Passionate Education (CCR)

Saying that students must be passionate about what they’re learning is a large load of bologna!! I disagreed with about half of what the man in our Ted Talk said. Ridiculous and not functional, to be completely honest. I know that I am a bit late posting this, but I just kept forgetting that we were asked to blog about it. Anyways, I do not believe that we need to passionate about what we’re learning all of the time and that it is better for us to be well-rounded.

He made a point that we need to customize schools to our interests and that we need to customize everyone’s education to make sure they “like it.” Because that’s functional. (Eye roll.) No! I know many people who hate writing. They are not passionate about writing and probably never will be. Does that mean that they should never have writing included in their curriculum? No! Writing skills are vital to life! Or if there are people like me, who aren’t particularly fond of science, can I just not learn about it? Sure… that’d be nice. School would be a whole lot easier for me, for sure. But is it really practical? I don’t think that I should just skip out on science because I don’t “like it.”

It’s still extremely important to know the history of our planet and our country, to know basic chemistry and biology to better understand ourselves, to write to communicate; we must know how to do basic math, what music is, and why being physically active is important. Although we may not personally be fond of something doesn’t mean we can just be exempt from learning it.

An argument that he arose was that education should be tailored to our passions… but isn’t that what college is for? Public schools give everyone basic background information that is important to know regardless of a person’s passions or the direction they’d like to take their life and career. College provides various majors with various classes tailored to a person’s passions. It’s nobody else’s fault but their own if they decide to take classes or take a path that they are not passionate about.

It’s important for us to be well-rounded with a plethora of background knowledge. Public schools forcing us to be well-rounded will typically introduce us to our passions. With the vision of passion based education, if we assumed we hated writing, we’d never have to try it and we’d never find out that we adore it. How sad! I’m going to have to bring up a point that Lily made and that it’s not necessarily that people need to only learn about their passions, but we need to encourage people to be passionate about everything that they’re learning no matter their passions. So true! THAT is what would help the world be progressive and proactive as opposed to stagnant in a world of very passionate people.

Maybe think about this. Who would do your plumbing? Or be a garbage man? Or do any sort of dirty job? I cannot name a single person who feels passionately about any of those things… but they’re all vital to the way we live. Does that change anyone’s mind?

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Promise Like Pie Crust (CCR)

In Christina Rosetti’s “Promises Like Pie Crust,” she describes a fragile state of the human heart. I believe that this poem is a delightful, fun and happy relationship gone totally wrong in an important moment. An example of the feelings described here are similar to when a man gets down on one knee and dedicates the rest of his life to a woman and she denies this union. In this scenario, a woman might respond to such a proposal this way because she has doubt about their love and about their true feelings for one another.

She begins by asking him to “promise me no promises” – basically saying don’t promise me anything because “so I will not promise you” she will not make any promises to him.  “Keep we both our liberties, never false and never true:” – this statement shows that if they make no promises, they have no strings attached to one another and they both keep their freedoms. The confusing comment made here is “never false and never true.” This implies that she is unsure of whether their freedom from promises or freedom to be together forever is truly better. She then goes into saying “let us hold the die uncast,” stating that they were not meant to be together and they were meant to die without bounds to one another, which is what marriage suggests, and that they are “free to come, and free to go.” She doesn’t want either of them to be tied down to the other because of the promise and convent of marriage. “For I cannot know your past, and of mine what can you know?” shows that maybe they were very close as lovers and as friends, but there is no way to be sure of their feelings for past lovers, one way or another.  This whole first stanza shows signs of doubt and feelings of insecurity. She is portraying faithlessness in the relationship by asking questions and committing to not commit.

The second stanza has more of a bitter tone to it, but it still doubts. She describes his love as warm, but then bitterly reminds herself that he could’ve loved another warmer. She then describes how she doesn’t feel his warmth like she has in the past from another lover, and follows up with a question of whether their love is current and everlasting or a fling from the past. She remembers how they used to love and claims that it is no longer that same love. It is clear that she thinks it is a fling from the past and not everlasting.

Starting the third stanza similar to the first brings us out of this reminiscent scene of past love and back to the current moment. She warns him that he would grieve his promise of love to her and that if she had said “yes” to him, that she would not actually be committed and she’d “fret to break the chain.” She pulls the classic line of “we can still be friends” that everyone says post-breakup towards the ending. She believes that their friendship can survive even though their tale of love cannot. They were meant to be friends and nothing more – it just took her a bit of time to realize it.

