4 Reasons to Avoid Senioritis

The time has come once again— as the second semester kicks off, the halls are lit up by jokes about a special group of people going through a special time: seniors. “Oh, let’s count how many days you show up to class,” someone says; “but who cares about APs at this point?” someone asks. Senioritis is an annual phenomenon that never fails to disappoint. Once that last college application has been submitted, 12th graders seem to instantly slump into a state of indifferent lethargy.

The obvious argument against senioritis put forth by KIS administrators and counselors is: if your grades drop significantly, you may get your college admissions offer rescinded, or worse, fail to graduate. But everyone knows this is quite rare. Most students suffering from senioritis slack off just enough so that they put in minimal effort to avoid serious consequences. That’s not what I call “avoiding senioritis”. I’m arguing for active effort, straight through the end of the semester. What if we actually worked as hard, or even harder, than we ever have?

Why would we do that, you ask?

Well, keep reading.

Senioritis contributes to the “college is everything” culture. KIS has suffered from an environment that stresses college admissions above everything else, and seniors know this better than anyone. They are the most recent victims of a society that places value on individuals and activities for their admissions-related consequences. All-star intelligent student? Oh, but he didn’t get into an Ivy. Intriguing after-school activity? Oh, but it won’t help you get into college. How annoying has that been throughout our high school lives?This is exactly the kind of mindset we should be fighting. But by refusing to care about school after college applications are all turned in, seniors contribute to the idea that college is the end-all, be-all goal. So can we instead decide to fight that idea, and make the most of our time in high school for its inherent value?

Senioritis shows disrespect to your teachers. Imagine you’re one of those teachers that put in hours after school to plan classes and think about students. It hurts to think that students don’t care at all. Above all, it would probably hurt to see how someone who showed active effort and real interest in first semester completely disappeared after they got into college, showing you that it was all a fake mask. Taking it easy is okay; completely reversing your attitude is not.

Second semester is your transition to college. This is the last semester seniors have before heading into college, which will undoubtedly be a time with a more intense workload and much more individual responsibility. So if your choices include watching Netflix for 7 hours straight after school, forgetting about studies entirely, and not bothering to earn a passing score for your APs, this may affect you moving forward. For example, many APs are given college credit— so it’s probably beneficial to look up the AP credit chart of the schools you may be attending so you keep the motivation to do well on those APs. Besides, if you get into the habit of maintaining a horrible work ethic and time management patterns, you may suffer once you step onto the college campus.

It’s a chance to explore and do what you really want. Take college admissions out of the equation. That gives you a whole semester to do what you really want. In truth, the three reasons I have mentioned thus far pale in comparison to how passionately I believe in this one. It’s good, I think, to relax a little when it comes to academic work. This is a time to let go of grade obsession. But jumping straight into the pool of naps and TV-bingeing is a wasted opportunity. Instead, see this as a chance to invest in other things. What kind of person do you want to be? What is something you’ve always wanted to do? Maybe you can sign up for songwriting classes, go out to concerts, start working out, or learn how to cook with your mom. You could potentially head into college a slightly changed person.

In the end, the only advice I put forth is to not let this time merely go to waste. Most of all, seniors should keep in mind that this is probably the last time you will spend large amounts of time with your current friends— those you’ve laughed, cried, and struggled with, perhaps shared your first sip of alcohol or your first love. So take that into account. Show up and make more memories to end your tumultuous journey on a shining, wholesome note you won’t end up regretting once you’re off in college.

– Jisoo Hope Yoon ‘19

Featured Image: James Lee (12), Yejean Kim (12), Daniel Kim (12), taken by the author

Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

KIS students reflect on their past.

As much as we contemplate on what to do with what’s ahead of us, we look back in regret of the decisions we made as children, perhaps impulsively and for sure unforeseeing how it will affect us today.

How incredible would it be to have a mirror that not only reflects you from now but you from yesterday and you from tomorrow?

Let’s see what advice students at KIS would like to give their younger selves.

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Unfortunately, time is not a force we can overpower. And after all, it’s hard to live a life with No Ragrets. And that’s why we’re evolutionary beings–we learn from our mistakes!

 

 

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Photos by Clare Kwon (’18), Victoria Shin (’19), Kyle Son (’20)
Graphic by Neo Pak (’19)

A Spark of Spirit?

Join in for a recap of the First Pep Rally and an insight to our new Student Council.

