The King's College Student Blog

Mastering APTAP With John Green

Kings' American Political Thought and Practice I, II, & III, are key to the college's curriculum.  For many a student, they some difficult and time consuming courses.  Personally, I love the APTAP series, but I find myself needing extra help.  Kingsians can get the most out of their APTAP experience and attain that A with a little help from John Green.

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John Green is most known for his prize winning novels, Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, but he is also a YouTube super-vlogger.  John and his brother Hank, the VlogBrothers, launched the channel Crash Course in January 2012 as an original YouTube funded channel.  They also received a grant from Google for the educational show.  

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Crash Course US History, hosted by Green, offers an honest and non-Western view of American history.  Beginning with "The Black Legend, Native Americans, and Spaniards" and ending with the 47th episode "Obamanation," the video series offers an acurate, funny, catchy, and honest portrayal of American history in around 8-14 minutes per video.

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The series was intended for students taking AP US History, and lets be honest, the APTAP series is basically the same course but with an added semester.  King's history classes are superb, the assigned readings are intriguing and thought provoking, and the lectures are immensely informational.  Still, it can be hard to connect the readings and lectures if one does not fully understand all that took place during each period.  History is complex; John Green takes that complexity and serves it to viewers in a simple and exciting way.

I do not recommend watching the series as a substitute for the APTAP readings.  This would be counterproductive and would hurt one's grade.  Professor Parks and Professor Corbin have designed an intense and in depth course series, and I advise each student to immerse themselves in all readings and lectures.  What I believe John Green can do for Kingsians, is connecting the dots.  What may not always be clear to one in a class or reading, will become understood through watching Crash Course US History.

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My youngest brother's AP US History professor uses the videos, and they will soon become available for as a DVD series.  The Green brothers no longer fund the channel through YouTube and Google, which caused them financial and creative problems, but through their website Subbable.  The site helps fund videos and channels that viewers deem worth subscribing to.

Whether one needs extra help on a quiz, a preci writing, or if you just want to watch John Green get shocked by his pen for not answering the 'Mystery Document' correctly, then Crash Course US History will be a good fit.  Along with US History, there are also series on World History, Chemistry, Literature, Ecology, and Biology.  

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I believe that education should be exciting.  One should dive into a reading, a time period, or a philosophy with a feeling of desire and curiosity.  John Green can help Kingsians become excited about APTAP and enhance these amazing and rewarding classes at King's.  I hope this was helpful, and as John Green would say, "As we say in my hometown, don't forget to stay awesome."

 

By Sarah Buzzelli

 

"Spring" retreat

Recently, I have not experienced spring, even though "Spring" Break is supposed to be a month, and I just went on a "Spring" Retreat with my house. People decide to call things spring when they really aren't. Last year was the same way. It snowed all through spring break, when all I wanted was a jot of sunshine. 

This is going to sound cliche, but even just a bit of hope is enough to put a spring in your step. It's enough to put it in my step. This weekend, my family hosted about 30 girls at my home in New Jersey. I'm in the House of Corrie ten Boom, and since there's no school-wide spring retreat, we had one of our own. 

Epic sledding in my backyard.

Epic sledding in my backyard.


There was sledding. There were snowball fights. There were loud conversations and soft conversations. There was much-needed fellowship and solitude, sleep, relaxation, and roaring laughter heard throughout the house.

All weekend, people kept asking me, "Is it weird having so many people in your house?" or "Is it weird having us in your house?" I didn't want to offend anyone, but it really was weird having King's people in my home. I'm used to coming home to an almost-empty house, usually just to see my parents or my sister. But this time around, I was the last to arrive, and there were already 24 people in my house. I went upstairs to see my sister, and convinced her to come downstairs after we had caught up. We were standing in the kitchen with some girls from my house, just talking, but I kept looking back to my sister, confused. It's mildly disorienting coming home from the city, but bringing along a bunch of people from my school makes for a confusing disposition. 

By Saturday, I got used to having so many people at my house, but it still didn't feel like home. I'm not used to having my worlds collide so much, but it's definitely enlightening. I'm realizing how great my life is, and how great the people in my life are. It's not like I'm just getting compliments or attention; I'm feeling the warmth of my friends and family. I have a great community with my house, and my family is infinitely gracious and kind. I know these things, but the experiences I had this weekend showed me how true it is: I have a great life, and I'm blessed, and I'm not alone. And that's much better than a little spring.

