Friday, 23 November 2007
In the meantime, I've been relaxing; sleeping in, eating out with my grandparents (which is so good!), swimming in the pool, hanging out with my cousins. Tonight, for instance, my 18 year old cousin and I have the house to ourselves because my grandparents and aunt (her mother) have gone to a party, so we've ordered pizza and are watching a movie (High School Musical.) Yesterday was Thanksgiving, which was delicious and a wonderful family celebration, even though it was just my grandparents, 2 of my 4 cousins (the other two go to college on the Mainland) my uncle and his sister my aunt (minus his girlfriend and her husband, my other uncle, who couldn't make it.
Friday, 16 November 2007
I love this ad. Really makes you think about the value of life and how we live it, doesn't it?
(I also love it how the Aussie version of the ad - shown here - is different to other versions. Noticably, "the common mayfly has a life expectancy of just one day. Does he give a damn? Nah, bugger that, he says!")
"If we made every moment in life count, like the mayfly, what a life that would be."
For once, Vodefone says something worth listening to.
Reminds me of a couple of quotes (I told you I'm a quote database!):
-"it's not the number of breaths you take, but the number of moments that take your breath away"
-"don't count your days away, but make your days count."
Just a girl
Thursday, 15 November 2007
I may be walking away, but I'll be leaving a piece of my heart here, for all the times I've smiled, laughed, hugged, hoped, dared, dreamed, cried, complained, missed home, said goodbye, danced, loved, feared, and perservered.
[Photo taken by my friend Miss CM of me on a rainy winter's afternoon last year]
I will never turn my back on those memories.
Just a girl
I can't believe it. It's exhilarating. Thrilling. Relieving. Sad. Hopelessly emotional.
Less than two weeks.
Not much sleep.
History Paper 3 made up for Paper 2, which was great because I was really worried about this paper, as it's 3 essays in 2.5 hours and very difficult to prepare for, as the questions aren't asked in topics like Paper 2 but chosen from any section of the syllabus. Fortunately, the questions were on topics that weren't asked in Paper 2, like League of Nations and causes of WW1, which I was prepared for, so I think I went OK.
The funniest question on the paper though was something like this: "Assess the role of music in promoting nationalistic ambitions in two countries." I didn't know anyone studied anything like this!
I'm packing now, and in a bit of a rush. I have an interview at Melbourne Univerisity this afternoon with the college I'd like to live in this year. The interview is a large part of the application process, and the college is quite small. First I've got to get into the uni (which would be ace!), so hopefully the college will follow! Otherwise I've got other preferences.
I can't believe I'm not in yr 12 any more.
Just a recently graduated girl
Just a girl
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
But let's talk about the exams I can bitch about.
Nothing to complain about English Paper 2 at all. There was a great poetry question on how and why poets make words, phrases and lines memorable to the reader, which was just talking about literary features in all the most meaningful words, lines and phrases in the poems we'd studied. I studied quite a few poems by each poet we studied - Hopkins, Thomas, Harwood and Herbet - but only ended up basing my commentary around Spring, God's Grandeur, Lion's Bride, and Welsh History. I was really happy with it, and overall it made up for the frustration of Paper 1.
Speaking of frustrating papers...History Paper 2 was not supposed to be a problem. It's based around 6 topics - of which we cover 4 - so having revised 4 of these topics (causes of WW1, rise of Mussolini, League of Nations and causes of the Cold War), I should have a good chance of getting two questions that I can answer, right?
All the prac exams we've looked at for History (from 2001 until May 07) have been straightforward in being able to choose a question we could write a half-way decent essay on.
And then there's November 07. A new breed of Paper 2 is born. It's tough. It's a bitch. And it's unforgiving.
Of all the questions on the paper, I wasn't really happy with answering any of them. There was no League of Nations question at all, there was no simple WW1 question, the Cold War question went up to 1953 for goodness sake, which it's never done before and we only cover up to 1950, more or less, plus the question on Mussolini was about to what extent was ideology significant in his rise to power; not that he had much of an ideology.
