Letter to a Plant

To the withering, glaucous invalid in the corner of the kitchen counter,

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Yes, you.

I admit that the conditions in our house are rather deplorable for the flourishment of even the hardiest of plants.  Even with the shutters fully opened and positioned in an optimal angle for each hour of the day, the direction our house faces admits only a ailing, pale stream of sunlight at best.  Sometimes we forget to open them all the way in our haste, and further cripple sunlight’s ability to grace your pasty leaves.  It is also of little help that we tend to rush from one place to the next and use the house merely as a train station of sorts, a checkpoint in our destination.  Our impatience breeds a narrow focus from stop to stop, blurring, our surroundings into a deep gray, in which you are unfortunately situated.  When you meekly raise your voice and politely request water, we reason that you can get by.  If you cry out for long-needed attention, we grudgingly shell out a couple of seconds to dump water on your parched self.  Yes, your habitat is by all means, no place for a young plant.  Continue reading

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The Six Kinds of Procrastinators

Photo ©2010 by Asja Boroš
Photo ©2010 by Asja Boroš [CC-by-2.0]
I’m one of the millions of victims of procrastination. In fact, I’ve been suffering from this dreaded disease for about several years now. Procrastination can be seen as a good thing, you know, for those who work best under stress, but for others, it’s a constant constant constant feeling of shame, guilty, and… boredom. I wish I can just not procrastinate with the snap of my fingers but I have to admit, procrastinating when there’s still time left can be rewarding. I know I sound super crazy right now but hear me out. I think there are different kinds of procrastination, some of them may actually be good. Continue reading

Girl in Love

While I was sitting in class the other day, I was thinking about listening to a certain song that my teacher occasionally put on in class.  Thankfully, I saved myself the pain of having a song stuck in my head by remembering a couple of the lyrics, and found out the song was called “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke.

The melody isn’t in the same key and the video is a little faster than the one my teacher played, but those are moot points.  It’s a charming, folksy, endearing tune, but it also got me thinking about something I did love. Continue reading

Mentalities– To Care Or Not To Care

Recently, there have been countless incidents where I find myself questioning why people act the way the do, in fact I wrote an essay on it (it will be published later, I’ll keep y’alls posted).  The case I’m going to focus on in this post is how women are treated.  Of course, I know there are women in this world who shouldn’t treat men the way they do.  But I’m a girl, so I’m going to talk about my personal experiences and point of view.  Now before I start, I’m definitely biased.  I’ve grown up with the mentality in the novels I read, the people I choose to surround myself with, and the people I look up to that women can be independent.  That they should be treated with the same respect as men should.  That successful societies and sustainable civilizations are run on women receiving education and working as equal counterparts to men, not being looked down upon as toys or inferior beings.  I also recognize that it may get irritating to some when people get overly sensitive and enthusiastic about a topic and feel it necessary to flaunt it about everywhere, so I’ll try to be wary.  Note: I am not some social specialist.  I am just a person with opinions. Continue reading

School Re-imagined

Have you ever thought about how much time we spend in school?  It’s seven hours a day, five days a week, for at least twelve years of your life.  And what exactly is the point?  “Uh, learning, I guess.”  Yes, hypothetical reader, that’s what I would guess too.  School is meant to educate us so we don’t go running out into the world and blinding people with our ignorance.  But a lot of school is simply about preparation.  Preparing for the next test which prepares you for the final which prepares you for the next grade which prepares you for graduation which prepares you for college which prepares you for life?  How much of school do we spend just waiting for the next thing to happen?  Is looking so far into the future actually counterproductive to getting stuff done in the present?

Don’t get me wrong, I love learning.  I love walking into a classroom and seeing my teacher get unapologetically over-enthusiastic about something they really care about.  I love sitting outside with my friends at lunch as we exchange inside jokes and playfully make fun of each other.  But I hate when one of my friends comes to me and says that they slept four hours because of copious amounts of homework or a test on a chapter they just can’t seem to grasp.  I hate when someone says they’ll never be as talented as someone else or that they won’t get accepted by their dream school.  School is supposed to teach us academically, but it also provides an ultra-competitive, high-stress environment that is not at all conductive to learning.  I can’t tell you how many times my teachers have told us that they wished kids were less focused on grades and more about how much they actually understood what was being taught.  How they wished students saw homework as a way to supplement their learning and not something to cheat their way through to get those “easy points.”  I think there is something fundamentally wrong with an education system that puts every individual on a set path and expects everyone to succeed by the same methods.

