Bum bum. Bum bum. My heart is starting to beat faster. Harder. Stronger. I can hear myself screaming with joy, whistling, and humming repeatedly, for I have came to the realization that summer is coming fast. Faster than I’ve expected.
When my older brother told me how glad he is that school is coming to an end, I just told him to go get some quality sleep. But I was wrong. Not because I didn’t know, since I did, well sort of, but because I just couldn’t believe it. I was thrilled beyond belief. For as long as I can remember, summer has been the one thing I have been looking forward to all along. You can say that I felt like the happiest kid in the world when he told me that. And I am still now, happier than any kid in a candy store.
Lately I have been trying to understand the concept of time, and why it flies so fast when I’m enjoying, and so slow when I feel like passing out on the floor. I guess, and assuming from the fact that it just keeps on bugging me, it’s always bored and never really had anything else better to do. And to be slightly off topic, according to my precise and wonderful calculation, I will be done with Eighth grade in four days and two hours. That means 98 hours in total. Oh, I am feeling so blissful and delighted already!
Now thinking back, this school year is by far one of the most remarkable journeys I have ever been a part of. I never regretted moving here, since I’ve been so blessed to be able meet so many great people, teachers and friends as well as encountering the chances of learning and growing I was offered. I would be lying if I tell you I am still exactly the same person I used to be before coming here. Because the truth is, I’ve changed and grown so much that sometimes I just find it hard not to laugh at my own self. Believe me guys, it’s shockingly amusing when you sit down and think of how you have changed over time. It’s like watching a seed grows into a plant, the only difference is that you’re not a seed. You’re a human being. And you grow into another human being, not a plant.
Throughout the school year, I have learnt so many things that if I were told to make a list of every single thing I have learnt, it would last more than five pages and I would probably give up after writing down the first two since I’m not a very persistent person. But the things I learnt can vary from mastering the skill of making the right decisions (I’m exaggerating) to choosing the best words when working on AOWs and finding the best method when expressing thoughts about a particular Human Right. And as I have said earlier in my ESLR writing, it’s pretty much a gift to be able to see yourself grow over time, learning all different things and overcoming obstacles that you thought would have brought you down to your knees. For that very reason, in this year end reflection I will try my best to reflect more specifically on what I have learnt and how it has helped me and brought me to the person I am today.
As for thinking and writing, I am positive that I have grown and developed into a better thinker this year after all those AOWs and writing tasks I was given. Practice makes perfect, but sadly, I am nowhere near perfection. Even so, I have improved quite a bit when it comes to brainstorming ideas and revising my work. I used to take a lot of time to come up with an idea but as time went by, I’ve gotten better at it and I can proudly say that ideas run in my head most of the time. But actually using those ideas and transforming them into an acceptable piece of work is something I’m not sure I’m capable of. While for writing, I never liked writing and forming sentences as much as I do now. I still remember when I was given the first AOW task about migrant workers, I just automatically felt so stressed out when I got home. But just a few days ago when I started working on my research paper for Women’s Rights, I felt really different. I felt like I was meant to enjoy working on it. And I was right. I really enjoyed working on it and now that I think about it, I think I have found my passion for writing and I am happier than ever. The only challenging part I can come up now is about expressing all of my passion in my writing. I am clueless at it. I often know what I want to write and what I want my writing to look like. But I struggle turning everything into reality. And every once in awhile I just give up. So now I’ve come up with another challenge I always come across, and that is to be totally dedicated and persistent when writing. That just basically sums up my writing and learning goals for next year. First, I need to stay alert and passionate when writing and thinking all the time. Second, I must always go back and find my passion if I’m lost. Third, I need be able to persist my way when working on a writing and to never ever give up when something isn’t what it’s supposed to be yet.