As for the title, the conclusion that I have drawn is that when comparing the promise of marriage to a piecrust, it is critical to think of the qualities of piecrust. It is sweet, but thin and crumbling. Applying that to the promise of marriage, she believes that the love that they have is sweet and light and fun, but not lasting. It will fall apart and has no real value. She believes this promise to be like piecrust and therefore makes the smart decision to decline the offer that he has for her. 

I believe that many people have had experiences similar to this! To put it in general terms, I’ll lay it out like a story.

Person is alone and/or bored.
Person meets another person or friends something to do.
Person persues this person/activity because they were lonely/bored before this new person/activity came around.
Person is staying busy and doesn’t realize that this person/activity is a quick fix for their lonely bored life.
Person gets confused.
Person is no longer fulfilled with new person/activity.
Person realized that this new thing wasn’t really fulfilling them and they must let it go and find something that they actually enjoy.

This is what this poem describes. A woman leaving a man because he wasn’t someone she wanted to marry, it just took her some time to realize it. It’s a UHE for sure!

The Vision (CRR) (PB)

(So this is a lengthy post but hang in there as you read, guys!! It’s worth at least a skim!)

We all go through times when the expectations and deadlines of this world are crippling. There are times when nothing is enjoyable and simply the thought of going through the motions for just one more day is unbearable. Sadness is a strange thing, and is irreparable when you let it be. Sadness can be one of the most damaging things to the human soul, if allowed. Sadness isn’t something forced upon us, but it is a natural human reaction to a change of plans. Knowing that life will change due to a specific event renders emotions of denial, disappointment and anger. But letting these feelings completely deplete you and dwelling on the plans for the future can be devastating to life.

In the The Bell Jar, we observe Esther as she continues going through the motions of life, never really being present and refusing to decide a path for her future. It’s almost as if she’s becoming numb to events around her and people walking in and out of her life, which is terrifying. I assume that her position was brought on by a great disappointment in the plans she had for herself and her life. She’s purely not happy. The fact that she is resistant to choosing a path shows that she’s afraid of the disappointment that seems all too normal for her. Humans have a tendency to resist change because they’ve become comfortable with how things are and how things are going to go. Esther has experienced that this isn’t how life works and her sadness is her way of expressing that she’s not really okay with how life works. Sadness is almost her rebellion to the typical roller-coaster of life.

Sadness is something that isn’t forced upon us by anyone or anything. As stated before, it’s a natural reaction to a change of plans. Everyone has a vision of the future. Maybe the vision is the roars in the stadium when walking out onto the freshly mowed baseball field, or maybe it’s the child who looks so much like his father running around the house while dinner is being prepared. Maybe it’s that hug from mom at graduation when she whispers, “Congratulations, I love you”, or that walk with dad down the aisle towards Mr. Perfect, who will obviously be the perfect husband and father. Whatever the vision is, it’s there. The problem with visions are that reality doesn’t always agree, and here is where we have the option to choose sadness.

Maybe the vision was ruined by a car accident injuring the pitching arm, or infertility. Maybe it was ruined by the passing of a loved one, or it turned out that “Mr. Perfect” wasn’t so perfect after all. Clearly these events can crush the imaginary events that were scheduled, and by human nature, it’s disappointing. These events can be devastating if we were latched tightly onto those visions as if they were memories waiting to happen. This is a time to let go of the previous vision that was grasped so tightly. It’s time to see things as they are and move on. It’s time to create a new vision of how your future will look now with the variable of the change included. This is also perfect opportunity for sadness to creep in and consume who someone is. It’s easy to let sadness take over and allow it to become the new normal and the new comfortable… because it’s easy. It’s what comes naturally. In Esther’s case, the sadness of her life has taken hold of her and she continues to be completely okay with that. She doesn’t take any steps towards happiness, because she fears feeling this unreal disappointment becoming fresh again.

Latching onto ideas of the future is necessary for happiness. While settling with sadness is easy and safe, grasping a new plan for the future creates hope. Hope is vital when pursuing happiness. Maybe a new vision could be hearing the roars of the stadium while coaching the baseball game, or being blessed with a child who didn’t have the best life in Ethiopia. Maybe it could be knowing that mom would’ve been proud and she’s watching from a healthier place, or realizing that travel is a passion that’s hard to pursue with “Mr. Perfect” always right there anyways; maybe our plans aren’t always realistic, but they stir hope in our souls and help us to keep pursuing something. The day we lock away any plans, dreams, and goals for the future is the day we lock away motivation, hope, happiness.

