American Revolution – What We Fought For

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The American Revolution in Plain English

Not every revolution can make a crucial change or make improvements in a country. In the American revolution, a great amount of problems remained the same. White men still ruled and dominated the country, slaves and the lower class did not gain more rights to vote, and their life styles are still the same way. However, the thought of independence and representation is still left in the country. They succeeded on gaining independence from Britain, and birth did not decide a person’s destiny. America became the first modern democracy. The American Revolution was no doubt one of the most crucial and influential out of all the revolutions that happened in this world. The American Revolution not only effected the country itself but also inspired and in some ways caused the French Revolution. French citizens decided to rebel against their higher estates partly because the Americans were a successful example. The American Revolution highlighted their idea of independence and representation in their own way.

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Favorite and Final OneDay

I chose to dance for this year’s OneDay project because I really enjoy to listening to music and dancing. One of my favorite music genres is K-POP, therefore that is our group’s song choice.

With my group, we decided our music and costume styles during mentoring and OneDay preparation. On OneDay, we took half the day finalizing one dance, and used the other half to practice our second dance.

I learned how to better collaborate with others and complete our goal by focusing hard on one topic. It’s a really enjoyable and satisfying in the end when we performed our dance and earned applause from the audience.

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All the Bright Places – Finch and Violet’s Wall of Ideas

The picture above displays a scene in the book All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven that describes the characteristics of Finch. This picture is taken by me in my closet and stickie notes also written by myself. Finch used to have a Wall of Ideas, but ever since he felt extremely insecure, he moved into his closet, and made a new Wall of Ideas inside the closet. Hinted by the words he wrote on the wall, he showed readers his trust to Violet. Together, they stuck positive things on to the wall and ripped negative things into a pile of paper. What Finch wrote shows how vulnerable and important Violet is to him. Ripped words such as “Freak, Label, Belong, and Sunday” explains how he dislikes himself by being labelled as a freak, how he feels like he does not belong to anywhere, and annoyed and afraid to meet his abusive divorced dad on Sundays. Finch really relied on Violet, showing so by writing “Violet is life” and “You” on the stickies. Both of them showed trust and reliance on each other, although Finch’s trust was broken because Violet told others about his internal condition. Finch shows his insecure, vulnerable, and relying on others through writing on stickie notes and ripping them into pieces.

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Journal Entry 3 – Alexander


August 25, 1939 They Caught My Son

Something unpredicted happened two weeks ago. It’s something that I knew would happen, easy to predict from what has been happening to others lately. I couldn’t shake off that dark, cold, and wet feeling off the back of my head. But now that it’s happened, it doesn’t matter anymore. Yuri didn’t come home after a day of work. We waited for him. But our only son never came back.

Viktor came two weeks ago and told us that he has heard some bad news. The NKVD must have taken him to some harsh and miserable gulag, just like the others. He will die there with his weak body. Who was it to blame?

Our leader Stalin has made many great decisions. The five-year plans have made so much improvement in our country’s technology and economics. However, I can still remember the show trials from a few years ago. Every man trialed confessed that they were guilty and they supported the Left Opposition and Trotsky who is long gone. And now, Stalin has signed the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact. Even though it might give Russia some time to build military strength, it also means that the strong bear is trying to avoid damage caused by war.

But now that Yuri is gone, I shouldn’t worry or think about this anymore. I’m too exhausted to think about war. At some time during these long days, life have changed. The Russia now is not what I have first hoped for when Lenin was our leader. My dream country for Lenin to lead Russia to a new door has broken, and now that I’ve lost my only son, I don’t want anything.

I can work forever to get my son back from the harsh labor camps, even for myself to replace him, to work for him. As long as he’s safe. But where is he? How can I find him? No matter how hard I work or how strongly I believe in our leader, it’s just merely my wish. I can’t do anything to help my own son out of the man killing torturing camps.

Life is not as harsh as when I first lost my father. There were benefits for workers like us that work extra hard for everything. We earned medals and better payments. However, that was a few years ago. Now, we had insurance for accidents at work, free health service, and most important of all, we were paid on holidays. We still had to share living space, like years before and after I lost my father. That was never changed.

Last week, Viktoriya came up to me and handed me some letter paper. “I want to send him some letters,” she murmured, and her voice makes me want to cry. “He must be really lonely.” Viktoriya and I can both write now. She wanted to send Yuri some letters, but what is the address? Life is certainly better than before, at least we didn’t need to save scraps of one meal to save for the next meals.

Despite the life we are living currently has some good changes, I’m not happy. I’m afraid that I have no hope to live on. But I can’t give up. I still have Viktoriya. All we can do now is to work and wait, no matter how long it takes.

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All the Bright Places – Don’t Blame Yourself

When he stood on the ledge of the bell tower and saw that girl, he chose to save her. But when he was drowning in his own mind, he didn’t want to be saved.

