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15 June 2009 / April

Reflection

Sophomore year: September ’06 | June ’07
Junior year: September ’07 | June ’08
Senior year: September 08

Blah blah classes predictions vs. reflections. You know the deal. Without any further ado…

Homeroom: […]  A few of us had some issues finding our lockers (YES!  H-BUILDING AT LAST!  No more back of K netherlands for me!) because apparently we’re blind, or something?  But it’s all irrelevant because we will never have homeroom again– or we might.

Locker in H-Building was freaking awesome.  Would’ve been even more awesome if I actually had stuff to put in it this year.  Hah.

Also we did have homeroom at the beginning of second semester, and I was there because Cornell was on break and I wasn’t taking a spring semester Cornell class anyway.

Linear Algebra: Thus far we’ve been mostly doing stuff I learned in Precalc, which makes for fairly dull lectures and very dull sections, but I’m excited for the material we’re going to learn.  The teacher is nothing to write home about but at least competent, which is more than some of my past math teachers have been.

See here for more reflection on Linear Algebra.  Also I think you could call the instructor “competent” only under a rather distorted definition of the word.

Also, I actually miss Calculus a lot.  Not only the people (and the teacher!  and the puns!), but the actual subject.  We did a problem in section that involved a derivative and I was seriously like “Gasp!  Derivative! <3″.

Sigh.  Calculus.  I wish I remembered any calculus at all.

Free periods: Yes friends, plural, because I am a goddamn senior.

No more need be said.

English Literature: […] Not composed of nearly as many slackers as I thought it would be; I guess last year’s crop of AP Lang kids scared even the overachievers.

What I didn’t realize in September was that by the spring, everyone is a slacker.  I think the thing about being scared by Lang might have been pretty accurate though.

Ms. L seems inclined to talking in meticulous detail about things, which makes it perilously easy to zone out.  I suspect it will be somewhat easier to pay attention when we’re talking about books (like Dante’s Inferno!!!) instead of her grading policy.

I AM SO AMUSED that I gave mention of Dante’s Inferno no fewer than THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS.  I really enjoyed reading the Inferno for maybe the first dozen cantos, but our discussions became so repetitive that we all were just sick and tired of the thing by the end.

Also, it turns out that it is just as easy to zone out to the sound of Ms. L talking about books as anything else.  Ms. L could be talking about the asteroid bound for Earth within the next 24 hours and I would still zone out.

The grading policy is actually kind of funky.  She compiles a “profile” of your work each quarter and does not take an average but instead makes a decision on a final grade based on your performance, how much she likes you, and maybe astrology.

Fortunately for me, Ms. L liked me.  Also the stars and planets were aligned in my favor.  So grade-wise I came out pretty well.

Computer Science: Which I’m taking almost completely because of math seminar– just another reason to be grateful I was in that marvelous pseudo-class, because thus far, this is hands down my favorite class.  Ms. T kicks ass like none other […], and there are some super cool students here too.

I have nothing to add.

Each year there’s a class or two that I just look forward to every day, and this year CS was that class, partly due to the material we covered and those “super cool students” but also in large part due to Ms. T, who could be talking about Canto XXXII of Dante’s Inferno and still engage us in her hilariously sarcastic way.

Since I never took either of the Intro to Programming classes, the normal prerequisites, I was initially nervous that I’d go in knowing absolutely nothing about what anyone was talking about.

This was a problem for about the first two days.  I think I did fine after that.  Programming is one of the few things that I’ve learned relatively late in life and that still feels completely natural to me.  At least it did, until I made the error of trying to program tic tac toe on a Klein bottle at the end of the year.  But at any rate.

Government: Uh.  Well.  The teacher, Ms. D, is young, enthusiastic, new to the district, and almost oppressively optimistic and idealistic.  She is absolutely a friendly kind of person– we spent the past two days just chatting about ourselves– but I have a hunch she’ll be a less than impressive teacher.  One overly fond of worksheets.  One better suited for middle school.  Oh, Ms. D, prove me wrong, I beg you!

She didn’t.  But the class was still endlessly amusing in its pointlessness.  So many YouTube videos.

