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Welcome! 欢迎!

Well, hello there readers!

If you are currently a high school student, I’m sure you’ll be able to understand the weird turn life has made in the past few years. What happened to having no responsibilities? What happened to that acceptable nonchalant attitude towards life? Now, every second of life is filled with something to do, whether it be studying, extracurriculars, or even just chilling with friends.

I’m constantly trying to add new dimensions into my life, trying out new activities, setting goals for myself and reaching towards them. Learning is my impetus. I love attaining new skills, polishing existing ones, or even just finding new skills to learn. Hence this blog.

This blog aspires to document the adventures and experiences of my high school life. I’ll be sharing my thoughts, ideas, advice, and stories about being a international high school student, balancing academic work while cultivating my life to be as colorful as possible.

So stay tuned, readers!

 

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Anatomy

I took Anatomy in Grade 9. Yes, along with Biology.

For those of you interested, I’ve shared some thoughts I’ve had on what Anatomy class was like.

The first few chapters were remarkably similar to the first few chapters in Biology. In fact, a lot of the basics are exactly the same. Cells, cell cycle, respiration (not photosynthesis)…etc. However, Anatomy takes it into a deeper level (like AP Biology) than Biology.

Once you get past the basics and start moving on to the human body systems, there will be a lot of memorizing. What do you have to memorize?

Body parts: Different bones, muscles, organs, layers of skin, parts of each body system

Functions: How do these parts work together? What are the steps they take to reach a specific goal?

Once you manage to understand the different systems and how they each function, however, memorizing is surprisingly easy. After all, knowing the functionality of each part helps a lot in remembering what they are called.

Anatomy can be hard to read. I remember often having to re-read the same paragraph over and over again just to grasp the most basic concepts. When that happens, ask. Ask your teacher, your parents, or even Google to help you understand. Don’t just keep re-reading the same paragraph over and over again.

That’s it, really. If you’re looking for a textbook to start learning, I highly recommend Hole’s Human Anatomy and Physiology. It’s easy to understand, but still goes into detail in their explanations.

UN Day

October 24: United Nations Day.

On this day, we celebrate the diversity of different nations and cultures, and learn more about issues concerning the world at large, getting a step closer to becoming a true global citizen.

As the leader of our Round Square IDEALS committee, I assisted in the school assembly and hosted a UN Day workshop on providing access to clean water. With all necessary files on my computer, I headed over to the assembly hall to prepare.

It wasn’t until I ran all the way up 4 flights of stairs to the assembly hall that I was notified that laptops don’t connect to the projector…USBs only. And so down I went, back to our staff room to set up the workshop while another teacher fetched a USB to copy my files over.

By then, half an hour had passed, and our workshop group was still barely halfway done setting up. Hurriedly, I plugged my computer into the projector, set up the powerpoint, and answered a ton of questions as to what belongs where. Soon, the kids began pouring in.

We had to host 2 workshops: One with students from Years 7-10, and one with students from years 4-7. The older kids were calmer and easier to control, but a lot less enthusiastic than the younger ones.

Our workshop consisted of an activity (creating a water filter) and a presentation. My plan was to place filter paper in a water bottle, add sand and charcoal, and pour dirty water into it to filter out the dirt. The charcoal would absorb the smaller particles, and the sand would keep the larger ones out. It was simple.

In theory, at least.

With everything happening (Mid-terms coming up), I had not tested out our water filter beforehand. The students were having a hard time merely putting the filter paper into the bottle, not to mention pouring charcoal in. When they poured water in, some charcoal washed through as well, producing even dirtier water than before.

There was an awkward moment when one of the kids shouted: “IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER IF WE HADN’T FILTER THIS AT ALL!”

With all eyes on me, I came up with a way to save our workshop. “Did anyone get perfectly clear water?” I asked. “No”, came the unanimous reply. “Good,” I remarked, “Do you all see how hard it is to filter water now? Even with such a simple method as this, with materials like filter paper and plastic bottles, the water that comes out is often not clean. And yet, a lot of people today live in areas with only the same dirty water that you saw just now. It’s not that easy to convert dirty water into clean water, as you’ve discovered. They’re left there, stuck without an access to clean water.”

