Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Woes of High School and Taking the SATs

Oh look! A wild blog post appeared!

What’s that? You’re saying I haven’t posted on this blog in Weeks? Months? Years, even? I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous. I would never neglect my blog for that long.

Anyway, now that school has finally come to a close, I suppose I should start keeping up with my blog posts again. And in honor of school ending, I am here to complain about it.

First of all, I should say that I have several...opinions about high school. And I don’t mean just with the American education system--don’t even get me started on that--I mean with just the ideals of high school in general. Essentially, you have about 8, maybe 9 classes a day, and 8 or 9 different teachers. Now, imagine that each one of these teachers is under the impression that their class is the most important thing in your life and that you have no other classes or obligations to take care of.

So every night, each one of these teachers will assign you about two hours of homework, assuming that you have nothing better to do that night, and, why not, they’ll throw in a test or a quiz that is coming up in say, about a week that they obviously expect you to study every night for. So you end up with several hours of homework that’s going to take up your entire afternoon, plus you probably have some extracurricular activities like sports or clubs to deal with as well. So your choices are to a) do whatever homework you can in the time you have and then take your chances doing the rest during lunch and throwaway classes, b) spend all of you time doing all your homework very carefully and end up staying up until after midnight and leave no time for your own enjoyment, or c) half-ass all your homework so you get it all done but it’s mediocre, and you have a little bit of time left to do your own thing.

So the next day you get to school, attempt to finish whatever homework you didn’t get to before its respective class, and depending on which option you picked, you are either scrambling to get it done, falling asleep in class, or sporting a mediocre grade because of your mediocre homework.

Then it’s rinse and repeat. Day after day after day until suddenly that quiz that your teacher scheduled jumps up and you get a C because you were too busy taking care of your homework and your after school activities to study for it.

Essentially, high school is trying to give us all gray hair before we turn 18. Teenagers should not be stressed out this much.

I’m not saying that it’s always like this, because occasionally you have a few nights with no homework or only a little bit. But not too often.

Also, the majority of these teachers don’t actually understand the meaning of the word “break”. After spending two or three months frantically trying to keep up in all your classes, when winter break comes along you are pretty relieved. Finally you get some time to yourself, some time that you don’t have to spend worrying about what test is coming up or how the grade you have in so and so class is slightly below par. Right? Wrong. Your teachers, assuming that obviously you will have nothing better to do over break, happily assign you projects and essays and dialectic notebooks and the most torturous assignments they can think of, so that you are just as stressed over the break as you are while school is in session.

Not to mention, you are also expected to be “preparing” yourself for SATs so that you can take them your junior year (as if you didn’t have enough to do your junior year, the busiest year of high school) and get a good score. I have a lot of things to say about the SATs. Let’s ignore the fact that the SAT is a standardized Common Core test for now; I don’t think I’ll enter that minefield just yet.

Let’s start with the fact that the SAT is a five hour long test. Yes, five hours. The test starts at 8 AM, and usually runs until about 12:45. Now let me ask you--what teenager is going to perform at his or her best in a situation where he or she has to sit still for five hours straight and stare at a bunch of vague, idiotic questions?

The first time I went to take the SATs, I went in there not realizing how long it was going to be. We had taken PSATs at my school, which was supposed to be like a practice SAT, and it only took about two hours. Then I got to the test, and realized that there were ten test sections to fill out, including the essay. For the first few sections I felt pretty confident and was doing well. But around section 5, I began to get tired. My brain can only handle so much at one time before it totally burns out. And the more exhausted I got, the less I cared, and the madder I got.

Who the hell thought it was a good idea to create a five-hour test, and then force every teenager in the country to take it? As I was pushing through the end of that test, caring less and less about my overall score, I realized that the rest of my life was almost entirely dependent on this test. I mean, for most colleges, your SAT scores are extremely important (since standardized tests are so good at determining your overall intelligence). If your scores aren’t high enough, you probably aren’t getting in. And if you can’t get into college, then I hate to break it to you, but the rest of your life is probably shot.

Yeah, maybe it’s a little melodramatic to say so, but to me sitting there suffering my way through a test that long on a Saturday morning, I was pretty horrified when I started thinking that the rest of my life depended on this test.

And then when you get your scores, if your score is not as good as you wanted it, then not only have you wasted five hours of your precious weekend, but you now have to waste another five hours on a different weekend retaking the test to try and get a better score.

Essentially, I find the whole system ridiculous. But I can’t do anything about it. All I can do is grumble about it and write scathing blog posts.

Now excuse me. I have to go and turn in my AP Spanish homework online by July 28th, or I’ll get a bad grade.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Heart of All Evil Makes iPhones

     Yes, I haven't written in a bit. I was having a bit of writer's block, you see. I didn't know what to write about. Until...

     I was watching the Big Bang Theory on television, and this commercial came on. And once I saw this commercial, it hit me--I knew exactly what I had to write about. And that something is...drum roll hatred of Apple! Hooray!

