Confessions of a Shipper

In APUSH, there is a pattern of work.

You start on Thursday, with a chapter from the lovely textbook, American History: A Survey 13th Edition by Alan Brinkley, a man who’s been teaching at Columbia for approximately 35 years. Thus, you know that this book is accurate, since the Cold War isn’t history to him.

Included in this chapter is a sheet of paper with the following information: a due date for the following Monday, an abstract of the chapter, a summary of the chapter, a list of Guiding Questions, and a word bank of key terms that must be included.

Then, the following Thursday, there’s an accumulative test and another chapter and so on and so forth.

The beauty of the design is the simplicity. You only have to answer take notes on a single Guiding Question. It’s the bolded question right at the top of the list. Ignore the rest of them. On Friday, Mr. O goes over all the bits and pieces of the question, taking it apart and explaining the key words and what IB and AP expect you to do as a higher-level thinker shoved into the body of a 15-some year old high school student. Being the excellent, non-procrastinating 15-some year old high school student you are, you probably haven’t started on your APUSH notes at all because you had a Mental Health essay and an English test to study for the night before.

That’s okay. It’s not like there’s 4 hours of work still sitting on your desk.

In any case, you, being the average Gifted High School student, will most likely start your notes on Sunday after wasting away an entire Saturday taking supplementary classes and watching football on Fox or Toonami on Adult Swim or Bo Burnham on Comedy Central or illegally downloaded episodes of Glee on the internet.

Sunday, of course, is the day when all the teachers who rely on online communications post on their Webassigns or Blogspots and expect you to look. Of course, since you’ve just started on your APUSH notes, you haven’t looked. In fact, all you’ve done all day looks a little like a pattern: wake up, eat, start APUSH, go on Facebook, do more APUSH,, APUSH, Words with Friends, APUSH, eat, nap, wake up, APUSH, Facebook, finish APUSH.

This, all to the tunes of The Shins, or Waka Flocka, or Saint-Saens. For eight hours, since you spend less than half of that actually taking APUSH notes.

Where’d your Sunday go?

Of course, that would be you, the typical first-year IB student with an excellent work ethic.

I, on the other hand, do something a little different. Yes, I still follow the same pattern of going online, starting APUSH, eating, APUSH, Facebook, APUSH, but I also include a little variety.

You see, I don’t listen to Nicki Minaj, or Leonard Cohen, or even Mozart while I do my homework, since, frankly, it’s a little distracting. Instead, I set up an elaborate reward system that involves illegally downloaded Doctor Who episodes and Merlin fanfiction. Being the avidly geeky fangirl that I am, I motivate myself through the tedious pages upon pages of notes with lots of time travel and slash. If I don’t, then I’ve probably gotten out a bottle of glow-in-the-dark nail polish and started painting my nails when I wanted a break from the dry, dull text of 200 years of American History.

Eventually, we both get done with these notes, and then we start other homework, like Chinese or studying for the Health final or maybe even practicing your instrument because you decided that IB Music HL was a great idea.

You would dutifully go do these things after checking Facebook one last time. I, on the other hand, will proceed to have a marathon of Doctor Who and maybe get some homework done.

It’s all right if that doesn’t happen, though. There’s always the morning and lunch.


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