I remembered when I was younger, I was bound to be confused in history class. And although writing and reading was my strongest subjects during elementary and middle school, I was very uninterested during english class. Everything I learnt was similar to each other or typically not surprising. I felt like I was missing out on a lot of things that I’d find more interest in, something that gets me excited or something that’d lit my eyes hearing about. It was same thing every year in history and english. Nothing out of the ordinary in english and history class. School was becoming just like what see you on TV. My first year of high school wasn’t as bad as I thought it was during english and history. In full honesty, during my sophomore year of attending to english 2 and world history class, it doesn’t even feel like I’m in here to advance in reading or learn about our fathers of America. I have never learnt so much in my life until this year, thanks to Mr. Block’s classes.
In history, I learnt that everyone needs to share the blame in any type of situation. For example, we learnt about the fall of the Aztecs empire. We set up a court system and divided everyone equally into groups. Such as the Aztecs, Cortes, Cortes’ men, etc. We all had to defend ourselves and proven not guilty. It was very hard and I realized in the end that it is everyone’s fault. I didn’t make this conclusion until I wrote the final thoughts about the Cortes’ trial. In this piece of writing, I stated “And this isn't coming from my point of my view because I defended Cortes. I see that the system is also pretty guilty as well as King Charles V, in fact everyone is evenly guilty.” The same went for who’s responsible for sweatshops in third world countries. We set up a court, and divided the entire class into equal groups. The groups were national cooperations, U.S. consumers, sweatshop workers, etc. In the end of the trial, we had to write our final thoughts on sweatshops. In my response to modern day sweatshops, I stated “This is profit, it is literally all about making money. People are blinded by money. People are now brainwashed by profiting, marketing, and doing business. This is how the system works. And we, the people, make up the system of profit.” Every single group that was apart of this trial, whether it was the sweatshops workers, the leaders of the country, the consumers, they all had to take part of dividing the guilt because everyone was involved due to money. That is how I made my conclusions from this project that everyone is bound to be guilty.
Throughout attending to Block’s english and history class, I think about stuff that I usually don’t really have a thought about. For example, simply the definition of freedom. I have never sat down and actually put thought into defining what freedom is to me. In my english journal entry #36, I stated “Freedom is doing whatever the hell you want as long as you’re not harming yourself or harming anyone else.” This is my first sentence of the journal entry and pretty much what I generalize every type of freedom.
As time went by, we started to get in depth about identity. As I grew up, I was struggled a lot with my identity. What exactly was my ethnicity, how I carry myself around and just being me at all times. When we talked about identity, I realized identity has a lot of characteristics that I never thought about. Such as physical appearance, who you really are, what you’re hiding, etc. In a project that I worked on, I chose to make up a question that would get you thinking. It was “In what ways do people confuse physical appearance with identity?”. I made a Prezi presentation and the process of making it was awesome. I just enjoyed the creativity. But of course, I learnt so much about how everyone’s identity is important because it’s crucial that we are being ourselves and not trying to impress society in any type of way. For example, in this project, I used characters from famous Disney movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, The Princess and the Frog, etc. I then compared it to reality about Victoria Secret Models and how crazy it is that they’re underweight for their height. In the end, I stated “We, confused our identity with our physical appearance” along with a picture of my classmates. I said this because the society we make up, is brought upon us. I believe that nowadays, a lot of people do confused their physical appearance with their identity.
Still talking about the depths of identity, in history class, everyone was required to write a play and submit it to an interesting young playwrites program in Philly. During this personal time, I discovered the world of transexual people. It sounds a bit odd but it became my passion to grow up and help these transgendered people get through harsh times. I found myself reading and watching about transgendered people. I then went through a phase that I wanted to be a pediatric gender identity therapist and help children with transexual issues. The name of my play is "Authentic Woman." I decided to make my main character of the play a male to female transexual. Everyone thought it was a bit weird but I loved my idea of having a transgendered character. In one of the lines I wrote, my main character stated, “You don’t understand either... You don’t know how it feels to pretend you were a straight boy when you were a young teenager, you don’t know how it felt when I tried so hard to fit in by wearing all the boy clothes I’ve had, got my hair always cut short, having to work harder because I’m the “man” of this house. I’m not a man, Apsara, I’m a woman. You’ll understand in the future.” This was very important to hear from the main character. It reveals an entire different perspective of this character. It shows that what he looks on the outside does not define who he is in on the inside. And just thinking about people struggling with their identity and revealing it to the world, is so hard and heart wrenching sometimes.
Towards the end of our unit, we started to learn about the peace maker Gandhi. We started to get in depth about violence and something switch in my head when Mr. Block asked us “what is more powerful? violence, or nonviolence?” I completely onto the violent side but slowly mellowed in between of both after a class discussion. In my history journal entry #39, I stated “I think violence is more powerful. Because I go by the line ‘no one listens until someone dies.’” I do kind of agree with this statement but after learning about Gandhi’s peaceful march and how much he stood up for rights, I realized nonviolence can really win.It’s been a crazy learning experience.