For Those to Come

Dear Sophomores who will be taking Advanced Placement English Language and Composition,

You may think that you are walking into a harder version of the Anglo-American Literature. But you are wrong. The two classes are very different.

American Lit is a class where you read books and analyze the storyline, character development, and solutions. AP Lang is a class where you read books and analyze how the author got his message and moral across. So don’t expect to do many story discussions.

The vocabulary quizzes can be easy, I promise. Just figure out a way to study that fits best for you. For example, Michelle Musili only had to look at it once before the quiz to ace the exam and I had to study all morning and all lunch in order for me to get higher than a 90%. At least I wasn’t like other kids who had to study all night in order to pass. So just find out a way that you can memorize best. Also, remember to make up examples that don’t make sense at all; they stick to your memory even better.

Blog posts can be fun to write. Just look at the prompt in different angles before actually writing it. It is a place where you can write what you wish others knew more about you or your opinions. Do not be afraid to voice yourself; that’s forbidden.

But that’s an important note. Don’t lose your own voice and opinions. Every time you say something you had never thought about to the class, the more the class will learn from you, be challenged by you, and start thinking because of you. And AP Lang is a class where students should constantly be improving in their thoughts in order to write a rich essay.

Every week, you will be required to write an essay. Don’t get your hopes up and expect high grades from the start. Your grades will be horrible. But do not ever give up because that is the road to even lower grades. She will give you writing logs and those things, though tedious, can be very useful. You get to read your essay and actually realize where you are weak and where you are strong; when you are writing it, it just seems amazing.

Remember to participate in discussions and remember to include the quiet ones in the classroom; that’s how you get higher grades during discussion times. Also, feel free to discuss out of the classroom environment; it really benefits your knowledge and your opinion.

One last note: Love Ms. Magnuson. She may seem mean, especially when she’s throwing your 19% papers at you, but she is full of love. Her passion for writing and words is beyond my capability to describe. Keep in mind that though she may be physically white, she did not grow up anywhere close to the States or just white people in general. Her love for her students is also amazing. She writes handwritten notes to her students and is always willing to give and receive hugs. Let her love you and appreciate her.

Well, I cannot say that this letter did much to prep you for AP Lang next year but I really hope you have a general sense and outline of what you should expect. Bestest of luck in your future AP Lang endeavors 🙂

A Junior who is taking Advanced Placement English Language and Composition,
Hanny Lee.

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Jesus Christ

I am a Christian. I am a Christian who is not afraid to challenge what she believes. I am a Christian who is not afraid to challenge what she believes and what she is meant to believe.

If you really despise Christians and Christianity but don’t know enough about the religion to do anything about it, it’s your lucky day because this is a piece written just for you.

I will not be too philosophical about the religion because I do not have a degree in Christianity and theology. However, I would like to start off by saying that although I am willing and actually do challenge my beliefs, my religion, I still am Christian and want to become a stronger Christian.

I have touched upon so many of the aspects people, both Christians and nonChristians, misunderstand about in my previous posts but I will just restate them so that we are all on the first page.

Christians use the Bible as a weapon all the time. But many of the time, people do so without actually knowing so much or understanding so much about it. One of the biggest ways Christians use the Bible to attack people is when they confront homosexual people. “God hates gay people,” they say. Every time someone says that I want to cross my arms, cock my head to the side and ask, “Oh really? Where’s the proof? Unless God whispered to you that he absolutely despises these people, there is no evidence.”

Why you ask? There are several points but I will only mention two.

First, the Bible never says anything like how homosexual people will rot in hell. There was this one time in the book of Genesis where two angels blind a whole city of gay people. But that was because these gay people wanted to rape the two angels; it had nothing to do with their sexuality. If a city full of men were trying to rape two women, I’m sure angels would still have blinded them all.

Second, God tells people to love one another and to not hate anyone. So why would he hate gay people? God isn’t a hypocrite so there is no way he has ever and will ever say that.

Another confusing part about Christianity is using the Lord’s name in vain. Since I was a small child, I learned the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment states, “Do not use the Lord’s name in vain.” And all these Sunday school teachers teach their students to never say “Oh my God,” or “Jesus Christ,” or “Jesus fucking Christ,” and you get the gist.

I say these phrases, though not all, in my everyday life and I am not trying to justify my actions through this point. But is saying the Trinity’s name every time we are shocked the only way we use the Lord’s name in vain?

