My Sophomore Year Experience

this is my blog about my sophomore year at New Trier :))


I have decided to record my sophomore year for two reasons. I think it is cool learning about students experiences from other schools so I thought I would add to that! Also, I want to be able to go back and read about my high school experiences so I will never forget these 4 monumental years of my life. Hope you enjoy! :))
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8/19/15 - FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!

WOOT WOOT!! This is going to be a fun, challenging, exciting year at the Winnetka campus but I feel like it is going to be a great!

8/25/15 - getting accustomed

It has been about a week from the first day of school!

So far:

- I like my teachers

- I have a great schedule

- I was able to switch my lunch to get into the same lunch period as my friends

- the homework level has been doable

- I have only been lost once!! (it turns out I was just 1 floor level below)

- I haven't gone up the D stairwell to the third floor and had to do the walk of shame down (knock on wood)

8/28/15 - spoke too soon :/

I went up to the third floor on the D stairwell today... Thankfully no one was up there to laugh at me on my way down!!

10/01/15 - Sorry I haven't posted in awhile!!

WOW I am not starting off this blog too well... Even though it has been over a month, I still feel like school just began! Everything is going smoothly so far! None of my classes have been too challenging and I am happy with how the year is going!

10/03/15 - homecoming!!!!

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10/8/15 - The Catcher in the Rye

We've been reading the book The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger in english class for the past few weeks. My opinion on it: I like it and I don't. I like how it is realistic fiction and so it was not hard to relate to Holden, the main character, at points in the book. What I dislike about the book is the overall mood. Because of Holden's constant negative mentality, when I am finished reading the chapter for the night I feel very down and depressed (which isn't something I look for in a book :/) ANYWAY... we were having a discussion in class about this section of last night's chapter: "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy" (224-225). This passage first stands out first because of the obvious reason, the title, but also because it encompasses the overall theme of this book. With the help of in class close reading and discussion, we were able to closely analyze this passage and find the deeper meaning. Holden protecting children from running of the cliff symbolizes his desire to protect kids from losing their innocence. It was an interesting class!

10/21/15 - New paper

We were just assigned a new paper for english class today. I was looking back at a paper from 8th grade to try and get some inspiration (I was blanking on how to start a paper strongly :// ) It was my "Campaign of the Gods" paper and I remembered being very proud of how this final essay turned out. I was writing a persuasive paper on why Polyphemus, a cyclops from The Odyssey, should be chosen to be the next Bachelor. Weird, I know. For my hook, I compared past, famously disappointing Bachelors: "The uneasy Brad Womack, at the eleventh season finale of The Bachelor, left without choosing either of the final two contestants, leaving the viewers with both shock and anger. Disregardful of his audience's expectations, Jason Mesnick also left many with disgust when he announced that he proposed to the wrong finalist because he did not realize his love for the other contestant (1). In my opinion, this hook did what a proper hook should do - catch the reader's attention and curiosity and encourage them to continue reading your paper. On my scoring guide for this paper, my teacher wrote "brilliant hook!" (that made me happy :)) I think a hook should be interesting and fun to read while at the same time properly set up the foundation of your essay. In the rest of the introduction, I explained how Polyphemus would be unlike any of the past Bachelors. Hopefully, this gives me some inspiration!!

11/04/15 - confused & overwhelmed

I just returned back to school after being out sick for a week (with all the symptoms of mono but not mono!! Confusing, I know!) I am trying to make up all the work I missed but I am super overwhelmed and I am struggling to find time to get everything done!! Being out sick is the worst and I missed Halloween! ;(

11/09/15 - 11/14/15 - The Triangle factory fire project show week

11/17/15 - just meh

We got back those "Teenage Wasteland" papers back in english today after a few weeks of unsure feelings about its turn out. I was happy to see that I received an "A" but when I started to read it, I just thought - "meh." I got this feeling because of my hook. The paper was about the roles of parents and the impact they can have on their children. Now this topic did not really allow for a fun, eye-catching hook, but I think what I wrote could have been enhanced: "One may think of parents and simply thing a mother and father. But really, they are so much more than that" (1). See? Isn't it meh? It does relate to the essay topic and does introduce my thesis but it does not make the readers think, "This is going to be good!" Unfortunately, I clearly showed a decline in my strength in hook writing so this will continue to be one of my writing goals for the papers to come.

