Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Bad

I took a bit of a hiatus but I'm back!

My indoor track season has started and with winter break about to be here teachers have been all kinds of reckless trying to cram everything in so I've just been beyond busy. 

I'm working on my time management and I think 3-4 blog posts a month sounds reasonable ...

To all the college kids who have finished finals and are already on break I envy you, and to all the high schoolers struggling to make it these last few days I feel your pain.

Keep on trekkin'

-xoxo

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Something to Brighten Your Day

I'll admit I've had some pretty depressing posts lately so I thought I would post something fun just because. 
This is my dog Timmy smiling at me :)

-xoxo

Friday, November 15, 2013

Anybody Got a Map?


If there's one thing I can't stand it's when people speak for the entirety of their generation.

"These are the words of my generation.."

"My generation was..."

"We were the generation of..."

As if they've actually sat down and had a conversation with every single person ever to be born in their generation. Blanket statements like that cannot be made because everyone has different opinions. You might think something is brilliant and some else might think it's crap. That's just life.

So yes, I am someone who was born in 1995 and I am talking about my generation; but I do not speak on behalf of my generation. My thoughts are my thoughts and those are the only ones I can be held accountable for. 

Thinking about my "my generation" actually started in my high school english class of all places. In 11th period AP Literature and Composition we were having a group discussion on Ernest Hemingway's the Sun Also Rises which is about a group of expatriates who are disillusioned with society following World War I and are deemed the "Lost Generation". Following the discussion our teacher told us that someone in one of her classes thought that we were a Lost Generation. This wasn't an adult or a Baby Boomer, this was one of us. 

And the more I thought about... the more I kind of agreed. 

We as a unit have some problems. 

Either:

We work hard, we push ourselves, stress ourselves out and worry and have anxiety for our entire high school careers. Pulling all nighters doing research papers, taking all AP and honors classes, paying that money for those tutors so those test scores can be achieved. And your parents are on you constantly. They did it. They got in. They got their degree. They got their job. So much time and effort. And you work and work and work and then... maybe you get into that school. The one that you think controls the rest of your future. There's only a handful of jobs out there, less and less everyday for us, the right school means more chances of being successful. 

But you're not the only one who wants that spot. There's all the rest of the kids in the country on the verge of a nervous breakdown with parents breathing down their neck. And it's not how it was when you're parents were our age. Back in the day, when college wasn't a necessity if not a requirement like it is now. When if you applied, you got in. When it wasn't so competitive. When it wasn't the whole country, the whole world, competing for a few thousand spots. The international ones you have to watch for. The ones going to more and more American schools. Because they have the test scores. Because they work hard. They don't feel entitled which sometimes us Americans have a way of being. We're also called the "Cupcake" generation. Because some us feel that for some reason the world owes it to us to give us that Ivy League spot over someone from China or India or Europe, but you thought wrong. And they'll get their American education and take their American knowledge back to their country. Fingers crossed the job you had to get, because you didn't get in and didn't apply to any other schools because you were a legacy and had perfect SAT scores and a perfect GPA, doesn't get outsourced...

I'm a glass half full kind of  gal, so just for a heck of it let's say you get in. Wa hoo!!! So how are you going to pay for it? It's not a few grand like it was in our parents day. College is now a small fortune. And getting pricer by the minute. 

We'll just ignore that mythical 1% I always hear about, the ones with the kids who were born in solid gold just because they could afford to be. Then there is the plight of Middle Class America; too rich to qualify for financial aid, too poor to pay for college. I feel for you guys, really I do. 

So mommy and daddy won't pay for it, now what. I'll tell you what; DEBT! Debt, debt, debt! Student loans all around. Yeah you'll get your degree all right, and be in debt for the rest of your life paying for it. I know people who graduated with $200,000 of debt. How do you even get out of bed with that hanging over your head every day? And it doesn't just stay one amount, there's interest. So it better be paid back in a timely manor. I don't even want to think about how expensive it's going to be for my kids to go to college...

