iPhoneography

iphoneography

Does one really need an expensive camera to take quality pictures? Really, these days, the iPhone in your back pocket is the most convenient way to capture a moment. Rather than carry a bulky camera around, I began simply using my iPhone to capture life’s moments.

Kat(:

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The Redesigned SAT Will Arrive in My Year. Yay or Nay?

Recently all over the news, there has been word of the new changes to the SAT coming in spring 2016. Being in high school, this affects me the most. I, among others future juniors, will be the first batch of kids to be tested using the new format. I am still unsure of how I feel of these changes, yet I know what a major impact my future SAT scores will have in deciding which college I will go to after high school. And since I will be the most affected by these changes, I have done some research.

Overall, the new SAT will:

  • be offered both online and in print form.
  • be scored on a 400-1600 point scale.
  • have no penalty for wrong answers.
  • have more real-world related passage-based reading.
  • not include obscure vocabulary.
  • include an optional analysis essay.

Ever since this news was released, there has been much controversy surrounding the new changes. Personally, I feel like I’d be better off taking the old version of the SAT earlier, and depending on how well I do, taking the new one as well.

I can say that I am not so fond of some of these changes. I don’t like the idea of an optional essay, since the essay is the only really raw part of the entire test. The rest of the test is just filling in bubbles and writing in numbers. The essay is the only portion in which test givers can see how students really think. I really don’t see the point in making the essays optional either, since most colleges will most likely require it. As for the increase in passage-based reading questions, I am not so happy about either. There seems to be less variety in the new SAT. And oddly enough, I have always liked learning new SAT vocabulary words regardless of how obscure they were, so that’s a disappointment too.

Other than this, I have no idea what to think about the changes, since I have not yet seen the new types of questions there are going to be. The College Board will, however, release new sample SAT questions on April 16 this year. How do I feel about the whole switcheroo? I can’t say… at least not yet. Luckily, I have the opportunity to take the old version and the new one.

Kat(:

College Board- SAT redesigned

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Time Machine

A time machine. The idea itself is so futuristic, so seemingly impossible. But what would I do if I found one? The possibilities are endless. Maybe I would go back and study harder for that bio test. Maybe I would relive my childhood. Maybe I would agree on moving to Hong Kong and attending an international boarding school. Whether how life-changing or unimportant each event in my life was, each event added up to who I am today. If I reversed any one of them, my life just wouldn’t be the same.

We all have regrets in life. I always find myself thinking, what if I did this instead of that? Made this decision instead of that one? The result is mind-boggling. Although we can try to imagine what our lives would be like if we did something different at a certain point, there is no way to find out what the outcome would be like. We’d be slightly different people.

There’s always a certain moment that could have been better. Whether you made a huge mistake that changed the entire course of your life, or you’re unsatisfied because you cracked your phone screen that one day, these things could have been different. If only you made the right decision, or if only you left your phone at home on that one morning jog, it wouldn’t have been the same. But sometimes mistakes must be made. It’s the only way we’ll ever learn. For all you know, you could have made the right decision the first time, but went back to the wrong one. You could’ve left your phone at home that one time, but could’ve broken it during the next jog. The disappointments in life encourage us to change ourselves in the future. Next time, you’ll make the right decisions. Next time, you’ll get a life-proof case for your phone. Mistakes are only human. They are what make life so exciting. If everything was perfect and the way you wanted it to be, life would be boring.

Then again, I’m sure if I found a time machine, I wouldn’t only just contemplate changing a regret. I would also want to relive perfect moments. All those fun times when I was little–carefree and full of life. Especially that one day I spent at Disneyland with my best friend. Not a worry in my mind. Only concentrated on the present. Not the past nor the future. Life was good. It was easy, it was stress-free and I’d definitely want to relive it.

But I actually wouldn’t. Those happy memories that I have of my childhood are pleasant and all, but that’s what makes those memories so valuable. Living through it again would just defeat the purpose of the happy memory. What if during the second time living through that memory, things weren’t as good as the first? Then, I’d be disappointed and the originally happy memory would turn sour. I just wouldn’t want to take that chance.

