Hybrid Course Opinion.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking an online class. I transferred in during the second semester and I find it to be one of my greater decisions. With a free period, I was able to complete my homework quicker and more efficiently. Just having a free period was what I enjoyed the most. Being able to work alone and do my assignments by myself was my absolute favorite part. When I was in a normal English class I could never fully enjoy it because of all the group work and projects. I loved the responsibility this class gave me; having to keep up with the work and reading with no reminders.

If my high school were to add more online classes I would be in absolute bliss. Normal English classes tend to drag on and on. It is such a complete bore. Why spend a whole month on one short story when you can finish in a week and be done with it? Not only that but in this hybrid class, we learned things differently. We had different mini units that were more interesting than reading Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories. As I stated before, I had normal English first semester. And I am so glad that I had the opportunity to switch into a hybrid course. It would be an interesting turn if Fountain Valley were to allow students to take more than one hybrid course during their school year.

Stress does not even exist when it comes to a hybrid course. It’s almost euphoric. We had the max maybe 3 to 4 assignments a week. And they were different, they weren’t worksheets or essays, but blog posts and flipgrids.  I would absolutely recommend hybrid courses to everyone. They’re a great opportunity to test your skills and see if you’re responsible enough to have a class where you’re not constantly reminded of the assignments.

Overall I loved having an online class and I would definitely take another one. I absolutely wish that next year they will have more than one period of online English. I do hope that I will be lucky enough to be accepted into hybrid English once more. I am definitely taking more online classes during my academic career.  I am looking forward to the future of hybrid courses at Fountain Valley High school.

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Road Trip Expectation vs. Reality

Over spring break I went along with some friends on a well-earned road trip. Now we were immensely looking forward to this. We have been planning to drive up to Rachel, Nevada and hit up Area 51 for a while now. It took about 6 hours to reach and if there is one thing I can say, road trips aren’t always what you expect. They’re actually worse.

Based on books and movies almost all of us expect road trips to consist of memories with friends, good music, laughter, and a sense of freedom. To drive down an endless road with no one around you, music loud and singing along to the lyrics till your throat runs dry. We expect beautiful scenery and seeing hitchhikers on the road. An overall unforgettable adventure. A total cliche.

But sadly, almost none of that is true. Here’s the reality: car sickness, annoyance, and way too many bathroom breaks. Over the span of just 2 hours my friend Steph managed to take 4 bathroom breaks and ripped the aux cord. We missed probably 3 exits and increased the duration of our trip. The car was too hot and there was also a lot of traffic that we did not expect. And honestly, this article perfectly explains the truth behind road trips.

Although at the end of the day, it was all worth it. All the car sickness was washed away when we reached our destination. We visited The Little A’Le’Inn and toured around the attractions near Area 51. Road trips may be a total pain but they pay off. Although I still think it would be best to just take a plane or train. The trip was fun and we all had an amazing time! Up until we had to drive ANOTHER 6 hours home the next day.

 

Little A’Le’Inn

Steph: Extratterastial Highway

 

Similarities between Donnie Darko and Holden Caulfield.

If there is one person in this world who Holden can relate to it is Donnie Darko. They are both two teenage boys who are struggling with their lives and identity. They fit into the category of “troubled teens”. Their parents don’t understand them. Donnie’s parents hire a therapist to try to help him because they can’t seem to get through to him. While Holden’s parents just send him off to different schools, in hopes of him getting better.

To be honest, Donnie’s therapist, or parents, did not really help him. His parents were too obedient on the therapist and let her give him medication despite his worsening schizophrenia. His hallucinations were at its peak. He was disconnected from reality and those pills only made it worse. Much like Donnie’s parents, Holden’s parents, in a way, let him go. They sent him off to boarding school expecting him to magically get better on his own. I feel like they partially gave up on him. Those pills worsened Donnie’s condition and going away did not help Holden.

The idea of being alone is a fear for both boys. Holden denies it and covers his feelings. Explaining how if you distant yourself you won’t get hurt. An example is when Holden says,  “Anyway, it was the Saturday of the football game… I remember around three o’clock that afternoon I was standing way the hell up on top of Thomsen Hill… You could see the whole field from there, and you could see the two teams bashing each other all over the place… You could hear them all yelling.” (Chapter 1). This shows that he is very much isolated, watching his peers from afar rather than joining them. His life as a student is very detached. It can shadow the opening of Donnie Darko when he wakes up on a hill, completely isolated with no sense of direction.

One of my favorite scenes in Donnie Darko is when Donnie is speaking to Jim Cunningham. As soon as I saw this scene I was reminded of Holden. It seems like something that Holden would do, hating phonies and all. And Jim Cunningham is the biggest phony of them all, with a very disturbing secret. I feel like if Jim Cunningham existed in Holden’s world he would’ve lost his mind.

Holden and Donnie are both experiencing madness in different ways. Donnie is quite literally losing his mind, considering the tangent universe and primary universe. While Holden is slowly going mad into a state of despair. Both Donnie and Holden have a distance from reality and an inability to connect with people with an intense fear of being alone.

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Emotional Breakdown.

Over the course of these chapters, we see Holden come to the breaking point of his life. He is overrun with emotions and is slowly going unstable. He constantly uses defense mechanisms to try to cover up his true feelings of stress and anxiety. There are four aspects to his issues in life and they’re the death of his younger brother, his classmate, his trouble in school, and his unknown love for Jane.