But that's the business. And it is most definitely a business. The business of getting an education. It's like gas prices. They can charge whatever they want because we need it and they know it.

Our education is the only edge we have. We didn't get the nice little boom in the 90's and early 2000's. All those jobs were outsourced, are being done by robots, or they became obsolete. We got the Great Recession. Which sounds a lot like "The Great Depression" but it's different because back in those days people were more upfront and called things like they saw them. 

So what are our options: pull a little home movie action a-la Kim Kardashian and try to become famous for no reason at all, try to win the lottery, or move back home and sit tight waiting for the Baby Boomers to retire and make some room in cooperate America. But who knows how long that'll take, with the retirement age being what, 65 these days? 

So this is what we have to look forward to; we break our necks in high school, to go to schools we can't afford, in order to get jobs that don't exist. Yeah I think we're pretty lost. 

Then there's the other people of my generation who say:

Screw it all! College is too expensive, I don't want to be in debt, I don't want to have to try so hard for four years for basically no reason.

So they don't try at all. 

A gap between our generation has been created.

They're complacent. They accept mediocrity and come to terms with being Blue Collar because they see no other reasonable way. 

And there's nothing wrong with that.

I'm all about being debt free. I have one of those circumstances that the AP kids in my classes always hate. I was in middle school when the recession happened and I had two older sisters ahead of me in the college game so I knew what was coming. I come from a well off family where I knew that I was going to college and that my parents would pay the bulk of it. I would have to take out a small loan but just so I would have some "skin in the game". Then 2008 happened. And I had a sister in college and another one on the way. And parents who had me later in life who would be of retiring age when it was my turn. And there were expenses. So I made the conscious decision that I was going to college for free. And so from age four to seventeen I worked my butt off and to get a full ride. And yeah, I skipped homework because I had a hard workout and couldn't keep my eyes open. And sure, I did that research paper the night before because I had meets all week and I was busy. School wasn't going to pay for my future, track was, so guess which was my priority. My grades were not what they could've been had I been fully invested in my studies but they were what they needed for me to get by. I was never even once worried about getting in. My worry was who's going to pay the most... 

But we're all slave to the same power, to colleges. We have this pent up aggression because we see the problems and we want to fix it, but we have to do it, we have to go to college to get jobs, so we're just stuck. Where is the way out?

And for all the trouble it's causing we don't even appreciate the knowledge we're getting. College is just a stepping stone to get a good job. For us, getting information is too easy. A simple google search on an Iphone, a Galaxy, a Droid, literally unlimited knowledge at out fingertips. And what do we do with it; look up cat videos on YouTube. But what do you expect? We take it for granted because it's so easy. In olden times, they actually had to go to libraries and read books to get information. It took effort to find that knowledge and so it was cherished and appreciated. We've lost that. It's so easy now that it's not a big deal.

But that's like everything really. Now that we can stay connected 24/7 we say nothing of importance. You bet your lucky stars if I only talked to someone every seven weeks because that's how long it took for the letter to arrive that I would value that person and the words shared between us a lot more. Now it's the age of technology and communication but we can't interact with each other. Not face to face. Who needs conversation when you can send a text. LOL. Our time is too valuable to actually type out full words. Because we're so important. 

I don't know about you guys but the mantle in my basement is full of trophies I got just for existing. Never made a single point in basketball but I got a participation trophy. In elementary school, I got a gold star every morning just for being in class. Why? Because I'm special. And my parents told me I was special and that I could do whatever I wanted and be whatever I wanted when I grew up. Because I was that special. And you were that special. And you, and you, and you too. Because our generation was coddled like no other. Of course everything you have to say is important! Please, make that facebook post about how you just went to the grocery store to buy bread. No, really, tweet about how you're about to go to bed because it really does matter. Because you're just that special.

Tough love ain't so tough these days. 