Now I know a paper is not supposed to be easy but it's supposed to be doable! I can appreciate a challenge but not something I can't do. And it wasn't for lack of study.
I ended up choosing the questions on Cold War and Mussolini, which I think might have been OK essays. But everyone agreed that it was an unnecessarily difficult paper.
Paper 1, on the other hand, was really good. It was on Stalin's rise to power, which is one of my better topics. I also wrote the longest mini-essay I've ever written, which is a good sign.
- Last dinner (spent with all the year 12 girls in my house)
- Last assembly
- Last supper (no, not like that!)
I'll miss this place. I can't believe I'm leaving. I think I might cry soon.
Just a girl
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Not only does it detail the kind of students IB kids are, it also exactly describes TOK (the bane of every IB student's existence), offers help on how to write an IB paper, gives questions to prepare you for the final exams, provides examples of how to get extra points, and - my favourite - includes a prayer for all those doomed IB students out there:
A stack of books upon my chest,
And if I die before I wake
That's one less test I have to take."
Too true. And one that applies all too well to me.
Off to bed then, to
Just a girl
The crime? Being children in need of education
The sentence: 13 years. No parole.
The punishment: mental torture and subsequent emotional suffering. Physical labour is optional.
Conditions of release: exams
We're not all that different from prisoners. We even have numbers, whether it be your VCE number, IB number, account number. We have uniforms. We probably eat like prisoners, too.
Major differences? We have fun. We have friends. We're here by choice (more or less.)
But sometimes, exams just feel like Hell.
And who can be bothered any more?
But prison never had this:
While many may say that yr 9 at this school is more like prison that any other, I say that it was the best year of my life. It's what you make it. And see major differences above. Sure, it was hard as anything, but that's what made it worth it.
Just a thought.
Just a girl
Paper 1 wasn't a great paper, but not for lack of study.
Paper 1 involves writing a commentary on a piece of unseen prose or poetry (hence, no study); we always do poetry, because our Part 3 (a.k.a Paper 2) books are poetry, our unseen orals were on poetry, and it makes sense; we haven't done prose commentaries in years (well, maybe a year.)
The poem itself was obscure, so much so that I can't find it in full anywhere on the Net. Anywhere at all. I've found the poet - Penelope Shuttle - who may not be so obscure, but nothing on the poem, Three Lunulae, Truro Museum.
Essentially, it was about how Shuttle goes to Truro Museum and see these three lunulae. I just couldn't find that much in terms of literary features and a deeper meaning to write about. My line of argument was that Shuttle was reflecting on who were the women who wore the lunulae. Other people discussed how the lunulae was a symbol of the moon, which represented the cycle of time, the turning of the seasons, as well as cultural differences, and searching for identity by looking to the past in order to move forward. All of which sounds incredibly deep and meaningful and something I should have thought of. Nothing I can do about it now, though.
That's what I hate about after an exam; when people say "I wrote about this; what did you say?" and you say "well..." and feel all insignificant and wonder why you didn't write something like that. Especially with essays.
Everyone's celebrating - "no more English!" I'm not so sure, as it is the major I want to do as part of an Arts degree!
1 more dinner with my brother (tonight.) 2 more days left of school, and I'm starting to pack. 3 friends I've said goodbye to. 4 days until I go to Hawaii. 6 more exams. 7 more school meals.
5 things I'll miss about school
- My friends
- The house tutors
- The house, esp. the yr 12s
- The outings
- The events; the Christmas dinners, where all the catering staff dress up as elves; Christmas Balls, etc
5 things I won't really miss
- The food (although Sunday brunch was one of my favourite meals of the week)
Just a girl
Sunday, 11 November 2007
Except, of course, ours say our school across the breast in small print.
Well, this is what it looks like. Is it the same? Either way, I think they're a nice colour and print (and certainly - thankfully - the colour isn't our school colour.)
As a rugby, they're casual but they look good, suitable for street wear without looking like school uniform.
Needless to say, we all wear them whenever we get the chance!
[Model: Just a girl; Photographer: Just a girl - so multi-talented!]
Just a girl
The result is Gossip Girl - the new TV show that's on everyone's lips.
