In Advocation of Video Projects

I’m trying to say what really matters. Because I don’t have much time left.

None of us do, really.

So, I’m trying to say what I need to say.

I thought for a long time what I would make this blog about. And it took a while before I decided I would write a post In Advocation of Video Projects.

I decided this because Video Projects were one of the most fun things I did in High School. This has less to do with the projects themselves, and more to do with the people I did them with. Video Projects were this ultimate excuse to spend a day with a great group of people, just joking around on camera.

Whether it was reenacting a scene from Shakespeare for English or explaining a theory in Math or…teaching a lesson in AP Chemistry, Video Projects were always a blast.

Most recently, I made a video for AP Chemistry. More specifically, I made:

An Idiot’s Survival Guide: How to Survive AP Chemistry (In 10 Simple Steps)

Before I paste the link in here, I’d like to clarify a few things. First! I’m a sap. And the end of the video gets pretty sappy. Second! Unfortunately, Mr. Portis felt that if I wanted to get a grade higher than a C…I had to actually put “educational information” in my video. It had to be “worth-while“. Sometimes that Mr. Portis can be pretty crazy. Anyway, that means that there are  a few…serious parts in the video.

All in all, I hope you enjoy it. The link is below.

Click here.

I had so much fun making that video. It was the perfect way to finish off my Senior Year. Especially my Senior Year in AP Chem. Because whether we like it or not, AP classes start to hold a sentimental value as the year progresses. It’s hard to spend an entire year with 20 other kids in one class and not feel some kind of attachment to them.

Anyway, to all the teachers of this world: Maybe video projects don’t always work the best with helping students understand material…but they sure are fun.

They sure are worth it.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

One Minute

December 19, 2012

One Minute

“No. No! No!” I thought to myself as I sprinted down the hallway as fast as I possibly could. Heads were turning but I couldn’t slow down. I couldn’t stop to take a single breath. I knew exactly where I needed to be. I knew exactly what I had to do. I had to do it for Andrew. I had to do it for Christina…

See, yesterday was the second day of our AP Chemistry Unit 5 Test…Knowing that we would only be taking a test, I didn’t bother to bring my binder to class. What good would it do me? So, I walked casually into class with Zach, the both of us attempting to recite half-remembered formulas about frequency and wavelength of electromagnetic radiation. Both of us made it into class just as the One Minute bell rang.

There was only One Minute until the official start of class.

It was just as I set my backpack down that I looked over at the turn-in box…and I watched as someone placed a packet of papers inside it.

In that moment, I gasped so powerfully I think I heard a couple people wheeze as they attempted to get their share of oxygen, seeing as I’d just sucked most of it in. It was also in this moment that I turned to face my maker…Mr. Portis.

I knew he knew. And he knew I knew he knew. And I think the whole class knew he knew I knew he knew. (Knew is such a weird word…)

The problem was…there was a Lab Report due…before class started. That’s how it always was. Every time. And that meant I had a little bit less than a minute to get to my locker…get my Lab Report…and turn it in. Because Mr. Portis is the kind of teacher who doesn’t accept late work without consequence…But it was also a risk. Because Mr. Portis is also the kind of teacher who doesn’t take to kindly to tardiness…Particularly on test days.

But I had to try, didn’t I? Especially seeing as it wasn’t just my grade on the line. My Lab Team, Andrew and Christina, were counting on me. I was in charge of making our Lab Reports and turning them in on time.

So, there I was. I stared at Mr. Portis for only a second before I made my choice and, with a lunge, I began my sprint. My sprint for the grade.

“Bye, Brian,” Mr. Portis said extremely casually as I flew out the door.

I run Track. I run Cross Country. We do speed work outs all the time that involve sprinting…I don’t think I’ve ever run as fast as I did yesterday. Luckily, the hallway was fairly clear because most kids were in class already so I had a straight shot to the Senior hallway.

I started pumping my legs as fast as they would go and I’m pretty sure I broke the sound barrier as I passed Mr. Blaesser’s room. I rounded the corner to the Senior hallway and was faced with the bottleneck.

