Sophomore Year: You Brought this Upon Yourself

“The Greeks had a name for people who have read too widely and not well, sophomores.”

Farnam Street Blog, The Art of Reading: How to Read A Book

I swear, the only reason I’m writing this post is so I could use that quote. (Also, because IT’S THE 50TH POST OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.) (Yes I know 30 of those posts were during NaBloPoMo) (Yes I realize it’s technically summer already.) (Shhhhh)

Originally, I was thinking about doing another “Post in Pictures” showing the amount of paper I had kept in each class since I had noticed that the amount of paperwork I decided to keep was often proportional to how much I valued the class and how much I felt I had learned.

Then I realized that stacks of paper weren’t exactly appealing to look at and hence, Post without Pictures.

Period 1: AP World History

What I kept: Everything (at least what I could find)

Every year, I have a class that I don’t think I deserve an A in, but end up getting one because, well, grade inflation and completion grades. This year, it was World History.

Most of what I kept were articles of which I was supposed to have read and absorbed the information, but mostly, I just remember all the time I spent writing out legitimate/somewhat legitimate/barely legitimate responses to the questions at the end. Random bits and pieces of information stick with me now, but the main reason I’m keeping everything is that I can’t rationalize why I would throw away a single packet without throwing all the packets away.

Mental maps are pretty and interesting and altogether not that time consuming. Those darn charts probably screwed over my grade, along with most of the tests.

All in all, I’d rather keep AP World History tucked away into a corner of my brain mentally and physically contained inside a binder. (WHEEE CHIASMUS)

Period 2: Art

What I kept: Everything except the vocab quizzes

On the surface, I took Art 1 to fulfill my art credit for graduation while escaping the 4.0 towards my GPA. Shouldn’t be too big of a deal right? I mean it’s just art. It’s not even an academic subject!

Wrong. The workload was significantly less than say, brief glance above, but the amount of effort I had to put into each assignment was significantly more than, say brief glance above again. Art is like writing in that every mark you make, intentional as well as unintentional, is displayed to your viewer, and there’s not much hiding.

I quickly realized that I couldn’t BS my way through the class, especially without the years of art training that some people in my class cough cough had gone through. I would often have to block out an entire evening for a homework assignment that was supposed to only take an hour.

I got to a point where I was constantly thinking, “God dammit, I just want to be able to accurately draw what I see. Is that too much to ask for?”

Apparently it was. Even drawing abstract objects was difficult, and I constantly had to redraw and erase what I had done before I ended up with something that wasn’t even perfect, wasn’t even decent, wasn’t even accurate, but merely acceptable. Sadly, the two pieces of which I was the most proud are still sitting in her room somewhere.

Art apparently isn’t just depicting pretty objects though. Every once in a while there’d be vocab quizzes testing us on vocab….and I threw them all away. Let’s leave it at that.

Period 3: French

What I kept: Nothing.

I finally understand why high school foreign languages have such a bad reputation. After an amazing middle school French I experience and an intimidating French II experience, I started French III somewhat hopeful, since there was a new teacher.

However, a few weeks into the year, I realized that I was more productive reading the textbook than actually listening in class, since classtime was basically reading textbooks in powerpoint form. From there, everything deteriorated until I didn’t even bother to read the textbook and I stopped pretending to pay attention in class, treating French essentially as a homework period. And it made me not want to take French next year.

Period 4: AP Biology

What I kept: Everything. And I mean Everything.

This year was supposed to merely be a review of what I learned last year, but after an absolutely horrible Bio I experience, this was finally my chance to understand everything I didn’t learn last year with a teacher that really knew what she was talking about and wasn’t afraid to hold us to high standards.

All those chapter outlines? Worth the time. All those FRQs? Worth it. The labs? Worth it. There weren’t any frills or busy work assignments. Everything we did had some sort of value.

Period 5: English

What I kept: Reference materials+ reading guides (at least the ones I did properly)

Interestingly, in my first post of the school year, I mentioned syntax writing as my “ultimate writing practice” this year. Whatever benefit it had, hopefully it’s all internalized by now because all those sentences are who-knows-where and all the SSMAs are trashed. Crosswords were busy-work to begin with, and I kind of stopped doing reading guides properly once I learned they were completion grades. I still read the books though…mostly.

Period 6: Pre-Calculus

What I kept: Tests+ whatever was in my notebooks

After doubling up on math classes last year and not getting much out of either one, I was planning on treating this class as another joke class. However, with a genuinely nice teacher who was way too passionate about having us understand math, I started paying attention in class and doing homework out of pure respect for the teacher. (Well…also because she was really disappointed every time I didn’t do my homework. Like I-felt-it-personally disappointed.) Ms. Kubena was also super excited about incorporating technology in class, and we were often the beloved guinea pigs for whatever new site she was trying out.

Period 7: Chemistry

What I kept: Objective sheets. Nothing else.

As the case with French, I realized that it was more efficient to just read the textbook than to actually listen in class. Since I’m actually taking AP Chem next year though, I might actually want a record of what we were supposed to learn this year.

Other stuff

What I kept: …Everything?

Mostly math club/academic challenge notes, and that’s all going in another post…for another year.

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2 thoughts on “Sophomore Year: You Brought this Upon Yourself

  1. Pingback: this post is so meta, even this acronym (more writing about writing) | Educated Opinions

  2. Pingback: Letting go of Writing | Educated Opinions

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