And it's now taking this school by storm. Everyone is talking about it; whether Chuck is hot (ew, no, he's way too sleazy), if Serena and Dan are right together (as one girl said, "I just want them to have children!"), whether Nate is hot (fairly, in my opinion), if Jenny really looks like a 14 year old girl (no), etc. It seems we can't get enough!
My friend and I watched the first 7 episodes last night - it was almost a marathon effort, but more than worth it. Although now we're left wondering whether Blair really did do the dirty deed with Chuck (good god, I hope not, she really does deserve better for her first time.)
Why is it so addictive and delightful? Because it's so spiteful! It's got bitchy cat fights, hot guys, steamy sex, gorgeous fashion, snotty rich kids, torrid affairs, drugs, rock 'n' roll (if you count Rufus, that is) and mystique (who is Gossip girl?!) - what's not to love?
The only problem I have with the show is how far it strays from the story lines and characters of the books. Although some of the stuff Josh Schwartz comes up with is far juicier than that in the books (for example, Blair's Burlesque dance, the modelling, the brunch fight), some things just aren't right:
- Eric is supposed to be Serena's older brother, in college, and doesn't attempt to commit suicide (Blair has a fling with him in later books)
- Dan is supposed to be a little more of an introverted, tortured soul - and a poet; but his character is awkward enough to be OK
- Rufus is also supposed to be a poet, a scruffy father with long hair, a shaggy beard, and a bit more "uncool" than he is in the show. He is also not supposed to have a 'thing' with Lily, because there is a Mr Van der Woodsen on the scene
- Nate's father is supposed to be a strict sea captain (or something like that), not a businessman
- Nate himself is supposed to be a stoner boy - and wait, blonde? A bit of a waspoid, actually
- Vanessa is all wrong, because she's supposed to have a shaved head, for goodness sake. Apart from that, she too is a recluse like Dan, but a movie-maker (big on filming everything). They didn't have a past, either, they created one in the books
- Serena's and Nate's sex scene is not on a bar stool, but creative license is OK in such an instance
- Jenny is supposed to be a little more endowed - more developed, if you will, than a 14 year old girl should be, and that is what catches the attention of the guys (eg Chuck Bass)
- Blair's mother Eleanor doesn't have a job (she's an Upper East Sider for goodness sake) but marries an older, gross man whom Blair hates. This results in a wedding on Blair's 17th birthday and a stepbrother
Because I love the books so much, let's enjoy some quotes relating to my favourite characters:
- The Van der Woodsens: They were all tall, blond, thin, and super-poised, and they never did anything - play tennis, hail a cab, eat spaghetti, go to the toilet - without maintaining their cool.
- Nate: Nate was the only son of a navy captain and a French society hostess. His father was a master sailor and extremely handsome, but a little lacking in the hugs department. His mother was the complete opposite, always fawning over Nate and prone to emotional fits during which she would lock herself in her bedroom with a bottle of champagne and call her sister on her yacht in Monaco. Poor Nate was always on the verge of saying how he really felt, but he didn’t want to make a scene or say something he might regret later. Instead, he kept quiet and let other people steer the boat, while he laid back and enjoyed the steady rocking of the waves.
- Serena: Two floors below Blair, in the Constance Billard School auditorium, Serena was toiling over her American history exam.
Not. Serena wasn’t exactly the toiling type.
- Blair: Whenever Blair did anything nice for someone else, she usually regretted it.
Which kind of explained why she was such a bitch most of the time.
- Eleanor: To Blair’s dismay, her mother was wearing beige velour track pants with the word Juicy printed on the butt.
- Jenny: Blair knew perfectly well that Jenny was the balloon-boobed freshman whore who’d stolen her Nate away, but she also knew that Nate dumped Jenny flat on her ass after some extremely embarrassing pictures of Jenny’s bare butt in a thong had been posted on the Web just before New Year’s Eve.
Just a girl (just as mysterious as gossip girl herself)
Friday, 9 November 2007
Hawaii, here I come!
Plane flies out at 2 o'clock, which makes me suspect I have a ticket.
There's no going back!!
