Tuesday 29 April 2014

An Open Letter: What Students Actually Need to Hear.

My hands clenched into small, rigid fists, and my jaws locked tightly together. I squinted my eyes as tightly as I could, took a deep breath, opened blogger and began to type.

I've done this kind of post before and was fairly sure I wouldn't be at it again, yet here I am. Recently I read a post, yes, once again by a fairly well known blogger that sent my emotions to the deepest darkest depths of hell, for lack of a less intense description. I'm not going to insert links, names, or anything like that because as I've previously stated I'm not trying to get in an internet fight or start "beef" with a big blogger, I'm just here to make my thoughts known on the topic.
The overall premise of his post was about what he (a teacher) feels students need to hear. He says that the overall purpose of school is not academics, but to learn real life skills through school experiences. For example, you're learning respect, by not "giving an attitude" to the teacher in the hall who asks you why you aren't in class. As if respect isn't something you can learn without kissing the behind of an unnecessarily assertive teacher.

As an eighteen year old, approaching my second year at university it's not really hard to see why this post annoyed me as much as it did. What students need to hear isn't that it's about time they suck it up, because school will teach you EVERYTHING you need to know about life, because that is wrong. So wrong on every possible level that you can dissect the word wrong. He went on to further talk about not "quitting" and how school prepares you to face other obstacles in life. I'm not debating that. Yes, school can teach you those things, but how does quitting fit into it? Quitting is not a bad thing, in my eyes. I've spoken about it before in THIS post. If a person is doing something they don't like, and knows it will not further them in the direction they are aiming to go, why on earth should they be forced to stick it out through school? Forcing a person to sit through bogus classes, in the hopes that it will eventually teach them something helpful in life is not only stupid, but inconceivably counterproductive. What exactly is that teaching them, resilience or submissiveness?

I guess what hurt the most was that upon reading the title, the ever so convincing title, I thought the post was going a very different direction. I genuinely believed for a second this was a professor who got it, and rather than telling kids to just stick it out, and suck it up he was coming to say something students really needed to be told.

Without rambling and spitting any further venom down the man's throat I'd like to say what I feel students really need to hear, coming from a student.

School does not define you. A mark on an exam paper says no more about you than a rogue personality test on the internet. You are not bound to the title student, and by no means are you obligated to do something you hate, because someone else is going to base your value on a piece of paper saying you've done four more years.
Before you are a student, you are a human being. Regardless of what a test paper, or a professor who knows little to nothing about you may say, you are smart, you are wise and you have a purpose.
You know yourself more than anyone else does, or ever will and you know what's right for you at any given point in your life. Don't allow anyone to make you feel like you've made a bad decision because you've quit something. Sometimes quitting is one of the bravest, and best decisions a person can make for themselves. If you're onto bigger and better things for your life, you're entitled to quit the old and stale for the new and exciting.

If you're going to spend your nights and early mornings slaving away at work, it may as well be something you're proud you did rather than an empty revision for an exam you'll write, give to your professor and never think of again. Your minutes are precious, spend them wisely.


(If you'd like to see the post, message me and I'll send you a link)

Thursday 24 April 2014

I'm Grateful.

For something so important, it far too often takes a backseat to being unhappy, complaining and self-depreciation.
I've just completed my first year of university. I can still remember the day I published THIS post about when I first moved and cannot believe that the first year has already come and gone.

Through this year, I've been very vocal about my general distaste for school.
Not learning, but school. The very last drop of motivation I had to be force fed irrelevant information has evaporated. I love learning. I absolutely love learning about things I care about, but am absolute rubbish at allowing myself to swallow my pride and eat up economic theories (that make no sense) and the history of ground beef. I don't give a damn about any of it, which has made this first year quite the world wind of positive and negative emotions.

Nonetheless, now that it's done and gone and I've been able to step out of the context of school and look at it from the outside in, I'm grateful to be here. Not for the information I've "learnt" and less than enthusiastically regurgitated onto exam papers from my professors but the social and real life experiences I've had this year.

I've moved out of home, gotten my own place, done a small amount of independent travelling, gotten moderately drunk and met incredible people that I'll forever be grateful I had in my life, even if just for a few months. I've met some less than desirables, loved and lost, argued and fought, complained about noisy parties, developed a slight hatred for country music and the list could go on and on.

