I used to think writing essays and responses were a waste of my time, but over the last couple of years I have realized how vital writing is. I have come to realize that writing shows up in more than just school. You have to be able to write well in order to get into a good college, give a speech, or send an important email to a co-worker at your job. This has really made me pay more attention to the quality of every writing assignment I do in school.

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Because writing is so important, I find to take it more seriously now, than I would have freshman year. I pay more attention to diction and syntax errors, and I try to use unique words that will make my writing sound more official. After all, you don’t want to sound like a fourth grader while giving a speech or in the professional setting. Another thing I have found myself doing while writing is proof reading over and over to make sure I am conveying what I want to say in the best manner possible. Whereas two years ago, I may sped through a paper in under a hour, skimmed over it for any minor errors, and turned it in.

Taking American Lit. with Ms. Dockus has also inspired me to be a better writer. All the portfolio responses have pushed me to be a good writer. Also, the mastery assignments we did earlier this year made me recognize all the different types of sentences and punctuation that I have been doing wrong for so many years. Learning these new things have really improved my writing, and in turn have made writing enjoyable.

Overall, my high school experience, and especially Ms. Dockus’ class have made writing so much fun. I looked forward to writing my portfolio responses and conveying my thoughts in a manner that sounded intelligent and good. Writing has become something that I look forward to doing in school, and in life as I move forward.

Do you think being a good writer is important? Do you think you’ve grown as a writer over the course of high school, and especially this year? Do you enjoy writing?


How to Save Money

Saving money can be tough sometimes, especially when you are young. The temptations of food, and other luxuries always seem to bring your wallet out of your pocket.  Saving money was really hard for me at times, so I can up with some tips to help you save money, like it did me.

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The most tempting thing that sucked my money away was food. I have friends everyday that text me and ask me if I want to get food. Five to ten dollars spent on food here and there doesn’t seem like much, but let me tell you, it really adds up. In one month I saw my bank account go from 150 dollars to almost nothing, all because of food. I really needed to cut back on how often I bought food, and that’s what I did. I only bought food when I really felt that I needed it, or there was no food at home.

Loose change is something we all love, it gives us some money to buy a drink or a slurpee at anytime. One thing I found really helpful in saving money was collecting this loose change in a jar rather than spending it on little things that are gone in five minutes. Over time the jar fills up all the way and after returning it, you end up with some real cash, cash that you can save.

One last thing I found really helpful while saving money was saving every 5 dollar bill I got. Every time I got a five dollar bill, no matter the circumstances, I put it in a glass jar and didn’t break it until it was full. At the end I broke it open to find that I had 100 dollars! 100 dollars in less than three months was really good, it was money that I worked hard to save and I got to spend it on something I could enjoy.

Do you have problems saving money like I do? Have you used some of the same methods I did to save money? What were some other methods you used to save money? What were some of the things you found yourself spending money on that you didn’t need to?

Learning How to Speak Spanish

Learning a new language can be pretty tough. Different verbs, nouns, and sentence constructions can be overwhelming when being introduced to a new language. For me this language was Spanish. While I did have help from my teachers and friends at school, learning Spanish can be difficult at times. But some things I did help me advance my Spanish skills.

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Early on in my Spanish experience answering simple questions could be tough. I had little knowledge of what simple word meant. Although my teacher helped me out with some words and verbs, certain ones I still didn’t know. When I came across a word I didn’t know, I would google the meaning and try to remember what it meant for future reference. Through this, I slowly but surely saw my Spanish speaking abilities grow.

As I got better on Spanish, speaking became easier. Another problem I ran into was listening and understanding the language. One thing I did to improve my listening ability was watch T.V. shows with Spanish subtitles. Hearing it in English but reading it in Spanish really helped me connect different words and sentence structures. Over time I transitioned to watching shows in solely Spanish. I found these two things very effective in making me more comfortable with the language.

The last thing I found helpful the most was just speaking the language with my friends. Speaking simple sentences like “Let’s go to the store” and “I want to play basketball” over and over with my friends helped me become comfortable with speaking. Over time small talk became a breeze in class and I was ready to learn more.

Have you ever learned a new language? Did you find it difficult like I did? Did you do any of the things I did when learning that language? And did you do anything else that I didn’t that you found helpful?

