The three most important things I learned this year is to live life to the fullest, advocate for change, and to be empathetic. I learned the lesson of living life to the fullest when I read the book Tuesdays With Morrie. In this book an old, dying man wants to enjoy the time he has left. This has showed me how every moment is precious and you shouldn't waste it. The lesson to advocate for change was learned when I read the book Night. The main character, Elie Wiesel, decides to tell people his personal experiences of the Holocaust. He believes that if he does this then he can help prevent another event like it from occurring in the future. The last lesson I learned, which was to be empathetic, was taught to me by the book To Kill A Mockingbird. During this novel Atticus, one of the main characters, tells his children to put themselves into others shoes. If they do this then they would understand why people do what they do. This has taught me to not judge a person right away, but to try to understand them.
The thing that we did this year that I will remember for the rest of my life is going to the Holocaust museum. This experience was very bitter and somber. However, it gave me a real glimpse of what life was like back then. I even got to meet a survivor, which was very inspiring. She told us her experience and how she was impacted by it throughout her whole life. I can still feel what it was like in that cattle car when we were all jam packed. The air felt very heavy and cold. I was extremely uncomfortable standing there. By doing this, I grew a respect for all the poor souls who were once transported by it. Overall the experience was one that I will never forget.
The nicest thing someone has done for me in this class was providing food during the class. Some of these people were Sophie and Vince. They both brought snacks that helped me power through the class. Instead of staring at the clock wanting to go to lunch, I focused and did my work. I was more content and my stomach wasn't grumbling, which distracted me from class. These people didn't have to bring their own food, but they did. I am very grateful because it made the class better.
Something that I taught my classmates was my opinions. My end of the year speech talked about how I believed in equality. Perhaps this speech made them think the same, or maybe it made them conjure another belief. Another time I taught them my opinions was when we did the socratic seminars for different books. When I participated and talked, everyone in the class listened. By doing this, they had an insight of what I thought. They might not have agreed, but I still taught them my opinions.
The area that I made the biggest improvement was analyzing. Before this year I would just look at a meaningful quote and see what was on the surface. Now I can fully understand the contents. For example, how it affects people, why the person wrote it, or what message the person is giving. Something that I accomplished this year that I am proud of is my end of the year essay. I wrote this in a short amount of time, but I am still proud of it. I was also able to memorize it to a certain extent. This is an accomplishment for me because I am not good at memorizing.
The most challenging part of this year was learning about the Holocaust. It was so gruesome and depressing that it was hard to listen to it. I know that it is part of history and we need to know about it, but it made me so upset. Sometimes I didn't want to come to class because it made me so distressed. However, I got through it and I learned a lot.
I think the best piece of writing that I did this year was the Montressor's Confession Blog. I think I did the best in this blog because it was very creative. The idea of it is way out of the box and it wasn't expected. I was excited to write it and didn't think of it as work, but as a fun activity. It was entertaining writing it because I tried to make people astonished. Free writes are always my favorite. Since I liked doing the blog I put more effort then was required. This blog I have the most pride in.
My favorite book this year was Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. This was my favorite because all the stories are intertwined. There was three narratives of how they required the same harmonica and what they did with it. They each found themselves by playing this harmonica. I found this very interesting because they were all connected. Even though their lives were completely different, they all shared something in common. Each story inspires you and makes you feel a strong emotion.
Some advice I would give to next years students is to do what needs to be done even if you don't want to do it. If you just get your work done then the workload would be a lot less in the future. Then you get to have a lot more free time. If you don't do it then the piles of work will just increase as time goes on. When this happens you will be very stressed out.