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I was pretty nervous going into AP English III…even more nervous than I was going into AP chem. In hindsight, I probably should have had those two levels of anxiety flipped around. Freshman and sophomore year, I took honors English. In all honesty, I just wanted to work the system. Everyone always said that pre-AP English I and II were harder than honors and they were correct. However, when everybody said AP English was easier than honors, I got a little worried. My sister had always been the great writer. I never even let my parents read my work because I was scared they would compare me to her. I thought AP English was going to expose my poor writing! It turns out, AP English III isn’t so bad after all; as long as you’re flexible enough to find the exciting parts of boring books and you’re opinionated enough to stand up for your own thoughts, then you’re golden! *insert Albert Li commentary here*.

One of the things that really freaked me out about AP English at first were the timed writings. In my prior two years of high school, I had only done one timed writing ever. ONE. Now, we do roughly three every six weeks. I was pretty scared during my first one this year, and I’ll admit, I still get somewhat nervous during them. There’s just something about writing as fast as I can that always makes my blood pressure rise. I remember there was a prompt about adversity and I meant to talk about the movie The Blind Side, but I couldn’t remember the name but I managed to remember the other football movie, The Longest Yard. One of my papers actually said “In Sandra Bullock’s The Longest Yard…” As soon as I walked out of the room, I realized that I wrote down the wrong movie entirely. I felt stupid, obviously, but I came to the conclusion that my paper was solid and that one little detail was not going to give me a failing grade. That’s what I’ve really come to understand this year through English III: school is about the big picture. The little details matter, but not nearly as much as the understanding of big concepts. Timed writings really don’t give me as much trouble anymore because I feel confident in my writing and in my understanding of the world around me. In fact, I’ve always made above the average grade in my class, despite my classmates having more experience in writing in this fashion. In might not be that big of a success, but I definitely feel a sense of relief in knowing that I’m keeping up with all the great kids around me.

In honors, we always had to write in a very robotic structure. You were graded on your consistency with the structure you had been taught. However, AP III has really let me write how I want to write. This has been a really big contributor to my own personal development and success this year. Freedom to write my thoughts without worrying if I have the correct commentary to concrete detail sentence ratio. It’s refreshing. Even these blogs have let me grow in my thoughts and in my writing. Before this year, I didn’t even want my good friends to edit my papers, and when they did, I would take all of their suggestions and implement them immediately. However, my literary freedom has allowed me to let go of that need to please. My final paper is what I feel most comfortable with and if it hurts someone’s feelings, I apologize but I need to do what’s best for me. This development in my self-worth as a writer has made a huge difference in my success this year in all of my classes. There is no reason to feel inadequate. I trust myself.

While I’ve had great success in English this year, I’ve kind of fallen into the habit of waiting until the last minute to read books. I mean, it’s worked out for me (thankfully) because I’ve gotten hundreds on both the tests I did that for, however, that kind of stress kind of made me dread English every time we had a deadline for a book. I’m not sure why I kept doing this. For The Scarlet Letter, I waited until the day before the test to read the last 150 pages. I don’t know if all of my readers here have actually read that book but that’s a lot of reading. That’s one of those books that you have to reread pages of multiple times because of the antiquated language. Anyways, I did that for Huckleberry Finn too. What the heck, Christi! Thankfully, I’m one of those people that can absorb things fairly quickly. But I can’t imagine what I would do if I couldn’t remember the book I read. Every time the deadline for a book got closer and closer, my whole body would shut down from stress and I would just procrastinate even longer. I would hate coming to English because it would remind me of the impending doom. Hopefully, this won’t happen again next semester. I think I’ll try to set a schedule for reading books. Maybe I’ll even try it over the break with The Great Gatsby!

Because of the popularity of my thoughts blog and because of my general success in English this year, I’ve become a much more intense thinker. It sounds stupid when I put it that way, but it’s true. English, much to my surprise, is a happy place now. Hooray for success.

“I’ll ask you what you think because your thoughts and words are powerful”

-“Loose Lips”- Kimya Dawson.


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