The Harsh Realities Of Life

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David Lurie’s life reminds me of a rollercoaster. Think about it. It’s always going up and down. At some points he reaches peaks in his life where it seems like things are finally going well for him, then the rollercoaster drops and David reaches rock bottom. His life is thrilling but at the same time it’s scary. What I’m trying to get across is that his life is pretty unstable.

David is jobless, he lost his respect and dignity in Cape Town, and his relationship with Lucy was hanging on by a thread. He is lost, figuratively speaking of course. He’s 52 and divorced. He sleeps with prostitutes, with his student, with Bev (Lucy’s friend). He struggles within himself, with who he is as a person and I think throughout the novel he really doesn’t know who he is or what kind of person he could be. He moves in with Lucy and on her farm and that is when his journey really begins.

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David faces life’s harsh realities when he moves onto the farm, which is the realization of the way he is living his life. Living with Lucy is a whole different story than when he lived in Cape Town. The people have different lives here; he is surrounded by people he doesn’t know and with people who live a much different life than his. He really begins to understand what kind of man he is here.

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He goes through some difficult experiences. His daughter is raped and there wasn’t anything he could’ve done to stop it because at the same time, he is brutally beaten and hospitalized by the men who invaded Lucy’s home. Not only that, but almost all of Lucy’s dogs are shot and killed by the invaders. So far, nothing is going right for him. David is going downhill (back to my rollercoaster reference). BUT, even though he is going through some tough times by living on the farm, the farm is part of the reason in how he truly learns about his character.

We can all agree that life isn’t perfect. We’re never going to live a  life where every experience we go through is positive. Bad things will happen and we’re all going to face harsh realities of life at some point but that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome them We live, we learn, we grow. That is exactly what David does. He goes through several negative experiences; such as his experiences with women and his obsession with them. Positive aspects however do come out of his experiences with women as he learns about himself through the difficult times.

Problems and Solutions Quotes

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David is so obsessed with the thought of women and is so caught up in his own sexual feelings that it takes over him. His affair with his student was a negative experience however it ultimately leads him to where he is now which is on the farm and living with Lucy. Would David have learned about himself if he never lived on the farm and got to experience what life is like here? I want to say no. If he stayed back in Cape Town, and didn’t get caught with his affair, chances are he would’ve continued his act.

But, he moved to the farm, moved with Lucy and faced the harsh reality of the rural area. There was one positive thing that came out of  that affair and it is that it brought David to where he needed to be in order to find himself and that is the farm.

“The truth is, he has never had much of an eye for rural life […] Not much of an eye for anything, except pretty girls; and where has that got him? Is it too late to educate the eye?” [Coetzee,218]

The line that stands out to me in that quote is “where has that got him?” It’s a great question. Where has his obsession with women got him in life? Nowhere really. At least David realizes that for himself now.

Living on the farm and facing the difficulties on this land is what gives David a wake up call. He learns that there is so much more to life. In Cape Town, David was a professor. Here, he works in the hospital with Bev, helping her put animals to sleep. That’s definitely not something he expected to be doing but you know what? It gives him a purpose. He finds peace within himself in the end and learns that his old lifestyle, back in Cape Town is not a lifestyle he should be continuing to live. Maybe some of us can relate to David. I know that in my life, when things seem to be going completely wrong, I still manage to learn something from it. Life isn’t always negative. We live and we learn and we overcome struggles because that is what we, humans, are capable of doing.

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Works Cited

Coetzee, J. M. Disgrace. London: Vintage, 1999. Print.

Planning the Portfolio

This has been a crazy yet fun packed semester. I have acquired many skills throughout this course, as I have become a stronger writer and have learned how to analyze texts in ways I haven’t before. This course taught me how to express my opinion in different ways, blog writing being one of them as it is something I haven’t done before but it has taught me greatly how to express my thoughts and to interact with my classmates. As you can see, this blog sounds different from the ones written in the past and that is because this is the plan to the final project due at the end of the semester.

For my essay that is being written on Disgrace, I have chosen to write it on cause/effect, focusing on reader response theory. Reader response is the theory that gave me the most insight on my book and I learned a lot about the main characters of this book through this theory. The effect of Lucy’s rape brings a positive outcome to David’s life as he truly learns about himself from this therefore my essay will focus on that situation.

