Live Up To Your Own Expectations

Expectations. We’ve all had experience with them. Whether they were set for us, or we made for them for other people, everyone knows a little something about expectations. They can make or break us, literally. Sometimes when expectations are set, we push ourselves to reach them and thus are successful, but when some expectations are too high, disappointment is usually the main result.

Being a junior in high school with very involved parents, I have had first had experience with expectations. Of course every parent has expectations for their child- have manners, be kind, get good grades, make a difference- but to be completely and utterly honest, there are many times when I feel like the expectations that my parents have for me are the reason of my unhappiness. I spend so much time trying to live up to what they want, that I don’t do what I want- what makes me happy. There is no doubt that they only want what is best for me, but at the end of the day to truly be happy, the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.

Recently in English class, in preparation for the upcoming AP exam, we read an essay prompt that was a father’s letter to his son. In this letter, the father (Lord Chesterfield) writes about how important reputation and knowledge are. He expects his son to be the best of the best because his son reflects his parents.

While reading through this letter filled with expectations, I couldn’t help but think about a recent event that occurred that dealt with expectations in my own life.

 

The March SAT scores were recently released and well, to be frank, I didn’t do as well as I- or my parents- anticipated. My score dropped by 70 points from the last time I took the test and I was quite disappointed in myself. However, my parents’ disappointment was much more than mine. After crying through a gruesome lecture about how much better I could have done and what I should have done instead of apparently “wasting my time on frivolous things”, I laid in bed reflecting on these expectations my parents held for me.

In some weird way, my expectations encompass my parents’ expectations for me. They want me to be successful in any and every manner, and as do I. However, I also want to show them that I am capable of the things they tell me I’m not good enough for. I want to say “Remember when you lectured me about not doing something good enough? Well look what I can do now.” I want to prove that I am good enough to surpass their expectations. But other times I want to prove that I don’t have to live up to their expectations to be happy or successful. The bottom line is that: it’s all up to me.

How hard I want to work for something, how hard I want to push myself, that’s up to me. The only way I can be happy with my results is if I work for myself and myself only. I have to work to make me happy.

Go out and make your own expectations. Ones that you will be proud to reach. Ones that will show the world how good you are. It’s your life, so live it well.

-Kim

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You Are Never Alone

Even on your worst day, even when you feel like everything is falling apart, and even when you feel like nothing is going your way, know that you are not alone. There are millions of people out there that are going through something similar; we are a lot more alike than we think.

We all share similar struggles, sure every battle is unique to the person, but we can relate. No one’s life is perfect, no matter how hard they try. Bumps along the road are inevitable. But as you get over those bumps, there are people right along side you.

In Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, the Joad family is kicked off there farm that they have had for generations and are forced to take a long journey to California in hopes that life will be better over there. On this long and difficult journey, they are not alone however. They have company from the Wilson family and meet new people at every rest stop. The truly beautiful thing is that all these struggling families worked together to help the other family as best they could. “Twenty families became one family, the children were children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream.” They faced their struggles together, and were able to overcome them as one.

Whenever you feel alone, remember that no matter what you are going through, someone out there is going through the same thing. You are never alone. Don’t give up.

-Kim

Infinite Limits

I’m sure plenty of other students in my AP English class have talked about the “DIY” or “Do-It-Yourself” project.  They have probably covered all of its bases and discussed how it expresses freedom or how it has no boundaries.  But for me?  This is different.  It’s a project to finally show who I am as an individual.  Many times in these past few years of high school have proved to me that I’m not the most intelligent student nor am I the worst student.  I’m just there.  I’m in AP and Honors classes, I’m a hard-worker, but I simply consider myself to be the Average Joe.  But, this DIY Project?  This has shed a new light towards me.  I am finally given the opportunity to show my teacher who “Nick” really is.  A test or a piece of paper with multiple choices won’t define who I am.  This project truly exceeds the branches that entangle me from earning a good grade in my respective class.  This breaks the walls.  Past the walls is an area unknown to me and a place that I have never been to before.  The only thing that will be heard will be my voice and the only thing to be accepted are my actions.

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This project just isn’t for my AP English 3 class.  It’s also a precedent that challenges all of you to not necessarily forget about your schoolwork and grades, but to just remember to stay yourself and remember that you are you at the end of all of this.  A grade will not change who you are as a person and will definitely not change your life as much as you think it will.  Break these limits.
– Nick

Come at me, Death.

Imagine yourself walking to meet your death, or what might be your death. Your palms start to sweat and you feel like you might pass out, but you still keep going because you have to. In All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul and his comrades must go and fight on the Western front in World War I. Before they reach the front of the battle, they see at least one hundred coffins that are stacked up in an old school house. The coffins remind the soldiers of the harsh reality, that there is a large chance that they may die during the fight. However, the chilling thoughts do not stop Paul and his troops, they simply accept that fact and keep going.

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They keep going, much like how Jaime Sullivan from A Walk to Remember keeps living  her life the best she can, even though she knows she has little time left. Jaime realizes that since she has little time left, she should spend it wisely and she shouldn’t dwell on  “what could have been”. She stays strong and with the help of Landon Carter she makes her last moments, her best moments. Jaime does everything she can to continue helping others and she remains to believe in God and his plan for her.

I greatly admire the bravery and strength of  Paul, his comrades, and Jaime. They all face and conquer the idea of death in such a way that makes the concept of dying look like something you should not fear. Although all these characters probably were scared deep inside, they didn’t show it, they masked the fear with faces of determination and  courage. Paul, the soldiers, and Jaime are just like us, except their call to death was much earlier than ours is (hopefully). Everyone faces death, it is something unavoidable. We never know which breath will be our last, so why not make the most out of our lives?  Find something you are passionate about and pursue it because if you have nothing to live for, you will die for nothing.  Paul and his friends lived to protect the ones they love and Jaime lived for love. I live for my family, friends, and for helping people.

Carpe diem, seize the day. Make your life worth living and make it so that when you look back at what you did, what you believed in, and what you stood up for… you are proud of it. Don’t live your life to impress and to please others, you have to live it for yourself. You have to do what you love and what you want to do because you only get one life (yes, Y.O.L.O.) and it would be a waste to not live it for yourself. By saying that you should make the most of your life, I don’t mean go out and do something crazy that you will regret later, I mean do things that will benefit you (and others) and will help you grow as a person. Go out and live your life to the fullest, whether you know when your time will end or not. Life is a beautiful thing, don’t pass it up.

-Kim