There comes a point in everyone’s life where they are forced to remember things. Whether they be for good or for bad. This is that time for me. It is time for me to think back on everything we have done and evaluate upon that. Its time for me to focus on work that may have been good, or the ones that I completely rocked.
This year for me has been one full of ups and downs. Some of those worse than others. I’ve struggled with staying focused as well as completing tasks on time. But when I did hand in those assignments, they were magic. “Growing up there has been (and still is) something that clearly divides our family. It is not the color of our hair or whether or we share the same eye color. A speech barrier has affected more than half of my family.” Read more of my Language Autobiography here.
There have been times this year when I did not believe that I could go on any longer and there was no way that I would be able to finish out the year strong but I had to do it. Mr. Block began to assign more work that I could relate to and that made it a little less difficult to fail at. “There will always be things that one does that someone else hates, but that is the give and take with life. You never know what you are going to get, so you deal with it, no matter whatever hand you are dealt. Its a game of give and take, and there is more giving than taking, but hey! That’s what life is.. A bunch of uncertainty.” I look back on these words and realize you cannot change what you have done, however you have the power to adjust the course for the future. In the past year, I have learned that in these two subjects and just about the world in general. You can only change yourself... You can’t change the world. Read more from my Letter Assignment here.
I was inspired to keep writing and to keep sharing my writing with the world. I wanted the world to know how proud I was to be apart of a class where I had the freedom to write whatever I pleased. When I pleased. One of the journal entries this year was titled “Never shall I forget.” in which you could write about anything. I at the time had been thinking about my relationship since the topic on hand that week was relationships within countries and relationships between people and objects. I remember writing this great poem about my relationship and it went a little something like this. “Never shall I forget the day he held me in his arms, For I did not want to let go. Never shall I forget the late night phone calls, The ones that were had so that he would be the last voice I heard before bed. Never shall I forget how much I love him. Never shall I forget the person I gave my heart to. For all these things worth remembering, I never shall forget. Never shall I forget the day I saw him. I fell in love instantly and I knew we were meant to be. Never shall I forget the day I got the courage to talk to him. He liked me too. Never shall I forget the day he asked me to be his. Never shall I forget our first kiss by the backstairs. Never shall I forget the butterflies I get everytime I hear his name. Never shall I forget the day he said I love you... because I love him too.”
At that point, my knack for writing became something that could no longer be tamed. We were learning more about different writing styles and we were getting prompts to write about and the benchmarks challenged my every being. My favorite project from the year had to be my monologues about the Keystone Pipeline build. I wrote the monologues and was more than ecstatic to show everyone. Here is a little excerpt “What brings you here today? My land? You want my land? Why? No! You can’t have it! I won’t let you! (Angrily Speaking) I can’t believe you thought you could come in my house and take my land! This is mine! I bought it and I refuse to sign it over to you. TransCanada? Who are they? Why do they feel the need to take what isn’t theirs? (Pause) A pipeline? From Canada all the way to Texas? Why the hell do they need all that oil anyway! Go dig somewhere else! I dont care how beneficial it is to the company, the other states, or anyone else for that matter. I worked my whole life for this land and I’m not going to throw it away for a project that will be gone in five years after all of the oil dries up! (Pause, looking to her left) Calm Down? Me calm down? At a time like this? I’m sorry Mr. Jameson, not to sound rude, but thats not going to happen. There is more to the land then just a place to be. My children were born and raised here, my grandchild born in this very house. There is an emotional connection involved in this house and there is no amount of money that can change the way I feel about this.” Read the full monologues here.
There are so many more pieces of work that I am proud of from this year and that can demonstrate to the fullest but would not nearly have enough time to write about all my experiences with each one. So below I put a list together of a few of most pride worthy work for you to enjoy. Feel free to go through the links and read whatever you would like! I hope you enjoy my writing.
While attending Mr Blocks History and English class it opened my eyes to many issues in the world such as “How does society affect the world?” we did many assignments that challenged me and made me look at different topics in other ways that i would have ever thought of without the help of Mr Block. If you think about it for a little you will immediately start thinking about human actions but i'm also talking about how media and people we see as famous and athletic affect us.
“In my opinion sports are such a big deal in this country because the american people don't have anything else to do and it is a way to control the american population for example they make the american society think that if they don't have a muscular body that they are not appealing to females.”
Many americans nowadays go crazy when missed calls are made during a game when its not even that big of a deal and i've heard of stories of people not eating or losing thousands of dollars due to their team losing. Americans become too addictive it's like gambling people just keep going back and spending money on useless stuff.Click here
“I believe that industrialization has brought more than good because it made a lot of of small businesses go out of business and the factories would pollute the rivers so the environment was affected and also the product quality went down for example before a shoe makes would make only like one pair of shoes a day specifically made for one person but now factories made hundreds a day due to a higher population and demand.”