Growing up, I was never told to read in my spare time. My family isn’t one of those families who have bookshelves filled with countless books of all types in their living room. And certainly not one of those who go to the bookstore often either. But how I came to love reading so much is still a mystery. But unlike other mysteries, this one doesn’t need to be solved. I love reading books and I love the fact that I love reading books. It’s just one of those things that define the person I am. This year, I have read more books than I did last year and I am certainly proud of of myself. Also, my book choices have broadened and the average amount of time I spend reading a single book has decreased. That means I read more in a less amount of time. But to actually understand the story/moral of a book and apply it in my life still remains as a challenge I haven’t yet acquired. Often after reading a book, I end up appreciating the moral/story of it and forgetting about it partially after a while. So I don’t really make use of what I learnt from reading a book. I figured long time ago that reading actually helps a lot when you’re working on the “whys” and “hows” in Algebra and Science questions since you are learning how to form sentences and use words effectively. So, in order to further develop my reading ability, I will have to set goals for myself. From now on, I will try my best to read anywhere and anytime I’m free. I will also try to read types of books that I usually don’t read and actually use what I have learnt from reading. Currently, I have two books I would like to read and they are: How To Have A Beautiful Mind by Edward De Bono and Have A Little Faith by Mitch Albom.
Speaking has been and still is my biggest weakness of all. I was only introduced to speaking more English in Grade Six, and having to speak Vietnamese everyday with my family have caused me really big problems when it comes to speaking English, my second language. I have never been a confident speaker and I’m not sure when I will be one. But, as far as I know, I have developed quite a lot as I slowly see myself communicating more with my friends and teachers in English. Whenever we had discussions in class about the AOWs or literature circles, I always felt so shy and speechless. I know I’m not a fluent English speaker and therefore, I am scared of making mistakes. I struggle forming sentences when speaking and most of the time, if not all the time, I have to think of what to say carefully before speaking. So, if someone was to talk to me and ask questions repeatedly in English, I would probably tell that person I’m sorry and faint right away. I always need to think of what to say. And sometimes it takes me quite a large amount of time. Unlike other people, speaking good English doesn’t come to me naturally. If I were to choose between talking to someone in person or typing everything down, I would rather type in a conversation. But as a listener, I can happily tell you that I have developed a lot. I used to have problems regarding listening to what the teachers say and taking notes at the same time but as the year went on, I got better at it and finally found myself being able to listen and understand more. To me, speaking is an important factor in life. I think it’s just basically a simple way of communicating with others. So after having both my speaking and listening abilities improved and developed, I can now feel more confident when talking and presenting as well as discussing in different classes.
While some people aim at mastering the skill of kicking a ball high or scoring the best on tests, I aim at mastering the skill of learning effectively and and successfully. It has always been one of my favorite hobby to sit back and reflect on my learning habits. Honestly, it all started from my disappointing mistakes that I appreciate so much. While I never really had problems with being organized, I have always struggle being one hundred percent committed when completing homework or learning for tests. Usually, I would tell myself that I will start studying for a test and be completely dedicated to it until the end but, unsurprisingly, I always stop half way and start procrastinating by playing tetris or watching movies. Often, I end up having to study late at night when everyone in my family is enjoying their sleep. I’m not so sure whether I have overcome this problem of mine or not but frankly, I have tried a lot of times. And I have failed a lot of times as well. But I’m glad I did try. Because I will never stop trying until procrastination is something that will never appear when I’m studying. I will work my way into being more responsible and committed when studying as well as always having an alert and positive learning habit.
Out of all the activities we did this year in Humanities 8, the ones I really enjoyed working on were the Revolutionary War Vocabulary Project, the Copper Sun project, the My Brother Sam Is Dead project and AOW as well as the ESLR and Human Rights projects since I had really good times working on them and somehow, they seemed really different and interesting to me when compared to other projects I’ve worked on throughout the year.
To sum up, I am really thankful for the fact that I am given opportunities to learn, grow and to be surrounded with people who I really enjoy working with. I will surely miss everything about this year and we shall hope that wherever we are and wherever we end up in life, we will never stop growing, both physically and mentally because without growth, what else could be the evidence of life?