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.”

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.

MOM Day 28-First 3 Days Of Work

This summer I got a job at my school doing paint crew. With my first job, I’ve already learned new things.

1) If you have a job, you will not lose track of what day it is because you will forever be wishing for Friday.

2) Gossip is gossip is gossip. It never ends. I don’t participate, but I listen, which is pretty bad in itself.

3) Even if a supervisor is rushing you, take your time and do the work right the first time. Then they’ll be more pissed later on if you have to go back and touch up all the spots you or other people missed.

4) Don’t carry wet brushes through the hallway, even if you think they’re clean. Just don’t.

5) Music is your friend. The clock isn’t. If you keep checking the time, it’ll only go by slower.

6) People you’ve never talked to before or thought you could never be friends with can be pleasant to work with. Subsequently, it can be hell to work with someone who puts you down, whether directly or indirectly. You can’t let them get to you. If they’re advice is reasonable, use it to get better and prove them wrong. If not, move on.

7) When someone is teaching you something new, PAY ATTENTION.

8) Never be afraid to ask for help or direction.

9) Water. Enough said.

10) It sucks to be a girl when the head supervisor is a sexist gym teacher.

11) It’s awesome to  be a girl because the sexist gym teacher never makes the girls work outside while paying them the same amount.

12) Doing a good job pays off. Literally.

I could rant and rant and rant, but this pretty much sums up my first three days. It’s finally Friday, which is awesome; however, I won’t be one of the people sleeping in, I’ll be getting up early (ish) to workout. My workouts lately have been cut short by afternoon/evening thunderstorms, and I really need to work on my skills (such as sprints and footwork) that can only be done outside.

I’ve been having trouble at some things, because I’ve never technically done this type of paint work before, but I have to remember:

“All things are difficult before they are easy” (Thomas Fuller). 

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!