I Might Like to Have a Mentor

I want to have good people in my life. People who make me want to achieve more. Not for competition or to prove them wrong, but because they believe in me. I want to have people in my life who care about me and believe in my ability to succeed. I know that I’m going to do more in my life than exist in my suburban hometown. I believe in myself, but sometimes that isn’t enough. There’s something about it when someone who isn’t my friend or relative says that they think I’m smart or talented in some way.

I guess I’m sort of looking for a mentor. I’m embarrassed to say that. It’s not like I’m some shy young girl looking for someone to lead her in the right direction. No. I have strong opinions and while I do feel more shy in groups of people that I don’t know well, eventually I do become more comfortable with them; I just need some time. I actively participate in class discussions. I actually enjoy them. I am outspoken, but I do not always express my feelings in every situation the same way. I have friends who support me, which is great, but I feel like I want someone older, wiser maybe, to support me, too. I do not feel that I can be truly honest with my parents in the same way as I can be with my friends. We have differing views in many aspects and they just don’t see the world like as I do. They are not globally minded citizens. That is what I aspire to be.

I can survive on my own, but I feel as if I may be losing the chance to truly thrive. I know that this may seem like a girl who can’t cope on her own; let me tell you and make it clear that it’s not. I know that mentors exist for enough, if not plenty, of people for it not to be completely weird for me to feel this way. Anyway, it’s not like I woke up one morning thinking that I’d like a mentor. After agonizing and analyzing my feelings and emotions, I realized that a mentor fit the definition of what I want in my life. And then I tried to deny that, but it’s true. I think that I could benefit from the having the type of person that a mentor is in my life. I know I’ll be fine without one, but I also know that I wouldn’t lose out on anything by having one.

For the sake of details, I do know what kind of person that I’d like it to be. I would need the person to be intelligent, concerned with their community, at least somewhat interested in politics(U.S. and internationally, preferably with a liberal leaning worldview), globally minded, and kind(not just nice, genuinely kind, as I have finally been fortunate enough to learn the difference). I guess though are the traits I like in people in general, but if someone were to be my mentor; I would deem them necessary.

 

Scheduling

Summer’s end is too close. I am not ready to go back to school. My friends are not ready to go back to school. Most of all, I’m not ready to deal with my schedule or learning something that I don’t really care about.

Let me start off with math. My teacher from last year recommended me for honors pre-calculus. We have to get signatures for some of our classes at my school and math as a subject requires them. I had down regular pre-calculus on my schedule. I planned on taking three AP classes, add in honors math? No thank you. But she told me to do honors and that she would come back to my desk. We were in the second marking period at that time and I had gotten an A in the first one, so I understand her doing that. From about the point I got her signature; I knew once again that honors math was not in my future. Math is hard enough and the whole honors title is pointless for me since I’m a year further ahead in math than most of the people in my grade anyway.

For scheduling at my school, what we do is fill out a schedule on paper with the classes we wish to take for the next year and for any classes that require signatures from our current teachers, we get them that day. Our classes are shortened that day because we start and begin the day in this class called seminar. Basically that’s where we go on the first day of school for our official schedules and now our school is making us meet once a week there and it’s sort of how they gather us for things that pertain specifically to our grade. I think that it’s alphabetical, which is why we also go to that class on things like PSAT testing days. Our filled out schedules then get collected and are given to our counselors. On a later day, your English class will go to the library and everyone meets individually with their counselor and that’s where you say if you put down one class, but actually desperately want to take another. You can switch later in the year, but classes are on a first come, first serve basis.

One of the first things I did when I saw my counselor that day was make sure that I was only going to take regular pre-calculus. It wasn’t even just the sake of wanting a less challenging math class; I was afraid that it would make it impossible for me to take the other classes that I wished to pursue. Only two class periods of honors algebra 2 ran this year and knowing how many of my friends were deciding to switch to regular for this year, I knew that it could greatly affect my schedule. I figured my AP classes would probably run at least two class periods each, but I still wasn’t convinced there would be more than one period of AP Physics(which I plan to talk to my counselor about switching to a different AP science class, but more on that in a later paragraph). I’m also starting my first year on the school newsmagazine this school year and that class, for obvious reasons, only runs for one class period.

Last school year, my friend chose honors math over being able to take AP government. And I recently heard from someone I know who is a grade above me, that she was going to take most of the same classes that I have planned on, but she chose AP Physics over the newsmagazine. I don’t want some scheduling conflict with math to be the reason that I can’t take something I would actually enjoy learning.

