poems for a rough day

a fable about a cub and a bear

a cub estranged from father bear

cries and screams and pulls her hair

and as father’s fury is joined by roar

at least this tale is only lore

 

rag doll 

rag doll, rag doll on the floor

body slammed into a door

struck with hands wrought in steel

dragged around by desperate heel

 

hate

i know what hate is

i know i know

i can feel it

in the essence of my bones

it tingles in skin

it crawls up my spine

and it just so happens

its origin is

thine

 

Will Anyone Sponsor Me for “Cell Phone Addicts Anonymous”?

Seriously, I’ve hit rock bottom.
It’s not important HOW I lost my phone or WHY my phone is never charged or WHERE I ended up finding it (all of these questions have embarrassing answers that will definitely ruin my street cred). What does concern me, however, is the fact that after 20 hours without my phone, I was already exhibiting pseudo-symptoms of withdrawal. I was an irritable, nervous wreck all day solely because I lost my one connection to the outside world — if the outside world is Twitter and memes. Guys, if I can’t even handle a cell phone addiction, how will I be able to handle the burgeoning Adderall addiction I’m slated to have in my sophomore year of college?!


So let’s just check with WebMD right? Checking off all my symptoms, I’m nearly slated to be suffering withdrawal or hepatitis probably, either one being equally legitimate. 

  • Mild withdrawal symptoms  may include:
    • Intense worry.
    • Nausea or vomiting.
    • Shakiness.
    • Sweating.
    • Feeling a little tense or edgy.

Severe withdrawal symptoms may include:

    • Being extremely confused, jumpy, or upset.
    • Feeling things on your body that are not there.
    • Seeing or hearing things that are not there.
    • Severe trembling

(Ok, these could be withdrawal symptoms or just a normal day in the life…am I right guys???)

I’m trying to be half-serious here. Last night, I nearly cried myself to sleep at the thought of going to school without my phone with me at all times. I reached out for a “phantom phone” multiple times. I spent entire class periods lamenting how I had no means to check the time — while there was a watch tightly fastened to my left wrist and a clock mounted on the wall no more than two feet away from me. I had to schedule three college interviews today, and I nearly broke down when I realized I couldn’t check my calendar for my availabilility. Is this level of cell phone dependence normal? Part of me hopes that I’m not the only person who wails in front of her mother about how she can’t function throughout the day without her phone, but then the rest of me really hopes you’re not as much of a hopeless waste of space absorbed in their phone for 23.5 hours a day like me. 

How To Be Original

You can’t.

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

‘Twas Twain that made this observation (albeit he was certainly not the first, according to his theory), and for me his words ring loud and true.

How to Succeed in Bigotry Without Really Trying – A Forensics Kid’s Qualms with A Horrible Debate Topic

If you’re not familiar with high school parliamentary debate in the state of Pennsylvania — congratulations! You’re just like the rest of us. As a member of my school’s speech and debate team, I’ve run the gamut of events, competing in Lincoln-Douglas, Congressional, and Public Forum debate, as well as Duo Interpretation, Poetry, and Declamation, but my main event, for the time being, is the Parliamentary debate event. While I don’t have the time nor energy to explain parliamentary debate, its distinctions from the more common forms of debate in the state of Pennsylvania include the following:

#1) Topics are released per tournament rather than monthly, bimonthly, or yearly (a true pain in the ass)d

#2) Our rounds can either be prepared or impromptu

#3) The rules literally change every 5 minutes

#4) The topics are not as rigorously vetted as the national topics from the National Speech and Debate Association for Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas.

I’ve learned to deal with grievances 1-3, but #4 continues to vex me and has caused so much ire among my fellow teammates that I felt compelled to write. For example, take a look at one of the topics that I have to prepare arguments for this weekend.

This House believes that public universities should be required to adopt gender-neutral pronouns.

It’s not that I’m not open to tackling controversial subject matter (the fact that this topic is controversial confuses me in all ways), but the arguments against gender-neutral pronouns in the public discourse are, in my opinion, illegitimate and appalling. Furthermore, the setting in which we are debating this is not conducive to any sort of educational experience and the victor of the round is heavily based on the political opinions of our judge, who is often a parent or coach unfamiliar with the nature of parliamentary debate. Having to prepare both sides, my research for the opposition is largely comprised of arguments by people whose concerns are inherently selfish, disrespectful, incendiary, and lack any basic regard for the rights or considerations of non-binary students who greatly benefit from the security of having gender-neutral pronouns. For example, here is the reasoning behind such a policy from the University of Michigan.

