2019 Course Registration—In the Eyes of Concerned Freshmen

As the 2019 course registration rolls around, worried freshmen express their concerns with the current registration process.

It’s that time of the year. As the first month of the second semester comes to a close, students face numerous meetings with their counselors, hold discussions with parents and friends, and pore over class and elective descriptions as they struggle to determine—you guessed it—their course registrations.

But a certain year of students might have it the hardest. As a freshman, I found myself surrounded by new courses and electives and a plethora of unfamiliar information. Right now, freshmen are only one semester into their high school lives, and already they have to make choices that may set their academic paths for the remaining 3 years of high school.

Thankfully, the freshmen aren’t alone in this process—their counselors, teachers, and even parents are all there to inform and support them and their course choices. Discussions and meetings with these people are very important, especially when regarding not just the courses students wish to take next year, but also in years after.

Still, there are some parts of the course registration process which prove to be challenging to freshmen. To figure out exactly which ones, I interviewed four KIS freshmen, each of whom expressed his/her thoughts on course registration.

How was the process of course registration for you? Describe your overall experience.

“Overall, the process did not have many problems. We visited our counselors, got information from them and our teachers about the potential courses we could sign up for, and there was even that day when our advisories went to see all the different electives and their descriptions. With all this information, the registration process was made a lot easier.”

“In my opinion, the course registration here at KIS was a pretty smooth process. It was a slow, informative selection process which gave us students lots of information at our disposal.”

Why did you decide to choose the courses you did?

“I chose one of my electives because I was looking at my high school future and wanted to take all 4 years of [it] to show commitment… and the other I chose because I genuinely enjoy it and I want to invest all 4 years of my high school life into [it].”

“I had most of my courses planned out for a specific path so it wasn’t super hard. It was hard deciding what electives I wanted to take because there were so many interesting courses available. I chose the courses which I found fun and also would allow me to delve into newer and more challenging things.”

“I personally chose [class] as it gave me a chance to continue enjoying my hobbies and build my already existing experience. The thought of learning a much broader scope of [topic] captivated my urge to take the class.”

What were some of the hardships you faced during the registration process?

“Honestly, although the counselors did give us some information about the courses and how to register, there weren’t a lot of clear instructions for what to do when you want to take certain courses or omit others. They gave vague ideas, but weren’t really specific.”

“Some parts of the process were confusing, such as how I would be able to appeal to take certain courses, or what courses to select on your PowerSchool when PowerSchool has all these limitations and standardizations. Also, I had a hard time choosing only two electives to take, when I wished I could’ve taken multiple.”

And finally, if you could change or add anything to the current course registration process, what would it be?

“Well, aside from the electives I already picked, I also wished that I could take economics or computer-aided design… There’s a bunch of really interesting elective options, but KIS doesn’t really give us a lot of opportunities to try them.”

“If I could change anything, I would change the amount of APs that someone could take during their sophomore year.”

“I would make it so that students could have more individual time to discuss with their counselors. We didn’t really have individual meetings—just large group ones, which were kinda rushed and didn’t allow us to ask all the questions we wanted, because of time constraints.”

After interviewing these freshmen and learning their thoughts on the course registration process, it is clear: although counselors and teachers are doing their part in informing students about the potential courses they could take, there seem to be two main sources of frustration with the current process.

With so many diverse courses offered, it is so tempting to take all. Especially as an underclassman with so many required courses to take, the number of electives gets very limited. The second is the general sense of confusion in the overall process.

Realistically, it’s going to be hard to try and solve the first issue. Changing (a.k.a. increasing) the number of electives a student can take to satisfy their desire for expanded horizons will prove to be very challenging. 

But the second issue is an issue that can be solved. 

Perhaps an increased number of autonomous block and contact time check-ups with counselors could help. But that has, historically, been proven to be an unpopular use of time. Instead, individually scheduling appointments with their counselors and teachers during lunch, autonomous block, or after school can be an excellent way to flush out the confusion.

Course registration for the freshmen—with their lack of experience, knowledge, and the lack of confidence needed to make clear course choices—is a little overwhelming, to say the least.

But it doesn’t have to be. 

– Lauren Cho (’22)

Featured Image: Lake Howell High School

Optical Illusions

Your eyes can deceive you; don’t trust them — Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope

Don’t let your eyes deceive you, quips the well known adage. Although the statement, which instructs us to look beyond outer appearances, is meant to be taken figuratively, it’s literal meaning is, quite surprisingly, of some significance (the sword still overshadows the pen as a weapon, however) provided that “eyes” is replaced by “mind.”

Our first encounters with mind tricks took place either during a magic show or on the big screen, when our immature Star Wars-drunk minds voraciously gobbled up the numerous occasions in which the mysterious robe-wearing Jedi convince white-clad dull-witted goons (armed only with the worst accuracy in the universe far, far away) to do their bidding with a flourish of their hand. Like many elements of sci-fi movies, the Jedi mind trick lost all applicability when used in the modern world, but we still longed for a way to make these senseless fantasies into reality. Of course, these thoughts gradually receded as more important affairs supplanted them. In reality, we don’t need any superhumans from the future to beat our brains into submission.

