Being my first mpol, I was nervous about making this presentation.  Many things this year have felt that way, joining PLP as a grade 11 student has its challenges and I welcome them, but this particular reflection had me stumped.  I wasn’t looking at this project from the right angle.  The whole point of doing an mpol is to stop and evaluate yourself, but I was evaluating myself without stopping.  My peers told me that ‘it wasn’t as big of a deal as I was making it out to be’, but that didn’t help.  My driving question wasn’t—

“What is your learning goal that you want to reach by the end of this school year, and how will you meet it?”

It was “How will I properly show all of my flaws in one presentation?  How will I format it?  Will I mess it up?  How will it affect my grade?  What if I follow the instructions incorrectly?”  This kind of thinking bogged me down for a while, I was completely lost, and had lost sight of what this project was even about; reflecting on your flaws.  Then I really realized what was going on, as I stepped out of my head.  I think way too much.  I’ve done this my whole entire life.  Before I do something, I’ve narrowed my subconscious checklist to three points.

  1. What’s the approximate % of risk? (Why would I do something if it would risk my safety.)
  2. What’s the approximate % of failure? (If I might fail, I have to think of something else.)
  3. Is it causing me stress? (What would I rather be doing.)

I have to work on all three, it’s no way to live.  As I was examining this pattern I really began to understand what was going wrong.  Firstly, risking safety and failure can sometimes be a bad idea, but it’s very important to welcome it too, because if I wish to be successful in business or anything I choose to go into, I have to conquer my fear of failure and risk.  And secondly, “Is this causing me stress?”, this one is really the crux of my point here.  When it comes to work that I don’t feel confident in, after all of the thoughts, scenarios, and checklists, when I get down to number three, I do feel stressed out.  I would honestly rather do anything than think more once I’ve analyzed all of the possible angles that something could go wrong from.  That’s when it leads to late blog posts, missing components, or careless looking entries, although I actually care a lot.

So when has thinking this way gotten me in trouble?

This year so far, I feel that my weakest unit was definitely Tribalism and Lord of the Flies.  Looking over that unit, and seeing where I went wrong, from my position now, it was very obvious that I went wrong in the details.  I really did understand the story, the character arcs, the themes, the meaning of the quotes, I knew all of it.  Although when it came to putting all of that together into a cohesive and deep-looking analysis, I fell short.  Now looking back I do understand more about how I should have gone deeper into the themes and expressing my own ideas and interpretations of not only what a quote might mean to the story, but how that quote might connect to the real world, and the human experience.

But when has thinking this way served me?

When it comes down to it I’m a perfectionist, I want my work to reflect exactly what I want it to reflect, and sometimes this leads to failure because I can’t always do so, but other times it leads to great success.  This mindset was possibly a product of being a ballet dancer, and most definitely was a factor in my success.  I feel that a success of mine this year so far in PLP was the beat poetry unit.  I really loved exploring my creative side, practicing public speaking, contributing to the group, and learning about the Beat Generation.  I’d always wanted to learn about this time in history, and I was really excited to, and motivated to learn.

I also really enjoyed the Manhattan Project project, it was my first unit in PLP so I was missing components of my learning, but I am proud of my work regardless.  Making the book was a challenge, and required lots of effort, and the trip to Albuquerque was a new experience that I really enjoyed.  I think that I thrived in these units because I really enjoyed what I was learning.

Manhattan Project  

Starting Grade 11

While this mindset does serve me, it is a flaw that affects my work negatively sometimes, and I’d really like to hone it.  Starting grade 11 this year was a big learning curve, and then PLP just elevated that.  In grade 9 and 10, I totally breezed through, I really didn’t have any problems with my mindset or my perfectionism because there wasn’t as much work to do.  Although once I got into grade 11, it all changed.  Teachers suddenly expected so much more of me, the homework-load tripled, and most of all it really all matters now.  Grade 11 is important for university, and so everything you do from this point matters.  Homework, extracurriculars, and SAT prep really took a toll on me, and still is.  I was annoyed at myself for dropping my grade to some B’s but I also have to give myself some slack, because I’m doing my best.

I realized over the course of this school year that i don’t do as well when I don’t understand the purpose behind the material I’m learning.  When I don’t understand the reason I’m doing something, my mind wanders and I don’t get things done.  Some school subjects that I’m doing well in are Spanish, Physics, and some aspects of PLP, and I’m doing well in these subject because:

  1. I enjoy doing them
  2. I understand the real-world scenarios when they’d become useful
So what is my learning goal, and how will I accomplish it?

Back to the driving question,

“What is your learning goal that you want to reach by the end of this school year, and how will you meet it?”

My learning goal, that I hope to accomplish by the end of this school year is to learn to hone my “perfectionism” to make it work for me, and not hold me back.  A way that I’ll accomplish this learning goal is to find meaning in the subjects that I do.  I have a hard time in chemistry for example because I haven’t been particularly introduced to why learning moles and negligible, yet complicated equations regarding amounts of particles will affect my life.  I don’t want to be a chemist, why am I forced to learn chemistry when I want to go to business school?  Well, chemistry is the language of the universe, knowing the principles of chemistry will inform and guide my thinking and understanding of the world for the rest of my life.  I’ve felt this way about analyzing stories too.  I felt like it was pointless, and would never help me in my life goals.  Although I have to remember the importance of all subjects in school.  Analyzing stories gives you a broader understanding of the world, by seeing it through someone else’s lens.  Thinking of it in this more engaging way really makes me more eager to learn.  

No matter what subject I’m learning, there’s always a purpose.  With identifying and understanding that purpose, I feel much more motivated to learn.  

My question:  What other areas of my learning do you think that I could improve in the most?