Summing up the first few days in ICS

School started too early. Way to early. As in both the date and time. I had only about one and a half of a month of holidays, and man, I basically did nothing except for taking an SAT course! I didn’t even get the sleep back yet! Since school started, I have to wake up 5:50am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Fridays too to get to class on time; 7am on Tuesdays (no Chapel/Advisory or Homeroom).

The first impression I had of ICS are the nice people around, be it teachers or students – at least, they remember my name! Like I pointed out in the last post, things are not only organized here, but also very neat and well-planned out. I really like the class environment here – funny, relaxed, but I can still learn things.

Luckily, I got well with some of the students here and joined the programming club. Somehow, they called me a “pro”, and wanted me to teach the rest about HTML/CSS/Websites design. Seriously…. what just happened?


So, I mentioned that I signed up for honors Amer. / Brit. Lit. for my English course. After the introductory 20-minutes lesson, I find out that I am in the wrong class. Mrs. Stephen, the teacher of the course, is a nice lady, who reminded me that “other students have read 5 books in the summer and each wrote about 10 pages notes on each of them. You might want to start them now since we’ll have 6 other books to cover in this semester. Mmm, how about this, you won’t have to write notes, just read those books and come and talk to me about them.” Although the list of books she required included some books that we read in SMIC, like Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, etc., still, that means I’ll have to read 11 books in a short 4 months! Even more scarier, is that they are covering two entire books of “Literature” (the same book we use at SMIC) in one year! WOW.

But what can I do? That is like the only English course available in F block. The course I wanted to take, Advanced Composition, is available in G block, which I have Chinese during then. Then, after taking the introductory lesson, I made my decision: If I can drop Chinese, I will do everything to do so. The class is like the most boring class I have ever taken in my life.  (Or perhaps I am used to the relaxed style of Ms. Ma’s?)

So in the next day, I got a drop/add form, and started gathering signatures. Mrs. Stephen, the English teacher, signed right off the bat without even having to ask me for reasons. Wow, okay. Then, I went to my Chinese teacher,  but the reaction was the complete opposite. I asked her really politely, but she responded, “You won’t have the credits transferred from your old school! “ WHAT? HOW CAN IT NOT TRANSFER OVER? “Yeah, we had a senior that had to take both French and Chinese courses just so he can get 2 Language credits to graduate.” THAT CAN’T BE POSSIBLE! “Fine (it sounded like “You don’t believe me?”), go to the Dean and ask him.”

So I went to the Dean, and asked him about the credits. “They should transfer. Go talk to Ms. Farley the counselor.”

Fine. I had to then go to the counseling office to find Ms. Farley. I was originally asking her for suggestions for what to do, but she actually did the whole add/drop for me. Yes, without my Chinese teacher’s approval! Wow, that’s got to be the best day of my life – I don’t think I would want to go up to her and ask her to sign my form.

Let’s talk about my courses… in the order of my schedule.

Block A – Bible 11

Nothing special, I guess. Surprisingly, the class wasn’t just about memorizing Bible verses and all that, it is quite fun actually. I think. Our first project is “Search for God’s Hand in my life”. I have to give a presentation about… well, you can probably guess from the name of the project and write something for the teacher. Fun fun fun!

Block B – P.E.

I seriously don’t know why I signed up for P.E.. Again, nothing is special. We actually voted on the sports we want to play and we ended up with Volleyball, Bowling, Badminton and (argh, I forgot! I guess that’s a sport that doesn’t interest me). Yeah, you read that right, Bowling is in the list.

Block C – PreCalculus

Keywords: “I miss Ms. Han”

My teacher, Mr. Ward is a cool guy, but perhaps I am too used to Ms. Han’s style. For probably every new thing he teachers, he has a story to accompany it. Don’t get me wrong though, it is awesome, but the class moves a little too slow.

For example, today, we learned composition of function. You know f(g(h(x))) stuff. For Ms. Han, it probably takes an hour; for Mr. Ward, it took the whole class period – that is, 72 minutes. He even used graphs on computers to demonstrate! We would have to discuss with neighbors about the answer of f(g(x)) when x = 3, g(x) = x-1 and f(x) = 1/2x+2. And that took about 10 minutes. Man, I wish there is an honors class.

Oh speaking of honors, there isn’t a separate class, but we can get honors status if we finishes all questions in the test, teach a 72 minutes section and do a project for each unit.

But overall speaking, Pre-Calc here is still fun. I guess, not as stressed as Ms. Han’s.

Block D – Physics

Our first project in Physics is to design anything that can tell us how long 2 minutes is. I, along with two other people, designed a “sandglass” that didn’t work. On the day of testing, today, we simply didn’t follow the sandglass at all, but counted to 2 minutes ourselves, and it turned out we only missed it by 2 seconds! Wow, people here are awesome.

Block E – MicroEcon

This is probably my favorite class so far. The teacher taught this History course in a way that I don’t think it is about History at all. He uses really good examples and yet sticks to the right amount. (Again, I am not saying anything.) I am starting to see that Econ is not about money like I thought it was, at all, but a completely new subject… which I  now enjoy!

Block F – Intro Media Production

I chose this class after dropping honors Lit., and I think I made a good choice. The class takes place in the studio of the school, with like 7 of 24’’ Macs, really professional equipments and all. In the class, we learn about film and other media. In the one class that I was in yesterday, we learned about different type of angles and camera shots. While I feel I personally understand the concept already, as I look closer, I did realize I can learn so much about film that I can’t learn without a proper teacher.

Just why isn’t there such course in SMIC? This would be such a beneficial class to MVC and its members!

Oh, I forgot to mention one of the projects we have to do. We have to survive without internet for at most 4 days to experiment how important “Media” is in our lives. I haven’t planned when to do it yet… but I tell you, if it’s not for this project, I won’t even imagine how I can do this.

Block G – Advanced Composition

All I can say is, wow. This is an English class, but perhaps the most fun one of all classes (along with MicroEcon, I guess). The teacher, Ms. Manchester, is an Asian that speaks with slight British accent. She has stories along with probably every sentence she makes. For example, a simple attendance roll could take 10 minutes because she “made fun” with all the names. Hahaha…

Block H (the last block) – AP Comp Sci

You would think this is the easiest class for me, but actually not. My teacher looked through my transcript and found no prerequisite courses taken in SMIC. I had to prove to him that I am not a total noob in this area by taking a test on next Thursday. He gave me a 800 page book about Java and told me that I will be given a final from last year. Wow, good luck to me!

While I have to prepare for that test, I have a test coming on right tomorrow for the basics of computers. Good luck to me!

Block P – Choir

I guess most of you are most interested in learning what happened during Choir class. Nothing has happened so far, and I think I am going to take a test tomorrow regarding which voice I am. I chose to be Tenor, but I don’t fully know that I will sing Tenor yet until tomorrow.

I am kinda nervous.


Lots of stuff are still coming regarding my experience in ICS. So far nothing much has happened, but I will tell you guys when something has.

Anything you guys are deeply interested about?