-Kristie

The Scam Next Door

I may be a MCA major, but I still contemplate money, investing, gaining capitol, and my financial future.  I've had a full time job since high school, so working and saving are two of my strengths, but investing is a foreign idea.  I decided to educate myself on the matter and take a class.  This class happens to be on the same block as the King's College, at the Online Trading Academy (42 Broadway.)

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I went to the class expecting to be informed about the stock market, forex, futures, currency, and the likes.  I was, but they also used false information to get me to take future classes, which would no longer be free.  They explained how reading books is never helpful when it comes to learning how to invest (a lover of books, I HATE this statement.) They further noted that one needed around $2000-5000 dollars to begin investing in a smart matter.  This is a myth, for $500 will do just fine.  

Also, a very young man came and explained that he was the Dean and that he would be lowering the price of the class by around $1000.  Apparently he was from some nearby business that partnered with the school.  One can tell a lot from an individual's body language and tone of voice, and the young man was surely giving off the I'M-THE-INTERN vibe.

Since the information they did offer was highly informational, and their coffee was slightly addictive, I would say I enjoyed the class, but as for taking future paid classes, well that would be falling into their scam.  The school has a trading account.  Students use their money to practice live trading.  Due to the state of the market, they lowered the price for the class about $400 then they usually do (this I found out through student reviews.)  They need more students to offer money to their account and to help make trades.  Of course the school takes the hit if its a bad trade, but overall they make quite a lot of money off of the students beyond their class tuition.

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I soon learned that their are many other options then taking a sit in class.  Investopedia and a few other sites offer trading simulators and numerous videos and articles to help one educate themselves on how everything works.  I decided to sign up for one of these sites instead.

So here is my warning to King's students:  Online Trading Academy is a scam.  If you're interested in investing and learning how to minimize your losses, try an online site or read a book.  My best advice is to practice.  Just make sure you don't go running to 42 Broadway (unless you want some strangely good coffee.)

-  Sarah Buzzelli

NYC winter: bad, but redeemable (kinda)

NYC winters suck. I hate cold weather and avoid it at all possible costs. I shut down and stop talking when I'm walking in the cold. It does not help that New York City's convenient layout of long, narrow streets and towering skyscrapers guarantees that every slight gust of wind is amplified and efficiently distributed throughout the arctic jungle. Just walking to school is miserable. Waiting in the subway stations is dismal. Life is gray.

Yet Bradley Cooper taught us to search for the silver lining in every situation. Even though it took considerable mental exertion, I was able to come up with some things that I liked about the cold winters here. I still hate the cold. Below are 5 of each:

 

THE BLAH

1. If you don't have boots, then be prepared for you and your feet to be on bad terms for a few months. If you do have boots, then chances are they will get dirty or ruined in some way or another. It's a lose-lose.

2. You slip and slide everywhere you go, especially down the subway station stairs. 

3. It is painful to breathe. It is painful to see. It is painful to be alive.

4. The only rational outdoor activity is getting from one indoor spot to another. And even that is frowned upon most of the time.

5. King's is stuck up and doesn't have snow days. So, as a student, it's on you to "make your own snow day," if you know what I mean. (If you don't, I mean skip)

 

TKC students got together on their snow day and built an 8 foot snowman in Central Park.

TKC students got together on their snow day and built an 8 foot snowman in Central Park.

THE YAY

1. Sledding in the park. EPIC. 

2. Excuse to wear my sock monkey hat my mom gave me (upon my request) for Christmas.

3. The snow hides a lot of the city's filth. Everything looks better covered in snow. That's why brides are always wearing pure white dresses, right? 

4. Central and Riverside Park! (and every other park...BREATHTAKING)

5. Hot chocolate tastes better and warm apartments feel better and anything not-cold acquires a sort of divine glow. 


-JG

Weird Vaca-feelings

I was just talking to my friend about coming back from break, and it’s always all weird.

