Tag Archives: school

Does This GPA Make My Ivy League Application Look Fat? (College Post #2)

AP Bio: the bane of my existence.

AP Bio: the bane of my existence.

An A- isn’t an A, just like failure isn’t success. If you can’t push yourself to manage family, extracurricular activities, and academics, you need to reevaluate your sense of self-worth. If you can’t resist the temptation of that romance novel five feet away from you, you do not deserve dinner today. These are some of my thoughts from the past few years, and if you’re a high school student, I can guess one of yours: if I don’t get into a good college, then I’m not smart. I’m not successful. I’ve failed. Continue reading

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Spring Break!

I haven’t posted in over a week. Now that I have a week of spring break to recuperate, here’s a quickie to keep my imaginary readers all of you guys updated.

If you're tempted to swim in it, let me tell you: you are not alone.

A running river near my friend’s cabin. If you’re tempted to swim in it, let me tell you: you are not alone.

For the past few days I stayed with a friend and his family in their cozy cabin without internet access or cell phone service. Continue reading

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Teaching, Money, and Making A Difference

One of my favorite essays I wrote freshman year about the film An Education. Writing it was one of the happiest moments in high school.

One of my favorite essays I wrote freshman year about the film An Education. Writing it was one of my happiest moments in high school.

It’s all about money.

That’s what my mom taught me. She’s taught me that if I can get an SAT score in the 99th percentile and a GPA that puts me in the top 10% of my class, I should be a doctor or a lawyer. She’s instructed me that success is measured by my income, the costliness of my car, and the economic value of my home. She’s told me that she will only be proud of me if I can surpass her and my father in the amount of money I make.

Here’s a secret: I feel safer at school than I feel at home. Continue reading

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Positive Discrimination (AKA, Why Affirmative Action Should Be Banned)

If the Supreme Court decides for gay marriage and against race-based affirmative action, my 2013 will be made.

I’m sure anyone who has read my blog for more than a week knows how I feel about gay marriage. Affirmative action, on the other hand, I haven’t addressed. Maybe it’s because I’m in the midst of college admissions season, or maybe it’s because I’m feeling frustrated from a lack of sleep, but the absolute unfairness of affirmative action – and the fact that so few are saying anything about it – drives me to publish this post.

I hear people say all the time that race-based affirmative action is supposed to ameliorate past injustices. That’s almost completely inaccurate – instead of healing past wounds, it’s opening new ones. Statistics show that Asian-Americans, and to a lesser extent, Caucasians, are disadvantaged in the college admissions process solely because of their race. Continue reading

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A is for Admission by Michele Hernandez

Cover via newlatina.net.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I finished this in four hours. I read it in August, as a rising senior with college applications waiting to be started – what I can I say?

While I can confidently say that I had a roughly accurate idea of how admissions worked, this book refined some of my beliefs and heightened others that I already held. The academic index and the finer details regarding parental involvement/guidance counselor/teacher recommendations were intriguing. It would help if all of those involved in the admissions process possessed a good grasp of the concepts presented in this guide.

I was worried that this book would focus too much on how to get high SAT or scores or how to superficially solidify my application. Continue reading

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Personal Update: Summer’s Closing

It’s been awhile since I’ve published a post about nothing in particular. Dear diary, here I come!

Currently, it is the morning of August 25, 2012. That means that in ten days (or, the morning of the September 4, I can’t do math) I’ll be back in school. Where has this summer gone? Continue reading

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Oh Thomas, Where Art Thou?

Hi everyone! So this is just one of those spur-of-the-moment diary-type posts I’ve decided to write simply to inform everyone why I haven’t been updating regularly.

You see, I have been battling these pesky little things called “exams”. And they’re winning. I have six major exams coming up in the next two months, and that’s excluding my final exams for the courses I’m taking in school. Typical junior year problems, I’m aware. The good thing about this is that now I can truthfully tell people that I’m busy instead of fabricating lies that I have friends.

Just wanted to let you guys know the reason why I’ve been busy so that you won’t assume I’ve abandoned you to go off and play with my fictional friends for no reason. In the mean time I’ll be responding to comments and messages from this blog and hopefully squeezing in a post or two. But, as I wrote in a post awhile ago,  I gotta keep my priorities straight, right?

If anyone has any questions for me, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or via a message. I apologize in advance for those who are angry that they’ve received an update for a new post when in reality they only got this sad excuse for a… anyway, I’m going to go do homework now. Bye!

Edit: I forgot to mention that I got my acceptance letter for a pretty prestigious program in the mail this week. I get to go study at a college over the summer, woo! And I have acquired some other minor awards too. Good stuff, good stuff. I hope everyone else has had a good week and will have an even better one starting on Monday!

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Should Students Be Paid To Get Good Grades?

This topic – whether students should receive payment for obtaining good grades – came up in my Psychology class a few months ago, and it got me thinking.

