Mpols… The halfway point in the year.

I would like to start this blog post off with my growth throughout the year so far. The year started a little rocky, but I feel we are on an upward trend of greatness!

We started off the year with The Manhattan Project. My final mark for the project (and also the mark I received on my interim report card) was 80%. This was obviously not up to my standards. Let’s explore how and why this grade was given.

I started off the year with a different mindset than I usually do. I came into this project thinking that I needed to “step it up a notch” because grades starting in Gr. 11 start mattering heavily towards university acceptances. As I got into the groove of the project I realized that I could kind of cruise by without standing out, to achieve my contracted grade. A 95%. I came into the year overestimating the workload and as the “quarter” went on I started underestimating the workload. What I failed to realize is that as our grades start to matter more, so do assignments and the workload. Teachers will not “give out percentages” as easily as they used to in previous grades. I realized that I must now work for the results I want. 

My very first “Hiroshima response journal” is a great example of my lack of effort. In this response journal, I provide a strong valid point. However, the point I provided was very surface level, and on top of that I did not provide evidence to support my point. Instead, I thought that the teachers would be able to understand exactly what I meant with very little insight on my thinking. I failed to realize that to show my learning and my excellence I must tell my reader what to think. With my writing I must guide the reader to an experience. I became aware of this too late. With my last response journal being better,  but still not up to par. I refused to let this project define the year I was going to have.

With a new teacher, and our project switching I vowed to improve myself. I did. An example of this are my 5 song write ups for “The Playlist of my Life.”  Specifically, my favorite write up, “7 Years” by Lukas Graham.

7 years

Lucas Graham

7 years by Lukas Graham is my anthem. The first time I heard 7 years, I thought nothing of it. This song, although being mostly free verse, was very catchy and the lyrics were easy to learn and repeat. 10 year old me liked it. Now, “7 years” later I appreciate the song, in a whole new light.

In this song, Lukas recounts the highlights of his life. Learning points, memories, and his mindset as he grows up. As the first verse is sung, the audience is immediately encountered by an idiom. “Once I was seven years old, my mama told me go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely, once I was seven years old” (0:19-0:30) While literally meaning go make some friends, Lukas’ mom is alluding to the fact that Lukas needs to find a passion. A passion that will stay with him throughout his entire life. Without said passion, Lukas’ mom worries Lukas’ will be empty, and have no driving force in his life. 

As Lukas vocalizes his dreams, “…So I started writing songs, I started writing stories something about that glory, just always seemed to bore me…” (1:09-1:19) Lukas is aware of the deceitfulness of life. He shows that the harshness that comes with growing up, caused him to distance himself. And, “…only those I really love will ever really know me.” (1:19-1:23)

As Lukas expresses his mindset towards his goals, I resonate with them. I have been chasing my own dreams of playing university soccer and amongst all the doubt I must see the light at the end of the tunnel. As Lukas doesn’t believe in failure, I admire that mentality and everyday I strive towards it. 

Throughout the rest of the song, Lukas doesn’t fail to acknowledge “his boys.” Whether still with him now, or in the past Lukas acknowledges everybody along his path. This is extremely important to me and has taught me a valuable lesson. I worry about losing friends and becoming distant if I go abroad for university. This constant acknowledgement teaches me that, even if we move on, my friends, no. My family are a major part of my life, and the lessons I have learned from them will serve me for the rest of my life.

The line, “I made the man so happy when I wrote a letter once” (2:52-2:56) is the most important to me. I interpret this line as accomplishing my dreams for my parents. All those long nights in Abbotsford for tournaments, all those Saturdays being spent driving from left to right for games. I just want to be able to say “Mom, Dad I did it.” I want to show them that they didn’t sacrifice so much for nothing.

As Lukas thinks toward the future he says “Soon I’ll be 60 years old, will I think the world is cold or will I have a lot of children who can warm me…” (2:59-3:08) This phrase metaphorically compares two opposite lifestyles that Lukas will be living. Lukas questions the future and how his life will play out. This symbolizes the unknown and to me symbolizes my unknown of playing university soccer or not. And the constant questioning of “am I good enough?”

As Lukas repeats “Once I was 7 years old” in the last verse of the song, he acknowledges his roots. That first piece of advice his mom gave him. His connection back to home…

Throughout this project I started every assignment as early as possible. Therefore, I could use those final two nights before it’s due to edit the assignment instead of starting and completing it. This allowed me to view the assignment in a different light when I reopened it the night before it was due. I was forced to re-read the whole thing. This helped me catch grammatical errors and also helped me fine tune some of the ideas I was presenting. I have been told that I have ended off this project with a grade close to 90% which I am happy with. I am happy with the progress I have made so far, but still hungry for more.

At my end of project discussion with Ms. Maxwell, I also came to a very eye opening conclusion. I concluded that gaining 10% from 80-90 is much easier than getting 5% from 90-95. I realized this because 80-90% work is much similar compared to 90-95% work. Although the range is smaller, the quality of work is much higher. I went home that night and brainstormed a few ways to help me make that jump.

 This brings me to my second portion of this blog post. How will I continue to improve my grade to reach my 95% contracted grade?

I plan to use tutorial time to my full advantage. I have not been fulfilling the opportunity that tutorial time has provided me with so far. By going to tutorial time, I plan to get feedback on my work BEFORE the due date. By doing this, not only will I get a teacher POV of how my assignment looks but it also allows the teachers to see the growth I am making throughout that assignment.

I plan to use tutorial time to my fullest advantage this next semester to push me over the edge and get the mark I am gunning for. I already have started the habit of waking up at 8am everyday to tidy up my assignments for that day of school. Waking up a few minutes earlier and doing this will not be that much harder. This gives me that time from 8:30 until 9:20 to do this in front of the teachers. I intend to use my communication skills to help me with this change in my life. By communicating clearly and purposefully with my teachers, I plan to make my work the best it has ever been! I am excited for the semester to come and for the progress I will make!