“Congratulations on being chosen as a junior marshal for the class of 2015!” You may be thinking, what in the world is that? I asked myself the same question all week, after hearing this statement for the first time on Monday. I have yet to find a satisfactory answer.
If you aren’t familiar with the idea of having junior marshals, they’re simply the top 12 GPA-ranked juniors in a high school. We’re required to lead in the seniors at their graduation, and stand on sore feet for what feels like 10,000 hours while ushering all the graduates on stage and simultaneously yearning for our time to come sooner, because what else would you feel except intense envy of those seniors? I mean, sounds like loads of fun, right? What an honor. Congratulations indeed.
Of course, it’s not all bad. Being a girl, I get to have my parents buy me a new lovely white dress to wear (that meets the 500 different guidelines for school dress code, naturally). They take a group picture of us to go on Facebook and in the newspaper and announce our names over the intercom at school that day. Then everyone knows what a nerd you are! “Noelle, you have a 5.055 GPA and you’re ranked 5th out of 486 people? Wow, that’s amazing! Congrats on all the hard work!” No, no that’s not it at all. I get something more along the lines of, “Damn! How is that even possible? You’re like a genius or something! I wish I was that smart…”.
Gee, thanks for the compliment. I mean, I appreciate the support I do receive. But honestly, I wish junior marshals weren’t such a big deal. All it does is create severely intense competition between students whose GPAs are within hundredths of a point of each other. And what about number 13, or 14, or 15? They aren’t good enough? No one congratulates them, or anyone else. I think students need to be rewarded according to their own personal achievements and efforts. I’ve made excellent grades my entire life, but what about that guy over there? He’s been through more than I’ve ever had to deal with, and he’s still making improvements; he’s still trying. That deserves more of a “congrats” than I do.
So what is a junior marshal? Just another student. Sure, I’m proud of my hard work and intrinsic motivation to do well, and proud of my friends for what they’ve accomplished. But we’re not that special. I can’t even open a fruit cup without spilling it on myself. We’re just like any other junior at our school: trying to make it through the daily life of a teenager, all the struggles, laughs, and embarrassing moments that accompany it. Our lives aren’t perfect, and even though the school might believe otherwise, we’re not perfect either. It’s just better that way.
Have you ever been in a tough situation, and you didn’t know how to respond? Maybe that person you strongly dislike is asking to spend some time with you, and you have no real reason not to say yes, except for the fact that you genuinely hate the very idea of being with him or her. We’ve all been there. “Oh I’m really sorry, but I can’t today. I’ve been super busy and still have a lot to do.” LIAR! You were probably sitting on the couch watching TV when you said that. I’ve done it though, numerous times. I like to call it “giving an excuse” rather than “lying” because, well, the former just sounds better. (They’re the exact same thing though and we all know it).
There are all kinds of things we make up excuses for: turning in a paper late, coming into school/work late, not having a chore finished…and so on. We lie about how well someone sounded when they sang or played an instrument, how much we love the video they just showed us, how good they look in that outfit, how we actually feel at the moment, you name it.
Sometimes we lie so that we can do something, instead of in an attempt to get out of it. I had a friend who, on two separate occasions, lied about who I was so that he could hang out with me. We had a whole plan and everything if something went wrong. Now if that’s not dedication I don’t know what it is!
So why all these lies? I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings, nor do I enjoy getting into trouble. Obviously the way to avoid both of these predicaments is to lie! Duh!
Or maybe not. Sometimes I lie and it’s no big deal, so I don’t worry about it. No one gets hurt. Other times the lies just get deeper and more complicated until finally it has to stop. My point here is, try to avoid lying if you can. And if you can’t, think again. Then if you truly can’t avoid it, at least make it a small one. If it turns out to be a mistake, learn from it, and don’t use the same excuse twice. That can create some seriously awkward moments, and trust me, I know how that goes. 😉
There is a trend on the internet (especially on sites such as Pinterest and Instagram) in which people like to post motivational quotes. Most of the time, these “quotes” are set on a background, usually a landscape, or view of the ocean, or city street, that has been edited by filters with varying degrees of intensity. Now, I understand what people are trying to do. It’s great to motivate yourself, or remind others to stay positive or be encouraged by a bible verse. HOWEVER. If you are planning on creating (or retweeting, repinnng, or posting) one of these lovely images, please check up on a few things before doing so. I’m begging you.