I guess at this point I’ll say why I don’t want to do AP Physics and why I regret choosing it as my AP science class. I found out that even at universities where the average GPA of incoming students is about a B+, they won’t take less than a four on the AP exam. Every other AP class, they’re fine with a score of three, but not for AP Physics. I’m smart, so if I didn’t think that I would do well, I wouldn’t pay to take the AP exam. I want to avoid that possibility, though. My school also has AP Physics 2, which I’ll only be able to take as a senior, but I don’t want to take that class. I’m going to have to take an AP math class my senior year since I’m taking pre-calculus this year and I already know that I want to take two other AP classes, which leaves no room for it on my schedule. I refuse to take four AP classes because I value my sanity too much to do that to myself. I do want to say that I didn’t find out this score stuff until summer vacation, otherwise I would have saved myself from begging my counselor on scheduling day to switch it.

I don’t feel as strongly about my other classes, which is most likely because I want to take them. I might not end up with two of the electives I want, each of which are only a semester long, so they wouldn’t be taken simultaneously. I figure just because of how everything will figure out for scheduling and for the chance that they both run during the right class periods to fit into my schedule. Last school year, the only classes that had even the slightest possibility of switching times were my elective period and chemistry period. The only thing that ended up actually changing from first to second semester was my elective and that was only because each class was only one semester long.

The topic of scheduling is just really stressing me out. I don’t have much else to do except think about it. I get my schedule a week from tomorrow, so at least it’ll all be over then. I might not be able to get out of AP Physics, but I would like to thank everyone whom I have complained about it to for listening. I did check out the textbook already like I was told to when I got the summer homework packet, so if I can’t switch, then at least that wasn’t for nothing. I don’t really think that I’ll even switch unless the class that would replace it could be AP Chemistry. I don’t care much about biology or environmental science. Besides, my chemistry class from last year was extremely lacking in labs. We rarely did them or saw them done by our teacher. That’s a long story for another time. I’d like to be able to take a chemistry class where you actually see chemicals once in a while rather than constantly writing notes at a desk.

First College Tour

I had my first college tour yesterday. I’m only going into my junior year, so there are definitely more to come. It was a special visit day where they didn’t just do the standard ninety minute tour. They had the tour, but we also heard a presentation about the college and there was a panel of students that you could ask questions about life at the college. Also, they gave us a free lunch in the cafeteria(even though there isn’t actually such a thing as a free lunch, but it was free to my parents and I). I got a lanyard and a t-shirt, too. It was definitely worth the two hour drive there.

After having this experience, I’m really thinking about what I value in a college or university. It was a small place with only about 1400 students. The town that it is in is also very small, with its downtown only being two short blocks long. When my dad drove us onto campus, at first I felt kind of confused. There were houses, like a normal suburb, then there were college buildings. As I said, this was my first experience, so I don’t have a big school experience to compare it to yet.

There were things that I liked about it, such as everyone was friendly and one of the student panelists even said that she’d never been around people so friendly. Also, the students and faculty seem to get to know one another well, which is something that I think that I want in a college. They said that even the introductory courses only have about 35 people(but they acted liked that was a lot). My own classes probably vary from around 25 to 30 people, depending on the course. An admissions counselor even said that in her senior year, one of her classes had only five students in it. I don’t know if that’s really what I want yet, like what if I hate those people? What if they hate me? That would not be good. I mean, it’d probably be unlikely considering that we’d be having the same major and most likely have a decent amount of common interests, but that’s still a possibility.

The small town thing is sort of isolating. The whole, there’s not much to do around here vibe. I don’t really know why I even care, though. I don’t do many activities with friends that couldn’t be done on campus anyway. Maybe I keep thinking that because the campus itself is also very small. My tour guide said that the longest walk across campus is ten minutes.

I keep thinking, what if I hate the size? What if I think that I would like it and I really don’t once it happens? Some people say that they fall in love with the school immediately. I don’t know. It seemed like a good place for the right person. I’m not sure if I am that sort of person that would like that environment. Basically, I know that I need to check out some big schools. Schools whose student population would make the earth quake if they all gathered onto the small college campus that I visited today. I might as well, especially because there are three schools that I want to tour that are all two hours away. Maybe not two hours in the same direction, but still only two hours. And then there’s a fourth school that’s only half an hour away, twenty minutes if we take the freeway. Plus a fifth that’s nearby enough, too. I could end up loving any one of those schools.

College Mail

I’ve been thinking about college a lot recently. It’s summertime and the only thing I actually did was at a college, so that definitely put it onto my mind. My first official college visit is tomorrow. It’s at a small, private liberal arts college in the middle of nowhere. This will be my only college visit of the summer. You want to know why I am choosing to visit there? They were the first to get my email from the College Board and begin to email me information. There’s something special about being wanted.

