“Serial” – My Review & Thoughts

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Sarah Koenig on the phone

Serial is a podcast that is about a murder case, which is told by Sarah Koenig. In the first episode, we, the viewers, are introduced into what happened and the characters involved. Adnan Syed, was a seventeen year old Muslim kid that supposedly strangled his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Her body was found about a month later, and Adnan was immediately charged with first degree murder, with 30+ years in jail. Sarah decided to investigate this case for herself, and thus, made a whole podcast about it, called Serial.

I personally liked this podcast surprisingly, as this was one of the rare times I’ve even listened to podcasts in general. Although the first episode was 53 minutes, I think the fact that I like mysteries helped too. Sarah talks a lot (obviously, she’s the narrator & executive producer of the podcast) but her voice was not a burden to listen to, as it is quite soothing, rather than annoying. The choice of music that they put on the podcast is really good too, I more than often find myself either tapping my foot to the beat. Aside from the music, the other most important thing in the podcast, is the audio quality. I would have expected that when she calls a suspect/person that’s related to the case, that the voice would be of low quality, as their speaking through a phone and probably over a great amount of distance. Fortunately, they managed to get decent recordings of the phone calls, and I did not have to turn up my volume to understand what the person was saying. This enhanced my overall experience on the podcast, and I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys interesting and mysterious investigation(s).

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A picture of the alleged murder, Adnan Syed, when he was back in high school

The podcast has blown up ever since it’s release, however, we don’t hear much of Lee’s family and their opinion on how they feel about this situation as a whole. Now most people would not think much of the family, as they probably don’t care, but I on the other hand, think the complete opposite. Since we do not hear much from the family, this presumably makes me think that the family may not like the media attention, and are just flat out frustrated. Although they were notified about the podcast being made, as they had to get their permission, I don’t think they knew that it would be this big.

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Hae Min Lee’s family, brother (left) and mother (right)

The few statements we do hear from the family, however, are grief-full – as sadly expected. Wills Robinson, a journalist for dailymotion.com (his content gets posted on Dailymail, respectively), restated what the Lee family had to say, “We believe justice was done when Adnan was convicted in 2000, and we look forward to bringing this chapter to an end so we can celebrate the memory of Hae instead of celebrating the man who killed her” (Robinson). I genuinely have sympathy for the family, as all they’re trying to do, is to move on from this unfortunate case. The statement is partially true though, as more people listen to “Serial”, more people choose sides, and it just happened to be that a lot of people are on Syed’s side. I think this clearly made the family angry, as Baynard Woods, a writer in Baltimore, grasped a statement that the family made, regarding the fans of the popular podcast, “Unlike those who learn about this case on the internet, we sat and watched every day of both trials – so many witnesses, so much evidence” (Lee). As you can see, there is a difference from learning “this case on the internet” versus physically being at every trial, listening to the many witnesses and evidence – like the family has.

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The art cover by Radia Caudry’s book, Adnan’s Story

To add on to what the family had said about learning about the case through the internet, I wonder how’d they feel if the producers of “Serial” made a book about the case. Although there is already a book made by the prosecutors called, Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry, it’d still be intriguing to hear from the perspective of the victims side. My guess is that the family will be even more enraged, as they just want to move on. Either way, I think I’d rather listen to the podcasts, rather than reading for specific reasons. Firstly, I think Sarah has made her voice a staple for the series, as everyone is used to her already. Plus, when you listen to people talking, you can hear how their voice sounds and that may change your interpretation of certain characters. That benefit alone, has the possibility of increasing my understanding of the case, and that’s why I’d rather listen, than read.

This podcast was a joy to listen to, mainly because of Sarah and her style of presenting her investigative journalism to us. She is a big reason of why the podcast is so successful, and as a result, has earned many fans, including myself. Her delivery of the whole case in general, is superb and considering the content of episode one, I can accurately predict that the rest of episodes in season 1 are just as good, if not better. You may even happen to find me listening to the long-waited premiere of season 3 in the future.