Unlike the pep rallies in the past that were merely considered to be a “waste of time”, this year’s first pep rally had the whole 45 minutes filled with the laughter and energetic screams from all four grades. From the opening of student council’s dance moves to the song  “Red Flavor (빨간맛)” – Red Velvet to the hilarious headphone game and the game of charades, the pep rally had the gym packed with the spirited interaction of all four grades. The opening performance by student council members got all the grades pumped, with the officers killing their moves together, then the grade reps later joining in, getting the audience even more enthusiastic.

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PC: Yearbook

The first game of the pep rally was the headphone game. The rules of the game is simple. There are four people standing at quite a distance apart from each other and the first person in line sees the word written on the sketchbook and shouts it to the next person in line. The next three people in line have headphones on, with music blasting in their ears. The only way to guess the word is by looking at the person’s mouth shape. It is a simple, yet difficult game to be successful in.

“WRECKING BAAALLLL” actually, it’s Krispy Kreme. “Squid ward?” No, the word’s cheese stick…

The hilarious headphone game had typical exhausted moans of high schoolers eliminated by the roaring laughter of the audience, as almost none of the contestants guess the correct word. Each mismatch of words got the audience even more intrigued in the game; the atmosphere creating a light, heartfelt feeling of  rare enthusiasm.

The next game, charades, is a commonly known one with simple rules in that one player sees the word on the sketchbook and acts it out for the other player to guess the correct word. To get the whole grade interacted, the rules were twisted in which instead of only one player acting it out, the entire grade had to act out the word for the person to guess correctly.

The typical bland reaction to these activities were nowhere to be found, as  everyone put themselves out there, both the players and the audience with each grade bonded with each other. The screams in a mixture of laughter and frustration brought hauls of excitement, overflowing the all of the gym with spirited energy. All grades simply enjoyed their time, seeing the pep rally as a sense of entertainment rather than a tedious mandatory school event.

“This was one of the most spirited pep rallies yet. ….[I] hope student council can keep this spirit up throughout the entire year.” – Ms. Manning

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the whole high school seem united in a pep rally, but I think today’s was was filled with spirit of everyone in that gym!” – Jisoo Huh (‘19)

After the successful first pep rally, student and teachers are having high expectations for the upcoming events of the year. This comes from the new student council was the group behind the success of the first pep rally.  Join in for an insight of the new student council, with the expectations and determinations of the officers and grade reps themselves!

Q: As the president of the new student council, can you give an expectation that you believe this year’s student council will be like?

A: -JD Choi (‘18)

Q: In what aspects do you believe that this year’s student council will be different from in the past?

A: This school year was full of changes for Student Council. Voting processes, roles, and foundation was all new this year with our new advisory Q! Not only that we are enhancing our traditional events (patio on fire, winterball, kgt, etc), but we are also bringing new events this year! Please stay updated with Stuco (follow insta, youtube, fb)! – Alice Yoo (‘18)

Q: What are your thoughts on the first pep rally in the perspective as a member of student council?

A: I think that the first pep rally was a huge success!! There was a lot of spirit and energy and that’s all Student Council asks for. I hope that the student body enjoyed it as much as StuCo enjoyed preparing for itttt!! – Jenny Chung (‘19)

 

It has only been a month into the school year and this is merely the beginning to the events student council has ready for us. And yet, there is no doubt that the upcoming events throughout this school year will be memorable in everyone’s high school year.

– Sophie Yang (’21)

Featured Image: Yearbook

Why Art?

No more skeptical glances, no more scoffs of disapproval. Art is not a topic that one can disregard.

“Oh, she’s just going to major in art because she doesn’t have the brains to actually study.”

         “You want to go to art school? But you’re so smart! That’s such a shame.”

               “In a world full of starving children and hectic politics, how the hell does art matter?”

If you’re an art student, these sort of questions may be more than familiar to you. In a world where new developments in technology and medicine are in constant demand, it’s easy for people to cast aside the arts as irrelevant, even pointless. And to a degree, I don’t blame them. When you’re in the midst of researching for a cure for cancer, or discussing how to solve the ever imminent issue of Syrian refugees, the works of Pablo Picasso or learning how to wield a paintbrush is most likely going to be the last thing on your mind. However, that doesn’t mean that art is a subject we can completely disregard.