11/26/16 - Happy Turkey DAy!!


12/01/16 - lord of the flies

In english, we have been reading The Lord of the Flies. Although it is a little dark, I am enjoying reading it. I love Piggy and Simon SOOO much. The downside to the book is it is sometimes hard to read because of the excessive long descriptive paragraphs. They add to the plot and the characterization but they can sometimes be hard to get through. Anyway, I have been pretty proud of myself because I have been able to discover some of the themes and deeper meanings of the book. For example, I have noticed the repeating theme of savagery along with the loss of innocence with the boys. I think The Catcher in the Rye helped me develop this skill because there were many things to think about that book as well. I have learned that discovering the deeper meaning to these books not only helps with my understanding of the novel, but also with my understanding of these book's comments on society.

12/14/15 - 12/16/15 - Finals ahhhhh

It is finals week!! I locked myself in my room all weekend in order to prep for finals because they crept up so quickly and I had a lot of learning to do!! They are going well so far though so the power studying is paying off.

12/25/15 - Merry Christmas!!!


1/14/16 - $17 book!!!!

We just got back from Winter Break and in english we have begun to read The Other Wes Moore. First off, this book broke the bank. WHY SO EXPENSIVE?? But second off, it is pretty good so far! This book tells the story of two young boys who grew up with the same name but ended up living entirely different lives. It switches off perspectives between them. At first, it was terribly hard to keep track of who was who but after a while I got used to it! My teacher just introduced the essay we will be writing for the book. We are going to be comparing the two boy's lives and we are going to have to pinpoint what made them end up the way they did. I think I am going to write about how their families were the main reason but I will keep you updated!

1/21/16 - math test back

ummmm yeah... this did not go too well.

2/08/16 - 2/13/16 - footloose show week!

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2/16/16 - proud

A while back I had talked about the The Other Wes Moore paper I had started to write. Today in class we got them back and I was very happy to see my grade. My teacher seemed to have really liked my paper and commented, "An awesome paper! Your examples perfectly enhance/prove your points, you use ample analysis to prove the thesis and overall, do a great job bringing all together with an anecdote - great!" :)))))

One thing this year that I have been really trying to work hard on is my analysis. In years past, I had had a hard time understanding the purpose and what exactly was supposed to go into an analysis. But this year it all seemed to click for me. In my first body paragraph of this essay I wrote about how Wes' grandparents rules helped monitor his involvement in street life. I choose a quote describing Wes walking down the street showing his obliviousness to the drug life in his community. After that quote, I wrote, "Although Wes did not recognize it at the time, the rules put in place by his grandparents and enforced by his mother, were shielding him from the dangerous, outside world. They kept him innocent" (1-2). I later go on to say how these rules prevented him from falling into the life that many young boys his age fall into - the drug game. I think this analysis does a great job of explaining how the quote connects to my argument. An analysis should also tie back to the thesis, which I tried to do as well. This analysis was focused and developed so I think I achieved my goal for this paper.

Another one of my goals this year is to improve on writing conclusions. Unlike analysis, conclusions have NOT clicked with me. At all. I find them VERY difficult to write without completely repeating what you just wrote in the paragraphs above. Well for this paper, I WROTE A STRONG CONCLUSION!! Hoorraayy! Not only was it strong, but it was longer than my typical 4 weak sentences excuse for a conclusion. In this paragraph, I was able to do both of the following: 1. "revisit your thesis" and 2. "the so what" (revisit your hook). Normally, I either do not include both parts or I do add both but the whole time I am just re-wording the same sentence over and over and over again. I reconnected the conclusion to my hook by completing my anecdote about my brother's school experience. Overall, I am proud of this paper!! :)

2/20/16 - turnabout!!!!

