Category Archives: School

Five Years?!

July 11, 2011.

I can’t remember what I was doing that day – but according to WordPress, I posted an ‘about me’ on this page. AKA I started “ceaseless serendipity” (first known as ‘Girl Meets World’), five whole years ago!

Wow… what was I doing five years ago? So much has happened. Five years ago, I was in high school. I was having a… rough patch. High school wasn’t easy, and to be honest, I was mostly doing things on my own. I still consider myself to be fairly independent, but now I have the most amazing friends, and I’m graduating from college in a few months. 2016 must have seemed so far away. Who would’ve thought I would be here now, right?

As an education major, I feel like I am obligated to do a then vs. now Venn Diagram. So here it is: What my life was like five years ago (the then) and today (the now).

venn-diagram

#comicsans

Two and a half years ago (a half-way marker), I was enjoying college and life in general: I was just beginning a summer internship at an orphanage in China, enjoying life, and about to begin my sophomore year in college – my personal favorite year, in my opinion. Now, I am thankful to be able to still enjoy the same college with many of the same friends I made freshman year. A lot has changed, but some things remain the same!

In my Venn Diagram, I forgot to include epilepsy (my seizures) – but I’ll leave that for another time. However, I’ll try to get a post in before the end of the month – November is epilepsy awareness month! woot woot! Another honorable mention: I’m teaching, for real! No, I don’t have my own classroom, but I am in schools, teaching kindergarteners. Now THAT is awesome! Also I’m still incredibly awkward.

Not everything that happens in life is awesome and worth having a party or blog post about. I get that – things like that have happened to me. For me, I process things by journaling: seeing them on paper (or a computer screen) makes craziness in life not that crazy, because they’re sitting on paper and not circling in my head. There are many of ways to process things that work much better for others, but that’s what’s good for me. I wonder about the readers of this blog – YOU! I know I don’t have a lot of readers, but I know a lot happens in your life. It’s not just me that is awkward and indecisive …right? In the grand scheme of things, five years isn’t that long. But it’s not all about me here – I’m sure a good amount of things happened in five years for you, too! I would love to hear about them in the comment section 🙂 Anyways: if the going is tough for you right now, know that sometimes you just have to wait it out… for a long time. Like, a REALLY long time – it might be more than five years. Read: good times are a’comin. 🙂

 

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So, what’s been going on in Margaret’s life? Well, glad you asked.

I’m still going strong with The Office. (Jim and Pam all the way!)

I don’t have a ‘home church’ yet – I’m still ‘church-hopping’: going from church to church on Sundays, seeing which one I like best. It’s hard to chose because there are things that I like and things that I don’t like about each church, and sometimes the things I don’t like outweigh the things I do. I’ll end up at a good one, though!

I need to do laundry, a lot more often. I could probably be doing laundry now, matter of fact. I have some really dirty clothes that I need to wash! But why would I want to do laundry when I have the option of blogging at watching The Office? Priorities… sometimes they need a little straightening. But sometimes, they’re alright.

One big (well, one big and one mini) change I’ve made is my conversion to the Paleo diet (at least, for the next month). Basically the Paleo diet cuts out everything that had to get processed to get to you. This includes all rye, wheat and barley: gluten-y bread, pasta, cereal, and so on – which also cuts out a good deal of carbs. So no grains or processed foods. But! What I appreciate is that you eat whenever you’re hungry (as in, you’re not counting calories or other things), and you can eat whatever meat you want (so long as it isn’t dripping in syrup). You eat when you’re hungry, until you’re full. A simple, but good rule to live by. This link explains it a lot more in-depth.

I made a previous post about my seizures. And, as it turns out, I had one the other day. Sometimes it takes hard times to find out how much people care about you. My roommate and RA, for example. My roommate is seriously the best. She stayed up with me, called the GoPo (Gordon Police, some of whom are trained EMTs) when she felt the time was right, and took care of me in all the ways that she could. My RA, too. She wiped the blood off my face, bought me orange juice, copied her math notes for me, wrote my Bible verses. I love the people in my life, and I couldn’t be more thankful for them. For the headache I had the next day, people were totally understanding and a lot of people asked if they could do anything for me. Did I mention I love my friends? Not only that, but the day following my seizure, I took my Chinese language placement exam. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do on it, because my head hurt and I was tired and ready to not take an exam. But I did anyways… and passed! All the levels. Thank you Jesus!