Let’s start with the most prominent problem here. The term quote implies that you are quoting someone else, which means someone else said it. And that person probably took a good amount of time coming up with whatever it is he or she said (although in some cases, probably not at all). Don’t you think you should give that person credit for his/her amazing bit of inspiration? No, not necessary? Apparently that’s what most people think, and then no one knows who actually said anything, which is precisely what gets us images like this one circulating the internet:
You see? I mean obviously Lincoln didn’t say that, but hopefully you enjoyed the satiric example. Anyway, the next problem is what many of these quotes are actually saying. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of quotes out there that inspire me, have deep meaning, have a right to be spread and infiltrate people’s minds. Some just get under my skin with their lack of…sense. These are a few of my favorites, all of which I’ve seen on either Pinterest or Twitter.
- “May you always do what you are afraid to do.” Ok. First off, I’m pretty sure this is trying to tell me to have the courage to try new things, instead of never trying and missing out on wonderful opportunities in life. That makes sense. But this is literally telling me to do all the things I’m scared of. I’m afraid to drink lye, and yet I feel like, somehow, the fear in and of itself doesn’t mean I should do it. I’m also afraid to jump off of a building, befriend snakes and spiders, get electrocuted, and eat raw meat. Sorry Mr. Quote, it’s just not gonna happen.
- “If you can’t be thankful for what you have, be thankful for what you’ve escaped.” Right. At first glance, this one seems reasonable. Read it again though. “…be thankful for what you’ve escaped.” Hypothetically speaking, let’s say I escaped a psychopath boyfriend. Maybe I was scuba diving when I narrowly escaped a pack of Man-of-War jellyfish. Or maybe I just barely escaped a kidnapper. I’m supposed to be thankful for these crazy people and animals? I sure will be grateful none of them killed me, but there is no way I’ll go back and thank any of them for being a part of my life.
- “Some people are meant to fall in love with each other but not meant to be together.” Um, what? When I read this one I picture a boy and a girl, staring at each other with daydream eyes, eternally separated by a large force-field surrounding each of their bodies. They’re totally meant for each other…except not really. Yep.
There you go. Do you understand why I rarely look at the quotes section of any website? The gems are buried deep within piles of platitudes. I hardly can be motivated by words someone arbitrarily threw together in a vain attempt to inspire me. Try a deeper thought next time, and then we’ll talk. For now, I’ll leave you with one on perspective, a true favorite of mine. Remember what I always say, life’s not perfect, and neither are we. But it’s better that way. 🙂
” We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln
Have you ever wanted things to “go back to the way they were”? If you’re typing on the computer you just hit Ctrl+Z as many times as needed until poof! everything is back to the beginning. Or in a video game, you just hit the continue button, or restart, or reset level. Can you do that in real life? I guess not.
This is something I’ve been struggling with for about the past two weeks. I’d really love it if one of those “That was easy!” Staples buttons would materialize in mid-air, right in front of me. Bam, and that would be it. But where would the last checkpoint be? Would I start back at the week after Christmas break, when things got really crazy? Would I jump back to weeks before that, even months, to try to change people’s minds, keep them from making certain decisions? Now we’re getting into time travel, and that is an area in which I have no expertise. Let’s stop before we mess up all of history or something.
It’s easy to want to fix your life to be perfect for you. Maybe you don’t want it to be perfect; you only want it to be better, or simpler than it is now. That’s all I want, because I think I’ve made a few mistakes. In fact, I know I have. Some days I was jealous, I was ridiculously tired, I was sad. We all have those days. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you have to do what you can to apologize, hope people will forgive you, forgive yourself, and then move along. In the end, things are going to happen, things you can’t always control. The best thing to do is move forward, and keep a positive attitude about what will happen next. Keep laughing and keep breathing. We’ll get through it!
I’d like to think of myself as a friendly person. Not necessarily outgoing or forward, but friendly. Being friendly, for the most part, implies interacting with someone you might not know that well. I mean no one tells you to “be friendly” to your best bud, because of course you will. I always try to make an effort to be nice and welcoming to people when I first meet them, because, well, isn’t that common courtesy? It’s just the way I am.
The only problem there is making eye contact. Everyone knows what it’s like to have to make eye contact with someone; we all had those spontaneous staring contests as children. You look into another person’s eyes for an indefinite amount of time, but after several seconds, one of you bursts out laughing. I have more self-control than that at my age, but the feat is none the simpler. There are a few problems I have with the acute skill of making eye contact with people:
- I can’t look at both of the person’s eyes at the same time. It’s hard enough to focus in on one of them, you can’t possibly expect me to look at both at the same time! It feels extremely awkward, so I usually end up glancing away. Then I come back, thinking maybe I just need to try again. Nope. Same problem: it’s one or the other. Which one do I look at? Do they think I’m lying or extremely nervous because I keep switching back and forth? It’s just too much of hassle, if you ask me.