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For my media project, I’ve chosen to make a blog post. I’ve become very comfortable writing blog posts and I find it very effective when it comes to expressing my points and opinions and it is a great way to express my sense of humour with my classmates.

I think my main challenge that I will face is expanding and relating my thesis with more characters throughout the book rather than just focusing on the main character, David.

 

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The End of a Journey for David Lurie

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In my first blog post on Disgrace, I analyzed the book based off of readers response theory. I had many questions about what was going to occur in the book later on and I made predictions about what could happen and why I thought David visiting Lucy in the first place was significant. This theory compared to archetypal and feminist, I think gave me the most insight on the book and on the characters. So, lets go back to those questions I had at the beginning of the book and see what I’ve learned since then, shall we?

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David left Cape Town and lost his job because of the affair he had with his former student. Before Melanie came into the picture, David was seeing a prostitute once a week. He has been divorced three times and overall was not treating women with respect nor was he doing anything for himself by constantly seeing women and using them as sex objects. When David moves into the country with Lucy everything is different; he now lives with people he doesn’t know, people who are poor, who are living a much different life than the one back in Cape Town.

David had to get used to his new living conditions but he had a difficult time accepting the life of Lucy. He didn’t think that her living here was good for her and thought that her life will be going nowhere. Back in my first blog post on readers response, I asked myself what the significance of David visiting Lucy was. I thought that David was going to learn something from this so, what does he learn from this experience? He learns about himself through Lucy’s rape.

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Like I’ve said from previous posts, Lucy was raped by three men. This was a tragic experience for both Lucy and David. It struck David hard because it had him thinking that he may have put Melanie through the same thing that those men put Lucy through. Of course, at the time, David may have not realized that what he was actually raping Melanie but he comes to the realization of this after Lucy’s rape. This goes back to the significance of David living with Lucy. Throughout that journey, he realizes what kind of man he is and he cannot look at himself the same. He changes, he learns about himself, and begins to grow as a person because he realizes the lifestyle he was living before is not one that he should continue to live.

220 pages later, David’s journey ends with him in Africa, working with Bev in the animal hospital putting dogs to sleep. Obviously, that is not something David intended to do with his life however, it gives him a purpose. This experience for David may not have turned out the way he expected, but it is just like the real world as many people will learn from others, or through them and find a sense of peace with themselves because of it.

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The Control Men Have Over Women in Disgrace

Let’s talk feminism. I just finished reading the book Disgrace and I have a mix of emotions; it was a rollercoaster! Throughout the novel, there were so many clear points and examples of feminism that I didn’t really end up noticing until the last section of the book. Remember in my first blog post, I talked about how David lost his job over an affair he had with a student of his? Well all of that comes back as it connects to Lucy’s rape. To refresh everyones memory, Lucy and David were robbed and during that robbery, Lucy was raped . This reminds David of his affair with Melanie, his former student. Was that an affair or was that more of a rape? There were times where it seemed like she did not consent to it and it leaves David thinking if he raped her. Just because Lucy’s rape situation was much different compared to David and Melanie’s it doesn’t really mean David didn’t rape her.

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David’s attitude toward many of the females in the text is negative. We meet a woman at the beginning of the novel who was a prostitute that he would see once a week. We then learn about Melanie and as well prostitutes from his past. Later into the novel, David meets another prostitute in the street who gives him oral sex then he proceeds to drop her off where he found her when she is done. David seems to treat the women in this novel as solely a sex object. He is different when it comes to Lucy when she is raped by these men as he is angered by it but he realizes through that, that he has not been treating women right and begins to re-evaluate himself because of that.

 

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Lucy throughout the novel was portrayed as a strong, independent woman who did not need anybody to take care of her. In this section of the novel, it changes. David goes back to Cape Town for some time but when he returns to Lucy, he discovers she is pregnant. Not only is she pregnant, but she is considering marrying Petrus; her neighbour. Keep in mind that Lucy is a lesbian and Petrus already has two wives. Lucy tells David that this marriage is more of a business deal, that is an alliance for protection and not for love. Lucy is choosing to marry someone she does not love for the purpose of him being able to protect her.