This is a guy that I don’t talk to a lot—I like him and all, respect him a lot—but we’re both really busy with other stuff. But having vacations always brings people to catch up—ask people how their vacations are and that kind of stuff. You realize how long it’s been, how quick time passes. Or maybe people notice you again. It’s nice to have friends like that though. It’s like you know they’re there for you, if you ever really need it. At least most of them, I think. I don’t think we ever give that enough thought (how much people care about us) because it’s just hard to hear it sometimes. We don’t listen or pretend it’s not there and we don’t ask for it sometimes.

But anyways, I was telling him how my break went, and he told me about his, and it’s always weird going back home, we agreed. He’s the one that said it, but I know what he means, I think.

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It’s family, mostly, for me. It’s just such a weird thing to have family and not be with them. You watch TV shows and they're like, Ah, this is my family—and it’s just the guys at work or the unexpected bunch of roommates. Like sitcoms, I mean, especially holiday specials. But it’s usually not their actual family. They have broken families that for whatever reason they aren’t with.

I guess that how it is for me, like how I have a family of friends in college, but then I have a very loving family too. And then I see them, and I love them so much. But then if that’s true, why the hell did I go off to college? I’m always gonna wanna move back home and be with my family for as long as I (or they) live, whether I graduate college and stay in the city, or move somewhere—and if I go back home, what about this new “family” that I have now? I mean the people that really know me now, the people that I spend all my time with now, that took care of me when I bailed out on my real family.

That’s what's weird for me. To always have a heart cut in half, one on the West Coast, and another on the East Coast. Honestly, I don’t get college and I think it’s overrated and everything like that. Somebody told you it's worth it to leave, and you don't know why but you believe it. So that’s what we do nowadays. I’ve learned so much, and I have so many great new friends, and it’s better to have loved and lost and all that, but it’s hard sometimes. I would do it again, but I just wish I was stronger, that I could deal with it better, that going on breaks didn’t have to break the cycle, because you realize the cycle isn’t as good as you think it is. I like the routine of school and work, and I like going on break, and it’s weird to think you have to have both. You have to, and it vaguely hurts—and you’re all right with it for whatever reason.  

--Alex

When Friendships End

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In college, friendships are made; in college, friendships are broken. Three years ago, after crossing the stage in front of numerous families and friends, receiving my high school diploma with bottled up excitement, the words "never again" passed through my thoughts.

Never again would I live in this small, beach town; never again would I see almost all of the faces in the auditorium that night. Moving to the Northeast, to New York City, to study, to work, and to mature, would mean leaving familiar faces behind, except one--my best friend since junior high school, who also shares my first name.

I realized moving, maturing, and time would slowly, or quickly, end friendships I had made over the years. I looked forward to the new ones I would form, away from home, away from the normal, away from the well-known. My best friend and I made apparent to ourselves and to each other that our friendship would not end, that we would be friends through our college years, our thirties, middle age, and beyond. We would be those crazy "fifty something's" hanging out at the bar.

Three years later, I am not so sure. We have both made Thanksgiving our tradition. She flies to the city and we get either hookah or shrimp for our Thanksgiving meal. We reminisce about high school, and share what is going on in our lives. What classes we love the most, which graduate schools we are applying to, who we are dating or not dating, the craziest moment or party of the year, and the hardships that are our families is all shared during this time.

This year was different; this year, I noticed how much we have grown apart. We are no longer on the same page anymore. Our values and aspirations have changed, our conversation is awkward at times, and it has become easy to be condescending to one another. By the end of the break, I wondered if it was possible at all to be friends as adults with those you were friends with as children. Of course, we all age, we all grow up in some way or another, but sometimes we also grow apart.

This realization broke my heart. Dropping my friend off at the airport, I wondered if this would be the last. I wondered if our friendship would survive the next few years, and after. Once home, I realized that it was okay to let go. Staying friends because it feels necessary defeats the point of a friendship. If we cannot be friends because we care then we should simply move on.

This may all sound depressing, but I think it's valuable to understand that some things are meant for a time and place – not everything is forever. The same goes for being here at The King's College. It's a time and a place, one I will never forget, and when I move on to further schooling, I am sure to lose touch with certain friends. But the importance of these friendships is not diminished by this fact. Rather, it is all the more important to cherish them while they are here.

by Sarah Buzzelli