Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Reflection on Humanities

At the start of the year, I was terrified about being in the Humanities class, but now that the year has ended, I can say it was one of the best decisions I've made in high school. I love how seamlessly we could blend our English and history lessons to have interesting discussions and fun projects every day. It added a new depth to the readings that I was unable to obtain before in an English only class in which every piece felt like it was in a vacuum. It is almost like the works we read took on new life, because I now could understand how it fit into the grand scheme of things. I most recently discovered the value of understanding works in the context they were written when applying to colleges. One of the many plays I focused on during my NYU interview was Medea. Because we had not only analyzed the text but also learned about the historical context involving women and children's place in society, I was able to draw parallels to modern themes and various other plays the interviewer brought up. I also loved the opportunity we had to work on time management and collaboration skills through our independent study and many group projects throughout the year. I couldn't be more appreciative to Ms. King and Mrs. Quinet for everything they've done for us this year and their dedication to our class. Although I struggled at some points this year, I feel like they have taught me  much more this year, both academically and personally, than what could ever be reflected in tests and quizzes. It's sad that the year is ending just as I felt I was getting a hang on everything, but I couldn't be happier to have been in this class and wouldn't trade all the memories and experiences for the world.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Things I Love About Humanities: The Short List

  1. Almost all of the novels we've read are on the Rory Gilmore Reading List. It's on my bucket list to read the entire list. Therefore, Humanities has literally helped me come closer to achieving a life goal. 
  2. I can literally write a thesis in my sleep. 
  3. I am now 100% confident in my ability to sit through and even enjoy an "uber" lecture. Come at me, college.
  4. My speed-typing skills are now out of this world.
  5. It has been like a year-long book club. I love books. I love clubs. I absolutely love book clubs.
  6. Now, I can Prezi like it's nobody's business. 
  7. One day I can go to Louvre and sound super (somewhat) impressive.
  8. I can pretty much understand all of the literary references in Gilmore Girls now.
  9. I now know that, when in doubt, it's probably an Oedipus Complex (or some other Freudian thing). 
  10. I can start conversations with phrases like "As Fyodor Dostoyevsky would say…"

Favorite books from the year

I can't really decide on a particular favorite book from the last year, since they are all so different.  However, I think the ones I enjoyed most were Things Fall Apart, Candide, A Hundred Years of Solitude and Notes from Underground.  I liked Things Fall Apart for its directness; it doesn't try to be ambiguous or clever, and it presents a well-told story that conveys an account of Achebe's culture and a parable of imperialism.  Candide is a hilarious and pointed satire that makes some universal points.  A Hundred Years of Solitude is a magical, engrossing, and profound story.  I guess I can't really say I enjoyed reading Notes from Underground but it was definitely disturbing and thought-provoking, with a protagonist who is completely vile for no good reason and yet weirdly understandable.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thoughts on Humanities

To say this year has gone by in a blur would be an understatement. I wanted the year to pass quickly, and it definitely did. However, one thing I will dearly miss is taking Humanities. I'll admit at first I was nervous, because I had never been in an AP English class setting before. I was slightly intimidated by my peers, but I soon realized that wouldn't be an issue. I struggled at first with participating in group discussions because of this, and I feared my thoughts would be laughed at. It took me a few weeks, but I got over my fear and began to participate more, regardless of whether I felt my suggestions to be right or wrong. I became more confident in group discussions, and I found myself starting to enjoy them.

The work we've learned over this past year has been the most interesting I've ever learned at STM. Mrs. Quinet, although we may seem to "zone out" during your history lectures, I guarantee we find them just as interesting as you do; we just don't outright express it. Learning the backstories of Latin America, Germany, Africa, and Russia among others has been some of my absolute favorite lectures to date. It helped me understand the novels more fully, and gave me a better appreciation for the works I was reading. As for the Art History side, Humanities is the reason I now want to minor in Art History. It was fascinating to learn about so many different types of art, and I can't wait to take more courses on it throughout college.

Ms. King, it's almost scary how almost every novel or short story I read was so interesting to me. From 100 Years of Solitude to The Unbearable Lightness of Being, each novel we've read has given me a new perspective. Before this year I had mainly stuck with young adult novels. Even though I'd consider myself a bookworm, I'd never really read anything out of my comfort zone. That being said, the works we read this year were most definitely a challenge, but a good one. I wouldn't take back any of those late night study sessions many of us had together. Please don't change any of the works next years Humanities students will read (besides The Tin Drum). The variety was impeccable and what I was looking forward to most about this class. Having touched on many different types of literature, I now have an idea of what english courses I'll probably take in college.

Taking Humanities was the best decision I could've made. I've learned more from this class than I have from any other. Yeah, I might've dreaded the 2 hour and 15 minute lectures or art tests but it was definitely worth it. I found the majority of my favorite novels thanks to this class, and it gave me a whole new perspective on what college courses I want to take. Thank you both for all the hard work you've put into teaching us over this past year. It's really been an amazing opportunity to learn from both of you.

Mean Girls

To Mrs. King,
How did you like mean girls? Mrs. Quinet, I know you aren't the biggest fan, but it has some redeeming qualities! In seventh grade the girls had to watch it; it was our intervention since the teachers thought we had a bullying problem. We learned that Kadie wouldn't win the math competition by making fun of the other mathlete girl.
It is the only movie that I can quote every line to. I hope you all liked it! (I know I sure do)