Sunday, September 26, 2010

Metacognition: First Mindbook Page

As like any other high school project, I had waited to even start my first mindbook page until midnight the night before it was due. Mind you, we had almost a week to complete the simple task, but had I taken advantage of the other 99% of the time we had to do it? Nope. As I sat in my room contemplating why I had waited so long instead of getting a move on and getting things done. I finally got my second wind of energy and was able to begin the creative task.

This is when I realize, "I am actually extremely creative late at night!" YOWZERS! I start cutting and pasting and coloring and writing and everything is flowing together beautifully without me having to think twice about it. Which is when I come to my second realization, "maybe.. if I fall asleep right after I get home from school and then wake up around 11 and do all of my homework I will actually pull out more creative and quality work!" Which would have been a feasible idea if it were not for the massive blue bags under my eyes the next morning and the agony I felt as I lifted my head off of the pillow. I could not have been more proud of the creativity I had embarked upon the night before and also more remorseful that I had chosen to stay up so late.

I just wish that I could harness that creativity and use it whenever I would like to, but I can't. Why does it take a weak brain to create such a beautiful mind?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Best of Week: Writing College Essays

College essays. Two words that bring teenagers so much stress and are supposedly actually very simple. "Just be yourself", " talk about what is important to you", "they read thousands of these, so yours has to stand out". So much pressure! For some reason, at least for me, it is so much easier to just write what i think the admissions person wants to hear. But after all I've heard,I realize that if i do that then they really might admit me for the wrong reasons. So then i think to myself, "What is something in my life that made me who I am" and twenty different scenarios come to mind but none of them more defining than the last. This leads to confusion which in turn just leads to much, much more stress.

But you see, this is where Mr. Allen comes in to the rescue! This week in Humanities class the most important day was the day we finally learned how to write these stressful college essays. Although we did not learn literally step by step how the structure of the essay should be, we learned something that in my eyes was much more important. We learned how to focus our thinking and choose a subject to write about that is important to us and gives the admissions person the feeling that we are real people and not just another kid trying too get into college. I know that the information I learned that day will help me progress to my future. In twenty years I will remember that the reason I got into the college I wanted to get into was because of what I learned from Mr. Allen about writing essays.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Connection: The Talk of the Town and Conflict Resolution Class

Ignorance. Controversy. Judgment. Radical views- All words that are all too familiar in society today.

In Humanities class last week, as a tribute to 9/11, we read a compilation of articles that were written within the first week of the terrorist attacks on America. We were to analyze the articles and search for inconsistencies with what we know are facts today. I realized that people had much more radical views on the attacks and were not as willing to question what they knew. Most of the articles had the same theme of fear for the strongest country in the world. If we were going to be attacked like this, what other catastrophes could happen? The authors all made blanket assumptions about what happened on 9/11creating controversy within our class. Were these people just in shock because it had all just happened a week ago? Or are
Americans just arrogant in general, never asking enough questions to get the facts and assuming we are right?

The last question is one of the main topics that we discuss in my 'Conflict Resolution in the Modern World' class. Although America is the home of the free and the brave, there are many people here that neither feel freedom nor bravery when they are ridiculed for being different. From articles and media stunts related to what we read and talked about in humanities, immigrants from other countries (specifically the middle east) now feel threatened. In Conflict Resolution we talk about the causes of conflicts such as what we like to call the 'fallout from the 9/11 attacks' (basically the ridicule that middle easterners now see because of what happened that day). Most of my class agrees this ridicule was caused by people not knowing and not wanting to find out the facts of why what happened that day happened. I am not trying to justify the attacks, just protect completely innocent people that do not deserve to be treated as they are. When world conflict occurs and people get scared, they immediately turn to their 'judgment' side. Proof is in the articles that we read in English. There are nine different articles written by nine different authors all having different radical judgments about what happened without knowing the facts.

One of my favorite sayings is, "you never know what a person is going through before you take a walk in their shoes". From both of the issues I talked about, I have realized that it seems to be human nature to make judgment before thinking about how the other side must feel.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Change of Mind: My Life as a House

Before watching the incredible movie 'My Life as a House', I took my father completely for granted. To me, he was an important man in my life who was essential to my living, but nothing had ever happened that made me realize how much he really meant to me. In the movie, George (the main character) finds out he has three months to live. He decides that he wants to spend the last few months of his life with his son, Sam. Sam is a very troubled sixteen year old who enjoys letting everyone around him how much he hates his life. I am not saying that I am as troubled as he, but everyone has their flaws. Throughout the three months, Sam realizes his love for his father and doing things for others. Once he finds out that his father is dying, Sam's view on life changes completely. It was through Sam's change that I realized that I do not want to wait until my father is dying to be close to him. I've since realized things that my father and I have in common. We both love to debate, over analyze, and pick apart other people's words.

Whenever I act like a stubborn teenager and say "I love you" to my mom 'like I don't mean it' she always retorts with, "Elyse, what if i died today and you would always remember that the last thing you said to me was "I love you" and you don't even sound like you mean it". Since watching My Life as a House I have really understood the importance of making a lot of the things I say to my parents meaningful because if anything ever happened to them I would not want my last memory with them to be an arrogant statement.