I get emails from colleges frequently, at least every few days. Usually they go to the promotions part of my gmail account, so I am able to browse at my leisure, but sometimes they don’t get filtered as they should and I get a random notification that some college wants me there. I could unsubscribe, but sometimes it’s the first email that they send so I just click to move it to promotions. I don’t really delete any of them, except for the ones where they aren’t actually colleges, but some sort of service to sign up for college mail. I don’t really want to give out my information to a third party service, even though just for taking the PSAT one is technically selling it to schools and services that consistently email me.

I get some physical mail, too, for the colleges that I was cool with. I have a couple regrets. One is Kettering University. The only degree that you can get from there is an engineering one. It is a good school…for engineering. For some background, when I took the PSAT in like March or something, I’m pretty sure that I bubbled in “engineering” as the major that I would like to pursue. At some point, which was by May, I had finally realized that I should just accept that what I actually want to do is become a lawyer and while it has a lot of school and debt; it’s what I want to do. And obviously the major that I currently want is political science, which is much more apt for a pre-law program. So most of these colleges ask in their first email to me, “Still want to be an engineer?” I sadly think, “No, I really don’t,” in my head. About two or three months ago, I was still like, “I should keep my options open,” but by now I’ve kind of given up on that.

My other regret is Marquette University. For them, I thought that they were in the northern part of my state and named after the town that it’s in. I was incorrect. There is a college in that town, but it’s not Marquette University. Marquette University is in a different state, which I was originally still okay with. Then I googled it the other day and I found out that it’s a Catholic university. Now, I have nothing against Catholicism or religious universities, of course, besides myself actually going to one. I feel that religion is like a veil in the teaching of classes when you go to one of those schools. If you ever see a brochure for a religious college, they talk about faith in their learning. I don’t really want to be somewhere where the majority are the same religion. I want to have diversity and diversity of thought is important to myself.

Back to those third party services that bought my email. I use the word “bought” because I looked up how colleges get your information when you’re a student and haven’t signed up for stuff yourself. This is probably a narcissistic way of thinking, but I like the idea of a college paying money to try to get me to go there. Even if it’s very cheap, they still had to go through the process of selecting me and somehow putting my email in and sending me stuff. Those third party services are probably reselling my email to those universities that I select for even more money than they paid for it originally. Or they’re somehow making money off of me. But like I am saying, I want the colleges to want me, not the other way around. There’s this old woman that I knit with and one of her granddaughters started college last fall and the girl told her that she interviewed the colleges, not the other way around. A “What do they have to offer me” perspective, rather than a “What do I have to offer them” one. I’m trying to emulate that.

These colleges are trying to sell me a product. A very expensive product. They are the product. I’d like to say that some of these colleges have no chance. University of Michigan Flint is not somewhere I want to go. If anything I want to go to the Ann Arbor campus. Also, that whole water crisis thing that still isn’t taken care of? Yeah, I’m sorry, but no thanks. They have actually sent me the same email, though, three times. Four if you count that for the first one, they had actually replied to that email, with the exact same thing. I don’t really know how someone can do that, but it happened. It’s probably a fine school, but the thing is that even their website isn’t as cool as the official U of M one.

(Also, in case for some reason that I end up applying to U-M Flint and you guys find out who I am for this blog, I want to put a disclaimer that I am currently a naive sixteen year old who hasn’t even began her junior year and my opinion will have most likely changed if I decided to apply to your school. Also, enjoy my writing, I guess, while you’re here. Literally over a year will have passed between myself applying to your school and this blog having been written and posted, so please forgive me if forgiveness is needed.)

Presently

Every day is just constantly trying to get to tomorrow. The present doesn’t matter. All people care about is getting to the future. The next best thing. We make plans and we excitedly look forward to them. Or the plans are depressing, like a funeral, and in that case we just want it to be over. We want to move on and have that chapter of our life be done. We would like to forget all pain by having time heal our wounds.

If today is bad, why continue to think about it? Just look forward to the next day and if that’s bad, too, then who cares? There’s just the next day to think about and continually the next is right there, waiting to be waited for. The age old statement that I already referenced, “Time heals all wounds;” I mean, besides psychological trauma where you are tormented by it consistently for the rest of your life unless you get help, which is usually in the form of therapy and isn’t always accessible or affordable. Forgive and forget because apparently going into the future means forgetting the past.

“It gets better.” That is a phrase used every time someone goes through a hard time in their life. Being bullied? It gets better. Depressed? It gets better. You just want to die? No matter what, “It gets better.” If someone copyrighted that phrase they would make a lot of money from every single anti-bullying and suicide prevention program. You know why? They all use that phrase. It’s not creative and it’s not always honest. Some people die at the hands of abusive parents. Did it get better for them? No. Some people kill themselves and it sure didn’t get better for them.