3/1/16 - French Revolution Déjà vu

After we finished everything with The Other Wes Moore, we started reading A Tale of Two Cities. We had learned about the French Revolution in Modern World History earlier in the year so it has been interesting to read a book about it. I set a goal for myself with this book to stay consistent with annotating character development because my teacher warned us about the crazy amount of characters in this book. It is working very well because it is helping me keep track of all the different characters. Whenever something significant happens to one of the characters I am recording, I will underline it and mark "C.D." and then put that page number on my character page (one of the blank pages) in the front of the book. This allows me to have all my page numbers organized. When annotating for character development, I have noticed myself catching much more information and details about the characters that I would typically miss if I was not looking for c.d. I am definitely going to continue using this skill for other books because it has proven to be VERY helpful.

3/7/16 - Third quarter slump is real

I am barely getting past this slump. Hallelujah it is ending soon!!
This is what I watch when I'm low on motivation

I promise this will help if you are ever feeling unmotivated, lazy, or uninspired!!

4/04/16 - Too many tenses

In Spanish class we have been learning different verb tenses but we have learned so many this year that they are all getting mixed up in my brain and I don't know when to use which one when!!! SOOO if you have any tips PLEASE let me know and help a fellow Spanish learner out!

4/22/16 - The last goodbye

We have been working with the book A Tale of Two Cities for what feels like eternity. Don't get me wrong I liked the book a lot and it was very interesting but I am starting to forget the names of the books we read before this massive unit! Anyway, we just got back our big papers we had written for this book. I think it was one of our biggest papers so obviously I was anxious to get it back. From the start, this paper confused me. I understood how it was supposed to turn out but for some reason I was having trouble executing. But overall, it turned out okay I think. After the amount of struggling and confusion this paper put me through I was VERY proud of my grade (and quite honestly a little surprised!)

One thing about the paper that I did like was my analysis. My first paragraph was about Sydney Carton and my first impressions of him - "a man with severely low self-esteem and confidence" (1). My quote describes Carton looking at himself in the mirror and disliking what he saw back. Following this, I stated, "Carton has little to no dignity in his own eyes, and no self-worth. As he sees his reflection staring back at him, he identifies that there is 'nothing in [him] to like.' His low confidence is shown through the way 'he muttered' his words, as if he was disgusted at what he saw back in the mirror" (1). Within each analysis for every body paragraph I try to incorporate words/phrases from my quote to help tie it all together. I think it also helps show the connection of the quote to my argument. I believe I have successfully learned how to write a strong, focused analysis that proves the connection of the quote and my thesis. :)

Remember when I wrote about how I was very proud of my strong conclusion for my The Other Wes Moore paper? (see day 2/16) Well unfortunately I CANNOT say the same for this paper... :( :/ I had written, "I find them VERY difficult to write without completely repeating what you just wrote in the paragraphs above... but it was longer than my typical 4 weak sentences excuse for a conclusion." This conclusion is a PERFECT example of what I was talking about. I wrote, "When put side by side to the compassionate Lucie Manette, readers see Carton as a selfless, self-respecting gentleman. The character's connection allows readers to see the truth behind Carton. ... Once readers discover the relationship between Lucie and Carton, they are able to see past their original glimpse" (3). Not only is this conclusion lame, but it is a summary of what I had just previously talked about in my essay!! I also failed to connect this back to my introduction where I talked about self-respect. I think this conclusion could have used a lot of work!! My goal of writing conclusions that include the big picture and connect back to my thesis will have to carry over to junior year...

5/06/16 - the late curse

I take early bird chemistry and normally, we are pretty good on getting there on time. But this week I think we have been cursed. We have been late EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. At the beginning of the year my teacher said that we were allowed 2 tardies per semester. So, yikes. My teacher has not said anything about it but I think her method is to be passive and she hopes we will make the change on our own. Let's hope this curse is broken soon!!

5/15/16 - FINALS PREP

FINALS ROUND 2!! Now this second semester has felt like an eternity so I have been studying like a mad woman. I can NOT wait for summer!!!