Sophomore E.E Trip: Debrief Sesh

Leaving behind the freshmen, juniors, and seniors, the sophomores enjoyed a 3 day E.E trip. Worth it or not? See what they have to say.

In the midst of a very busy month of April, the entire sophomore grade took on a three-day experiential educational trip to Boramwon. Having returned from the trip, the students definitely came to appreciate the considerable effort put in by teachers and the students who organized the event. The trip yielded an unforgettable, valuable experience that enhanced us one step further. But at the same time, the trip also stirred mixed reactions – both positive and negative – among the sophomores.

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After a long two-hour bus ride, students arrived at a large camping park with a well-developed facility provided with a wide soccer field, basketball area, gym, hills for mountain biking, and of course, the green nature and weather complied throughout the days. Various rigorous activities to challenge and engage the students’ physical stamina and teamwork were scheduled right from the first day. Based on advisory, students were all divided among three big groups each supervised by the expert Boramwon guides. And in order to help communication between the KIS teachers and the guides, it was quite common to see students translate Korean and English back and forth.

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The major physical activities introduced included archery, mountain biking, hiking, and rafting. During the archery session, several students surprised the teachers by matching the red circle in the middle for points, and later on, they even constructed a huge archery target board by taking turns sawing wood and hammering the nail. After archery, students moved on to mountain biking, which required apt strength and coordination, as it was indeed a level harder than normal biking. Divided by levels of beginner, intermediate, and hard, students were given the opportunity to choose courses or challenge themselves by riding uphill or on the rocky, dusty hills.

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However, four hours of hiking on the nearest mountain of Boramwon surprisingly raised the most mixed reactions among students. According to students who took on hiking first, this particular course proved to be fairly dangerous with frequents cliffs that had to be climbed up with a rope, and slippery rocks and leaves, with rocky crevices of boulders in which students had to go through. As a result, accidents were recurrent, though usually minor such as cuts and bruises; however, there was also one unfortunate, major accident in which the KIS high school nurse severely injured her ankle after slipping. She had to be assisted by the emergency crew and return home in the middle of the trip. Still, by encouraging each other and giving out helping hands at difficult paths, the majority were able to witness the unique Elephant rocks and the lovely scenery the peak offered.

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One sophomore thought, “It was the first time our grade got together this year to do the something together, so I thought it really helped in building new friendships! But I would’ve really appreciated more breaks during the hike.” (Anonymous ‘18)

“Although throughout the E.E trip we went through many difficult courses, we were able to achieve them by helping one another. I learned through this trip that teamwork plays a very important role in our everyday lives. I hope we can have another great trip next year!” – Diana Koo (‘18)

As for rafting, though it was an entertaining experience, it seemed that for students who were planned to go early morning suffered mostly from the shocking cold water and the chilly wind, as one expressed, “I actually had a great experience in the E.E trip. Honestly they could have given us more free time for ourselves and a bit more time before lights out. Also, the water was too cold during rafting so I was thinking that we should’ve went a bit later in the summer. But overall, the trip was fun” (Jin Kwon ‘18).

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Yet through exciting games like races, catching for the ball, as well as just splashing water at each other, students learned how to work together to pilot the boats around.

“The E.E trip was planned perfectly, with barely any activities where it wasn’t fun. However, the food made me want to miss JJ’s cooking” – Noah Kim (‘18).

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After all the hard, exhausting activities during the day, recreation and amusing games were arranged at night. Star-gazing through Mr. Hopkin’s telescopes, students got to observe the detailed surface of the moon, along with jupiter and the constellations such as the Big Dipper. There were also mazes for thrilling games, and Nanta sessions where students used recycled materials as drumming instruments to make exciting rhythm and harmony. 20160412_192447

Not only did the trip provide various team-bonding activities, but also mini-advisory sessions that took place each day garnered many positive feedbacks. It was a time in which students got to share their personal opinions, feelings, and reflect upon what they learned, disliked, or even how they overcame challenges and broke through certain walls.

“I think the E.E. Trip was a great opportunity for advisories to bond and I really enjoyed it. I got to know the people in my advisory much better than before by participating in various activities. I would like to go on a similar trip again, but would rather go in the beginning of the year without  the worry of APs” – Samantha Kim (‘18).

“It was a great advisory bonding experience and a great way to meet new people. I would definitely go again” – Sara Kim (‘18).

For once, the sophomores and teachers were able to detach their minds off of work, studying, hagwons, tests, and electronics, and instead take the time to look at nature and experience what normally wouldn’t have been possible back in the hectic city. It is true that in the beginning, there were various complaints revolving the E.E trip, especially upon the decision to make roommates random and how the dates of the trip clashed with preparation for the AP exams to be taken in May. However, even throughout the trip with injuries and accidents, sharing the same room with awkward people, and perhaps with not the best cafeteria food, it seems as though the E.E trip did bring something special to many sophomore students.

– Sammie Kim (’18)

Battle of the APs: AP Biology or AP World History?

AP World or AP Bio—that is the question.

AP World or AP Bio?

It’s a question that KIS students are all too familiar with; every year, sophomores are confronted (or rather inevitably confronted) with this dilemma. With two, rather heavy, choices to choose from, we, as sophomores, must carefully consider advice from upperclassmen, unreliable rumors, parent’s suggestions, and most importantly, whether we would enjoy and be able to handle that certain AP course. Ultimately, with our minds somewhat-set, we sign up for the course that will define our entire sophomore year with a trembling hand.

Now with the school year already on its third month, Blueprint has brought to you a comprehensive analysis comparing the two AP choices backed up by answers from our very own students.

The Argument for AP Biology

Having a somewhat more positive prestige, AP Biology seems to be the more preferred course among sophomores. It is a well known belief that AP Biology is the “more relaxing and easier-GPA” course taught by a more “chill” teacher, Mr. Hopkin, and that it is a better way to enter the terrifying world of APs. Now that two months have already passed since the start of the school year, sophomores should have experienced more than what they have simply heard. There have been a variety of responses from students taking AP Bio. Some seem to be pleased, even complimenting the joy the course gives.

Mr. Hopkin gives a thrilling lecture on glycolysis to a few sophomores. (Clare Kwon, ’18)
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Students observe the growth of turtles in the middle of class. (Clare Kwon, ’18)

Many students have nothing but compliments for the class. They have truly learned the importance of enjoying what you learn.

“AP Bio is such a fun class! The subject itself is very interesting. Unlike most subjects, it connects to what we see in our daily life. So, it’s fascinating when I learn how things work inside other organisms and myself.”— Sarah Mirae Kim (’18)

Yet, quite inevitably, there are struggles along the way, too (that are still somehow positive).

“I would have to admit that AP Biology is a challenging class. Especially because it’s my first AP course ever, I’m struggling over the tests. However, there’s also fun to it. Bio is life, so we’re literally learning more about life!”— Alice Yoo (’18)

“It’s a fun and challenging course, as the materials go a lot more in depth than what we learned last year. Lots of memorization is required, and at the same time I have to understand, which makes the course even more challenging. Taking notes is also a bit time-consuming, but as for now, it’s still doable.” – Anonymous

Maybe, the belief about AP Biology is quite true. With more positive responses, it seems that the start hasn’t been as painful, although some have trouble handling a never experienced amount of work.

The Argument for AP World History

On the other hand, AP World History is known to be the opposite—a complete GPA killer. Thus, the number of sophomores taking Mr. Yanuszeski’s AP World History classes is actually far less than those taking AP Biology. There has already been many reported cases of mental breakdowns, tears shed, and of course, outrages from the students. Starting the year with a million historic knowledge and mind boggling similarities and differences between various civilizations, AP World History classes have already written three essays.

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The course may be rough, but Mr. Yanuzeski’s enthusiasm is an encouragement all on its own. (Clare Kwon, ’18)
Sara Kim ('18) reviewing her notes (Clare Kwon '18)
Sara Kim (’18) studiously reviews her notes. (Clare Kwon, ’18)

But what do the students have to say about this course so far?

“Well, I would say most of the students taking the course are struggling quite in this subject, especially the essay writings, because we’ve never done anything quite like it before. Also, history has always been a subject where it is fun, but there’s a lot of memorizing along with it, which is always a challenge too.” – Anonymous

“AP World? Challenging, arduous, but rewarding.” – Amy Kim (’18)

“I have a weird love-hate relationship with this course. I love the subject because the course itself offers so much fruitful knowledge, but I want to cry when I realize that I have around 10,000 years of history to study for our lovely exam in April. AP World History is like a train. It never stops, it just keeps rolling. If you fall behind, Train Yanuszeski will not wait for you.” – Sara Kim (’18)

With the overabundance of effort, care, and attention needed, essays seem to be the greatest labor and agony of AP World History. Nonetheless, the feeling of triumph after finishing an essay or completing a unit, catching the train of AP World is incomparable with any other pleasure.

The Verdict

Whether taking AP Biology or AP World History, we still have to put in endless effort. In the end, it is not always about the grade or the exam score; it is the process, the experience, and the knowledge we gain that really matters.

Stay strong sophomores!