My classes are doing well in general. Friday, I didn’t have a lot of work to do, but by the end of Friday, I have more than enough to work my tail off. My one class on Tuesday was cancelled. Instead of meeting in person, we had a whole-class group discussion online, where we posted our projects and commented on each one. Trying to find that article was stressful, and making sure it posted and followed up right even more so, but it ended up okay. Things usually have this way of ending up okay.

picstitch

New England autumn is one of the best things ever!

53. Roommate relationships

54. Dinner dates

55. My RA

56. Pillow talk

I typed this up and meant to publish it about a week ago. For some reason that didn’t happen… maybe I was waiting for a creative title to strike me. Well, better late than never!

Good to be home!

You know that feeling when you get home, and things just feel right in the world? Even if there’s a lot going on, once you return home (generally after a period of being away), you feel – well, back home. For me at least, it’s a mix of return to normalcy, nostalgia, anticipation, and just plain happiness. After a year at Gordon, the return experience has been all of that and more. That’s not to say I miss my home in Virginia, because I do. I get the same feeling there, but there, I’m returning to nostalgia and family – there, I’m returning to so much more anticipation. It’s great. It’s had its ups and downs which would take too long to get into if got into every detail, but all I can say is that it’s good to be home.

I live in a new dorm now – Ferrin Hall. There are a lot of freshmen on my floor (our dorms are mixed years), and it’s been fun giving them advice, giving them the down-low. One of the biggest pieces of advice I would give to freshmen would be this: college will be home. You might as well expedite the process by making friends and reaching out instead of staying in and Skyping home. By the end of the year, you’ll miss school. Do your best to miss it now.

On another note, my new classes have started well. I’m taking a variety of classes, including but not limited to: paddle boarding for my PE credit, a philosophy class (I wouldn’t be taking it if it wasn’t required!), and math (haven’t taken that in a while!). However… there is one class, Disabilities and the Young Child, that could very well be the death of me. I haven’t taken a methods class, which teaches you how to plan, create, and use and lesson plan – and how to teach in general. Which is a problem, because I’m going to have to do all of that (without the prior knowledge of how to do so). Oh, and it’s too late to drop courses. I just emailed my professor and my advisor, who should help me out a little in this regard. eek… Well, whatever happens, I’m just glad to be home.

Roommates

My fantastic and beautiful new roommate, Emma!

49. An amazing roommate

50. A wonderful floor and RA

51. Classes

52. Smiles

18 Things I Learned in College

As it’s finals week and I’m busy finishing up the year, I’ve decided that I’m going to make a list of the things I have learned in college. I’ve learned a lot, and I’d like to share some of it with you. 

1. Age/grade doesn’t really matter anymore

This is a wonderful fact. Get on it as soon as possible. Don’t take it as my okay to attempt to hook up with that cute guy over there, but as an opportunity to expand your horizons and friend group beyond your grade level. Trust me: college is a whole new playing field, and the petty groups of high school are (or at least, should be) no longer. You are no longer contained to your graduating class, so get excited to make lots of friends. 🙂

2. Class time matters. 

If you go to a private school like mine, you pay about $400 a class. Go to class: it helps you get into a routine, learn the information firsthand for when you have things like tests, and just be a better person and student. College is a school, after all.

3. Procrastination is a choice

If you decide to put something off, you’ve decided to do that – just as much as if you’ve decided to do it right away. I suggest doing the latter as much as possible.

4. The freshman 15 challenge is real.

Get a scale (so you can track how much weight you don’t want to gain), and make an effort towards physical exercise. Trust me: you don’t think you can gain 15 pounds until you do.  Tip: Teamwork makes the dreamwork. Work out with friends.

5. Amazon and slugbooks.com are God’s gifts to the college student

On Amazon, get all your cheap stuff like all. those. books. for those literature classes. On Slug Books, find the best places to buy/rent your textbooks that you’ll need for the more advanced classes. By and large, though, you won’t want to rent from your school’s bookstore – it’s much cheaper to buy on Amazon or find on Slug Books.

6. Naps were meant to be taken

If you are tired, need a break, whatever… find your happy place. Take a nap.

