High School: Breaking Free

My high school experience thus far has had its ups and downs and has really been a great new experience for me to follow. Although it’s the same story for most, the transition from being a freshman who was utterly confused/lost/small/etc…, to one who is now comfortable with who they are was an immense leap. As I find myself finishing up junior year, I can say that I’ve gone through most of what a high school student is supposed to go through. I won’t bore you with the details (or maybe I will in another post in the future) but I can definitely say that I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined in and out of the classroom. For example, I’ve really learned to jump out of my comfort zone and just be who I want to be rather than who I want others to perceive me to be. I can take this and carry it on to my life in the future beyond high school into the harsh realities of the real world. I know that there are some things that high school just can’t prepare you for, but I’d like to think that I have some experience under my belt. Much like Troy and Gabriella learned how to be who they wanted to be while attending East High, I definitely learned how to be myself. And as the year comes to a close and senior year looms around the corner, I can almost feel myself “breaking free” from the high school scene on to bigger and brighter things. I can honestly say that I will never forget these past couple of years as they have been some of the best. And although I might not have gone to the state championships like Troy and Chad or participated in any school wide theater productions like Sharpay and Ryan, I can say that I’ve done everything that I, as Matt, could have done to make my high school experience the best fit for me. So What Time Is It? Time for me to Get My Head In the Game to Bop to the Top of my senior class. You can Bet on It because I Gotta Go My Own Way. This could be the Start of Something New and I’m definitely Breaking Free.

(FRONT) MONIQUE COLEMAN, CORBIN BLEU, VANESSA HUDGENS, ZAC EFRON, ASHLEY TISDALE, LUCAS GRABEEL - PERFORMING "WHAT TIME IS IT"-Matt

 

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The Life of an AP Student

Advanced Placement courses do not make a student any better than those in normal classes. However, being an AP student myself, I can say that they are definitely much harder and include a lot of rigorous course work. A night without sleep wasn’t uncommon over the course of the school year and I would often find myself falling asleep in class as a result. However, despite all of the challenges of taking not just one, but three AP courses this year, I’m glad to say that it was well worth it. Seeing as how AP testing has just recently wrapped up, I can say that the challenge I took on by taking three AP courses was rewarded generously through the intensity of the courses and passing scores as a result. Although, I won’t go into too much detail about what went on within the parameters of the testing area, (because College Board won’t stand for it!) I can say that I was well prepared due to my countless hours of studying and worksheet upon worksheet. I’ll make this post quick but I want to give a big shout out to all of the teachers and even students that supported me throughout my journey as an AP student. Thanks College Board for giving me an opportunity to receive college credits and thank you reader for reading about this subject which I am truly passionate about.

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-Matt

This Is The End

It seems like almost everything going on in my life right now is coming to an abrupt end and it feels ridiculously uncomfortable. Well, I shouldn’t say everything because I have a lot to be grateful for and still have plenty of things to look forward to, but back to the point. The school year is ending, my friends are all leaving for college, How I Met Your Mother just ended and I still feel like I haven’t done enough this year. It’s all just coming by way too fast and I cannot handle it whatsoever. Good byes and endings are too difficult to deal with and whenever possible I try to avoid them but how am I supposed to avoid this?

 

And to top it all off, in class, we just finished reading the classic Grapes of Wrath novel by John Steinbeck. I really enjoyed reading the book throughout the year, but of course, like everything else, it has to end. Kind of like the message it tries to portray in the book, I’m facing the dilemma of possibly having to deal with the idea that the end product or whatever I’m looking forward to isn’t going to be the actual outcome. Of course it never is. Because nothing is ever 100% what you expect it to be. I came into high school with the expectation that I would be in and out, just like that and that it wouldn’t matter to me. However, with three years under my belt, I’ve grown accustomed to friends and everything about the school. The point is: I don’t want to say goodbye, I don’t want to leave but I have to stay optimistic. Just to keep it short and simple, these endings are new beginnings for me and just another turning point on my journey of life.

