A Semester in Review

I’m going to start off by saying that this was hands-down, no-doubt the worst and hardest semester of my life. But I’m going to continue by saying that much of that has had to do with my selfish attitude, more than anything.

It seemed like everything I earnestly tried, I failed. Even the things I’d taken for granted that I’d obtain (Latin Club elections). So many things going wrong, that nearly every week there was a new crisis (I must sound so pathetic and self-absorbed right now; sorry). Each crisis would prompt a full-on crying session in Latin (1st period) or APUSH (8th), and if the latter, it’d usually continue into the car with Marika who has had to comfort and calm me too many times this semester. Continue reading

Thankful

I’ve been struggling with how to be thankful. I think back to my elementary-school days, when all of us small children would flail out Sharpie-scrawled lists of “Things I’m Thankful For.” Common denominators among the class: food; my bed; my house; my friends.

I remember it was a kind of self-shock, consciously remembering the little things I take for granted. Count your blessings. Usually, that command implied a directive to compare ourselves with the less fortunate. Weigh yourself and your situation with those around you. There’s always someone worse off than you. At least you have food to eat, so why are you worrying about your grades? You should be thankful for what you have. The classic “There Are Starving Children in Africa” argument—finish your food. Continue reading

Initial Thoughts

You did the best you could.

I should have started in May, worked on it for a few
hours a day until October. Then, maybe I’d have had a chance.

But, given the situation—SAT prep, taking the SAT on October 1st—you
went in to Taylor and Crocker, asked for help, did all you could do.
You worked your butt off, and you can really only look forward from here.

What I should have done is move my SAT to November in the first place.
Could have avoided the whole accidental-cheating
thing, saved myself a few nights of crying.

Hey, you got a freaking —-. That’s incredible. You should be so proud of yourself. Continue reading

From “East of Eden,” John Steinbeck

Adam said, ‘I’ve wondered why a man of your knowledge would work a desert hill place.’

‘It’s because I haven’t courage,’ said Samuel. ‘I could never quite take the responsibility. When the Lord God did not call my name, I might have called His name—but I did not. There you have the difference between greatness and mediocrity. It’s not an uncommon disease. But it’s nice for a mediocre man to know that greatness must be the loneliest state in the world.’

‘I’d think there are degrees of greatness,’ Adam said.

‘I don’t think so,’ said Samuel. ‘That would be like saying there is a little bigness. No. I believe when you come to that responsibility the hugeness and you are alone to make your choice. On one side you have warmth and companionship and sweet understanding, and on the other—cold, lonely greatness. There you make your choice. I’m glad I chose mediocrity, but how am I to say what reward might have come with the other? None of my children will be great either, except perhaps Tom. He’s suffering over the choosing right now. It’s a painful thing to watch. And somewhere in me I want him to say yes. Isn’t that strange? A father to want his son condemned to greatness! What selfishness that must be.'”

The Drive to Succeed

[Excerpt from a recent school assignment on success.]

 

Especially as a junior, as I’ve started to think about college admissions and the extent to which they should dictate my life, I’ve struggled a lot in the past few years about what success really means. Since my elementary school years, I held this firm conviction in my heart that I will be a real world-changer and my name will be bolded in the history textbooks of the next centuries. It was a belief that seemed obvious to me. How I would get there was a question I never deeply considered. I assumed that, because I’d been told I had a quick intellect and a natural talent for things, the opportunity to bend history would present itself naturally to me and I’d take it easily, succeed, and revel in my success for the rest of my life. I was going to be greater than King Tut and George Washington and Bill Gates. Soon… it would happen someday. Duh. Continue reading