     But really, this isn't an irrational hatred. I have concrete reasons for believing this company should be stomped into the dirt. The first stems from this commercial that I was talking about. It started with this guy talking to his girlfriend about the new iPhone, and in his hand he's holding another iPhone. His girlfriend says something like, "That sounds great! But it's too bad you just got that one." So they guy throws his phone off the side of the balcony.

     I mean, what the HELL? Those things cost MONEY! Not only is Apple owning up to the fact that they come out with a new phone like, every two weeks, but they are encouraging you to throw your old one away and run out to get the new one as soon as possible. Now what does that say about the human race?

     Of course, that's not the only reason. Apple is completely spoiling our country, and more importantly, the future generations. More than once I've seen little children, first graders, whose parents bought them an iPhone. I didn't get my first phone until the end of seventh grade, and I had to get straight As for it. And it wasn't anything like an iPhone, either. It was a regular phone that sent text messages and took calls. That's IT.

     "But Gabbey," I always hear my friends say, "I still don't see why you hate Apple so much. I mean, iPhones are great!" To this I say, you are wrong.

     This phone I was talking about, the one I got in seventh grade. One time I was horsing around with my sister in the backyard and she pushed me, sending my phone flying out of my hand. It soared through the air then landed on the concrete pool deck, and after that continued to skid a few more feet away before it came to a stop. Apart from a scratch on the back, the phone was fine and continued to work for several years after.

     Now, let's imagine that instead of my durable Samsung phone, I was holding an iPhone. What would have happened? Screen cracks. Phone stops working correctly. I would have needed to get a new phone. And since Apple's consumers never seem to learn, I probably would have gone right out and bought myself another iPhone, only to have it break again in the near future.

     Anyway, that's my rant. Hope you were amused.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nerd Alert: Welcome to the Cave

     What? I didn't post last week? Don't be ridiculous!

     As I said in my last post, I am proud of my dorkiness. VERY proud. To prove exactly how proud I am, I gathered all things I own related to the Legend of Zelda and took many pictures of them to show you. Hooray!

     Just look at all that wonderful nerdiness! That beautiful Hylian shield in the center was created from scratch by my awesome friend Mike. He cut it from wood and painted it as a birthday present for me. Thanks Mike!

     And this is my 3DS version of Ocarina of Time and a genuine Ocarina of Time below it. Sort of. I haven't figured out how to travel through time with it yet.

      Look! A spectacular Skyward Sword poster!

     And of course, my copy of Hyrule Historia. It is such a beautiful book. I really wish I had a glass case for it or something.

     Well, I could go on, but then this post would be way to long. So that's all for now!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hello, Internet!

     Well, I created this blog a little while ago and then didn't know what to put on it, so I guess I'll start with introducing myself. My name is Gabbey, I live in Pennsylvania, and I will be a junior in high school sometime in September.

     I enjoy writing, as demonstrated by the fact that I have a blog, and I am currently revising my fantasy novel called Knight of Time. I've been doing as much of it as I can this summer because I don't have too much time during the school year. I also like acting and singing and I'm always involved in my school theater productions. Not that I ever get big parts. Those go to the upper classmen. The SAME upper classmen every year, I might add. But you know, I'm not bitter or anything.

     But next year I will be an upper classmen, so maybe my luck will change. Aside from that, I also play the viola in my school orchestra. What's a viola, you ask? Never ask me that question again. I hear it way too much. A viola is larger than a violin but still smaller than a cello, and it can play lower notes than a violin can. Not to mention, violas are superior to violins in every way. So there.

     I really do enjoy music though, both playing it and listening to it. What's that? Which of today's bands do I like to listen to? Oh, I see your confusion. When I said "music" I didn't mean the garbage that my generation thinks defines that word nowadays. Sure, there are a few decent modern bands out there, but I'd rather have Blue Oyster Cult, the Moody Blues, or Asia back.

     What else? I'm a bit of a cynic, in case you haven't noticed yet. I'm a HUGE science fiction/fantasy nerd, and PROUD of it. I love Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and if I could marry Doctor Who I totally would. Plus, I'm a complete Zelda dork. You should see my bedroom. You can't escape the Zelda.

     I wasn't into anime and manga until recently, when some of my friends started going through an obsession. Now I'm slowly becoming infected. I've been watching InuYasha and Fruits Basket, but most of all I'm really interested in Yu-Gi-Oh. Don't you scoff at me. It seems like a kids show, and in a lot of ways it is, but that's only because the TV station that adapted it watered it down a lot. If you can get past the lame kid humor and the extensive card games, it's actually a very interesting show. And if you really can't stand it, you should try reading the manga, which is MUCH more adult and does not revolve around card games.

     Anyway, that's probably plenty about me for now, so...until my next blog post, which I suppose will be next week. Saturday is as good a day as any, right?

     Bye! :)