Junior Year Survival Guide

Brace yourselves, sophomores…

Dear future juniors,

Is the thought of the infamous junior year slowly creeping up on your window, licking its lips in delight at all the nightmares it’ll give you? Okay, maybe I’m going a little too far, but you get my point. Well, today’s your lucky day! Loosen up that furrowed brow and let out a deep sigh – Blueprint’s got your back! Here’s a compilation of tips and thoughts from current and past juniors alike to help you embark on your new journey of junior year (dun dun dun…)

plan ahead1
Get your head together!

Yes, challenge yourself with difficult courses, but don’t over do it. You’re going to have a lot of things to do: APs, college visits, SAT/ACT preparations, and probably a multitude of extracurricular activities. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many hard courses that will drag you down the entire year. Figure out what your priorities are and plan your schedule from there.

  • Yunji Lee (‘16): “Find balance. Don’t overwhelm yourself so much with academics that you don’t have any time for family and friends, but don’t slack off to the point where your grades start slipping.”
  • Jaye Ahn (‘16): “If I could do one thing over in junior year, it would be to focus a little less on my extracurriculars. Don’t sign up for every single opportunity just for the sake of it. Be mindful of your limits, your priorities, your health, and literally every decision you make.”
Give your heart (I mean, your brain) a break

Psychology has proven that prolonged stress manifests itself as physiological symptoms – this includes lack of sleep! Not sleeping is going to hurt your performance, even on assignments you have stayed up hours for, and your performance on the following day. Also, have some fun! #TREATYOSELF! One relaxing Saturday isn’t going to hurt you, nor your grades. If it does, you should seriously reflect on your time management skills. “I have too much to do” isn’t going to fly by as a legitimate excuse anywhere – not even as a junior.

  • Hannah Park (‘16): We unconsciously believe that juniors have this unspoken right to procrastinate, sleep in class, be late to school, or etc., just with the excuse of being a junior. If students can continue to hold a positive mindset to set good examples for other students, junior year will be easier to cope with!”
  • Subin Hur (‘16): You will be surprised to realize that it is possible to sleep before 12 AM even with four APs – as long as you know how to stay away from social media. Sleep when people party and work when people sleep. If you take naps from 4PM~12AM (which I usually do), virtually nobody will be online by the time you start working, so you don’t need to worry about being distracted. ***successful social life not guaranteed***
Do your best, and leave the rest!
  • Stephanie Yang (‘15): I feel like some people believe that they have to do certain things to set themselves up for the college application process, like choosing the most “prestigious” or popular KIS club, or doing a ton of community service just for the sake of the hours. Do what you want, because, ultimately, your version of the “perfect” student on paper may not be that unique: you might stand out more by being a part of the Christian club.


College doesn’t determine your future, and junior year doesn’t determine (well, completely determine) your college acceptances. You might attend an Ivy League and learn nothing, and you can go to the dreaded-by-KIS, small liberal art school and squeeze all opportunities you possibly can to be enlightened, it’s all up to you. You determine how valuable college experience is, not the name of the college.


So, bottom line: don’t freak out. To be honest, from what I believe, junior year is not worthy of much worry. It should be just like any other time of you high school career: simply do your very best, accept the consequences – positive and negative – and move on and work with what you have.

  • Michelle Hahm (‘15): I would say, do everything with 110% effort, to a point where you know you can say, “I’ve done my best” by the time you are done with whatever big or small task you are working on. The same outlook should be for non-academic goals as well.

college fairs

I know, I know, our counselors have reiterated this multiple times, but, personally, I found great value in attending different college fairs. College fairs are never about binding yourself to a few colleges that you attend their visits for, nor is it about impressing the international delegates (s/he probably won’t remember you anyway). It’s about letting the college know that you had prior interest in their school before senior year starts and learning about distinct cultures and opportunities of different schools.


Some specific points to keep in mind:

  • Don’t solely rely on bigfuture.collegeboard.org. Find what is important to you – internship opportunities, financial aid, programs of interest, sports, school ambience (aka boon-wee-gui), class sizes – and visit the school’s website beforehand to ask specific questions.
  • Ask yourself, what is special about this particular college that distinguishes itself from the other colleges?
  • If financial issue is daunting for you, make sure to ask about international scholarship/financial aid availability and on-campus work programs. Some schools have a limited number of scholarship applications for international students.
  • Ask about the application process. Not all common-app colleges are the same. Is choosing a major highly suggested (i.e. required)? How are international students’ applications viewed? If you are a dual citizen living in Korea, are you considered as an American applicant or an international applicant? Be a pest and squeeze the juice out of our college counselors! Don’t feel bad, that’s what they’re here for!
keep going
Fake it ‘till you make it

Let me tell you a little secret about junior year: no one knows what they’re doing. You just go with the flow, submit daily assignments, practice SAT/ACT problems, research colleges, etc. etc. But quite frankly, no junior has completely mapped out their near or far future – and really, no one can. Junior year is an entity of confusion and constant changes; you’re going to be stabbed in the back by things you’ve never expected. If you think taking AP Biology makes you a “science” person? Think again, AP Physics is a whole other realm in itself, and at times, it will make sure you suffer and doubt yourself. Think acing 10th grade British literature makes you a good writer? Think again, for AP language is a whole other amalgam of frustration (and, of course, satisfaction, at the end of the day).