A synergistic cooperation between our eyes and ears yields an interesting phenomenon known as the McGurk Effect. When researchers played a video of a human repeating “bah,” test subjects identified the sound correctly. However, after playing the same audio in conjunction with a video of the same person repeating “fah” the test subjects reported that the sound was a “fah,” not the “bah.” Neat little trick, right? In certain situations, not so much. In another experiment, subjects watched two people chasing each other. While an actor remarked that “he’s got a boot,” some subjects, perhaps influenced by the tension of the situation, remarked that the actor actually said that “he’s gonna shoot.” Obviously, this misunderstanding might lead to some unintentionally bogus legal cases.

Next, look at this. Stare at the green dot and look nowhere else.

After a few seconds, you may realize that the yellow dots are blinking in and out. Then, imagine that you’re driving in the night, staring at the road as cars pass by in sudden, intense bursts of headlight beams and mechanical rumbling. The road is the green dot and the yellow dots are cars. Sometimes, as we can see, it’s not that the driver is inebriated or sleepy, so don’t blame the driver when he/she says that “it came out of nowhere.” This phenomenon, called motion-induced blindness, is caused by the brain’s filtering of what it perceives to be unnecessary information: because the blue grid is moving and the yellow dots are not, the brain filters out the yellow dots. To prevent this phenomenon from happening, airplane pilots are trained to keep their eyes on the move and desist from staring at anything for more than a few seconds.

Although the visual illusions may seem like trivial playthings we get sidetracked by while scrolling through Facebook, they can have serious real-world repercussions.

–William Cho (’21)

Images: Google Images

Cliche but Not-So-Cliche Tips for a Successful School Year

Nervous about the new year? Have no fear! Here are seven tips directed towards just KIS students that will start you with a cringe but end you with nods of agreement and readiness.

  Regardless of whether you’re a fledgling freshman flying through the exciting doors of high school for the first time or you’re a stressed-out senior already irritated by the Common App essay deadline that awaits you, whether you’re new and lost or completely sick of this school, the beginning of the school year is usually intimidating. You’re given a blank canvas: a blank Powerschool, blank knowledge on most of your courses, a blank piece of paper that every teacher hands out, asking you to make a name tag because they’re not good with names—but something more that too. You’re given a clean slate on which you can not only draw out a new roadmap for your school year and plan accordingly to your new teachers and courses, but also diverge from your initial scheme and go totally different directions, experiment, and adjust to change in the new school year.

Every year Buzzfeed and Youtube and advice columns provide you with “Back-to-School” advice on how to survive high school relationships, how to boost your self-confidence, what to wear on the first day, what workout routines you should put yourself into to amaze everyone on the first day (of course),  but these tips are often nebulous, abstract, and hard to relate to. But have no fear! Here are 10 cliche but not-so-cliche tips from a senior directed towards just KIS students that will start you with a cringe but end you with nods of agreement and readiness.

 
1.pngLunch: that word just stimulates my good spirits. If you grab a student in high school randomly in the H3 hallway and ask “When’s your favorite time of the school day?” he or she will most likely say “Lunch” or perhaps “Autonomous”. This is natural, because lunch is like an oasis, setting you free from the exhaustions of A,B or E,F blocks, and recharging you to full battery before the heat of later blocks overcome you until the end of the day. Most people spend their lunch time devouring a nutritious meal, but that’s not your only option. You can grab a rice cup from the deli and chill with your friends at the back of the library. If you want to be the diligent student you are even during lunch, you can seek available teachers for help or study quietly in the new second floor area. Whatever you do is up to you, but make sure you recharge because lunch time is golden time.

 

2.pngA traffic jam that can be compared to that of Los Angeles is the KIS High School traffic jam. Due to the inundation of people in the hallway as soon as the bell rings, passing time is a nightmare for most. However, if you choose your route wisely, not only will you save time, but also prevent yourself from being stepped on by a herd of students. The most handy methods of getting to class are using the back stairs, entering the G3 back door, and walking outside. Back stairs of the high school and G building are incomparably less dense than the main stairs; however, one thing to note is that those stairs are famous for attracting couples who seek privacy—if you want to see less people but more PDA, the back stairs are just for you. Entering the G building through the G3 back door is often useful because instead of having to storm up the steep G building stairs, you can easily stroll up the hill. Walking outside is a similar idea: along with avoiding a human stampede, you can save your energy by walking on a flat surface instead of a set of inclined stairs, and also maybe feel the tickling breeze or the tingling sunlight.

 

3.pngSouth Korea—it is ranked one of the highest in the world in terms of the best education system. With an established education system comes competition. Although KIS is not a Korean public school, competition among students is found ubiquitously in all aspects—grades, athletics, awards, etc. As much as competition is essential for personal motivation and ultimately academic success, comparing yourself with others is never healthy. You are you, and she is her. She is her, and he is him. You may think she’s more attractive, he’s better at AP Physics than you, she plays three Varsity sports while you play none, she received two awards at the end of the year, and the list goes on, but you have characteristics that make you special. Those characteristics are definitely different, but those characteristics are definitely there. After all, every star is unique, but they all shine at one point in time.

