An Adventure in the Closet

As everyone could tell, there are mainly two components of my title for this blog: the “adventure” and the “closet”. I believe these two nouns most accurately represent my first three weeks of the AP US Government in the Online School for Girls.

I would love to start with the first component: the intellectual adventure. As reluctant as I am to admit, the materials introduced in AP US Government are quite new to me. Grew up in China, I have very limited knowledge even of the Chinese government. So when I was asked to propose an amendment for a homework assignment, you could probably imagine me sitting in front of my desk, staring blankly into a Word document for an hour straight. By the time I actually finished the proposal, as flawed as it is, I did feel the excitement as if I had written a real Constitution of my own. Not that I am anywhere as intelligent as the Framers are- it’s simply the joy of creating something out of nothing, of starting from scratch.

      The intellectual adventure does not include knowledge alone. It is a process of gaining studying skills and time management skills. The first week in session, I did not start my homework until the weekend that it was due, partly because I didn’t have time on the week days, partly because I simply didn’t realize the amount of the workload. It turned out to be quite a disaster. I could not take detailed notes, and I had very little time to think carefully through my assignments, the content of which are very challenging to the least.

I learned from the mistakes. Starting from the second week, I tried to use more free periods and lunch time to do a little bit of the assignment every single day. Sometimes I simply have to prioritize one over the other. I truly believe that prioritizing is the key to success: schoolwork or online-schoolwork? It’s a question. I believe that in addition to the knowledge, it’s time management skills that really benefitted me.

Then there is the second part of my title: “the closet”. Believe it or not, it is incredibly hard to record a video

without disturbing others or being disturbed. This is especially true if you go to a boarding school where you share room with another person. I first learned this when I was recording for the “Response to Reading Constitution Out Loud”. Considering the fact that my roommate is in the room most of the time, it’s simply awkward to record while other people are around. I also have to be cautious not to disturb her from doing homework. Therefore, I tried to figure out some solutions by either going into the hallway or the common room, both of which did not work because too many people are hanging out in these areas. Going to library is a valid solution, but due to the 10 minutes’ walking distance, this option also becomes less than ideal.

The ultimate solution I came up involves the personal closet in my room. I find it to be perfect, because there is enough light, and it’s a closed space so I don’t have to worry about outside distractions. If you have checked the Gibbons v. Odgen case I recorded and noticed the white wall behind me as well as the relatively dark surrounding, yes, that’s my closet.

Even though I have to admit it has not been easy and smooth in the past three weeks, I can’t really express how excited I am. The ideas that we learned are gradually coming together through the case studies, such as the one we did with Katrina. It made the abstract concepts a lot more easier to understand. Once combined with facts, the concepts are becoming more vivid. They are not mere concepts anymore. And the shift in between the “ideas” and the “actions” is what really fascinates me. With this curiosity and perseverance, I am ready for a year of adventures!



  1. I find your journey into the world of the “OSG’s AP Government & Politics” fascinating as you find ways to overcome your initial procrastination, deal with Super PAC contributions issues and find your own private recording studio care of a closest. Learning is not only a matter of recalling facts. It must include experience in problem solving, negotiation, interaction, application of knowledge, logical thought, creativity…

    To have a well rounded education, we must develop ways of dealing with what life can throw at us, hopefully to the betterment of humanity. It seems to me you are on this learning adventure and are starting to take strides rather than small steps.

    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia


    • Hello Mr.Mannell,

      I really appreciate your reply! This is my first blog so it means a lot to me 🙂
      I agree a lot on what you said about the “thinker” part of education, because I personally believe that’s the essential part of learning. I have to admit that this online class is challenging me in ways that I did not expect. Not only are the materials completely new to me, the time commitment, flexibility, prioritizing are all very important skills to obtain.
      Again, I can’t thank you enough for your support.