The truth is, if I really found a time machine, I’d be too scared to use it. I wouldn’t want anything in my life to be different than how it is today.

Kat :)

Weekly Writing Challenge: Time Machine

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How My Passions Impact the World

Recently my school held the Optimist Oratorical Speech Contest. I really did want to participate, but I found that I did not have enough time to fully write, memorize, and prepare my speech before the contest date. So, I thought I would share my now finished speech here:

Oratorical

How My Passions Impact the World. There is no form of communication more effective than writing. There is no clearer, more concise way to get your ideas across to people. There is nothing more life-changing and more influential than the written thought… I have a passion for writing.

Ever since my third grade teacher required us to write weekly short stories and share them out to the class during a “Story Sharing Hour,” I fell in love with writing. I was able to escape reality and travel to a whole new universe of characters and places and events, and I was able to think creatively. Once I realized my true passion for writing, I attended various writing classes to shape and individualize my writing.

I am passionate about writing because passion can be expressed through writing. Writing is what brings my passions together. I share my passions through blogging. Blogging provides a record of my ideas, goals, and pieces and combines them into one place that can be shared throughout the world. Writing allows us to share our thoughts and feelings about certain topics and can be shared through various gateways to influence the opinions of others. And there’s nothing more impacting than changing one another’s opinions–to get people to think like you, to feel the way you do.

After all, one idea can change the world. Ideas are more permanent when they are formally written down, because the written word never goes away. Ideas may the same, but the wording is different. And that is what makes a piece of writing so unique and personal.

Our world’s most globally prized and influential possessions are in written word. For example, the Constitution changed the entire course of our country. Words on paper can never become forgotten. Words in writing just seem so official, so unchanging.

Writing has influenced my life also. Just last year my father was offered a new and better job position in Hong Kong and he wanted to uproot our family and move there. My brother was going off to college anyway. Why not? I was fiercely opposed to moving after spending my entire life here in America. At the time, I was taking a persuasive writing class. So, I wrote him a formal 5 page letter outlining all the reasons that we should stay. In the end, my dad decided to turn down the job offering. I realized how, through a simple letter, I was was able to control my future through my writing. Writing is powerful.

Writing is my passion. Writing can change the world, it has changed the world, and it will continue to change the world.

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The Effects of Writing

I bit my lip and stared straight past my dad, as I tried to block his voice out of my head. That loving, kind voice that I knew so well, telling me something that I didn’t want to hear, speaking of my greatest fear. Change. I loved the way my life was, and loved every aspect bound to it. This change that he spoke of frightened me. In an unbreakable daze, memories of happiness in the past came flashing back. Bitterly and resentfully, I took the news.

My dad explained how he got a job offer in Hong Kong. He said it paid nearly double the amount he made now, and that there was an international boarding school that I could attend. He said that he was definitely leaning toward excepting the offer. He had gone on and on about the benefits of accepting the offer, when I had slowly began to wilt inside. There I was, barely listening to his news, already thinking of the changes that would be made.

I am that kind of person who likes everything to be clearly planned out. I like things to go my way. When I am asked to give a speech, I will memorize it word for word rather than do it on the spot. I absolutely hate being put on the spot. Up to this point I had my near future planned out. I would live in sunny California for the next five years of my life, attend my local high school, be on their swim team, and get good grades. My plan certainly did not include moving to Hong Kong with my dad, away from my mom and brother, to attend an international boarding school. Hearing the news that could crush all of my future plans was unbearable.

I spent hours thinking about all the detriments of moving. Leaving my all of my friends would be devastating, especially those I have known for my whole life. Starting anew would be a difficult challenge that I did not want to pursue. Overall, I concluded that moving to Hong Kong would be a terrible idea. So then, I did the only thing I could; I turned to my computer and started pounding away on the keyboard.

And I wrote. I wrote non-stop for a total of four hours, and ended up with a five-page letter about how badly I wanted to stay. I hoped to persuade my dad not to accept the job offer. Everything flowed into ink, every emotion, thought, and feeling that I had bottled up for the past couple days. When I wrote, I discovered uncovered feelings that I did not know about. I found out that I hated change. I learned that I loved my life in the U.S., and realized how blissful it had been. After the essay was complete, I waited. I waited for the perfect moment to drop my bomb, my last attack on influencing his decision.

