Strengths, Weaknesses & the Future

(I wrote this before it needed to be posted so I saved the draft and went on my marry way. And forgot to actually post it. So here it is.)

 

 

I’ve always been a very passionate person. When I am interested, you can’t stop me. I will go to the ends of the earth to find out as much as I can about whatever it is, to educate other people about it, to put the information to good use. This has helped me a lot in school, particularly in classes that I enjoy. Ever since I could read, I have loved words. I thrive on new vocabulary. I thrive on new information. I love to learn and to discuss what I do or do not know much about. Discussion helps me to see inside of others’ thought processes, how they see, and this in turn helps me to understand better what we are discussing. This also has helped me more than a lot in school. However, I have trouble with balancing my social life and my academic life. I am hardly ever home because I like to go go go and be out with friends. I have a hard time forcing myself to sit down, say no to friends, and do my homework. I think I might have done a collective 3 weeks worth of math homework throughout my entire high school career. I’ve been able to really crack down the past two years and get stuff done, but I still struggle with doing math homework because honestly…who wants to do math homework? If you guessed essentially no one, you guessed right. Another one of my lovely traits would be extreme procrastination. Every assignment I actually did turn in, I wrote like, half an hour before school started and then printed it in the library. That being said, I plan to be the opposite this year. Like I’ve said before and I’ll say again, I’m going to turn assignments in early or on time, after spending a good deal of time and effort to create whatever the assignment happens to be. I’m going to focus, learn to balance socialization and academic responsibilities and ROCK THE FACE OFF OF THIS SCHOOL YEAR’S MOTHER.

 

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Camping, Orientation & The Bell Jar

I’ve been camping the past week so I’m glad I came home for a day to check on my blog! (Totally spaced that we have a post due tomorrow!)

My family has a cabin up at Hoods Canal on the Puget Sound that we lovingly call, “The Haunted Crackhouse” because it’s…to put it kindly, a little homely (and totally haunted). My family, our family friends, the Hillestads and our other family friends, the Reminars all go up together all the time and spend weekends crabbing, shrimping, clamming and boating. Every time we go up after a while of not going, we have to storm the gates with blow torches, maces and grenades to get all of the spiders out. The five of us girls thought that we had exterminated just about any living thing that was residing within, but we thought wrong. Last night we were all laying in our beds about to go to sleep when my little sister looked up and saw a spider the size of Honey Boo Boo’s mom crouching above her head…so that was horrifying and permanently scarring. That’s what I’ve been up to since my last post, such fun!

I’m getting pretty stoked for SENIOR ORIENTATION! My very last high school orientation EVER! I have a super adorable outfit picked out, including a macaroni-art shirt. It’s about to get real precious up in there. YEAHHHHHHHH! We get premium choice of lockers, too. Sweeeet. 

ALSO SOME INFORMATION: I started reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath a few days ago but I’m having trouble getting into it. I’ve heard nothing but, “You HAVE to read it!” and “It’ll change your life!” from everyone that I’ve ever spoken to about The Bell Jar but I’m not really connecting with it like I thought I would. I’m going to force myself to read atleast 50 more pages and if by then I still don’t like it, I’ll leave it.

 

Adios until Thursday!

The Great Gatsby/Books I’ve Read This Summer

I’ve read so many books this summer that I’ve forgotten most of the titles but the one book that has me still thinking after reading it several weeks ago, is The Great Gatsby.

So about a month or so ago, I decided to give in to the burning temptation to go see the movie adaptation The Great Gatsby. I usually have a rule about reading the book before seeing the movie, but honestly, who can resist the beautiful Leonardo DiCaprio for very long? Not me. I absolutely fell in love with the movie and the story told through out it, so I decided to go buy the book immediately. Thank the sweet Lord, The Great Gatsby is also on the list of books for college-bound readers! Woo!

Anywhoobie, that book is intense. I’m actually glad that I saw the movie first because it helped me to really understand all the things that were going on because sometimes it’s kind of difficult to follow. The one thing that I noticed that was always present in the story was the incredible deceit. I’m going to kind of explain some important characters before I go into everything.

So there’s Jay Gatsby, this mysterious, extremely rich guy that everyone has a different idea of. Some say he was a German spy, or the cousin of a Prince, or a murderer, all sorts of things. He’s hopelessly and obsessively in love with Daisy Buchanan, another millionaire that he had met five years previously. Daisy is the cousin of Nick Carraway, the narrator and next door neighbor of Gatsby. Nick Carraway is friends with Tom Buchanan, who he went to college with and is also the husband of Daisy. Nick is also involved with Jordan Baker, a famous golf player and Daisy’s best friend. Throughout the book, Nick becomes best friends with Gatsby, as well.

