True Meaning of Life

Dear reader,

When you think about “truly living”, what words or phrases come to mind? Not letting anything get in your way? Realizing your true potential and seeing what you can do? Make something that you’ve dreamed about since you were a child into reality?

The definition of “truly living” changes from person to person. How you decide to interpret that phrase is up to you. Personally, I think that truly living is where you are happy with what you have achieved and realize that you are comfortable with your circumstances. However, don’t forget that even though you may be happy, try to challenge yourself and reach even greater heights.

In terms of challenges, one of the major obstacles that you can come across is none other than yourself. If you think that you can’t do things, then you won’t make an effort to even try anything, and therefore be dealing self-inflicted wounds. Sometimes, I find myself in a rut where I don’t know what to do. However, when I get into those situations, I realize I have a choice. I can either sit around and sulk all day, or try and find a silver lining in the midst of the dark clouds.

“Truly living” is a very interesting phrase to use. It is something that is very much open to interpretation depending on your own thinking style. So I ask you once more, dear reader: When you think about “truly living”, what words or phrases come to mind?

-Kinya

The Melody of Poetry

Dear reader,

Poetry is a very interesting and powerful form of communication. Instead of speaking in prose, one is expressing ideas in a way that has meter, rhyme, and rhythm among other aspects. It can also be a way to connect to other poetry that one has previously experienced.

Depending on the poetry that one reads, they will experience different ideas. For example, Walt Whitman has poems about transcendentalism and realism, William Carlos Williams deals with modernism and imagism. What makes poetry significant is the fact that each person has his or her own different views and even though some may be similar, others will be vastly different.

In my personal experience, poetry is a way to express my feelings about a certain issue or to explore different perspectives of something. I also use poetry to thank people who have had a great influence in my life. For example, when I was about 14 years old, I was going through a difficult situation and I was able to talk about it with one of my teachers. She was able to help me through the problem and she was willing to lend a listening ear whenever I needed it. When I found out that teacher was leaving, I was very sad and wanted to find a way to thank her for all she had done in my life. I felt that no amount of words I could speak would express my gratitude, so I turned to poetry. I wrote her a poem, and she was very appreciative of the gesture.

So what does poetry mean to you, dear reader? What do you think poetry is significant for? I’ve explained my reasons, so go out and find your own.

-Kinya

Rebellion: Good or Bad?

Dear reader,

I have been thinking about the concept of ‘rebellion’ recently. Is it good or bad? Does it undermine authority as a powerful force?

Rebellion is defined as “an act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler.” People rebel against things that they may not support or believe in and allows them to be heard about issues that concern them.  That sparks a strong movement in some cases. Those rebellions spark change for what may lie ahead for those people in the government.

For example, with the Civil Rights movement in America in the 1950s and 1960s, black people in America were fighting against the inequality that they were facing. There were many changes in America over the years sparked by the movement. However, in some people’s opinions, the issue has not been fully addressed. Even today, there are some protests that go on about other sensitive topics, and they get noticed for the message they are trying to express.

Rebellions are a drastic way for people to have their voices heard if multiple efforts to do so before have failed, but are they really a force for good or bad? What do you think, dear reader?

-Kinya

The Power of Books

 

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Dear reader,

I’m back from Christmas break and decided to reflect on the types of books that I have read in 2016, and what they have helped me understand about the world around me. Probably the most interesting books that I have read over the course over the year is Dark Territories by Fred Kaplan and Industries of the Future by Alec Ross. These two books both deal with technology, but in two different ways.

Dark Territories talks about the history of cyber war back from the presidency of Ronald Reagan up to President Obama’s presidency. I found it interesting to see how people’s view of the importance of cyber war grew over the years. During President Reagan’s time, people didn’t think that cyber war was  such a big issue, because laptops and other devices had just come out and the Internet was a very new concept at the time. However, even then, the issue was very important. Over time, as intelligence agencies and the world at large saw the implications of cyber war, the issue became very prevalent in history and still is today.

Industries of the Future talks about how new technology could have an impact on what we as humans are able to do in the next few years, in spite of the fact that technology is everywhere in the modern age. For example, while we may now have drivers and Ubers taking us from place to place, in a few years, we may have self-driving cars which don’t necessarily need a driver in the car in order for it to operate. Another example that surprised me is that at the hotels, humans are now at the concierge and customer services desks, but there are already robots taking over those duties in some places around the world.