David explains to Petrus that Lucy does not want to marry him:

“Lucy does not want to marry. Does not want to marry a man. It is not an option she will consider. She wants to live her own life” (Coetzee 202)

Petrus claims he understands and replies “But here it is dangerous, too dangerous. A woman must be marry” (202)

Petrus claims that a woman has to marry a man because it is too dangerous for her to be alone, as if a woman would not be able to protect herself without a man in her life; as her husband. It portrays and represents the women as weak, who need to depend on men for their safety which is not the case at all. David finds this situation humiliating, and even though Lucy agrees, she does not do anything about that or the fact that she no longer has rights or dignity. Lucy was stripped of her freedom and is forced to marry Petrus even though it is something she does not want to do. Although she realizes how humiliating it is, she goes through with it; choosing not to exercise her power that she has.

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A New Insight on the Characters of Disgrace

Remember in my first blog post written on Disgrace where I said I hope that the plot thickens into the next section? Well, guess what? It did! I found that this book was off to a slow start and I was worried that going into the second third section of the book, there would not be a big change in the plot but I was wrong.

In this section, a violent and disturbing attack occurs to David and his daughter Lucy on their farm. As David and Lucy are approaching their farm after a walk with their dogs, they see two men and a boy waiting outside. They ask to use their phone and as Lucy leads one of the men in, the other enters and they both attack Lucy. David later realizes there is something wrong and as he goes into the house, he is beaten and later is caught on fire by one of the men. They take food, electronics and anything they could find from their home. They also kill almost all of Lucy’s dogs that are on the farm and it is later revealed that Lucy had been raped by these men. Keep in mind that  David and Lucy are living in South Africa. David realizes these things happen so often in this country and it is just not to them and tries to persuade Lucy to move. This attack that occurs to the both of them gives a huge shift in the plot as well as to both the characters.

Archetypal literary theory is displayed throughout this section of the book by characters and symbols.  David is portrayed as the caregiver in this book towards Lucy. During Lucy’s attack, David tries everything he can to protect her and save her from the men even though he was also being attacked by one of them. Days after the attack, Lucy is not herself; she has a complete shift emotionally and psychologically and David is there to protect her and try to motivate her through this trauma. David himself is having difficulty with his journey which is why he came to live with Lucy in the first place, but is still trying to be the caregiver to Lucy and to rescue her from this traumatizing experience she has:

His child is in the hands of strangers. In a minute, in an hour, it will be to late; whatever is happening to her will be set in stone, will belong to the past. But now is not too late. Now he must do something .”(Coetzee 94)

“His wrist aches, his eyes burn, his scalp is sore and irritable. […] He pushes open Lucky’s door and enters. […] What is he doing? He is watching over his little girl, guarding her from harm, warding off the bad spirits. After a long while he feels her begin to relax.” (104)

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Although David is going through his own struggle, his main goal is to protect his daughter at all costs and that is during the attack and as well as the aftermath.

Another character in the book named Bev Shaw is like the mentor to David and Lucy. Bev is introduced at the beginning of the book. She is a friend of Lucy’s who runs the Animal Welfare Clinic. She helps both David and Lucy through their struggle after their attack and does this by giving advice and guidance to David. Also, she helps Lucy by explaining to David that he does not understand what Lucy is going through from her rape and to give her some space until Lucy herself is ready to talk to David:

‘How is she?’ he asks when she comes back. Bev Shaw only responds with a terse shake of the head. Not your business, she seems to be saying. Menstruation, childbirth, violation and its aftermath: blood-matters; a woman’s burden, women’s perserve.” (104)

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Lucy has a major character shift after her rape. Before it occurred, she was very open with David and talked about many personal topics with him, like his affair with his student. However, she starts to close herself. The loss of innocence is displayed by Lucy because of the violent attack. She becomes depressed as she refuses to eat or talk to anyone; if she does she becomes very snippy. She does not sleep during the night but does during the day and is obvious she lost herself from the attack. Even though it happened, Lucy does not bring it up to David or the police; almost as if it never happened. When the police question Lucy she does not tell them about the rape:

“‘How long did the whole incident take?’ she says, ‘Twenty minutes, thirty minutes.” An untruth, as he knows, as she knows. It took much longer. As much longer as the men needed to finish off their business with the lady of the house.” (109)

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Although Lucy is going through this struggle, her dogs are what have almost been like her safe haven. Light vs Dark is portrayed in this section as the men who Lucy and David saw walking down the path, who they’ve never seen before represent dark;  the unknown whereas the light suggesting hope would be her dogs. Even though many were killed by the men; some survive which is what represents hope that can be for Lucy. Animals can be a good representation for someone or something and in this novel, dogs mean everything to Lucy.