7. You make your own choices

Your parents aren’t around to tell you what to do anymore. Obviously. So, for better or for worse, you have to make these rules for yourself. Chose wisely, you’ll probably thank yourself for a good balance later. Just because you tell yourself that you’ll have a curfew of midnight doesn’t mean you’re not going to have any fun. You have to understand that you’re going to make your own choices, and those choices should suit you and your lifestyle goal. If you want to make a habit out of getting wasted on weekdays, your choices and lifestyle will reflect that. If you decide to be different and turn down a couple invitations, that’s your choice – and again, your lifestyle will reflect that.

8. Your college experience is determined by the choices you make

This is a biggie. The choices in friends, the choices in work ethic, the choices of time management – they all determine your college experience. Make good choices, and your time will be wonderful. Make not-so-good ones, and you can end up regretting some of those things that you thought were great at the moment.

9. An all-nighter does not equate to work being done all night

I don’t pull all nighters, but when I almost do, I do homework for about four of the six extra hours I’m up. Maybe. Be smart – don’t make those choices. And when you do have to pull an all-nighter or something similar, take out all distractions.

10. Finding a stress reliever – something or someone that will help you get the stress out – is important

Journal. Talk it out. Exercise. Find a friend. All of the above. Find something that will relieve stress – because you’re going to have a lot of it, and it’s important that you find the right ways to process it.

11. Be friends with everyone. Especially people in higher places.

I’m not trying to say everyone is going to be your best friend and you’re always going to be buddy-buddy with them. But relationship and conversational skills are important, and can help you out when you need it. Making friends with a lot of people can turn out to be useful later. When you are friends with people of higher rank, they can advocate for you. Besides, being a nice person really has no downside.

12. High school friends fade out of the picture

Sorry to break it to you, but your high school friendships aren’t going to stay as strong as you probably have hoped. Your daily FaceTimes will turn to weekly ones, and those weekly ones are going to turn into text exchanges every now and then, which will turn into meeting up once in a while on breaks when you get the chance. You’ll still be friends, but you and your friends will change significantly during college – your relationships will reflect that.

13. You can’t do everything, so don’t try to!

I think this is one of the biggest mistakes that freshmen make. College is new and exciting, for sure – but you have four years to do it all. So many people try to do everything: watch movies, stay up late, hang out with all these new friends, do well in school, get off campus – within the first few weeks that they have no time to themselves. It’s all gone. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that you do not, in fact, have to do everything. You also have four years. Your friends are in school as well – they should understand if you say no once in a while.

14. When you working hard and/or stressed, take a break. You will get it done.

But only when you’ve been working hard and/or are stressed. Breaks whenever are wasting time, breaks when you’ve been going hard are constructive.

15. Nobody cares what you’re wearing at 8AM.

8AMs shouldn’t need much more than a 20 minute preparation time period. Well, maybe you have to shower. Then you might want to wake up a little earlier. The point is, at 8AM, the people there aren’t awake enough to hate on what you look like or what you’re wearing. Waking up at 6:30 is just not necessary. Take advantage of the fact that you don’t have to wake up the same time you had to for high school!

16. Make commitments priorities

This can be accomplished through using your calendar on your phone, planner, wall, whiteboard, whatever. The point is, when you say you’re going to do something, make sure you are able to do it – if you’re not sure, let the person know. Not only does this earns you trust and respect from others, it is a good life skill.

17. You will find your caffeine outlet by finals week. 

I came to esspresso during finals week of my first semester, when I had nothing else to turn to after I hit rock bottom, coffee brought me to where I am today. (Kidding. Jesus does that.) Whether it be coffee, diet Coke, really strong tea: a jolt is necessary for the average student to take them to their next level.

18. Finally: time flies. Treasure each moment. I don’t think you will truly understand this until you’ve experienced it firsthand for a few months, but time just goes by so fast it’s unbelievable. I can hardly believe that it’s May of 2014, I’m almost a sophomore – it all ends in two days. Time does things to you, so make the most of it.

