Sunday, November 29, 2009

What is the difference between the image of ACS and the reality?
The American College of Sofia is a school that has a reputation of a prison. One of the rumors is that people here are very rich and most of them are accepted because of their connections and money, but the reality is different. Most of the students that study in ACS are ones of the smartest in Bulgaria. Many students have average grades above 5, 50 which shows the quality of the students and the school. The majority of people that graduate our school later on study in elite universities, which determine their skills, and refute the rumor that in ACS kids go only because their parents are wealthy.
Children that study in other schools believe that in ACS anybody can easily be expelled. There are many facts that refute such statement. The first argument is that in other schools if you skip 10 classes or more you get automatically expelled, but in our school the system is different. After each skip you can be suspended if the dean decides so, but otherwise the limit of the absences is fifty-six. This number equals 7 full study days in any regular Bulgarian school. According to this it is harder to be expelled in ACS than in a regular school. Another fact is that for every larger brake of the rules we go to probation that expires after the end of a semester, except the honesty probation, while in other schools you receive a punishment. If you have one punishment for unexcused absences and one for discipline you can easily be expelled, while in ACS you will have two probations that are over after few months.
The third most popular rumor about ACS is that nobody can cheat there. Probably the teachers are on the same opinion, but the reality created by the students is different. There are so many ways for cheating that are developed by students in our schools that teachers can not even imagine. The American College in Sofia has the reputation of one of the best prisons in Bulgaria, but the reality is different because its quality and the knowledge of the students are deteriorating through the years, which seems sad, but true.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book Review: 1984 by Geogre Orwell

The novel 1984 was written by George Orwell in 1949. During his life the author has witnessed the disastrous effect of the totalitarian regimes reigning with unlimited power. The novel represents a society in the near future that is controlled by a totalitarian government. The story takes place in London, but the country’s name is changed to Oceania. Orwell represents his biggest fear- people that are manipulated and brainwashed in every possible way: by being observed, listened on tap, limited in speech, and even in thought.

The life of the protagonist in the story Winston Smith represents the evolution of

a latitudinarian person to a brainwashed supporter of the regime. In the beginning of the plot Mr. Smith is portrayed as a rebellious and thoughtful person, who successfully resists the influence of the party. Even though he is a rebellious nature, Winston is afraid of being punished and that is why he tries to conceal his thoughts and actions in one diary, which he accurately hides from the regime. Since his first writing in this booklet, Mr. Smith is chased by the paranoia that his deeds will soon be revealed. Instead of becoming more introvert and mysterious he turns to be more brave and careless. Since this moment a party official named O’Brien appears to be more and more important, and influential for Winston. O’Brien successfully deceives him that he is working for the rebellious organization that plans a take-over. Winston is attracted by such an idea and is easily convinced to become a member of this fake organization.

However, he is captured for his illegal actions and while he is in prison the party officials attempt to brainwash him using different psychological and physical tortures. His destiny is in unison with the one of all the people who stood against the regime and got caught. Finally, the transformation is complete and irreversible. Winston Smith is even unable to feel any temptations about his ex-love Julia.

The message of the novel is that once a party gains a full control in its country and rules in a totalitarian way it can not be stopped in any way. The book’s contemporaries could easily make the connection between it and the communistic regime in USSR and the fascistic in Spain. The outcome is that people were convinced that a dictatorship in not the right way to rule a country.