of all that i have learned

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”  – Albert Einstein

of all that i have learned

of all that i have been taught

perhaps the most important,

were the thing that i had forgotten.



and so on.

these things i value,

these things i appreciate,

yet ,

how interesting it was

that these things were not

of the most important

that i have learned.


how interesting it was

that my teacher

was not

my sole source of knowledge,

that those who surrounded me

also taught me

of the most important things

one can ever learn –

of the things i had forgotten.

to learn how to fail,

but to  fail brilliantly,

and in the presence of others.

to learn how to think,

but think beyond the depths of an ordinary epiphany,

to not be contented

with any ordinary revelation.

of all that i have learned

these have been the most important to me.

and these have been taught to me

by you.

so thank you

thank you for teaching me

how to fail

how to think

how to be

the writer I am today.



English this year has been a time of enlightenment for me. I have not only learned how to become a much, much better writer, but I have also found a community within this class. “of all the things i have learned” is my way of expressing my gratitude for all that I have gained, such as teaching me how to fail and teaching me to think critically.

Before coming to this class, I had neglected to see the importance of failure, and the endless learning, motivation, and improvement that comes with it –  I have used failure as motivation to work harder and improve in the past, though I did so by myself. LA has taught me about the importance of failure with the input of others. I am not, nor will ever be, the best student in this class, and I feel comfortable to share my failures with this class as I know it will open my eyes to issues and improvements in my writing and thought process I could never have recognized on my own. I learned to fail, but fail brilliantly, and in the presence of others. Before this class, I had yet to learn to

Before this class, I had yet to learn to depth of thinking, a true analysis of  a literary work that I was so intimidated by at the beginning of the year, and still am today. In reference to the quote by Albert Einstein that I have included at the beginning of my piece, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think,” this class has trained my mind to think.  I have developed mentally because of the things that have been said in this class, those moments in socratics where I cannot write fast enough to copy down all the incredible thoughts that have been shared.

My mind has been opened by the brilliance of others, by the teachings of this class. I am not to take full credit for my writing this year, all that I have written and improved on is a direct result of, simply, learning to fail properly and learning to think properly – two irreplaceable things that this class, a home to me, has so graciously given me. I had started the semester with a blog that demonstrated my desire to become aware, to think, and I have ended it with that thirst satiated due to the brilliance of AP ELA.



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6 thoughts on “of all that i have learned

  1. Dearest Shyla,

    This blog was beautiful. I loved it. I could hear your voice as I read it, as though you were talking to me, therein making it an amazing experience.

    That being said, I completely agree with you. AP ELA does train one how to think because you know that the room is filled with people who will welcome failure, who have failed in the past themselves. Throughout my three years in AP English, I have always felt a wave of comfort upon entering the class, simply because people expect failure at one point or another. I feel safe. And so I completely understand where you are coming from, and trust me, you will do great things in this class. One thing I have especially learned is the fact that everyone carries with them untapped potential that is waiting to pour out; the most beautiful thing about that, I suppose, is the fact that there will always be more potential to pour out. Always. You will surprise yourself, trust me. It will be everything you imagined it would be and more. I hate saying goodbye, so I’m not going to…yet.

    Moving on, I hope you grow and learn more as you do so. Your blog was humbling. All I would offer is to cut/replace the line “and so on…” it was a bit awkward in my opinion. But otherwise great work, with a great message.


  2. Dear Shyla,

    Oh wow, I cannot describe your thoughts as anything less than brilliant in what you’ve written here. You’ve definitely found something in this class that took many of us a lot of time to learn.

    I can definitely say for certain you’ve come quite a long way in your writing. You’ve developed much confidence and style and it’s paying off brilliantly, especially here.

    If I didn’t know any better I’d say you learned a thing or two from Hope in her writing, you both don’t capitalize the letter ‘I’ in your writing, but you’ve given it a different meaning for yourself. Form what I interpret, this post is heavy with humility and honesty, and you’ve chosen to weave that in beautifully from just the lack of pressing “Shift+I”. I think it speaks volumes to your development as a writer, and you’re finding your own voice as well.

    Your’re definitely on the right path I’d say, learning about the importance of drawbacks and learning how to grow, while writing a completely insightful and beautiful piece is something great. What I especially love about this, is that it’s simple yet carries such meaning in it, almost like Wordsworth’s writing.

    One more thing. I don’t know if this was intentional, but the way the poem is written. makes it look like a lamp, is that symbolic in any way?


  3. Dear Sania,

    Thank you so much for the comment! It was really great to have you in my family group, I couldn’t have asked for someone better to help me in my first year. I don’t want to say goodbye either…

    Thanks again for the comment,

    – Shyla

  4. Dear Nilave,

    Thank you so much for the kind comment. I chose not to capitalize the i’s because I felt that the capitalization kind of overpowered the message – I saw it almost as if it was drawing too much attention to the boldness of “I” when this post is about the exact opposite. And no, I did not mean to write it in the shape of a lamp – I had not even thought about that. Thanks for realizing that, I never would have noticed otherwise 🙂

    – Shyla

  5. Dear Shyla,

    Wow. Wow, wow, wow.

    The way in which you’ve managed to develop your own voice and own style and own way of writing in such a short amount of time astounds me. Of course, every single one of us is improving every single day, but you have a beautiful, beautiful beginning to this path.

    I can agree with you wholeheartedly – there is a comfort in failure I’ve experienced in our classroom that is unlike any other. I am especially critical of my own grades when comparing to others, but I’ve found that in our AP ELA class, there isn’t a fear of me being lesser or a supported ego thinking I am greater than those around me. We all have experienced failure, we all will experience failure, and that is okay. Our ability to recognize this as a community, however, is what I believe separates us from other classrooms.

    Thank you for such a relatable, thoughtful piece.

    With love,

  6. Dear Claire,

    Thank you so much! I am touched by this comment! I am so glad that you liked this piece and found it relatable.

    – Shyla

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