Mrs. Brayko has asked us to give you advices about AP Lit, so here I am writing a letter to you seniors today on my last AP Lit class of the year. First off, I can’t guarantee if you will enjoy this class. You have readings to do everyday and might need to do some writing. Sometimes, you will be assigned writing assignments (essays) that will be a large part of your grade.
First of all, you need to be ready to face obstacles. For example, I had trouble interpreting poems in the beginning of the poetry unit. However, I became comfortable with poems after following directions and doing the respective activities such as TPCASTT and TicTacToe. Although those exercises are extremely annoying, it will later help you when you take the AP exam. Also, remember that you can revise your essays, so don’t give up too easily if you get a low grade. Fixing your writing will help you to realize what your weaknesses are. You should ask help from Mrs. Brayko because she is always open for further discussion about your work.
I could’ve avoided some problems if I didn’t panic as I did in some of my in-class essays. In contrast to take home essays, you are under pressure because of the time limit. Make sure that it doesn’t affect your writing, because it will distract your thinking process once you are bothered by the time constraint. Although I took AP Lang in my junior year, timed writing for AP Lit was a different experience.
Short stories were exciting for me, because they were concise, in other words, very short. Yet, the content was very rich as it required lengthy analysis and scrutiny.
If you don’t want to struggle in this class, I advise you to do your readings. Honestly I did not do many of the readings, which I wholeheartedly regret. And don’t slack off in second semester like I did because it will be a great chance for you to improve your reading and writing skills.
By the end of January, I will have submitted all my apps for colleges, which means I don’t have to work as hard as I did in first semester. Yet, my goal is to not slack off in classes and work hard especially in AP Literature class in order to improve my writing and reading skills as they will be essential in my college career. I especially want to continue on with my quarter two goals on improving AP Lit exam skills. I need to score better on multiple choice questions and write clearly in the given time constraint.
In quarter two, I created a list of things that I wanted to do after I submit all my applications. For example, I want to ride the bike to school (it is around 25km from school to my house), go on a trip alone (to reflect on life and set future goals), learn how to cook Korean food (as I will be cooking in college), win Battle of the Books etc. I hope I can accomplish some of these goals during quarter three.
For both of my goals, I have failed utterly to accomplish them. After I submitted my college applications and received my college results, I haven’t been lazier than I’ve been in senior second semester. Although I had lots of time, I often didn’t turn in homework and such. I procrastinated till the end to finish projects and other assignments. Also, senior second semester was busier than I thought. I still had to write my college essays till the end of January and we were still assigned numerous projects, tests, and homework. I hope I can achieve my goals during the summer like learning how to cook, going on a trip, etc.
My goal for next year is to get into Ross School of Business. Although I was admitted to University of Michigan, my initial goal was to get into their business program. In order to do so, I need to apply to the business school in my freshmen year. I need to maintain high grades and on top of that do extra curricular activities. Thus, I hope I can settle down at UMich easily and do well.
I have grown as a reader, but not significantly. Our AP English Literature class went through various genres and we particularly studied poetry and drama/fiction in second semester. Through reading these two different types of literature, I’ve learned how to understand a character’s emotion and to better understand a poem by dividing it up to parts.
In second semester, our AP English Literature class had encountered many different types of literature ranging from poetry to drama. If we focused mostly on fiction and short stories in first semester, the later part of the course emphasized more on drama. Examples of works we’ve studied are Hamlet, Death of a Salesman, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Oedipus, etc. Unlike first semester, it was an interesting time for me to examine the other side of literature. At Korea International School, I’ve read quite a few dramas such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and A Raisin in the Sun. However, interpreting plays in the perspective of an AP English Literature student contrasts with the way I did in other English courses. AP English Literature class gave more focus on the individual characters while English 9, 10, and AP English Language were more about comprehending the themes and moral behind the play. For example, when we read Hamlet, we performed a little skit at the end pretending to be one of the characters inside the book to have a better understanding of the characters. Although, not sure if it was effective as intended, it surely was a creative exercise for students to not only understand what the characters are doing, but also grasp the emotional feelings of the characters. In addition, I personally think that reading the plays out loud during class and sometimes acting out some scenes boosted my understanding of the characters. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead puzzled me at the beginning because I couldn’t visualize what was happening. Yet, reading it out loud helped me to better understand both the situation and tone of the two protagonists. In some instances, I easily miss ironic comments or lines intended for humor. However, vocalizing while reading helped me tremendously.
In the beginning of second semester, we continued on a little bit of poetry unit left. As I familiarized myself with many more poems and actually dissecting them into TPCASTT or TicTacToe, I felt becoming a better reader. When I had to read over more than ten times to understand parts of a poem, the times I had to read shrunk to five times. Taking apart a poem into different categories and analyzing them individually soothes the pain of trying to comprehend a poem right from it. It does take some time and effort to do this, but once you get used to this mechanism of TPCASTT, you do not actually have to write it out, but can easily do it in your head. Although poetry was hard, various activities helped me to learn various skills in interpreting poems. Our poetry unit helped me in the actual AP exam. Although I did not fully understand what the poet was trying to express about desire, I did have a sense of what he wanted to shape the readers’ view on desire. If I did not train myself before, I assume that I wouldn’t have been able to write a logical essay about it.
As I have mentioned in my first semester reflection, AP English Literature was a risk for me since I believe I am not a good writer nor a good reader. Nonetheless, taking this course was an indispensable experience because I’ve learned so many things I otherwise couldn’t have acquired.
Reflecting upon my writing this second semester, I am afraid that I cannot make a proper evaluation of myself, because it was senior second semester. I did lose motivation to get good grades, which led to poor writing. However, I did find some improvement in my writing which is organization. For example, in my Oedipus essay, Mrs. Brayko said “The paper has clear organization and a good thesis.” Also, I think I did a pretty well job organizing my ideas in the Author Study. My topic was complex since I had to incorporate both his life and writing style – how his writing style developed over time. Especially, in the paragraph “1984 is an interesting novel. It brings the transformation of Orwell’s writing style and his point of view to an end. If Orwell was illustrating the harsh working condition in Down and Out in Paris and London, and criticizing the Stalin government in Animal Farm, he warns the current government of how it can possibly affect the future if they don’t call for a reform,” I provide an adequate transition for the readers from one point to the other of Orwell’s life. Yet, my very last paper was poor on organization. It demonstrates the epitome of senioritis. I have blocks of quotes standing alone as paragraphs.
However, there were downsides to my papers. I still wasn’t able to do a perfect citation. It is apparent in my Author Study that my MLA citations weren’t labeled properly. On the comments for Author Study, Mrs. Brayko listed MLA formatting as one of my weaknesses in the paper. Although I am capable of creating a proper works cited page, I still have problems doing in-text citations.
I really wanted to reflect on my writing, but the quality of the essays does not truly indicate who I am. In general, I’ve grown significantly as a writer, but my writing in second semester is not certainly representative of it.