Game Plan

As you can see today (early February), there’s not much going on here right now. This will be the first post I’ve published to this blog. Here’s a brief introduction and outline of what’s to come.

About a year ago, I was a junior in an AP Economics class at my high school. I was putting in long hours and doing great. I think that’s what made me one of those kids who for some strange reason loved the dismal science. Not everybody did, though, and I didn’t like to see that. So I set up Study for Econ, a month-long blog and study aid that I hoped would help my friends get excited about Economics. I think it worked, and my final post was bittersweet. The project had made homework into fun and had been a great chance to get to know my classmates, so saying goodbye was tougher than I thought it would be.

Twelve months later, I’m a second-semester senior. I have the opportunity to coast, to just do the bare minimum and pull off a few B’s and C’s, but I’m scared of falling into that habit and staying there after high school. Instead, I’d like to keep myself busy and create something else that’s useful for students like me. This semester, I’ll be maintaining another blog, this time about a tough topic with which I’ve had a love-hate relationship. I chose Chemistry.

Things could get hectic—I’m juggling five AP classes along with editor and adviser positions, and a lot of competitions and events outside of school are coming up over the next few months, so this blog could at times take a back seat to an upcoming deadline or meeting. I’ll do my best to make sure that I deliver, though. Here’s a little bit more on what we can expect.

What I want from this blog

  1. I want to build a useful study aid not just for myself but for anybody interested in the AP Chemistry curriculum.
  2. I want to learn the science of chemistry, even the parts that don’t hold my interest.
  3. I want to use this blog as a way of keeping myself accountable.
  4. I want to be able to explain in layman’s terms the concepts covered in my curriculum.
  5. I want to be well-prepared to take (and ace) the AP exam by May 2011.

What I don’t want from this blog

  1. I don’t want this to become useless to everybody except myself. If you, the reader, see something that’s unclear, just let me know and I’ll try my best to address it.
  2. I don’t want to focus on education over learning. I’d like to keep test scores and college admissions out of the conversation, as those could turn this into a gimmick.
  3. I don’t want to rely on external sites as a crutch. Khan Academy, BrightStorm, Wikibooks, and other tools will be used when they help, but they won’t be the only things I post.
  4. I don’t want to lose my “pure” motivations. I won’t let sponsors with deep pockets and useless learning tools force me into extolling them.
  5. I don’t want to create a one-way channel. Communicate your concerns, questions, and ideas. I’ll do my best to work with readers to make this the best and most interactive site possible.
  6. I don’t want to kill myself with work. This is meant to be something I love working on and others love reading, not something that I loathe and readers cringe at.
  7. I don’t want to enable cheating or plagiarism.

What I’ll do with this blog

  1. With every chapter, I will try to distill the week’s notes into a lesson. That lesson will become a blog post of its own. I’ll include links and videos demonstrating the interesting or sticky principles.
  2. I’ll look through comments and e-mails and address the common questions to the best of my abilities.
  3. I will let the traffic to this blog come organically through search engines and external links, so that the community is one that cares about learning. I won’t shout the URL in the halls of my school.

And last but not least . . .

What you’ll do with this blog

  1. You’ll be able to read my content for free.
  2. You’ll be able to contribute to the ChemWiki (more information to come) and request content.
  3. You’ll be able to ask questions about the topics I cover. I’ll try my best to find answers and post them.

EDIT: It’s early February right now. I will post lesson summaries and tips in an arbitrary order, but I’ll manipulate the publication dates so that content shows up in the order it was taught to me; some posts might show up with timestamps from as early as 2010.

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