But how else are we supposed to make sense of things if we can't talk to each other all the time. How are we supposed to know what we're thinking if we don't know what everyone else is thinking? The basis of "original" is now whoever copyrights it first. 

The world is a weird place and it's hard to make sense of things. I've never lived during "peace" time but I've never felt in danger. Again, there's that American entitlement. Of course there's no serious threat, this is America, that doesn't happen here. But then it did. When I was four or five. And I hear that things used to be different. That on September 10, 2001 the world was an entirely different place. But I didn't grow up in that world, I grew up in post 9/11 world. I didn't know airport security wasn't always like this, that foreign policies weren't always this way, that there weren't always yellow ribbons on the doors. This is the only kind of living I've experienced. 

For basically my entire life my country has been at war with a concept.

Just wrap your mind around that for a second.

How exactly does one win a war on terror?

Terror can be anywhere from anyone. Not from any one religion, one part of the world, or one country. It can come from anywhere at any time. All it takes is people terrorizing other people. So how do you go to war with that?

For as long as I can remember we've been at war with this abstract idea where you kind of know what's going on but not really then the government says we're winning but the body count says we're losing. And everybody's confused. Until this year when I developed such an interest for the Middle East and made it my business to know, I had no idea where our soldiers were or why they were even there. 

They're in Afghanistan, no it's Iraq, no no Pakistan for sure. And they're looking for the people who committed 9/11, but they were Saudi Arabian... Saudi Arabia is our ally aren't they? Well why aren't our troops there looking for them? No wait, they're looking for weapons of mass destruction, actually I don't think they found them, I think they're just doing humanitarian stuff actually. Just helping people just because. But Bin Laden is dead and there's no WMDs so why are troops still over there... did we win? 

Or are we just forever at war with Eastasia and Oceania? (a 1984 reference if you're having trouble keeping up)

Yeah we're a bit lost I'd say.

-xoxo

Sunday, November 10, 2013

So Much Homework I Can't Even Deal

My options for tonight are:

1. Read and annotate The Sun Also Rises by Hemmingway for my AP Literature and Composition class (due tomorrow of course)

OR

2. Blog!

Hmmmmmm...

What's the deal with annotating anyway? I'm the type of person that if I read something I will retain it. Even stupid mundane details like the neighbor's dog's name and the year an insignificant war happened. All it takes is one read through and I'm good, it's in there permanantly. I am currently simultaneously reading 5 different books and I can recall the details of all of them except for the one I'm being forced to annotate.

I highly dislike annotating like what is the point? We have to turn in our annotations for my AP class and I don't understand why. It breaks up the reading, makes me understand the book less because I have to keep stopping, and it takes f o r e v e r . Like come on now, we're all taking several other AP classes with crazy workloads, we have college apps to do, sports, jobs, lives outside of school and ain't nobody got time for that.

If it's a matter of wanting to make sure we comprehend what we're reading just give us a test. I do phenomenal on book tests. And it's an AP class full of kids who care about their grades, if annotating works for them and it's the only way they can retain the information then they'll do it. The rest of us should not but subjected to this torture.

The boycott starts now!

Sike this is the first grade of the second marking period and I actually need to get started.

However I do this under extreme duress.

-xoxo

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Let's Revaluate


I never really realized the gap between people who have everything and people who have nothing in the world and it's really astonishing. On a small scale, such as my high school which roughly has about 5,000 students in it, it's mainly middle-class well off kids for the most part. 

But not always. 

I know one girl who got a brand new Jaguar when she got her license and I know another girl who works two jobs and is living with her ShopRite manager because she has nowhere else to go. It's really crazy. 

How unfathomable is it that one of the best places to live in America and one of the worst place are not only in the same state, but are 20 minutes away from each other!? Moorestown, NJ has time and time again been named the best place to live in America. Meanwhile, 20 minutes away, Camden, NJ has been named one of the most dangerous and worst places to live. That's actually really sad. 

