Posted in Advice, My Own Experiences, Thoughts

On the Story of High School

I hate high school. Actually I wouldn’t say I hate high school, more of the conformist principles that follow through with the idea of it.

Whether it’s the level of your classes or the color of your skin, judgement precedes to drag on for the four years we spend in this prison of puberty.

That said, high school is a necessary component to the growth of one’s emotional health, compatibility, and stability.

Sometimes, emotions are everywhere and everything in a person’s life. I mean, think about it: we act on our feelings, we go through twelve different types of emotions every day and we even use them to establish principles in our government. Beside the point, but what I’m trying to say is that every adult you meet had to go through the four years of hell we’re going through and they’re better people for it.

I hate saying it, but what if you never went through that one awful breakup with the boy or girl you thought you were going to marry – you’d probably never understand the potential toxicity that can result from a relationship. Or what if you had stuck with that one fake friend that almost ruined your confidence and self image? You’d probably be stuck in a group of friends that put you down and never gained the confidence that you deserve. What if you never got that one failed grade in AP Government? You probably wouldn’t have worked harder for the next test and never found your passion for law. Whatever the moments may be, imagine the completely different life you’d lead if those few low points in high school never happened.

Ages 14 – 18 are critical for a person’s emotional development because this is around the time you enter (as Piaget put it) the Formal Operational Stage of Growth. I like to call this the “UnInnocent” stage of cognitive development because by age 12, you start to see the world as an imperfect place. You finally understand that the world is not “good” and contains little bits of evil in our present and past and well, the future is up to us. It’s truly a sad scientific phenomenon, yet imperative in terms of the grand scheme of things.

By the time you reach high school, you are aware of the world’s evil, but yet to experience it: the relationships, friendships, boys, family, and grades, all hold a fair hand in this but none of them have as big of an effect as the conformity ideals.

To me, this is the biggest injustice of all, for conformity diminishes the confidence and creativity within oneself. The society that we have unintentionally created in high school practically forces peers to wear the same clothes, buy the same food, listen to the same music and if you pose even the slightest difference, you’re a “freak” or “weirdo” or “nerd.”

Well, here’s what I say to that. We can’t change people. But, we can change the system. For that reason, I look up to those freaks and weirdos that build homemade robots in their garage, wear recycled cans as a belt to school, or strike the local clothing stores in a fight against child labor. Without difference, there are no risk takers, and without risks, there will be no true innovation. We’ve seen this in our history and to be honest, it all starts with some form of schooling whether that be high school, middle school, or possibly even elementary school.

This is also why I am a strong advocate for a college education. College is a different type of schooling: they ENCOURAGE risks, they promote DIVERSITY, and reward INNOVATION. Each adult that I have spoken to on the basis of high school informed me that “I just had to get through the next four years.” I never truly understood what it meant until I became a senior looking back on all of the emotional yet necessary years of this component of growing up.

The people that you label now as freaks are not inferior, they’ve made an attempt to crumble the systemic stereotypes that claim we all have to be “one way.” If that’s considered weird, then I guess all of us activists are outcasts, and we’re proud. There is more than one way to create change, even if it’s not reaching very many people. There are a plethora of examples representing this idea one being… this blog!

I understand that my voice isn’t reaching the majority of the population, however if I can inspire just one person then I have done my job. Because that one person will go on to inspire another, and that person will do the same, and then we have this ripple effect that eventually reaches a community.

My goals are not to get publicity here, my goals are to inspire my readers into evaluating multiple perspectives, look deeper than the surface, and find and create proactive ways to make change.

Thank you for reading, see you next week.

Posted in Inspiration

Watch and Be.

I had the rare privilege of listening to Dr. Phillip Zimbardo, a world renowned psychologist, discuss world morality and evil and how to combat it. Known for his Stanford Prison Experiment, Dr. Zimbardo was interested to see if he could turn “good” people into “bad” people by manipulating an environment to represent a prison. Eventually, it was shut down due to its unethical practices. However, it is forever infamous for establishing a revolution in APA guidelines to make controlled environmental studies healthier for participants.

Years later, Dr. Zimbardo committed himself to turn his research around during the world’s pivot from equality. Inspired by his research and the kindness of his community, he began what he called “The Heroic Imagination Project.”

Contrary from his previous experiment, the non profit’s focus was to turn ordinary people into “good” people, or rather, something of a hero.

He discussed the project’s necessity in these testing times and explained that the goal is to simply spread strength amongst our young adults. Sound familiar?

The project consists of specific lessons and modules to help people understand the psychology of decision making, good vs evil, strong vs. week, etc. This way, before people even begin to be active in their communities, they’ll understand the why behind behavior rather than going in blind. This method drastically reduces the potential violent risks that can occur due to anger and disagreement; when two groups understand each other, finding a viable solution becomes less of an impossibility.

I wish I had more time with Dr. Zimbardo, for I would have told him I fervently admire his methodology to not only provide lessons in psychology, but proactively creating change. He teaches with the intent to inspire and writes for the hope of change.

That is the type of news I wish to see on my feed. Ironically enough, psychology teaches us that humans are persuaded through visual cues and observational learning. When we present informational positivity such as that, it not only lifts our spirits, but encourages that same response on our own end. Similar to coronavirus, when inspiration hits one of us, it hits us all.

Later that week, I experienced the one and only Hamilton for the second time in my life. Of course, this experience was virtual but all the same, I was emotionally conflicted. Hamilton takes us on an intense and personal journey of the life of Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler as they migrate through the discovery of the streets and systems that make up our country today. Lin Manuel-Miranda also elaborates on the deeper meaning of history and I cannot quite understand what it is yet. All the same, he initiated a historical and original piece of art that took us on an emotional rollercoaster through the mistakes of history and humanity themselves to express a deeper root.

Why am I telling you all this? For one thing, I want my audience to understand all of the possible ways to create change through a pen and paper. However, I also want to spread the good, all I see is the bad nowadays which contributes to the anger and unrest. I want to start to see a real change out there and even if I only a reach a couple of people a day, at least I’ll know that I planted those thoughts and they’ll find their way out of my audience’s head eventually and be out there for other people to absorb and act upon eventually.

Be the change you want to see in the future because for all we know, we may be in for the long haul. Just because you’re not in a classroom, or at work, or in a laboratory doesn’t mean your duty to the country is finished. Finish what George Washington started, what Martin Luther Kind Jr. started, what your parents started, your mentor, anyone! Possibilities are endless when you determine where to start.

All it takes is a pen, paper, and a voice.