Child Labor (FC)

            Child labor is a serious problem internationally. Being from the United States of America in this day and age, it’s easy to ignore the issues of child labor because it isn’t prevalent in my daily life. Going day by day, going to school and participating in all of the extra-curricular activities that I’m involved in becomes somewhat of a routine and I totally forget how lucky I am. I am lucky to have the opportunities that I’ve been blessed with.

After seeing everybody’s presentations in Career Choices on different countries’ child labor problems, I realized how wonderful our area of the world is. Here in Washington, there are many laws that protect us from child labor. While I know Seattle and Portland are two of the biggest ports for human trafficking, here in Hockinson, I am safe. I am safe from the possibility of being forced into the labor force, and specifically protected from sexual exploitation. Although I risk my safety each time I go into the city, I am much more protected than most people.

In many other countries around the world, they are not as developed as the United States of America, and it is not uncommon to see children begging or prostituting themselves on the street corners. It’s not uncommon for more than half of the population of a country to be in poverty. Because of the poverty level, an endless cycle of child workforce and poverty continues and it can be a hard cycle to break.

Again, I am so thankful for the country and specifically the area that I was born into. I was born into a family who didn’t need my siblings and me to work to pay the bills. I wasn’t born into a place where I could easily be captured by someone who would like to use me for money. I hate that so many children are in the situation that they’re in and someday I’d like to do something about it. Children should have time to be children and get an education so that they can utilize their skills to further develop our world.

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The Culture of The Hawks (FC)

Describe an experience of cultural difference, positive or negative, you have had or observed. What did you learn from it?

This is a prompt that the UW has asked me to write to. They’re asking me many questions in order to get a broad understanding of who I am. This is what I plan to let them know about the wonderful place I call home.

In this small town that I call home, a rich, nurturing, loving environment has thrived, and I was unaware until recently that only a select few people experience a loving community like the one I have been blessed with during my upbringing. This small, rural, unknown farm country is filled with magnificent people. There’s something different about our small town of Hockinson and I’m thankful to have recognized it.
Growing up, I began to build relationships with my peers. We began preschool together, played on the same soccer teams, and continued through grade school as time went on. We’ve seen each other grow, change, and mature; we’ve seen the good sides and the not-so-good sides of everyone. We stuck with each other in the awkward middle school years and became beautiful young adults together. Everyone knew everyone throughout everything and that’s how it’s always been.
It came as quite a shock to me to discover than it won’t always be this way, nor did many people grow up like this. I was blessed with ample time to know everyone on an intimate level; none of us grew up alone. This environment helped to develop the compassionate heart and caring attitude I see in everyone from Hockinson.
A particular event comes to mind that enforces this thought. At our homecoming football game, the homecoming court is recognized. These are student-voted students who display great character and compassion wherever they go. Amongst them was a boy named Colton. Colton has been in our class since day one, back in the year 2000. He is the biggest football fan that Hockinson has ever seen. He cannot play due to mental handicaps. Despite that, he is always on the sidelines making calls and cheering on his friends. On the homecoming float, he was having a wonderful time. Although verbal communication is difficult for him, his expression said it all. While he was not crowned our homecoming king, the gentleman who was crowned immediately removed his crown and placed it on the head of our good friend Colton. A few weeks later, the football team chipped in money and were able to award him with his very own lettermen’s jacket with all of the accessories. I have never seen such joy before that night.
It’s an amazing thing to live in a community where we can look beyond how someone looks, how someone dresses, or how someone was born. Beyond these things, we see everyone for who they truly are, and can love them for simply that: who they are. I’ve been blessed with my surroundings and know that our town is different than most. We pride ourselves on our unity and ability to come together in crisis and in celebration. We value the abundant time given to us by extending genuine interest in the lives of others, and this is what gives me confidence in saying that we’re different from any other community; we’re unique and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

No Regrets, Not This Time (FC)

“…gotta let my heart defeat my mind. Let your love, make me whole, I think I’m finally feeling something.
Cause just okay’s not enough, help me fight through the nothingness of this life
I don’t wanna go through the motions, I don’t wanna go one more day…” – Matthew West

These lyrics are truly speaking to me today. These last few months or so has been a blur of football games, youth group, college applications, birthdays, homework, SAT stress, and the constant feeling that my room is never truly clean, which is an extremely irritating feeling.