So yes, the system is flawed.  But I can honestly say that I enjoy school because my teachers all make such an effort to make what we’re learning apply outside of the classroom.  Like learning a different language, how cool is that?  How amazing is it to have the ability to communicate your ideas to people who would have never heard them otherwise?  And biology.  That stuff is going on inside of you, right now and forever.  And the crazy thing is there is still so much we don’t know.  History!  Isn’t it great to know that there have always been people willing to change the world, to push for reform because they knew there was a better way?  English.  Just a couple days ago, my teacher put up a prompt that asked us if we could change school to accommodate our individual needs, what kind of classes and learning environment would there be?

In this kind of hypothetical situation, I think we would need to find the balance between classes that teach general knowledge and classes that teach about subjects you’re genuinely interested in.  Give students a chance to explore different majors and skills.  Have a class where you learn those random things that all adults just seem to know how to do.  Like how to file your taxes or what the heck is a 401k.  And then have classes that encourage creativity.  There is nothing like the feeling of satisfaction you get when you look at something – whether it be woodwork, pottery, a painting, or a poem – stand back and say, “I made that.”  And then I would have these one hour a week optional rant sessions where everyone could get together in the cafeteria and talk about everything they care about from the little things that bother them to the stuff that makes them question their existence and there would be snacks and bean-bags and everything would be okay.  We would stop worrying about the future and concentrate on the present.

the ideal learning environment

I hate when people refer to life after college or whatever constitutes adult life as “the real world.”  Yeah, there’s an obvious difference between what it’s like to be in school all your life and getting a job where you’re presumably and expert in your field and paid for your work and under a whole new list of expectations.  But I think we need to stop looking at school as a means to get somewhere and start looking it as a benefit in and of itself.  When are you ever going to being in high school again?  When are you ever going to have the chance to develop who you are while surrounded by a bunch of other people who are just as confused and plagued by hormones as you?  Not ever.  So we might as well make the most of it.

~Mad Hatter

Thoughts on Sleeping, Dreaming, and Deja vu

Photo ©2013 by Beverley Goodwin [CC-by-2.0]
Photo ©2013 by Beverley Goodwin [CC-by-2.0]
I looooove sleeping. LOVE it. I’m sure many of us have been told as children to “Take a nap now, or you won’t be able to take naps when you’re older” or some variations of this, but I’ve never realized how true it was. Yesterday when I got home from school at about two in the afternoon, I was sitting at my desk, doing my Spanish homework when I realized how cool sleep is. Napping is like your body goes into a mini-hibernation and leaves you feeling refreshed after such a short amount of time. When I was little, I never liked the idea of napping, mostly because I wasn’t used to it and because I just couldn’t stay still enough to fall asleep in the middle of the day. Now, I often find myself thinking about sleeping, not because whatever I’m doing at the time is boring, but just thinking about the science behind sleeping and napping.  Continue reading

The Great Nick Carraway

I don't know why I made the background space, but I think it looks nice.
I don’t know why I made the background space, but I think it looks nice.

Question to anybody who has read The Great Gatsby (also spoilers ahead): Who is the main character supposed to be?  I mean, we got Nick over here who is so unhealthily preoccupied in everyone’s lives that he can’t even remember his own birthday, and then we have Gatsby whose only concern is to have Daisy love him again.  In a way, I think Nick and Gatsby are rather similar.  Throughout the course of the novel, they both seem to nurse a singular obsession, Nick with Gatsby and his present story, and Gatsby with Daisy and the way things used to be.  On the other hand, there are traits that make Nick and Gatsby fundamentally different.  Nick is a person who is always moving forward in life, while Gatsby clings strongly to the past.

“I wouldn’t ask too much of her,” I ventured.  “You can’t repeat the past.”

“Cant repeat the past?” he cried incredulously.  “Why of course you can!”

Ironically, the thing that makes Gatsby great is also what makes him pitiable.  Gatsby is so attached to an idea of Daisy, an image that he has created of her that she could not possibly fulfill, that he is willing to do anything for her.  Yet this also makes Gatsby unrealistic, unable to comprehend that Daisy has a life of her own, that she was not able to stay frozen in time based on the mere hope that one day Gatsby would come back to her.  Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy made it very difficult for him to form a purpose separate from her, like he did in his younger years, before he had met Daisy.

What makes Nick great was also derived from his own obsession with Gatsby.  Nick took on the role of a (mostly) impartial storyteller, divulging to the audience the life of the great and tragic Gatsby.  And in putting himself into this story, Nick became a true friend to Gatsby.  Nick was unlike Gatsby in that he could see things clearly, without bouts of passion and emotion clouding his vision.  Nick was highly sentient and nearly omniscient, he was blessed with foresight and reason while Gatsby insisted on acting on his emotions.  But despite their differences, the two found each other to be in ecstatic cahoots, and by the end of it all, developed a level of mutual understanding and respect.

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder…