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Science class, it’s my one-eyed monster, it’s kept me off the honor roll for the last two years and I’ve never seemed to see eye to eye with the teacher. Science is a class I struggle in mostly because it’s a lecture class, we’re sitting there and listening to the teacher talk to us for an hour straight and try to drill information into our brains about stuff that won’t really help us in the long run. And on every C day we have it for two hours straight. When it’s a class where it’s hard to focus in and it’s long I’m naturally going to get distracted and when I get distracted I won’t know what going on in class. So when I get home and take a look at the homework, I have no idea who to do it, so I don’t submit it and it’s a zero in the grade book. This was a constant cycle which ended in me not having a good grade in that class. This year is different though, I overcame all of those problems, biology is an interesting class, the curriculum is different and I’m organized. It’s still my hardest subject and my lowest grade but I’m engaged in classes and understanding what we’re leaning. All in all science is now a class I enjoy and look forward to being in.
Book 7 Writing Literacy Reflection Paragraph
In this paragraph I hope to express how I felt when reading this book and show that I learned the theme of hospitality. It’s not the size of your house that matters, it’s the size of your heart. Alcinous feeds Odysseus and convenes to the god’s that they will provide safe passage for Odysseus’s journey home. Alcinous let Odysseus into his home and fed him and frank with him. She also tells the god to protect Odysseus on his journey home. This shows that he is caring. Reading book seven and knowing it was about hospitality felt like déjà vu because in a previous book Menelaus was welcoming to Telemachus and let him into his kingdom. This book was more or less the same because in this book Alcinous fed Odysseus and prepared him for a safe travels. When reading this book it made me imagine if I was rich and famous would I be as caring and considerate as I am now, assuming I am now. If Alcinous could so willingly open his arms to Odysseus and feed him and provide a save travel home, is it as easy for anyone to do it. The Odyssey isn’t really a book I enjoy reading, but this chapter I liked because I enjoy a happy ending and it seemed as if Odysseus was being cared for in the moment. Yes, it was worth it. The Odysseus teaches you lessons, but in particular this book. It teaches you one of the most important values, consideration.
Memorable Sports Moment
“Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.”
A memorable athletic experience in my life was my first ever touchdown I scored. It was my first game as a starter on Varsity Football and the first game of the season. It was a home game against Fay on the turf with a huge crowd. I was nervous, but I didn’t show it, not one bit, instead I showed up to play, and that’s exactly what I did. Long before the game I knew that I would be getting the ball a lot during the game, this was different to me because just the year before I only received that ball once during the first game. Come game day I was feeling excited but also nervous, excited to start and get the ball a lot, but nervous to mess up. The first offensive play of the game was a handoff to me, I ran, broke a tackle, and then ran for some more yards to get a first down, and from that point on I knew it’d be a good game. We ended up driving the ball down the field with authority and ended up scoring with a pass from Ty to Tom. Next offensive drive I told myself it was my turn to score, and that’s exactly what I did. We were at about the twenty yard line when I was handed off the ball and that’s when I saw the open hole and I ran right to it and next thing I knew, i was in the end zone. I didn’t celebrate, nor did I act surprised, because I knew that that was I went out there to do, and what I planned on doing in the future. I ended the game with another touchdown soon after that and a win in the record books. After my two touchdowns I felt a sense of normalcy, just like it should be.
Without the Gods, mortals would not have guidance. In the book, The Odyssey, by Homer, The gods direct the way for the wellbeing of the mortals. In the first six books of The Odyssey there are many events which the gods have influenced in both the positive and negative. There are many gods that have an influence on the events that occur in the book. Athena, disguised as Mentes, helps Telemachus along his journeys. Another example of a God having an influence on the events in a negative way was when Poseidon punished Odysseus by throwing a storm to make his travels hard.
“And this enables Polyphemus to invoke the wrath of his father, the sea god Poseidon, and ensure that Odysseus will come home late and come a broken man —all shipmates lost, alone in a stranger’s ship, to find a world of pain at home.” [The Odyssey, Book II]
In the book, Poseidon makes life hard for Odysseus by always being a road block in his journeys. By Poseidon creating a storm to cause him to go off track of his journey, it lead Odysseus to end up on an island with Calypso, where he stays for a long time trapped on this island. Throughout the books that we’ve read so far, the Gods have greatly impacted the storyline. Telemachus is aided in his difficult journey to find his father, Odysseus. Meanwhile, Odysseus is being targeted by Poseidon, who does not want him to succeed. So far, The Odyssey has been like a play directed by the Gods, they are not the main actors, but the effect how it all plays out.
