Sunset from Jan. 1. Great way to start the year.
While I’m not usually a Resolutions! person, there are two glaringly obvious ones:
1. Finish my novel. It’s been going on for over a year now and I’m only just – finally, cringingly – making one Mother Of An Outline (though yes, I am already 200-odd pages in. A bit late in the process, you say? Well, rules were made to be broken. So there.)
2. Figure out where I’m going to college/what I’m going to do with my life.
I think that should keep me busy for quite a while – that and, you know, school. *Cue rant*
I sincerely believe there’s something wrong with our education system, and I’m not just talking about the fact that everyone who has (a) both parents working and/or (b) money saved for college gets basically NOTHING from public universities. Squat. No matter how smart you are, it seems that you get penalized for having successful parents, while less fortunate people get all the financial support. Now, don’t get me wrong – I think that that part of the system is wonderful, though I haven’t done research on exact amounts/statistics, etc. But someone please tell me – what’s so wrong with taxes paying for our educations? Grumble, grumble, yes, I know – more government spending, etc. (If only we’d get out of the wars and not spend *quite* so much on defense… and not extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich… But that’s another cup of soup.) Aside from all that, though:
Most of us unfortunates just got back from our winter/holiday break, back to the drudgery of school. Now, over break, I definitely applied myself. I wrote furiously, I outlined and drafted and redrafted, I designed, and I read Dostoevsky’s Demons (or started to). But the moment I walked into school at 7:02 a.m. this morning (yes, a truly ungodly hour when no mortal being should be awake; no good can come of it), I literally felt my brain begin to shut down. Athletes out there: you know that terrible feeling of unexercised-ness that you get once you haven’t run/biked/swum/etc. in a while? Your limbs feel weak and generally disused? Well, that’s how my brain felt for most of the day. It perked right back up when I got home, put on some sweats and picked up Dostoevsky. Many of my classmates agree – and I don’t think it’s just senoritis: we haven’t learned anything. All those hours spent poring over mundane chem notes last year may have paid off for the final, but if you asked most of us the most basic of elements questions or chemical building blocks, we’d be clueless – and we got As on that final, mind you. Math? Don’t get me started. Sure, I have an A, but have I learned anything? Not so much. Even our AP classes – with, perhaps, the exception of AP Calc and languages – aren’t that academically challenging: while an incredible amount of information is spewed at us, we realize in a panic two days before the test that we haven’t learned anything. Somehow we spit the answers back out, but apply it to anything? Ha. You must be joking.
The problem here seems to be that none of what we’re learning – with a few exceptions, of course – are really applicable, or at least thus far in life. Having been accepted to my colleges thus far (still waiting to hear back from Northwestern and GWU – fingers crossed!), I’ve realized that a B+ in Honors Physics won’t break my chances of having a viable career in the government. It’s just not logical. My independent “studies” – reading the news, etc. – sticks in my head, though. Ask me about Afghanistan or the health care bill or the 9/11 responders bill or START. Those are applicable, modern, at-the-moment. They matter, even for someone not going into political science/international affairs. It’s interesting because it’s our world. The same general concept applies to the fact that I’m so invested in my novel: it’s my project, independent, and totally powered by me. It’s all coming from my mind; there’s no spitting-back-of-of-facts involved, no tests, no nothing – unless I try to get it published, of course. (Fingers crossed…!) But the point is that I’m self-motivated. I want to do this, so it’s extremely easy for me to sit down for three days and focus on getting facts straight. Which city should they be in when This happens? Who should get shot when? What’s the part of this specific gun called, and would it be used by Him or This Other Guy? How is Mexico involved? That sort of thing. I won’t divulge details. ;)
I know it’s very bad form to offer criticism without then offering advice or a plan to fix whatever it is, but that’s what I’m doing. If I knew how to solve this problem single-handedly, I’d probably be doing more than typing away about it on here. But there you have it.
Now, where was I? Ah, right: new year.
Okay. Off to, you know, be “productive.”
Happy 2011, everyone! Best of luck to you in the coming year :)
PS: Oh, I remembered. I am firm in my belief that if everyone – and I do mean everyone, world leaders included – wore sweats all the time, the world would be a better place. Can you imagine a World Leader declaring war while lounging in buttery soft sweats, loose and comfortable? I think it would be a scene of: “So we’re declaring war on [major superpower] today, sir/madam?” “Oh… oh, never mind. I can’t be bothered, it’s too early. Plus there’s a Law and Order marathon on.” Really. All anyone wants to do it sleep, eat and generally be happy and comfortable, so while we can’t quite do that – we do need some people to work – sweats is the next best thing. Vote for me for President of the World next year and I’ll guarantee that sweats, always is the new black. :)