My dad did not have to respond to the job offer until November that year. At this point, he was pretty much set to accept the job offer. This letter was my last chance to get him to change his mind.

It was a Wednesday of which I emailed my letter to him. He was at work, and I was still on summer break from school. I took a deep breath, hit send, and waited for a response. A couple hours later, he forwarded me an email he had sent addressed to the professors at Hong Kong. He was declining the job offer! I read his email of decline over and over again.

“In the process of searching for a solution, it has become apparent to me that my family’s happiness is my first priority. I did not fully comprehend the magnitude of the potential impact until it was about to become reality.”

I was flabbergasted by his quick response to my letter. It was this moment that I realized how powerful writing actually was. I found that I could change a life decision just by writing a letter. Who knew that I could cause such a ripple in my own and others’ lives? I discovered that writing was my only gateway for thoughts. That it was a form of communication that is more effective than speaking. That it could change someone’s outlook on a topic. Through this life-changing situation, I discovered the significance of being able to effectively write.

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The Keys to Lost Treasure

Treasure

A piece of treasure doesn’t necessarily have to be something that you keep hidden away under lock and key so that it does not get stolen. It doesn’t have to be something that is so unique that there is only one more left in the world. An item that you treasure can be used in daily life to assist you in the smallest, but most significant ways. All an item has to do to be considered “treasure,” is to have special meaning to the owner. Some items are often overlooked as treasures because of their commonality.

For example, my keys are considered a treasure to me, not because of their obvious use to get into my house, but because they remind me of what I stand for. My various keychains and adornments all represent who I am and what I love.

  • The two keys with the paintings on them reflect my love of nature and nail art. The picture of the sunset and the ladybug are actually drawn on with nail polish, and are my two favorite nail art designs.
  • The Hawaii keychain, the silver keychain from Sweden, and the keychain of the red anime-looking doll from the Shanghai World Expo in China reflect my love of traveling. I actually have a whole collection of keychains from all of the countries and places I have visited, but the three on my keys are the most recent.
  • The keychain with my name on it reminds me of my love for my sport: swimming. Swimming is such a large part of my life, and it’s only fair that it deserves a fair representation on my keys. Plus, if I ever lose my keys, people will know who to return them to, since it does have my name on it.

I really don’t know what I would do if I lost my keys. Not only would I lose access to the inside of my house, but I would also lose the sentimental value and the memories that come along with each individual keychain that I have.

What do you treasure, and what value does it have in your heart?

-Kat(:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

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Antisocial Social Media

social-media

Social media has made a huge impact on the world. A person’s popularity is now determined by how many followers or friends they have on a certain social media site. Despite the growing participation of people using social media, in reality people are becoming antisocial.

In a world of the constant bustle and hustle of technology it is becoming increasingly harder to be aware of our surroundings. The other day I was reading a Time Magazine article about mindfulness. It really opened my eyes in what aspects we should be improving our lives in. It explained that since we have become so attached to our technological devices, we don’t often take the time to stop and look around us.

On the bus, crossing the streets, at dinner. Almost everywhere we go, there are people who are texting, social networking or playing games on their smartphone/tablet/iPad. This is becoming a real problem. We are becoming so attached to the digital world that we are absent from the real one. Our bodies are present but our minds are not.

There are less and less authentic face to face conversations and more digital ones. Technology is keeping us from seeing our friends and family in person. For instance, I used to always walk over to my friend’s house whenever I wanted to stop by and chat. Now I simply just text her. Our conversations have grown shorter and we have started to grow further apart. And I simply cannot even try to hide my annoyance when my friends are texting while I’m talking to them. Or when they’re listening to music while I want to start a conversation. It’s just plain rude and it has certainly been getting on my nerves.

Social media may make people popular online, but it definitely is making some of these people antisocial in real life. Take some time away from technology, and you’ll feel much more connected with the real world.

-Kat(:

 

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