Those books made me reflect on what the future holds and what implication will it have on future generations. How can we be secure in a changing environment, be it cyber or physical? Online threats are becoming more and more important in our world, but there is also the fact that our jobs are being passed over to machines.

Those are two of the books that made the biggest impact on me in 2016. What about you, dear reader? What books did you read this past year that inspired, challenged, or surprised you? What did you learn from reading those books? Think about it.

-Kinya

Writing a Post

Hello reader,

When starting something new, you may not necessarily know where to start. That was me with blog posts. I didn’t know where to start and I was like a deer in headlights when it came to what to write about. However, I decided that the first post would integrate what I was most passionate about: music.

Writing a post using something that you are passionate about as a reference could serve as a springboard toward other ideas. Make sure that your descriptions are vivid and concrete. That can be used to make a post an enjoyable read for all. Using personal experiences could also serve as a way of making your post effective because it makes you relatable to the intended audience. If the audience knows what you are talking about and can relate to it, you will be able to let your audience connect more with the subject.

One system that works for me is keeping my blog posts consistent. Having one day every week where I know that I am supposed to write a post helps me stay organized and focused with my tasks. However, if there is an event that will take up the time that I have planned for writing the post, I will do it earlier than I usually do.

Blog writing for me is a way for me to express my views about a topic to an audience that may or may not agree with my views, and I always try to have the audience think about the aspect that I am writing about at the end of my blog. I always try to keep the audience involved in my post and would like them to think about something and respond if they wish.

Writing blogs has been an amazing experience for me. I am grateful to have the experience of writing to an online audience and getting tips about how to better my work through the comments that I have received over this semester. Comments can be a useful aspect on how to make a post better.

Those were my tips on how to write a post, but do you have any different methods of your own that you use?

-Kinya

 

The First Post

Dear reader,

It’s hard to believe that I am halfway through my junior year. Sometimes I feel like I just started the year a few days ago. My time in AP Lang has gone by quite quickly, but nevertheless I have enjoyed every minute of it. One aspect of the class that I have enjoyed the most is the opportunity to have a weekly blog and talk to people through each post.

Before I was in AP Lang, I hadn’t even the faintest idea or interest of starting a blog. I didn’t even know WordPress as well as I do now and all the neat things you could do with it. In fact, starting a blog was one of the last things I wanted to do at first and when we were told that we would have to start one, I started panicking inside. I had a million questions floating in my head like, “What should I write about?” “What should I title my blog?” “How will my work look like in the blog?” and so on.

When it was finally time to start my introductory post, I struggled a lot. The ideas just wouldn’t come, but I slowly started having ideas to write about my blog name. And so, I did. After I finished writing the post, I was feeling not at all confident, but told myself that this is just the first in many more posts. Cringing, I pressed the publish button and hoped for the best. Over the course of a few days, I started to get comments from people, and they surprised me, because they said that I did a good job.  I was over the moon and was starting to get excited about the prospect of having this blog.

Since then, I have fully enjoyed every prompt, whether or not the answer of what to write comes easy to me. With every post, I feel like I have an opportunity to grow as a writer and that makes me excited for what prompt I get next. To me, the blog posts don’t feel like homework. They feel like an opportunity to grow.

What about you, dear reader? Have you ever had an experience that you were not either interested in or nervous about doing only to find out that you loved it in the end?

-Kinya

Broken Melodies

Dear reader,

I would like you to picture the world as one piece of music with many different melodies. Each continent has its own type of music, melodies, and harmonies, but the one thing that is universal is that none of the melodies are ever completely perfect. There are wrong notes in every piece, subtle or grand, that make the music sound not quite right. Whenever a mistake is made, the continent that made the mistake comes under intense pressure and ridicule from the others and is branded as an outcast. But with time, the music begins again and the mistake is forgiven.

I have read The Scarlet Letter recently and it paints the main character, Hester, in a similar light. Because of what she has done, she is branded as an outcast with the symbol of a scarlet letter on her chest. In the Puritan society, she is seen as someone who is apart from the general community and is treated differently from the others. She struggles with the fact that she as a person is defined by what she did and that that situation will haunt her throughout her life. However, over the course of the book, Hester grows out of those thoughts, becomes strong and independent and gets accepted by her community.

This book has taught me that even though there may be problems in the world, the aspect that matters most is how to forgive the individual. Look past the mistakes made, and accept the person for who they are, and don’t shun them for what they did. That way, the music can continue to play as best as possible, despite the mistakes.

-Kinya