It’s no secret that art is an outlet for creativity. But contrary to what many may believe, this creativity isn’t just useful for choosing hues or arranging a composition. It serves a purpose later on in careers of all fields, where everywhere they look people are forced to come up with new and innovative solutions, a skill that employers look for the most. In a study conducted by Paul Silvia at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, researchers found that involving oneself in a creative activity forced people to “cultivate competence, and reflect critically on the world”. And this served true for those who weren’t necessarily masters of the arts – even seemingly amateur and foolish results spurred this sort of mental development. Especially for primary school students, an education in the arts helps rewire the brain to promote intuition, reasoning, and dexterity.

Now you may ask, to a person who struggles day by day to support themselves, to put food into their children’s mouths, why does art matter to them? In April 2016, freelance reporter Alison Stine released an article “Why Art Matters Even in Poverty”, which covered the role of art in her and her son’s life as a family who lived in poverty. Despite the hardships, Stine noted how creativity made the “the unlivable not just livable, but survivable”, and how art was a source of happiness and entertainment in their everyday lives.

To look deeper into the misconceptions of the arts, Blueprint decided to ask the 2D Arts teacher, Ms. Cone, a few questions about society’s misunderstandings of the arts and what we can do to get rid of those stereotypes.

BP: What are some of people’s’ misconceptions about art and artists themselves?

Ms. Cone: I think that one of the major misconceptions about art and artists is that people have this quintessential fear of what an artist is- the image of a starving artist, a painter living by themselves in a disheveled, one-bedroom flat, the tortured soul. And I think that what people don’t realize is how many aspects of art there are and just how much art has impacted the world around us. The term “artist” itself can be broadened to include all manners of creators, a fact that doesn’t typically come to people’s minds when they hear the word.

BP: What do you think causes some of these misconceptions about art?

Ms. Cone: Part of it I believe is due to the romanticized view, based off of movies and/or the media. When this trope became popular- I can’t say for sure. But it certainly caused people’s worries about their children wanting to become artists, as people immediately think of the picture of the artist living in squalor. So inevitably, we see less support for that career path and art becomes denigrated.   

BP: What can society do to get rid of these stereotypes of the starving artist and the ideal of students taking art as the easy way out of studying?

Ms. Cone: Oh man, that last part makes me so mad. I think part of it is coming to understand and appreciate the wide variety of artists there are in the world, and realizing how much of our daily lives are impacted by art. I’m using art in a very broad term, but literally everything you use, sit on, drive, come into contact with, had an artist- particularly industrial designers- involved in the process of creating that product. Coming to realize how much art enriches our lives everyday, not just through design but even as specific as painting. Think of hospitals that have no paintings in them, and hospitals that do have paintings in them- I’ll bet you that there are studies that show that hospitals with paintings in them make people happier. Just bringing creation and carefully considered visual spaces to people really does hold a positive impact. I think just generally being more educated will make people more appreciative of the arts. As of right now it’s really a zero-sum game- either you’re an arts person or a science person. People need to be more open to being multiple types of people. Everyone has the potential to be an artist, a creator, but they have to be willing to entertain that possibility.

Art isn’t the route of an escapist. It forces one to take a break from the bubble that surrounds us – to pause and take a look at the larger world in full force. So the next time you learn of someone choosing to take art as a career path, don’t mock them or disregard their work as insignificant. As John F. Kennedy once said, “we must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth”.

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image: Seiyeon Park (’17) (Art by Sookja Lee)

 

SEOMUN XIX: An Achievement of Young Minds

Providing an insight into diverse student experiences of SEOMUN and the famed ICJ.

From November 24th to 26th, hundreds of students from different international schools gathered to participate in the 19th annual SEOMUN conference hosted by Seoul Foreign School (SFS). Yet, there was one evident difference—the location. For the first time, the conference was held at not the Coex but the Ilsan KINTEX center. Despite the change in location, SEOMUN remained the very in terms of endless passion, active exchange, and fruitful debate of young intellects.

Yet in the conference rooms of KINTEX were not only students participating SEOMUN as delegates to represent countries, to draft, resolutions, and to debate on worldly issues. For the conference being completely student-run, students partook in the conference with varying roles. Students took leadership. The executive secretariats as well as chairs were completely composed of students who often had prior experience of MUN. In fact, there were two media teams, Seoulite and SEOTV, dedicated solely on publishing updates on the three days of the conference by press and video respectively. Not to forget, the littleluns who have the most integral responsibilities of passing notes and counting votes are also students. Attending the same conference yet witnessing it with such varying roles, SEOMUN participants are likely to have widely different experiences.

How was your experience of SEOMUN as a ____?