Everyone in this book lied or was sneaky about something or another. Jay Gatsby lied about his entire life. Gatsby and Nick were going to lunch together and during the car ride there, Gatsby wanted to dispel the rumors surrounding his name. Gatsby said, “I will tell you God’s truth..” as he was spewing total lies to Nick about his upbringing, his accomplishments, his money, everything. He told everyone that he was born into a very wealthy family that are “sadly all dead now,” and used his inheritance to “live like a young prince in all of the capitols of Europe” in his younger years before becoming a war hero and later went on to be educated at Oxford per family tradition. None of this was true. He was actually born into a dirt poor farm family and later ran away to start a new life. He was lucky enough to come upon the boat of a wealthy drunkard,Dan Cody, sailing into a storm and was able to steer him away from danger. The man took him under his wing and raised him to be a gentleman, but when he died Gatsby was cheated out of his inheritance by the other members of Dan’s family and was again, dirt poor. He went off to war, returned and was given the chance to attend college at Oxford University for free through the military but left after five months. After he came back to the States, he was still poor for a long while before becoming involved in the bootleg alcohol business and making his millions. He kept this facade going until the night before he was murdered. On top of this, he arranged for Daisy to come to Nick’s house for tea under the illusion that it was just going to be an afternoon spent with her cousin in his new house so that Gatsby could just “happen by” and run into Daisy while she was there. After they caught up, the two of them began having an affair behind the back of Daisy’s husband, Tom.

Daisy had been writing letters to Gatsby while he was at war, while she was engaged to Tom, completely unbeknownst to him. She had an affair with Gatsby five years later, while married to Tom. Up until the day that she was to tell Tom of the affair and leave him, Daisy had been telling Gatsby that she had always been in love with him and that she was going to run off with him. She never had any intentions to actually be with Gatsby permanently and she hadn’t even known that Gatsby was alive until that day at Nick’s house. She told Gatsby that she loved him more than anything else, yet she didn’t even attend his funeral a mere week after she last professed her undying love for him. Daisy had also been driving Gatsby’s car when she accidentally  killed Tom’s mistress in a hit-and-run accident and lied to the very last page of the book by allowing Gatsby to take the blame for the murder.

Tom Buchanan cheated on Daisy throughout the entirety of their marriage and had a mistress in the industrial area between East Egg (where they lived) and New York during the book. He had an apartment and a whole double life outside of his life with Daisy. He was even friends with his mistress’ husband! After his mistress, Myrtle, was killed and her husband had found out that she had been cheating, Tom Buchanan told Wilson, Myrtle’s husband, that it was Gatsby that Myrtle had been seeing even though it was actually himself.

Nick knew about both affairs as they were happening and kept it to himself. He was able to spend time with Tom even while he knew that his best friend was sleeping with his wife. He would listen to Daisy, his own cousin, talk about how she knew that Tom had a mistress and pretend the entire time that he had no idea when he knew exactly who it was and had witnessed the affair in action. He knew all of these secrets and pretended to be everyone’s best friend even though he was lying to all of them.

Jordan and Nick had been seeing each other casually through the duration of the novel. In the last pages of the story, Nick went to speak with her after the death of Gatsby and she told him that she was engaged to another man, which was a lie. She was also aware of the affair between Daisy and Gatsby, but kept her mouth shut even though she spent the majority of her time in Tom and Daisy’s home.

Literally every single character in The Great Gatsby is fake. Nothing they say or do can be trusted to be honest. They are all extremely self-absorbed and incapable of being loyal to the people that love them the most. I thought at first that the most present theme in the book was love, but after actually thinking about the relationships and all of the secrets and lies, it’s very clearly deceit.

Goals in AP Lit for 2013-2014

I decided to re-do this post because the other one was putting me to sleep while I was re-reading it. So, here are my exact thoughts when I consider my goals for the coming year in AP Lit.

 

I refuse to be lazy and not have my priorities straightened out this year, so I will turn every single assignment in on-time or early. (I did very well with this last year, so I just want to make sure to keep the ball rolling.)

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I am going to take the time to read more classic and legendary books because there is obviously a reason that they have withstood the test of time with such adoration. I need to join the club.

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I need to figure out a balance and not freak out about having a lot of work to do for school. This class is going to be a handful, and I need to get used to that if I’m going to succeed in any kind of pre-dentistry program at a University.

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When I re-read some of my previous assignments, I can’t help but think that it seems childish and redundant. I want to change my writing habits this year and add more style and personality to my essays. 

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I will become comfortable with longer essays this year. The only kind of essay a person writes in college is a long one, so I need to not shriek in terror and claw at the windows when I’m assigned a 10+ paged paper. (I’m positive there will be plenty of those assignments this year.)

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I want to get to know my classmates and become comfortable with them in hopes of not having panic attacks while trying to present. This has been an on-going battle for me and I want to kick it this year.

 

So far, those are the only goals that come to mind but I’m sure more will come to mind the closer it gets to go-time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Time No Blog

I’m going to be honest here and say that I completely forgot about this blog. So let’s play a little game of catch up. I’ve had a wonderful summer so far. I’ve gone camping a few times, spent a few days out on Lake Merwin, dyed my hair purple and took a roadtrip to Medford with my best friend. I’ve also really gotten into that series I talked about in my last post, Maximum Ride. They are super easy reads but they’re fun and exciting. I’ve read all of them except for the very last one and I intend to go pick that one up sometime this weekend if I get the chance. Anyways, I’m off to go get some Dutch Bros and look at hipster/inspiring/so-ugly-it’s-pretty art to hang on my walls. Yay for re-decorating! 