The book All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven tells the story of the boy Finch who committed suicide and the girl Violet who tried to save him. The main character Violet’s reactions to a suicide in the climax of this book has a lot of similarities to how I would react. Her decision to reach out for help is exactly how I would do if I realized that someone around me needs support. This book was inspired by personal experience of the author from her great-grandfather, her father, and a boy she loved. She wishes to express her feelings towards mental and emotional illnesses by writing this book, and by doing so, she hopes to affect others who experience suicidal situations from their peers.

Violet decided to inform to her parents about Finch’s situation the moment she realized something was wrong. This is the climax of the entire book, where right afterwards Finch runs away without telling anyone his destinations and leaving Violet alone, regretting for her actions. “I send him a text, telling him I’m sorry. By midnight, he still hasn’t texted back.” (Niven 309). For a short period of time, Finch replied to Violet’s messages. However, after five strange sentences, everything goes absolutely quiet. The plot accelerates after odd emails from Finch, sent to his friends, sisters, and Violet. The emails indicate the final farewells from Finch. In Violet’s email, Finch quoted the book The Waves by Virginia Woolf, and the words make Violet realize that something is wrong. The next time she sees Finch, he was the blue, bloated body the fire department hauled up. “I think: I hate you. If only I’d known. If only I’d been enough. I let you down. I wish I could have done something. I should have done something. Was is my fault? Why wasn’t I enough? Come back. I love you. I’m sorry.” (344).

Finch never expected Violet to tell others after he showed her his secret fort. “I kept your secrets; you keep mine.” (295). Yet Violet got really worried when she realized Finch has been living in his closet for a long time. “Yes. And I’m sorry, and I know you’re mad and disappointed, but I love him, and he saved me. You can tell me later how unhappy you are with me and how I’ve let you down, but right now I need to do what I can to make sure he’ll be okay.” (308). After the fight with Finch, she immediately goes home and tells her parents everything that’s happened, despite the fact that she wasn’t allowed to see Finch and would doubtlessly get in trouble right afterwards.

If someone I know is suffering from a mental illness and I noticed, I would react similar to Violet. I would go to someone as soon as possible, because any day wasted might worsen the situation. I would do all I can do to backup and seek help for that person, because I don’t want any life to simply withdraw from the world without living a happy life. There is a big difference on how Violet thought of what she did after Finch’s death. She blamed herself for not being able to keep Finch and acting upon her own thinking. Violet thought it was her fault that Finch committed suicide, since she was who told others when he wanted her to keep his secret. Even though I have never been through any of this and I cannot guarantee my actions, I believe that I wouldn’t blame myself. If I decided to support and help someone, I would have already been exact with my decisions, because there is no regret for something that has already happened. Although right now I say that I would not blame myself, no one ever knows what will happen if it a situation like this was placed on my shoulders. I hope that everyone who notices something wrong would step up, seek help, and support the people around them like Violet did.

Jennifer Niven wrote on page 382 in author’s note, “Often, mental and emotional illnesses go undiagnosed because the person suffering symptoms is too ashamed to speak up, or because their loved ones either fail to or choose not to recognize the signs.” The purpose of this book is to guide people, either suffering mental instability and suicidal thoughts or teens and adults that are in a situation like Violet was in, to seek help from resources and people. In the last four sentences of the book, Jennifer Niven refers to two groups of people, people suffering suicidal thoughts and people witnessing them. “If you think something is wrong, speak up. You are not alone. It is not alone. It is not your fault. Help is out there.” (382).

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The Man Who Couldn’t Stop – If You Had OCD

Think of your brain as a computer. As thoughts pop up, windows pop up too. You can choose to shrink these windows, move them, and close them. But an obsessive thought cannot be closed.

David Adam, author of the book The Man Who Couldn’t Stop suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The book explores the weird thoughts in our minds and the causes of OCD. He gives countless examples and tells short stories of people all around the world that has OCD.

The opening and leading story of this book is about an Ethiopian schoolgirl named Bira, how she ate an entire wall of her house, and had to seek professional help from a psychiatrist. Soon after, the author tells how common intrusive thoughts are to people. “Most people have these kinds of strange thoughts. Most shake them off. Some people don’t. When we cannot make our strange thoughts go away they can lead to misery and mental illness.” (Adam 3). He mentioned that an average person has about four thousand thoughts per day, some rational, some are just thoughts that randomly pop up. Like most people, I also have obsessive and intrusive thoughts.