And, of course, in typical celebratory style - I just have to post a photo.
Isn't it beautiful? (Taken from a viewing car park overlooking the ocean on the side of the road.)
Just a girl
Thursday, 8 November 2007
No, I didn't get any study done, although I had planned to.
Instead, I continued to dispose of my notes, now adding Spanish to the pile of Unwanted Maths and Biology. It has now become quite the pile of Past Papers, Prac Exams, Notes, Tests, Hand-outs, and All Manner of Things Vaguely Related to the Topic and Deemed Helpful &/or Relevant to Said Topic:
Although quite large in size, I don't think the pile really conveys the amount of
blood and sweat and tears that went into it; the study, the revision, the stress, the anxiety, the emotion (be it satisfaction or disappointment)...
It does, however, clearly demonstrate that the IB is an excessive waste of paper.
Just a girl
Yesterday was the most eventful day of exams yet. Mind you, that's not necessarily a good thing...
Yesterday's exams almost weren't because I become ill - that is to say I felt extremely unwell - during the first exam. Reading time (which is five minutes), in fact. Around breakfast time I developed a stomach ache, which wasn't exceedingly painful as it was annoying, which I thought would pass. All felt fine before I entered the exam room. However, once I sat down, the pain increased, and I began to feel quite hot and sweaty, despite the fact that it was a cold day and the room was by no means warm. I felt clammy, lightheaded, and like I was going to faint for vomit. I put up my hand to say I felt sick, and the invigilator (fancy IB word for the supervisor) called the IBC's secretary who came and took me to our Sick Bay, where I was checked over by the nurse, given something for my stomach, and then taken to see the doctor. Apparently all my vital signs were fine, but I looked really pale. The doc thought it was something like a claustrophobic reaction (it couldn't have been nerves or anything, because Spanish is one of my better subjects, and I wasn't worried about it) - like I was going to faint, but I didn't; I believe he called it a vasovagal episode.
Anyhow, I was feeling slightly better, and felt that I could take the exam - the IBC has drummed into us that even if we are sick, we must try to take the exam under any circumstances. As it turned out, he rang the exam office, and they wanted to take at least 50% of Paper 1. I was also granted all kinds of special considerations - extra time and rest breaks. So I ended up taking Paper 1 and 2 in the Sick Bay with my IBC supervising. Despite the circumstances, pienso que los examenes fueron buenos [I think that the exams went well.] And by the end of Paper 2, I was feeling fine. So all's well that ends well.
On a happier and more exciting note, I have only one week left at school, so I'm posting 7 of my favourite taken-at-school photos:
View from my room, third term last year
The sun setting after the rain over the tennis courts behind my boarding house
Of blossoms in the light of sunset at the side of my boarding house facing down the main school drive
What I like to think of as this school's version of The Thinker
Just a girl
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
And Christian Dior says so.
I found this quote in a Rouge Dior ad:
"Pink is the colour I prefer, the softest of all colours, the colour of joy and femininity. Every woman should have something pink in her wardrobe."
While it might be a little strange for a man to be saying this, well, this man happens to rule the fashion world. With a very stylish fist.
As if I needed an excuse to wear, buy, own or love pink; now I've got justification.
Just a girl
I am uber, uber excited. Because I'm sure I'm not going to continue it at university (I'd much rather follow my heart, thank you very much.)
Although I'm not quite as excited as I am about my travels; at this stage, it looks like I'm going to be leaving the Saturday after I finish with school/exams, Thursday 15th, as I'm going to be in Melbourne for that weekend and might as well fly out from there. I don't mind in the least that I'll have a days' rest (I have the rest of
I couldn't be more excited!!
I finally figured out why Hawaii means so much to me. It's because it feels like home. My grandparents' house, for example, is vast and beautiful, but I love it because it's like home; familiar, friendly and comforting.