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The second section of Disgrace has reeled me in way more than I thought it would. The attack that occurred to David and Lucy thickened the plot extremely and I’m excited to  keep reading. I think that David and Lucy’s relationship is going to strengthen throughout the novel as they’ll get through this attack together and gain back the innocence that was ripped away from Lucy.

 

 

 

Disgrace- Interesting Title for an Interesting Book

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-5-33-37-pm Before deciding to read Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee, I was stuck deciding between many other books. Normally, I’m intrigued by books that have to do with war or is about a main character who is going through war, and I always find myself reading those type of books. However, something about Disgrace caught my eye. It is different from what I normally read as I have never read a book in the past that is similar to this one. In this book, a professor named David Lurie has an affair with one of his students and this scandal is later revealed. Instead of owning up to his guilt, he resigns from the University and decides to visit his daughter named Lucy on her farm in Salem. Based off of the small description given on the back of the book as well as reviews I found online while researching what book to chose I thought I should give this book a try and to pick a book I would not normally read.

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After reading 1/3 of the novel, I find it hard to predict what is going to happen in the book later. Sometimes throughout reading I thought to myself: Where is this book going? What is going on here? Is anything major going to happen to David and Lucy? What is the significance of David visiting Lucy? I had more questions than predictions of what is to come. So far, what I can predict is that David is going to learn something possibly life changing while visiting Lucy. He does struggle in life as he has been divorced twice, had an affair with a student and before that would spend his Thursday afternoons with a prostitute. Maybe throughout this journey, David is going to find himself, in a way that he will find a real purpose to life that is more important than what he is doing with his life right now.

Honestly, I found it hard to make some personal connections to this novel. While reading, I did not have anything stand out to me where I could say “Wow, that’s relatable”. However, on the last page, one line caught my eye. As Lucy and David are driving home, David starts bashing the farm she lives on. Lucy states “You think I ought to involve myself in more important things […] You think, because I am your daughter, I ought to be doing something better with my life.” (Coetzee 74) I found this interesting because I think a lot of teenagers can somewhat relate to this line, I know I can. Sometimes, parents can have their own idea of what their child should be focusing on and when we have a different path or view for our lives that is different from our parents, that’s when that difference of opinions and conflict can come in. That was the only connection I have had so far to this book.

So far, this book has not reminded me of any books I have read in the past. Like I said earlier, it is a different type of style from what I normally read so I haven’t been able to compare it to similar books or be reminded of books from this one. But with that being sad, I have only read 1/3 of it so maybe some connections to other books will be made later.

The author, J.M Coetzee is an intense writer. The book is written in third person, as he is the narrator. However, even though it is written in third person, sometimes it seems as if it is from the point of view of the main character, David because of how much knowledge there is of him. David’s feelings and thoughts are portrayed through the text greatly and I always know how he is feeling. With other characters, such as Lucy, we are not really given an insight as to how they feel but with David, it’s almost as if it’s being written from his view, which I find pretty cool. Here’s an example: “Demand. She means command. Her shrillness surprises him […] He puts down the telephone. A shadow of envy passes over him for the husband he has never seen.” (10) Coetzee tends to put what David thinks in italics which is a good way of showing the readers David’s thoughts. From this quotation, you are able to tell the thoughts and feelings from David.

 

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J.M Coetzee

After reading a third of the book, I have mixed feelings. It is a good book but I do find it  difficult to relate and connect to it on some levels. It has left a good impression on me so far but I’m hoping the plot thickens as I get into the next section.

Works Cited

Coetzee, J. M. Disgrace. London: Vintage, 1999. Print.

 

 

Remix or Rip-off: What’s the Difference?