Change, change, change. Going, going, going. Life doesn’t have to stop until death. While that seems like a “duh” statement, it’s true. Life continues to happen even if it appears to have stopped because everything that seemed to be life is changing and gone. To choose to be sad is to choose to live dead in a lively world. Sadness is the decision to not accept a new reality and resistance the happiness that’s to come from any current circumstance. Just because change isn’t accepted doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. Denial and sadness about something doesn’t diminish the fact that it happened. It is what it is, and as people we can choose to accept the new, incorporate it into our vision, and move on or we can chose to reminisce about how things were prior to the here and now. Reality check: we LIVE in the here and now. We LIVE today. We LIVED yesterday and we HOPE of living tomorrow. Aimlessly living without any desires KILLS us. Slowly but surely, we begin to die from the lack of pursuance to live.

Don’t get stuck like Esther; continue to live. Resist the path that’s the easiest to go along with, because it won’t create happiness. Sure, the feeling of disappointment will never occur again, because there’s nothing to be disappointed about. But remember that happiness can be created when a vision becomes reality and our plans pan out just like we thought they would, and not all plans go wrong. So without an optimistic attitude about the blessings that have come along with a change and accepting them into a new vision of the future, happiness is unattainable.

If you’re always looking back at the bright colors of the past, you will never see how much brighter the colors are now.

Choose happiness.

🙂

And I Stormed Away… (CRR)

Ugh. It’s 7:20 already?! I guess I can roll out of bed and stumble my way into jazz band. Why do I do jazz band anyways? I hate getting up early. My bed is so comfortable right now… why wasn’t it this comfortable last night when I couldn’t sleep? Maybe it would help if I hadn’t gotten in bed so late. But it’s so hard when there’s so much expected of me and I can never disappoint. I had to finish my assignments and practice my dances! Maybe I can doze for another five minutes or so…

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Alright. 7:30. A little over five minutes… but that’s okay! I can just get ready really fast. This shower will be one of the fastest showers ever! Shampoo, shampoo, shampoo… condition… wash my bod… aaaand face. Okay! Five minute shower, done. Time to find a matching outfit. Alright, these jeans don’t have any spots on them, and this shirt doesn’t smell funny. Oh, I better brush my teeth. Having bad breath all day is the worst. Whew! 7:54. Better leave soon so I can be in class and ready to go by 8:05. You know, I should start waking up earlier… then I wouldn’t be in such a rush every morning. Those extra 10 minutes really didn’t do anything. Again… why do I do jazz band? I hate waking up to go to a class where I just get yelled at. The constant nagging of how awful I am at playing the saxophone is really frustrating. We are a first place jazz band! That must mean we don’t all suck TOO bad… right?

Well… here I am. Outside the school at 8:03. Better hurry up, or I’ll get marked tardy. For a 0 period band class. Why am I here? What an awful start to my day. AND it’s raining! The worst! Running through the lake in the parking lot always soaks my feet. Awful. Wow, I am just in a negative mood today. Being more positive about everything should start now so that the rest of today isn’t as sad. Okay. Positive mode activated.

Oh shoot, everyone is already out on the stage… am I late? Not again… Okay, awkward. They’re all just staring at me. Grab my stand, grab my chair, grab my music… walk. Walk of shame to my place in the jazz band. I’m all about that second alto life. Why is Nick looking at me funny? He’s always there on time. Go him! That’s why he’s the first alto. Hm. I wonder where Abe is! I guess it’s only 8:09. He’ll show up soon.

“Good morning jazz banditos! Let’s get up A Warm Breeze. And a one and a two…”

Playing. Oh shoot, that was supposed to be an F sharp. I finally hit that rhythm correct, yes!!! Oh.. but I missed that one. Look! Abe! Oh I’m so glad Abe is here. He makes this whole jazz thing not so bad. And I least I wasn’t as late as him. You know, every morning that I actually show up here, Abe brightens my mood. We joke around with each other a bit and do small little dances in our seats when we aren’t playing, which makes me feel a lot better about the fact that I’m here. Why am I here? At least Abe is here too.

“Alright, get up Blues in Hoss Flat. Trumpets, you mess this up every single time. Learn your part, you guys are supposed to be the good band…”

Playing. Wow this sounds pretty darn good. Dancing with Abe. Small swing left, small swing right and stare at Abe. Small swing left, small swing right and stare at Abe. Good thing we only do this when we’re resting, otherwise that’d be hard to play.

