“Stay away from AP English like the plague.” “Have fun repairing your writing hand next year in AP English.” “I heard students in AP English sit around in a circle everyday and discuss their problems.” “The AP English teacher could force a penguin to migrate south.” “You take AP English? You’re a doofus.” Although somewhat outrageous, I heard these exact words in my career at CFHS from older students and younger students alike. These threats, conspiracies and facts most definitely rattled my younger, sophomore self. Yet somehow, someway (although it may have come from the fact that my lazy older brother found a way to finish both years of AP English), I accomplished the first year of the stressful course with hovering colors. Now, as a veteran in the form of AP English, I believe that I have an honor, no, a duty, to pass along my insurmountable knowledge of the class to younger ladies and gentlemen who face a similar situation as I once did. So, without further ado, allow me to begin a spiel containing information and advice regarding AP English that will hand success to readers on a silver platter. To begin with, a student must never, under any circumstance, start a day off in AP English with a lack of a black and blue pen. This deems the first and most important rule a student must remember before entering the gates of Serensky’s lair. I once learned my lesson the hard way after forgetting this key rule, and in turn, walked out of class that day with eyes resembling the colors of the pens I should have brought to class. In all seriousness, the teacher requires students to bring a pen everyday, yet I have learned during my adventures that bringing two pens enables a student to feel twice as prepared. Now for rule two: a student must train his/herself to love a variety of television shows. After school each day, an AP English student should work out their writing hand by flipping through the channels on their remote. A stronger writing hand equals a faster writing pace and therefore more success in the world of AP English. Thirdly, an individual under the teachings of Ms. Serensky needs to acquire a certain sense of humor. A student must learn to laugh at things that others may deem cruel, unusual and most definitely awkward. For example, strangely located tattoos, dying horses, and abnormally large ladies facing terrifying circumstances involving men with pig faces, now prove side-splitting funny to students of AP English. Sharing a similar sense of humor with the instructor of the class enables time to fly in the utter bareness of the room residing at the end of the hall. Lastly, a student that wishes to excel in AP English must become as close to female as possible. Weird, I know, but you heard correctly. I do not think it necessary to exclaim that I only speak to males regarding this last rule. Females swarm like insects into the AP English classes, outnumbering the boys by tenfold, creating an environment unfit for individuals who prefer campfire over candlelight. The saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them” directly applies itself in this situation. Girls possess greater writing skills than boys. Fact, not fiction. Therefore, begin practicing this transformation by curving your calligraphy, analyzing the un-analyzable, and dotting your letter “i’s” with cute heart bubbles. A student who follows these four simple steps will find themselves overwhelmed with success in the world of AP English.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Before you read: Ana Moran serves as a fantastic, non-judgmental writing partner. Readers should not take this piece of writing seriously.
The dreaded seventh period hovers around the corner. I wish sixth period would last forever. I guess I missed the shooting star last night though, because the bell chimes three times, signaling for all students to continue on with their day. I drag my feet along the hallway carpet, thinking that maybe if I can create enough friction and then touch Ms. Serensky’s door handle, I can electrocute myself so that I do not need to endure another day with my writing partner. I inhale deeply and flash-forward a few months. There I stand, gazing up at the ceiling of a brilliant hall in Harvard University, accompanied by other teenagers able to understand the theory of quantum entanglement. I snap back to reality and take my seat in the semi-circle. Across the room, the boy with the abnormally large head and UNC t-shirt laughs as he makes a sexist joke. I do not think he would laugh so hard when he hears that his fellow female classmate plans on attending Harvard next year. Ha! Such short-sightedness. And then he walks in. Him. How could fate turn against me so that I must endure him for a full semester as a writing partner? Actually, how could Ms. Serensky turn against me by pairing me up with this oaf? I make a note to myself not to include her in my speech after winning the Nobel Prize. He walks next to me. Goodness! I cannot become accustomed to his height! He would give Frodo Baggins a run for his money. Lol. Good one, Ana. He struts casually into his desk wearing a college logo t-shirt and gym shorts with black basketball shoes. Whoa Derek! Try not to step too far out on that limb! Maybe tomorrow he will decide on jeans…probably not though. Ms. Serensky asks us to begin discussing a chapter from Watchmen with our writing partners. Derek turns towards me, with concentration written on his face, preparing for an in-depth comment, and states, “So…I really thought that Laurie was like…super sexy.” Wow Derek, your insightfulness never seizes to amaze me. Ms. Serensky goes around the circle, passing back in-class essays. I fold back the corner of mine to glance at the AP Rubric score: 10+. Not bad. I sneak a quick glance at Derek’s paper and find him grinning from ear to ear at his 5- score. Atta boy, Frodo. Congratulations on scraping your way to a passing grade once again. The three “dings” from the bell cause everyone in the classroom to throw their belongings in their packs and race for the door. An innocent bystander would think the bell acted as a fire alarm, not a normal “beep” that signaled the end of classes. I follow in the wake of the students, eager to rush home and shower after another day with my writing partner.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Next year, I, the one and only Derek Stevenson, will attend Grove City College. I know, shocking, this college does in fact exist, located an hour south of Pittsburgh. I look forward to meeting a plethora of new people and pray that some of my peers feel sympathetic enough towards me to act as my friends. With this in mind, I would like to leave a certain impression upon these unfortunate students. To begin with, I would like my future friends to think of me as sociable. My tuxedo shirt already hangs in my closet, waiting for me to strut my stuff in it, giving me the impression that I strive for formality, but also look to party. Seeing that Grove City has remained a dry campus since the age of dinosaurs, this goal may look slightly different than most people imagine. After my first year of college, I hope all the students in my hall view Derek Stevenson as a friend they can go to for a hang-out, a serious conversation, or help in revising their English papers. As seen from my parents and two older siblings, college friendships have the potential to become strong bonding relationships that last past the few short years of education. Secondly, I want my future friends in college to admire my work ethic. College acts as a place for learning, and I would bet my left knuckle that Jim and Barb will constantly remind me of this fact. With the pleasant reminder from my parents and the challenge set before me by following in my older brother’s footsteps, I will work harder than a woodpecker in a petrified forest. In doing so, I must become accustomed to hours spent in the library, creating flashcards and forming study groups. Pride would radiate from my body if I could start college as a mechanical engineer and finish the four years of college with this same title. Finally, I would find it quite pleasing if my friends thought of me as an overall joyful person. In order to achieve this goal, this summer I plan on watching and analyzing the PBS legend, Mr. Rogers, along with the rest of his neighborhood, putting my skills learned from AP English to good use. Red V-neck sweaters, along with very young children, will become my new best friends. If I can accomplish these few goals, I will enjoy the next four years of life and I hope I can positively affect the lives of students around me.