 

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Creativity is an interesting topic to talk about when it comes to music, movies, books, television shows and more. In our society, so many new things are being created and a lot of it is based off of other ideas. That is how it all starts, right? Someone creates something and people build off of their idea to create something new of their own. That here is what we can call remixing. Maybe you have listened to a song or have watched a movie that reminds you of something you have seen or heard before. I know I have multiple times. So, when that happens, is it a remix or a rip-off? What is the difference?

Directly quoted by Kirby Ferguson in “Everything is a Remix”, a remix is “to combine or edit existing materials to produce something new”. However, a rip-off would be taking something or an idea from someone else and not changing a single thing to it. That is plagiarism, which is what a lot of artists tend to do these days. There is nothing wrong with using certain elements from someone else’s song as long as you are making it into something of your own. However, when an artist takes an idea from a song without bothering to change it, I personally do not see the point. If they have the chance to remix, why don’t they? It saves them from a lawsuit. I like talking about this when it comes to music because remixes of other songs are extremely popular and there are tons of artists who make remixes. But, there are also many who rip-off other artists. Let’s jump right in with an example.

 

 

Here we have “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga being compared to “Don’t Turn Around” by Ace of Base. Between these two songs, there are similarities noticed between the two which lead people to thinking that Lady Gaga ripped of Ace of Base. In “Alejandro”, from 1:08-1:15, that section sounds extremely similar to “Don’t Turn Around”, which from that song is between 56 seconds to the first minute. Both have a light, almost whispering voice before the beat drops and in “Alejandro” it sounds extremely similar to “Don’t Turn Around”. The beat after that drop does sound a little bit similar as well from Ace of Base however, it does not necessarily mean Lady Gaga ripped of Ace of Base.

Even though those two parts do sound similar, Lady Gaga transformed hers differently where there is a larger drop in the beat in her song and the song becomes sped up compared to “Don’t Turn Around” as it is a much slower tempo. Lady Gaga does incorporate the whispering before the beat drops but adds her own elements to the song, like a faster beat and tempo which makes her song different from “Don’t Turn Around” therefore not making it a rip-off. Then again, Lady Gaga could have been inspired by Ace of Base’s “Don’t Turn Around” which brings in the similarity between the two however, “Alejandro” is still a much different song. The lyrics as well as the meaning of both of the songs are complete opposites as well.

If artists really want to avoid ripping someone off of their song there is a lot they can do. For example, if they are inspired by a song or have a certain section in a song they like, they can choose to sample that in their song, with permission by the  artist of course. Taking something from a song but making YOUR own changes to it like adding more bass to the beat or speeding it up, or even mixing it with other elements is a great way to remix something from a song, which easily avoids ripping off songs. The more an artist does that, the more creative they are and who doesn’t like creativity?

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Works Cited

Ferguson, Kirby. “Everything Is a Remix Part 1 on Vimeo.” N.p., n.d.

 

Why Read When you can Listen?

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If I could use one word to describe how I feel after listening to that podcast it would be ” Wow.” Honestly, this was the first podcast I have ever listened to. In the past, I’ve tried to listen to a few here and there but they never really caught my attention. I found myself getting bored 3 minutes into it and I would always get distracted so I thought I shouldn’t even bother. But I really enjoyed this podcast. I think it was because it had to do with a murder case and those are my FAVOURITE. It’s like those television shows like the First 48, they’re so interesting and I love listening to the facts and making my own opinion on it. Anyway, that’s probably why I was so hooked to this. Serial presented this episode in a really good way. I think the narrator, Sarah, was a bold person. She wasn’t boring, and was fun to listen to so I think that’s what kept me listening to it more. I think by listening the case against Adan Syed, only having voices and facts being told out loud without any visuals was cool. I found myself picturing different scenes while listening to this, and picturing what Adnan or Hae looked like. The podcast really gets your imagination working.