The thing is, at the end of every hallway there’s this really annoying set up where there are two passageways split by a pillar. But this causes a huge amount of backup (a bottleneck) and usually turning a corner out of these passageways is kinda risky…because you’re pretty likely to collide with someone. Well…

I rounded the corner to the Senior hallway and Kylie and Sarah were making their way through one of the doors and they were taking their merry little time! And…this next part I’m pretty ashamed of…but I had to get through.

“Excuse me? Excuse me! I gotta go! I gotta get through!” I shouted, trying to halt my light speed sprint. Of course, Kylie and Sarah react by essentially stopping and turning to see who was yelling. I had to go. I had to. Well…I guess chivalry really is dead because I just went ahead and tried to run between them. But they were so close together and, well, I looked back over my shoulder just in time to see that I’d shoved Sarah into the pillar dividing the passageways.

“I’m so sorry!” I hollered over my shoulder as I reached the Senior lockers. I counted best I could and stopped at the one I thought was mine…And fate finally took my side. It was my locker. I was so happy I just slammed on the locker door a few times as I tried to quickly enter my combination.

Miraculously, the locker door opened on my first attempt and I dove for my AP Chemistry binder. I yanked the binder out of my locker and slammed the door as I turned to run away…But there was no satisfactory crash of the locker door closing. I turned around and saw, to my horror, that when I’d pulled my binder out of my locker, I’d jostled some of my other things loose and they were currently stopping my locker door from closing.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me!” I muttered as I ran back to my locker and started fervently kicking everything back inside. Once everything seemed to be out of the way, I slammed the locker door and took off down the hallway.

“No. No! No!” I thought to myself as I sprinted down the hallway as fast as I possibly could. Heads were turning but I couldn’t slow down. I couldn’t stop to take a single breath. I knew exactly where I needed to be. I knew exactly what I had to do. I had to do it for Andrew. I had to do it for Christina…

I opened my binder as I ran and desperately grabbed at our Lab Reports. I think a few random notes fluttered away when I yanked the precious packet of papers out of the side pouch but I couldn’t stop to pick them up! Who knew how much time I’d wasted by dealing with that stupid locker of mine?

Before that bell rang, I needed to be inside Mr. Portis’ room with our Lab Reports safely in the turn-in box.

I was so close…

How long is One Minute? How short is One Minute?!

Every step I took brought me closer and closer to the door that now seemed to be glowing with a holy golden light…I think I heard it calling my name, too. And I’ll go to my grave swearing that there was this random orchestra placed surreptitiously in the hallway and it was playing the score from Chariots of Fire.

I bolted into the room and skittered around the table that blocked me from the box.

“Hi, Brian,” Mr. Portis said in the exact same dull tone of voice that he’d used earlier.

I was going to make it.

I pulled open the AP Chemistry drawer and stuffed our Lab Reports inside. Just as I slid the drawer closed…the bell rang.

I turned to face the class, and the moment felt right…So, I raised my arm in a sweeping motion and took a bow.

I recieved some scattered applause.

I was panting like crazy and I was even sweating a little, part from the run and part from pure adrenaline, but I’d made it. I’d turned in our Lab Reports on time. I’d made the sprint from the AP Chemistry room, to my locker, and back all within One Minute.

Unfortunately, due to some silly mistakes I made on the Report itself, we only got a 16/20…But it would’ve been worse if it’d been late!

I worked for that 16/20.

And it’s the sweetest B- I’ve ever earned.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Exam Hiatus

November 20, 2012

See, there’s a few problems with being a High School Blogger…

1.) The Life experiences that I blog about extend over a grand total of 17 years and most of them take place within a very conservative, wealthy community with extremely low diversity. (As you can imagine, I live a relatively sheltered Life. Most of us at Gull Lake do…) This means my frame of reference for the world as a whole is…this one very, very, very, very small town. What I’m saying is: I don’t always know what I’m talking about.

2.) My posts can be affected by the foolishness of youth. Sometimes my thoughts and feelings are generated through the idea that I’ll be young forever or that the world, of course, revolves around me or that everyone must think exactly like me, right? I feel like these things are just the effects of being young and I am plagued by them, like most of my peers.

3.) (The one that directly pertains to this post.) I struggle to maintain a balance between school, extracurriculars, a social Life, and this blog. Unfortunately for the blog, it often has to take the back seat because I try to maintain good grades, I try to get involved in extracurriculars, and I strive to spend as much time as I can with my friends in our last year of High School.