My point is, you’re going to hit slumps – quite often. But that doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it doesn’t mean you’re a lacking student, and it definitely doesn’t mean your academic career is going downhill. Keep pushing yourself, and keep in mind that many of your peers are hitting rock bottom alongside you.

You are more than fine, and you will be more than fine no matter what grade you are getting in APUSH, no matter what score you received on the January SAT, and no matter what college you get accepted to. Life – and frankly junior year, too – is more than the numbers. Have fun discovering what this “more” is for you!

Headers by Yunji Lee

The Fashion of Coachella 2015

Check out Blueprint’s top 5 (unsurprising) trends of Coachella 2015.

Not too long ago, you might’ve heard some of your friends or your peers whining about how all they want to be at is one place: Indio, California, home of one of the most popular music festivals in the world.


We’re talking Coachella.


People from all over the United States and the world, fly out to California during April to attend this two-weekend event. And although it’s an art and music festival with highly anticipated performance lineups and attending celebrities teeming in every corner, Coachella is also very well known for its inspirational fashion, or rather a lack thereof.

Blueprint’s put together the top 5 most popular fashion trends spotted this year at Coachella 2015. Whether or not you want to follow these cliché trends for the upcoming spring and summer, though, is completely up to you.


     1. Fringe

Following Coachella’s everlasting trend of the so-called ‘boho-chic,’ fringe is supposedly a must-have in your Coachella-closet. Whether it’s on your skirt, or your shirt, or your pants (God-forbid) or your boots, or your backpack, you’re sure to fit right in. It’s all in the name of boho, people.


     2. Crochet

The crochet has also been popular at Coachella. It lets you be a little cooler in the unforgiving desert whether of Coachella Valley while looking decent (that is, if you pull it off correctly). A crochet top or dress is easy to pair and mix, so this is definitely a staple for your Coachella fashion needs.


     3. Statement Accessories

Many Coachella-goers stick with simple, solid colors such as black, white, or a tan shade go heavy on the statement accessories. This usually tends to come in the form of a chunky necklace, especially as seen in Coachella. This can be great to make a plain outfit pop, but make sure that you don’t stray too far from your color scheme, and keep the accessories at a minimal or your outfit can end up looking messy. Check out how these Coachella-goers outfitted their statement accessories!


 4. Flash Tattoos

Flash tattoos have also becoming increasingly popular lately. These temporary tats usually come in the shade of gold and silver, and are literally just like your average childhood temporary tattoos, except less peely and definitely cooler looking… or not. They are usually applied on your wrists or the upper portions of your arms, and usually look like you’re just wearing extra bracelets. They’re a nice accessory to be sporting around during your weekend in Coachella, and not worrying about losing them or them being a burden. Not sure how well they work with your tan lines, though.


     5. Flower Crown

Ah, yes, the flower crown. How can anyone forget. Of course, Vanessa Hudgens, the queen of Coachella (who sadly could not make it this year) has done this fashion the best. Not sure who even thought about this in the first place, but hey, all in the name of boho, right? (Is this even boho?) The flower crown can make you look dainty and carefree and just light up your face, but if the size is too large, it can just end up looking like a head dress. But since Coachella takes place in the springtime, what better way to celebrate the coming of a new season than with a nice, pretty flower crown?


Overall, I’m not surprised that there weren’t astoundingly new trends to show up at Coachella this year. Coachella is a tradition, everything from the art, to the music, to the fashion, to the showing off. But what is exciting to see, though, is how different generations apply this fashion differently every year.

– Faith Choi (’16)

Header: Craig Arend, Harper’s Bazaar

What do you do when your gf/bf cheats on you?

(c. Tumblr)

What do you do when your gf/bf cheats on you?

LcKjazKca: Your world has come crashing down. The emotional rug has been pulled out from underneath you, without closure. Finding out that your significant other hasn’t thought of you as significant as you have, is probably the worst feeling ever. The trust, memories and affection that’s been built up over the time now means nothing.

But before jumping to any irrational conclusions, first figure out if he/she really cheated or not. Get clear confirmation through mutual friends. When the cruel but inevitable news becomes truth, well, it’s time to end the relationship. It’s time to breakup.

Over the course of your relationship, many of your small, daily habits would have his/her scent left on them. The good morning texts that woke you up every morning, small walks together down the hallway between classes, and the weekend strolls you took together through the city are now all missing. So try to fill up these gaps with new hobbies, and new people! Learn how to cook. Hit the gym. Say hi to that one person you always see in class, but never struck up a conversation with. It’s easier said than done, of course, but it gets better everyday.

Keep in mind, a relationship doesn’t end when you keep grudges, jealousies, or regrets towards your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend. Negative emotions are still emotions. A relationship ends when indifference is the only emotion you have towards him/her.