- The other person has no problem with it. This is the worst feeling. You’re trying to have a conversation with a person you just met, when all of a sudden you realize they are staring into your soul. I don’t know about you, but whether I’m talking to a friend or an acquaintance, I look them in the eye once or twice, but a lot of the time I’m looking away while I speak. It’s not because I have an aversion to their face; it’s simply that I can’t focus on their eyes as well as the words I am trying to form and spit out. I’ve come across someone before who made nonstop-hardcore-extreme-constant eye contact with me while we spoke. What, are you trying to prove that you’re better at this than I am? You can take first prize, because I won’t even try to fight you for it.
- There’s always the awkward, I-didn’t-mean-to-look-at-you-but-we-both-did-at-the-same-time eye contact. This is the opposite of the purposeful eye contact required at interviews and public speeches. Seriously, does it get any more cringe-worthy than accidentally glancing at a random person, only to find they have done the same to you? I’d tell you to always be on the lookout, but unfortunately doing so would only increase your chances of an unwanted situation. It can happen anywhere, anytime, with anyone. My classes can get pretty boring while we take notes, so every once in a while I decide to lift my head up and take a look around. Of course, even though I’m not even trying to get this person’s attention, each time I look to my right he looks to his left. Whoops! Sometimes this can be used to your advantage, though. With a few carefully timed quick glances, you might be able to tell if he or she is looking back on purpose. (But use caution: results may vary.)
- Sometimes even I can get carried away. It’s easy to stare into someone’s eyes is you find him or her attractive. Speaking from a girl’s point of view, I can tell in .5 seconds how I feel about a guy if I just look into his eyes. At this point it’s practically always “Uh, nope. Not at all.” Having a boyfriend changes your perspective. But every so often I see a picture of a celebrity I’m obsessed with (*cough* Joseph Gordon-Levitt *cough*) and it’s hard not to daydream about him staring back. If I’m talking to someone and I happen to be fond of the color of their eyes, I might stare for too long, thinking about aesthetic qualities instead of the conversation (which relates back to my second point). Talk about being awkward!
So, eye contact is not my thing. Maybe it will be one day. Do you grow into it? Is this skill acquired with time? Who knows. I want to know what your embarrassing “eye contact” stories are! Life’s not perfect, and neither are we! Leave a comment below so we can all get a good laugh today. Thanks for the support, love y’all!
We all have that friend who can’t seem to find her way around anywhere. Everyone constantly has to reiterate, “It’s just down the hall and to your right, remember?” Or “Just take a left after Target and it’s there. You can’t miss it.” They nod their head accordingly, and yet you know they still have no idea what they’re doing. Everyone has that friend. And then some of us, unfortunately, are that friend.
I am horrible when it comes to directions. Giving them out is a constant challenge, and if anyone tries to explain how to get somewhere, whether it be in their house or across town, I always second guess myself and end up missing a step. I have to give myself credit though, learning to drive has improved my directional skills by a long shot. I can find my way around just about anywhere when I’m familiar with the area, but put me in a place I’ve never seen before, and I might not ever make it out.
This always proves to be a problem when I’m trying to find a friend’s house for the first time. Especially if they live in an apartment complex. There’s a reason it’s called a complex. What’s worse is finding my way back home. You know, if it wasn’t for the GPS, I may still be driving around somewhere, lost to this day. Unfortunately though, a GPS isn’t always the best solution.
I tried out for a singing contest not too long ago, held at one of the many high schools in my district. Of course I’d heard of the school before, but it was located across town from where I lived. No worries! I’d plug in my iPhone, start Google maps, and it would get me there in no time.
How wrong I was.
First of all, the school’s address was for the frontage road. But where did Google maps lead me? No, not onto the frontage road. I got off the interstate and ended up in a little neighborhood area with streets as wide as a blade of grass and no school in sight. “You have arrived at your destination,” my iPhone spoke, oozing confidence. Like heck I was! I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. What made things even better was the practically nonexistent signal my phone was receiving. After noticing this, I started to freak out. I drove around the back streets and made turns onto barren roads until finally I decided to give up and go home. But how could I do that if the GPS told me I wasn’t even on a real road?? Luckily I kept my cool long enough to find the school (only a few panic attacks had ensued). I made it through the audition, albeit slightly winded from hyperventilating out of fear, and after struggling once again with my incredibly helpful GPS, I found myself back on the highway and eventually back home.
It may seem that there is no moral to this story. Maybe not. All I’m trying to say is, sometimes we all get lost. Hopefully you’re not like me, and you were blessed with an innate sense of direction. If that’s the case, I applaud you. But for all of my readers who are directional-ly challenged as I am, I feel your pain. You’re gonna get lost, and it might be extremely embarrassing. Stay calm and have your best friend on speed-dial just in case: you’ll get through it, and you will have braved an important learning experience (especially if you can laugh at yourself afterwards). That’s a money-back guarantee. 😉