How on earth did this happen, how did people let this happen. 

This put a lot of things in perspective for me. Currently, my biggest problems are finishing college applications, trying to pick a university to go to, and whether or not I should get the Marc Jacobs or Kate Spade purse because my Coach one just got a hole in it. And I'm genuinely emotionally invested and stressed out over this. First World spoiled Americans problems. 

If you're unfamiliar with First World problems here just a few examples:






If I was from a third world country, experiencing actual real problems, I'd want to punch me in the face.

Puts things in perspective doesn't it?

-xoxo

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

If You Just So Happen to Have a Spare Hour...

It's so interesting and eye opening and completely worth it. It's not your average boring Discovery Channel show, well maybe a little but still, give it a chance!

http://www.hulu.com/watch/447358
(I tried to get the video on here but I'm not nearly tech savvy enough when it comes to hulu)

-xoxo


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Breath of Fresh Air


So I don't know about you guys, but I'm just a tad tired of hearing about our government and its problems. You can turn on any news channel you wish and watch everybody point fingers at everybody else and bla bla political jargon, bla bla Republicans, bla bla ObamaCare, I'm tired of hearing about it and all other world news has basically vanished off of our radar. Remember Syria and their Civil War? Oh yeah them, the ones getting murdered by their government, what happened with that? Unless you really go out and seek this stuff, which lets face it no one really has the time to do since we're not directly affected by it, you don't really know about it. I can understand how it seems impractical to be worried about the rest of the world when right here in America we're having problems, but the difference is our problems could've been avoided (*COUGH COUGH* REPUBLICANS). But anyway, I digress. 

One thing I read happened today was a bomb went off in a crowd of Sunni worshippers while they were leaving a mosque in northern Iraq after finishing prayers for the start of a major Muslim holiday called Eid al-Adha. 12 people were killed and 24 were wounded. No one has taken responsibility yet for the attack, but according to abc news "More than 5,000 people have been killed in Iraq since al-Qaida and other militants stepped up attacks following a deadly security crackdown against a Sunni protest camp in April." Here is one of the links to that story if you'd like to know more information: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/bomb-mosque-northern-iraq-kills-12-sunnis-20572060 

So I don't know about you guys but I never fully understood the bad blood between the Shias and the Sunnis. I knew they didn't like each other, and hadn't liked each other since, well, always, but besides that I was completely unaware of how it all happened.

I am not a Middle Eastern expert, I'm not an expert on Islam, this is simplified, and all that other disclaimer jazz, but let's get started:

Just an FYI:  Shia, Shi'ite, Shiite = all talking about the same thing. 

To really grasp all this we have to go way back...

570 AD to be exact which is when Mohammed was born. He was born in the Arabian Peninsula which at the time was full of tribes. As far as society went your tribe meant everything. They were a Pagan, Polytheistic people and the Peninsula as a whole was very fragmented and not unified whatsoever. 

Mohammed was born into the equivalent of a Middle Class and after the death of his parents at a young age he was raised by his uncle who was really powerful and had a lot of influence. Mohammed becomes a semi-successful merchant and does well for himself.

Mecca is the trading center where Mohammed lives. People from all over come to trading centers and talk and exchange ideas, he heard about Judaism and Christianity and was intrigued by them.

Mohammed was described by others as a noble, just, person who was social and practical and was even used as a mediator between tribes when there were problems. He was an overall good guy.

In his 20's he married a women who was 15 years older than him, and would sometimes go to a cave, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and apart from society, and meditate. Although he was religiously inquisitive, he was Pagan like everyone around him was at the time. One day during his meditation, he had a revelation and was visited by the angel Gabriel. Gabriel tells him "Proclaim!" The gist of what Gabriel says is from this point on you will be my messenger, there's only 1 God and you will spread that message. Mohammed went home to wife and freaked out. He thought he was having a mental breakdown and was going crazy, but she believed him and thought he was being used by God. 