General Assembly II Delegate: Elizabeth Choi (‘18)

“This year was my second year participating in a SEOMUN conference.Through this year’s conference, I realized that all the committees were truly different, not only in terms of the issues discussed but also cooperation among delegates. Frankly speaking, SEOMUN XIX was an opportunity for reflection for me both as a student and a delegate. Because the committee size was grand, it was quite difficult for me to fit in and find a place to passionately contribute my ideas. Although it was thrilling to see the heated debates and speeches among other delegates, I felt that the more the conference progressed, the more I lost my place in the committee, especially due to my absence on the second day. But don’t get me wrong. The delegates of General Assembly II were cooperative and one of the most enthusiastic group of people I have met during the different conferences I have attended. Furthermore, I noticed that all delegates, especially those in my lobbying group, had great leadership and never ceased to ask questions for feedback. I was often amazed at how supportive, confident, and bold each delegate was when he/she came up to the podium. All in all, this year’s SEOMUN XIX was a great chance for me to observe and learn from other delegates as well as a chance to look back on my personal MUN progress. I wish that next year, I can participate in a slightly smaller committee so that I can contribute more to the conference.”

Security Council President: Geo Han (‘17)

“My experience as a chair was like a culmination of my five years of experience in MUN. However, I felt the pressure of perfecting every procedure to provide the best experience for all the delegates in Security Council since they are the elites of MUN and also because this was my last conference. The level of debate was exceptionally high for all of the delegates conducted thorough research ahead of time, and all I did was guide them throughout and remind them of the protocols of MUN. It also felt surreal for me since I was in the exact same spot 2 years ago as a delegate of Security Council. It felt a little weird seeing myself in the same committee, but in a different position. All in all, I believe I can call this year’s SEOMUN the best conference I’ve ever participated in with all the helpful delegates and thoughtful co-chairs Grace Lee and Jennifer Rhee.”

Seoulite Reporter: Kristin Kim (‘20)

“As a reporter, I definitely had a much more relaxed time because as long as I handed my drafts in on time, I could go to whichever committee and watch yet not participate. Although I was a little stressed when I got writer’s block while writing an introduction for one of my POI articles, I genuinely enjoyed being a reporter. The best part was that the Seoulite room had so many snacks, so I ate a lot while I was there. Seoulite is composed mostly of SIS students, and luckily they were all very nice too, so when i was struggling, I knew that I could ask anybody (including the KIS juniors!) for help.”

SEOTV Editor: Joey Park (‘18)

“My experience as a SeoTV editor was phenomenal. Of course, there were moments where I hoped I signed up as a camera man rather than an editor, however the hard work paid off eventually. I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment even if the result ended up not the way I had in mind. SeoTV offered multiple challenges, and these challenges that I faced as an editor raised the feeling of accomplishment, which I would like to experience again! Although the final video seemed to contain many errors, it was perfect to me.”

ICJ Report

For more than 4 generations of SEOMUN, KIS has dominated at one specific committee: the famed International Court of Justice(ICJ). Known for its peculiar proceedings that vastly differ from the other committees in the conference, ICJ throughout the years has come to be known as one of the most prestigious committees. Unlike other committees that discuss resolutions for global problems, the ICJ instead focuses on righting international wrongs. For example, this year the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion was the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation upon a Complaint Filed against the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the anticipated Court Case was Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal). The set-up of ICJ is very much like that of a Mock Trial; there are advocates defending each position, witnesses that provide in-depth analyses of the topic at hand, and judges that determine the final verdict. But for the KIS ICJ Chairs, Judges, Witnesses, and Advocates, who by the way won the Belgium v. Senegal court case, ICJ is much more than just a simulation of real world problems.

ICJ President: Suahn Hur (‘18)

“International Court of Justice. The grand title of this committee intimidated me since my first experience in it as an advocate for SEOMUN 2015. This year for SEOMUN 2016, however, I had the grand honor of serving as a president, which, regardless of the committee, is a pressuring position to take in the world of Model UN. As a president, my role greatly varied from other chairs in the entire conference as I had the role of a judge within the actual court of justice. From training advocates on court procedures months ahead of the conference to ruling objections during trial, it has been an excruciating process both mentally and physically. However, watching the judges and advocates fiercely voice their opinions in the committee room was rewarding nonetheless. Close interactions between the chairs and the judges and advocates prior to the conference, which I define to be the most unique quality of ICJ, enhanced my experience from ICJ overall, and I cannot be more thankful for having been able to lead such a special committee this year!”

