Whenever something significant is about to change in our lives, I think we expect that change to be reflected in ourselves. We expect to start acting accordingly; differently at least, if not better. Even though it's obvious that this expectation almost never pans out, it's still mildly surprising to realize that despite nearly every element within your life being in the throes of a complete transformation, you yourself are pretty much staying the same. It's unsettling. It's illogical. It's disorienting. And above all, it gives you the chance to think things over, try to start afresh. So here's to endings, beginnings, and everything in between - summer's really here, and everything in my life but myself is changing. Here we go.


contrast and compare

I confess: I Googled "[my name] needs", like the impressionable young facebook note reader that I am. As long as that's out in the open now, here are some of my favorites.

Alexandra needs:

  • to buy a tooth
  • a dose of reality-inducing drugs
  • a pony, people
  • a wonderful worm farm
  • to eat a couple apples herself
  • a batmobile to get herself out of a jam
  • a tad bit of help
  • 4 body guards at all times
  • a magic carpet


racing like a pro

I am finally, utterly, and completely DONE with AP's!!!

You cannot imagine the relief this brings. Well, actually, if you took AP courses, you can. But still.

Congrats to all the survivors, and my apologies to CollegeBoard for the hideously incompetent and irrelevant free response essays given by our class on the bio exam. It wasn't our fault, I promise.

One iced latte and three mindless books later, I'm already pretty comfortable with this new state of guiltless existence. Amazingly, my mind is still in some state of alertness, or at least enough to spark an interesting debate at my dinner table. Whoops. I guess only the controversial, snarky brain cells are left. So here goes.

Today, a local Catholic private school hosted a senior presentation. During this lengthy event, every student in the senior class was required to make a half-hour speech of sorts to a board of school, church, and community members. They had to conduct detailed research on several topics, including their own family genealogy and a political or social event. They had to tie in what they have learned during the course of their high school career with the teachings and dogma of Catholicism and Christianity. They had to present in full detail their community service they performed and how that was linked to their faith. A final component of the project was a candid discussion about how their Catholic-based education affected them and how their views on it changed over the years. From what I gather, there were more parts of the presentation, including a question-and-answer session with the community panel.

My initial impression was one of a rigid, religion-infused private school forcing upon their senior class a highly regimented and biased dissertation. I'm a little skeptical still, to be honest; I have trouble believing that students raised in such a tightly-monitored environment, immersed in religion, could present a fully independent and free thinking statement in such detail and openness. Would a Catholic school really condone or allow a student to present on something like gay marriage, assisted suicide, or female circumcision? I really didn't think so, and I still have my doubts.

Don't get me wrong here; my intent is not to imply that a school system based on religion and faith is incapable of producing open-minded or tolerant adults, nor that it does nothing for students but smother independent thinking. Religion is a point of the beginning of questioning and development of opinions for many individuals.

The point that raised doubt in my mind was the question of whether or not the students initially entered the school of their own free will. At this specific Catholic institution, sixth graders can choose either to diverge from private school and enter the public school system or to remain in Catholic school. My question lies in the timing of this significant decision. If a sixth grader has been raised in a certain religious environment thus far, and has therefore not known of, been fully educated of, or experienced other forms of faith, how exactly do they make this call for themselves? I am inclined to think that, rather than deciding due to the convictions instilled in them by their religious upraising, they would choose based on other factors. A sixth grader cannot reasonably be expected to have the ability to maturely and thoroughly examine their faith, analyze their beliefs, and decide whether or not to continue in their search for religious knowledge by attending a religious private school. They more likely will make a decision based on which of their friends are attending public school, or how intense their dislike of the school uniform is, or rumors about the quality of public school cafeteria food.

So have these students really had a fair shot at a choice? And do they now, presenting their ideas in front of their community? I wonder whether or not some students feel obliged to assume a certain opinion or bias because they feel committed to the institution they chose to remain in, not because of their own personal beliefs. Personally, I would not be eager to present opinions conflicting with the very core teachings of the Catholic faith to a board consisting of the clergy and my Catholic school teachers. Will their religion-rooted opinions change once they enter the collegiate world? What if they attend a Jesuit institute? Will this (theoretical) obligation be perpetuated?

It's not fair to condemn Catholic school and associated institutions as being restrictive instruments of assimilation, but I think it's important to consider the effect this immersion in religious belief could have on students' opinions. Because although I have not personally experienced a Catholic school upbringing, I believe it undoubtedly has some effect.


if winter ends

Finally, I have entered the last stretch of senior year. Two more exams, a presentation, and a few papers are all that are standing between me and my freedom from high school. A little bit of work, a few more weeks of effort, and I'm clear. After that comes my break with the ridiculously confined world that is high school, which I've been living in for at least the past four years. That is much too long, I think, and I'm more than ready to have a fresh start. Summer is going to be hectic. It's going to be monopolized by work and college preparations, but at least I'll gain that extra ounce of liberation from simply knowing that I never have to go back to high school. There'll be at least 2 concerts that I'm headed to, bonfires, long runs, and drive-in nights. There will be 3 AM conversations that result in unfortunate instances of slightly broken furniture, trying to do headstands, or listening to the Backstreet Boys. There will be scorching hot blacktop and rainy, grey days. I can't wait.