Spring, Studying, and Summer Plans…

Hey folks!

As of Wednesday, it is officially spring! Don’t get me wrong, I love school, but I am unbelievably excited for the beginning of summer. First year has been excellent. But let’s be honest, I still have another crazy round of exams to go through. Luckily for me, I only have three final exams and one final essay this semester. And (I’m not sure if I’m happy about this yet) they’re all pretty close together. So, while my studying will turn me into crazy-eyed-haven’t-showered-in-a-week Kenzie, I’ll be done my exams really quickly and chilling out at home before I know it! I’m not too sure when the packing part is going to get done though!

I’ve been spending insane amounts of time in the library lately. I’m just finishing up with a 6 hour stint, and it’s the shortest one all week. I have a new style of studying for Psychology (hopefully one that will work a little better than last semester), and it’s been taking up a bunch of time. I just finished a long English paper, and I’ve got to get started on a longer Religion paper soon so I have time to study for Psychology! It’s going to be a crazy busy few weeks for me, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to get through it alive.

boots-and-hearts-logoMy summer plans this year are so exciting that I just have to mention some of them. Firstly, I have to paint my new house some weekend this summer! Not that you care, but it’s going to be an awesome green colour! Next, my amazing boyfriend bought both of us tickets at Christmas to go to the Boot and Hearts Country Festival this summer! I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this. Names like Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, The Band Perry, Dean Brody, Chad Brownless, and Jason Blaine will all be there! Needless to say, I’m dying of excitement (only 132 days until the gates open!). Finally, (can you tell I was spoiled this Christmas?) my parents have surprised my brother and I with a Caribbean cruise. After my first year of university, and all the other personal crap that came with it, I am pretty freaking excited for this chance to chill out and do nothing but tan, swim, and read. Duh.

Oh, and also, I’m just about to finish Pride and Prejudice for my English course. It’s awesome to read something I’ve read before in a university course. Realizing all the different things that I completely missed out on is sooooo enlightening. Maybe I’ll minor in English?

That’s it for today, folks! See you soon,
Kenzie

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Life of Pi — Yann Martel

10th Anniversary Edition

LIfe of Pi by Yann Martel was given to me as a Christmas gift by my boyfriend last year. He told me it was one of his favourite books and that I had to read it. I wanted to and had plans to read it as soon as possible, but it fell by the wayside. Then, one day, I was confined to the bathroom with an awful bug (too much info?) and in order to keep myself distracted from the illness at hand, I started reading Life of Pi. I couldn’t have picked a better time to start the novel, as there was no way in hell I could have put that book down if I’d tried.

“I know what you want. You want a story that won’t surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won’t make you see higher or further or differently. You want a flat story. An immobile story. You want dry, yeastless factuality.” Martelp336

If you want a story like the one Pi described above, don’t read Life of PiLife of Pi changed the way I understand concepts like religion and survival for the better. The book is split into two very different parts. The first describes Pi and his discovery of religion, while the second tells the tale of a shipwreck and Pi’s very interesting and determined survival.

Religion is always a touchy subject, especially among the devout. Everyone, even those within the same belief systems, have a different take on God, atonement, forgiveness, Heaven etc.. Martel challenges many of these beliefs in favour of a more unified view on religion. However, it is not a forceful novel that demands you see things from Pi’s perspective; instead, it reads like the words of an exceptionally wise man merely sharing his knowledge. Merely by telling his story, Pi convinces you that there is a better, more open-minded way of seeing religion. Pi asks: “If there’s only one nation in the sky, should all passports [religions] be valid for it?” Martel, p74.

“Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat wearing Muslims.” Martel, p54-55

The second part of  the novel I don’t want to spoil for you. This is the part that I heard most about before having read the book. In fact, I though the entire book consisted of this second part. You most likely know that it has something to do with a shipwreck, a tiger, a zebra, and an orangutang. But I won’t tell you more than that…except to say that Pi’s story of survival is truly a fascinating one.