I’ve taken notice of my fall into habit and routine. This daily going-through-the-motions feeling is endless and I guess it’s put me in sort of a funk. No, I am not unhappy. In fact, I am extremely happy and cannot count my blessings enough. I thank God daily for the enriched life I’ve been given with a solid family and solid friends. I have nothing to complain about. But I’ve been letting my blessings pass me by much too quickly.

To truly appreciate something takes time, and time is something that I don’t consider myself to have a lot of. There are things that I already do to fill up every single minute of every single day; I’ve utilized the opportunities that I’ve been graciously given, not wanting to waste a second of time. In doing so, I am living life to the fullest, or so I would like to think. It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that I am appreciating things less and less because I have such an abundance of things to appreciate. I spend all of the time available to me by being active in my blessings.

When I was younger, I was over at my grandmother’s house a couple of times during the week, minimally. It felt as though I was over there all of the time, and the convenience of a free, experienced babysitter living five minutes from our home appealed to our parents, so grandma’s house became the norm whenever my parents had to do something or go somewhere. Walking down the long, wood floor hallway, my eyes would focus on the frame containing a beautiful embroidered message at the end of the hallway. In various pinks and reds, she had sewn the words, “take time to smell the roses.” Take time to smell the roses.

 

 

Roses are beautiful, elegant, and have a wonderful scent. Surrounding a rose is a dangerous protective layer of thorns and leaves, guarding the precious flowers while daring whoever is around to come over and attempt to enjoy the beauty of the flowers. It takes time to work around the thorns, and it takes time to appreciate the soft petals and warm fragrance. The theme of this process is that it TAKES TIME. It’s impossible to even know what to appreciate if the time has never been taken to discover anything with awestruck wonder.

I’m done going through the motions and doing all that I’m supposed to without really thinking about it. If I’m not taking time to appreciate all that I have, is it really appreciated at all? For I am utilizing these blessings, which is a form of appreciation, but I am not doing them with gusto, or with appreciation in mind. I’m simply doing  things… and I’m done with that. Starting now.

Smell the flowers.

Take the time.

Work Ethic (FC) (PB)

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge

It has become common to rely on talent for success. Talent is innate and doesn’t require time to develop – it’s just there. Many people are naturally talented at something when they’re born and it’s possible to completely rely on that talent to take a person places on in life. The downside to this otherwise glorious plan is that this person will likely be unsuccessful in getting to the places they want to go and progressing a talent that makes them good into a skill that makes them great.

Working hard to get somewhere in life is the only way to achieve desired goals. Sometimes, there are steps in this process that are maybe not-so-desireable, but we must do them in order to achieve said goal. For example, let’s say that I would like to become an engineer. To do so, I’d be required to attend college and do well in lots of science and math classes. While I really desire to be an engineer, I do not desire to take Calculus. That class requires so much time and has so much homework, and let’s not forget that it is very difficult. To be an engineer, I must work through this class and do all that I can to do well in it. Passing this class aids in getting a degree which aids in getting an engineering job. It’s a minor piece in the puzzle, but crucial piece nonetheless.

I see this in high school all the time. We’re all taking classes that we think are stupid. When am I ever going to need chemistry if I do not plan on dealing with science at all in the future? But I need to take it so that I meet the requirements to graduate and the requirements to attend the university of my choice. Without this silly and seemingly unnecessary class, I wouldn’t graduate high school, which would severely hinder the plans that I have. This is the motivation I have to show up to school every day and work hard in all of classes; they’re all a vital piece in my process of reaching my goals.

I went through a phase my junior year where I stopped caring. I stopped showing up to school every day and I was sick of doing homework all of the time when there are other things I needed to be doing. Taking a part in the numerous extra curricula that I took part in last year really stretched me thin and it got to the point where I was so busy, I spent my free time thinking about the hefty to-do list I had ahead of me instead of actually doing anything. The constant stress of feeling like I was falling short in every attribute was overwhelming and I would take time away from school to just take a break from the stress. Little did I know that this was the opposite prescription for my stress; missing that much school caused me to miss an hour’s worth of studying for each class per day. I would spend my time of sleeping or relaxing with my mom. This habit caused me to fall behind in various classes and stress me out even more, especially the week before the end of the semester when I was worried about my grades.