Works Cited

Dailymail.com, Wills Robinson For. “Family of ‘Serial’ Victim Hae Min Lee Say Her Convicted Killer Adnan Syed ‘destroyed Our Family’ in Emotional Letter That Slams the Podcast’s Fans for Running to Defend Him.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 08 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

Woods, Baynard. “Serial Case: Victim’s Family Offers Rare Statement before Hearing Resumes.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 07 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

Grade 12 University English – A Requirement for entry into Universities? Or Unnecessary?

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University of Western Ontario

In the near-future, I hope to attend the University of Western Ontario to continue my education and study either Nursing/Medical Science. Unfortunately for me, not only do both Nursing/Medical Science programs require me to take an English course, but a lot of programs at any university requires me to. That’s why I think taking Grade 12 University English should be a requirement for entry into all university programs. Not only will this help me and others that want to go to university academically, but also help our language and communication skills overall. English is needed for anything we do in life, no matter what a persons career may be.

My dream career is to become either a doctor or a nurse. Both of these jobs require an extensive amount of communication not only with their co-workers/teammates, but also

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A doctor communicating with his patient

with their patient. I personally love to help in general, and is why I think the jobs suite me pretty well. Regardless, I need to get better at my communication, listening, and speaking skills and the best way for me to improve these skills, is taking grade 12 University English. Not only will it prepare me for the intensity of University, but also help me with my career overall.

An important choice that I and other grade 12 students have to make, is whether we should take English at the university level or not. The information that we learn through grade 12 University English course is important, and even though my mark may lower/dip (as a result of the increase of difficulty), it is beyond worth it. Grade 12 University English helps tremendously as it basically carves a path straight into the English that the University offers, as they also primarily focus on literature and writing.

It doesn’t matter if I want to become a salesperson – someone who applies the skills of the English language efficiently and regularly, or if I want to become a garbage man – someone who probably does not talk to a lot of people on the job. The fact is that English is being used somehow someway.

The first book that I read and enjoyed greatly in grade 11 University English, was Frankenstein by 

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The art cover of the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley. Usually books that are read in English class are boring and dull. This book, however, proved me wrong as it was surprisingly one of my favourite books ever. It improved my reading skills in general because the book was written in a high-intellectual type language and lots of literary content. This is the type of book that should be read in future English classes, like Grade 12 University English. Books that not only grab the reader’s attention, but also have them learn simultaneously. I feel like books like these, teach some important principles and fundamentals of reading to the readers. After finishing this book, I felt like I couldn’t wait to read the books that will be offered in Grade 12 University English.

In University, good language skills are needed as every other course you take, requires them. English is a pretty vague subject itself, and that’s why it is the most important subject for students. All other courses need English in order for them to “work”. Some of the courses include: Chemistry, Calculus, Physics, etc. Grade 12 University English needs to be a requirement for entry at universities because these subjects only get harder and harder.

All in all, grade 12 University English should be a requirement for entry into all university programs for the reasons stated above. I believe that if someone can pass grade 12 University English, then they will be well on their way, not only in University, but in life in general.

 

Works Cited

Ranjan, Piyush, Archana Kumari, and Avinash Chakrawarty. “How Can Doctors Improve Their Communication Skills?” Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR. JCDR Research and Publications (P) Limited, Mar. 2015. Web. 05 July 2017.

Jerema, Carson. “Your Grades Will Drop.” Macleans.ca. Maclean’s, 08 July 2010. Web. 05 July 2017.

“Posts about Frankenstein Mary Shelley English Literature Revision A Level on Masteryourstudies.” Masteryourstudies. WordPress, 25 May 2013. Web. 05 July 2017.

“English Is The Most Important School Subject For Students To Learn.” English Is The Most Important School Subject For Students To Learn – Essay – 1062 Words. BrightKnite, n.d. Web. 05 July 2017.