian children (from a young age) are taught to see each other as humans, not just as two people groups fighting for a piece of land, then perhaps that could be the beginning of some sort of understanding.

In conclusion, “the truth” in conflicts such as the one mentioned above is relative to the side one is on, so the merit comes when we try to understand the truth of the opposing side.

Until the next,

Diana.