I see this same pattern continuing in many of my friends. Many of us went through this phase last year. While I am coming out of it, I see many continuing to rely on their innate intelligence to pass tests and Hockinson’s ridiculous grading system to bring their grade up right before the semester ends. Hockinson makes is so incredibly easy to do nothing all semester, work hard for a week, and pass with the same grade as those who put forth effort all year long. Lily can testify to this, because she is a diligent student who would never fail to attend class, unless other circumstances prevented her and there was no way for her to be at school. She always did and still does her homework and tries to better herself in the academic field continuously. While she did all this, I showed up to pre-calculus an average of 3 times a week and never did my homework and managed to receive the same grade as her. I knew that I could do it, because I was blessed with a math brain from my father. I knew I could study very little and not go to class and get a good grade. Hockinson’s grading system made that easy for me, and all I cared about was the fact that my transcript had an “A” under pre-calculus.

Like I stated before, I see this among many of my peers. Because we can, we don’t do anything an expect an A, and when we do not receive that A, we get upset, regardless of the fact that we did absolutely nothing to deserve an A. There was a particular conversation I had with Michaela last year that reiterates this fact. We were both upset that we didn’t have an A in pre-calculus and were complaining to one another about it. Halfway through our conversation, we both realized that it’s funny we feel entitled to complain and be enraged about a poor grade in this class when we don’t even show up to it half of the time. We felt entitled to place that blame on anyone but ourselves, even though the poor grade was a result of our poor work ethic.

This year, I have taken a few things off of my plate and am doing so much better. I have only taken one personal day, and it was half of a day. I took the time off to read Frankenstein last tuesday, and missed AP Stats and Career Choices, but I was ahead of everyone by a day or two in both of those classes, so I knew it wouldn’t affect me much to skip. I’ve learned that hard work is the only way to truly achieve the grades that I want, I cannot continue to rely purely on my current knowledge. Showing up to class is such a crucial piece in passing a class. As simple as it sounds and as obvious as it seems, it’s a lesson I learned the hard way. I also learned that I needed to prioritize my time better. Which is more important, my paper that’s due tomorrow or tumbling practice? Watching a movie with my family every night or missing one night because I didn’t finish my math homework?

School NEEDS to be a priority if someone is planning to attended college. All of the little things like doing the math assignments, writing blog posts for english, and showing up for class prepared really add up to the grade in the class which adds up to your transcript which determines if you graduate and where you’ll attend college.  The little things in this case do matter, because they add up to the big things. Wondering why you did poorly on the latest quiz or why you had no idea how to write the last paper we wrote in class? Ask yourself these questions. Was I paying attention in class? Did I do the assigned homework? If both of those answers are yes, did you approach the teacher during focus time to ask for extra help on the assignment? If this answer is also yes, then it’s amazing that you’re trying so hard even though you aren’t receiving the desired results. If the answer to any of those questions is no, then the only one to blame for these things is yourself and you have no room to complain or blame others for this.

While Hockinson doesn’t do the best in teaching this, I hope that all of my friends learn this lesson before they go off to college and have the same mentality that they did in high school, because it’s very hard to BS everything in college. The only way to actually be successful is to work hard to get there, pure talent or intelligence will never be sufficient. Taking action and responsibility for everything is a humbling process, but necessary if success is in the future.

There She Goes Again… (FC)

I’m very hungry and have a craving for something very specific.

Any guesses?

No, it’s NOT Oreos, but good try!

But yes, it is the infamous quesadilla made by yours truly. I am totally craving a cheesy, slightly crunchy, delicious quesadilla. Mmmm. Quesadillas are definitely a main component of my diet, which probably isn’t good for my health but yolo, right?