Society influenced clothing in huge way, before you would walk into a shop and order a pair of shoes personalized to you. Now a days you walk into a store and you find hundreds of the same shoe at a cheaper price than a pair of personalized ones to worse quality fabrics and they are not made the want you want them they can sometimes take short cuts due to demand.Click here
“Many americans are are against illegal aliens coming over and taking american jobs. But the americans don't want to do those jobs, they just use the illegal aliens and once they are not needed anymore they deport them and say that they are destroying the country and all they bring is violence and use the country. But they actually have built this country up they pick the fruits and vegetables for the food producer and they do many low paying jobs that the american people would never do without them this country would fall apart and will not be able to grow. (Op-Ed)
Society sees illegal aliens as the enemy and when the economy had a downfall one of the first ones to be blamed for not there being enough jobs where the illegal aliens but if the americans would think straight and not just assume stuff they would see that the jobs illegal aliens do are the worse and toughest jobs that also pay the lowest wage. So if an american were to work the job an illegal alien does they would have to complain and call the police because they would see how unjust the jobs are.Click here
“When she met Teacake in the story she was a woman that was not that strong and she had some power because she owned land and had a store but her ex husband prohibited her from doing many things such as she was not able to play checkers but when teacake came into her life he swept her off her feet and made her feel equal. He let her play checkers and they went on a romantic picnic like she did when she was with her first boyfriend. Teacake filled in what was missing in her life and when she killed him because she had to, she cherished those moments and it seemed like she did not regret being with him (Final thoughts on their eyes were watching god)”
While reading “Their Eyes Were Watching God” I noticed the inequality, society influenced in how women are not seen is that women are not equal. A huge example of how women are not seen as equal is like when a female Basketball player from Oregon named Brittney Griner wanted to play in the NBA but a lot of people said no because she would get pushed around and would only get hurt. She was not even given a chance all she was told was that she was a female so that made her “ineligible to play”. Another example of how women are seen as less than men and only as like a sex object is the lingerie football league, they are dressed in lingerie and usually the spectators are men and all they do is harass them.
History journal 19 what is your universe of obligation?
My universe of obligation is my family and I
Then my education.
A job. friends then fun time.Anything extra isn’t an obligation it’s just like fun time.
Do you remember that first time you did something outside of your comfort zone? That time when you probably thought, “What am I doing here”? Or that time when you thought, “Hey, that wasn’t that bad’? Ever had those feelings, well if you did than you and I already have something in common.
At first I never knew stepping out of my comfort zone would make me feel like a new person. It allows me to have more exposure to the world around me and understand everything much better. It also made me feel really accomplished. This year in Mr. Blocks English and History class I have crossed many comfort zones. Those comfort zones have created originality, which has pushed me beyond my personal boundaries. Also by challenging myself, I am bettering myself.
I remember writing a description of an artwork. I was told to look at a piece of artwork and describe every detail of it. I picked a picture of Radha and Krishna; I had no idea where to start, but I had to start somewhere. Now that I look back at my work I realize that I could have given the artwork a totally different meaning and that I should have been more creative. But I didn’t do that I just described it the way I saw it. That was the first step to writing my descriptive essay, in the essay I described things much better. “I looked as the sweats from his hair slowly moved down his forehead, to his cheeks and then one by one dripped down to the carpet floor,” in this slowed down the action and used more detail.
A while after that we learned about how much language can really affect your everyday life. I wrote a language autobiography describing how different languages, I know, play a key role in who I am. Doing this allowed me to create something original with the way I speak. It allowed me to take three different languages I speak and turn them into one amazing piece of writing. “Language has such a big role in my life, how knowing three different languages has it advantages and disadvantages.” By writing about how language impacts my life it pushed my personal boundaries to make me more comfortable.
We read many books in both English and History from that I created a Prezi about how reading has changed my life. At first Prezi was very complicated for me, it was a new website that I was not familiar with. But I challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone and create something original. In the Prezi I wrote “Reading is an advantage for me. Reading takes me to places I have never been before.” By doing new things it made me realize that I am capable of doing more then things I‘m use to doing in my everyday life.
There are also other assignments that made me take the next step. Creating a museum exhibit gave me a huge change to be really creative. And doing everyday journal entries also helped me step out of my comfortable zone. Two majors one that really connect to me are English Journal 8 and History Journal 4. The last assignment that I believe has really given me the opportunity to push my limits is the the Hidden City assignment. I never thought I would be taking a normal alleyway and create it into an artwork.