 

4.pngIn my opinion, the single most cliche statement I hear all the time is “Find something you’re passionate about”. Not only is the phrase cliche and overused, but my initial response to that statement as a teenager was “How?”— “How can I suddenly find what I’m passionate about?”. But it really clicked when I actually started involving myself in various different activities; you may or may not be enthralled by it, but you must give it a try in order for you to decide. Try out for the tennis team. Enter the Poetry Out Loud Competition. Sign up for Patio on Fire. Beyond the walls of the school, look for service opportunities and do what you enjoy. When the time arrives, you’ll catch yourself fully absorbed in something you can finally call your “passion”.

 

5.pngThat we humans crave routine is a fact supported by numerous psychological studies. We are animals of routine, accustomed to conducting a series of actions repeatedly due to the comfort the familiarity provides. Establishing a morning or night routine benefits our lifestyle in many ways, but the biggest advantage is an improvement in time management and control of our life in general. Consider this: between Maria who gets home from cross country practice everyday, showers at 6pm, eats dinner at 6:30 pm, starts homework at 7:30pm, and goes to bed at 10, and Jennifer who gets home from volleyball practice and watches TV at 6pm on some days and starts sleeping on others, who lives in a more organized, structure manner? Flexibility is a key component that we have to embed into our lives; however, a balance between routines and flexibility is what will open the doors to a healthy high school life.

 

6.pngHaving piles and piles of friends is great, but if your relationship with them are shallow and disconnected, what is the point? High school is a time for change and new discoveries; whether you like it or not, you are prone to go through a transformation of some sort, whether it be in terms of  personality, physicality or  interests. Finding a friend who will support your choices, encourage the changes you make, and appreciate you as you will go beyond the traditional role of a friend. Having many relationships may increase the number of likes on your Instagram picture or the number of snapchat streaks, but the need to maintain and manage those relationships will add to your exhaustion already piled up from school work. Hence, devote yourself in a few strong relationships with people whom you can rely on, you are comfortable with, and you know will always be on your side. Quality over quantity.

 

7.pngIn the tip above, the emphasis is placed within the parentheses. Play hard within reason. The balance between working and playing is important—it is an irrefutable fact—but realization of your current position is critical as well. At this age, at least in Korea, you are expected to learn: that’s how society has been shaped over the several decades. Rather than complaining and rambling about your status, simply embrace it. Remember you’ll only be a high schooler once in your life, but also that you’ll only be applying to college once! Make the most out of it.

Whatever choice you make, wherever you take yourself, be brave and bold. After all, whatever you decide to put on the new canvas given to you, regardless of whether it’s a straight line or a scribble, when you look back, it will be art–a spectacular work of art.–

– Hannah Kim (’18)

Graphics by Neo Pak (’19)

Stay on Task!

Some simple apps and tips for you to stay on task for the last two months of the school year!

The dreaded months of May and June, contaminated with AP testing and finals, are right around the corner. Every grade will have their super nerve-wracking moment towards the end of the 2016-2017 school year that are constantly terrified by nightmares and updates from “naggy” parents. Especially with procrastination that has been your enemy over the past few years, you are worried as time is ticking faster and faster towards the final two months.
There’s only a limited time to cram all of your information for finals and AP exams, and you’re finding it hard to study at cafes or at home without constantly checking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Trust me, we’ve been through it all. Try out these hopefully helpful apps and tips to procrastinate less and “keep your head in the game.”

APPS

Self Control
Self Control is a free app that helps you avoid the websites that cause distractions, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, drama websites, or Youtube. With a click of a button, you can limit yourself to these websites for a certain amount of time which you can choose.

Calendar Device
A free device that’s already a part of both iOS and Android devices! Type out all the exams you have and set up reminders for certain important dates.

WunderList
When iProcrastinate became unavailable, a lot of people were worried about which app to use to keep track of themselves. Make WunderList your next “iProcrastinate”!They offer the same function that allows you to make a list of all your priorities, and of course the best part is that under each item on your list, you can write down even more specific notes to remind you.

TIPS

1) Don’t procrastinate.
Of course when you’re in desperate needs, you have no choice but to study from the moment you wake up to the exact moment your eyes can no longer stay awake. But, from that experience, learn a lesson that you need to start early with studying! Try not to wait till the last minute. Many people say that “working under pressure makes diamonds,” but studying earlier gets you in a more relaxed zone. Plus less stress!


2) Give your phone to your parents.
When the time of APs and finals arrive, as soon as you return home, give your phone to your parents where it’s completely out of your reach. Over time you would want to check your phone; yet you will have no choice but to ask your parents who will hopefully help you stay on task.

3) Take a quick nap!

Studies have shown that naps between 10-20 minutes are the best. Longer naps may result in sleep inertia or period of laziness. Naps between the minutes of 10-20  are proven to increase your energy and concentration. These 10-20 minutes power naps won’t be enough time to fall into deep sleep which makes it perfect to wake up in time to study for 1-3 more hours.

 

Follow these tips and apps to get ready for test season!.  Good Luck, just remember that we’re nearing towards the end!

Featured Image: Grayston Prep

Tae-Young Uhm (18′)

The Courage to be Vulnerable

What does it mean to be vulnerable in Korean society?