Here are three important points to remember in the process of a breakup.

  1. No contact!

Try to cut all connections that you had with your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend. Unfollow/block them on social media, get rid of mementos of your relationship, and avoid opportunities to meet him/her. This will give you some time and space to reconsider things that happen in your relationship, and ultimately yourself.

  1. Realize that you’re not alone

Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you. Family members and friends are always there to support you and love you. Spend more time with these people to keep your mind off of your ex.

  1. Stop putting him/her on the pedestal

Acknowledge that he/she wasn’t perfect for you. This step is to avoid delving into regrets and “what if’s”. Start highlighting your own attributes to realize the things you did to make the relationship work out!


Last of all, don’t forget that the fact that your significant other cheated on you is NEVER a bad reflection of you. Relationships are always mutual. It was his/her decision to put behind everything you two had together, and walk out. The pain of betrayal you’re feeling right now shows that you’re a person who can prioritize another person before yourself. It shows how much you care.

Things will get better! So breathe deeply. You are worthy of love and you will one day be happy and fulfilled again. You were whole before; and you can be whole again. You’re an amazing person, so keep your head high up, and look ahead.

tumblr_inline_n3rg12VVbE1riwpmj: As much as it’s difficult to think rationally in such situations, it’s important to understand that what you consider to be cheating might not actually be cheating.

Were you two in an exclusive relationship? Maybe it was just a one-sided affection?

If you’re blaming your boyfriend/girlfriend for cheating after discovering a frivolous Kakaotalk notification or an unproven rumor, close this article, sort it out with your partner, and learn to become more accepting in a relationship. Don’t blind yourself with jealousy and over-assumptions.

If you two were truly committed to each other and proof does arise that your partner did indeed cheat on you, well, that’s when you should read the rest of this column.

You don’t do much when your beloved really does cheat on you. You only forgive and forget. Someone who cheats once is likely to cheat again, and unless you’re willing to withstand his/her affairs numerous more times, it’s time to cut him/her off. Feelings of betrayal and shock at how trivial your relationship was will probably drown you in despondency. But know that it’s a matter of time before you mend and erase your cheating ex from not only your mind, but also from your heart. Why waste your energy dragging back home a dump of garbage when it’s conveniently walked out the door for you? Don’t say your goodbyes through a cordial text message or phone call, but meet face-to-face. Hear what he or she also has to say, and make sure you properly articulate everything that you need to address, from why you’re ending the relationship and what he or she has done wrong.

But if you’re still hopeful and eager to give your boyfriend or girlfriend another chance, the first thing to do would be to have a private conversation. Maybe you two can decide on taking a break, which enables some couples to get back together to a more durable relationship… slightly unlikely though. However, the time-out will be a good opportunity for you to wonder if you really should give your boyfriend or girlfriend another chance.

In both cases though, make sure you don’t become the same foul person that your companion decided to become. Don’t go around spreading rumors or talking badly about them, because at the end, the two of you shared memories that will be remember whether you like it or not. Others will too. Don’t you want your partner, or ex-partner, to be well-respected, since at the end, he or she also partially determines your value? Just some things to consider…

– The Blueprint Advice Team

*If you have any questions about friends, relationships, life, or just anything, email us at blueprint@kis.or.kr and we’ll answer them in the next column!

Header: Imgkid

7 Tips to Save your Money and Save the Earth

Are you freaking out over the threatening piles of trash bags on your front porch? Before you journey off to the junkyard, have some fun with upcycling, which is converting old junk into new items with better quality and function. For example, did you know that used toilet paper tubes can become great tools for organizing electric cords? With upcycling, the diversity of garbaged objects—plastic bottles, tissue rolls, old clothes, and even old furniture—can be transformed into brand-new treasures. And we’re not talking about building random art projects, but reusing the used objects in an efficient and useful way. Here is a collection of clever, easy tips from various innovative bloggers. Refresh your house and contribute to saving the environment by upcycling!


1. CD Spindle Case →  Bagel holder

Nicole de Boar/Pinterest

An empty plastic, CD/ DVD spindle case can make a great portable lunch box. You can carry bagels, sandwiches, and even hamburgers! But make sure to wash the case first!


2. Cassette Tape →  Coin Wallet


Hansen/Autostraddle Blog
Autostraddle Blog by Hansen


All you need is a cassette tape, 14-inch long zipper, fabric, scissors, and a hot glue gun. It is best to use cassette tapes without screws. First, gently open the cassette tape and extract the insides (take out the tape roll; everything). You may want to clean the cassette by rubbing a little alcohol with a q-tip. Second, trim your zipper around the cassette tape (usually 13-inch long). Third, dab hot glue at the cut-end of the zipper line, so that the zipper has an end to fasten on.  Finally, attach the zipper onto the cassette one side at a time. Be sure to put hot glue on the cloth first before sticking it on to the cassette tape. Don’t worry about the inside of the cassette; you can cover it up with your favorite fabric!


