Tag Archives: School

I Am So Glad

I am so glad that I don’t have a friend who worries about having the in-style jeans,

but instead she has the seemingly out-of-style response of actually answering truthfully when asked “How are you?”

I am so glad that I don’t have a friend who is concerned about having blonde highlights in her hair,

but instead having the highlights of kindness, respect, love, and joy in her life.

I am so glad that I don’t have a friend who listens to the ‘dirty music’,

but instead jams out to Christian artists.

I am so glad that I don’t have a friend who constantly complains that “Life sucks”,

but instead she complains that too many people are ungrateful for how amazing life is here.

I am so glad that I don’t have a friend who is obsessed with money,

but instead she is obsessed with raising money for her charity 30 Famine for starving children.

I am so glad that I don’t have a friend who complains about school,

but instead makes me realize time and time again how I appreciate my education.

I am so glad that I don’t have a friend who is distracted by boys,

but instead knows what to focus on and unwilling to change her boundaries.

I am so glad that I don’t have a friend who goes ga-ga over Cure for Wellness

but instead geeks with me about The Lego Batman Movie.

I am so glad that I don’t have a friend who anxious about her make-up being top-notch

but instead cares about top-notch values.

I am so glad that I have you,

my best friend.

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Pixabay/user:Mary_L

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On Education

I am so blessed to be able to list all the homework I have to do this weekend. I am so blessed to be anxious over my next AP Calculus test. I am so blessed to feel like the school day will drag on forever. I am so blessed to not be able to sleep because my mind won’t stop taking derivatives. I am so blessed to have to finish a whole book for AP Composition in a weekend.

My mentor once told me a story of how he was in Nepal hiking to the top of a mountain and saw a little boy running the other way. He stopped the boy and asked why he was running. The boy said that from his house up on the mountain it was a two hours run to the school at the bottom of the mountain. The boy said that he didn’t care that he spent four hours going to and from school because he was learning to read.

How could I ever be grumpy or unappreciative that I have homework when children around the world are crying out for education? I am so blessed to have a socioeconomic status where college is almost expected as the next step after high school.

Syrian refugees have said that the thing that they want most for their children is to get an education. The schools in their refugee camps are underfunded and over-packed; yet, the smiles on the children’s faces look as if they were in Harvard.

I believe that education — along with any opportunity in life — can only be used to the full if it is appreciated. And I wanted to say to Education and all the Opportunities you’ve given me, thank you.

And yet there are others in my school who do not appreciate the gift we have been given, which saddens me because then they aren’t fulfilling their potential. Part of their education is wasted on them because they do not appreciate and thus don’t use it to the full.

Other children around the world plead for the chance that seemed to be my birthright. I was born in the United States of America to two white parents both of whom have professional careers. I was born into a life better than most of the rest of the world could only fantasize about. Frankly, most of history could only fantasize about.

And so I thank you Johannes Gutenberg and Horace Mann and John Dewey for making my education possible. I am grateful that from my education I know your names and how much you have done for me and the world.

The education system isn’t perfect; I’ve experienced that first hand. However, if we expect perfection and nothing less, there will be nothing. We should always be trying to enhance what we have, but attaining perfect is like chasing the horizon. We should not settle but we should know when ‘good enough’ is good enough.

I know teachers aren’t perfect; I’ve also experienced this first hand. However, they are the real heroes of this story. They are the one who taught me my letters so that I could write this short essay. And teachers don’t have to be paid educators in schools. My teachers are my parents, my minister, my family, my friends, a stranger on the street.

But I do have to say that my teachers in school have taught me some of my best lessons. The reason why teachers are the real heroes of this story is not because of what they teach out of the textbook, rather what they teach out of their heart. I have learned joy and perseverance and individuality and courage and wonder and faith and community and kindness and laughter and empathy.

Education is not an act of charity but rather an investment in the future. By paying your taxes for public schools, you are investing in the child who will cure cancer one day. You are investing in future firefighters and entrepreneurs and computer programmers and rocket scientists and social workers and nurses and engineers. You are invested in a future. You are investing in hope.

So I just wanted to say, thank you to all of you who have invested in me and didn’t even know me. Thank you for giving me opportunities and hope. I can’t wait to go out into the world and fulfill your investment. I appreciate my education and I will use my education to the full. Please know it will be my joy to one day invest in other children’s dreams and hopes just like you did in mine.

study

Exhaling Midterms

There is only so long that you can take in

before you must put out

Only so long that you can study

and relearn

and process

and read

and take notes

before you must let it all out,

a test isn’t good enough,

no, not at all.

Only so long that you can learn about life

before you must go out and live it.

I can only learn about the “Theories of Intelligence” for so long

before I must go and use my intelligence.

I can only learn about encryption of data for so long

before I must go and make something worth encrypting.

I can only learn about position, velocity, and acceleration for so long

before I must go and make my own motion in the world.

I can only use my “analytical/academic intelligence” for so long

before I must go and use my “creative intelligence”.

***

I love you, my AP classes

but during midterms

(rather more, anytime)

I need to make something

to have the input and learning seem worth it.

***

I need to exhale after weeks of inhaling.

Inhaling:

integrals

the Law of Universal Gravitation

the Vigenère cipher

literary devices

SAT vocabulary

the double approach-avoidance conflict.

I just exhaled this poem,

in a heaving, heavy, ugly breath

because I have been running a race

and the finish line is midterms.

***

Life should be like breathing,

not all inhaling

and not all exhaling

but a balance.