I have minor obsessive and compulsive thoughts such as spotting a black dot on the white board that the teacher missed would make me think about it the entire time uncomfortably when the teacher is talking, with the urge of erasing it with my own hands. Having to step on the same colored stones on the sidewalks or floor in school just because it makes me feel satisfied or complete, walking in a special rhythm. Things like turning off my light switch multiple times so that it pops out completely in a certain time, feeling like I have to crack my knuckles or any other joint to stop the unease. Doing a weird and specific routine once per day has become a habit that I cannot break. Afraid that germs would contaminate my cloths if I sit on my bed after I sat on my chair, sometimes feeling disgusted or resist skin ship with others, cannot accept starting paragraphs of an essay with the same word twice. All of these insignificant things can be built up to the big ones that David Adam talked about in his book, the serious ones that need to seek professional help and treatment. “In a few people this universal (and culturally acceptable) ability might malfunction, and lead them to construct meaningless and idiosyncratic (culturally unacceptable) rituals on their own. That would be OCD.” (138). I am clearly not at that stage, but these compulsive thoughts would not go away easily.

David Adam has also talked about bad thoughts that people always have. “‘How easy it would be for me to stick this kitchen knife into him.’ Most people have thoughts like that. They are called intrusive thoughts. Most people don’t talk about their intrusive thoughts.” (15). He stated that surveys have shown that about nine out of ten people experience intrusive thoughts that shocks themselves. “Most people have thoughts about driving their car off the road… More than four in ten get an urge to jump from a high place, an impulse so common that it has its own scientific name: the high-place phenomenon.” (15). These intrusive thoughts are really common and appears everywhere. OCD can begin with an intrusive thought then turn into an obsessive thought.

Concluding the book, David Adam explains his own OCD that was the starting point of this book, a book that he hopes connects and guides others and makes his strange thoughts mean something. “Not everyone who wants professional help can get it. Tell someone about your thoughts, a friend or a relative. If you’re worried about their reaction then show them this book first. Most likely, they will have those kinds of thoughts too… If you find it hard to talk about your thoughts then you are not alone.” (282). To David Adam, this book holds personal nightmares and what he has attempted to overcome ever since he first got OCD. Writing this book helped him address his OCD and is reminded him of his experience. “This book and the journey it involves have proven to me that OCD no longer holds my thoughts captive. They are free to dissolve to glorious mess. And from that, they can begin again.” (290).

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Dangers of Using Substances to Alter Body Shape

Many people are obsessed with losing weight and thinking that their body are never good enough for themselves, and a lot of people choose dangerous ways of achieving that. Here are some dangers of using substances to alter body shape.

Fenfluramine/phentermine (Fen-phen)

Fen-phen is a combination of fenfluramine and phentermine. It is marketed for the magic bullet for weight loss. It can cause numerous heart problems such as valvular heart disease, hypertension, and heart failure.

Dinitrophenol (DND)

DND was used as explosive and pesticides before displayed as a weight loss product. It can cause overheat, cataract, and shortness of breath.


It is currently used as a appetite suppressant and used as a performance enhancing drug. Risks of stroke, heart attack, and cardiac arrhythmia are caused.


Before it was banned by the International Olympic Committee, it was used by body-builders and athletes. It can cause hyperthyroidism and dangerously high/low blood pressure.

Meridia (generic name – sibutramine)

Meridia is a appetite suppressant withdrawn from the market in 2010. It can cause confusion, depression, suicidal thoughts, and sudden deaths.

There is no reason to damage your own body just to look pretty or strong, and there is definitely other safe ways of altering your body shape, such as daily exercises or healthy eating. Know that you are good enough for yourself and do not be obsessed with altering your own body shape.

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The Boxer Rebellion – Trip to the Peking Legation Quarter and What We’ve Learned

Our trip to the Peking (Beijing) Legation Quarter was on Monday November 20. We learned about the influences of the Boxer Rebellion and some of the legations at the time when they were under siege through a walking tour. here is a video I created that shows my understandings about some of the sites we visited and also about the Boxer Rebellion.


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The Man Who Couldn’t Stop – My Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


This book cover shows the characteristics of David Adam, author of the book The Man Who Couldn’t Stop, how he can’t stop being highly alerted of diseases and his obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In his nonfiction book The Man Who Couldn’t Stop, he takes readers and explores the weird thoughts in our minds and the different causes of OCD. “I turned mine into obsessive-compulsive disorder.” (Adam 3). David Adam had OCD since when he was 20 years old. David Adam shares how his intrusive thoughts had taken over him and he can no longer “move the window or close it” (10). This book cover fits the book by giving readers an interesting and clear image in their heads. It gives an overview mirroring a quote from David Adam also on the cover, “OCD and a true story of a life lost in thought”. The stickman in the middle watches two sides, portraying Adam’s highly alerted self, holding weapons and a shield, protecting himself from diseases. The extra layer of shield on the outside again shows double security, just like David Adam wearing gloves when he did laundry. The arrows on the outside had ones with low transparency and ones with high transparency. Darker colored arrows meant the possible or practical dangers that might affect him, but the high transparency ones are the factors that Adam considered too much about. All of this is above a black and white brain, indicating the amazing powers of the human brain.

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