Over the years Mohammed has other visitations and the manor in which God is to be honored is laid out to him.

This was very different from what everyone else believed, Mohammed still lived in a Pagan, Polytheistic society where people believed in many gods. His life was threatened by the other Tribes who had different beliefs from him and his powerful uncle was a big part of what kept him safe. The more Mohammed spread his message, the more followers he gained and the more trouble there was with the other tribes. Eventually his uncle died and without his protection his chances of being killed were very great so he leaves Mecca thus creating Hegira.

Hegira is the flight from Mecca. Mohammed goes to a place called Medina where he establishes the first Muslim community. The Koran is created here and he gains more followers. 10 years later, Mohammed, with an army of his followers, returns to Mecca and in 622 AD he captures it, turning Mecca into the most important site in the Islamic faith. He goes on to conquer the rest of the Arabian Peninsula and unifies them under Islam.

Islam - submission to God

Muslim - one who submits to Allah's divine guidance 

Someone can't be an Islam, and someone can't practice Muslim. 

Allah - Arabic for the word "God". It's the same Judea/Christian God, just a different word for it. Mohammad liked Christians and Jews,  he considered them "people of the book", children of God, believers of Allah.

Eventually Mohammed becomes very sick, very quickly, and before he can name a successor, in 632 AD, he dies. This is what leads to the split in the faith. One group thinks Mohammed's cousin is the successor, the other group doesn't want to follow the cousin. Eventually the cousin is assassinated and there's a lot of tension between the two groups. The Sunni Muslims, who make up about 85%, didn't want to follow the cousin, they didn't think he was worthy to lead them. The Shia Muslims, who make up about 10-15%, wanted the cousin. 

And that's how it all began. They've literally disliked each other for thousands of years. 

You may ask, how is this still relevant? Well, let's take a look at Syria. The Assad Family is affiliated with an offshoot of Shia Islam that's about 12% of the Syrian population. They have tight control over Syria' security services which made the Sunni Muslims, who make up the other 75% of the population, not so happy. Not to say that all of Syria is either Sunni or Shia, the Syrian Kurds weren't so jazzed about ethnic discrimination either, but I'm just generalizing as far as the big religions in the area. Also, on top of all this, Syria's poorer areas are predominantly conservative Sunnis who are discontent with the government. Basically Assad helped his people, he created policies that benefited the minority which just so happened to be people with government connections and the Sunni merchant class. I'm not saying this caused the civil war or the current state of Syria, but it certainly didn't help anything. 

How do you even begin to go about resolving an issue like this, it's practically imbedded in their being not to like each other. It's an extremely delicate situation at best.

And you thought America had problems, HA!

-xoxo

Thought of the day...

A picture is worth a thousand words so I'll let you draw your own conclusions from this.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Well Said Gloria, Well Said

Gloria Steinem on whether this whole Miley Cyrus scandal has set back females:

"You know, I don't think so. I wish we didn't have to be nude to be noticed, but given the game as it exists, women make decisions. For instance, the Miss America contest is in all of its states, forms … the single greatest source of scholarship money for women in the United States. If a contest based only on appearance was the single greatest source of scholarship money for men, we would be saying, 'This is why China wins.' You know? It's ridiculous. But that's the way the culture is. I think that we need to change the culture, not blame the people that are playing the only game that exists."

Earlier on the "Miley" subject she said;

"It seems obvious that certain record companies are peddling highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment."


-xoxo

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Should There Be An Age Limit?

As someone who began competing in track and field at the age of 4, I can relate to this whole child athlete thing pretty well.

I'll come down to practice on the track and there will be kids, little kids, there with their parents training for hours on end. Intense training too; 400s and hills, things of that nature. Kids have a lot of energy, wanting them to get outside and tire themselves out is one thing, but to be competitively training like that, so young, is that even healthy?