Thinking about this current craving, I got to thinking about my life, and a conversation that I had with Brian last night. Trust me, this thought process makes sense! I got to thinking about predictability. Am I seriously that predictable? Is it obvious that those two foods mentioned above are my “go-to” items for delight and a full tummy? Can everyone predict when I’d say something and how I’d say it? I feel like the answer is yes.

I’ve never really wanted to be seen as “predictable.” That word just seemed to be a fun-sucker; it seemed bland. The image that I portray of myself has never been described as bland and I never want that to be the case. But thinking about it, I do lead a predictable life.

Brian made a joke to me in the midst of our conversation last night. I laughed, a simple ha-ha-ha. Then Brian laughed a little, and without further ado, I laughed another simple ha-ha-ha. He then said, “You know, you always do that. You laugh at something, pause, and then laugh again.” I replied with disbelief! Who in the world notices something like that? I said, “Do I really?” and he responded like I should know this obvious predictable thing about myself. “Well, yeah. Always.”

What! No way. But as I pondered that, he was totally right. I do that nearly every time. Small laugh, quick pause, small laugh. When asking him if I am “predictable,” his response was comforting. He defined my predictable qualities as “quirks,” and that only people who are around a lot or that know someone extremely well will know their quirks and be able to predict them. This gave me comfort knowing that I was quirky; I kind of liked the idea of being quirky… Until I realized something. He basically just told me that I am predictable to the people that I am around a lot.

I realized this as  I craved my quesadilla tonight. If I asked someone in my immediate family or a close friend or even a twitter follower to guess what I’m craving, there’s no doubt that their initial guess would be Oreos, and their second guess would be  a quesadilla. Anyone with access to my life or my twitter knows this quirk about me, therefore seemingly transforming it from a quirk to a common fact. It’s easy to predict what my craving is.

When I was in the seventh grade, I developed a very bad habit. While I ate, I would take my left hand and swipe my fingers lightly on my left shoulder twice in between bites. No matter what I was eating, this odd, sub-consious motion would take place, without fail. One day, Ari pointed it out to me. Ever since then, my friends joke about this weird habit that I had and poke fun at it, but my point is that they knew it. They knew that I would do that post-bite, regardless of anything else going on. It became predictable that I would do this odd thing.

But not everyone would be able to predict this odd habit by just knowing me. They would probably have to eat with me multiple times, like my friends did everyday at lunch before being able to predict this motion post-bite. The same is true with many other habits and mannerisms that I’ve latched onto.

So here is the conclusion I have come to. I am not predictable to the general public. The general public doesn’t know me personally enough to recognize these quirks. But I am predictable to anyone who knows me decently well. My quirks are habitual and very obvious if around me enough. Many who know me well would say that I make a funny noise in my sleep by smacking my lips, or that I only use the upstairs bathroom in my house. They would say that that I typically do not lock my car, or that I say “important” like “imporent.” Therefore, I am only predictable to those who have taken time to acknowledge my quirks.

I’m going to go make that quesadilla now.

Taking A Stab At That Poetry Life (FC)

So as many of you know, I compete in a poetry recitation contest titled Poetry Out Loud. This contest has completely shifted my perspective on poetry and poets and I have such a huge appreciation for it. Poetry is hard. It’s also beautiful. And raw. And honest. I’d like to someday be able to express myself in beautiful poetry (or songwriting, for that matter) but for now, I’ll give you all a glimpse of my shot in the dark.

Magnificence lurks where you do not seek,
My friend, your shoes are thin.
Sometimes you must think before you speak.
When speaking to others, you may choose critique,
Remember that others do not come from your life, your kin.
Magnificence lurks where you do not seek.

You cannot cause someone to become meek,
They are not living a life of sin;
Sometimes you must think before you speak.
Your negativity has sanguinely reached a peak,
And it’s time to find a positive stoke within.
Magnificence lurks where you do not seek.

Do you not see yourself as beautiful? Unique?
You are better than your actions have been,
Sometimes you must think before you speak.
Let that you shine through in a glorious streak.
You’re worth so much more and you need to begin.
Magnificence lurks where you do not seek.
Sometimes you must think before you speak.

So there’s my shot at a villanelle poem. You can dissect it if you’d like, but it’s funny to think that you may see it different than I do. Hope you liked it!