And with that, I saved the day. (Drops mic)

Continue reading “UN Day”

Student Council: Indoor Campout

While opening the café was a big part of our work in student council that year, we did organize other activities. Two interesting events we hosted were the Indoor Campout and the Lip-Sync Battle.

The Indoor Campout was, essentially, a Lock-In. I proposed it to the council with the intent of strengthening school spirit. Plus, everyone loves a Lock-In. As with every proposal, I set up committees: one for administration, one for activities, and one for food. A schedule was also set up with deadlines. And there was where the problems began.

Students procrastinate. Some people work well under strict deadlines, and are able to push themselves to achieve them. Others produce quality work at their own pace. I had intended for the council to first decide on dining choices next meeting, then have the food committee set a preliminary budget on food costs and the activity committee on activity costs. After that, they’d transfer that information to administration for them to formulate a suitable fee per students and send out permission forms. My plan would take around 1 month to set up.

Deciding the dining choices took…2 weeks. Eventually, we handed it over to the food committee to settle, figuring that a smaller group would be able to reach a decision faster. After that, however, things began to move faster. The budget was handed over to administration, the permission forms were sent out, and there we were halted once again.

As a student, I confess that sometimes I would forget to bring permission forms back in. I predicted that only around half the forms would be in by the deadline. And true to my prediction, hardly any permission forms (complete with the money) were brought back in. We gave the homeroom teachers another week to collect the money, and by the end of that week, we collected the money.

Then, of course, we bought all our necessary items, set things up, and had our indoor campout! The whole process took 2 months…twice the time I had anticipated.

It turned out amazing, however. We had subway for dinner, then had a school-wide capture the flag nerf battle late at night. Although not everything worked as planned, it was, in the end, a great success.

Student Council: Opening a School Café

Interestingly enough, my perception of student council has changed quite a lot over the years. I avoided it in 5th and 6th grade (because you miss recess for meeting, and, I mean, that’s like the end of the world), loved it in 7th grade (because I was too young to take on much responsibility but felt as if I was incredibly important), and by 9th grade, it was the most challenging thing in school.

Continue reading “Student Council: Opening a School Café”

Kidsread

With all the talk on books and reading in my previous posts, I’d just like to share an experience I had in middle school. Kidsread is a competition hosted by ACAMIS for international students from grades 5-8 living in China. Students form groups of 3-5 and answer questions about the plot and context of novels. International schools from all over China would come and compete. As a bookworm, this was my dream come true. Continue reading “Kidsread”

TOEFL

Before I took the test (yes, test, I know, I’ve always categorized it as “exam” before as well), I received a lot of contrasting tips and opinions on the TOEFL iBT test. This ranged from:

(Wide eyes, scarily focused expression) “TOEFL is the scariest thing you will ever experience. I mean, the listening. You listen to a short story and you note down the important plot points, and they end up asking you what color a secondary character’s eyes are!”

to:

(Snorts) “Pssssh, you’re gonna be fine. TOEFL is the easies thing ever. Don’t even study for it!”

Yes, I had a very concrete idea of what the test was like.

Continue reading “TOEFL”

Reading Non-fiction

What I’ve forgotten to mention in my last post is the fact that I still read a lot…but most of what I read nowadays is non-fiction. Or, in other words, textbooks.

Reading non-fiction is tremendously different from reading fiction. In it, you’re not immersed in a story, you’re not relating to the characters, you’re not being transported away in another world. In other words, it doesn’t provide the emotional roller coaster that fiction does, and hence, not the pleasure either.

Continue reading “Reading Non-fiction”

On Reading

Books are a gateway to another, miraculous world. What other device can transport you across the universe to another galaxy in a matter of seconds? What other can shape-shift you into an animal, a king, a heroine, or whatever you aspire to be? When reading, I am swept away by the pages of the book, carries by the currents of the story, drowning happily in words. I am always captivated by the power of books, often reading for hours on end, curled up in my blanket on my bed, deep in the drama of a story.

Continue reading “On Reading”