3. Used Paper Roll →  Electric Cords Organizer

“43 Ways to Reuse Old Broken Junk for New Treasures” by Pixel Pete

No more laying out dozens of thick white electric cords on the floor, or stuffing them in your drawer! Let’s neatly roll up extra cords around the used toilet paper tubes.


4. Bottle Cap →  Crayon Tea Lights


Instructables Blog


You’ll need bottle caps, crayons, and a 2-inch cotton string. To make colorful miniature candles, you only need a maximum of 10 minutes! First, puncture the bottle cap with a knife/nail so that the hole is big enough for the cotton string to go through. Second, tie a simple overhand knot at the near end of the 2-inch string. Thread this 2-inch string through the bottle cap so the knot is at the bottom. Third, with low burner heat, melt the crayons in a tin can/pot. And finally, once the crayons are melted, pour the liquid into the bottle cap!


5. Skateboard → Picnic Table

“Skateboard Furniture” by Mark Mapstone/Pinterest



Old skateboard decks without wheels can become beautiful decorations for your child’s picnic table. By nailing the skateboards onto the benches and table, you’ve just created an amazing table set!


6. Folding Chairs → Foldable shelf


Do you have folding chairs that you don’t sit on anymore? By attaching some of those chairs on a bare wall, you have built yourself a foldable shelf!


7. Salvage your broken Flip-flops!

sammie-upcycling-trash-lifestyle_16534271794_o sammie-upcycling-trash-lifestyle_17155088932_o sammie-upcycling-trash-lifestyle_17130742856_o sammie-upcycling-trash-lifestyle_16534271854_o

Once in a while, the straps on our flip-flops wear out, and finally rip off. But good news; you can salvage your shoes in no time!  All you need is a random plastic bag. First, tightly twist the handles of the plastic bag. Second, create a small opening on the twisted ends and loop it around the toe peg. Third, twist the remaining plastic handle so that it can fit through the flip flop hole. Finally, once you insert the handle into the shoe hole, tie one/two small knots. You can snip off the remaining plastic bag!


– Sammie Kim (’18)

Header: Upcycled plastic bottles into plant pots by Sugru

What do you do when you like a friend as more than a friend?

“Nah, he’s/she’s just a friend…”


(c. Jamine Kang ’16)

What do you do when you like your friend as more than a friend?


Notes on someone more than a friend

You’ve been friends with him/her for who knows how long. The two of you know each other deeply, and both acknowledge the depth of your relationship. But she looks different today. Is it her hair? Nah, it’s the same as before. Did she get new clothes? New makeup maybe? You continue to make vain attempts to point out something that is making her look different.

Well, maybe it isn’t her. Maybe it’s you who changed after all. You’re feeling something more towards her.

It sucks to be stuck between zero and one, between “just friends” and something more. It’s quite a confusing feeling, as your relationship has just now entered a grey area. When you’re in this dilemma, note that you must tread carefully. Before anything, try to get a good grasp on your own feelings first. Give yourself some time to reconsider your relationship with him/her, and understand your own thoughts. Do you really need to turn your friendship into romance? What would be the consequences of doing so? How would he/she react? Do I really like him/her? Make sure that it’s really love and affection, not a small crush that lasts only a few days.

The important thing is to figure out what is more important: your feelings or your friendship. When you try to further your relationship into a romantic interest, it’s pretty much guaranteed that there will be no going back into a comfortable friendship. When the romantic relationship doesn’t necessarily work out the way you wanted to, the friendship will also be lost, and may just be plain awkward. Be aware of these potential consequences.

But if he/she is really worth giving a shot at, if revealing your feelings is more important than hiding them, begin by trying to be conscious of his/her words, body language, and attitude when you’re with him/her. Test the waters by starting to try out things you two haven’t done before, and spend more time together.

If it feels it’s the right time, meet him/her face to face to tell him/her how you’ve felt all along. If your friend returns your feelings, well, congratulations! But even if your friend doesn’t feel the same way you do, you know that you’ve been truthful to yourself, and both of you now know how each other feels.

Your friend must be an amazing person if you’re feeling that way to him/her. But always remember that before anything, it’s you who must be happy. Make the decision that will make you feel genuine to yourself.

Best of luck.

tumblr_inline_n3rg12VVbE1riwpmj: So, I’m going to assume that you’re falling for your friend and you don’t know what to do. It isn’t a rare phenomenon, developing greater feelings for your friend. The more you spend time with your friend, and the more you disclose personal information to your friend, the more likely one of you two is going to perceive one another as more than a friend.

But to be completely honest, I think it’s a terrible idea to chase after your friend. If chemistry sparks between you two and things begin to take a step further, the “what if’s” will dominate your relationship before you know it. And keep in mind that when the relationship works out, but eventually comes to an end, it won’t be the only thing that breaks apart – your friendship will also be on the line. Of course, a myriad of factors can bring about different results. I’m just throwing out a possibility here.