Beginning of the End

Times are a’changing. The school year has begun to end, and this has led to several things…

  1. I’M GOING TO COLLEGE!! I will officially be attending a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts this fall. Praise God! Super-thankful. But now to deal with the rest of school, AP exams, and finals… ugh. I’ve promised myself I’d never let senioritis get to me, but I’m slipping and I don’t like it. I’m crawling my way back now, with thoughts of college. College will be exciting, I know it. I won’t hear from my roommate until July (ugh), but that’s alright.
  2. I have a new baby cousin, born December 17! Probably the cutest thing ever. In my extended family (both mom and dad’s side), we have a shortage of girls. Bailey Marguerite is – well, a girl – and a very welcome addition. Not that a boy wouldn’t be welcome, but a girl ’round these parts is treated with a little more sovereignty by me. Although she’s in Kenya right now, Facebook has once again saved the day. (I started this post forever ago, please forgive me! But Bailey is super-cute!)
  3. I gave my testimony in the form of a sermonette at my church’s Youth Sunday – when the youth take over all the aspects of the service for Sunday. Tons of fun. I also sang a song, Tis So Sweet. It’s my favorite hymn and I’d encourage everyone to listen this version, not just because I like it a lot, but because the meaning of the song (and acoustic guitar) is wonderful.
  4. Graduation announcements and the like… that’s when you know your time in high school is coming to an end. At long last.
  5. CHINA this summer. Smog. Babies. Dumplings. It’s all coming! (I haven’t written on China in a long time. But I will soon enough!)

Are there things that are ending, or beginning, in your life – or just beginning to end? I’d love to know.Without much further ado, let the end begin.

“Graduation is only a concept. In real life, every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference.” -Arie Pencovici

On Bad Teachers

I have a teacher that I will call Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith is a geosystems teacher. Mr. Smith is a bad teacher – and unfortunately mine. Those are the main details, you can go to anywhere else on the Internet now, since you know the main details. But you may want to stick around for my vent. Okay. Mr. Smith is not just a bad teacher, he is a teacher of wretched proportions. He’s everything you want your teacher not to be, and yet, here he is – my geosystems teacher. Let me go into the details.

  1. These problems listed below are huge. But I don’t think this one annoys me more than any other: the fact that he doesn’t create or really know anything that he gives us. For example – the other day, I went up to him for a question. We are treated like an experiment – he gives a lecture, sees our test results (we SUCKED so he took out questions he thought ‘weren’t that good’), and decides to not lecture next unit. So in this unit, on plate tectonics, we were given a PowerPoint print-out for us to read and a lab (labs in my geosystems class consists of a set of information and questions that follow pertaining to the information). As I said before, I’ve always had the gut feeling – along with several others – that he didn’t make any of the PowerPoints or the labs or the handouts – he just had it easy. I had a question on the lab, so I went up to him and asked him if he could help me. He had to read the question first. It was clear that he had never, ever read it. He wasn’t sure what the answer was, and after thinking a while, he gave me a half-answer. Basically, he didn’t know what the answer was to his own question.
  2. His favorite words/phrases are “zap”, “…and all that stuff”. He described Earth as “big-ass”. When asked about how we knew what the Earth’s interior was made of and how deep the layers were, he said that “We’re constantly zapping stuff down in there and it bounces back up so that we know. But we also don’t really know because it’s all a theory.” Really, Mr. Smith. Really. Scientific evidence is not a theory. Plate tectonics and Pangea can be, but this is clearly not. On the subject of plate tectonics, Mr. Smith was asked about how we know where the lines are. He answered with, “They’ve zapped wavelengths across the Atlantic Ocean.” Really. In case you didn’t already know, it is physically impossible to “zap a wavelength.”
  3. His language. As I mentioned before, Mr. Smith described Earth as “big-ass”. Teachers should not be using that kind of language, although it can be argued that it’s one of the ‘less-bad’ curse words. However, it gets worse. When a vice-principal was coming to observe him teaching, he said to us, “Mrs. Miller will be coming here to observe, so you better not have your phones out, or she will snatch that s**t out of your hands.” Not even kidding, he said that. It doesn’t stop there. Somehow the Twilight movies came up one time when he was talking to the class, and he told us when he was watching the first Twilight movie with his wife, when he saw Edward pull of his shirt and sparkle, he was said, “he’s f***ing glittering!” out loud in the movie theater to heads turning. Except he repeated it without any hesitation, regret, or asterisks.
  4. He plays favorites. This gets on my nerves all. The. Time. He’s a coach. I don’t have a problem with coaches. However, you run across some coaches and gym teachers every now and then that missed out on their chance and now coach – Mr. Smith reminds me of this kind of teacher, since you have to teach at a school to be a school coach. (My question is, why can’t you just coach an outside-of-school sport team? Seriously, if you’re this bad a teacher, just do something else.) So, he’s buddy-buddy with his sports friends. He laughs with the girl on the track team and her friends. He calls the football players (along with some of his other favs) by their last names. And it drives me crazy. He doesn’t change grades in favor (I sure hope not, at least…) of them, but he acts like he’s the one of them – and not ‘one’ with the rest of everyone else.