 

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Edited by: Faith Choi (’16)

Featured Image: Clare Kwon (’18)

Sophomore Corner – Issue No. 1

Thought to be the start of real struggle, taking the first ever AP course, either Biology with Mr. Hopkin or World History with Mr. Yanuszeski, first experiencing the threatening atmosphere of a SAT SATurday, feeling shoulders shrink, fighting to carry heaps of baffling textbooks, dying with the pressure of the realization that you really don’t have much time, fortunately and unfortunately, and indeed very breathlessly, explains the sophomores.

Along with ‘What’s Up, Freshmen?’, Blueprint has brought to you the next in line, ‘Sophomore Corner. Blueprint will interview five sophomores now and then to capture different lives of students surviving their second year of high school.

Take a look at these five sophomores for this month’s Sophomore Corner: Ryan Choi, Jae Won Shim, Matthew Kim, Sally Hong, and Sooji Yang.

 

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Ryan is not just an athlete, but an intelligent one. Participating in all three seasons of sports, Ryan is somehow able to balance his academics at the same time. He is loved by his teachers, peers, but most importantly, girls, too. Here is an interview with Ryan sharing a brief overview of his high school life, as well as some useful tips.

How long have you been at KIS?

This will be my third year at KIS.

How is your second year of highschool different from your first?

Honestly, I think my second year of high school has been (so far) not too stressful. Of course, there’s much more work to do but not too stressful (yet).

What are some worries that you have?

Not being able to be the best I can be, in academics, sports, and individually.

What is your favorite memory so far in high school?

Soccer AISA tournament last spring!

What are you most excited for this year?

To meet more people and sports!

What is a goal you wish to accomplish this year?

To finish this year with no regrets.

What tips can you give to freshmen?

Don’t waste your time. Every lost second is a second you can’t get back.

 

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After school, strolling near the PAC, you may have overheard some voices, because in fact one surely was Jae Won’s. Although soon performing in the fall school play, Jae Won is actually pretty new to KIS, with most of the school not yet seen of. Take a look at his interview to get to know him better!

How long have you been at KIS?

This is only my second semester at KIS! Still a newbie…

How is your second year of highschool different from your first?

I came in the middle of the school year last year, so I had difficulties catching up with the curriculum and most of the academics. However, since this is now my second semester here, I gained a little confidence, and I’m now beginning to enjoy the advantages that the school provides.

What are some worries that you have?

As a sophomore, the upcoming junior year is honestly my biggest concern. I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be, when I’m already suffering in my suffer-more year.

What is your favorite memory so far in high school?

Because everyone was so welcoming and warm from my first day of school, every school day is my favorite, honestly.

What are you most excited for this year?

Since this is my first time at KIS during the first half of the school year, I’m really excited about the upcoming first-semester events, like the sophomore Experiential Ed trip and the upcoming fall/winter sports and events.

What is a goal you wish to accomplish this year?

I personally want to find and learn an instrument or a sport this year, as these are things I’m originally really bad at… Also, I want to perform successfully in the fall school play, which will be performed in November.

What tips can you give to freshmen?

I understand better about the difficulties of freshmen year because I began school in the second semester of my very own freshmen year. I would definitely like to tell the freshmen students that experience and knowledge that accumulates directly help you the following year. I think establishing a personal study habit is very important, because it could come in handy when you receive more work load in the following years. It’s hard, but it’s important!

 

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Who is Kimbo Slice but cuter? That sure has to be, Matthew Kim. Known for his unbearably lovable voice and smile, Matthew is adored not only by upperclassmen but underclassmen as well. Here is a pleasing interview with Matthew, sharing his thoughts on his very own second year of high school and second year at KIS.

How long have you been at KIS?

2 years!

How is your second year of high school different from your first?

My second year of high school is so much different from my first, not only because of the new AP course but also because of the level of responsibility I had to take with myself as I became a sophomore. The sudden realization that I wasn’t the youngest in the high school building came to me like a wrecking ball. I really had to start focusing on my educational career and start overcoming the fact that playtime is over, that one single mistake can determine my whole high school career. Although sophomore year is much more challenging and needs much more attention and caution than freshmen year, it’s the best year so far because I get a second chance to do the things I failed or missed out last year, and also because I get to meet the new freshies.

What are some worries that you have?

Although the main worries I have are, of course, getting good grades and overcoming an AP course, some other concerns I have are keeping positive relationships with teachers and friends, and always trying my best so that I finish the year with no regrets.

What is your favorite memory so far in high school?

My favorite memory so far in KIS was having a huge chicken party with my advisory family back in 9th grade. Nothing brings me more happiness than fried chicken!

What are you most excited for this year?

I’m most excited about seeking opportunities that I haven’t taken last year and exploring new adventures such as making a club, participating in the forensics team, and trying out for new sports.

What is a goal you wish to accomplish this year?