Yet, don’t we all make disastrous decisions once in a while? The “what if’s” exist to falter hopes, but the ‘maybes’ will foster your imagination and urge you to aim a goal at your friend. As risky as it is, giving it a go will keep you from having regrets in the future. If you can’t stand remaining as awkward friends, give it a go.


First, start by observing your friend a bit closer. See if he or she is also sharing the same feelings as you are. Flirt around a bit; it won’t hurt. Meet more regularly, spend time doing activities that you guys usually didn’t do. Make memories, experiences that both of you won’t be able to forget.

If your friend’s on the same page as you and cherishes you the same way, there’s no need for further advice. On the other hand, though, if you aren’t getting the same vibes, it’s time to maintain what you’ve got. Rather than aiming high and losing everything (aka your friendship), it would be a more comfortable ordeal for not only your friend, but also for yourself, to accept your friend as just a friend.

 Don’t worry about how awkward it’ll be after you chase after your friend. Give it your best shot, but restrain yourself from overdoing anything. In the end, I’m pretty certain that you won’t have any regrets about giving your friend a go. At least you would be able to determine where you two will stand in the future – probably one that’s stable and includes both of you.

For now, try to look at your situation from the bigger view and weigh the pros and cons. Whatever I ramble on about is merely advice. You make the final decision.

– The Blueprint Advice Team

*If you have any questions about friends, relationships, life, or just anything, email us at blueprint@kis.or.kr and we’ll answer them in the next column!

Header: Jamine Kang (’16)

Fresh Off ABC: Fresh Off The Boat

There’s a new cool kid in the TV town, and you just might relate to him.

Ever felt like you didn’t belong because of cultural differences? Ever experienced being the new kid after moving to a school and environment where you knew absolutely nobody? Ever just need to laugh every, oh I don’t know, Tuesday? If you’ve answered yes to any of these three questions, you’re in luck. ABC’s new comedy sitcom airing every Tuesday, “Fresh Off the Boat” will get you going on laughing, relating, and binge-watching.

“Fresh Off the Boat”, a show based on the memoir of an American restaurateur, Eddie Huang, is sweeping the nation with it’s unique and hysterical plotline. The story is told through the eyes of young Eddie Huang (Hudson Yang), who is eleven years old. The story starts off with Eddie and the rest of his Taiwanese family, his father (Randall Park), mother (Constance Wu), two brothers, Emery (Forrest Wheeler) and Evan (Ian Chen), and his grandmother (Lucille Song), making their way from Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida. His father decides to open up a restaurant there called Cattleman’s Ranch, in order to embrace the American Dream. After all, it’s all he has ever dreamed of, and he’s determined to take his whole family on the journey. Of course, there’s always the unhappy ones when moving. Eddie is scared about fitting in at his new school, and his mother complains that the humidity of Orlando is not good for her hair. Despite fears and difficulties, the Asian-American family tries their best to “blend in” even if it really doesn’t work out.


Because the Huangs are seen as “foreigners” in their new, all-white neighborhood, many culture-clashes occur. Considered a minority, the family is stared at with the eyes of both curious and bewildered people. The show follows a non-white family trying to adapt to suburban, white culture in comedic and relatable ways, portraying the toughness of fitting in while being “different”. Eddie’s new neighbors and peers at school make fun of the Chinese food he brings for lunch, his last name that no one can pronounce correctly, and the way he looks. They even act surprised that his English is “good,” when in reality, he was born and raised in the United States.



Despite adversities, no one can stop Eddie and his family’s hike to the American dream. Still not convinced to watch this amazing show?

Check out some of the funniest moments from Fresh Off the Boat – when the show got too real.


White kids make fun of Eddie’s lunch:

We’ve probably all experienced this. People who are not of our culture getting surprised by so-called “exotic” food Asian people eat. What Eddie and his family consider normal, is not by those who have no knowledge about their culture. It’s human nature to be surprised when you see something abnormal that you’re not used to seeing everyday. However, instead of accepting diversities, the immature students at Eddie’s new school takes this to a whole new level by using it as an excuse to tease him about it. Being bullied about being different? TOO REAL.


Asian parents: Go big or go home

When Eddie is called a “chink” by a student in his new school, he lashes out inappropriate language that even the principal has never heard of (and he’s from Boston!). When the principal suggests a possible suspension taking place, instead of accepting the consequences, Eddie’s mother and father defend him by taking his side. Parents always on our side? TOO REAL.


“Too expensive”


When Eddie goes clothes shopping, his mother takes one look at the price tag and simply says, “too much”. When it comes to Asian stereotypes, one major one is that Asian people are cheap. I guess that’s not 100% false. We like to bargain and get the best of the best deals out there. That one look Eddie’s mother gave him when she saw the number on the price tag is TOO REAL… and too familiar.


There’s not a moment where you can’t relate to Eddie Huang. After all, we are living in an Asian society. Don’t miss out on the rest of the season! Laughs, giggles, smiles are guaranteed.

– Leona Mauryama (’17)
Header: ABC 

Orchestra Drama Llama

You’ve heard all the rumors, but Blueprint’s got the truth.