I’m not the brightest guy on the block, but when it comes to academics, I admit that I do decently. So if someone were to propose to me a plan in which I would receive money for my straight A’s and cash for my SAT score, why not? In this economy, any amount could go a long way. As a high school junior, college is coming up for me in a couple of years, and it’s not like the cost of tuition is becoming cheaper. But while one may be saving for future expenses by receiving money for their academic achievements, they could be losing something far more important in the process – their intrinsic motivation. Continue reading

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I am Homework, Hear Me Roar

My handy-dandy agenda book, which I use to record all of my deepest and darkest secrets... I mean, my homework.

If it weren’t for rain, I wouldn’t be writing this.

No, really. Here in Virginia we received so much rain yesterday the streets flooded and no one could go anywhere – including school buses. The Facebook statuses stating some variation of “No school! lawlz!” were innumerable.

I guess you could say I’m happy about it. After all, having an extra day off allows me to catch up on blogging and book reviewing, reading, working out, etc. I must apologize once again for the infrequent posts, school has taken over my life so I won’t be updating as much as I used to. I know what you’re thinking: now how will Thomas release all of his teenage angst? Hm…

Back to the subject. I have a love/hate relationship with homework. Here’s the hate aspect:

Math is like my kryptonite, except without the actual pain and stuff.

And yet, despite how much time it consumes and the headache it causes (I’m looking at you, Precalculus w/Trig Honors), I’ve kind of come to… appreciate, homework. Before you chase me out of town with your pitchforks, let me explain why.

Humans crave routine. It’s been proven. I’m human. That isn’t proven, but chances are it’s true. Therefore, I crave routine.* The amount of homework I receive requires me to spend hours and hours completing it every day – and when it isn’t particularly difficult, I actually don’t mind it much. Like I’ve listed on Facebook, I enjoy intellectually stimulating activities. Besides, homework is a piece of cake compared to what other people have to endure on a daily basis.

So what I’m saying is, now that the first week (er, three days) has gone by, I’ve become acclimated to the workload and accustomed to completing it from day to day. Not having school today threw me off a little bit, as I now have to check blackboard (an online site for teachers to communicate with their students) and my e-mail for updated homework assignments.

Not like I’m complaining. Now I have time to waste on the internet get ahead on my studies.

What do you think of homework or the tasks you have to complete daily? Is it burdensome or do you enjoy the routine it provides?

*can you name what mathematical property I used to come to the conclusion “I crave routine”? Comment and let me know!

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A Fear of Inadequacy

The sticky note of inadequacy.

I don’t claim to be a perfectionist. I’m just afraid of being inadequate.

Conversation 1:

(in the car)

“Mom: I saw John* at the track the other day.

Me: …

Mom: He was running with the cross country team. That boy works so hard. Remember at the awards ceremony? He got awards in science and math. You didn’t get any awards in science or math. He gets straight A’s too, and he works so hard outside of school. You just sit around all day. Why don’t you do anything?

Me: …

Mom: Remember Amy*, my friend’s daughter? She got accepted to a prestigious private college. She didn’t even go to high school. Why can’t you be more like her? Why can’t you…”

You know that saying that there’s always someone better than you? Ever since Kindergarten I’ve had that saying drilled into my head. Whether it be my brother, my best friend, or my neighbor’s kid, my mom has always negatively compared me to others. She’s done it so many times not only am I afraid of what she’ll do when I fall short, but I punish myself as well.

Conversation 2:

(at lunch)

“Me: Oh my gosh, I got a B+ on the Chemistry test, what am I going to do?

Friend: I got a B on that test. Don’t worry about it, you’ll pull it up like always… wait, why aren’t you eating?

Me: I can’t eat, I have to study. My mom will kill me once she gets the grade report. I have to do better next time. I have to work harder. I have to…”

Last year I received a C on a geometry test. It was the first C I had ever gotten during my high school career. When my teacher handed me the paper, I literally felt like my life was caving in. I know it sounds melodramatic now, but at the time I couldn’t even think about anything other than how angry my mom would be. I immediately asked my teacher to go to the restroom, where I proceeded to lock myself in a stall and cry for fifteen minutes.

Remember this? Hopefully Precalc with Trig Honors won't be too bad this year... (image via benjaminhurt.com)

If you think I’m a crybaby because of that incident, I don’t blame you. After much stress I ended up with an A for the quarter and an A for the course. Looking back on that over-dramatic, teenage-hormone induced moment when I imagined my life was ruined forever, there is one piece of advice I would give myself.

There is always going to be someone better than you, but there’s always someone out there who’s worse than you or worse off than you are. I run the risk of sounding like a snob, but it’s true. After all those years of self-deprecating and living in constant fear of not being the best, I’ve realized that I should be thankful for any and all the opportunities life has given me. I’ve been so self-absorbed in my own insignificant problems that I failed to see just how lucky I am.

My Prince O3 Speedport Black racquet. Oh baby.

Who cares if my mom complains I’m not #1 on the tennis team? At least I made it. So what if she yells at me for not having the highest grade in AP US History? At least I have access to a quality education, unlike a myriad of unfortunate souls elsewhere.

So, from now on, I’m going to try my best to accept my shortcomings and strive to improve them without being too hard on myself. It’s the effort that counts, right?

What do you think of perfectionism? Do you have a fear of failure or know someone that does?

*names changed for the sake of anonymity.

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