Guest Speaker Reflection
”Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”
Adam Aronovitz came to speak to the ninth grade about his travels around the world and share with us his knowledge. He did an activity with us and after the activity we debriefed and discussed the activity. Adam coming to talk to us was fun bu also confusing at the same time. It was fun becuase we didn’t have to really do much actual work and nothing was being graded, but most of it was just sitting around and reading, which got boring. The activity we did was also pretty confusing. But I still appreciate that we had the opportunity to speak with him.
A takeaway from this class was that traveling gives you knowledge. Adam had traveled to many different remote places, he knows a lot about different places on earth. By him teaching us he was sharing his knowledge about the world and and how other cultures work and what they do. Especially because the fact that America is very different from other cultures, it was an informative. That class also encouraged us to travel too so we can learn about other cultures also. This can connect to the Odyssey because from what we’ve read Odysseus is far from home, and although his family thinks he’s dead and there devastated, Odysseus has learned a lot on his travels.
Another takeaway is that the activity that we did during the class helps us learn about opinions and point of views. When we were meeting with the other made up country, we didn’t know anything about them. Not knowing anything about the other group made it easy to think negatively of them, when we were describing them all of the traits weren’t positive and vice versa. But when we read our papers to each other, we rethought about how we would describe the other country. He asked us again and our point of view kind of changed now that we knew the full story of the other side and what there goal was.
A third takeaway is communication. During the activity we had to communicate with the other countries and help them, although we didn’t do good at it. Executing the activity correctly would require communication and would also teach us it as a skill. Communication is also a very important thing when traveling; because in other places they speak other languages that we can’t understand. Attempting to learn that language and understand a culture that is foreign to you is an example of communication. When you can understand them and they can understand you, it makes for an more fun experience.
The class with Adam was boring for most, as it was sitting around for and hour listening to someone speak to us, just as if it was a regular class. But it could’ve been an important and entertaining class for anyone who was genuinely interested about travel and communication between countries.
Sun Oct 20
Book 4 Reflection
Book 4 was the most entertaining to read so far in my opinion. I fully understood it and enjoyed it. The themes in this book were memory and hospitality. When Telemachus and Nestor’s son were in Menelaus’s house, Menelaus was reminiscing on Odysseus who was Telemachus’s father, but he didn’t know it at the time. Then Telemachus started crying, back then in that time a male crying showed that he had strong feelings on the topic. Menelaus’s wife then realized that Telemachus was the son of Odysseus and brought it to the attention of her husband Menelaus. The theme of memory played a big roll in this book. Another theme in this book was hospitality, when Telemachus and Nestor’s son were in Menelaus house, he treated them like they were of royalty or they lived there. He was very welcoming to them. He fed them and talked to them. And that’s how they came up on the topic of Odysseus and figured out that Telemachus was the son of him.
A Better 9th Grade Experience
Turning the ninth grade year around
Fenn could do a few things to make ninth grade at Fenn more enjoyable. From making senior time more of a group activity and bonding free time and less of a get out of study hall for thirty minutes and do nothing, to making the academic part of school easier to manage.
Fenn is great at giving us free time, but not as great at helping us truly enjoy it. Although the last thing we want at this age is to be told what to do, it would help tremendously if we did a fun activity as a ninth grade during senior time instead of what we do now, which is sitting in one place and not being allowed to be on our phones for half an hour. When you think about it, this doesn’t really sound like an ideal free time for a teenage boy. For example, they could organize one big game of touch football, soccer, kickball, or maybe just have everyone go outside if the weather is good enough. Anything really that would help us bond and not set us up to have enough freedom to get ourselves in trouble.
Fenn could also help out the ninth grade boys with managing there life’s. Student life does a really great job on that already, but that’s only an hour class once every seven school days. We need an optional ungraded class that helps with management. Not just time management, but with homework, sports, and SSAT practice, since most of us are applying out to secondary schools this year. This class would be a great opportunity for us boys to get together and receive help with the struggles we all have. This class could replace a study hall on a certain letter day, it shouldn’t be mandatory but highly recommended, and it should genuinely help everyone who chooses to attend it. This means that although we all have the same general struggles, they’re in different areas of the same thing, so everyone should be satisfied. This class would also obviously be ungraded just like student life, but be an important key to success in ninth grade at Fenn, also just like student life.
With these changes, although a lot to ask for, would help make the ninth grade at Fenn better for boys. This would take a lot of effort and planning which I’m not sure Fenn is actually capable of doing and making it a standing tradition, but I hope they can pull it off.