Over the past couple years, KIS has been through some dynamic changes: the one-three test regulation, the no-flip-flops rule, the prospective 8th block, and many more that more or less improved the lives of the KISians. However, there was one recent change in the music department that was a stifling shock to many. This catastrophic change baffled the prospective AP Music Theory students, unimaginably distressed the Tri-M officers, and left nine current juniors with an empty, extra block. 

So what exactly was this disaster?

Keep scrollin’.


Recently, what seemed to be an easy time of course registration became a time of pure frustration for many current orchestra students as Dr. Kang, the HS and MS orchestra teacher, shortened the number of prospective orchestra members. The choice was highly upsetting especially because of the specific group of people that were removed. Turns out, the current 11th graders who did not attend KIMEA were the majority of the elimination list.

Some were understanding…

  • “Since I’ve been in orchestra for a few years now, it was hard to imagine a school year without it. Although we don’t know the exact reasons why many juniors got cut from orchestra this year, whatever decision Dr. Kang made probably has a reasonable purpose behind it… sadly.” — Anonymous (’16)


But some were not…

  • “To my 541 word email I had sent her, she simply replied, ‘Please let me know if you would like to take Concert Orchestra next year.’ This upsets me the most: the fact that she could be so nonchalant about a class that meant the world to me.” — Anonymous (’16)


While some replied with pure anger: 

  • “This isn’t a hyperbole: we all know that all the juniors got cut because of [Dr. Kang’s] pure hatred towards the class of 2016. No matter how hard we try to understand her decision, it,  really, is impossible to do.” – Anonymous (‘16)


Olivia Kim (’16) is one of the few that has managed to a sound remedy for this disaster.

Blueprint: How do you feel about this sudden, unexpected news?

OK: At first, I was devastated; it was a tragedy. However, now, I have hope for new beginnings!

BP: So, what are you gonna do now? What’s your plan/solution?

OK: I will be taking Advanced Theater next year. Acting was always my hidden dream, and I’m excited to discover more of it next year.


Every turmoil has its lesson, and this one – despite the anger and confusion – has something we can learn from as well. This mishap might not merely be a “high-school” drama. In fact, it may happen again. No matter how far or how intricately we plan for our future, there are things that we have zero control over, and—fortunately, or unfortunately—we need to be okay with that. Adjustability and forgiveness seem to be the key in life.


– Lina Oh (’16)
Header: Faith Choi (’16)

Sketchbook Review

Our school just can’t get enough of our musical talents.

(JohnDavid Choi ’18)

Patio on Fire, Unplugged, and now, KIS Music Entertainment’s Sketchbook. Music Entertainment Club held their very first concert last Friday, and it ended up being a huge turnout. Both students and parents enjoyed high quality music performed by KIS’ most renowned and talented musicians, as well as savory food prepared by the club’s marketing group. Who doesn’t appreciate relaxing music while munching on house burgers and sipping on their original mocktail? Wait, did you miss out on the event? Don’t worry, Blueprint’s got you covered. Read more to find out more about what happened at the conference hall on April 3rd.


Suahn Hur ('18) and Suji Yang ('18) create a beautiful harmony with their vocals. (JohnDavid Choi, '18)
Suahn Hur (’18) and Suji Yang (’18) create a beautiful harmony with their vocals. (JohnDavid Choi, ’18)

But before that, when did KIS Music Entertainment even become a club? The club was founded this semester, by Yumi Kim (‘17) and Stacy Jo (‘17), and helped out by seniors, Yeon Ho Kang (‘15) and Peter Kim (‘15) to make the club a dream-come-true. The club was created for the purpose of organizing annual large-scaled concerts that are completely student-led. Kind of crazy, huh?

As Yeon Ho Peter Kang (‘15), the club’s President says,

“The KIS Music Entertainment club started by the thought of ‘Hey, why not create a club that raises fund for a concert and organize one?’ This happened in September last year. After months of planning, the club was created in the second semester in hopes of a concert in April”.

They managed to achieve such a feat without any help from teachers. The key is the cooperativity and teamwork between the club’s arts, technology, vocalists, session band, marketing, and backstage groups. Each club member offered help in the various areas for their first concert, Sketchbook, to become a genuine success. “Art, tech, vocalist, session, advertisement departments each selected a leader for their department and gave their best,” says Yeon Ho (‘15).


Peter Kang ('15) totally, completely owns the stage. (JohnDavid Choi '18)
Peter Kang (’15) totally, completely owning the stage. (JohnDavid Choi, ’18)

If you think about it, having a completely student-led, teacher-free event bring successful results is pretty tough. As Jungwook Han (‘16), the secondary leader of the technology section mentions,

“One of the main reasons Sketchbook was different from Patio on Fire or Unplugged is that the whole thing was student-led, meaning that the band setup, advertisement plans, budget management, lighting, and many more aspects of the show were all done by student members. In the beginning, the general goal was to create a student-led professional entertainment group that would seem as if it were actually produced by adults, so we can say that it was achieved quite successfully by the first official concert from the KIS Music Entertainment Club”.

