Over the past four years of high school the amount of sleep I get has gone down and the amount of stress I am put under has gone up. Why can’t this be the other way? It has been proven by numerous studies that more sleep equals greater concentration and greater focus. So why do teachers give us tests that all fall on the same day or jam us with homework for that one night. Now I guess I put some stress on myself by being involved in theatre and by taking three AP classes this year. But why do we start so much earlier than all the elementary school kids? These young children get up at the crack of dawn, just like us, but don’t start the school day till after 9:00 am. We get up at the crack of dawn and have 30 minutes to an hour to get to school. People are going to the nurse’s office sometimes just to sleep and function throughout the day. I, personally, don’t know what sleep is anymore. I stay up till almost midnight or past midnight every night. Then I am also overly stressed with writing college essays, applications, and picking which college I want to go to. With this long weekend just ending, it’s back to the regular, eight sleepless days, and then we have a whole week to catch up. But there is never enough time to catch up on sleep. We need sleep to function, we don’t need stress to function.
“A… a S’mores Pop Tart! Yes! That’s obviously the best kind of Pop Tart!” Satisfied with my result, I scroll from “What Pop Tart Matches Your Zodiac Sign” to “Which One of Zayn Malik’s Tattoos Are You”. It doesn’t matter that I barely know anything about Zayn Malik, let alone his body art, I answer the questions quickly in a frenzied thirst for the moment of gratification: I’m the boom box tattoo that I didn’t know existed. But technicalities are unimportant for the few seconds of reward I get, eyes drinking up the short blurb under my results, written to flatter me. As the words that have been displayed to hundreds of thousands of people flash on to my screen, a smile crosses my face. For these few moments, the vaguest compliments allow me to identify good qualities in myself. Mass production feels so personal when it’s stroking my ego. I scroll to the next quiz.
I am hardly alone among my generation in a fervent search for external validation. While we might take BuzzFeed quizzes just to pass the time, run a photo blog just to keep a record, or only stay on Facebook for new pictures of our baby cousins, there will always be a reminder that you are catering to an audience.I’m not writing to condemn social media; that’s not a new idea and at this point it is frankly overdone, if not bland and crotchety. Those who do choose to ridicule the ‘iGeneration’ often focus on the idea of self-obsession: young people truly believing that others are interested in what they think, do, and eat for breakfast. In reality, the critics are overlooking the most obvious truth. Far from self-obsession, we have grown up needing other people’s permission to admire ourselves. We are not allowed to independently step up and say – “I look wonderful today” – “I’m really smart” – “I’m good at this specific thing” – because at a certain point, we became ashamed of our capacity for self-love, terrified that it would slip into the narcissism that is apparently so typical of our ‘iGeneration’. But – if you just post that selfie, that test score, that new piece – among other people you can find an outpouring of love. People giving you the compliment you are not allowed to give yourself. We sift through other people’s words, hoping to find proof that they can see the good in us – whether or not we can already see it in ourselves.
It’s not surprising that we’re scared of self-love. It’s the golden age of advertising, a billion dollars is spent a year to ensure we know that you are less cool, less beautiful, less interesting, less worthwhile, Less Than – that is until you buy this new product. We’re growing up in a stuffed-to-the-gills job market where rampant capitalism has quickly turned towards social Darwinism. What can you do, create, complete – it doesn’t matter. Better to ask yourself if that will make you money. Consider your creative value as a dollar figure. We’ve spent our lifetimes watching movies about the beautiful, sad, young protagonist, who cannot see the good in themselves – and that’s the only reason one other person can see the good in them. Their romantic love interest considers everything they do poetry, looks deep into their eyes, and tells them they’re in love – oh how they wish their love could see their own value. And so we wait – we wait to buy that new product, to take a money-making job, to snag a romantic partner who can love you the way you are not allowed to love yourself. But in the meantime, we can take online quizzes. We can post selfies. We can wait for those around us to pitch in to our self-esteem.