Throughout the year I did many projects in both my history and English class that went over very diverse topics. From making plays history to making monologues in english, I can say that this experience was worth the work. It gave me many opportunities that most people in regular high schools might not get because they have a regular curriculum. I learned many interesting things that will most likely give me an upper edge in the future.
I was never really a fan of english nor history. I always thought they both were boring and still today I find myself losing interest from time to time. However there were a few things that caught my attention throughout the year. For example one of topics that we went over that helped me stay focused was language evolves in a person. To me this means that over time your writing develops into a style of your own.
One of the many lessons that I did that is a good example of this general understanding was when we had to make our own poems. The process helped us all develop our own type of poems with their own “flow” or style. My best poem I did during that lesson was a rift poem about music.
We've fallen into a place where there is only music
A place where music arouses all of the 5 senses
You see the rhythm flow in and out of each beat
The notes crawl on your skin for your body is the measure
Each lyric has its own scent that guides you through the song
Each genre has its own taste
The spicy sensation of salsa
or the beefy taste of a bass in funk
and what you hear is a mere product of all the senses combined
Here everyone's heart beats on its own time signature
Here no one is the same only a part of the same thing
its said god made us in his own image
but in this place music is the only image
After I wrote this poem we had to analyze a famous poets poems. My poet was Allen Ginsberg and one of the poems I went over was “An Asphodel”. While I didn’t understand all of the poem I understood the important parts and was able to tell what the poem was about. The poem is in the link here.
There are different ways that language evolves in a person, especially when that person has an accent. I was able to show this when I wrote a language autobiography about the differences between west coast and east coast accents. I could relate to this well because I lived on the west coast for 7 years and developed a slight accent myself. The essay was mostly about how different accents have very different first impressions.
“Even if I had an accent I wouldn’t know what it would be useful for. In the video we watched about American accents the woman had to change her southern accent because where she lived it made her seem uneducated in the business world. However, on the contrary there was a man with a heavy Boston accent that helped him woo the ladies and intimidate other people that seemed to be a threat. This shows that just by talking people have already judged what type of person you are, how smart you are and what your capabilities are.”
However, making your own style of writing isn’t the only way to show that you’re evolving. Another way you can do this is by making a style for another person or an inanimate object. We did this when we made monologues for the Keystone pipeline. The project required us to become a person or thing that was a part of the Keystone pipeline debate. I wrote from the perspective of the tar sands talking to a worker digging the sands.
“What do i give off? Are you seriously asking me that? I mean I knew you humans were dumb, but I didn’t know you were that dumb jeez. It’s like talking to a plank of wood. Why are you working here if you don’t know what I'm going to give off, but if you haven’t heard, I am dirtier than any oil you humans have dug up. I’m guessing tar didn’t stick out to you?”
One of our major projects this year was to interview someone and make a podcast to explore the topic of crossing boundaries. We had a few class discussions but did not go to much in depth about it until we all finished our podcast. While sitting through the interview and listening to the other podcast, I gained something that I would have never gotten if it was in text form or discussions. I felt and heard the emotions expressed through listening. In my reflection of the podcast, I wrote, “Although I have done interviews a few times before, this time it felt like something different because it was something that I could really connect with, especially because I was interviewing my own brother.” If my brother was to write down everything he said and hand it to me, I would have read it but not feel any connection at all. The podcast added a deeper layer to my experience in learning about crossing boundaries. I was able to learn about the boundaries in general and also apply that to my life. If it was not for this podcast then I would not have known so much more about my brother.
The class also spent a huge amount of time writing our own play. Plays normally have a storyline to them that makes people interested but writing plays takes a lot of skill. Writing a play is not like writing an essay but it enables so much more creativity. Students are most likely going to put more effort into something that they enjoy and that is why writing a play is so important. It increases our writing skills but it also shows that we can learn from writing something that is not as formal as an essay. When I gave a brief summary of my play, I wrote, “One of the girls is a famous star who dreams of going back to school but cannot because she is too busy. The other girl is very poor and tries to find money to pay for her tuition and take care of her family at the same time.” Although this play did require a lot of editing, it also helped me learn about the life of people in different countries.
As one of our earliest projects, we had to write a series of monologues from different perspectives. Although there may be articles and news about the different views of the pipeline coming from certain groups of people but there is so much more we can learn. Writing monologues gave us an infinite range to choose from. We can write from the perspective of the pipeline, the trees, the earth, the water and so much more. For one of my monologues, called “One In Thousands,” I wrote from the point of view of a sensor in the pipeline and one of my lines was, “If something goes wrong, they’ll just blame us. “Oh, there’s something wrong with our sensors.” Pathetic. Why is it that I’m the only one that could see that we shouldn’t be here?” In order to express the feeling of a sensor, I had to do plenty of research. The monologues helped me have a better understanding of the effect of the pipeline because I did a lot more work and put more effort into it but at the same time it did not feel like much because it was an enjoyable project.These are just a few examples of ways of learning that are different in many aspects from each other. Providing a range of projects can really help individuals have a better understanding of things because they each go into depth about a certain parts. Plays can help with the structure, monologues with the feelings, and podcasts with the connection. I am not the person who could understand things by reading a book and answering some questions so using creative methods in learning really boosted my knowledge. I paid attention to the methods and realized that everyone has a unique way of learning that suits them and that is a really important aspect in education.