What took the place of Gov second semester was, of course, math seminar.  Which was good fun and all, but I can’t honestly say it even approached last year because last year was simply unapproachable in its awesomeness.  Sorry, everyone in seminar this year.

Latin: Ah, the ever-loved “Latin multilevel.”

Um, yeah, about that.  Ms. N literally spent a total of like 59 minutes working with AP Latin this entire year.  The rest of the time, she worked with Latin 3 and the two separate Latin 2 groups, and Maddie and I were on our own.  And before the AP, we were actually so much more self-motivated and productive than anyone has any right to expect from a couple of high school students.

Although we did have story time for about ten minutes each day.  And after the AP, it was story time and dress up time and picnic time, every day, all the time.  Maddie my dear, let me just publically say that Latin is an impossible language, and I could not have survived AP without you.

I’m really glad Ms. N decided to just start right in with learning Latin.  There only so many periods of “And this is the curriculum, and these are the four Ps and a G…” that one can tolerate.  Which for me, I guess, is three.

I did appreciate Ms. N’s getting-down-to-business attitude on the first day, but when we threw a party and she had us translate a poem about a wife committing suicide, I realized that it was going a little too far.  Also she actually gave us poems to translate during our first class after the AP exam.  Fortunately she also let us go outside to work on them unsupervised, so we could, uh, work at our own pace.  Yes.  Work.  Of course.

PE: But do I even need to tell you about this?  It’s the same every year.  Except Kati and Molly are in it!  For now!

What the hell, Kati and Molly were totally NOT in my gym class.  Whatever.  PE was relatively okay this year because I could hang out and complain about it with Christa and Benika.  But seriously, we did like five units of handball and ZERO units of badminton.  There is something very wrong about those proportions.

Free periods: More of them!

Indeed.

Well, first semester I walked to Cornell for class one day a week and to volunteer at the public library three days a week, so I’d only have 8th free on Tuesdays.  But second semester I didn’t have a Cornell class and I only volunteered two days a week, which left abundant 8th periods per week to completely and thoroughly waste.

Eighth period was the one period I most consistently spent doing nothing.  Which was AWESOME.  Because doing nothing meant lounging in the Tattler office or at the creek with some people who have permanently screwed up my sense of normality, for which I am endlessly grateful.  Because no one wants a normal sense of normality.

Addendum: […] I won’t be taking the bus much, as I’ll be either working, taking the late bus, going to Cornell, or ambling off campus and taking a city bus.  Which is awesome.

First semester I was literally on the morning bus one day a week and on the afternoon bus no days a week.  I took both buses a little more frequently towards the end of the year, but never more than a few times a week.  It was nice.  School buses are annoying.

I had a great time sophomore year and a better time junior year, in spite of my full course loads.  Senior year couldn’t possibly be worse.

Except it actually could be.

Let me explain.

High school most of the time is simple. You worry about high school, and that’s it. Senior year, you worry about high school (at least a little), and then you worry about all sorts of other shit, not least of which is the college application process. It’s so much more complicated.

Also, if you’re anything like me, i.e. a nerd with little to no social life, I would advise you to think more carefully before you take preposterously few classes only because you’ve heard people tell you it’s awesome.  I know, I’m one of those people who told you it was awesome, who always got at least six hours of sleep and walked to Gimme! for coffee and had the luxury of being able to finish her English homework first period.  But there are not only intellectual but social aspects that you miss when you’re not in more classes.  And you lose every right to complain about school.

I’m not saying I regret taking only four-ish classes, but I am saying that the postives and negatives of taking a heavy course load versus a light one are not as clear cut as you may believe.

Which is why if you asked me what my favorite year of high school is, I would have to flip a coin.  Heads is junior year, tails is senior year.

Anyway.  Class of ’09, I shall save my official blog post congratulations for June 25, but serious props to you for making it through high school.  The worst is over.

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5 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Rafael Lizarralde / Jun 15 2009 1:57 pm

    The loss of the normal sense of normality shall not be mourned. SHALL NOT BE MOURNED.

  2. Nicolas Bourbaki Junior / Jun 18 2009 8:19 am

    Let me reinterpret one of Murphy’s laws “The worst is never over”.

    • April / Jun 18 2009 10:59 am

      … Point taken. But right now, I’m just going to pretend to be more optimistic.

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