Anyhow (the thought of Hawaii can be a very distracting one these days), the maths exams were...mixed. Paper 1, which is usually my better paper (the last prac paper I took I almost scored a 6!) wasn't great. It could have been worse - but it could have been (much) better, too. It seemed more challenging than any practise paper I've done, but I think I scored OK overall. In the middle of it I started freaking out because I hadn't been able to answer many questions, and I was adding it up and I thought I was going to fail the paper. But after that, the brains kicked in and I was able to complete more questions. So in the end, I might score a 5 (worst case scenario?) and if my mathematics was more sound that I think it was, I could score a 6. The prayer around here (and from most people after that paper, which most people agreed was fairly disagreeable) is for large grade boundaries.
Paper 2, surprisingly, was better that Paper 1, I felt. As I said, Paper 2 is not my strong point...all those extended questions that require mathematical thinking and logic...shudder. But overall the questions were answerable, which was really good, because it meant that I was able to attempt most - if not all - of a question, instead of going "OMG, I don't know how to do this, mierda, I can't do any of it..." and thus being screwed. I answered 3 questions in full; I couldn't answer parts of the other 2. However, I could potentially score 70/90 (if everything I did was right), which is around a 7. Again, pray for large grade boundaries! Realistically though, I'm not a maths genius, (unlike some people) and so I might have scored a 6, gods forbidding. I'm aiming for a 5 in maths, but I'm not opposed to a 6.
So I am now going about the incredibly joyous process of throwing out all my maths and bio notes, past papers, etc. Don't worry, I'm recycling them - while it would be much more satisfying to the burn them all in a big bonfire, we learned about the greenhouse effect in Bio, and thus I am not going to contribute. Plus, I don't know where I'm going to build a bonfire around here (though I'm sure all the other IB students would join in!) nor can I be bothered.
And because I heart Hawaii so, and I'm on cloud nine about going there, I'm going to post some more pictures, because really, who can get sick of them? And they are just so beautiful. (And before anyone says anything, it is not an obsession or an addiction, merely appreciation and excitement.)
Cute lifeguards. But what I like most about this photo is their lifeguard shack. Reminded me of Australian lifeguards at the time. (Oahu)
Huuuge waves, on the beach with above lifeguards. I remember just pulling up at the beach some time after lunch, and not being in my swimmers. So, I changed into my top (subtly, of course) and just swan in my shorts. Despite the clouds, it was a lovely, warm day, and the swimming was excellent.
Just a girl
Monday, 5 November 2007
No more bells*
And, thank goodness,
No more organelles
No more brains,
Or reflexes of pain
And certainly no more
No more genes
Or what allele means
And who could care
about Mendel's beans
What could that be?
Is it related to
blood group B?
No more clones
No more drones
And certainly no more
About rods and cones
No more HIV
Or the social organization of bees
No more A & T or G & C,
Or anything about the Golgi
Who's heard of that?
Or knows what emulsifies fat?
Or the taxa of a cat?
I don't need to know
More than the Average Joe
This is the end
Of me + Bio.
*Pavlov and his dogs
Today I had my last Bio exam - paper 3. Papers 1 and 2 (Friday) were stellar - well, I've got a pretty good feeling that I aced them both - many thanks to all those who wished me luck. Paper 2 worried me, because of the dreaded essay questions; a choice of 1 of 3 questions, each with three marks, totalling 20 marks (of the overall 60 for the paper), and you have to be able to answer all three parts of 1 question, not 3 parts from different questions. Fortunately, there was a nice question on cells and stuff that I could answer. Paper 3 was OK - not great, but not horrible - at least I was able to answer everything, except for some stupid diagram on a part of the syllabus to which I went "they'll never ask me that." Damn the IBO. Anyhow, I hope that I'll be able to score a 6; best case scenario 7, hopefully the worst case scenario is 5. (I'd like to think that I scored 7s on Paper 1 and 2.)
In the spirit of being relieved about 1/5 of my exams being completed (yes, I have 15 exams; 12 to go now!), I'm sharing this rather amusing 'exam response':
[if you can't read, the question is: how would you verify that the mutants identified by phenotype in your screen are true loss of function jaw-D mutations? The answer is: use the radioactive ooze!]
Just a girl
Sunday, 4 November 2007
I can't help it - I'm beyond excited, I'm absolutely elated!
