As a seventh-year student at Hogwarts, this term finds me taking classes in Transfiguration, Potions, Defense Against The Dark Arts, Astronomy, and Muggle Studies. (The easiest class by far, as I was Muggle-born!) And let’s not forget the Nastily Exhausting Wizard Tests, or NEWTS…
Sorry, but I needed to indulge in that fantasy for a little while. It’s bizarre to think that when I began reading the Harry Potter books I was young enough to think eleven-year-old Harry was super mature, and now I’m old enough to be in my last year! Of course, I didn’t get my acceptance letter because Hogwarts isn’t real. Oh, the disappointment. Such is life.
This fall marks the start of my junior year in high school and it is shaping up to be the best start I’ve had yet. Of course, I say that every year. I feel more independent than I did this time last year because a larger percentage of my schoolwork is not facilitated by my parents, or even done at home. This semester, my brother and I are taking not one but two dual-credit classes at a local university. Three mornings and one afternoon a week, Nevillegirl-With-A-Driver’s-License gets herself to school. (And when classes let out she asks her little brother, “Where’d we park? I never remember.”) Although I’m studying far fewer subjects now than previously, the workload has definitely increased. Two weeks of school have already gone by so I thought it was time to write about what I’m studying, as I did last year!
Favorite subject first!
Unfortunately, ENG102 in college isn’t quite what I expected. I did ENG101 over the summer and that teacher was fabulous but my new one is booooring. Of course I don’t mind that he assigns readings from the textbook – that’s to be expected. What I do mind is that he spends his lectures going over very basic material that anyone should know if they’ve bothered to do the readings (which I have). Also, he doesn’t even lecture, not really. He just reads straight out of the book. Ugh. Mostly, I sit in class and figure out how to doodle various things. I can’t wait for the first real assignment, an argument in the liberal arts.
On my own, I’m writing / outlining a handful of short stories in addition to doing posts for this blog. I don’t have any reading besides textbook stuff for 102 so I’m also reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg. And something else, but I can’t remember what it is.
I can’t remember what I’m doing in math; let me check. Ah yes, logarithmic functions. The section before that was exponential functions, so it would appear that I’m doing a chapter about functions.
Sometimes I hate math but I’m actually in a rather good mood about it at the moment because I got an A on my latest test. I fluctuate between breezing through my assignments and having mathematical hissy fits because I can’t remember a concept for longer than ten minutes.
I took the PSAT last October for practice but I have to take it again that month for actual scholarship purpose, so pretty soon I’ll start reviewing math for it. (I’m not doing any kind of special preparation for the reading and writing sections because I got perfect scores there. Yippee!)
My mom says CHM111 is for people who have never studied chemistry before but I prefer to call it ‘chemistry for idiots’. That’s how I sometimes feel when the teacher starts talking about significant figures and I get lost.
Two aspects of this class are new to me. Firstly, I’m in a big class with about seventy other students. OK, there were seventy at the beginning, but now loads of people have dropped out when we’re only two weeks in! Anyway, it feels very different because in my other college classes there have been about ten or fifteen other students. Secondly, there is a lab component to my class. I’d never been in a real lab before! The first one was last Thursday and I had fun. It was pretty basic; we did a lot of measuring. I’m not having so much fun writing the lab report, though.
I predict that this subject will be the enemy of my writing, because the homework already takes up a bunch of my time. I’m enjoying the subject so far because my teacher is enthusiastic and helpful, but I do worry about what will happen later on. I like science but chemistry and physics are difficult for me because I like to visualize the concepts I learn about in any subject, and I can’t do that with those two. I can’t actually see how molecules are attached to one another and it’s tricky for me to imagine that as well.
In middle school I studied this subject very thoroughly – spending an entire year on World War II – but I need to have it listed on my high school transcript as well. Because I already know the facts and figures, my assignments are more about analyzing and types of sources (primary, secondary, etc).
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn is my main text and as it focuses on history from the point of view of the “Other”, it fits right in with what I’m doing. For example, the first chapter tells about how white explorers and colonists are portrayed as being these perfect people who struggled against the terrible Indians. In reality the settlers did many horrible things such as provoking the Indians, ignoring Indian laws and customs, and just generally being jerks.
The follow-up assignment involved analyzing versions of the Pocahontas-and-John-Smith story, including Smith’s original and later accounts, historians’ interpretations, and the Disney movie.
I love history this year.
I’d like to thank my parents for giving me so much freedom in this subject. Yes, I have to practice the piano, and yes, it has to be for twenty minutes each weekday. But I also get to choose what I play, which I couldn’t do when I still took lessons a few years ago. No longer do I have to play stupid Chopin pieces! Right now I am working on film score music: “Healing Katniss” from The Hunger Games and “In Dreams” from The Fellowship of the Ring. P.S. As I watch Doctor Who, I am falling in love with the music and want to learn it. If anyone has links to medium-difficulty piano sheet music for said score (preferably series one through four), could they post them in the comments, please?
My dad says he wants to do some carpentry stuff with my brother and I, but we haven’t started it yet. I’m actually kind of looking forward to it, if it involves building shelves. I’ve run out of room for my books again…
I’m, uh, very slowly working on the letter J in the A B See Photo Challenge. Additionally, I’ve been reading an old art textbook that my mom used in college: What Is Art? by John Canaday. I wasn’t required to read it, but am doing so anyway because I like reading about the subject even if I can barely draw stick figures.
I’d like to thank my readers for the sudden increase in comments over the past week or so! This may actually be school-related as I’m wondering if people are spending more time on the computer due to assignments. I can’t remember if this happened last year, though. At any rate, thanks!
How are your school days going?