‘You can’t always know what someone’s personal pronoun is by looking at them. Correctly using someone’s designated personal pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity.

When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (or, often, all of the above.)’ – University of Michigan

You would think that this wouldn’t warrant any sort of backlash. It’s a proposal that doesn’t harm anyone; all it does is simply ask professors to refer to students as they would wish to be referred. Students have a right to not feel “disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric…”, yet our country never ceases to disappoint as a student, Grant Strobl, responded in protest to the policy by forcing his professors to call him “His Majesty”, clearly exploiting the policy and undermining the concerns of non-binary students on the grounds of “absurdity”. Even worse, hundreds of students at the University of Michigan joined the student’s protest, validating his disrespectful behavior.

After the policy was implemented, Strobl said, he joined “hundreds of students” who “changed their pronouns to protest the university policy.”

“Students have been calling me His Majesty, those that have read the story, and it really does illustrate the ridiculousness of the policy in ignoring the English language,” he told CNSNews.com. “It just creates more complexity, more difficulty for our society as a whole, and it goes against the university’s mission to pursue truth.”

In an interview with Fox affiliate WJBK he said, “We are really happy that we are spreading the absurdity of this policy.”

 

Yet, as he cries “absurdity” at the implementation of this new policy, I cry absurdity at the fact that Strobl and hundreds of other students have so quickly dismissed non-binary students everywhere for their own trivial concerns, These students are inadvertently perpetuating a culture that incentives students to wallow in their insular beliefs, rather than consider the benefits such policies or proposals have on others. And while I’m criticizing theses students for their behavior now, I’m going to have to defend their arguments and viewpoints legitimately in debate rounds, without sounding bigoted and rude. I have my work cut out for me, but when a debate topic makes you contemplate what ways you can debate a topic without being a total jerk, there’s a major issue at hand.

I don’t understand the logic of some debate coaches in my area who choose these topics that are not only clearly one-sided and controversy-ridden, but are also either shrouded in scandal or lack any legitimate debate. Several of our topics in the past have been so obscure that we often can’t even find people online who would even suggest advocating for or against our topics. I understand exploring topics that are hotly debated and contentious, but shouldn’t there exist some reasoning for choosing topics other than “I heard it debated on Fox News last week”. Let us not forget the fledgling debaters who won’t be able to come up with arguments against gender-neutral pronoun policies outside of what is readily available on the internet and ultimately end up spewing the sentiments of extremist hotheads. I’m preparing for particularly ugly rounds this Saturday, and I’ll be sure to update this post with the gnarly outcomes.

In the meantime, I should probably start working on cases, or at least a strongly worded letter voicing my concerns.


Disclaimer: my personal views come out pretty strongly in this piece, and if you inherently disagree with me, I’d love to hear your side — I’m not for alienation based on people expressing their own opinions civilly, but I myself cannot stand for incendiary or blatantly rude claims

Source for the University of Michigan controversy: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/10/07/a-university-told-students-to-select-their-gender-pronouns-one-chose-his-majesty/?utm_term=.88d0c6b63cc0

A Look Into the Final Minutes of Common App Hysteria

Please excuse the interruption of your daily scheduled programming for this public service announcement.

I just did the absolutely unthinkable for a college-bound high school senior, finishing 4 college applications in just ONE day, with one being in under 20 minutes! For the record, these four schools were the following: Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Tufts, and Williams. My plan was to finish approximately 10 schools out of the 17 I’m applying to (Yeah, you read that correctly, 17) over the entirety of my winter break, which started on December 24th and ended January 1st. My plan was going well in the beginning as I finished my applications to Brown, Cornell, UPenn, Duke, etc. but after December 26th, I began to get sluggish. There were a couple of days where I didn’t even open the Common App, which I instantly regretted the morning of January 1st – after a hard night of sparkling apple cider and margarita mix shots #drinkresponsibly.