ICJ Deputy Assistant President: Sally Hong (‘18)

“From the procedures to the issues we debate on, the fundamental nature of ICJ vastly differs from that of other committees. This year, the judges debated on the legitimacy of a decision made by the ILO Tribunal where they had to discuss the legal identity and relationship of the different pertinent parties. They not only had to debate on the issue as a whole, but they also had to weigh the evidence that they would use to come to a conclusion, taking into consideration the credibility and possible biases. The advocates, on the other hand, debated on Senegal’s obligation to persecute Hissène Habré. Even though there were a few minor disputes and heated arguments beyond the typical “healthy, fruitful discussions”, judges and advocates were still able to see past these problems to focus on their responsibilities as “delegates” of a major international court, which I was very relieved to see.”

ICJ Advocate: Leanne Kim (‘19)

“Being an ICJ advocate was an experience that I think was vastly different from other MUN committees, because it held a different value. Instead of a standard conference procedure, we followed a mock trial procedure that grew very heated and intense. It’s especially different in terms of the specifics– the entering of evidence, objections, direct examinations and cross examinations. Though I value both standard MUN and ICJ, I think ICJ holds a different aspect of debate and speech, where you deal with a specific international dispute between two or more nations.  Overall, ICJ was an experience that was really exciting and intense!”

ICJ Witness: Sara S Kim (‘18)

“Having been a mock trial witness and through my time onstage as an actress, I was very confident of my knowledge and skills. Soon after the preparation process began, I realized that I was back at square one; I had a lot to learn after all the experience I had. The objection rules were different, an unbelievable amount of content knowledge was required, and on top of that, I had responsibilities in my own committee, Six Party Talks, as a main submitter.  Nevertheless, with the support of my ICJ partners and thorough preparation, I walked into the court room with a newfound confidence. Was it hard? Yes. Was it stressful? Of course. But do I regret it? No. Was the achievement worth all the hassle? Absolutely. The strange sensation of thrilling satisfaction in midst of palpable tension—that’s why I loved (and still love) ICJ.”

For these excited MUNers, ICJ is a culmination of months and years of preparation throughout every debate prep and theatre rehearsal. For these MUNers, ICJ is the ultimate stage where they can showcase their impassioned worldviews and their eloquent delivery. So next year in SEOMUN XX, take the time to stop by ICJ. The sight you see will leave you in awe.

Adios SEOMUN XIX!

Top 10 Underrated Songs You Should Be Listening To

Warning: Low Key Hipster

Tired of listening to all those mainstream songs? Nae Nae? Anaconda? Show Me the Money? Tell me about it. There are so many underrated, not-listened-to-enough songs out there you should be searching up right this moment. I mean, doesn’t the thought of countless great songs you never end up listening to absolutely haunt you? Fear not; Blueprint’s got you covered. Here is a list of the top 10 underrated songs you should be listening to like, now.

 

“We Won’t” by Jaymes Young & Phoebe Ryan

Match made in heaven; the two voices complement each other ever so perfectly, giving off a unique and one-of-a-kind vibe. The poignant yet exquisite lyrics about letting love go will make you listen to this song on repeat.

 

“Aloha Ke Akua” by Nahko Bear (Medicine for the People)

Aloha Ke Akua means God is Love in Hawaiian. As beautiful as the title sounds, same goes for the song itself. The relaxing aura this song builds throughout its ten minute span is definitely worth giving a shot.

 

“Sober” by Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino, also known as Donald Glover, is a well known comedian. But have you ever given his music a try? If not, try listening to this song. It’ll help you calm down and loosen up, and it’s great to listen to while taking breaks in between your studies!

 

“Stuck on the Puzzle” by Alex Turner

One word: Breathtaking.

 

“Forgiveness” by Made In Heights

Forgiveness by Made In Heights is a combination of an extremely soothing voice and an unconventional song style. It’s undeniably different and fresh and it’s guaranteed to make you obsessed for a while (happened to me).

 

“Irish Margaritas (RAC Mix)” by Harriet

When is a RAC mix NOT good? Imagine you’re staying home, cozy, cuddling under dim lights and feeling super relaxed (maybe near a fireplace, too). This song, Irish Margaritas, is the kind of song that would be playing in the background. Basically what I’m getting at is, listen to it now.

 

“Demon Dance” by Surfer Blood

With its catchy chorus and inspirational lyrics, Surfer Blood will get you hooked to its indie rock song, Demon Dance. You’ll find yourself humming the tunes, chanting the lyrics, and constantly replaying this video.

 

“California” by Rogue Wave

California: Charged with multiple emotions, yet soothing at the same time. Their spot-on lyrics with the underlying message of, “no matter the uncertainty out there, hope will always lead you somewhere”, Rogue Wave will not fail to mesmerize you.

 

“James Dean & Audrey Hepburn (Acoustic ver.)” by Sleeping With Sirens

Sleeping With Sirens is a well known rock band, usually with rather hardcore songs. However, their acoustic songs take a complete 180 degree turn, giving off somewhat of a sentimental feeling.

 

“Ocean” by Coasts

A perfect summer song, as well as a love song. Missing the hot and sunny months of July and August? Let Coasts take you away.

 

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Cracking Your Joints: Is It Safe?

Doesn’t reading the title just make you want to do it?

Who hasn’t cracked their joints at least once in their lifetime? After writing that last word on your AP Lang essay, during a test, or even when you’re just simply bored. If you’re like me, cracking their joints has become an essential, yet trivial, part of your daily routine; it’s a weird habit that just feels strange not to do, whether it be your fingers, toes, neck, or back.  

According to a study done by Gregory N. Kawchuk from the University of Alberta, the popping sound you hear when you crack your knuckles happens because of vapor bubbles between your joints. Essentially, synovial fluids (thick fluid that basically lubricate your joints) are what form the vapor bubbles. When you crack your knuckles, the separation of your joints leads to the deficiency of fluid. So, gas-filled bubbles appear to fill the space and when they pop, that’s when you hear that satisfying sound.

Needless to say, just by the connotation, “cracking your joints”, the action seems quite dangerous. After all, there’s been a debate (and still is) going on about whether cracking your joints causes arthritis or not. Arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation, is an “informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease”. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness, ranging from mild all the way to severe. However, people still do crack whatever joint they can, which is understandable. After all, it’s still not proven whether cracking your joints causes arthritis. As Dr. Stephen Kennedy, a hand, wrist, and elbow surgeon states, there has been absolutely no evidence to support the fact that cracking your joints causes arthritis. Either way, some choose to take the safe route and don’t even think about cracking their joints.

There’s a complete division between people who approve and disapprove about cracking your joints. Well, how about KISians? What do they have to say about cracking their joints? Looks like it’s time for some real talk. *gong*

YES: “Let’s crack ALL the joints!”

“I sometimes crack my joints and I don’t think it’s bad for me at all. It’s not scientifically proven. But I just do it when I’m stressed or bored.”

 – William Lee (’18)

“I crack my knuckles all the time. I don’t believe in any of the rumors about how cracking your knuckles is bad for you, because cracking your knuckles is just taking out the oxygen in between your bones. So it doesn’t make your fingers thicker.”

– Emily Lee (‘17)

“It feels good especially for athletes when they crack their knuckles. I don’t think it’s good, but I still do it anyways.”

– Stella Yun (’18)

“Personally, I just like the sound of it.”

– Brian Choi (‘17)

“Well I think that there is no harm in doing it, since there were studies done on it. It can get addicting and could be annoying to others, but I do it often… Some people say that you get arthritis from cracking your knuckles but it has been proved that it doesn’t.”

– Alex Kim (‘17)

NO: “Can you not?!”

“I mean…it sounds like your fingers are just going to pop off. And I’m pretty sure cracking your joints like your knuckles makes your fingers thicker and bent”.

– Grace Kim (’17)

“I don’t crack my joints because it hurts my bone, and I think it makes your finger distorted. I don’t really care about other people doing it but if they do it continuously, like every minute, it’s annoying to hear”.

– Lisa Han (‘17)

“I want to crack my joints but I can’t. People say it feels good so I want to try it but I heard that your fingers might break and get chopped off”.

– Claire Yoon (’18)

“I try not to crack my knuckles because I’m scared my fingers are going to break!”

– Ashley Dhong (‘16)

Whether you’re for or against cracking your joints, both sides can equally be supported. It obviously doesn’t sound right to purposefully make your joints pop, but there has been no proof to establish the fact that cracking your joints lead to any sort of major consequences. Rather, there has been more proof to show that arthritis theories and fat finger theories are all hoax. So to those of you who crack your knuckles: fear not, you’ll be fine. I think. Probably!

 

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

(Featured Image: Peter Oumanski for TIME)

PSA: College Visits

You should definitely be checking out all of the colleges visiting KIS!