  2. Hey Amber. I really appreciae your blog post. Going to an independent Quaker school everyday, I would think attending an online school would be a breeze. Your post was interesting because it totally went against what I expectd. I’d be interested to read more about your point of view of OSG as the year goes on. Keep up the blogs! 🙂

    -Jessica M (Friends School, Senior)


    • Hi Jessica,

      Thank you! Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be so hard either… But the experience has turned out to be so awesome!

      I really appreciate your support!



  3. I am so glad that you consider this class an intellectual adventure — that’s what every class should be! Curiosity and creativity will help you on this learning journey for sure.

    And learning to prioritize is a life skill you will use forever – congratulations and good luck on your attempts to master it now.

    Karen Douse
    OSG Academic Dean


    • Hi Ms.Douse,

      I really agree with you that all classes should be challenging and awarding enough to be considered an adventure 🙂 AP US GOV has been a subject that I previously had very little contact with, so it’s a completely new realm of world that I did not know. No matter how it turns out(or how the AP scores turn out), I will never regret the decision I made to attend this class!

      Thank you very much for your support!



  4. Hi there,

    I can honestly say that most teenagers have probably been in your position when you are so busy and have a project that you put it off until the last minute, and at that point, freak out. I know I did that last week for my science research project. It is definitely important to prioritize things and learn what kinds of things will take the most time and what will take the least time. How do you try to prioritize things? Also, I enjoyed your story about learning to do homework in your closet. I’m glad that you could find a quite, personal space in which to focus! Nicely done and I hope the rest of the year goes smoothly!



    • Hi Meredith,

      I found one thing really important for time management is getting ahead. Starting early studying fo r test( now I typically start 4-5 days before the actual test), spread out the materials. By the night before the test, I already have everything in my mind. Also, make good use of the weekend and extra days off(for us we have long fall/winter weekends, thanksgiving, christmas). These are really good time to start early on some assignments. Our school has a portal that teachers put assignments on weeks or even months in advance. During the longer vacations, I am sometimes able to finish some of the readings that’s due in one or even two weeks. So in the next one/two weeks, I am able to focus on assessments, or review/ask about places that I don’t understand. It is really important to go back to the readings though, because I sometimes already forget what I read about when by the time I am having a class on it.

      I really appreciate your support!



  5. Hi Amber,
    I found your blog through an assignment that I have for an education course at The University of South Alabama. Though it is an assignment, it’s blogs like yours that make it seem less than so. Your post is well written and was enjoyable to read. As a an aspiring educator, it was a joy to see a student so mature as to realize her need for improvement in time management as well as the adjustments you made to compensate. To speak on a personal level, it was well after my senior year in high school when I started to evaluate what I needed to do to make sure that my time was spent wisely on my academics. Keep this type of discipline in your studies and you will accomplish so much! Also, I thought it hilarious that you used your closet for recording your video. I find this humorous because I had a college roommate that was an aspiring musician and used his closet for a “recording studio” both for the reasons of not bothering his roommates (me), as well as for acoustics. Though I must say, he accomplished neither. I digress. To make a long comment short, keep up the great work and remember that if you put your mind to something, there is nothing that you can not accomplish! Study hard and have a great week at school. I hope to read more of your posts in the future.
    Take care,


    • Hi Sam

      Thank you very much for your comment and support!
      It’s really interesting to see your college roommate tried the same thing, and I also know some girls at my school who study in the closet to avoid distractions. The academics at my school are pretty challenging, but online school is more about self-discipline and motivation, and this is definitely something I learned through this online class.
      Good luck with your education course at the University of South Alabama ,and thank you again for your support!



  6. I enyoyed reading your post.I found it hard in my first years of school to take notes and because of that I was lost in a few of my classes. I changed my appraoch and became a better note taker. I had to be a better time manager and prioritize what was more important at the time. I think that a persons motivation and willingness to learn is the biggest factor,but good luck and wish you the best on getting your education. cyrus battiste edm310


  7. Hello again Amber,
    My class led me to your page once more less than a week out from the last post. What are the chances?! Is it just me or did you change your post? I am not sure if I was paying close attention to your writing style the first time or if the first time I read your post, it was a draft. Regardless, well written and keep up the great work!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s