“You are terrible at this. Why are you even here?”

“You are not good enough to do this.”

These are some of the most common comments from our peers that make us feel uncomfortable and self-doubt. As students, we face criticism and shame from people on a daily basis. Consequently, many students attempt to either hide their true selves or ignore the criticism.

Brené Brown, who is a researcher and author, proposes the revolutionary claim that we need to accept our vulnerabilities and imperfections in order to connect with others and live wholeheartedly. In her widely acclaimed novel Daring Greatly and Ted Talk, Brown explains the gifts that come with embracing vulnerability and building shame resilience, such as the three components to a wholehearted life: courage, compassion, and connection.

 

As the academic competition and expectation in South Korea are consistently high, students are always under pressure to perform well at school. One notable way of measuring the competitiveness is shown in the annually increasing high school student suicide rates. In fact, the Voice of the Youth Organisation reported that suicide is the leading cause of death in Koreans aged 15-24 years old.

As a student who attends an international school in South Korea, I find that the problem with cultivating shame resilience and accepting our imperfections is from the high expectations in academic excellence. For instance, if a Korean student gets less than 95% on an exam, this means that they are inferior to the friend who received a 96%, which leads one to conclude that the latter student will go to a better college than will the former student. Therefore, the former student’s self-esteem will diminish in response to the misconception.

 

images
(edgeofmyknowledge.wordpress.com)

 

In an image analysis conducted by Yang Liu, easterners tend to be less confident with themselves compared to westerners as depicted in the image below. One reason for this gap between the two ethnicities lies on the idea of how we view our imperfections and faults; westerners tend to accept their mistakes while easterners usually take them more seriously.

eastwest-ego
(bsix12.com)

This accounts to why I have seen my Korean peers often act artificially in front of teachers in order to maintain their status, just to hide that they are imperfect. These acts no doubt portray how determined and eager students are to work hard to achieve their goal of attending a prestigious university. However, these acts are making the community disconnected, preventing opportunities to build meaningful connections and impacts. If we want to connect and learn from one another, we need to reveal ourselves authentically and vulnerably and believe that we are enough. 

aaaa
(lovedreamsmile.com)

This is not to say that we should all not aim to be as perfect as we can be; rather, it is to advocate that sometimes we need to be vulnerable. If students start to embrace their imperfections, they will begin to understand who they are and what they need to work on. By doing so, we can not only grow as a courageous, compassionate, and connected students but also as changers in our world. So students, start showing yourselves—be vulnerable and proud.

—Sarah Se-Jung Oh (’19)

*Featured Image: Hannah Kim (’19)

Sources:

http://www.voicesofyouth.org/posts/student-suicides-in-south-korea

About

Daring Greatly & The Gifts of Imperfections by Brené Brown

https://www.ted.com

To Current Juniors, From Current Seniors: Advice on Second Semester

Don’t slack off, but don’t stress out too much; find the perfect mixture of having fun and pursuing high achievement in academia.

You know what they say; junior year second semester is always the worst. Of course, one may beg to differ, but never mind that. It might not be the most difficult thing you must encounter in your life, but it definitely is a time in which a student has no choice but to be stressed out about not only academics but also maintaining a social life as well as getting enough sleep, whilst managing multiple extra curricular activities at the same time, and not to mention having to already think about college. Can it get any worse? Well, I don’t know about that, but there sure are ways to make the best of what’s headed towards you. Fear not, and keep your heads up high, juniors! Here are some ultimate tips and words of wisdom from seniors who have once been in your shoes. Let’s see what they have to say about enduring junior year second semester!

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“Try not to exert yourself with too many activities, and stay healthy! There is a certain limit to the amount of workload you can take, so give yourself some time to keep things in balance, and keep your condition up!” – Stacy Jo (’17)

“Don’t let stress get to you, because if you’re regularly feeling hopeless and overwhelmed, it’ll be even harder to find the motivation to push through the semester.” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Finish ur SAT Subject tests related to your AP courses in your junior year, or else you’ll have to struggle to remember the content in your senior year because you pushed it until the last minute.” – Nancy Koo (’17)

“During junior second semester, it’s important to maintain your GPA. No matter what people tell you about standardized tests, although they are very important and you should finish them during first/second semesters, your GPA will be the main factor of your college application. To maintain it, start organizing your daily schedule so that you can stay on task. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made during junior first semester was not recording my class assignments on my calendar. If you write all assignments and test/quiz dates on a calendar or even a piece of paper, you will get better results. I’ve learned my lesson on that and got a higher GPA during my second semester! It’s all about not procrastinating and staying on task. You really have to get the hang of pushing yourself to do your assignments on the day that it was given, because once you become a senior it will benefit you in terms of doing college applications. You really don’t want to finish apps at the last minute!” – Emily Lee (‘17)

emily.jpg
Emily Lee (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)

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“Teachers’ classrooms during auto are a great library alternative for those who want a quiet study hall. Plus, you can ask the teacher questions and even ask them to proofread work if they aren’t too busy.” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Talk to each other! Everybody’s pressured about their academic life and talking it out is the best way to relieve all your stress. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who feels pressured. It’ll help you to get through all hardships together, maybe even get a bit closer to them.” – Emily Lee (‘17)

