Tag Archives: Independent Seminar

La La Land-Appreciating its Simplicity | Cynthia Ruan

I decided to write about La La Land by Damien Chazelle this week. It is a L.A. love story between a jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring young actress, Mia (Emma Stone). The brilliant, Oscar-winning (YAY) Chazelle delivered the story in the form of a musical. It’s very nostalgic; Chazelle pays tribute to many classic ninetieth musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, but the story itself is modern and Chazelle definitely made it into his own style.

I have to say that I’m truly surprised by how much I’m in love with this film. I’m not a fan of musicals and am pretty cynical when it comes to romantic dramas, especially ones like this where everything is just so over-the-top romanticized. So it may seem like besides Ryan Gosling’s beautiful face, there shouldn’t be any reason for me to like this film at all. But in the midst of all the dancing and singing and floating in the planetarium, La La Land really touched me, evidenced by my crying hysterically for the both times I watched it in the theater and the many times on my laptop.mv5bzduynzuymwmtyjc2zc00yjixlthlodktyjrmzmizmzllotqxl2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjawmdu5mtu-_v1_sy1000_sx1000_al_

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Blue Valentine – Why Isn’t Love Enough? | Cynthia Ruan

For my project, I’ll be writing reviews on films with the broad theme of love. I’ll focus more on the analysis of characters and storylines instead of the technicality of filmmaking since it’s not my area of expertise.

In light of Valentine’s Day, I watched Blue Valentine by Dereck Cianfrance this week, and here’s my complete review on the movie.

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The Hidden Gem of Westtown School – KC

This semester during my Junior year, I am enrolled in the Independent Study Program and having the time of my life diving deep into material that specifically interests me in a subject I excel. After hearing about this unique offer during my Sophomore year, I seized the opportunity. After a proposal, I was accepted into the History Independent Seminar where I’ve been study legislation and sex education in Pennsylvania.

Read More: Pennsylvania’s Sex Education Policy Is Scarier Than You’d Think!

Upon first impression, I thought this class would simply be a time to learn all about the history of legislation and sex education in Pennsylvania and continue my learning in my favorite subject — but it is far more than that.

Westtown’s Independent Study has challenged my writing, reading, researching and critical thinking skills. I’ve noticed considerable improvements in many disciplines as a result of my deep study of sex education and legislation. I’ve worked with the Chair of the History Department, English Teachers, and Health Experts.

This is a unique program I would recommend to all students who are pursuing a unique discipline. Current students should seize this opportunity for next year. Few schools allow for students to explore their interest in a particular subject the way Westtown allows. Not only have I been able to learn more through research, but I also have a plethora of resources and faculty who have been incredibly supportive and helpful.

Read More: Learn How To Contact Your Representatives!

The Independent Study Program is one of the hidden gems on our campus that needs more recognition. I hope prospective students have a chance to hear about how students are excelling in different disciplines through this program.

This week I wanted to hear from all my fellow peers about unexpected ways they’ve improved their academic and research skills through Independent Seminar. What skills have you improved?

Image from Westtown School “Student Life” (www.westtown.edu)

 

Work Update – Will

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This past week has consisted mostly of editing with some small spurts of writing new content here and there. Since my edits aren’t terribly interesting and I have no shocking ideas or concepts to share with all of you, I’ve decided to include an excerpt of my writing. This excerpt is mostly all dialogue and takes place during a meeting of my group’s leaders. Here it is:

I was still smarting from Gormly’s words. I stared down at the table. How could a cook tell me, a warrior, how the mission should have been handled? Sure, he had some years on me, but age couldn’t teach him what we warriors had learned firsthand. The rest of Thane’s team, brothers and sisters I sent with him, were still out there, and Gormly would dare second-guess my decisions? I didn’t know where they were. I had to know where they were. But I couldn’t do that while arguing with Gormly.

I looked up. “Yeah, I’m good. Sorry,” I said. My apology was noted by a dismissive wave of Bazgal’s hand.

Sharpe looked around and said, “Anybody have any more thoughts?”

Silence abounded for a couple of moments, then Alfred spoke up, “Do we know when we’ll be able to question Thane?”

Bazgal and Sharpe both looked to Junger, representing the healers. Junger was a middle-aged, bald, and grey bearded man whose body abounded with sinewy muscle. He seldom spoke when not amongst healers. He looked around, then to Bazgal and Sharpe, and said, “Well, he’s not in good shape. That much we all know. We’re doing the best we can, but the damage from the blood loss alone is huge, not to mention the fact that he lost an eye and will lose a hand. I’d say it’ll be a couple of days at the very least until we’ve finished up our work. After that, I’d give him a couple more days before we can question him. He’ll be very weak.”

Bazgal and Sharpe both nodded solemnly.

“A couple of days? If my warriors aren’t already dead, then they’ll be dead by then! We need to talk to him before that!” I couldn’t believe Junger’s lack of concern for his brothers and sisters.

“Or maybe your warriors will find their way back to us by the time Thane is ready,” Fara said.

“And if we try anything with Thane earlier, we run the risk of making him far worse and not getting any answers anyway,” Said Junger.

I was having none of it. “If it’s his life against the lives of my warriors, I’ll take that risk! Since when were we afraid to—“

“This is the last time I warn you, Carter,” said Bazgal. “You aren’t an Alpha and you won’t tell others of the same rank as you what needs to be done. Hold your peace or leave us and we’ll find a different warrior to advise us.”

“Alright, alright, fine. Let’s just figure this out.” I didn’t want to risk being left out of any decision that was to be made. Those were my warriors out there, and I needed to know how the Alphas planned on finding them.

“Let’s get back to it,” said Bazgal, looking around the table. “We know Thane’s in no position to give us any answers right now. We know that there’s a threat out there, and we don’t know what it is.”

“The Scout’s Vanguard is also extremely vulnerable right now,” said Shane.

“I’d say we call the Scout’s Vanguard back to our position,” Sharpe said.

Gormly looked around confusedly and asked, “And why would we do that?”

“Until we can really understand what did that to Thane and made Carter’s warriors disappear, we need to regroup and be on the defensive. If Carter’s warriors don’t come in anytime soon and Thane isn’t ready to talk by the day after tomorrow, then we’ll gather our things and head out.”

“I think that sounds like the best option at the moment. There’s still a lot we don’t know,” Said Bazgal.

“But why not use the Scout’s Vanguard to find out what the threat is? They’re already out there. They should do what they’re made for,” Said Gormly.
I hope you enjoyed my most recent work at least a little bit! I just started reading a new book, In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson. Larson is a masterful storyteller who makes nonfiction material seem like a good thriller. I try to emulate his storytelling capability in my own writing.

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Last One :)-Yanwen

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Time runs fast this year and I still haven’t done all I need to do for the semester. Senior year has been quite busy for me with all college applications, class load, and projects. But the good thing is, the two projects I include in this semester’s independent seminar keep themselves in the good shape so far and keep progressing. Since this is the last blog before the final presentation, I’d like to wrap up what I’ve gotten right now. Continue reading

Updates

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According to the graph above, I’m currently stating at step 5 and getting constant updates on the project with Napier Group. Up to today, I’ve met with the clients once in person and discussed their expectations on the final product and preferred timeline to provide a workable product. The expected finish time is set before March for them to process June’s workshop registration. Continue reading