Music stops. We were cut off by the HUGE arm movements and angry red face glaring at us. What’s wrong? Why does he look so mad? I guess he gets mad about a lot of things and I see that look a lot… but usually it’s directed at the trumpets. Why is he glaring right at me? Why am I here?

“Erin!!!” Okay.. so it is directed at me…
“Yes..?” Crap… I hate this feeling. My face needs to stop telling everyone when I’m embarrassed. I hate that awful warm sensation creeping up my cheeks letting me know that I am uncomfortable.
“I cannot believe you. All you do is screw off in this class and I have had enough of it. If you do dumb things like that in class, you will do them in the performance-”
“Well I-” Tears are building… but I won’t let them well up. I won’t let them fall.
“Ah! Don’t interrupt. You are distracting to the whole band and aren’t paying any attention at all. You are always late and I need to you step it up. You are not being productive to this class and need to stop distracting.”
“No, that won’t happen in the performance. I have done this all year and have never-”
“No you always do. Just stop.”
I’m leaving. I can’t take this embarrassment, especially because it’s uncalled for. Sure, Abe and I have a little fun in class and I’m a couple minutes late every now and then… But is that reason to call someone out in front of their entire class and yell about how they’re a distraction all of the time. I was so frustrated. But at least he didn’t see my angry tears. Why am I here?

Really…. Why am I here? I’m leaving. In between 0 and 1st period, I’m out. I’ll just run out to my car and drive away because I can’t take another band class with him today. Why is today going so horribly?

And that’s exactly what I did. I left school, talked to my mom, and came back for 2nd period.

Ps this teacher apologized the next day for his outburst and recognized that his actions, words, and tone were all uncalled for, especially at that time and place. He realized that he didn’t have a reason to be upset with me OR call me out in front of everyone. I then received a side hug and we were cool… Until the next time. The question of why I was there can be answered like this: he asked me to be there. And so I was. I hope you’ll be pleased to hear that I am no longer enrolled in jazz band at HHS. Go hawks. 🙂

Pps I am writing this as I sit outside of Music World in Battle Ground. I was purchasing a lyre for my saxophone and a technique book for my flute, being the wonderful, on-top-of-it, band student that i am. In the midst of this, my keys somehow managed to get trapped inside my car and I am trapped outside of it. The joys of doing dumb things. Karma maybe? 😉

The Root Angle (CRR)

As of late, I don’t read literature a lot. I used to constantly have my nose in a book and have a book with me everywhere I went. High school kind of ruined that for me, with my crazy schedules and consistent lack of sleep. The only time that I have recognized myself to be reading is to grow myself as a person or to grow my knowledge of the world around me.

I am totally a non-fiction kind of girl. As much as I love fiction, I love non-fiction even more. Reading books on spirituality, reading the bible, or reading the news are my favorite things. Generally, most people find this kind of odd, and then there’s the occasional person who agrees. These types of writing really get me thinking and really change me. They help me form my roots about life and opinions about the world around me.

I’ve been trying to apply this to literature. It totally applies, if I let it! Looking at a character’s life and empathizing with them, learning with them, and adding their circumstance to our repertoire of memories DOES help to grow. After reading Harry Potter, it was always and obvious duh that I should  “follow the spiders” to get what I want. Sometimes doing the scariest things life are exactly what need to happen to make life better. As I read Twilight, I can recognize that I never ever ever want to be a part of that couple. Certain themes or ideas constantly jump out at me and help shape the way I live my life because generally I can see how these themes already fit with how I am living and they remind me of my roots.

I’m trying to get back into reading more. I truly do miss it and I wish that there were more than 24 hours in the day. Getting back into growing my roots through reading is necessary to continue to grow as a person. If I didn’t do this, I would be stagnant and stay at 17 forever… and NOBODY wants a 17 year old Erin around forever. Yikes!

I Still Feel Like A Freshman… (CRR)

Walking into the high school, I don’t notice how much the younger kids look up to me. I don’t notice how I walk through the office with ease and the whole staff knows my name. I don’t notice anything that really signifies the fact that I’ve been around for a while. The only reason I can recognize these things as I write this is because I am reflecting on my freshman year.

Looking back, the senior seemed so old and SO cool. I knew every single one of their names and there were around 5 that knew mine. I looked up to them so much and admired how they breezed through the school with ease and everything was so comfortable for them. They seemed like they had their whole lives together and had it all figured out and knew exactly where their life was going.