Looking For Alaska/Maximum Ride

So, I finished Looking for Alaska within a day. John Green did not disappoint! My mind was whirling while I was reading that book. What I noticed is that in Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, smoking and the power of smoking is strongly weaved into the storyline. In TFiOS, Gus (co-main character) always had cigarettes on him and would put them between his lips, but never lit them. The significance to this was explained as “putting the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do it’s killing.” But, in Looking for Alaska, the attitude towards smoking is completely different, but just as present. I couldn’t find the exact page so that I could include the exact quote, so I’ll just describe the situation. Pudge, new kid on the block, was with the other characters in the woods smoking (as usual in this book) when he noticed that Alaska had burned through her entire cigarette faster than the others could get theirs’ lit. Pudge then asked Alaska about why she smoked so fast and how. Her response was, “You guys smoke for fun, I smoke to die.” [SPOILER ALERT] Which is ironic since she ultimately does die young, but in a way completely unrelated to smoking.[SPOILER ALERT OVER] The significance to this was never explained, but it really stuck with me because the perspective on smoking is so completely different than in TFiOS. I couldn’t help but wonder the entire time I was reading, and still, 4 or 5 days after finishing it, what is John Green’s obsession with smoking? Where did it come from and why does he make it such a prominent idea in his books? Did he lose someone to smoking-related issues (cancer,etc)? Is he a smoker himself? Is there something, a lesson or an understanding that he is trying to get across to his readers? Like I said before, I’m a thinker.

Beyond my weird ponderings, this book was pretty good. Kinda awkwardly graphic in some parts, but whatever. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone that likes really emotionally scarring books..(thanks, John Green for ruining my life). In all seriousness though, I’d give it a solid 7/10.

Moving on, I just started the first Maximum Ride book. I’m late to the game on this one, too since apparently everyone read it in middle school. I was desperate for book recommendations and my bestie said she loved that series, so I figured I’d give it a go. Within the first 10 pages I was hooked. I stayed up reading it until my eyes refused to stay open any longer. Which wasn’t that long because I’m a poor excuse for a teenager. So, I stopped at page 137 with much difficulty and I intend to finish it sometime today or tomorrow. So far so good! I’ll post my closing reflections, review and unnecessary, answer-less questions afterwards. 🙂

 

The Rhyme To The Rhythm

I’ve always loved reading. Give me a book that grabs at my heart strings and pulls hard, makes me question my life, my beliefs, and the world around me and you won’t see me for 2 days while I go over and over and over what I just read, deciphering what it all means. I’m a total bookworm, but I’m a thinker. My favorite kinds of books are the ones that keep me up into the late hours of the night because my mind is racing about what the author really wanted to convey and looking for a hidden message or a deeper meaning. I love to analyze and analyze and analyze until there’s nothing left to analyze. I think that’s why I so enjoy poetry, because sometimes there is no blatant subject, there is no obvious meaning. Any one line of any one poem can interpreted in a million different ways by one person, depending on who is reading it, when they are reading it and what they are experiencing in their life while reading it. That’s amazing to think about, if you ask me.

Most of my leisure reading consists of teen fiction or anything that has an intriguing cover. My favorite genres include dystopian fiction and urban fantasy. What I am about to say may or may not be illegal in the continental United States, but I honestly can’t deal with anything to do with Jane Austen. I’ve tried desperately to read Pride & Prejudice at least six million times but I can’t ever get beyond the eight page before I’m either asleep or so lost that I have no idea what I just read. It’s upsetting because all I ever hear is how incredible and life changing her books are and I can’t even bring myself to finish the first chapter.

To sum this all up, I guess what I’m getting at with all of this babble is that I like sob-stories and books that include cute boys that turn into werewolves or some other mystical creature with the occasional life lesson tossed in here and there. Wow, that’s kind of embarrassing…I should probably broaden my horizons.

Looking For Alaska–The Beginning

I, as well as the rest of the teenage lit fans in the world, am a fan of John Green. I love the way his books are simple, but imaginative, emotional and a little bit weird. (Just like me!) I will shamefully admit that I went along with the pop-fandom taking over Tumblr and chose to read The Fault In Our Stars first. Don’t get me wrong, that book is great. It contains concepts and brings attention to ideas that are profound enough to keep me awake until 3am pondering away at the wonders of life, love and loss long after I’ve turned the last page. BUT, everyone (and by that I mean the internet) has made it quite clear that not reading his first book Looking For Alaska has been added to the list of deadly sins. So, in response to this, I have ravaged the shelves of Barnes & Noble in my search for this sacred text and acquired a copy. I will begin the long journey of reading this novel today, June 14th, 2013.