Why not Stanford?
Why not Stanford? (Tumblr)

Have you been signing up lately for all the college visits? Are you aware of the fact that various colleges from all over the world are visiting our school? If you have already signed up for some college visits through Naviance, you’re on the right track. If you have absolutely no idea what the last sentence meant, you have some reading (this article!) and signing up to do.

You might be thinking: “Hey, aren’t we supposed to visit the colleges, and not them visiting us?” Well, of course colleges gladly welcome students visiting their campus and observing what the actual school they’re potentially applying to looks like. However, according to Collegeboard, “representatives from college admission offices visits high schools around the countr[ies] to present informational programs to prospective students”. Meaning, colleges are willing to come to you too! When colleges visit high school campuses, the students, together with the admissions office representative, discuss topics such as academics, campus life, tuition, financial aid, admission procedures, and more. It is basically a chance for future undergraduate students to get a deeper insight into multiple schools. Representatives also visit high school campuses so that students can ask any questions they may have, clarify any confusions, and further persuade why they should apply to the respective college.

Now you may be thinking, I can just google all of the information I’m going to receive. Wrong. Here are some reasons why you should definitely be signing up for these college visits. They’re definitely opportunities you should be taking advantage of (especially for you juniors and seniors).

1. Face-to-face > Email

Of course, you can ask all the questions you want to by simply typing them up and sending emails off to the admissions office, or even searching them up online. However, it’s really important to realize the importance of meeting college representatives face-to-face, and asking them questions then. You’ll likely get more detailed answers, and you would be able to ask more distinct-to-you questions. For example, you could be asking specifically about the chances of getting accepted with your current test scores and GPA, which they can then use to help assess and figure out your possibilities.This also comes with the bonus of giving colleges a heads-up that you’re actually seriously interested, which would most likely help, rather than hurt your chances of getting in.

2. New Discoveries

Sure, you may not be serious about all the colleges visiting KIS. Though let me just say that it’s better to give it a shot than to not. You never know; you may have absolutely no interest in a college until you actually attend the meeting. You’re really not bound to lose anything because they’re visiting you instead of the other way around, and it’s an opportunity for you to discover other possibilities you never would have thought of or stopped to consider. After all, you’re receiving more information than what is merely on the college’s homepage.

3. Better early than late, better late than never

It’s true; some schools don’t encourage students who are not seniors to attend college visits. However, Bill Yarwood, a guidance professional in New Jersey, states “we encourage sophomores and juniors to participate for long-range planning.” High school students usually start thinking about college at the end of their junior year, or even at the start of their senior year. What students tend to not realize is that planning out things beforehand helps so much later on. Juniors, rather than pushing off everything until the very last minute, at least start thinking about potential options by attending the college visits KIS provides you with. And even if you’re already a senior, there is still time left to explore additional possibilities!

4. It’s not just advertising

Colleges also visit high school campuses for advertising purposes. But that’s not always the case. Their visits are beyond simple advertisement. Their visits help prospective applicants in various ways, and colleges also enjoy visiting high schools to see what they should expect for the applicant pool. The construction of such a basis is important for both the colleges and future applicants. So it’s not all about advertising and persuading students to apply. There is more to it and it’s important you play your part in the process.

If you’re a KIS student, you can simply log in to your Naviance page, and straight away, you will see a blue square on the home page with various college visit schedules which you can sign up for. Naviance tells you the college name, date, and time of the meeting so that you can plan accordingly. High school counselors, including our KIS counselors, highly recommend attending meetings in order to broaden spectrums of where you could be applying. September through October is a rush week for colleges, with numerous representatives visiting our school each week.

Interested in a school in New York? New York University’s college meeting at KIS is scheduled for October 20th during High School club block. Or is California your forte? Both UCLA (September 23rd) and California College of the Arts (October 28th) are visiting KIS. Sign up for college visits through Naviance and watch how your perspective towards college change!

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image: Auocoms

Yay or Nay: The New Testing Schedule

What? Mondays are ALWAYS ABCD? You better believe it.

It’s no exaggeration when we say students of  Korea International School are extremely competitive in terms of academics, and it’s definitely not an exaggeration when we say major amounts of stress result from such phenomena. According to an academic stress study performed by New York University, “nearly half (49%) of all [high school] students reported feeling a great deal of stress on a daily basis” The majority of the sample students also “claimed “grades, homework, and preparing for college were the greatest source of stress” (nyu.edu). The positive correlation between following an academically rigorous curriculum and gaining large amounts of stress is evident, and the new testing schedule that’s replaced the so called “first and third block” rule is could be the leading cause of that stress gain.