I'll (potentially!) be leaving the weekend after I finish - in two weeks' time!! - and be spending around 10 days - 2 weeks there.
This is the first time I'll be travelling sans family. Does it bother me? Not particularly - it all adds to the anticipation of the trip! Plus, I've done this so many times before with the family that I'm sure I can handle it without. Mind you, I think it took my dad a bit of convincing. It's only airports (which I'm pretty good at navigating now, because of said multiple experiences) with a possible change-over in Sydney, and getting picked up by my uncle once I get there.
I'll be able to see, spend time with and stay with my grandparents (whom I love dearly), catch up with my cousins and go to the beach, all of which thrills me deeply. Not to mention the fabulous shopping I'll be able to enjoy (unchaperoned!) and my first real American Thanksgiving (not counting the Australian ones we have home, which rock). It's a place I truly adore and can't wait to visit again. So, in the spirit of being absolutely over the moon about it, I'm going to post some more photos:
This is the view from the Pali lookout, on a mostly clear day. The day before, it was unbelievably - and uncharacteristically - cloudy, so much so that we couldn't see a thing!
Looking back up Kahala Beach toward the Hilton
Did I mention I can't wait?!
Just a girl
Someone's shoes from Speech Day, Sunday:
The main quad, where all the yr 12s had to gather in house/alphabetical order before walking into the ceremony, which is beautiful, but made me sneeze as all the trees are in blossom and I get hay fever something fierce:
My friend's plant, Daisy (table decorations from lunch which were being given away - yes, surprisingly for free!) - that is to say, it's not a daisy, but she has called it Daisy:
Just a girl
None. Their parents do it for them.
(From a student's speech at yr 12 Chapel.)
While this isn't strictly true, I can appreciate the stereotype (and still find it hilarious.) A joke that more pertains to this school is:
How many Grammar school students does it take to change a light bulb?
None. They call Maintenance.
Now that is true.
On Friday morning (morning of our yr 12 breakfast & valedictory dinner) we had our yr 12 leavers' Chapel service - and it was surprisingly funny, touching and sad, all at the same time (I say surprisingly because this is Chapel we're talking about.) This was probably because it was mostly a student run service, with students giving their own reflections on their time at the school. One boy wrote a poem about everyone - or almost everyone - which was very funny, as it essentially mocked us all (and my house got called fat, yet again. But that's OK, because I know it's all in jest.) And that's the last time the Class of '07 will gather together - except for Speech Day - in celebration and recollection. When I walked out of the service, I was almost moved to tears - it was just so overwhelming to realise that we will probably never see many of our year group ever again. It's so sad to think that I may never see all the people from my unit again, because we were so close. Or even those people who I may only say 'hi' to in passing. All these people make up my past, from year 9 til now, in some way and somehow, and it's like losing parts of my memories, because they all remind me of something.
Just a girl
Friday, 2 November 2007
- The sound of rain falling softly as I fall asleep
- Well wishers sending their thoughts via email and phone
- Friends who say "you'll be OK"
- Sleeping in
- A hot shower
Happiness is in the small things.
Stress is in the big ones. Like exams.
Just a girl
[title inspired by Blink 182's song All the Small Things]
Thursday, 1 November 2007
Today I received a good luck card from family friends; the mother of friends I used to go to school with. It was so sweet and surprising - which is a nice feeling when I'm freaking out about Biology Paper 1 and 2 tomorrow! (Paper 1 is multiple choice, which won't be so bad, but Paper 2 is data analysis, short answer and essay questions...less easy to bluff!) And in the same post, I also received a letter from my mother, including a 'worry bear' to do all my worrying for me:
The feeling of being loved is unlike any other. It improves any situation (such as the stressful one I'm in now) and just makes you want to smile.In the meantime, you can make a difference in someone else's life, somewhere...sign the Avaaz petition for Climate Action and the petition for Burma. Think of it as your act of kindness for the day.
Me? I've already signed them.
And now, I must learn the difference between absorption and assimilation, fertilization and copulation, gametes and zygotes, mitosis and meiosis, plant and animal cells, prokaryotic cells and eukaryotic cells, and so on.
Just a girl