Like I said earlier, I am not really a podcast type of person. I like reading and having the text in front of me, but listening to this podcast made me realize that listening to text rather than reading is pretty effective. I think it’s easier when you’re listening to it and hearing other voices and have someone tell you what’s happening rather than reading it. Reading texts such as this podcast seems like it would take me longer anyway. The problem with podcasts is distractions can happen easily. You can start to zone out while listening or even start day dreaming and you might not even notice until you zone back in and realize you didn’t catch a word that the narrator said in the past minute. But then again, zoning out can happen with reading too. Sometimes when listening, it may be going too fast for you or you missed a point the narrator said because you were still on the point from before. With reading, it is easy to go back to the line before or just take your time while reading the text. In all honestly as well, if you’re reading a book chances are if the book is boring, you’re going to be bored too. But hey, either way if it’s listening or reading, you’re going to have pros and cons about it.

While listening to the podcast, I took some notes on what I thought would be important. I wrote down names of all the voices that were played, Jay’s side of the story to the murder, the points made about Adnan at court and more. When it came to answering questions from the first assignment, having the notes was pretty helpful because knowing me, I would’ve forgot what was even said in the podcast. Fun fact, my short term memory is awful but I have a pretty good long term memory. I can remember the lyrics from my favourite songs in in 2010 but when it comes to remembering what I had for dinner last night, sometimes I have no clue. Memory is huge, and honestly, I can’t blame Adnan for not remembering every detail from the day of Hae’s murder, I don’t think I’d be able to remember either, especially if the time frame since then was 6 weeks… No way. I think the only way I’d be able to remember what happened during a day was if something important or memorable happened that day as well. But if it was just like any other day or like any other school day, chances are I don’t think I would remember much.

I think we can all agree that this must be tough on Adnan’s family. It has been 15 years since Adnan was convicted of murder and now having it go through Serial could cause them mixed emotions because they’re basically reliving what happened so long ago, and it’s definitely not something they want to remember.

After listening to this podcast, I know I want to listen to the rest of the episodes because Adnan Syed’s case is extremely interesting and I want my own opinion on whether or not I think he is guilty by the end of it. I read online that his case is actually being reopened, pretty interesting right? I wonder how that will play out at trial. Overall, it was an enjoyable episode and I think it’s cool having investigative journalism being illustrated this way. Did anyone else like it or are there some who didn’t? Let me know, I want to hear what you all think!

The Importance of Grade 12 University English

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 

Duresa Maloku

Grade 12 university english is an essential course that will benefit and aid students who are pursuing a post-secondary education. There are many programs in university that may require science or math courses, which makes it seem that english is a course that they don’t necessarily need. However, I believe grade 12 university English should still be a requirement for entry into all university programs, whether you “need” the course for your program or not.

I know a lot of you are probably thinking “I don’t even need English for the program I want to go into!” But think about it, you kind of do. English teaches us the basic skills that we need in our lives. How do you think we have improved our reading, writing, communication and listening skills? All through English! Every year we improve and learn new things and excel with these skills. It may not seem like you will need English for university because you may be going into medical/health/general science or a business and engineer program. Those programs focus more on math and science. However, that does not mean you will not be using English.

Personally, I would like to go into social science or criminology in post-secondary. Grade 12 english is a course that is essential for those programs and it is what will prepare me for university. For other students who may be going into the programs I listed earlier are going to need courses such as advanced functions, biology and chemistry. But it is important to remember that English is a course that is going to benefit us all in university. Whether we like it or not, English is a course that will be a part of us in university. I can guarantee that in university, we will all be writing an essay, or a lab report or some sort of research paper and guess what? We will be able to write those because of our skills we gained through English!

We’ll be using English every day in university, but it may not seem like that because the programs a lot of students will be taking may focus on other subjects more than English, but it does not mean we are not going to “need” it.

I did not realize how beneficial English was until grade 11. In grade 9 and 10, it was not a course that I took very seriously but in grade 11 the course became more difficult for me and I didn’t realize how poor my writing skills were until I started my first essay. But, hey! I have improved since grade 9 and I’m going to keep improving. Why? Because that is what English class does for us!

I don’t think many of us realize how important English really is. We learn something new every day through English. Any English class from grade 9-12 teaches us something new and prepares us for all of our classes and for years ahead. To be honest, it does not just prepare us for all our classes, but also for life. English improves our communication, listening, reading and writing skills and I think that these skills are essential for every day life, not just for university.

Right now, for some of us, English class may be our least favourite subject but I bet that a year from now, when we are in first year writing an essay or some sort of report, we will look back at this course and appreciate it more than we do now.

 

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