Sure, it may seem like any other concert. But what it took for the club to get here, is a whole different story. 

Following their motto, “To produce their very own concerts,” KIS Music Entertainment club worked extremely hard and devoted a significant amount of time during these past four months. Members all sacrificed their after school free times as well as their lunch times to both advertise and get ready for their concert. After all, perseverance is a must when it comes to successful endings. As Yeon Ho Kang (‘15) recalls,

“About thirty people, including in and outside club members, sacrificed their own time to actually organize the concert.”

Erica Lee (‘17) and Yumi Kim (‘17), both members of the club frantically run around to sell tickets, and Stacy Jo (‘17) passionately practicing her singing in the practice room were not rare sights. And the end product was certainly a huge payoff of their efforts. From Sooji Yang (‘18)’s  angelic voice to Michelle Bae (‘17)’s so-very-talented singing, the audience was absolutely stunned by the performance quality. One of the audience members, Grace Kim (‘17) reflects upon the concert as, “It was refreshing, hearing nice quality music (especially Masa’s saxophone skills).”

Michelle Bae (’17) also made an appearance to show off her über talented skills. (JohnDavid Choi, ’18)

 No doubt, each and every club member is both extremely satisfied and proud of what Sketchbook has become after four rigorous months. Here are some of the things the club members have to say about Sketchbook, now that it’s all over.


“It was a great experience as a newcomer to this school and to the world of performance music”.

– Suahn Hur (‘18)


“It was truly amazing. I’d never thought that just a band of kids could go so far and perform so well”.

– Jared Son (‘19)


“I got scouted by Stacy since the original drummer could not stay with us. I was the only Middle School session member except the strings quartet. I thought the upperclassmen would be very strict, but they were actually really nice to me and we were able to become close quickly. Through this experience, I learnt a lot on how to work with people older than me. I hope I get into the club next year too!”

–  Jaemin Yoo (‘19)


“I never could have thought our first performance would be a huge success! I guess that’s just how powerful music is. And that’s the reason I joined: to make good music for all to listen to”.

–  Daniel Park (‘17)


“I believe that sketchbook was a great success, and I’m so glad that things had turned out well. however, there were some bumps in the road that took a lot of time to fix, but by next year, those will disappear and we will have plenty of time to fix them. I’m looking forward to next year, and the future of the club as a whole”.

– Stacy Jo (‘17)


“Although the concert had some technical issues during the performance, the performers and the backstage crew gave their best and we are completely satisfied with our result. This club will continue on until the end of KIS and the alumni are going to give support to the club. The goal of the club is to be the biggest and the most powerful musical organization in KIS that can fund school’s musical events and lend necessary equipments for the musical activities that students want to make happen. The performance level of the concert will improve every year and hopefully, it will be something that only KIS can manage and only KIS can organize. Hoping that it will be something that even the other international schools admire and come to watch”.

– Yeon Ho Kang (‘15)


“Sketchbook was extremely successful. The club received only positive comments about the music, the food, and atmosphere. Considering that our club is only a semester old (3 months!), I’m still awed at the quality and effort of the work that the club members put in for the concert. Special thanks to Peter Kang, Stacy Jo, Yumi Kim, who took on leading roles throughout the preparation process”.

–  Peter Kim (‘15)


We all cannot wait for what KIS Music Entertainment Club has to show us next time. Their first concert was more than impressive, so who knows what their second one will be like? Peter Kim (‘15), the club President, also remarked,

“For next year, I’d love to see the club spread out more within the school community. As the name of the club, ‘KIS Music Entertainment’ suggests, I hope the club reaches a professional status so that other clubs and school organizations can consult us for music performance related events. And I hope they do better than this year’s concert!”


Sketchbook was a lovely experience for us all, and it gave us the strength to hold on until the end of this school year. Thank you, KIS Music Entertainment club, for organizing Sketchbook and providing us with a piece of peace before the AP exams and finals!

– Leona Maruyama
Header: JohnDavid Choi (’18)

One Hellish Month of AP Preparations

The APs are coming.

AP exams take its prolonged seat through the first two weeks of May, which means studying begins now. How do you remember everything from a course that began nine months ago? Well, certainly not by cramming. It’s the beginning of April, the perfect time to efficiently study and prepare for the AP exams, and these are some tips to guide you to a 5.


      1. Know the exams you are taking

AP exams present itself in a variety of formats. Take for example, AP United States History. APUSH exams are composed of short-answer, document-based, multiple choice, and long-essay questions. Unlike APUSH, AP Language and Composition exams are comprised of three long-essays and a multiple choice section. Knowing your respective exam, its structure, directions, and grading criteria, should be the first critical step for you to take. The time limit and number of questions vary for each test as well, so be aware!


      2. Have a study routine for each exam

Throughout the year, as you studied for the AP courses in class and at home, you probably discovered your strengths and weaknesses. Make sure to sort your priorities based on how comfortable you feel with the subject, especially if you take more than one AP course. Don’t end up wasting time studying for something that you already know; invest your time smartly.

