Junior year is (thankfully) almost finished; in less than five days, it will be completely over. Harder and more stressful than any other school year, junior year has passed by surprisingly quickly. It’s a bittersweet ending though because on one hand, I’m almost done with what is notably “the hardest year of high school”, but on the other hand, college and the need to actually “grow up” looms in the near future. Though August 25, 2014 was 272 days ago, the first day of school does not seem as if it was so far back in the past. This 2014-2015 school year has been filled with amazing experiences and classes, including AP English III.
AP English III was actually one of the classes I was most terrified for. I strongly disliked timed writings and hadn’t become comfortable with them by the end of sophomore year. Many of the current senior class told stories about all the surprise timed writings and the haunting event called “Blitz Week.” For the most part, I consistently did well on formal essays because I had days and days to work on them. I would slave over each word and sentence and paragraph, making little progress any time I worked on the essay. I spent hours writing and correcting English essays my first two years of high school. However, with timed writings I had no time to slave over each paragraph, much less each word. Though I was nervous for the first timed writing this year, I did not feel absolutely awful after it, and ended up receiving a mediocre score. After practice and practice I began getting good scores. From repeatedly writing essays in a short 50 minute period, my writing became more concise and direct. I learned how to become a more efficient writer. I may not be as profound in my timed writings as in my formal essays, but with additional practice which I will receive next year, I can achieve a closer level of writing intellect. This skill of becoming a more efficient and concise writer I developed in AP English III will help me for many years to come. It will help me in college when I do not have as much time to write essays due to a large load of homework for other courses. It will even help me later in my future career because being a proficient writer is an essential skill since the written word is one of the fundamental tools of communication; it will help me communicate to other colleagues or employers.
Though practicing timed writings and becoming a more efficient and concise writer because of them was the most valuable experience from AP English III, I also thought the class discussions over the books we read were another important experience from this class. I read The Great Gatsby in middle school before watching the recently released movie. When I first read the book a few years ago, I did not like it. I thought most of the characters were too greedy and corrupt, and it left a negative impression on me. At the time I did not really understand the immense literary content of the book such as its symbols or the fact that Fitzgerald intentionally portrayed his characters as corrupt and greedy to prove a theme. After discussing the book in AP English III, The Great Gatsby became one of my favorite books. Similarly, with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the novel did not leave a lasting impression, but after the class discussion, this book is now another one of my favorites. I liked how Twain used a little southern white boy to depict a realistic view of common ignorance, slavery, and inhumanity. Though both of these books were published many years ago, they both have concepts and messages still relevant in American society today. The Great Gatsby teaches about the dangers of a materialistic lifestyle while Huck Finn provides lessons about racism-two concepts America still struggles with today. I enjoyed connecting the messages of these books to current day problems. Without talking about them in class, I would have not made the same connections; these discussions have shown me a new way of thinking about a novel. Discussing books in class has taught me that many books have literary value much beneath what they may superficially appear upon first reading. The discussions have shown me that delving a little deeper into a book can entirely change one’s disposition on the text. This class has expanded my skills and way of thinking in ways I never imagined when first stepping into the classroom 272 days ago on August 25, 2014.