I'm more grateful than I've ever been for the amazing people I've met this year, the laughs, the hugs and the conversations we've had. I've developed a bond with these wonderful ladies in my life unlike any I've ever had before. I remember the days we moved in desperately trying to understand how we'd made it this far, and now we're on the final days saying our goodbyes. I don't know what the future holds for us as a group or individuals but I'm more blessed and happy than I can describe to have had them in my life even if they're presence was only something I'm meant to experience for a season.
I won't lie and say tears didn't run PROFUSELY when it came time for the goodbyes, and the hugs were endless but they meant so much. I'm just everlastingly grateful to these wonderful people and having had them in my life. The bond you develop with roommates supersedes all friendships you've had before. You're thrust into a new, scary environment with new people and you're forced to navigate it all with them. You're forced into this supportive, sisterly role that is definitely unlike any high-school "bestie".

I've learned this year, and I've grown and for that I'll be endlessly grateful. I wouldn't say I've gotten a taste of real life, because my entire life has been real. Not a single moment of it, much to my sadness, has been fake. I got a taste of a different life that has opened my eyes, mind and soul to so much hope.

I cannot say that after this first year of university I'm any closer to knowing what to do with my life, or that I have no regrets because also reflecting on this year has allowed me too see the PLETHORA of bad decisions I've made, but things have changed. I've changed which I think is one of the best possible outcomes that I could get from this year.

I'm not sure if the madness is over, or if it's just begun but summer is here y'all. Summer 2014 has arrived, and I'm grateful still for what's yet to come.


Friday 18 April 2014

On the Silver Lining.

Underneath the kiss of the sun, I taste every lie that it's told me. Every empty promise it's made. Everyday it screamed for hopes, dreams and imaginations only to leave me as you would an empty bottle of Vodka after a night you can't remember.

Taken into the soft caress of the breeze, I feel every dream it's stolen. Every thought, every story, every imaginative word that's been uttered before me beats against my face, and sends my hair in all directions. For what is a thought or experience not shared? A lost story. A story never told or learned from but simply left in the mind of a lone individual who took it to their grave, after suffering in it for years.
The wind carries those stories.
Do the untold stories of the wind burn on the olden lips of those who've left without telling them?
Is the wind the hero or the villain for stealing the tales of the oppressed and repressed?

Will the paranoia and fear that dance around my heart at night one day follow me to the grave? Will it seap through the mud and into a river, where a mother will use it to wash clothes for her son? Will the hope and dreams I carry in my mind one day become the silver lining on a grey cloud, to brighten another girl's day?

It's nearly spring. If I could describe my currently mental state I'd say I'm on the silver lining of a rather grey cloud. Spring arrives by not a date, but the presence. The presence of spring, the sun, the birds the new found glimmer in the eyes of people emerging for the first time in months.
Spring is almost here. We're all on the silver lining.


Wednesday 9 April 2014

To Understand Love.

To understand love is to look blankly into a pitch black tunnel and convince me you know the way through it. I can't say I understand very much about what love is, and by that I mean I legitimately have no idea. In the most heartfelt, soul baring explanation of this for a large portion of my existence I didn't know love was a thing that exists that people feel and experience.
I grew up believing that a single parent household, and seeing your dad once or a few time every couple of years was a normal occurrence. There was nothing in my life to tell me otherwise. After eighteen years of life I can legitimately say I've never witnessed a successful marriage.

At this point in my life love seems like somewhat of a ghost to me. I hear about other people's experiences, and have a vague belief in it's existence but I can't say that I've encountered it myself.
Because of this, I looked to so many other places to reaffirm this jaded belief that somewhere out there this mythical story about happy marriages exist, and I found some.

I found people all over the world: online on TV and every corner of the globe that could attest to these fairytales of a happy ever after being completely true, but they didn't hit home. If anything they fuelled the belief that it was this ghost-encounter like experience, that only a few lucky people witness. I've been trying to convince myself all my life that love and marriage is something I so desperately want, which I still believe it is, but right now it's something I simply need to understand. I've got nothing.

I've found people online who became my definition of love. What else did I have? It's a situation of who do you look to when you've got no-one to look to.
If CNN reports to a group of people living in a secluded part of the world that aliens exist, there is a good chance they will believe it. With no-one else to look too for news, they're going to trust aliens are a thing. I believed that the short videos you can see of someone else's existence on the internet can tell the full story, and it doesn't. I more than anyone know that we don't know the people we look up to, especially if they're famous but again fell victim to the belief that I did and finally thought I'd understood love...based on what I'd seen online.