***

I feel like I can breath again

study

Celebration of Nerd-dom

  • My sister and I watch Crash Course videos (condensed video notes for various academic subjects) for fun. Even to celebrate a no homework Thanksgiving break.
  • After studying for tests two weeks ahead of time and having no homework we find ourselves guilty studying for tests because good students study.
  • We start studying for final exams a month ahead of time so that we may have scheduled procrastination. And . . . we still end up studying more than the general honors student.
  • I turned in my final project four weeks early when other students didn’t even know there was a project assigned.
  • I asked for my english assigned reading  early so that I could pre-read it over Thanksgiving break.
  • My sister takes summer classes and test out of classes (because five AP classes during the school year isn’t enough!) 😉
  • My history teacher threatens the class that if they didn’t stay focused he would give us another review packet to complete. With twenty minutes until the end of class I went up to his desk and asked if the extra review packet would help me study. He looked around at the other students and whispered to me that there was no “extra review packet” he had just made an empty threat. So what he used as punishment, I asked for.
  • Last year my sister had four textbooks and she named them (Hugh, Otis, Kirk, and Fitz). This year she has no textbooks (okay, okay, maybe she took an AP Calculus textbook (with teacher permission). And bought an AP Psychology textbook just because we wanted it). Her  textbooks trained her well because she find herself walking down the hallway acting like she is carrying textbooks.
  • This past summer my sister and I decided to stay up after our parents had went to bed. So while I read comicbooks into the wee hours of morning, she read her government textbook. A test out of government class textbook.
  • In eighth grade, when it was time to hand in our Algebra I textbooks, my sister had me take pictures of her lovingly caressing her textbook. Wait, this isn’t a celebration of nerd-dom. This is just strange. This is just sad.

But what I do not know is if these “celebrations of nerd-dom” are signs of being a nerd or if they are what make me a nerd.

Note: We do have friends. No they are not imaginary or dead scientists or dead political figures.

Extra Note: Okay, okay. We have both. 🙂

 

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Pixabay/user:ErikaWittlieb

Priorities, Textbooks, and Bible Verses

My mother does a sign out by the road at our church and on the first week of school – just as reliable as teachers giving out syllabuses – she puts on the sign: It’s time for A B C and G O D.

One of the reasons why we go to school is to hone our talents to better use them to serve God. So then throughout the school year we should keep this in mind. If we set up our priorities the first day of school, then the rest of the school year will follow those priorities. God comes before grades and even in itself, learning. God should come first before anything in our lives.

Now I’m not speaking from a high self-righteous pedestal, but instead as someone who slowly let my strong and close connection with God slip due to different factors, priorities and school included.

I’ve always said that God comes first before anything but sometimes you need to take a step back and see if your actions line up with your beliefs.

For years I’ve always had Bible verses hanging up on the inside and outside of my locker. Before homeroom, during passing time, before and after lunch, at the end of the day, I would read and recite my locker’s Bible verses. They would give me strength and refreshment for the next part of my day.

This past year I didn’t hang up Bible verses. I only put a magnet with a Bible verse on the outside of my locker.

I knew that I was going to be taking harder classes than I ever had before and I needed to use every spare second of my time to study. My textbook was my bus buddy and my lunch date. So I figured that I wouldn’t put up my locker Bible verses because I would need to study instead.

Remember how I had said that I needed every spare second to study, well, reading my Bible verses were not spare seconds, they were needed seconds.

I wouldn’t say that I lost my close connection with God, I just let it slip. Instead of growing my relationship with Him, I let it go stagnate. I grew in my academic knowledge, but was stagnate in my relationship with Christ. However, I firmly believe that people can be pursuing God and life and grow in both. We just need our priorities straight.

I also had an “un-reconciled spiritual difficulty” and I had figured that time would fix and heal it. I was wrong again. Problems won’t go away with time but solutions need to be actively sought. Just like God needs to be actively sought to keep and grow a close, strong connection.

So this year I’m actively seeking God with my locker Bible verses, inspirational quotes and Bible verse cards, Bible magnets, reading extra devotional books, talking more about my faith. It is not easy, but it is simple. Focus on God.


“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

-Jeremiah 29:13

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

-2 Corinthians 4:18

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Ready

School starts soon and

I’ve got everything ready.

All my binders are different colors

and the covers are decorated in pretty card-stock

that my mother bought me

and my name and class is written in purple pen

with a frame that is cut with those silly scissors whose blade’s are zig-zagged.

In a neat organized pile are my pictures for my locker

just waiting to be hung up.

I’ve had my first week,

not just day,

clothes picked out for three weeks now.

My backpack is something a boy scout should be proud of,

money, cold medicine and tissues, graphing calculator, extra lead, hair-tie and bobby pins, extra pencil erasers, stick-y-notes, mint, school ID

check.

A necklace that will go with any outfit in case if I am rushing in the morning

random things that only I will need,

a balloon, a magnet, a tennis ball

(even though I don’t play tennis)

I don’t have the kitchen sink,

but I do have hand sanitizer.

Last year I had four flashlights,

but I think I am okay with only one.

6 pencils, 4 highlighters, 3 colorful pens, 1 Sharpie

A 5oo page notebook that cost too much at Staples,

A Superman flash drive that my aunt bought me,

A birthday card in case if I forget it’s someone’s special day,

My calendar is all written out including what days are Final Exams,

Locker comb memorized and just in case saved in my phone,

Extra line paper

blank paper

coloring book paper

graph paper

. . . and yet somehow I am not prepared.

Me, the inside me,

I am not ready.

ready