The first wrong choice I made lead to another, then another, then nothing but hard times followed, picking my entertainment over my priorities was a huge mistake. When I chose enjoyment over homework the first time, it began the hole. Me continuing to make bad decisions dug it deeper. Not realizing how my mistakes would affect me, in the long run, made it inescapable. I’m in my room alone, doing my homework, it’s about 9:00 pm and I’m not even halfway done. I’m getting bored and losing the energy to keep going, after daydreaming for a good while I abruptly double tap, swipe up, and open up YouTube. I’ve already come up with an excuse that I can remind myself of every time I regret making the choice I did. I thought to myself, “I can finish it on the bus ride tomorrow morning,” or “I can do the rest during recess.” I say this to myself knowing that I won’t actually complete it. I arrive at school with my homework incomplete. During class while the teacher is collecting homework I make up and excuse as to why I don’t have it done, he’s generous enough to extend the due date for me and I can receive partial credit for it. Instead of taking this opportunity to my advantage I see it as a free token to do the same thing over again and again. The same thing for every class. My mindset is in the total opposite position it should be in, especially because I’m trying to get into schools and not have to stay for ninth. I think to myself “this is wrong,” but I never genuinely change. It’s easy to know when something’s wrong but harder to do something about it. At the end of this cycle, after I’ve shot myself in the foot too many times to recover, I finish the term without an honors card in my hand and an acceptance letter in my mail. Me not completing my homework on time from the beginning was the first mistake, me not taking advantage of the many second chances and opportunities I received was the second mistake, the big one. It leads to disappointment in me from not only myself but all the people who believed in me, including my family. At the end of the day, everyone has to ask themselves an important question “will this help or hurt me in the future?” Once you truly answer it and fix what’s wrong you are destined to succeed. I just wish I knew this earlier.
There aren’t many places in the world that could at all times be a safe place for you. It takes a lot for a place to do the job of a second home. But everyone has that one place. For me that is the Fenn School. It’s not just a school for me but a place where I could say whatever’s bothering me and have people who can listen. A prime example of that at Fenn is student life. Student life is the one class that’s not graded. In that class we talk about being a boy, being in high school, and living in the current generation were living in. I share stuff I’m not comfortable sharing anywhere else in that class except my family. Not just student life but in the actual classrooms also. The teachers at Fenn genuinely care about their students. For example my math teacher after I finished taking a test late was walking to lunch with me and we started talking about secondary schools and life. He also told me I’m really smart and I had a skill not many kids my age have. Everyone there wants the best for you. A community is different for everyone, for me this Fenn.
One Big Teachable Moment
Add life to your days, not days to your life.
As Hayden Shen enters the cardboard boat that is already falling apart, everyone’s cheering him on and chanting “There’s no icebergs, there’s no icebergs,” since our boat was named the titanic. He has his little helmet on as he’s rowing a cardboard box through the water but going nowhere. Everyone’s laughing while he’s soaked and covered in wet cardboard. Camp Belknap was a fun experience that I enjoyed very much. I even enjoyed it more than Windsor Mountain. Since it was a significantly smaller class than 8th grade it was a better experience for all of us. Belknap was a chance for me to really bond with my peers and make new relationships with kids I never really talked to, which I did end up doing a lot. I learned that just because something is new doesn’t mean it isn’t good for you, I discovered that I needed to become the best version of myself, and I realized that I needed to enjoy my time with my friends.
Just because something is new or foreign to you doesn’t mean it isn’t good for you. I experienced this with building friendships as well as engaging in new activities. The cabins were arranged in random groups rather than advisors, which was better in my opinion because I was able to bond with kids who I wouldn’t regularly bond with. For example my bed was under another kid’s bed who I rarely ever talk too. We didn’t necessarily bond over the course of the Belknap trip but we definitely talked more. Just like talking to someone new, change, or in this case difference, can be hard. Another example of that would be an activity that we did at Belknap, where during which we broke up into four corners based on a series of questions we were asked. Each corner was a different way of expressing leadership. After the activity was over they asked you to move to a corner that expresses leadership in a way you would want to work on expressing it in. I was in the motivated leader quadrant. Before this I never noticed I was a motivator. Now I can use this new information that I found out to my advantage by encouraging people to finish through on something or to attempt something, especially on the sports field.
The camp staff wanted used to know that if you fit into a group at another person’s expense, those aren’t the people you want to hang out with. On the last day right before we loaded the bus to go back to Fenn, the cabin leaders did an ward ceremony. Each cabin leader presented each of their kids with a certificate that awarded them and had a few words that shared positive feedback on the experience they had with us, they explained what they liked about us and gave us advice on being leaders at Fenn. My leader said that I was a constant source of entertainment and he enjoyed having me in his cabin. Presenting us with this certificate was a way to remind us about what we are good at doing so we can continue to do it.
Enjoy the time you have with your peers. Ninth grade is going to eventually come and go and I will never see most of my classmates ever again. It’s something that you gave to cherish because before you know it it will be gone. Belknap is a time dedicated to making memories with your closest friends, but not a lot of time.
All in all Belknap was a good trip and I really enjoyed it. The three takeaways from the trip will stay in the back of my mind and I’ll try to remember them when needed.