Fear and Loathing in America: a Sophomore's Struggles Watch

aurochs
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no pretty banner here, unfortunately :~(



A Small Introduction:
Welcome to my 2018-2019 GYG, though I'm starting pretty late. I'm a sophomore (year 11 in the UK?; grade 10 in the US) living in California, trying my best to keep my grades alive. A long, long time ago, I told myself that my New Year's Resolutions were to a) stop procrastinating and b) do better in school, but that's definitely easier said than done, and so far, things aren't looking that great. This GYG is me, trying, perhaps futilely, to straighten my life out and to prevent burnout. So let's get into it!

My Classes:
The American system is obviously very different from the UK one, but here are the classes I took/am taking/will take, and the grades I got in them.

Spoiler:
Show



Freshman year:
- Honors Freshman English: A
- Honors Algebra II: A
- Honors Global Studies/Health: A
- Chemistry: A
- Physical Education: A
- French III: A

Sophomore year (this year!):
- AP Chemistry: A
What I hope to get: A. What I will probably get: A. Although the class has fairly difficult exams, the teacher's grading curve is very, very generous. It's easy to end with an A even if my raw exam average is a low B because of the curve and the test corrections.

- AP Biology: B+
What I hope to get: A. What I will probably get: low A? Biology has never been my strong suit, and that often times, I'll skip reading the chapters. Not a big surprise that I ended with a B (it was an 89 ;o) last semester, but I hope to do better this semester.

- AP Calculus BC: C+ (yikes)
What I hope to get: A. What I will probably get: I really don't know. Low B? I've been struggling with calculus this year, mainly because I skipped precalculus and AP Calculus AB, jumping straight into BC. Needless to say, I did terribly on the summer test and had a difficult time understanding the concepts. As with Biology, I tried to cruise through the class, dismissing, fallaciously, the importance of actually studying for a subject. All of a sudden, my grade in this class doesn't seem that big of a surprise.

- AP French: A
What I hope to get: A. What I will probably get: A. The class is pretty chill. Homework isn't unreasonable and tests are usually only vocabulary.

- AP World History: A
What I hope to get: A. What I will probably get: A. My favorite subject! Everything in history is a story, and the fact that it's not even made up makes it all the more enjoyable.

- Honors Sophomore English: A
What I hope to get: A. What I will probably get: A.

...and classes I'm planning on taking.

Junior Year:
- AP Physics C
- AP English Language and Composition
- Honors French Literature
- AP Statistics
- AP US History
- AP Psychology

Senior Year:
- Competitive Civics
- Multivariable Calculus
- AP Computer Science
- AP Government/Macroeconomics
- AP English Literature
- AP Spanish (maybe)
- PE




Goals:
Spoiler:
Show



College:

I'm still not sure what I want to major in, though I've come to develop a strong aversion to anything STEM-related. In 7th grade, I was totally obsessed with classics. I loved Roman history and wanted to self-study Latin. My parents didn't support that, however--why learn a dead language? Brush up on your Chinese--, and so there was the end of that. In 8th grade, I wanted to learn philosophy and psychology. I did pursue my interest in philosophy for a while, taking a class at my local community college, but quickly found that it wasn't how I'd imagined it to be. Two years passed, and here I am! Right now, I'm leaning toward history or politics, but I'm also interested in literature--comparative literature, in particular.

As far as college goes, I haven't given much thought to which one "my dream school" is. Like many in America, and even worldwide, attending one of the Ivy Leagues would be phenomenal. Or maybe a small liberal arts college (like Pomona, Amherst, etc). The UCs are really good, too. When senior year comes around, I'd also definitely be interested in applying to Oxford!

(American colleges emphasize extracurriculars and "well-roundedness," so you'll see some discussion here about that)

Personal:
- finish summer camp apps
- finish homework the day it's assigned (don't do it the class period before, oops)
- sleep at 10:30pm; wake up at 6:00am.
- read for at least an hour a day
- finish Harry Potter à l'École des Sorciers
- spend <30 mins on social media each day
- improve cursive handwriting; write neater
- take walks





Aaand that's everything. I'm hoping that this will keep me accountable for the rest of the school year. Happy reading!
Last edited by aurochs; 6 days ago
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aurochs
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Weekly Update:
Spoiler:
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This week hasn't been good. Didn't do well on the Chem test on Monday, and it's even more disappointing because this unit was the one I'd studied the most for. The saddest part is, I always try to rationalize with myself, before seeing the grades in person, that there's no way I did so badly, that the teacher must've made an error inputting grades. Ah, denial.

There was a Bio FRQ on Tuesday, then a fifty point MC portion on Friday. Scores for the multiple choice and in, and, surprise, I didn't do well. Partly because I read the chapters the Thursday before the MC (they were supposed to be spread out over a month). I also just don't think I understand the whole biotech and plasmids thing we're learning right now.

Calc test on solids of rotation was also Tuesday. I'm so so crushed by the score I got on the test because I studied hard. After the test, I thought I did fairly well--I understood the questions, could solve every one, with the exception of the last. I'm so lost as to what I can do to improve.

But, some positives: submitted application to YYGS; restarted online lit magazine editing; figured out optimal studying method for AP world and the time it takes


Weekly Agenda:
- debate tournament at Stanford! It'll take up all of Saturday and most of Sunday
- for the remainder of Sunday, I'm going to try to figure out series and sequences (for calc), and buffers and titrations (for chem).
- Monday is off for Lincoln's birthday. Planning to finish any homework that I don't finish in-between debate rounds, and also get a head start on AP Bio and AP World readings.
- I need to get gifts for the teachers that wrote me rec letters, but I don't have any ideas.

I wish there were more hours in a day. And that I didn't have to sleep.
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Last edited by aurochs; 6 days ago
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PureHeroine
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hi I've been watching this thread for a while (:
maybe try waking up earlier to maximise your productivity? I've tried that recently and it has been beneficial
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scorpionfish17
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I hope your debate tournament is going well! :rave:
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aurochs
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(Original post by PureHeroine)
hi I've been watching this thread for a while (:
maybe try waking up earlier to maximise your productivity? I've tried that recently and it has been beneficial
Sorry for the late reply! These few days have been paaacked because of the debate tournament.

After winter break, I'd actually been doing that for about a week or two (because of jet lag oops), but then I got over the jet lag and went to bed later. But I definitely agree that those early mornings were some of my most productive, and I never had to rush to get ready for school.

That's a really great idea; I'm going to try it tomorrow!

(Original post by scorpionfish17)
I hope your debate tournament is going well! :rave:
Thank you I'm with how my partner and I did (we went 3-3), considering it was our first tournament of the school year.
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Tolgarda
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Oh my, nice GYG, but you could you please explain your exams system? What's an 'Honours' class?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Tolgarda)
Oh my, nice GYG, but you could you please explain your exams system? What's an 'Honours' class?
Basically a harder version of the regular class. There's not really an equivalent in the UK; maybe kind of like doing triple vs double science or doing further maths along with maths, although that's really more just "additional" content as a separate thing, rather than replacing the core content with more advanced stuff assuming a better background and more work on the basics independently.

also aurochs yes sophmore year would be equivalent to year 11 here although you're doing content that year 12 and 13 students here would be doing :O
Last edited by artful_lounger; 6 days ago
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