That kind of physical stress on such a young body does not bode well for the future. I hear these stories all the time; athletes who were amazing as kids, pure prodigies, who slowly start improving less and less and finally plateau somewhere around 7th or 8th grade. The human body can only take so much. Track is a unique sport in that their is no off season. I did a lot of other sports so I didn't start doing it year round until high school, but that was not the norm. Cross country goes straight into indoor track which goes straight into spring track. And the circle goes on and on. It's an 11 month sport. If since you were a toddler you're training 11 months a year of course you're gonna peak at 12! You just burn out. 

Just this summer there were kids who set world records in the 100 and 400 at junior Olympics. They were five. FIVE. And most of them were as fast as I am now at age 17. Maybe even faster.

I always marvel at how every year records are broken and new ones set and I ask myself, how is this possible? Is it because it's a trial an error process where the up and commers learn from their predecessors and adjust to be more efficient, or is it becuase each year that age group started training a year earlier than the one before it?

I go to training facilities where they have toddler classes, little kids lifting, squatting, doing ladder drills and high knees.

I've talked to some of these parents and here's the rationalization:
Of course there's the parents vicariously living out athletic dreams through their kids and pushing their kids to be the Olympians they didn't have the talent to be, that's always a given, but on the other hand,  College sports are more and more competitive, which means it's harder to get a spot, which means it's harder to get a scholarship. In an economy like this, it's better to spend the $1,000 for a personal trainer for your kid than the $50,000 a year (and going up) for tuition.

I can't say it's not a sound argument.




One sport I know is very political is travel soccer, I have a lot of friends who play it. If you weren't on the rec. team since age 2 and didn't have a trainer, you're less likely to get on the travel team. And if you're not on the travel team you're less likely to get on the high school team. And if your not on a travel or high school team you can't get scouted by a college, which means no scholarship. 

The longer you do any craft the better you'll be at it, that's just fact. For a parent to push their child to reach their full potential in something makes sense...

But is it fair for the kids? 

I mean eventually the sport will become habit, pure muscle memory, if you start them young enough... But that doesn't mean they like it, and they certainly never asked to be born into financial issues. It's kind of like how school was back in the day when you didn't understand the value of an education and all that jazz. School was kind of annoying. You had to wake up early, do stuff you didn't always feel like doing, and it took up a lot of time, but it was sometimes okay because you could see your friends, every so often you did fun stuff, and you vaguely knew one day it would all pay off. 


I'm not saying doing sports as a kid is a bad thing, I actually think it's very important. It lays the ground work for a healthy lifestyle, teaches kids how to socialize, be a team player, be a leader, all that good stuff. BUT there's a difference between recreational sports for fun, fresh air, and exercise,  as opposed to training 4 hours a day 7 days a week with a lifting and diet regimen. 

I understand parents just want the best for their kids and want to put them in the best position possible for a bright future, but that doesn't always translate. There's a fine line between a gentle push in the right direction and a full on shove.

I think kids need time to just be kids. 

Rule of thumb: If your child hasn't reached a double digit age, it's too early to get on them about training/scholarships. 

They'll have plenty of time to worry about money in the future, let them have their childhood. 

-xoxo

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I Know I'm Posting a Lot of Videos But...

I'm sorry for all the YouTube links and videos but they just really hit the nail on the head with a lot of stuff.

Speaking of which, if I hear one more thing about "kids these days", and how lazy we are, and how everything is going down hill, I am going to scream. So, I'm not saying you have to or anything, it's completely optional, but you should really watch the video I attached to this. 


-xoxo

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Un-tech Savvy

I am currently blogging from my new Samsung Galaxy Tab 3! Yes, this is the one I was talking about a few blog posts ago, my amazing Godfather completely surprised me and got it for me and I love it.

The only downside...

It's not compatible with itunes. As previously stated in past blogs, I was a big Apple person, I have an iPhone and MacBook, so I've spent a pretty penny in the itunes store. I have movies, music, shows, stuff that I would want on my tablet.

