In this blog post I will list one thing I am looking forward to in all my academic courses next year (10th grade). Yes, I know the title is misleading. “Courses I’m Looking Forward To” is supposed to be about the two or three courses I am looking forward to the most. But no, this will be about all my courses, because… well, it’s hard to explain. Please read on.
Mr. Musk, my Asian History teacher last year (9th grade), told me something that I will never forget. We were in the middle of a project called “Reflecting Tragedy: Redesigning the Nanjing Memorial.” We took a field trip to the Nanjing Memorial, we studied the Nanjing Massacre, and we were supposed to redesign the Nanjing Memorial in a more appropriate manner. I’d elaborate but this really isn’t the point. Anyway, I didn’t like this project at all because 1) we had to use Google Sketchup and I didn’t like Google Sketchup, 2) architecture just wasn’t my thing, and 3) after reading The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang I was thoroughly haunted by the horrors of the Nanjing Massacre. I just didn’t want to think about it. I went to Mr. Musk after school and complained. I told him that I didn’t want to do this project. I told him that he should just give me an F and get it over with (“just please spare my group mates because it’s not their fault that I don’t give a care”).
I expected Mr. Musk to be angry at me. I expected him to threaten me with all sorts of torture to make me care about the project somehow, because that’s what most teachers do. Instead, he asked me what my interests were, what I cared about, what I liked to do, etc. He listened to my responses carefully. We both agreed that while I wasn’t ready to deal with the details of the massacre itself, perhaps I did want to focus on how not to repeat such horrible events in history. Perhaps I could add a section to the memorial solely dedicated to atonement and a brighter future. And perhaps that section would be a huge part of reflecting tragedy, which was exactly what the project was about. After I saw the value in continuing the project, Mr. Musk gave me suggestions on how to get started. He introduced me to the 8 Steps to Genocide. We searched up other memorials around the world and discussed the different ideas each wanted to convey. We compared and contrasted the Nanjing Massacre to the Holocaust, and talked about the measures Germany was taking to prevent a second Holocaust from happening. I was in Mr. Musk’s classroom until 6pm, receiving help and researching. I left his classroom that evening feeling a lot better about myself and the project. All I really needed was to find one interesting thing within that project, and I am really thankful that Mr. Musk helped me with that.
Okay, I tried to seamlessly weave Mr. Musk’s words into the two previous paragraphs, but that didn’t exactly work. So this is his quote that I will never ever forget:
“The best students find something interesting in every assignment, every subject. Even when a project is boring, they see something they love within it and do a good job overall. They accept and exercise their creativity within the limits. Thinking inside the box is a very important skill—a skill you need to learn and use.”
You bet those words were ringing inside my head all night and throughout the duration of the entire project! Once I genuinely settled into my role in the group, both the project and school in general became so much fun. After 5 weeks of hard work, my group mates and I were happy with our final product. Creating a video justification and uploading it onto Youtube was really cool.
The moral of the story? Be a good student and be interested in at least one aspect of everything. And that’s exactly the point of this blog post. I want to be a good student and be excited about at least one aspect of every academic course I will take in 10th grade.
Here’s the list (finally):
Co-Curriculum Internship (Service): Although I do not know where I will be doing my service internship, I am excited about leaving school and doing community service for 5 weeks! At boarding school I may not be able to go out into “the real world” quite so often, so this will be really fun.
AP World History: I have never taken an AP course before. Taking an AP course means that I will take an exam in May. I think it’s awesome that my hard work will be rewarded by something other than just grades. Plus, I love history. I don’t have an organised timeline of historical events in my head yet—just some major events here and there, and I can’t wait to place everything in a neat chronological order.
English II (British Literature in an English-Speaking World): Conversations about literature can get intense, and I’m counting on that intensity, that fire. Plus, I get to work on academic writing in this course, which will be very useful in the future.
Biology: Sherlock Holmes looking into that microscope of his is sexy af. I can’t believe I’ll get to stare into microscopes and make a bunch of observations/deductions, just like him!
Bridge to Algebra II: This mini-course will be nice because I will feel more prepared for Algebra II. I swear I’ve forgotten everything I’ve learnt in Algebra I.
Algebra II: Although I prefer Geometry, I guess Algebra is alright too. I need this course in order to take Calculus senior year. Taking Calculus in 12th grade means more colleges for me to choose from. A brighter future is a great motivator for anything and everything.
Latin I: I am from South Korea, I have Korean parents. I have lived in Shanghai, China my entire life. I didn’t really have to learn English. My parents invested in my English education because my dad wanted me to be able to read original English texts, not translated ones. I want to learn Latin because someday I want to be able to read The Aeneid in the original language it was written in (Latin). Many things are lost in translation.
Introduction to Riding: PONIES!
Madeira Glee: I like singing, and I want to get better at it.
Chamber Orchestra: I play the piano. I have never played it in a group setting, though! I have seen videos of piano duets (are they even called piano duets??), and they sound absolutely amazing. Making new friends and making beautiful music with them is going to be great.
That’s it! hope you enjoyed reading this post, because I certainly enjoyed writing it. Plus, if you are a student, I challenge you to make a list like this one and share it with your friends. 🙂