The goal I wish to accomplish this year that is more important than keeping up with grades and maintaining a stable GPA is finding perfect activities that I will be able to stick with for the rest of my high school year. Instead of trying to juggle many activities at once and eventually failing to polish any of them, I want to, by the end of the year, only focus on two or three main interests I’m most passionate about and try to be number one in those few activities.

What tips can you give to freshmen?

Always try to be on the good side of the teachers, and never, although almost impossible to do, procrastinate.

 

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You can’t be any more busier than Sally Hong (yet she’s only at her sophomore year)! Already the officer for the reputable Mock Trial club, she’s also the member for both the KIS speech team and debate team! Oh and if you’re wondering about AP World or AP Chinese, she’s just that person for you’d want to ask.

How long have you been at KIS?

I came during the second semester of 8th grade so it’s been nearly 2 years now!

How is your second year of high school different from your first?

There’s a lot more pressure on your academics, but I think the classes are a lot more interesting this year. There are also more opportunities to meet more people from other grade levels— both underclassmen and upperclassmen!

What are some worries that you have?

It’s getting increasingly hard to balance my academics with extracurricular activities and rest, so I’m worried about whether I’ll be able to balance everything because I tend to procrastinate a lot.

What is your favorite memory so far in highs school?

The Sunday night before an APWH exam, my friends and I tend to lose our minds and start meditating, having deep talks about Daoism, making raps out of our notes etc (we end up spending hours on these!). Although that time’s the peak of stress and exhaustion, I think these moments are what keep me somewhat alive before the night of an important exam. My real favorite memory would be the Patio on Fire though!

What are you most excited for this year?

I’m excited for the EE trip this year! I heard the teachers and students are working really hard on this trip so I’m really looking forward to that. Patio on Fire was also really fun so I’m looking forward to more performances in school!

What is a goal you wish to accomplish this year?

Firstly, I aim to really stop procrastinating so I can start sleeping earlier and concentrate better in class. Another goal I hope to achieve is to find what I really enjoy and want to learn more about by the end of sophomore year!

What tips can you give to freshmen?

Mr. Yanuszeski recently posted a tip on his Facebook page saying “work smarter, not harder”. I think this applies to all classes, especially AP courses! Spending some time to find out the most effective ways to study for a certain test will save time and help improve your results. Another tip I would give is to explore around more to find things you really enjoy. These will most likely be the thing that will motivate you even when you’re just physically or mentally exhausted.

How is mock trial and debate going?

My first speech and debate tournament is coming up, so I’m really excited and nervous at the same time. For Mock Trial, we just started working on a new case for an upcoming in-school tournament, and I’m really excited to work with the teams because I think both the beginners and the experienced members of the Mock Trial club are really eager and motivated to learn.

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That one sweet voice by a pretty sophomore girl you’ve heard at least once in your highschool career—perhaps in the choir concert, patio on fire, or just passing by at the skybridge—most likely is Sooji’s. She’ll sing you a song with all her heart, and in less than three seconds, you’ll be mesmerized on spot. Let’s take a quick peek at Sooji’s sophomore life so far!

How long have you been at KIS?

I’ve been in KIS since 2nd grade!

How is your second year of highschool different from your first?

I feel like during my first year of high school, I focused on searching for the right clubs and classes for me, which I would enjoy for the rest of my school career. During my second year, I had to start dealing with AP, but mostly, everything was quite similar.

What are some worries that you have?

I’m currently worried about my AP bio exam. Biology is life! hehe

What is your favorite memory so far in high school?

If I had to choose a favorite memory related to school, it would be when I first sang as a high schooler for pep rally. Even though I was nervous, it was a valuable experience.

What are you most excited for this year?

For this year, I’m most excited for our volleyball KAIAC tournament!

What is a goal you wish to accomplish this year?

This year, my goal is to read many books!

What tips can you give to freshmen?

Some tips I would give them are

1.) Don’t be afraid to try new, different things

2.) Don’t be scared of upperclassmen

3.) Don’t procrastinate

4.) Enjoy your life. Be positive!

How is singing going?

I’m glad that I have many opportunities in KIS to perform in front of lots of people! Also, I feel like every time I perform, I’m getting rid of my stage fright. For singers in KIS, my advice is, don’t be afraid to show off your talent in front of people and just enjoy your own performance! Because you’ll do great~

 

So hey there Freshmen! With these sharp advices by some of your experienced, talented, and affectionate sophomores, you’ll progress in no time. But most importantly, let’s work hard at the present moment to ready ourselves for the rest of our strenuous High School life.

Blueprint will be back soon with the next ‘Sophomore Corner’!
– Sammie Kim (’18) & Yoo Bin Shin (’18)