Response to an Opinion Article

article: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/07/10/how-to-improve-summer-school/eliminate-summer-vacation

What would you choose: a long summer break, or breaks and longer weekends throughout your school year?

It wouldn’t be a pleasant experience to go to school in July; however, I think breaks during the year are necessary. As a rising junior, life is tough. I have to play sports, maintain my GPA, and study for standard tests (AP, SAT I, SAT II, TOEFL, etc). This makes me not only stressed to the point of wanting to give up, but also sleep-deprived. I don’t remember sleeping before 12pm on a school night since…ever. Since my school counts American holidays AND Korean holidays, I do get a lot of breaks–thankfully. I found those holidays during the year really helpful because sometimes the weekend isn’t enough time to finish everything. I could catch up on sleep, assignments, and even study for upcoming tests. Some say long summer breaks help students catch up, but honestly, it’s difficult to cover year-long content in about 8 weeks. It’s better to review stuff learned right away during short breaks, so that no one will ever be far left behind. Believe me: I do love summer, but I would love to catch up on some sleep throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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X-Men: First Class (2011)

X-Men: First Class

 

Genre: Action

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Bill Milner, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence

Plot: This is a story of the past. It’s a prequel to all the X-Men series that came out so far. Before Professor X and Magneto became enemies, they were best friends in the names of Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr. They recruited other Mutants together, and created a team to help the American government in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. However, Xavier and Lensherr have totally different opinions towards the human race, opinions of themselves as Mutants, and in what ways they want to use their power. In the end, humans turn against them and attempt to kill the Mutants. This results in the split between the Mutants. Those who believe that Mutants are superior and shouldn’t live with humans go with Eric Lensherr (now Magneto), and those who believe they should live with the humans and hide their real powers go with Charles Xavier (now Professor X).

Trailer:

 

I’ve only watched X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), so I knew the basic plot line and the characters. When I was watching this prequel, it was cool to see the past of Professor X, and Magneto, and why they ended up being what they were in The Last Stand. Everything that happened in this movie connected to it. I think X-Men is one of the rare movies that succeeded in all prequels and sequels. Movies make sequels because the original one was a big hit, and they usually end up disappointing the audience. I heard that Kung Fu Panda 2 was really boring and disappointing for many, and Harry Potter gets worse every year. Overall, this was a really good movie, and I didn’t find anything awkward, but I would only recommend this movie to people who have at least a basic idea of what X-Men is.

 

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BRAVE NEW WORLD


I had to read this book in my English class, and I actually really liked it. It kind of reminded me of the book, Giver because they both seem like Utopian societies on the surface, but they’re actually Distopian societies.

After reading this book, we had to choose an essential question and answer it in an analytical way.

My essential question was, “what is the role of technology in daily life?” and I had to talk about its role in both the World State and the contemporary society.

First of all, the primary role of technology in the World State is to control the population, to stabilize their society. The government of the state has rigid control of reproduction. They use this scientific process to create thousands of identical humans. Basically, what they’re doing is exactly like mass production at factories, except with human products. They create just the right amount of humans they need with specified qualities. Because technology is used to tightly control the population and humans, the society never has to deal with any problems such as overpopulation or infant mortality. They don’t have to deal with conflicts, changes or risks. And not having those means stability in their society, which is the reason why they’re controlling the population. However, this tight control leaves no room for individualism or freedom.

Technology also controls people’s minds in the World State with the use of conditioning, or brainwashing, and the soma. Technology in the state condition people so that they think the way the government wants them to think. They believe what they’ve been told to believe, and nothing else, which helps avoid any uprisings and questioning. Also, the use of soma is a perfect symbol for influence of technology in daily life of the state. People are encouraged to take the soma whenever they feel unpleasant, as it provides temporary happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure, and helps people escape from the reality, therefore preventing them from having negative thoughts. This forced thought and forced happiness make them not unaware of their reality, but they help prevent conflicts or uprisings within society.

In today’s society, technology plays a role in basically every aspect of our daily lives. It saves so much time and energy by providing us information, communication, entertainment, and globalization. When we need to do research, all we have to do is open up our Macbooks and search, and we have access to every possible source related to the topic. And with social networking sites and messengers such as Facebook and Skype, we can now contact friends on the other side of the world. Technology’s speeding up globalization and making the world smaller.

On the other hand, technology is also making us forget our other values. We’re depending too much on it to do everything for us. Since it’s too broad to focus on all negative aspects of technology, I’ve decided to narrow it down to something that plays a big role in all of our daily lives today: social networking. While it helps us stay in contract with friends who don’t live close to us, it creates other problems. We’re getting addicted to it, often to the point of obsession. When opening up Firefox, or Safari, most of us probably open a new tab and check Facebook first. This can be a big distraction, and also take us away from family life. It’s impossible to quit because we feel as if we’re isolated from the society if we stop using it. We feel the need to be always connected to the world of Facebook.

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Yousuf Karsh

YOUSUF KARSH, (1908-2002)

Yousuf Karsh, born in Armenia in 1908, was the best portrait photographer of 20th century. Because of Turks’ massacre and persecution of Armenians, he had to flee to Syria with his family. Later, he was sent to Canada to live with his uncle, a photographer in Quebec.