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The Emperor’s New Standardized Testing

Just recently, I, along with many of my other classmates, have found out that a new testing system will be implemented into our school sometime in the near future and that the class of 2015 gets to be the district’s guinea pigs. As it will come into effect sometime in the near future, another test might quite possibly be added to the rigor of the dreaded, test-filled junior year. Experiencing this first-hand, all I can say to those taking it in future is “Good Luck.” Because honestly, they are going to need it. Throughout this entire week, the junior class has been split up into two separate testing groups and forced to take this tedious and from what I’ve heard, very pointless and difficult test. This new form of testing is supposedly designed to make students smarter or more aware of what their learning? In all seriousness, I have no idea what is going on and that’s what really irks me. It’s not the fact that we have to take the test that upsets me, but the fact that it was sort of just thrown upon us without our consent and that we weren’t really formally informed about what we’re supposed to be doing. I mean why not make high school (which is hard enough as it is) even harder? Well I mean, if the district or whoever came up with this idea wants to implement it into the schools, then it’s going to get implemented. No student reps, no student opinion, no student involvement in the decision, just a decision made by a higher power that we have no control over. But I guess that’s just how the world works. Unless…

To switch gears a bit, I just want to point out that this scenario parallels that of one of my favorite Disney movies, The Emperor’s New Groove, in which we follow the story of the selfish ruler of the Incan Empire, Emperor Kuzco. At the very beginning of the movie, we learn that Kuzco is planning to build a large extravagant summer home called Kuzcotopia. (which isn’t at all conceited) However, in order to do so, there’s one little caveat. He wants to build said mansion on the site of a village, home to hundreds of poor families and farmers barely scraping by. And guess what? Kuzco doesn’t take into account the villager’s opinions on the matter. It’s all about what he wants. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

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Well, I’m not going to go into the whole story in detail, but basically, it takes him getting turned into a llama and several near death experiences alongside the village leader, Pacha, for him to realize how self-absorbed and egocentric he is and for him to finally listen to what the villagers have to say.

Now as interesting as it sounds to start turning people into llamas, I believe that through the trial and error of these tests and future discrepancies, it’s possible that the students’ voices will be heard. If it takes more than that, which it quite possibly will, standing up to whomever is executing this standardized testing, is something I would possibly consider. For any situation, whether it involves the district or Emperor Kuzco, I strongly believe that it’s important to take into account every possible opinion. Even if that means asking the little people. But until then…

llama crying kuzco

-Matt

A Whole New World…

A new fantastic point of view. Who doesn’t want to experience the rush, the thrill, of entering a new atmosphere, a new world? There’s nothing better then to get a fresh new perspective on the way you live your life. However, unlike Aladdin, who is completely open minded to the idea of “A Whole New World”, we have had some skeptics, particularly in the 1920s and 30s.

Back to a time where, swing dancing was the new dance craze instead of twerking, the economy was without a doubt, just like Aladdin. It was poor, it was hopeless, and it seemed like there was nothing that could be done to correct it. In John Steinbeck’s account of the Great Depression in the 1930s, in his book, The Grapes of Wrath, the Joads are mentioned to be out of work and barely scraping by. Hand in hand, these lowly farmers and Aladdin would make great friends, I’m sure of it. They would be able to talk about the foods they were able to scrounge up on a daily basis just to stay alive and about how bad they seemed to have it.

#16 Departure of the JoadsAladdinDisney

But wait, what’s this? Deep within the Cave of Wonders, it seems as if Aladdin was able to come across the idea of endless opportunity to become successful in the form of a genie! Well good for him! And wait, the farmers have discovered a new magical place in the west that is supposed to cure all economic problems called California? Wow! In no way, shape, or form, do I see any future conflicts arising! I’m sure they’ll get what they want, no problem!

And that is exactly how both parties felt when they encountered their respective savior. Aladdin with his genie and the Joads with the lingering idea of California. Opportunity seems to be close within their reach, but unfortunately, the process is long and enduring with no breaks as it usually is. Along the way, people will be skeptical if something seems to good to be true, which is personified in the characters of Al (in GOW) and for a short time, Jasmine.