“I relied on what I loved, which was music and dance. Luckily, those things were included in the clubs that I led or participated in, so I was able to stay spirited in school.” – Stacy Jo (’17)

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Stacy Jo (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)

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“Try to do what you love in the midst of all those hard classes and long nights of studying! It makes going through junior year so much faster and more enjoyable, regardless of how high your scores on tests are. Don’t abandon an activity to simply study for something!” – Stacy Jo (’17)

“It’s a cliché, but don’t procrastinate. Just because you could pull off a last-minute all-nighter first semester doesn’t mean it will work again second semester! Also, attend college visits when you can. It’s never too early to start getting an idea of where you might want to apply next year :).” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Hang in there, you only have a year left! Have some fun, go on trips, make some valuable memories. You only have a year left to create some of the most memorable experiences in your high school career. You might get a little depressed sometimes, but always remember there are people around you who feel the same way. They will always be there to support you. Start your common app early. Please don’t procrastinate.” – Emily Lee (‘17)

“Ask your teachers for recommendation letters before it gets too late or they’ll get stressed.” – Nancy Koo (’17)

“Looking back at it now…it feels like a short period of time to just survive. There’s always light at the end of every tunnel. So as long as you remember that…don’t ever lose hope and hang in there. It’ll all be over soon.” – Scott Kim (’17)

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Nancy Koo (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)
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Scott Kim (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)

4

“- It’s going to be tough if you leave things to the last minute. You will eventually not make it.

– Get your standardized tests done ASAP.

– Don’t forget that you’re going be applying to college. Go to college meetings during junior year. Going senior year isn’t helpful.

– Comparing yourself to others won’t get you anywhere.

– Don’t overdramatize your junior experience. Trust me, it’s not as hard as senior year first semester. Junior year is what you make of it.

– When you study, use the Ghibli piano soundtrack… It helps.

– Go to teachers for help. Stop wasting your time during autonomous block and go to those teachers.

– Utilize your resources: personally, videos on YouTube help[ed]. Especially for chemistry.

– Keeping your room clean can help you focus.

– Stop BSing your way through homework.

– Create an effective study group. This does not mean find a friend who will do everything for you.

– Making connections will help you memorize things better (ie: draw diagrams).

– No naps longer than 20 minutes.

– Already have the colleges you want to go to and write a couple of essays. Don’t write about why you are perfect. Colleges want personality (this can also be shown through the style in which you write it in). Also, just because it’s a top notch college doesn’t mean it’s your best fit. Moreover, watching vlogs of people who go to that specific college can help you understand the environment of the school.

– Get your teacher Recs. ASAP.

– Focus less on standardized tests during your summer. You can’t learn and magically improve your score. If you have been taking SATs for more than a year and your scores haven’t changed, stop.

– Know your priorities.

– Don’t get angry at those who have college consultants write their essays. They won’t get far in life. Getting into a good college isn’t everything.

– Don’t judge other people based on what college they are applying to. They have their reasons and you have yours.

– Don’t judge where people get in either. Not everyone is confident about college.

– Don’t let your parents force you to apply to a specific school. Just take it into consideration. If you don’t like it, don’t apply. It’s a waste of money.” – Grace Kim (’17)

Believe me, it does get better. Second semester just flies by, and you will find yourself sitting in the seniors’ section during pep rallies. Sooner or later, you’ll be walking down the aisle during the graduation ceremony, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. It’s important to pursue high achievement in academia, but don’t forget about the one and only high school experience you get. Try to find time to spend with your friends or your favorite teachers, seek help when you need to, and don’t pull all nighters – they don’t help. Good luck, and always know you can talk to upperclassmen when you’re in need of encouraging words.

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image & Banners: Crescentia Jung (’19)

The Science Behind Procrastination

Project due next week, and that temptation of another youtube video. Why do we procrastinate? How can we fix this?

Are you anxious about your early applications to your dream college? Maybe there is a new summative coming up. How far are you with the English reading? Please don’t tell me you’re still on chapter one. In the midst of this cataclysm, some of you might be organizing directories on your mac, trying out a new item build on online games, or just catching up with your newsfeed on facebook.

The scariest part about procrastination is not only that it might compromise the quality of your end products(School work and etc.) but also that it can happen to almost everyone. Even the most productive of us have fallen into the trap of temptation, delaying precious sleep for the next morning. Naturally, self evaluation follows.

Now, try not to be too hard on yourself. Procrastination is a spontaneous course of action – your brain’s automatic defense mechanism to your stress.  Hear out this guy:

“Psychologists see procrastination as a misplaced coping mechanism, as an emotion-focused coping strategy. [People who procrastinate are] using avoidance to cope with emotions, and many of them are non-conscious emotions. So we see it as giving in to feel good. And it’s related to a lack of self-regulation skills. … We all have a six-year-old running the ship. And the six-year-old is saying, ‘I don’t want to! I don’t feel like it!'” (Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada)

Based on his claims, we are repelling important work because we simply DO NOT want to work. On the other hand, there are different interpretations of procrastination.