Learning How to Drive

Learning how to drive can be a stressful for time for you and your parents. The numerous rules and skills that are required to drive on the open road can be hard to understand and master. These were definitely hard for me to master as well, so I am going to tell you about some of the things I did to start driving.

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Drivers Education courses are required to get your permit and eventually get your license when you turn 16. These courses can be helpful and give you needed experience on the road before you drive for real, but you still need more practice. One of the things I did to hone my driving skills was drive with my mom more.

I think driving with my mom was vital to me while I was driving. She would tell me what things I was doing wrong and what things I needed to improve on. For example, I had a tendency to hug the right side of the road when I drove and she always reminded me of it. Because of her constant reminders, I became conscious of it and I began to correct it. Over time I stopped drifting over to the right side of the road. Driving with my mom and her telling me what I did wrong helped me become a better driver, and helped me ease my nerves as I drove more and more and got closer to getting my license.

Another thing that helped me learn how to drive was just staying calm. Driving when you are just learning can be very stressful. Being stressed can cause you to make mistakes and put you in danger. Staying calm helped me stay comfortable behind the wheel, and in turn improved my driving. Driving with my mom contributed to this calmness behind the wheel.

The last thing I did while learning how to drive was watch my mom. My mom has many years of experiences behind the wheel. Watching her drive was very crucial to learning. Watching how an experienced driver handled herself really helped me.

Was your first driving experience like mine? If not, what was it like? What things did you do to help you learn to drive? If you did anything that I didn’t do, what did you do?

Trouble With Studying

Studying for tests and quizzes in school are very important to your success, but sometimes finding the time and place to do this can be a bit tricky. Sports, sleepiness, and many other things all come together to make carving out time for studying very hard. But luckily I have some tips for you that could improve your study habits, and your grades as a result.

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With practices every night for basketball, I find it a bit tricky to balance taking naps and studying. Sleepiness from the previous night of studying always haunts me the following day. There are several things I’ve learned that have helped me evade this problem. One thing that has really helped me in this area is creating a schedule. On a typical day I come home from school, study for an hour or so, take a nap, eat dinner, then I’m off to practice. This really helps me satiate both my needs of studying and sleep.

Another problem I run into while studying is my urge to play video games. This urge always haunts me whenever I need to study because it always seems to relax me. I’ve found that the best way to solve this problem is to only play during the weekends. This frees up a lot of time during the night that can go to studying. The urge to play during the week can be hard to resist at first, but over time it goes away and it becomes rather easy to focus on studying.

I hope hearing what I’ve done to improve my study habits have helped you also. Remember that your grades are very important. Believe it or not they are even more important than that ridiculously fun video game you are thinking about. Good study habits lead to good grades which can open up a lot for you in life.

Do you have any other tips for studying that I didn’t mention? If so, what are they? Do you agree with my tips? If not, why? Also, if you have used some of the tips I mentioned, have they worked?

Learning How to Play Video Games

Video games are a fun activities that many people enjoy to do in their free time. Video games can help reduce stress or take your mind off something else like school, but when first starting out, video games can be difficult to learn and hard to play. Numerous buttons on the controller that make your character do different things in game, along with the quick hand-eye coordination that is required to be good at certain games, were two things that I really had a problem with picking up.

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The problem of not knowing what each one of the buttons on my controller did while playing a game was a huge problem. Without knowing what these buttons did, I wouldn’t know how to control my character throughout the course of a game. To solve this I would simply look at the instruction manual of the game to figure which each individual button did. In no time I was controlling my character and playing the game with ease.

While the problem of knowing what each individual button was relatively easy to solve, improving my hand-eye coordination was not. Hand-eye coordination is pivotal to being able to play video games well, and when I first started playing my coordination was awful. To fix this atrocious coordination, I figured that the only way to improve it was to just keep playing. The old saying “practice makes perfect” really stayed true in this situation. Over time my playing got better and I actually started to have fun.

The practice for video games really payed off, and it is something that I still enjoy to do whether it’s to take my mind off something or to just sit back, relax, and have some fun.

Do you have any other suggestions to help someone learn to play video games? If so, what are they? Do you think these ways of learning would help you too? If not, why?