1. You don’t understand someone’s struggle until it has happened to you.
Even then, all you have is one personal account. One page of writing, a roll of film, a 7:21 video, even a blog post isn’t sufficient to explain the experience. You could fill a book with thoughts.
2. Some life pursuits are stumps.
They don’t grow, they just get soggy with all of the water you sprinkle.
As long as I live, I will never find meaning in drawing. I can draw, but that’s about it, it will never be anything but an activity to me. We don’t rip the stump out of the ground, but we don’t contribute anything meaningful to it.
3. Peer pressure operates in small ways.
Being the horribly nosy person that I am, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation the other day in my school hallway. Two girls were standing in the middle of the hallway, making everything suck for everyone else. They were loudly discussing the pointlessness of the classes we had to take and the triviality of life in general:
“I can’t stand this school anymore. I hate it and I hate my life. Literally nothing matters.” Continue reading
I don’t know why we think it’s worthwhile to deal with every one of our problems. Why do we always have to call it running away?
Are we superheroes? Can we emerge victorious after every struggle with the enemy?
Are we rubberbands? Can we snap back in place after being stretched thin?
No, we are humans. We aren’t built to overcome every obstacle that life presents to us, and this I realized the other day. Continue reading
I live in Atlanta, and here I have friends that I can touch and feel.
But I live in Atlanta, and you live on the other side of the country; I see you a few times every year.
As a senior in high school, I’m going to see some of my best friends once more before we’re all whisked off to college, and I don’t know what to do about it.
With my friends here, personal interaction is best. If you’ve got the ability to see people that you care about, why would you leave it up to technology to do the job? It’s lame, it’s lazy, and it’s a poor example of friendship.
But with the friends dispersed all over the country, technology is all I have. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail, as well as texting and Snapchat are wonderful technological developments that have connected us all in unprecedented ways, giving the saying “it’s a small world” a whole new meaning. Continue reading
This is one of those relationships where I don’t think anything went wrong. We used to be the best of friends because of our similar backgrounds and traits.
I think I was the one who changed.
Look at you now! You are so beautiful and basically a better version of yourself than back when we were friends. I hope for my sanity’s sake that this isn’t because we stopped being friends. Continue reading
I blame Disney for making people forget how awful the word frozen is. It doesn’t describe a winter wonderland; it describes a relationship isolated. Its two icy syllables drip of rancor and malice.
The sudden severing of contact between two people is nothing like the conventional drifting away to which we are all accustomed. Two people either both think that the other is wrong, or it is clear that one person did something very wrong. The term falling out is absolutely accurate. You two didn’t fall apart, you fell out. Instead of a relationship crumbling away, the trapdoors beneath your feet suddenly gave way and it’s like you’ve disappeared from each other’s eyes. A schism, they call it, a split due to differences in belief or opinion. No kidding… Continue reading
A year ago, I wrote a post entitled “What It Means to Debate.” Looking back on what I had written, I still agree largely with what I had written. But alas, we are never stationary and that means that my opinion has changed, shifted, and accumulated much more knowledge and experience since when I last touched on the subject on policy debate as an activity.
8. The Novices.
They are the future of your debate team, the kids that will be seniors when you’re juniors in college, whose life courses you have the ability to influence depending whether you convince them with your charisma and behavior to stick with debate.
When you think about it, debate is what you make it and part of what you make it is demonstrated to others that join as weak freshmen and look to the seniors to see what they might look like one day. Continue reading
I’ve gone through twelve miserable years of school, and I’ve got perhaps three teacher friends to show for it. What does that say of me? In junior high, I was much too immature to realize the value of having relationships with those in authority positions. I constantly viewed them as the enemy; foreign people who didn’t know me and wanted my life to be hell, utilizing worksheets and pop quizzes. Sometimes I was right; sometimes I just didn’t click with teachers from day one and had to suffer in their class for the rest of the year. Sometimes, I was the teacher’s pet. I was called on first, people asked me to bargain with them for treats like extra lunch time or an extension of a test. But be aware, this is not nearly the same thing as being friends with a teacher.
Teacher’s pets are precisely what they sound like, little puppies and kitties that like to be petted and fawned over. But friendship operates on a different level. There’s always an aspect of teacher-student inherent in any of these relationships, but these two individuals also see each other on equal planes in a way. You know their kid’s name, you spend time in their classroom when you don’t have to, and you can go beyond small talk without forcing it.
And you can look to them for advice. No, not for how to do this sort of problem, or how to approach this test, but for which classes to take next year, or how to proportion your schedule. It has taken me years to realize this, but some of your teachers are actually human. They’ve got wives and husbands and houses and they go to Chick-fil-a just like you and I. They’re also significantly older, and know so much about life. I don’t want to make a blanket statement here, so I won’t, but some teachers definitely have more to offer than perhaps your parents (only in some aspects though). They’re in high school, and they see the struggles that every student faces. They’re at least a fraction of a percent more sympathetic, unless they just have a bitter and pessimistic view of high schoolers, in which case they have no place as a teacher in high school.
These people decide your grades, but they have so much more to offer. In reality, we are all selfish yet ambitious; we’ve got goals and colleges that we want to reach, and having a genuine teacher-friend can come in handy. They’ve got nothing but positive comments to spill into a college rec, they’ll vouch for you if no one else will, and they have got genuine advice to offer.