That, like most other sources of information on the internet, failed my expectation leaving me again in a place where I don't know what love is.
I have friends who's parents have stayed married, I've had friends who watch their parents' loveless marriage exists, friends who've heard their parents having sex at night, friends who've lost their fathers twice, and friends much like myself, who've had their fathers leave with not much knowledge of the relationship our mother may or may not have had with the man. My father, whom I love dearly and do have a relationship left when I was six months old. I've only ever known the life of flying between parent's houses for extended amounts of time and maintaing the bond by haphazard, every few months, phone calls. Most of my closest female friends have had similar experiences. A friend of mine who I've known for in excess of ten years now and I were joking the other day that after ten plus years of friendship we've never even seen each other's fathers in person.

That short snippet aside though, a definition of love comes largely from a witness of it. For so many years of my life, I genuinely believed happily ever afters were only for the fairytales, and even reflecting on this now I can't 100% say that it isn't, because I'm still yet to find testament to this real life love that's apparently so reachable. I do not believe people should stick around after the love has died, or hell even pretend the love was ever there when it never was. I don't believe my parents, or any of my friend's parents or any of the celebrity couples I found so much solace in made the wrong decisions separating. In the long run, it was probably what was best.

For now, I'll stop looking. I'll stop trying to understand something that so many people can't seem to either. I don't know if I'll ever be able to recognize it if it comes my way, or trust that it's not a fleeting emotion that yanks itself out of your grips in the middle of the night. I don't know if I may ever even give it the chance to get that close, but for now...the search is going to remain on halt.

Maybe it's just going to be a thing I'll be the first to experience and share a story about. Maybe a definition doesn't exist, and looking for it in witness is idiotic. It's a search with no foreseeable answer or end, but rather an endless journey that I'm going to have to find my footing in alone.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Adulthood & Sober Elation.

The lights glow with a dimmer beauty when you've grown enough to appreciate them. As a newly made adult, three months fresh from the factory producing eighteen year olds, I think I've learned quite a bit about what it means to be at this crossroads in life. Adulthood is not an age, being on the continuum of bills, insurance, jobs and soccer mom-ming your way through life. It's not about maturing to a point where you no longer want a bounce house in your room. It's about finally being at the place in life where you can get that bounce house in your room.

Yesterday, I picked up the keys to my new apartment. As my friends and I stood in our new apartment near the city, we looked out at the view from the window at the vast expanse of dark land with only faint dots of orange street lights illuminating the night. I've never lived in an apartment, to the best of my memories, but I have lived on a hill so I am no stranger to the breathtaking nature of a good view.

Something about the night is so enticing. The stillness, along with it's nitty gritty dirty hustles calls you into it. The way you can feel the city has paused for a breather after a long run.We then decided to walk around the town. The streets had a comforting, yet eerie orange glow that made us giddy with the pleasure of new found freedom. We laughed all down the street, wondering how three girls who still giggle as much as we do have managed to get their own apartment. We're adults, that's how. Not because we've somehow managed to unlock the answers to everything, but because we now have the freedom to fully profess our short comings and idiosyncrasies. We are free to live on our own, go out on our own and do the ridiculous things we've only been able to see on TV.

Youth is a beautiful time of your life as it's a necessary section of your life. But, I can assure you adulthood isn't far off. Many always say they wish to be a kid again, and maybe I'll live to regret these words but as of right now, I do not miss that time. I'm very content with freely and fully outing myself as an adult. The responsibilities and stresses are on step closer to the freedom all people so desperately crave. Adulthood doesn't stop you from kicking up the snow, it merely stops older people from reprimanding you so much for it.

When we got back we decided to make food. Sitting in the middle of our unfurnished living room eating Bagel Bites at 12:57 in the morning, felt so surreal. Almost incorrect. Right in all the wrong ways, I suppose. Three people who still find Spongebob as entertaining as we all completely and justifiably do moved out of home. We then decided Bagel bites weren't enough, and wanted cereal. With no bowls or spoons available we whipped out the Ziploc bags, poured milk and Krave Cereal inside and got to snacking over the sink. We really shouldn't have this kind of responsibility, but here we are.

We then went to the smallest bedroom of our three bedroom place, and lay on the cushions from an old pull out mattress, we'd received as kind donations from our terrified families. So impossibly content with life, and the absurdity of it all allowed for pure madness to ensue. We laughed, pretended to swim on the cushions and made vagina jokes as one does. Hyperactivity fuelled by the sugary midnight snacks sums up our first night spent in our new home....being adults. Call me immature, or a poser of an adult if you will but I wouldn't change a moment of it for the world.

You'd think the madness of the night was fuelled by drunken shenanigans, but it wasn't. It was pure sober elations and adulthood.