Normally, I say that I only do book reviews on books everyone should read. And that is somewhat true for this book as well. Everyone should read this book. However, that is not to say that everyone can. It’s not a book that’s difficult to understand or hard to follow, but it is a deep book that requires reflection and challenging your personal opinion. Pi himself refers to his story as one that will make you see higher, further, and differently. That’s pretty accurate, I’d say. If you’re close-minded and/or stubborn regarding religion, you won’t like this book.

Thanks for reading, folks! Let me know if there are any other books you’d like to hear a review on.

Kenz

Culminatings, Converting, and (non)Confirmation

Oh, how I love the end of the year … (sense my sarcasm).  As unbelievable stoked as I am for summer, I dread the coming month of June.  “June” to a high school student does not mean ‘almost summer’ or ‘teacher’s are getting slack’ or ‘another year is over’.  To a high school student, especially a grade 12 student, “June” means unbelievably packed schedules filled with last-minute projects, cramming for tests while also attempting to study for exams, and the ever-despised, culminating projects.

To this day, I still do not understand the point of having an in-class culminating project.  We’re told that if students are allowed to take their culminatings home, there’s a chance they will cheat.  Realistically, we shouldn’t be cheating on any of our work.  But if the risk is there, why let students take anything home?  It doesn’t seem to follow that teachers are seriously concerned about us cheating on our culminatings, but couldn’t be bothered with everything else we’ve done in the year.  And if the issue is the extra time (some teachers take issue with the fact that while some students would gladly advantage of the extra time at home, others could care less), then isn’t that a matter of time-management skills?  You snooze, you lose, right?.  And the kicker: doing culminatings in class means we can’t type it out.  This hurts the grades of the slow and/or messy writers, and is completely unrealistic given what technology has come to mean to students today.  I’ve mentioned before that teachers need to accept that technology is here to stay.  I know my opinion matters little to the school board, and it’s unlikely any change will occur before I’m out of the schooling system, but every now and then, I come across a teacher who has been struck by – dare I say it? – sanity.  A teacher who doesn’t mind bending the rules, because the rule are stupid.

Then again, some teachers are so stuck in their ways that certain students have no chance of succeeding.  Take, for example, an agnostic at a Catholic school…  Religion doesn’t play a huge part in my life, except that I go to a Catholic high school.  Now let’s say that, hypothetically (I say hypothetically only in order to remain P.C.) I had a teacher that was so set in his religious ways, that he (or she) unconsciously marked certain student’s responses harder than others.  Considering I am a non-Catholic at a Catholic school, I am very careful to survey my audience before I give my answer.  However, a question occasionally arises such as, “As a Catholic student, how do you feel about…” Unfortunately, the culminating in this class — this hypothetical class — is an essay in response to such a question.  Now, because of my constant need to ask questions, my ability to remain polite in frustrating situations, and my overall lovely demeanor, this (*hypothetical*) teacher still has hope that he might help me find the Lord.  I gotta say, I doubt it.  But I’m left with the decision: Do I miraculously convert and write my essay from the perspective of someone who had found God (something this teacher would love to hear), or tell him the unfortunate truth (albeit the politically correct version)?

One last thing: deciding to come back for grade 13 was a good decision, but it’s hard at times.  Times such as these, where I receive a letter from a university telling me that I haven’t been accepted.  I mean, I’m not actually planning on going anyway, but rejection still sucks.  It’s even more difficult when I receive an email telling me I have been accepted not only to the university, but also the residence I would kill for, as long as I confirm within the week.  I’m soooo tempted to just click that little “Confirm.”

Anyway, other than the above mentioned, it’s been the most fantastic 24 hours.  I have just found out that my favourite Australian band — John Butler Trio — is coming to Toronto this summer.  And even better than JBT, there is a very good chance that one of my closest friends will be coming to visit me (all the way from Denmark!) next summer!  I thought I’d mention these lovely events so you’re all aware that despite all my complaining, good things do actually happen to me, and I appreciate them endlessly. <3