I synced up my tablet and tried to transfer everything, assuming it would be like my Apple products and just show up in my itunes, but nooooo, they have to make it extra difficult. Forty-five minutes later, after reading the instruction manual, I do what the manual has instructed me to do and go on the android website and download the itunes equivalent for Samsung. An hour later, after dragging over my music, tv shows, and movies, I re-sync up my tablet and everything goes smoothly.

It was in this false sense of security that I decided to try to see what a movie would look like on here. I tapped on the movie title and a screen popped up that said "not compatible with your device", in my naive state I thought maybe it was a fluke so I tried all the movies, music, and tv shows and none of them worked. Not cool.

After further investigation I gathered that itunes encrypts their stuff with something that makes it unable to play on non-Apple devices. From an Apple business standpoint, this is great! It forces people to stick with Apple because it's easier to use the software they already have, plus they don't want to lose the stuff they purchased from itunes.

From a regular person with itunes and a tablet, this sucks. I like this tablet too much to switch to an ipad, yet I want my itunes stuff. They give me no choice but to be shady and find some anti encryption android software that has to be out there somewhere on the internet,

I feel personally victimized and bullied.

Why must they make this so difficult,  can't we all just get along? I should not have to give an arm and a leg to get stuff that I paid for, and therefore own, onto a different device. I should be able to put my itunes purchases wherever I please, from whatever company I please, whether it be Apple, Samsung, or something else entirely. No matter what I do with it I paid for it, they still get the money, so I don't understand why this is even an issue.

I'm really not tech savvy enough for all this.
-xoxo

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Art of the Student Athlete


My athletic background is pretty extensive. I've been doing sports year round since I was four years old. I was born into a track family, my sisters did it and my parents were very involved with it, it was just assumed that like them I would spend my spring and summers running track and play basketball in the winter. I'm a rebel. I couldn't just do what my sisters did, that would be too easy, I had to try everything and come to my own conclusions and opinions because that's just how I am. I'm a generally athletic person, sports just come naturally to me. I've been running track for 13 years, danced (jazz, tap, and pointe ballet) for 9 years, played basketball for 9 years, played volleyball for 4 years, did competitive gymnastics for 3 years, played field hockey for 3 years, and did softball for 1 year. There were times when I would go straight from one practice to another; I was active to say the least. 

When I look back now it seems like a lot but for me it was just hanging out with my friends only we would be outside running around or in a gym doing suicides. Much to my parents dismay I didn't take it seriously until around 8th grade, but how serious can you really expect a 12 year old to be? I was just happy to be there and surprised I even made the teams most times. I remember during basketball my parents would get upset with me for smiling too much, they thought I lacked aggressiveness. 

You could be the ripest, juiciest, peach in the whole world but there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches. That's just life. 

With the exception of track (freshman through senior year) and volleyball (freshman through junior year, I jumped ship to Cross Country for my senior year) which I continued to do in high school, I was doing all of these sports during elementary and middle school. I got straight A's from 1st grade to 7th grade. I received my first B in Algebra 1, a high school class mind you, in the 8th grade and I was absolutely devastated. This was just the beginning of my rocky road with the world of mathematics. School was a breeze for me, I didn't even try most of the time. I enjoy reading, I enjoy writing, these were never challenging tasks for me. The homework, if we even got any, I usually finished at the end of class. I live in a very good school district and the schools are top notch, I was just a very good student, it was just easy.

And then I got to high school.

High School just raises the stakes for everything. Freshman year the only thing on my mind was, "these are the grades that are used to decide the rest of my life". My thought process was if you get bad grades then; you go to a bad college, you get a bad job, you end up homeless, and then you die. In my household college isn't one of those optional things, it's assumed, it's a known fact that you will attend college and get an education which I fully support. There's no such thing as being overeducated.