The “eight block system” (as briefly covered by Blueprint here) was installed at Korea International School in the first place for the students to experience the benefits of having a free block, also known as the autonomous block. As Mr. Cathers, the Director of Korea International School states, “The high school is using the eighth block to make more independent learning time for students and time when teachers will be available to assist and tutor students.” He also adds on by mentioning that “…other top schools such as Singapore American, Shanghai American, and the American School in Japan” have also installed this system. Students are expected to work collaboratively as well as get help from classes they may be struggling in, or even just complete homework. As of now, mostly positive comments have been heard about this autonomous block. However, what those who don’t complain do not realize is that due to this new system, something that students and faculty members were always used to got messed up: the testing schedule.

KISians have always appreciated the “first and third block rule,” for not a single student had to endure the terror of having two (or more) summative assignments due back-to-back. The rule came into place around three years ago after various complaints from students who, without such boundaries, had to take and turn in multiple tests and projects each day. From then on, summative projects or tests have been required to be due on either a first or third blocks for the students’ sake of not drowning in piles and piles of summative assignments each day (which probably used to happen). As stated by the KIS handbook, “this structure is designed so that a student will never have more than two (2) assessments per day.” However, now that the rotating schedule of seven blocks has disappeared, teachers have had no choice but to abandon the rule. Instead, the faculty members came up with a new system, in which certain subject areas give out summative assignments on certain days. For example, the math department can only give out summatives on Mondays and Tuesdays, while the English department can do so only on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Help. (JohnDavid Choi, '18)
Help. (JohnDavid Choi, ’18)

How has this affected the KISian community? Some students appreciate the system. Lisa Han (‘17), a current junior, has her autonomous block during G block and her AP Psychology class during H block. She uses her time wisely then to do her psychology homework (endless, endless, amounts of reading).

“I just had a test today for AP Psych, and I studied during my entire free block. The schedule works out for me, and I felt confident when I took the test,”

she tells Blueprint. Indeed, some students’ schedules are nicely arranged, in that they have their autonomous block right before their most difficult class. This gives them more time to study, whenever they know an exam is to be given.

But when there are pros to a situation, we must always consider the cons. Other students, unfortunately, have suffered somewhat due to the demolishment of the first and third block rule. Amy Choi (’17), also a junior, had her Pre Calculus exam back to back with her APUSH exam (oh my) since both the Math department and Social Studies department give out their summatives on Mondays and Tuesdays. This means that she, not only had to drill two subjects (one of which was an AP course) into her brain during the weekends, but also cope with the stress and anxiety. Sure, to some, the eight block schedule may be lovely. However, when looking at the other side of the spectrum on whether students like the eight block schedule or not, there’s always a completely different story. After having her brain fried with functions and polynomials, Amy Choi had to run down from H5 to G6 and switch up her brain to the Christopher Columbus and the French and Indian War. What could be more stressful, annoying, and potentially harmful to grades than this back to back situation going on?

Also, consider this: Is psychology a science class or a social studies class? You don’t have a definite answer, and neither do teachers. It’s not just students suffering, teachers are having a difficult time because of the new testing schedule as well. The Social Studies department tests on Mondays and Tuesdays, while the Science department tests on Wednesdays and Thursdays. So which days are psychology exams supposed to be given? (debatable). Mr. Van Moppes, the AP English Language & Composition teacher, is also having a tough time with the testing schedule. He is notorious for his “surprise essays” and the essay bomb could have been thrown anyday as long as it was a first or third block. Not anymore. His B and C blocks are given the test on Wednesdays, and since the schedules never rotate, his F block has a whole day to prepare for the essay once they find out about it, until the date changes to a Thursday. Not so much a surprise anymore. The thrill, nervousness, and the fear of being dropped a surprise essay can no longer be felt by F block AP Lang’ers.

Of course, the new testing system is merely a test itself. Nothing is definite, and things are always prompt to change. If the schedule does not seem to work out, a change must be made. However, as of now, this is the best solution to the problem of no longer having a first and third block rule. Will the new testing schedule, in the long run, grow on the KISians? Or will it continue to benefit only a certain amount of students, while absolutely wrecking others? Blueprint will continue to examine this case.

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image: JohnDavid Choi (’18)