Aladdin-Trust

But, that’s not to say that with hard work and dedication you can’t reach your goal of obtaining this “Whole New World” because it actually is possible. You just have to want it, more than Aladdin wanted to pursue true love and more than the Joads wanted to pursue a more economically stable life. With no one to tell you no, or where to go, or say you’re only dreaming. A Whole New World.

-Matt

 

Take Another Look

People say ignorance is bliss, but I think that the more that you know, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Whether you’re buying a cheap jalopy from a sketchy salesman, or realizing for the first time in forever that love is an open door, it’s always best to have some sort of background check. In the current book that I am reading, The Grapes of Wrath, it always seems as if all that’s good and all that is ever meant to be, is simply just a lie. Deceit can be found in the tiniest of corners, peering its ugly head out every once in a while. For example, the used car dealership in Chapter Seven is a prime example of the reoccurring theme of lying and deceit. The car salesman, like most in real life, stopped at nothing to get his cars sold; even if that meant he had to sabotage the car to make it look good. Money is the only thing this vicious animal tends to feed off of and without he wouldn’t last long. The lies and deceit are his methods of attacking his prey.

Paralleling this to a more modern take, the recent movie, Frozen was full of lies and deceit throughout. I love this movie more than anything right now and if you’ve seen the movie then you know what I’m talking about but *SPOILER ALERT* if you haven’t. As close as you look at it, you’ll notice that Hans is exactly like this deceitful car saleman in the book! Both men only think of themselves and do things that will only benefit their futures. They are able to make you feel comfortable, like you’re a long lost friend in order to develop an emotional attachment. Not much is known about who they are or where they come from but their motive becomes very clear. They are willing to crush someones hopes and dreams to better themselves. (Anna’s of falling in love and the consumers’ desire to travel west in a running car) And last but certainly not least, they are fast-talking smooth operators who can sway the opinions of anyone they encounter. I mean who saw that ending coming anyway! Overall, these two have the moral compass of the devil. The consumers deserved better. Anna deserved better. So before you decide to do anything drastic like buy a car or marry a man you just met, take another look, because what you might think you see could be something completely different that what you expected. Don’t let the idea of promise or hope blind you no matter how great it might seem at first, because you never know when what seems like the perfect guy will try to kill you and your sister.

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P.S. I mean Hans and Anna sang a song together for crying out loud!!! Why does he have to be the bad guy? There gotta be a rule somewhere saying that if you harmonize together as well as they did, you’re not allowed to be evil. (Sorry I’m still a little angry at the fact that that happened)

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-Matt

But WAIT….There’s More!

Lately in class, we’ve been working on refining our essay writing skills for an upcoming assessment test for the EAP, or Early Assessment Program. Over the past couple of days we’ve been writing and peer editing each others essays to help us learn how to score 5’s and 6’s on the actual test. But on this particular occasion, the prompt has been about Jozui’s (the author’s) opinion on the subject of celebrity’s endorsing new products. He goes on to explain how it misleads the consumers and insults their intelligence. And in a way I can totally see where he’s coming from, but who doesn’t love to see Beyonce herself, drinking a nice cold can of Pepsi, Betty White getting tackled before eating a satisfying Snickers bar, or Shaq driving a Buick that he’s way too big for?

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I’m not going to lie. When celebrities endorse a product, it really does tempt me to go and buy some of it, but what does it matter? Why is this an issue in the first place? So what if the celebrity doesn’t actually eat/drink/do what he or she is advertising? What does matter, is that it makes for a great and entertaining commercial. I feel as if saying that commercials like these insult the public’s intelligence is insulting itself. Celebrity commercials aren’t insulting anyone. They are just an entertaining means of trying to get us to buy things. (and if we end up buying that thing in the process, then so be it)

Now, I know that advocating against Jozui makes it seem as if I’m being brainwashed by the media, but it really isn’t anything to worry about in the first place. I mean how else are companies like these supposed to get their names out there, if not for celebrity endorsements? In the end, it’s really up to the individual as to whether or not they are willing to buy into this type of marketing. I just wanted to throw my own opinion out there just to get it out there. Have a great day and just keep swimming!

-Matt