Salutatorian Speech

Just thought I’d share the speech I made almost a month ago [insert gasp here] when I graduated from high school. I decided my theme should be “Time”, since I have had such difficulty with nostalgia, growing up, and preparing for the future. And yes, I did reference Mean Girls and quote Doctor Who.

“Good evening parents, teachers, board of education members, siblings who are wondering why they have to sit out here just for that ten seconds during which their brother or sister get their diploma, and, most importantly, the Class of 2014. Graduation seems to always focus on two things: the past and the future. This fall the Science League participated in the Ocean Science Bowl at Rutgers, and we decided to commemorate this experience by buying a fish for Mr. T’s classroom. We named it Fetch, both because this is a type of wind pattern which causes waves, and because of the movie Mean Girls. So, Class of 2014, you’re welcome, we made fetch happen. All of us, no matter what we have been involved with, have these inside jokes and special experiences with those we are close to. Though I cannot name all of these, because they are your own individual experiences, I really hope these are the things you remember about high school.

As a wonderful friend reminded me while I was writing this speech, graduation is not about perfection; we’ve already passed all our classes and possibly trashed old papers. We’re done. Graduation is about honoring us. Let’s honor our high school adventures and the teachers who have enriched our lives. Sorry Ms. F, there are no Shakespeare quotes in this speech. Let’s celebrate each other. Though I am honored to be your salutatorian, there are so many of you out there who are just as or more qualified to speak to our class. You are experts in political science, chemistry, or theatre. You are incredible dancers and athletes. If you are artistically inclined, I envy you, because five year olds have been disgusted with my drawing skills.

Finally, we look towards the future. Elton Pope, an obscure character in a TV show called Doctor Who, states, “When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all… Grow up, get a job, get married, get a house, have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much madder. And so much better.” Some people say our high school years are the best years of our lives, but I challenge you to get better and better each year. As we look forward to our futures, I challenge each of you to depart from the norm and create your own strange, mad, better world.

My final advice to all of you is to take time. Take time to figure yourselves out, to realize what it is you want. Go out, live, take risks, make mistakes, come back to square one, try again. Fail as much as you possibly can. Take time to be open to new ideas, and to love and be loved. Take your time growing up, and don’t forget to be a little immature and rowdy every now and then. Congratulations Class of 2014, and good luck, though I know you will not need it.”

To Science Or Not To Science

The ever-closer prospect of college has caused me to reevaluate my life decisions and goals, which also includes my projected major and profession. I’ve been told it’s silly for anyone to expect an 18-year old to know what they want to do in their adult life. I’ve also been told I need to think about these things so I have some sort of direction and don’t ignore the future, which I have a tendency to do because I am incredibly nostalgic and hate the idea of growing up.

Going into the college search, I was certain I wanted to pursue biology with a concentration in molecular genetics. AP Biology was my favorite class in high school, and it’s interesting and cool. Science jokes, pick up lines, and puns make me excessively happy. However, I received my AP Chemistry score back today and received a 1. I remember the day of the exam I was really depressed and essentially gave up when I reached the open ended section, but…really? The lowest score possible?

Other things have also caused me to question my decision to enter the science field. My second favorite class in high school was AP English, in which I excelled notwithstanding it being considered one of, if not the most, difficult AP class in our school. I graduated with the highest overall grade average in English for my entire grade. My AP English Literature and Composition score was a 5. My ex once told me he knew I was good at science but never really knew that it interested or captivated me as much as, for example, English literature.

But was this last statement an accurate description of my feelings or a sign that, perhaps, he didn’t get me as much as I thought he did? Or is it neither, and simply a reflection that, though I love science, it’s not something I excessively fan girl over?

I have difficulty with self-esteem, and not feeling good enough often plagues me when it comes to the sciences. I’m terrified to begin my biology and chemistry courses in college for fear of being behind in my studies. However, what could I do with an English major that I would enjoy? I don’t want to be a teacher, and pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be a college professor. I don’t want some business job, unless it’s for something I’m actually interested in. Perhaps an editor or writer of some sort? But journalism has never intrigued me.

Furthermore, why should I let anyone else get in the way of what I want? If I want to be a biologist, even if I’m better at something else, who’s stopping me?

But what do I really want? That is the question.

Doomed to Mediocrity

If most of the world is doomed to mediocrity, why am I having such a hard time accepting my fate?