I believe that the death of Holden’s younger brother was the starting point to all his problems. He deeply cares for him and not being able to attend his funeral shows that Holden never really got to say goodbye. In his mind, he lost the only “real” person in his life (and there is nothing more than Holden hates than phonies).  Whenever Holden is upset he brings up Allie. He is stuck in a never ending cycle and refuses to accept his death. Although, at this point, there is only one person who can help Holden, and that is himself. Sadly, Holden remains unmotivated and continues to blame others.

Most of the people around Holden try to motivate him to put effort into his life, school, and grades. Especially his history teacher Mr. Spencer. He once told Holden, “I’d like to put some sense in that head of yours. I’m trying to help you. I’m trying to help you if I can” (Salinger, 14). Despite all the encouragement he gets from others and his sister Phoebe, he just can’t seem to “put himself out there”.

 

I get a feeling that the whole reason Holden refuses to accept the kindness of others is that he is just simply afraid of getting hurt again. He lost the one person he truly liked and doesn’t talk to the girl he is in love with. He has this barrier set up around him only to protect himself from getting hurt and getting too attached.

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A Boy Named Holden.

In The Catcher In The Rye, we meet a teenage boy named Holden. His first introduction wasn’t a good one; he is expelled for failing four of his five classes at his private school. Following his expulsion, his history teacher, Mr. Spencer, decides to have a word with Holden. He explains how life is nothing but a game, a game where you must play by the rules. Now, Holden is a boy who has pretentious views and absolutely hates phonies. Although, it seems that he does hold some respect for Mr. Spencer (mostly due to his age), but after their meeting, Holden is only filled with annoyance and loathing. I find Holden to be a very interesting character who is highly misunderstood. He is the type of person you have to analyze to understand. So far I have noticed that he covers his feelings. If I could describe Holden in two words they would have to be lonely and misread. He hates leaving schools because he hates goodbyes. But it’s more of the fact that he has no one to say goodbye to. He once recalled a fond memory of one night where he had passed a football around at night with some friends, showing some possible sadness of leaving people he knows behind. That little memory shows that deep down, he really is just a normal teenage boy who probably wishes his life could be as typical as everyone else’s.

It is also strongly hinted that Holden has immense feelings for an old friend named Jane. His low-key sloppy but attractive roommate, Stradlater, is introduced. He tells Holden that he is going on a date with a girl named Jane. Holden is clearly tormented by the idea, thus revealing his true feelings towards the girl named Jane. Stradlater then tells Holden to do his homework for him in a composition paper. Instead of doing what he was told he decides to write about a baseball glove his brother Allie used to own. Stradlater becomes irritated and begins to insult Holden but he gets no response. Holden then asks about the date with Jane and Stradlater refuses to tell Holden anything, leading to a fight.

Clearly hurt and agitated he decides to leave for New York for a few days and stay in some cheap motel. He sells his typewriter to a rich kid down the hall who was borrowing it for $20. After he had packed and cried for a bit he then looks back at Pencey and shouts “Sleep tight, ya morons!”

I feel that in a way, Holden can be a relatable character. Just another teenager who is stuck in a never ending depressive episode. As Mr. Spencer said, life is a game with only two sides; the winning or losing. Right now, Holden is no doubt in the losing category. His peers are constantly telling him he is useless or hinting that he is going nowhere. I see Holden as a mentally ill teenager who can’t help but see the world as superficial or hypocritical. I am very interested in learning more about Holden’s past and what affected him so much.

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The Truth About Play

My favorite thing about this homework assignment was getting a sense of freedom. To spend a whole hour just playing made me feel child-like. I went with a friend and played cards and also shot some hoops for an hour. Next time we have a day of play I would hope to play with some board games since I don’t have any knowledge with them. This experience taught me that it is okay to set homework aside for a short period of time and just enjoy life and the atmosphere around me. It also had me contemplating how the lack of freedom in children’s lives came to be.

The Ted Talk that was given by Peter Gray made some really valid points and provided lots of useful information. He stated that modern kids are constantly being watched by adults and don’t have the same freedom that kids from the 1950s had. He noted that the 1950s aren’t to be glamorized but that we could learn from the idea of the liberation that past children had. He told a story that can really show the difference between children here in America and those in other isolated parts of the world. Alongside one of his graduate students, he had conducted a survey of anthropologists who had observed the way children of hunter-gatherer cultures play. Their studies showed that the children were allowed to roam freely on their own and play however they please. The results left these children to be some of the brightest, most cooperative, resilient, and happiest children they have ever observed. Nowadays children are being watched like hawks by everyone around them. Children aren’t free to make mistakes and learn from them because adults are always watching and setting rules.

Most teenagers also don’t have freedom. Luckily, I have somewhat lenient parents so I did get to experience some things on my own. But others aren’t fortunate enough. Some parents will push their kids to the breaking point by not allowing them to go anywhere without an adult or older sibling or even go out with friends. To me, that shows a nerve wrecking feeling of possession.

The podcast about checkers and chess relates to the topic of play. In checkers, the rules are simply too strict. And too many rules can equal no fun and everything being too predictable. Now as for chess, there is more freedom. Checkers can be compared to modern days and chess can be life in the 1950s. The best moment in a person’s life is simply the unexpected. When you don’t know what is going to happen it creates a feeling of adrenaline. Fewer rules are when you feel the most alive.

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