English Journal #40 (4/25/13) - Describe what it felt like to be crowded together. In what ways do you think this compares to what they went through in the book ?
It felt like being in a cage. Everybody's body heat made the experience very uncomfortable. There was no place to sit down, so I couldn't imagine standing for hours to days on end. It felt dark. This certainly doesn't compare to the real thing in Night : we were just in a classroom. We had places to go to the bathroom and food in our stomachs. They didn't. But it does give some insight. It was probably dark and highly uncomfortable not being able to sit down. They had the fear we didn't: the unknown. We knew we wouldn't be held up in this position for oh so long. We had to sit back down and get on with class. But those prisoners didn't know what was going to
History Journal #27 (2/19/13) - In your opinion, what are the different messages of the cartoon ?
The smaller fish represent the poorest of people, stating there is no justice. He doesn't get anything, but he gets eaten. Behind him there is a bigger fish ready to eat him, saying there is some justice. He represents the middle class. He's still able to eat something, but he knows he is going to get eaten. Then behind him, there is the biggest fish, saying the the world is just. He represents the higher class. He gets to eat everything with no repercussions and nothing to worry about. The idea of this cartoon is that the higher-ups see everything as completely fine because everything is going their way, and they don't get reprimanded for their actions. They can ignore the lower classes without a care because their life is great. The poorest of people have the worst of luck, but they see the world as it really is because they can't help but not ignore the lives of people higher than them.
One year can seem like ten years. One deep discussion in class can seem like an ice breaker for people to speak up. One journal to write a poem can be one journal to write out everything that’s killing you inside. One year of this class changes lives. One year of this class changed my life. There are two things that really stuck with me this year. First is that when challenging yourself you’re bettering yourself. Second is that everyone sees through their own lens.
We all react differently in certain situations. That’s depending on what side we’re standing on and what lens we’re looking through. If you see a man/woman begging for change on the street you quickly slide into a lens. You either give him/her change or shrug him/her off thinking he/she doesn’t need your money. If you are the man/woman begging for change you are wearing a lens. You either say thank you to everyone even if they give you the cold shoulder or you act mean to those who don’t give.
It is easy to judge someone else when you’re viewing a situation from a different lens. “I don’t listen. You don’t listen. We don’t understand each other.” (2nd Language Scene: English) When you hear of a woman letting her husband beat her up everyday you start judging. You think she’s stupid or weak or just downright incompetent of standing on her own two feet. But once you slide into her shoes and you yourself become the female getting bruises day in and day out you’ll think different. Once you see the hidden issues and insecurities the woman has you’ll think different. From a girl who grew up saying that would never happen to me I know; once you’re put in those shoes it makes you want to take back all those things you said before. But all we can do is move on and live life the best we can. “Accept your failures and move on.” (Creating Chapter 26 of TFA)
We need to take a step back. Lay out all the lenses in the world and put one on depending on our situations. If there’s a boy on his way to prison step back. Pick up a lens so you see what he sees and figure out what made a fine boy become a broken man. We have to use these lenses to help one another. “Don’t get involved and mind your own business!” - “But momma Humanity is my business.” (Philip Zimbardo: The Torturer’s Mind) Everyone has a problem and we need to help fix them. You can’t always see someones problems at first and we can’t judge everyone by their covers. People sometimes wear covers to hide the problems they have inside which relates a journal that we wrote in class.
To get through life and make ourselves better we need to challenge ourselves. That’s something I learned this year from my classes. I was constantly having to challenge myself so that I could give my best towards projects and discussions. To be able to express all that I could during our poetry unit I had to push my limits and go personal. I had to challenge myself with trying different types of poetry and then giving each one my all.
As the person I am I am always trying to change and better myself. Like back when I wrote a journal about what I wish I could do. Or back when I did a monologue project about the keystone pipelines. It’s hard sometimes to try new things and to put yourself out there for everyone to see you. It’s something that I’m getting better at doing every day that I’m in this class. I have to stop letting people hold me back and better myself. “Don’t let any man, woman, child, animal, or thing kill you inside.” (Letter Of Advice: English Post)