Next week, the week after Thanksgiving, is Exam Week at Gull Lake High School. Over the next two weeks, I will be in: Exam-Cram Mode

This means the blog is going on a Hiatus. The Exam Hiatus.

I hate to do it, I really do. I have a few ideas I’ve been toying with and I know what I want to write about when I come back, what thoughts and experiences I want to reflect upon…but they’ll have to wait. The next two weeks will be primarily dedicated to studying for Final Exams. (Next Friday, I’ll probably be taking the hardest exam I’ve ever taken in my Life and I am shaking in my boots. AP Chemistry may very well be the death of me. When we asked Coach Portis how long the AP Chem exam would be…he gave us the most devious smile and said: “Oh…about 27 pages.” If my memory serves me correctly, I think one girl was taken out of class in an ambulance after he said that.)

Anyway, I’ll be back at writing this blog in December. December 1st is the Saturday after exams are over…I’ll shoot for getting a post up then.

For now, I’ll stop wasting your time with this meandering post. I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving.

I’ll see you on the other side.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Back To School: Senior Year

September 7, 2012

It’s been a while. A few days. Five or so, by my count. That’s a little embarrassing. I’ll try and look past it.

Basically, I’ve been busy. Really busy. I may have made a slight mistake in my scheduling choice, but I keep telling myself not to think that. That’s not a wise path to travel down. I have to believe that I’m meant to be in the classes I’m in…even if it means I spend most nights this year glued to my AP Chemistry book…

I shouldn’t complain. I mean, my Cross Country Captain, Jeremy, has been taking AP classes since he crawled out of the womb. The kid is insane. I think he’s contending for Most AP Classes Taken By A Gull Lake Student.

Sophomore Year, he took AP World History. Okay, reasonable start. A lot of people did that. Junior Year, he took AP Chemistry, AP Spanish, AP US History, and AP Calculus. Okay…not a whole lot of people did that.

Senior Year? He’s gotta let him self off the hook, right? No.

AP European History, AP Statistics, AP Literature, and AP Language. Overall, there are only two AP classes in my school that he didn’t take (AP Physics and AP Biology). And you know what? His Fifth Block? The extra class that he could take? The one that could be some blow-off class…? It’s Physics.

If he doesn’t get accepted to the best colleges in all the land, I’ll…I dunno, smack myself or something. The point is: the kids a genius. I hold him in only the highest of respects.

But, I’m just trying to explain why I shouldn’t complain. I mean, I’m just taking AP Chemistry and AP Literature. My nightly “work-load” is probably pathetic compared to what he’s been dealing with for two years now.

So, I won’t complain. I’ll simply say that I’ve been busy the past few nights…with…things. Maybe homework.

Overall, though, going Back To School has been awesome. It’s almost like we never left. The halls seem just as familiar and the faces…are, admittedly, a little off (I don’t really know a ton of Underclassmen…frickin’ Freshman…) But it’s all there! The teachers. The new classes. The joking in the halls. The congregations of cliques before school starts. The fresh notebooks. The new pencils. The fluorescent lights. The crowded passing times. The uncomfortable lunch tables. The warble-y announcements. The Foreign Exchange Students. The sound of the Band’s metronome coming from the practice field in the parking lot. The weird tasting drinking fountains. The Senate meetings. The after school Cross Country practices. The fidgety Internet connection. The squeaky Gym floor. The football games. The Lock-Down drills. The gossip. The early mornings. The late nights. Everything. All of it. It’s High School. It’s familiar. It’s a shame it has to go in less than a year.

But, nothing lasts forever, I know that. I’m glad I’ve enjoyed High School while it lasted. This year’s going to zoom by. I know. I’m sure if I blink a little too hard, when I open my eyes, I’ll be standing on the stage at Miller Auditorium…and I’ll be taking my diploma. I’ll be shaking hands with good ol’ Donny-Boy (our Principal). And I’ll be stepping off. Off on my way.

Off to take on Life.

Yikes. “To take on Life”? That still sounds a little scary…

Hopefully I’ll be out of my training by then…

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)