Yosuf Karsh, self portrait

“My chief joy is to photograph the great in heart, in mind, and in spirit, whether they be famous or humble.”

His work is currently on display Sejong Museum of Art in Seoul, and it’ll be on all through May. I went to see this exhibition a few days ago thinking, “how can portraits be artistic?” but I was wrong. Although I don’t have a great sense of taste or knowledge in recognizing art, I can see that his photos really are amazing and unique. He captures every single detail, every strand of hair, every thread of his models. And when you look at his portraits, you can almost see the soul of the person in the picture. You feel as if you personally knew the people in Karsh’s pictures.

Karsh has captured many famous politicians, stars, and artists of the 20th century, but for me, the most memorable ones for me were his photography of Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Audrey Hepburn, Andy Warhol, and Elizabeth Taylor. I put up the pictures, but trust me, it looks way better to have a look at them in real life.

Elizabeth Taylor

Audrey Hepburn

Winston Churchill

Andy Warhol

Albert Einstein

Sources:

http://karsh.org/

http://www.masters-of-photography.com/K/karsh/karsh_articles1.html

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AP STRESS…

I’m finally done with AP exams!

I know this is totally off-topic, but I really wanted to write about AP exams, after having gone through one.

This was my first year in taking an AP course, and I took AP World History. I took the exam two days ago, and thankfully, it was way easier than I’d thought it’d be, but the stress PRIOR to the exam was tremendous. All I could think was, “what if I don’t even get a 3? What if I get a 1 or a 2?” For those of you taking AP’s for the first time, I’d like to give you some tips.

1. Personally, iI think Princeton Review is the best one for APWH preparation. Although Barrons has chapter quizzes that PR doesn’t, Barrons is disorganized, and it only confuses you. Princeton Review APWH also has sections like “Compare this” or “Changes and Continuities,” which not only help you remember things, but they also help for essay preparation.

2. Go through all the files that your AP teacher gives you. Mostly, they’re all big-picture stuff, and they’re extremely helpful when reviewing. It’s a big pain to go through and read everything, but believe me, it helps.

3. When reading your prep book, annotate. Personally, reading doesn’t help me memorize. If I write important points, timelines, or main concepts beside each paragraph, and use multiple pens, I can remember that stuff a lot easier later on. And it also helps when you’re doing some last minute review the day before the exam. You can’t read the prep book all over again, but you can see what you wrote on the side.

4. Try writing main points of each unit without looking at anything; it helps you pull stuff together.

5. Drink a lot of water, eat bananas, and get a good night’s sleep. Staying up all night studying for an AP exam will not help you get a 5.

6. Relax. You’ve learned the course at school throughout the year, and there is no way you’ll get under a 3, unless you failed the AP course. After all, this is only one test. If you totally bomb it, there are other chances. This test alone will not determine what college you go to.

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Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman (Natalie Hershlag)

Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem, Israel, on June 9, 1981. She moved to Washington, DC, and her family settled in New York later on. She was spotted at a pizza place when she was 11 and decided to pursue a career in acting. Her debut movie was Leon: The Professional (1994). Despite her early acting career, she was still an intelligent student who graduated with honors, and she went into Harvard University.

I’ve decided to write a post on Portman because her recent movie, Black Swan, is a big hit, and she’s one of m favorite actresses. I’ve always thought she was similar to Audrey Hepburn. She’s as gorgeous as Hepburn and she has the same elegance. All Hollywood stars are extremely good looking and attractive, but sometimes I get sick of constantly looking at people who have the same image: seductive, glamorous, unrealistic, superficial. However I think Natalie Portman has a different atmosphere. She’s very classy, elegant, and full of life, despite the fact that she’s extremely short. She’s an amazing actress, and an interesting person. Most stars who start their acting careers at an early age turn out to be wild and reckless. Look at Lindsay Lohan, or the Olsen twins. They used to be so cute, and loveable as child actresses, and now, the only word that comes to my mind when I see them is “trashy.” So I was surprised when I heard that Natalie Portman was a Harvard graduate. She’s always admitted that she is a geek, that she loved school and learning new things. She also said she worked hard because she preferred being a smart woman, rather than being a pretty, attractive woman. I really like her confidence and her ability to freely admit something that others wouldn’t.

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Love and Other Drugs (2010)

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Drama

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway

Plot: Maggie (Anne Hathaway) is a Parkinson’s patient, but she is a confident woman who never lets anything defeat her. Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a confident salesman and also a ladies’ man. Wherever he goes, women are attracted to him. When they first meet, they’re only interested in each other for hitting up. However, they start to fall in love with each other more and more, but Maggie refuses to have an official relationship with him…

I watched this movie on the plane because I was bored, and I hated it.

This movie was just bad. Half of the movie was about having sex and half of the movie was about her disease. As you can see, the plot line is a typical chick flick, with typical characters: a free-spirited, confident woman and a player who’s met his match. I don’t suggest this movie to anyone, unless you’re in love with Anne Hathaway, or Jake Gyllenhaal. Everything from the plot, settings, and the characters were just bad. If their intention was to make this movie a romantic comedy with some serious, emotional moments, they failed. It was just a horrible movie.

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