According to a study published by Edward Jones (New York Times obituary) & Steven Berglas, procrastination is a type of self-handicapping to build an excuse for your poor performance.

“By finding or creating impediments that make good performance less likely, the strategist nicely protects his [or her] sense of self-competence” (pg 201).

“I had only two hours to finish this project. But, this does not prove my failure as a practical learner since I had a huge disadvantage!” This kind of attitude wins whether you succeed or fail. When you lose, your sense of competence is secured since you can externalize the blames on your procrastinating behavior. Of course, if you succeed, you can boost your self-confidence at enormous rate, because you have achieved something even when you were not in optimal condition.

A TED Talk from a famous blogger, Tim Urban makes a great explanation of the mechanism behind procrastinator’s brain.

https://embed.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator

Fortunately, however, procrastination is not a disease nor a condition. It is simply a habit that affects productivity. There are good ways to fight your demon.

  1. Accept that you have a problem. procrast2.jpgEvery first step to solving a problem is to recognize the existence of it. It might be hard but if you postpone your workload on a regular basis, you should start asking yourself if you are a procrastinator.
  2. Divide up the work and give yourself small rewards for doing each segment of it. proctast1.jpgBecause it is the motivation to do work that procrastinators are not good at gathering up, it is important to make big projects into less intimidating objectives. If ‘instant gratification’ is the reason behind indulging into digression, instant rewards for completion of work would be helpful to continue your overall progression. For example, you can divide your five paragraph essay assignment into five parts and give yourself 10 minutes of internet browsing for finishing each.
  3. Thing about the long-run consequences. procrast3.jpgThe danger of procrastination is not only the diminished quality of your work but also the sense of anxiety that comes along with the deadline. So, it is effective to raise alertness towards the negative consequences, which might hopefully raise the productive part of your brain from dead. In fact, these consequences are more or less real. Late submissions could lead to a failed grade (it is especially strict in KIS), and even expulsion if we are talking about an actual job.

This is not an easy battle. Plus, the devil can always crawl back under your skin without a polite notice. Of course, nobody is at fault if the work is just too much for you. When you are told to tame a dragon, wouldn’t most people run away instead? True, the dragon is a hard beast to tame. However, imagine how majestic it will be if you push yourself just a bit more.

– Paul Jeon (‘17)

(Featured images from neednudge.com, offbeat.topix.com, wikihow.com, and fortivoti.com in order)

Tips for Online Searching

Struggling to search effectively? Check these tips out!

“ What homework do you have?”

“ I have to research for my paper. It’s going to take forever.

As students move to higher grades, they face one of their enemies: research. One of the major barriers that make research seem so onerous for students is the way in which they search for their information and the time they have to dedicate. However, it seems that the reason why it is so difficult lies in the ineffective use of search engines. Yet fear not, for Blueprint is here to give you some tips on making your search more efficient!

  1. Keep track of your info with Diigo
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(chrome.google.com)

A bookmarking application that allows users to annotate, highlight, and keep track, Diigo is one of the main apps that the KIS EdTech recommends for effective research. A problem that most students encounter is reading online; an anonymous student stated that it is “inconvenient to read articles online because it is hard to keep track of the facts [she] wants to use.” However, Diigo enables users to highlight information on any website wherein they can revisit to view the information that they want to use in their research paper or presentation. It will for no doubt enhance your reading flow and help you to customize your research. To obtain this app, it’s simple: go to Google Chrome Store and download it! 

Check out the link to find out more: “Diigo Extension for Google Chrome” by Ileane Smith 

  1. Get in-depth articles with Google Scholar

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Google Scholar is a search engine for those who are looking for scholarly articles, findings, and/or opinions. Here, you can find anything from the oldest published text to the latest news article about a topic, from authors of various discipline, ranging from science to cooking. Google Scholar is especially advantageous if you want to learn about a topic of interest in depth, since most of the articles are detailed and analytical.

  1. Get specific with  “ “
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(1stwebdesigner.com)

Looking for a specific topic/ issue? Then quotation marks will be your best friend! If you want to find sources that use a certain term or phrase explicitly, then you can insert quotation marks around the desired search word. By doing so, Google collects websites that use the exact phrase in their works–a potent method of narrowing your search.

  1. Narrow down with + and –

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Another efficient way to constrict your search results is to add an addition sign after a phrase. When doing so, the search engine recognizes that you want to include the term after the addition sign as well. This will greatly reduce your search time as you will be given more accurate results. Likewise, if you insert a hyphen, you will get results that exclude the word after the hyphen. For example, as one of the EdTech teachers gave, if you support Donald Trump and don’t to read anything negative about him, you could put in your search tab “Donald Trump -racism.”

  1. Find the line you are looking for with *

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Often called the “asterisk wildcard”, the use of asterisk is useful in that it leaves a placeholder that will be filled in by the search engine. This is particularly helpful when you don’t remember the lines of a famous Shakespearean line or even song lyrics. Simply put, all you have to do is type in: “to*or*to*:*is*question.” And guess what? In a split second you’ll get one of Shakespeare’s famous lines: “to be or not to be: that is the question”

  1. Get similar website results by “Related:______”
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(hostgator.com)

When you want to use a variety of sources but want sites that are similar to the one you are reading, one way is to use type in “related:___.com”, __ being the link that you want the results to be similar to. For instance, if you put “related: ebay.com”, Google yields links that give you sites congruent to ebay.com. So next time when you want to find something that’s outside of eBay, try using this trick!