Thus arriving at the last resort, 12 hour, desperation essay plan. The original plan outlined a day solely working on applications for Columbia and Carnegie Mellon, initially ditching Williams and Tufts. As per usual, I started off great, researching unique things about Columbia and outlining the essays before I tried my hand at crafting them into written masterpieces, but I was soon distracted by other ventures, quickly derailing from the 12 hour plan as I was attempting to figure out the DNS settings of this website and whatnot. Fast forward to 4 pm and I have nothing done for Columbia and nothing done for Carnegie Mellon. I decided to switch my efforts towards Carnegie Mellon since they only asked for two essays as opposed to Columbia’s 6 (or what felt like 15). I surprisingly hammered out Carnegie Mellon by 5:15 and was in such a rush that I was able to finish Columbia by 8 (with many snack breaks in between). By 8:30, I was bouncing around the house, still burning off the adrenaline rush from completing both applications in less than 4 hours.

But the night was far from over.

If there’s anything that bugs me about the Common App, it’s the little yellow circles that accompany incomplete applications. Wanting to minimize the ugly look of my dashboard, I somehow thought it would be a wise idea to just hammer out the Williams application. Mind you it is now 11:03, I’m off my adrenaline rush and was supposed to be getting my stuff together for school the next day. My trick to completing most of my essays was borrowing bits and pieces from old essays and making them fit the prompts, but Williams had to be different. I had to pick someone who I’d want to be the other student in a Williams’ “tutorial-style” class (see their application, I don’t have the energy to explain). I ended up choosing Steve Bannon of Breitbart News and spat out some cheesy essay about how we should approach argumentation differently than the media’s yelling and screaming at our opponents who happen to hold views that are polar opposites of our own to have some chance at correcting the pervasive issue of divisiveness in this country (I’ll let you all know how that goes, but I can surely say I’m expecting a big fat rejection from Williams). I managed to finish that essay in all of 9 minutes and was promptly beset with another adrenaline rush that could only be contained by – you guessed it – ANOTHER college application!

The time is now 11: 39. I open the Tufts writing supplement and skim through the essay prompts. I’ve done zero research on Tufts at this point, but I was on a mission. In my five minutes of research, I was able to write a pretty specific “Why Tufts” essay in 100 words that definitely had hints of generic sentiments I had in my “Why Brown” essay, but we’re not going for gold here. All of 7 minutes, time is now 11: 46. The next essay was about community in which I promptly copied and pasted my Duke essay about community. All of 2 minutes, time is now 11: 48. With the final essay, about why I liked my interests and how they contributed to my intellectual curiosity, I used an ultimate amalgamation of all of my different essays expressing my enthusiasm for the classics and how I fell in love with computational biology and how I make intellectual connections, blah, blah, blah. Luckily I was able to pull through with a completed and proofread essay by 11:56, but there was still one final challenge. Now, I didn’t even want to apply to Tufts in the first place, but after my Princeton deferral, I felt as if I needed to apply everywhere that even had computational biology as a search result on their website, yet here I was anxiously trying to submit in the midst of the final minute sluggishness of the Common App website. I managed to submit the writing supplement at exactly 11:58 pm, and just like that, my application was done. I’m still on an adrenaline high from that experience, which admittedly gave me enough energy to even consider writing this.

If this experience teaches anyone anything… it would be to do your college applications in the summer and finish them as early as possible because this was definitely not healthy.

 

A Mediocre First Line for a Mediocre Girl

Somebody pinch me. It can’t be 2017 already.

I know it’s really cliche to look ahead in disbelief at the normal passage of time, but this year out of all 18 years of my existence gets the prestigious honor of being absolutely terrifying to even think about. The mountain of college applications and scholarship essays currently consuming my life have done a decent job of distracting me from the reality that in just a few months, I’ll know where I’ll be going to college and starting the first step towards my adult life. I’m starting this blog to document the final year of my “childhood” and find an outlet for the anxiety and existential crises that are sure to result as a consequence of the gravity of my situation.

I also started this website because I felt as if my writing abilities were somewhat lacking. My favorite English teacher told our class that the best ways to become a better writer are to read and write – a lot. I’ve already started on the writing end in countless journals, but I’ll admit that I only crack them open sporadically, and half of my journals are filled with my daily blabberings about teenage girl drama I vicariously lived through. I hope to write about my impressions on everything now and be able to map out my own intellectual awakening as I explore new books and ideas. And for sake of accountability, I’m publishing it here.

This may just be another one of my grand ideas or “New Years Resolutions” that never come to fruition, but I honestly hope it can be so much more