Since freshman year I've taken all honors and AP classes with the exception of math and science, those were always L-2 or "accelerated" which is like the next level down from honors. My brain cannot process math, I don't know why. It's just something I struggle with a lot. Albert Einstein once said, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." I am a fish trying to climb a tree when it comes to math. It just doesn't work. And it's not even all math; I can do real world math that I will actually use in life, I got an A+ in accounting, so I will be able to do my taxes, pay my mortgage, pay my bills, and handle my personal finances but gosh forbid something like 2z³ - 3z² + 2z -3 = 0 come up in real life. Even with tutors I have consistently gotten C's in math since freshman year. I don't like it, I don't understand it, and most importantly I don't see the use for it. I have no plans to be a mathematician or a scientist so someone please tell me when I will use precalculus in my daily life!? When will I exclaim "Oh thank goodness for that geometry from freshman year, I'd be in a real pickle without it!" It lowers my GPA and makes how I look on paper (test scores and transcripts and what not) seem merely average and I hate it and math is stupid. Not that I'm bitter or anything. 

And I'm involved in more than just sports; I'm in National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Peer Leaders, and The Scout (my school newspaper). I try to be well rounded and get a taste of everything. 

As of fall of my senior year I have 8 varsity letters. Being a student athlete, especially one who aspires to be a collegiate student athlete, is difficult. In my opinion it's completely worth it, but it's something you have to work at. Time management is not only a commodity, its a necessity. Different things are due at different dates for different classes, there are meets and games and practices everyday and homework due and everything just happening at once. It's a lot.

Freshman year was the first time I had to juggle serious sports with challenging schoolwork. Managing time is hard. The only thing I ever learned from science is that for every action there is a reaction. Freshman year I dedicated a majority of my time to school and my track performance suffered. Sophomore year I was fully consumed by track and I worked very hard in and outside of practice and my grades dipped. Junior year I tried to find a happy medium between freshman and sophomore year and my grades stayed the same but I had my best season yet. Action, Reaction. For senior year I'm just trying to push through and give it all I've got. This is the end of the "easy" part, after high school it's full speed to college then straight into that "real world" I've heard so much about.

I'm not going to lie and act like after a hard workout or a long meet I haven't just showered and crawled into bed, fully knowing I have homework to do and tests the next day. In that moment, when you're that tired and depleted, there's just nothing left. Seven hours of school, three hours of practice, you're just completely done. 

But you have to suck it up, get it done, and do the best you can. And yes, sometimes that means just writing whatever and doing the bare minimum just to get by, but that's better than just blatantly not doing it. 

A majority of the time it's just having the maturity and the will power to get stuff done, to know there's a bigger picture, something you're working towards. Really it's preparing you for life I guess. I mean I've only experienced the high school version of "life" thus far, but I've observed my sisters and parents for years and it seems like a million different things, all going on at once, that all require your care and attention. Just do the best you can, the last thing you want is to look back and wish you had done more, or pushed yourself, or tried harder. You can do it, I believe in you!

Life's tough, nobody makes it out alive
-xoxo


Monday, September 16, 2013

The New Miss America

Nina Davuluri (previously Miss New York) was crowned Miss America last night in Atlantic City

Good for her! I know there's been a lot of backlash over Nina being the first Miss America of Indian decent to win, but I truly think she represents America and did a great job. She embraced her culture during the talent part of the competition (as shown above) and plans on using the $50,000 scholarship she received for winning to follow her dream of becoming a doctor. I don't know why people continue to forget that this is a nation of immigrants, unless you're 100% Native American, someone at some point in your family's lineage came here from somewhere else.
 
I found the racist and ignorant comments aimed at her truly disturbing and disgusting. There were so many tweets going on and on; "I swear I'm not a racist but this is America, she shouldn't have won", "Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11", " The liberal Miss America judges won't say this - but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values. #missamerica" "9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America".

It's 2013, not every American has blonde hair and blue eyes (this isn't Sweden!), and I think that's a good thing.