I say no because so many Christians use the Lord’s name in vain in different ways. If you live your everyday life full of actions that are viewed as bad to even the nonChristians and claim that you are a born again Christian at the end of the day, that is using the Lord’s name in vain. You do not have to physically use the titles God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit; you can just be a really bad Christian.

For example, if everyone knows that you have been playing with a girl’s feelings and that you have led her on although all you want is her body and claim that you are a Christian, you just defied the fourth commandment. If you tell everyone that you have become a Christian but no one realized until you told them, you just defied the fourth commandment because that would mean that there was no difference between the nonChristian you and the born again Christian you. So stop. Stop one thing or another because you are using the Lord’s name in vain.

I feel like a hypocrite, I must say, condemning all these Christians when I also fit into some of these categories I am bashing. But hey, at least I’m willing to admit it.

Another one of the confusions Christians have is how often they should go to church. Some say and believe every other week and others every week. The Bible never actually says a particular amount but does certainly say that the seventh day of every week is the sabbath where people rest and praise God. So I guess he does indirectly say how many times a week. But this indirectness leaves room for misinterpretations. don’t you think?

The Bible also never says that alcohol is bad and that people should not drink it. In fact, Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine for a wedding party. He also drank wine, a type of alcohol. Then why do Christians not like the idea of drinking?

Let me tell you why. It is not the action of drinking that we Christians rebuke. It is the act of losing control. Once you are drunk, you cannot control your actions or think straight. Your morals would have been thrown out of the window in a blink of an eye. Drugs have the same effect, as we all know. God wants us to be in control of the mind he gave us.

However, God also gifted us with our physical bodies. It is capable of doing and feeling so many things; it is amazing whether we like ours or not. But alcohol and drugs — which by the way include caffeine and nicotine — ruin our bodies; it ruins what could have once been perfect. If we gave someone a present that is one of a kind, we wouldn’t like to see it be treated like absolute uselessness where is it tossed around and thrown in fires, you know?

I just wish that Christians would do a little more research before throwing verses out there meant to stab someone’s consciousness. With a little context, people could easily knock your argument out. Not only that, the Bible is not a spear. At most, it should be a shield. Yet every day I witness someone beating down another with the Bible, sometimes even literally.

I also believe that once more people in the Christian community are willing to challenge the beliefs and morals of their religion, Christianity will learn to look back at itself and realize what they are doing wrong.

We, Christians, need to read and learn about the Bible more and stand up to things we do not believe is correct.

Wait, Education?

Most middle or upper-class children dedicate at least 12 years of their lives to education. But why? What’s so good about education that we spend thousands, if not millions, of our money to sit in classrooms and listen to people talk about what they know?

In my 11 years of education that I have had so far, I can guarantee you one thing: Education systems in school try to teach hard facts. Hard facts, physical facts, things that just can be explained universally.

Grades are also a way to label people universally and rate them and these grades are results of the physical facts that are taught to us.

I’m not saying that’s bad, don’t get me wrong. Learning chemical reactions and how to compose an essay probably will benefit my life one day, some day. But at the same time, is that good?

Slowly, one by one, we become just like each other, knowing the same things, saying the same things, and wanting to be the same things. So in the future generations to come, we will all be exactly the same apart from those exceptionally genius beings.

But instead, schools should be educating us on how to be ourselves, how to be one of a kind. We should learn how to have opinions of our own and how to express them with confidence. Sadly, schools are doing just the opposite. Though they tell us to be one of a kind, they make sure we are one of a kind according to their rules.

There should be education systems that teach us to be ourselves and to love ourselves. Sure, it’s mentioned here and there, but no, it’s never actually taught and talked about too much.

Where’s the benefit in an all same world, though? If everyone is just like everyone else, what’s the point? Why attempt to make new relationships when you know that they will be exactly, think exactly, and have knowledge exactly like you? And then once there are no human relationships, there is no more world, and kaboom, there goes the end of the world.

Okay, okay. That was extreme but I was hoping my use of hyperbole will help you understand more vividly. I tell people that their hyperbole takes away their credibility but hey, I hope you get the point.

In this generation, the education system that we have now teaches its students to believe and know facts or more vaguely things that can be proven. This is why schools don’t teach about love or hate. This is why people don’t talk too deeply about morals; there’s nothing that can be proven concretely.