What I want to know is, what about the people who cannot wait until tomorrow? Until it magically gets better? What are they supposed to do as everyone else ignores their mainly trivial problems as they think about the future and how it’ll be better than their today? They are just supposed to sit there while nothing happens. Nothing changes. They stay put and live through their present while others just think about will happen, not what is happening.

Anthropology, Voodoo, and a Viewpoint

I am a sixteen year old girl. I’m stating this fact because this next statement is going to sound either very accurate for someone my age to say or very strange, most likely depending on the perspective of the reader(that’s you). I am on an anthropology kick. More specifically, African Vodu. You may know it as voodoo.

I watched some videos last night and today about it. I didn’t really know what to expect when I started watching them. My perception of voodoo pre-watching basically equated it to dark magic, like out of a Harry Potter book. Yeah, I was very wrong. It’s sort of like a religion. Actually, I think it is safe, in these terms, to call what I saw a religion. The people gather for ceremonies and they have priests that lead them. They have rituals. I want to make one thing clear from what I learned; voodoo is not witchcraft. It is a way of life. They have gods and even make offerings to one specific goddess whom actually protects against witchcraft.

One of the videos I watched is a film called Chasing the Spirit: Gorovodu in Southern Togo. It zones in on this specific village and talks about the brand of vodu that is present in their society. An anthropologist does a voiceover and is even in some shots of it, while the videographer is also an anthropologist himself. All of the videos that I watched are by this same guy and the footage is from 2003-2005. It’s posted on YouTube and I recommend it. It’s not like a blockbuster movie, but for a research film I think that it’s pretty good. There’s just a lot of information.

I knew about the Apartheid part of African culture and not much else until I watched those videos. There’s something fun about learning for learning’s sake. I honestly do not think that it will be relevant in my life to know about Afa divination(unless I study this topic in college, of course), but now I know what it is, at least. I like how I can take all the information in without pressure from someone or something to take notes or answer questions about what was covered. I also now know that I don’t want to be an anthropologist, even after seeing one at work, but I do feel fascinated by the studying being done by them.

My perceptions were changed by the time that I had watched every video and my perspective was also widened. I had a sort of isolationist viewpoint before seeing those videos. I knew that people in Africa existed and lived a certain way, but I had never really seen an example of it or knew anything more than that people there are often in poverty and just that it’s a third world country. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes. Culture is different and people still live and do things that some Americans, even first world citizens in general, would probably be appalled to know happens. They would think that it’s weird that they give offerings to multiple gods and goddesses and maybe even insane that people(mainly women) go into trances and are believed to get possessed by those same gods and goddesses. (I hate to think of what the Westboro Baptist Church would do if what is done in that village started to happen in the U.S.)

I hadn’t even fully realized until now of how open minded I truly am. You get possessed by a goddess? Alright, if that’s what you believe. No one is getting hurt, so why not? Vodu is also a moral code that the people live by and the anthropologist even remarked that a sermon given by a priest in the village resembled the ten commandments. So why should they be judged if it is actually helping the community and not harming it?

2017: The Year’s Quote

Over the last few weeks, I have found myself saying a phrase, “It is what it is.” I don’t see a reason to change things anymore if nothing is really wrong with them. I am accepting and becoming more okay with things in my life that are less than ideal. “It is what it is” recognizes the circumstances, but does not seek to abolish any problems, however slight, that are present.

I got the idea for having “It is what it is” being 2017’s quote for myself when I was with a friend at a Starbucks in a Barnes and Noble on Monday. I am not sure if this quote will end up only being relevant to 2017, or for my sixteenth year of age. On one hand, over half of 2017 is gone; while on the other hand, I am only a couple months out from my last birthday. I have decided to go with the flow and see where this phrase takes me, but I am setting low expectations with the title of this post, sort of striking it only for 2017’s use.

I use the phrase most often after something in my life slightly irks me. Once it is thought or said, I know that I cannot alter what it is and I need to move on with my life. Usually what I’m accepting is not a big deal anyway, but the ability to stop feeling annoyed is something that I feel is necessary for myself. It’s not like I feel annoyed that often; it’s just that life is easier and feels better when you’re not thinking about such trivial matters.

Going into my life I do not want to only acquire mediocrity, which is how some may interpret this useful phrase into their own lives. Going into every day, I want to be able to focus on problems that have to be solved, not ones that are so small that they don’t even qualify as problems. For the rest of this year (or possibly until I turn seventeen), I plan to say, “It is what it is,” to small things that are not deserving of the ability to affect my feelings or life in any form.