Researching online can be challenging. However, with these simple six tips, the time you spend on Google will dramatically decrease and give you more accurate results. So start utilizing these tips to enhance your research!

—Sarah Se-Jung Oh (’19)

Featured Image: http://advicemedia.com/

*Many of these online search engine tools are derived from existing online tips pages

What to Do the Day Before the SAT

Just in a week… the long-awaited October SAT presents itself to students. Are you afraid? Well, fear not. Blueprint’s got you covered with some best tips that will boost up your scores last minute.

September is coming to an end. Two months into school, right when we finally seem to be adjusting to school, the deathly of the deathly is approaching. Yes, you guessed it right. The October SAT. Every year, the three letter haunts students down. Are YOU the victim of this doom? Well, fear not. Although last minute studying will DEFINITELY not help you out (don’t even try), here are some suggestions as to what you could do the day before the SAT to boost up the score with the little hope you have.

  1. Dress comfortably.

As soon as you come back from school, get comfy. The last thing you’re worried about at the moment is how you look. Get into the most comfortable position, comfortable outfit, and comfortable state. Who cares if you look like a zombie. Now is the time for you to pull off that score you so desperately wanted.

  1. Eat dinner.

Well, you might think now. Why does dinner even matter? Don’t I just have to eat my breakfast on the day of the SAT? No. Eating dinner now will not only keep you at a healthful state, but your brain will also be kept alert from the nutrition you take in the night before. Make sure to eat healthy, too.  It is important that you keep a good balance of vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein.  An idea dinner would perhaps look like broccoli, carrots, potatoes, and beef. After all, nutritious food is where your brain and body will get their power source from!

  1. Review.

Yes, review. Don’t even bother learning the new stuff now. Trust me; by the time you enter the testing center, your mind will go blank with the materials you learned afresh. Let’s stick with what we know, and make the best out of it. Believe it or not, reviewing is the key to success. As long as you are able to correctly answer the materials you learned so far, you will be fine.

  1. Don’t panic.

Okay, I know. It’s hard not to panic, especially if this is your first SAT. Well, if you panic, things are going to get worse. Panicking now will get you nowhere. It will only keep you going in a deathly circle of cries and worries. We have a lot to review. There’s no time for panic.

  1. Sleep early.

This is perhaps the most important out of the five tips. No caffeine allowed the night before the SAT. Maybe in the morning, but definitely not the night before. It doesn’t matter if you’re a nocturnal person. Too bad. The College Board decided to have test on the morning, so as of now, you will have to adjust your body system according to what the College Board scheduled for you. At the latest, get to bed by 10 PM and make sure you get a healthy 8 hours of sleep. This way, you will not feel sleep-deprived, sick, or tired.

Juniors, seniors, and to whomever this may concern:

SAT does not define you as a person, nor does it define your whole high school career. Great, if you manage to pull out the perfect score you aimed for. But, don’t worry if you aren’t able to. Let’s at least get the best out of it. We are now a week into the SAT, and that means doomsday for all of you. Let’s not panic, and try to stick to these amazing tips that will give you the best score you could get!

– Eunica Na (’17)

Featured Image: carolweis.files.wordpress.com

How NOT to Study for the SAT II’s

October’s finally here, and you know what that means: the beginning of SAT season! As you’ve probably learned by now, if you’ve been studying for the SATs, none of us really know how to study for any standardized test; especially the SATs. You can ask as many people as you’d like about how they studied for the SATs but in the end, it’ll come down to you asking yourself this question: “Did you study, or did you procrastinate?”

But don’t worry: it’s a high school student’s nature to procrastinate, and you won’t always know precisely what to do when studying for the SATs. That’s why, rather than scrambling around and looking for the best tips and tricks to ace those SAT Subject Tests, I’m here with a collection of things that you absolutely SHOULDN’T do when you’re studying for those pesky SAT II’s

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PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)
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PC: CollegeBoard

Imagine you’re back in June 2016, and you just finished the AP Chemistry course. You took the AP Chem exam about a month ago, saw that you got a 5 (WOW), and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. In fact, you feel so confident for the upcoming SAT Chemistry Subject Test in October that you think, “Oh, I’ll be fine,” and don’t want to study for the SAT Chem test. So, you catch up with your friends over the summer, get reacquainted with teachers and classes in August, and then BAM – it’s October 1st, and you’re sitting in a classroom with the SAT Chemistry booklet in front of you, no idea what the heck you’re looking at. This is exactly what’ll happen if you don’t practice before the SATs. All of that knowledge from your AP classes disappeared by the first week of summer, so you better make sure you’re buying those SAT Subject Test prep books and completing as many mock tests as you can; trust me, you’ll definitely need the practice.