“But wiggygirl3.wordpress.com, you’re not mediocre, you’re basically the most awesome person in the whole world!” Nope. Falsch. And I confirmed this is untrue by going through my best friend’s birthday present to me. She generated a list of 18 reasons why I am fantastic; only three of them were actually true.

Yesterday my ex boyfriend texted me to say “I’ll be moving in sooner than I expected” or something like that. When I asked why, he replied he was given the opportunity to engage in research at his University before he even steps into a college class in a program that is usually only for college juniors and seniors. He apparently sent an email about the technology or research programs at his college to the head of his department, who then recommended him to the dean of the school, who then placed him into this program.

And I’m just sitting here thinking how I cannot even motivate myself to do my simple German homework until 5am the day it’s due. I’m not dumb, but I’m not naturally-gifted-smart either. Review tests are catastrophic because, even though this year I was attempting to do so, I cannot retain any knowledge. I’m trying to learn for the knowledge, not the grade, but it’s not working. I cannot compare to people like him.

I used to think I could accomplish whatever I wanted through sheer determination. But with my motivation slipping away, I have nothing. There will be no Johns Hopkins Graduate school in the future. No becoming a molecular geneticist/researcher and achieving great things. I am mediocre. But I cannot let go of this ridiculous fantasies. Why can’t I just accept my fate?

Spring Nostalgia

As a student of AP English Literature and Composition, I have a fairly good grasp on what symbols generally mean. Water means cleansing. Light represents truth and enlightenment, while dark is the opposite. Spring usually symbolizes rebirth, or the beginning of a new life, attitude, etc. This is usually  a happy symbol, and associated with new growth, flowers, sunlight, and other natural elements.

Nonetheless, I have become cognizant of an annual spring nostalgia that plagues me and deepens my depression and anxiety. It’s almost similar to the affects of Seasonal Affective Disorder-just a different season. I suppose nostalgia isn’t quite the right word, unless you say I’m nostalgic about events that are current.

As the months left before summer dwindle, I become aware of the looming end of school. This year, the end is much more permanent for me, considering I’ll be leaving for college in the fall. I am a very sentimental, thoughtful person, and the end of anything renders my heart heavy. The whole concept of time and never returning to past events baffles me. It also makes me sad, and these feelings are particularly amplified at this time during the year.

One could argue this whole “nostalgia” I experience is ridiculous and I need to get over my sentimental values and just live my life. Notwithstanding I know that’s what I should be doing, the inevitable end of a chapter in my life, no matter how small, sets off immense nostalgia that I cannot discard.

Perhaps I just have issues committing myself to anything.  I think a large part of it involves the fact I do not want to lose my feeling of choice. In high school, so they say, your world is wide open-you do not have to worry about what you’re doing for the rest of your life. You don’t know what college you will attend, what major you will pursue, what your career will be. You don’t have to worry about the real world, and contently consume yourself in the microcosm of your home town.

Now, as a senior, I’m making decisions that could affect my entire life. Maybe they won’t affect me too much, and they probably won’t change my life for the worse, but they will most definitely shape my future. That’s some pretty intense power right there. How do I know I’m making the right decision?

Moreover, I like the feeling of being wide open-the sky’s the limit, right? I could be whatever I want to be. But now I’m expected to become what I have always wanted to be, except I’ve never had a clear-cut image of my future self. It was too much fun imagining all of the different people I could transform into.

In the end, a choice has to be made. But the thing about making a choice is, once you’ve made your decision, you concede your ability to choose.

That’s hecka scary.

Past-Present-Future

This is “supposed” to be a limerick but (at least to me, correct me if I’m wrong) the beat is slightly off, if you want to be technical about it. But it’s close enough, I like this poem anyway.

Past-Present-Future

If only you look to the past,
A day in the future is coming fast,
the present will be done,
and you’ll be gone,
and all you’ll have is the past.

This poem is important to me because as I said before, if you read my “33 Things” (if you didn’t you should go now), memories are very important to me. However, sometimes I think too much about remembering certain moments instead of just enjoying them.

Time spent writing in my journal (though I think writing in a journal is time well wasted) could be used writing stories or poetry that I can share or hanging out with family and friends. When I’m having a great day, I try to imprint a certain memory-an activity or a conversation or something silly my dad or little sister did-into my brain so that I won’t forget it. I literally think, “Wow, I need to remember this.” It almost takes away from the actual moment. So for me at least, that’s what this poem is about.

Take away whatever you can from it. Any and all feedback is welcomed!