So, my question is this: Should I tell a principal about this? Is it that big of a deal? Or should I keep it to myself, be annoyed, and be satisfied with my grade (it’s a B – okay, but I should be able to do better – then again, I’m high above the class average)?

“Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.” -Andy Rooney

Faults in our Stars

They say our stars fell into place as soon as we were born. We had a plan from day one – and our stars can tell us the exact way that things will be. Everything happens for a reason, and we’ll figure it out. But what if one day, you look up at the sky and say, “this was definitely not how it was meant to be.”

I want to be a teacher. Teachers, to me, are a light in the world. They have the opportunity to shape children or young adults in the way they should go, and honestly, I can’t think of many better professions. Actually, I can’t think of a better profession for myself. If you read some of my first posts (and the ones categorized in China), you can kind of tell that there’s something a little off there. I recognize that. I really love children, and I fell in love at New Day. Babies poop and cry; toddlers cry and beg, but I just love them anyways. Their cuteness trumps any of the annoying stuff they carry with them. It was hard for me to choose exactly what age, but I decided on the very young school-age: 4 – 5 year-olds. Gotta love ’em – no, can’t help but love them.

I go on missions trips. I posted twice about going to Philadelphia, and I was told several times that you couldn’t get a decent education unless you enrolled in a private school. I was, in a way, shocked. Nobody should have to go to a private school. And with the poverty I saw around me, there were going to be a ton of kids in a terrible public school system. I also went to New Orleans – that place touched me. Though it was two years ago, I remember several of the people there, and the poverty there stuck. It came back into my mind as I Philadelphia’s poverty clashed with their school systems. I had to do something. I’m going to be a teacher, right?

I’m applying to college. Luckily for me (and as you’ve probably figured out already), I’ve already figured out my major: early childhood education. I’ve got it all lined up – my plan to change the world: I get my bachelor’s, and teach for a while. I go to urban areas and teach there, and try to reform schools. (This is the fuzzy part in my plan…) When I feel the time is ripe, I go to grad school (maybe, maybe not), and become a higher-up teacher who can make some real changes – if I haven’t made any already as a regular teacher.

I’m having some trouble. If you read my previous posts, my grades dropped – and they dropped low. To the point where my junior year’s grades (much better) couldn’t make up for the two years I had missed. I’m going to spill the beans here: I currently have a 2.8 GPA. If any of you know the high school academics game/college process, you know that below a 3.3 is reason to raise eyebrows. And below a 3.0, that is reason to be alarmed. And I have all these plans… I don’t know exactly what happened, but my stars have seemed to have a little jam session while I was talking with my counselor about my transcript. My counselor actually told me that my ‘safety school’ had a too-high GPA for me, and I should start looking into some other schools. I still want to be a teacher.

Now I have to decide between one college and another. And not just decide “Which one am I going to, because I’ve been accepted to both?”, but “Which can I apply to so that I can get the best shot at the one that I want the most?” Yeah, well, I don’t know which one I want most, and you can’t apply early decision to all schools, and only one of them has early action. I’ve decided on some “alone time”, not only because I think that it’s the best way to make huge decisions such as this, but also because that a couple hours at Panera (across the way from Starbucks) would be lovely on the day of no-PSAT’s (thank goodness for being a senior, right?)

I know that my ‘stars’ got messy on me. And I know that it seems impossible – yes, impossible! – to get into a school where the average GPA is 3.7 and to keep working your tail off for the next for years at “where your best isn’t good enough since 1876”. But I can still try, right? Gordon College – 3.6. Yeah, it’s tough. I think – and would like to try my hand at trying some. I’d like to tell them that my stars & past aren’t who I am, it’s the me that’s applying.

“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably based towards consciousness, that it required intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed.” -John Greene, The Faults in Our Stars