Charles Dickens…what can I say…I’m just bored by him. Let’s use some examples from school: Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities. Great Expectations is a story about a boy who meets a creepy, old guy in a cemetery. That creepy, old guy becomes the boy’s benefactor. There’s an old lady who serves no purpose whatsoever, except that she had a granddaughter that was a snobby, little brat that was the boy’s love interest. The granddaughter doesn’t even end up marrying him even though he drops everything in his life in order to go back for the girl. What is the purpose of the storyline here? I mean come on there’s no point writing a drawn out story about a boy who has a love interest, gets money for a creepy, old guy in the cemetery, and whose name is Pip of all names! Great Expectations does balance the amount of literary analyses but doesn’t have the story line to match. I could ramble on and on about Great Expectations forever, but let’s move on to A Tale of Two Cities. The storyline in A Tale of Two Cities is much better than that of Great Expectations, but still, how many literary analyses can a man write in just one book?! The storyline includes Lucy trying to save her soon-to-be husband from his impending death. She doesn’t save him but her “secret admirer” Sydney Carton does. SYMBOLISM, that is all this book is. Lucy is the Light, Carton is the person who makes a sacrifice for the one he loves (how cliche is that?), Madame Defarge is the darkness, and then there’s Darnay who is freed by a case of mistaken identity. There are so many allusions in A Tale of Two Cities that when you think you’re done with them, they come back a page later. A Tale of Two Cities, in contrast to Great Expectations, has a storyline but too many literary analyses for the length of the story all together. All in all, Charles Dickens can create a storyline and a fair amount of allusions but can’t combine them into one cohesive novel.
Leaves are changing colors, the air is crisper, homework is being piled on students…yep it’s finally fall. The seasons have changed and you’re getting back into the groove of things. A chill is starting to settle into your bones as the temperature drops. Last year’s sweaters are beginning to see the light of day as stores start to stock hot cocoa. Even if you’re wishing for the return of carefree summer days or for the year to speed ahead to winter break, there is still something undeniably cozy about fall.
Occasionally when I’m feeling stressed I pick up a book and just get lost. Reading is one of the best activities for a cozy fall day, so stop what you’re doing and pick up a book! So if you are reading this blog it’s your lucky day because whether you are stressed or just need an escape, I have a list of books perfect for this fall season!
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Enjoy your reading! Or if reading isn’t your thing, pick up a pen and start to write. Relieve your stress by releasing it onto paper!
By: Maria White
By: Charlie Espy
Once upon a time there was a 6th grade boy who temporarily had no internet access and nothing good to watch on TV. The bored 6th grade boy decided that he was going to watch a movie to kill his boredom. He quickly realized that he had already watched all the movies in his personal library and in that moment had no interest in watching them again. The boy started to think and in no time came up with the idea to look through his mom’s movies for something, as you can see he was very desperate. The boy found his mom’s movies and unfortunately noticed that the collection was full of nothing but chick flicks. The boy finally settled on a movie simply because his boredom had become extremely unbearable. The boy popped in the movie and began to watch it, he was immediately overwhelmed with emotion. The boy quickly realized that the little girly chick flick, full of mushiness and loves stories, actually had a deep underlying message that the whole world should know. If you haven’t already guessed, this boy is me. Yes I, Dylan Freeman, a male, am coming out and saying that my favorite movie is a Chick Flick. My favorite movie is The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet (Titanic), Cameron Diaz (Shrek), Jude Law (Contagion) and so many other phenomenal actors. The movie is about two women on opposite ends of the earth who are having men issues during the holidays (Christmas). These two women put their homes up on a home swap website just to get away for a little bit. The women find each other on the site and swap homes and cars. To make a long story short, the women both find love on the opposite sides of the earth. Both couples become friends and they all live happily ever after. Now, you’re probably thinking “What’s so special about this movie?” But it truly is a great movie. The movie talks a lot about discovering new things about yourself and shows the importance of allowing yourself to be open and free of eternal bondage. The women in the movie both have in common the fact that they both are stuck on men that continue to do them wrong. Throughout the movie the women are getting over these men, stepping out of their depression, and allowing the joy back into their lives. The reason that this movie touches me so much is because it taught me that one door always opens when another one closes, but only when you break free of your internal bondage and allow yourself to move on from your disappointment. I also love the movie simply because of all the traveling in the movie and the movie’s score. The point of this blog post is to hopefully get rid of the idea of chick flicks and to encourage the men and boys of our world to go watch these “Chick Flicks” and find the deeper message in them all.