Spend a few minutes each day for the relatively easy APs. Studying over an interval was proven to be an efficient way of learning, so start early and try to use your leisure time on the bus or while waiting for a meal to review previous concepts or notes. For the more rigorous APs, put aside a separate session for you to study solely on that subject. Of course, a ridiculously lengthy period would be brain-throbbing. People tend to lose concentration after thirty minutes, so build a schedule that includes a short break every so often. In addition to that, studying the same subject for too long reduces memorization and concentration levels. Spice things up by changing the subject of your study every hour or so.

In conclusion, plan a weekly schedule that you can stick to, a smart schedule that considers the APs from your perspective and involves nothing unrealistic.


     3. Buy AP preparation books

It’s not a waste of money. AP prep books are basically a compilation, a summary, of everything that you learned from the beginning of the curriculum. Of course, the best way to use prep books is to start reading through it from the start of the school year. But if you haven’t done that, it’s not too late to purchase it now. Again, don’t study for something that you are familiar with. Read, highlight, and annotate the sections that you truly need to review. Plus, prep books include practice tests, a terribly important resource.

Renowned preparation books come from companies including Barrons, Kaplan, The Princeton Review, 5 Steps to a 5, and CliffsAP.


     4. Look for appropriate study resources

Along with the AP prep books, extend your range of resources by looking online. Youtube provides videos on a numerous number of subjects, varying from AP Biology to AP US History. Extra practice questions can be discovered from a single Google search, so embrace it.

Check out these two youtubers!




     5. Use smart studying techniques

Reading prep books, to be honest, is not the most efficient way of studying. Of course, if you are yet unfamiliar with a topic, reading and absorbing the information is a must. As mentioned before, highlight, annotate, take notes if you must, but make sure to read interactively.

Otherwise, try finding a more interesting, engaging way of studying. For the sake of reviewing, using note cards is great. Make diagrams, read books, watch videos, use mnemonics, do whatever matches the subject of your AP and suits you!


     6. Take practice exams

This is a must. If one wants to excel in a sport, what does he or she do? He or she will most likely practice playing the sport. The same concept applies here. We’re preparing for an AP exam. The obvious thing to do would be to practice taking the exam. Prep books and the Internet are both widely available resources that can supply you with more than enough practice exams, example questions, and answer keys.


     7. Find help if you need it

If you fell behind the AP class or you just can’t grasp the concepts, seek help. Whether it be a tutor, hagwon, or teachers at school, if you have the ambition to score highly on the test, there are also people who are willing to help.


Hopefully, the seven tips will help you grow closer to a 5. Stay strong and persevere throughout all of April, and before you know it, the hellish month of AP preparations will be over and summer break will be awaiting.

– Becky Yang (’16)
Header: CollegeBoard


Mr. Hubbs’ Good Times

Let the good times roll for Mr. Hubbs and his students.

“You don’t even know us” is what most mutter in their minds as teachers fail to acknowledge the events that go on outside of the school campus. Academics and school itself is certainly a dominant part of students’ lives, but there’s more than that.
Mr. Hubbs, current APUSH and AP Econ teacher, recognizes this, and he makes a successful attempt to grow closer, more intimate, with his students. Each year, he organizes individual meetings with the students to understand why they act the way they do during class and to provide any required assistance.
But why does he go through the hassle of doing so?

Here’s what Mr. Hubbs has to say about his well-appreciated annual meetings:

BP: What has inspired you to reach out to students?
JH: The main reason comes from my philosophy of being a teacher. I don’t consider myself a teacher teaching history, but a teacher teaching students. I try to be aware of the students’ needs that aren’t just content related. I want to know if they’re okay emotionally, if they’re happy. I never carried out meetings with an entire class, though. I wanted to try this out with F Block, because they were so quiet and I wanted to know if something I didn’t know about was an underlying reason for that. I wanted to let them know that teachers care about them, and I thought having private conversations were the best way.

BP: How long have you been doing this?
JH: As I mentioned earlier, it was my first time this year doing this for an entire class. But I called out individual students since I began to teach.

BP: When do students begin to concern you?
JH: Usually, when I see their lack of energy. I’m not talking about how they’re just sleepy in the morning, but when I see their continuous pattern of tiredness and not participating.

BP: How do you feel like you can help?
JH: Students check in and I listen. It’s not my position to force myself to intervene since I’m not a psychologist or therapist, but I can be a mentor and good listener.

Teachers, no, mentors like Mr. Hubbs present the students with a sense of attention and appreciation. Creating a healthy relationship between the teachers and students is a two-way benefit, and it’s true to say that Mr. Hubbs’ students have much to be thankful for. Mr. Hubbs interacts with his students via Schoology as well as Facebook, and his classes are comprised of casual conversations that make history and economics every bit more engaging. As Mr. Hubbs always remarks during his classes, “Good times.”

– Becky Yang (’16)
Header: Justin Kwon (’16)