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 My Own Experiences

New Normal

The first couple weeks after the virus approached critical weren’t too big of a stressor for me because I saw the pandemic as something that overall, we could contain. I assumed that Americans could put aside our differences for just a couple weeks and work together for a change to resolve a global crisis. I had a bit of faith in my country for the first time in a while.

As we’re approaching our two month mark in this quarantine, that hope has vanished.

When I first realized that I probably won’t get to experience normal for a long time, I was consumed with fear. We are creatures of habit and when those habits break, we don’t know what to do with ourselves which leads to anger and self doubt. I experienced these feelings for a couple of days and it was killing me because I wasn’t getting any work done, and you know me, busy gets things done. Throughout those couple of days, I ranted to my dad about how I was miserable, anxious, stressed, angry, blah blah blah. Even I was getting sick of listening to myself complain. Apparently my dad was too because one day, he snapped – and I’m glad he did. He sat me down and flat out told me “this is the new normal now. Deal with it.”

Yeah. I was pretty pissed too.

After stomping out of the chair, contemplating on the floor of my room, and taking an unnecessarily long shower, I had one of those spur of the moment decisions to get my life together. I grabbed my laptop and wrote a two page to-do list of what I was going to accomplish for the next couple of months. I knew that we probably weren’t going to be in quarantine for that long but you know me, worst case scenario thinker.

Anyway, I got to work and tried to cram every single thing on my list in one day. I started getting overwhelmed and overworked. I even developed some eye bags from anxiety and exhaustion. Then, for the first time in my life, I made the realization that I gave myself a CRAP TON of work to do within a crunched amount of time.

I don’t know if you guessed it already, but I tend to do this a lot… but so do you.

I know what you’re thinking, how could you give yourself too much work, no one likes to work, it’s hard… and boring. Yeah, you’re right, but here’s the thing: planning and executing are two vastly different ideas. As humans, we’re egocentric by nature and as a result, believe that we think that we can tackle more than our minds can handle. I mean, think about how you feel on the first day of school or work: “I’m going to get really good grades this year, focus on my work, participate in class, and get all of my homework done on time.” Two weeks later, you skipped class because you woke up and saw a spider on your ceiling.

My point is: I’m not unique and filling up this new time that I have with buckets of work isn’t going to make me feel any more accomplished. So I came up with a new solution.

Instead of a to-do list for a specific day, I created a list to complete over the course of a few weeks and prioritize the things that needed to be done first. This took a lot of pressure off my back because now I’m not trying to scatter around the house frantically to get fifty things done in a day. Instead, I make time for baths and walks with my dog after school. Then, I compartmentalize my time to find a good hour to start prepping for my AP exams, writing college essays, researching colleges, etc.

I tackled my anxiety in a healthy and productive way which is very rare these days. I encourage you to create a list of things you want to accomplish but PLEASE DON’T OVERDO IT. Learning from mistakes is one thing that I CAN trust myself to do so trust me on that one!

Stay safe and healthy.

Thanks for reading.