In reality, they were exactly where I am now. They were at this weird transition point in life where they were beginning to let go of everyone and everything they’ve known since kindergarden. They were figuring out where they were going to be spending these next few years of their lives outside of HHS. I always wonder though… did they still feel like freshmen? Like they had just gotten to the high school and now it’s over and suddenly it’s time to move on?

I’m very nervous for senior year and all that it has in store. I’ve never experienced anything different than Hockinson, which has been a wonderful blessing and a horrible curse all in one. The bittersweet long list of “lasts” will surely dwindle before I’m ready to let go and before I know it, I’ll be off at a university, attempting to mingle with people that I haven’t known my entire life. This year will surely be a busy one, which is why I have already made some goodbyes to things that I love. I am no longer learning the beautiful language of French, or learning the beautiful sounds of jazz on the alto saxophone. I am no longer a part of HHS drama or any of it’s productions for the 2013-2014 school year. I am still struggling with learning how to let go and not be sad it’s over, but glad that I had the chance to be a part of those things for when I was.

It’s also crazy to think that these things that I am nervous about are very closely related to things I am excited for. I’m excited for everything this year has to offer, from being the “top dogs” to seeing my peers and I finally being recognized for all that we’ve worked for these last few years. These recognitions can come in the form of a letter, a scholarship, an award, or a speech, but senior year is when these things become reality and light is finally shed on all of the hard work we’ve done behind the scenes. It will be a glorious year, and I can just feel it. It’s exciting that I still have an entire year left to hang out with my friends and continue building strong relationships with peers in my class.

I guess when it comes down to it, I’m not nervous for senior year. Truthfully, I’m nervous for the end. The end of all I’ve ever known. The end of my career in public education. My relationships with people will slowly fade as we drift into another chapter and soon it will all just be a memory. But that’s all the more reason to make this year so fun, so that those memories will be filled with great things, not my worrying nervous self.

While I still feel like a freshman… I’m not. I’m almost ready to leave, and I know that I will continue feeling “almost ready to leave” until months after I’m gone. Being nervous and excited and anxious all at the same time can be confusing but so exhilarating at the same time. This year will be a roller coaster… and that’s what I’m ready for.

The Struggle Is So. Real. (CRR)

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So this lovely photograph that you’re gawking at is a good representation of what my focus looked like last year. We messed around, messed with the freshmen (until they realized that we’re not actually cool and they could mess with us), and did all we could to make Mrs. Drendel stroll on over and ask the classic, “Are we being academically productive over here? … Juniors?”

Based on my performance from last year… I’m going to be honest in saying that it may be a big challenge to finish out strong… and by big challenge I mean the struggle of just getting out of bed day after day after day. I will be getting up knowing that my clock is ticking and this is the last year I will see 90% of my class until we have a reunion. I know that, and I know I need to do well in school to succeed in life. But for some odd, incomprehensible reason, I STILL don’t make it to school sometimes until lunch. Ponder me that one, friends. 

In classes like math and science, I have become super duper awesome at making it seem like I’m there and doing all of my work and doing it well. Who knows how, but I consider it a strength. That being said, I do what I can to pass and to learn what my brain will comprehend. The struggle here is that my brain stopped liking those classes when I was 12. Such a bummer!

English will always be a favorite of mine. Writing is something I love to do! I love to read and write and expand my knowledge in both of those areas. My strengths definitely lie in writing and reading.

Another strength of mine is my attitude towards school. Despite my attendance records from last year or whatever Ms. Redinger may say, I feel like I generally have a good attitude towards assignments that are purposeful and truly help me to grow as a human being. If I do not believe that it will help me grow as a person or a student, I will try to look at it from the perspective of the teacher, because obviously they have a purpose and reason for this assignment. If I STILL don’t see it’s purpose in my learning career, THEN I will ask why I need to be doing this. But overall, I enjoy my schoolwork and will get it done before it’s due. Like… RIGHT before it’s due. Like I’m-The-Worst-Procrastinator-Ever get it done before it’s due.

My biggest weakness this year (as mentioned above) will definitely be senioritis. That diseased mindset has been around for so long that it’s hard to believe there’s no “cure”, so to speak. Being present with my body AND my mind is my goal for this year. Making the most of my hours in the classroom will give me more free time out of school. That’s the lovely thought I have before EVERY school year, but then Ms. Chatty McChatter Bug Erin pops out of me at the worst possible times and by George, that one never stops talking. Especially if Azriel’s around…

So I’m planning on making the most of senior year – academically and otherwise. Because once the clock stops ticking here, who knows where I’ll end up.