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PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)
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PC: Bar Exam Toolbox

This is a pretty similar situation to #1. You’re either pretty confident or you’re completely stressed out and intimidated by the very notion of SAT Subject Tests, and so you neglect starting to study until a couple of weeks before the test date. Two or three weeks is NOT enough time to be where you want to be for the SAT 2’s; plan ahead, set yourself up a week-to-week, even a day-to-day schedule if you want, and make sure you stick to that timetable.

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PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)
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PC: Amazon

Oh, you claim you can just use mental math on the SAT Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test? Yeah, good luck solving those 4×4 matrix operations and trigonometric functions. Even if you could somehow work out complex pre-calculus concepts in your head without technological aid, you most definitely will not finish the Math 2C in the time given. In case you didn’t know this about the SAT already; TIME. IS. EVERYTHING. Sure, you might be a genius with IQ level 160; none of that matters when you can’t finish the Math 2C test in time and unnecessarily lose valuable points that you might’ve received if you’d utilized a calculator.

 

 

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PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

Well, since time is everything, then you should probably speed through the SAT Subject Tests and try to solve all of the questions as quickly as you can, right? WRONG. Yes, pacing is important, but you don’t want to fall into the trap of rushing through the test and missing key details in the questions. Remember, the SATs are designed to confuse you. Learn how to read questions quickly but carefully, looking for any key points or hints that can steer you in the right direction.

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PC: U.S. News & World Report
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PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)
world-history-textbook
PC: McDougal Littell

For those of you who’ve taken APUSH or AP World, you know that if you abandon your textbooks, you’ll be neck-deep in trouble. Even if you haven’t taken these courses, definitely put in the effort to find appropriate resources and actually read the material that you’re going to be tested on. Historical trends and broad ideas are a big part of these tests, but you’ll only be hurting yourself if you neglect to read and understand the small details. After all, you’ve heard those stories about memorizing literally centuries of history for SAT US History, yes? They’re all true. All of them.

 

 

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PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

If you want to tire yourself out and study the SATs all the livelong day (and literally, night), then go for it. Just remember; a tired mind almost always performs worse than an alert one. I can guarantee that you’ve heard at the very least once from someone that you should get some sleep before a test. Well, for the SAT Subject Tests, there’s honestly no better advice for test day that exists. You do NOT want to have to sit through an hour of non-stop multiple choice right after you’ve pulled an all-nighter cramming for that test. Chances are, you’ll probably be taking more than one SAT Subject Test on the same day anyway, so a decent amount of sleep is doubly, perhaps even triply important in that case.

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PC: Brainscape
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PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

What kinds of apps do you have open in front of you right now? I’m not asking about just your laptop, but your phone, your iPad, and any other electronic

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PC: The High Performance Blog

devices you own. If your answers are dominated by social networking or gaming apps, then you’re clearly doing something wrong. While some people can actually multitask and use this skill to their advantage, multitasking when studying for the SATs often isn’t the brightest idea. Still having doubts? Ask yourself this: do you really think that talking with five other people about where you guys are going to go for a trip over the winter will help you with studying Mendelian genetics and the law of cosines? Hopefully, you’ll answer no to that question.

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PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

What if you have a question regarding projectile motion in the SAT Physics Subject Test or Jacksonian democracy in the SAT US History Subject Test? You’ll definitely want to create

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PC: Magoosh

some sort of a study group and get together once in a while to make sure you’re all still on track. Besides, you’ve always heard from teachers that the best way to test whether you know your stuff or not is to see if you can teach others what you’ve learned. Having a study group and holding Q&A sessions every now and then is a great opportunity to do a self-check of where you really are in your SAT studies.

9-dont-review-your-mistakes
PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

Let’s say you got three or four questions wrong on a SAT Math 2C practice test. Those few questions may not seem like much, but reviewing what you got wrong will definitely help you in the long run. It’s not like you know how many questions will come out from each topic on the test, so those three or four incorrect questions may turn into eight, nine, or even ten incorrect questions on the actual test if you don’t review your mistakes.

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PC: FiveThirtyEight
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PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

What is “cheating” when you’re studying for the SAT Subject Tests? In the worst case scenario, you’re partaking in illegal business and actually cheating on the day of the exam. However, cheating when you’re still in the process of ‘properly’ studying for these tests is another story altogether. It may seem like I’m restating the obvious, but when you take

cheating
PC: The Sun

practice tests, make sure it feels as though you’re taking the real test. Put yourself in a quiet environment, set your timer, and solve away! Make sure you’re not peeking at any answer sheets or study guides when you’re conducting these ‘mock exams’ because that just won’t get you anywhere. All you’ll learn is how to copy answers and fool yourself into thinking that you actually understand the question. But please, for the love of Collegeboard, don’t cheat on testing day; you’ll find that you’re hurting others as much as yourself.

In all seriousness, this list of tips of what not to do when studying for SAT Subject Tests can really assist you when you’re trying to figure out just what kind of a study route you should take that’ll work best for you.

But remember, SATs aren’t everything. If you get a score below of what you had hoped for, so what? You might be a little disappointed, but it’s not the end of the world. So try to relax, don’t stress yourself out too much, and take the process of studying for SAT II’s just one step at a time. With any luck, these tips will help you out and you’ll get those 800’s you’ve always hoped for!

– Daniel Park (’17)

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons