“Teachers don’t fail, only students do”

Here But Still Forgotten

An anticlimactic and disappointing article about Trump was why I first picked up the Boston Globe magazine sitting on my kitchen table, but it left me unsatisfied. To fulfill my want for a good morning read, I continued to flip through the magazine to find the cover story about the future of my state’s standardized test, MCAS. I discussed my opinions on standardized testing in the past so I wasn’t planning on writing this post, but a quote jumped out at me and I just had to respond.

Linda Hanson was introduced as a literacy tutor/teacher for the Arlington schools who applied to the state’s committee for redefining the test. In response to not being selected she offered up this quote “Teachers are the only ones who really can see how students react to the tasks that’s put in front of them. Why would you want to produce something that doesn’t have strong teacher input”? I wholeheartedly agree because this is something I have been saying for years, although I typically argue that students should have the input.

There is a lot of money, time, and effort spent on bettering schools and improving education. Tests are created and recreated constantly; new curriculum is introduced each year, but student input is never asked for. Us students are more aware of our needs than a committee of adults who attended school 30 years ago. Naturally they are stuck in the past, an era of less stress and less tests. A picture from the article shows test creators sitting around a table, 3 out of 6 have white hair. Yet here they are designing more tests because they are blissfully ignorant of the students’ reactions.

It’s almost as if the education board forgets that the students are living, breathing children who don’t want a state test every other month. Not only this, the test questions are scanned by adults who know the material better than the students. How is that fair? If a 59 year old man can answer this question, then surely an 8 year student can as well. It’s impractical and clearly not well thought out.

Yet despite being a test designed solely for children and teenagers, the article focuses primarily on how tests affect educators. But what about the students? A question I’m sure is never asked at these meetings. How are the people most negatively affected by testing forgotten? The students are the ones losing sleep, developing depression and anxiety, learning how to test rather than learning, not eating, becomingly dangerously stressed, and feeling the need to cheat.

Students continue to be forgotten and left behind although they are the ones most affected. It’s tragic.

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Like Versus Love

I love music.

Ask me 10 things I like and I’ll say things along the lines of: ice cream, the TV show Arrow, Avatar, swimming, running etc.

Ask me 10 things I love, and things become more complicated.

There are things that we are supposed to love, like our friends, family, or a sport we’ve played since we were still in the womb, but as time has gone on, I’ve been trying to distinguish the difference between liking and loving, and why exactly we all feel compelled to give often true but very similar answers when asked what it is we love most.

This whole train of ideas started a while back in my school’s advisory when my teacher asked the class whether we would rather be deaf or blind. Now for me, I have always wanted to learn sign language, so I’ve always chosen to be deaf. I’ve been asked this question numerous times and have always been pretty confident in my answer, but I have a friend who always chooses the opposite; she would take blindness any day over losing her ability to listen to music.  

At the time I said something along the lines of “Yeah, I feel that, but I mean, I still wanna see stuff.” (Yes, I know, my eloquence is outstanding, thanks for noticing.) When I think about that now, that I could never hear my favorite songs again, I feel something strange and empty that quite literally hurts my heart. I don’t think I’ve ever gone a day without listening to something, even now as I write this article I have Ludovico Einaudi’s slow, beautiful piano melodies streaming through the speakers on my laptop. Music has been a method of escape for as long as I can remember, whether it be blasting Novocaine by Fall Out Boy to drown out my mother’s lectures, or staring out the window on a rainy day imagining that I’m a character in some sad movie while I listen to Kodaline’s What It Is.

When it’s 1:00 in the morning on a Tuesday and I can’t turn off my brain, I’m listening to Tyler Joseph’s precious voice crack through my headphones. When I’m ready to punch a wall or an obnoxious sixth grader on my bus, my shock over Brendon Urie’s unbelievable vocal range keep my fists by my side.

I guess the point of all these examples is to illustrate that I don’t just like music because it sounds good or it’s fun to dance to, I live through lyrics and my heart beats to the rhythms hammered out on drum sets. Music is more than something to include on the “my interests” part of my profile, It’s something I’m passionate about- something I love.

Acknowledging this made me wonder- what else do I love? What else stirs up indescribable tremors in my chest? I thought about the things that I do that make me excited beyond reason when I talk about, things that are constantly on my mind, things that I can’t imagine living without.

I love writing, I love books, I love to travel and learn languages, I love adrenaline. There are more things to love in my life than I realized. If I’m ever feeling miserable and stressed and I can’t seem to find anything that I want to do- nothing left to do that I like- I picture that feeling of true ease and adoration that I get when I do things I love, and that’s enough of a distraction to pull myself out of that dark space.

I never want to undervalue the importance of ice cream, my favorite TV shows and other things I like, because those can be my little spurts of happiness as I go throughout my day, but it’s the consistency and solidity of those few things I truly love that keep me moving.

I’m still not sure whether I would prefer to be deaf or blind (that practical part of my brain makes choosing too difficult) but I’m glad that I can’t find an answer. There are things I love about my ears and my eyes. At the end of the day, that silly little question sparked an entire wave of ideas about the difference between appreciation and adoration, and I hope that something within this article ignited some thoughts in you. Go on, think, “ponder of something great”, search for that feeling, you’ll know it when you find it; it’s called love.

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Grades Don’t Define Me, Personality Does

Character v. Grades

A couple weeks ago I got a quiz back in Algebra class. As I was flipping through and trying to understand where I went wrong, I noticed that my teacher had added up my points wrong. She accidentally gave me an extra point.

Naturally my first thought was to just leave it, this teacher is unpredictable, honesty might not be the best route. “Thanks for being honest, but I’m still going to subtract the point” is not an answer I wanted to hear. But the more I thought about it, the guiltier I was feeling. I pride myself on being an honest kid, I’ve even convinced myself I’m a bad liar to rid myself of the habit. I didn’t want to break my streak so to say, yet I also wanted to keep my score.

I asked my friend what I should do, because I can’t make decisions for myself, and she of course agreed that my teacher was unpredictable, but also said I should be a good person and be honest. The thing is, usually my grades aren’t my biggest concern, but I didn’t do so hot on my last quiz and it was near the end of the year so there wasn’t much room for second chances.

Now bless my good old friend sitting next to me because she said something that really stuck with me and I think is a great piece of advice. She said to me, “Jessie, you beautiful, wise, independent, generous, brilliant, funny, respectful fallen angel, would you rather have this moment define your character or your grade”? And I thought to myself, “Damn”. That’s a pretty damn good piece of advice especially considering I think grades and tests are worthless. So I stood up and told my teacher that my grade should really be one point lower, but she just whispered to me that it didn’t matter and that I could keep it. A very anticlimactic end to all my inner turmoil, but nonetheless I was thankful that my friend uttered those words.

I would rather be known as an honest and respectful person than the kid who got an A on her math quiz. Who I am as a person will always be more important to me than what I get as a grade in a class, and I hope that whoever reads this agrees.

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Just Promise Me You Won’t Tell…

The Nature of Secrets

A few weeks ago, I was binge-watching the TV show Reign, a drama on The CW network about the politics of Europe in the 16th century. Now, this show may be fictional, and the politics may be over exaggerated for the sake of entertainment, but there is not a doubt in my mind that some of the scandals that the show presents were real issues that people of that century had to deal with like the revulsion against women royalty leading without a King by their side. There is plenty to be said on the feminist topics cleverly woven throughout the show, but that is a discussion for another rainy day.

Today, I want to talk about secrets; the act of hiding a certain truth from somebody in order to protect oneself or one’s investments. Not everybody has to worry about tricking monarchs and hiding infidelity scandals, but despite what we might tell ourselves, we all have secrets. Whether it be a hidden love for One Direction fan fiction, or an affair with a protestant lord that wants to lead a coup against your husband, there are truths buried in all our hearts that we pray will never see the light of day. However, to a certain point, we all understand that our secrets will never truly remain hidden. An older sibling will someday find the journal that you used when you tried to write fan fiction of your own, or your husband will ultimately realize that there is an army camped at his door and you are across enemy lines holding the hand of a certain Prince of Navarre.  

Nobody can keep something hidden forever, as it is at great cost to ourselves if we attempt to do so. We weigh the costs of telling our secrets against the weight we bear and the torture we endure if we keep them locked away. Most of the time, we admit our secrets to somebody because we feel we need to tell somebody or else we might explode. Sometimes, they come out on their own, and we have no say in when our secrets are exposed. Whenever we have a secret, I think that deep down, we want somebody to find out.

Secrets are forged through guilt and panic- most of us only keep secrets because we fear the cost to ourselves if somebody were to discover that which we are hiding. Eventually, we look for sympathy- somebody who will understand why we did what we did, or feel what we feel, and we pray that that person will comfort us and forgive us. If we have the chance to expose our own secrets, there is hope of a lesser reckoning than if our secrets were revealed through a third party.

If a secret is exposed too soon, or to the wrong person, our lives can swiftly feel ruined. We will lose whatever advantages our secrets gave us, and we risk the consequences of keeping something from someone we care for. When you learn that somebody has kept something from you, lied to you, it is only natural to feel anger. As a secret bearer, that anger is directed straight at your heart and you must beg for forgiveness. Perhaps your secret endangered somebody else or prevented them from getting something they wanted. Perhaps keeping something hidden away made them feel as if you couldn’t trust them, and maybe now they don’t trust you.

Some secrets we need to keep, others we build up in our minds to be horrific weapons that are not, in truth, incredibly important. We think that since we have kept something a secret for some time, we have to keep the truth’s of our soul buried even longer. We are constantly compelled to create new secrets through our lies and omissions, so eventually our arsenal of cover-ups becomes so extensive that the secrets are buried to deep to ever be told.

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Comparing Transgender Bathroom Bill and the Day Care Hysteria of the 1980’s

It’s Not the Burnt Toast

Transgender rights are finally coming into the political discussion and public opinion is slowly shifting to be more liberal. The main topic of conversation in most states is the bathroom bill. The bathroom bill determines if transgender people can enter the bathroom they feel most comfortable in and what the criteria for them to enter is. At the moment the primary argument that conservatives use is that some creepy man will pretend to be trans in order to enter a women’s bathroom. Now of course, this situation isn’t outside of the range of possibilities, but how many more times does a trans woman walk into the bathroom without any complications than a man pretending to be transgender walks into the bathroom?

In the 1980’s and 1990’s there was a huge fear of sending children to day-care because there were many court cases of day-care workers sexually abusing the children and performing satanic rituals. There was a huge controversy over this sexual abuse scandal. Across the country, and even other countries such as New Zealand and Canada, stories began popping up that exposed day care workers. Most workers were indicted and found guilty. Recently their sentences are being overturned because the courts are discovering the evidence to be weak and insufficient and the children’s testimonies are falsified.

The nationwide panic turns out to be a response to the influx of women entering the workforce. Day-care services were in high demand because most middle class mothers were working to help bring in an income. The first case came from Judy Johnson, a single mother of her son who was attending the McMartin preschool in California. After her son had some bowel complications, Johnson accused the workers at the preschool of molesting her child. This sparked the country into a deep panic.

Many theorists studying this phenomenon were all coming to similar conclusions, the fear was stemming from women entering the workplace. In the 1980’s women were still beginning to build careers and not focus on housemaking. When rare stories, such as Johnson’s, were becoming international news, parents started to withdraw their kids from day-cares. The mothers would have to return home from work to care for their kids.

The paranoia fabricated more abuse stories. A few decades later, accounts of forced testimonies from children and inaccurate physical claims are being reviewed and retrials are occurring. Kids were asked confusing questions in order to elicit a desirable response, there is no real evidence, and the tests run by doctors have no validity to back them up. In other words, most of these cases were a result of fear and anxiety.

Now, transphobia is the new day-care sex abuse hysteria. Although transphobia isn’t a result of women entering the workplace, the following response is eerily similar.

The group of people who don’t want transgender men and women to chose their bathroom often turn to the argument that creepy men will take advantage of this and enter the girl’s bathroom. Yet as with a couple arguing over burnt toast, it isn’t really about the burnt toast. To these men and women, being transgender is an abnormal process that makes them uncomfortable. The creepy men argument is justification for their ignorance. As a result, the whole nation is falling under the spell that if we open up bathrooms to transgender men and women, boys and girls, then pedophiles will have a new way of exploiting children. These fears are not a reality yet, there are no accounts of a man posing as a woman entering a women’s bathroom; but our society is still convinced that it is going to happen.

But to the same people that are worried about this, are you not worried about your children being sexually assaulted by priests and parish men? Those cases may be rare, but are they not a reality? What about the thousands of underprivileged girls that are coerced into prostitution in the United States? Where are the laws and legislations designed to protect them? These bathroom bills aren’t about men entering women’s bathrooms, but about the irrational fear society has of transgender men and women.

Much like the child sex abuse scandals of the 1980’s that removed women from the workforce, bathroom bills are erasing the transgender community from our society.

 

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Assisted Suicide

Who Gets to Choose?

If I were in bondage, and I begged to be released, would you be punished for setting me free? Would you tell me to wait until I accepted my fate or until my captor one day chooses to release me from my chains? If I freed myself, you would be safe from punishment, yet the process would have wounded me and left me in tatters. Think of how much simpler things would have been, how much less painful, if you gave me the key. There is no difference for a person feeling oppressed by their own circumstance, for the mind can hold chains that are far stronger than metal.

Choosing to die is not a split second decision; it is something that races through your mind maybe once or twice, then more and more frequently until the thought of death consumes you. Can you imagine being so incredibly hopeless that there seems to be no possibility of escaping the wretched weight of the minds’ aggressive attacks? The terminally ill are often in pain, and what right do we have to continuously subject our loved ones to daily torture in the effort to save just a few more days of their lives.

We are tricked by smiles and laughter. We are deceived into believing that a person is incapable of being both happy and miserable at the same time. Someone may feel pleasure while watching a movie or spending time exchanging witty banter with their friends, but that doesn’t mean that they are any better off when the lights are turned back on and the friends leave for the evening. The most crippling moments are those in private when the joy seems to fade from the air. Staring wide eyed and paralyzed at the ceiling, they dread the moment when their eyes open and the trials of the day await them.

We see our loved ones get up in the morning and go about their day. We don’t see the clockwork in their mind ticking away the time until the next bout of happiness may hit, or wondering whether or not that happiness may come at all. We watch the ill suffer in hopes that they can hang on until a cure is found. That hope both enlightens us and constrains us. We tell the ones we love to keep on moving forward, not necessarily for their benefit, but for ours. We don’t want our loved ones to die. We don’t want to imagine lives without them, but we must understand that at a certain point, those people are already gone. They have been replaced by doppelgangers, shrouded in misery, struggling to keep us believing that they are stronger than they feel.

If it comes to the point when a patient is begging for death, for release from the pain of existence, what is a parent, sibling, or lover to do? Keep the suffering bound in torture, or face the wrath of thousands of strangers who will forever judge them for letting their poor child kill themselves? These strangers believe they are upholding the standards of ethics as they accuse husbands of manslaughter after they’ve sat next to their wives and watched them take a drug that erases all of their pain. The prosecutors rarely have any relation to the deceased, yet they feel compelled to argue on their behalf. Do they not think that a parent, spouse, or sibling understands the desires of their loved ones the best?

If there is mutual consent among all parties, there is no one to blame. Poor widows are unable to grieve with mobs gathered around their doors threatening them with threats and handcuffs. Suicide itself used to be considered a noble sacrifice, a preferable death to dying in battle or being held hostage, why have things changed so much? We criticize terminally ill people for cutting their suffering short and releasing themselves from the prisons of their own minds, and how is this different from what used to be thought of as “justifiable” sacrifice.

Death is by no means a good thing, however it can be preferable to a life of suffering. We need to decide as a community whether we want to scorn the dead for the way they ended their lives or appreciate the positive ways in which they lived.

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Standardized Testing

Less Stress = Less Tests

Standardized tests are something I have felt strongly about since the beginning of my testing career. No kid likes tests, okay well maybe some do, but as a general rule kids hate tests. I’m no exception. They’re asinine and inaccurate.

My state’s test is the MCAS, Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, taken grades 3-10 with the exception of grade 9. There is a reading and writing section as well as a math, and select grades have a science. The questions themselves I never found to be too hard, the typical “If Daniel eats 3 apples and Frank eats 4, how many apples were eaten in total?” never really bothered me. It was the principle behind the whole thing. The energy and the time spent learning how to answer the questions is ridiculous.

In 5th grade we had a practice math MCAS open response due pretty much every week in preparation for our upcoming math MCAS. During math the following week we would go over the good responses, all student examples, and my teacher would tell us where and why people lost points. I always got a 3 out of a 4 because I never quite explained enough and therefore my work was never used as an example (that really busted my ego). You see, the question says “show OR explain”, but my teacher always insisted we  “show AND explain”. But how do I show and explain that I added 2 and 3 together and got 5.

It was frustrating even as a young child to spend more time learning how to answer the MCAS than actually learning the skills. In past grades we would spend weeks practicing just how to properly format the answer, valuable time we could’ve spent actually working on math or english.

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John Oliver, the most knowledgeable American who’s really a Brit, is brilliant. He mixes dry humor, facts, news, sarcasm, popular culture perfectly, yet also delivers a very informing spiel. Basically, he is my kind of guy. He sums up my frustration in an eighteen minute video on testing.

These tests are doing nothing for us besides taking time out of learning and giving more unnecessary stress to students. I take 28 benchmark tests, 14 exams, hundreds of tests and quizzes, and other tests such as MCAS, SATs, PSATs, ACTs, etc. a year. That is insane. The funny things is, teachers hate it too! They lose teaching time and then they have to spend more time grading the exams. Also, at least this is true in my town, if students do well, the teacher receives a bonus. But in other towns and states, a teacher’s job may rest on how well a student does. How has our education system become more focused on doing well on standardized tests than actually having kids learn. Education and school are not synonymous and it’s time for the United States government to recognize this.

Standardized testing is not the solution to ranking better in the world. Funding should be increased for lower income schools and the standard for education should be increased across the country rather than decreased. Yet increased funding is not the solution either.

Finland is beating nearly every country in PISA test scores and humiliating the U.S. who spends more time and money on education. #1 in math, reading comprehension, and science, Finland is doing something right. Most Finnish students have less than an hour a night of homework, shorter school days, nearly triple the amount of recess time, learn real world skills, and only have one standardized test throughout their secondary school education. And Finnish teachers are highly respected, paid nearly as much as Finnish lawyers and doctors, and not required to follow a certain curriculum. The U.S. education system could learn something from Finland.

Testing should be reduced in the United States and more effort should be focused on rewriting the system rather than editing it. I hope that by the time my children begin their education that there will no longer be the stress and pressure that surrounds standardized testing.

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Interesting Article about Standardized Testing

Standardized Testing and the Education Dilemma

 

The GPA Race

“It’s all about the letter.”

Today, while I was working on a project in Spanish, a girl with a 96 in the class was begging our teacher to let her retake a quiz so that her grade would increase to a 96.5, therefore landing her an A+ as opposed to an A in that course. The teacher rolled her eyes and blamed the girl for being grade-obsessed, to which the girl replied: “It’s The GPA Race señora, if I’m not going to get the A+, someone else will.”

As it turns out, there are nearly 10 juniors with GPAs above 4.8, and only one will get to become valedictorian. One boy even has a chart where he tracks how his GPA fluctuates each time grades are released on iPass and how close he is to that coveted number one class rank.  

Students today who are looking to get into competitive colleges have to be grade-obsessed, or they risk losing their chance at an Ivy League school. Of course, GPA is not the only component that determines whether or not you will be accepted into a college, however, despite the assurances of most adults, it really does matter. My school’s GPA scale is so inflated that there are students who are upset because they only have a 4.0. A single hundredth of a point can separate the valedictorian and salutatorian, and class rankings are so competitive that friends feel the need to constantly keep tabs on each other’s grades. It’s a sad day when you can no longer feel happy for a friend’s scholastic success because you fear they might steal your chance at getting into your dream school.

This situation fosters consistent feelings of stress and panic which can cause us to make really bad decisions. Cheating is the most obvious problem, but the mental strain of such high, seemingly unattainable expectations can also really mess with our health. Sleep deprivation, paranoia, and overall unhappiness are just the beginning of the problems stemming from this competitive atmosphere at such a young age. The world is a scary, competitive place, and yes, we do need to be prepared for that, but should we not enjoy our youth? Should we not prioritize learning how to love learning? High schoolers hate school, yet we make no plans to change our educational system. School may be a necessary evil in our eyes, but that doesn’t mean we cannot work to make the process of education more enjoyable.

Colleges are doing the right thing- putting more weight on extra curriculars as opposed to accepting students solely on test scores- but it’s hard to find the time to join 3 clubs, run for student council, and play 3 varsity sports when you need to spend hours doing homework every night in addition to any after school activities. GPA may not be as important as it used to be, but it still matters enough to keep students worried about those decimals decreasing.

As a community, we need to find some way to devalue the GPA race; it just isn’t healthy. I’ve dealt with grades based on “effort,” and that just leaves our transcripts overly vulnerable to teacher prejudice, so how do we accurately grade people’s performance in a class without creating such a competitive atmosphere? How do we encourage students to aim for an understanding of a concept and not an A on an exam? How do we prevent students from dropping challenging courses that they are interested in because they fear their GPA may suffer? I don’t have concrete answers to these questions, but perhaps if we all unite together to find answers, we have a hope of changing our educational system for the better.  

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Somebody else’s opinion who has actually done research: (If you’re interested)

Grade obsession and why it’s a serious problem

 

Jess & Religion (part 1)

I am that I am

An Open Letter To God From an Atheist” was the title of a slam poem I just listened to. It reminded me of all the unfinished letters and unanswered prayers directed towards the divine being from me.

My religious journey and spiritual awakening began when I was very young. I can remember the resentment for my dad’s church occupying my mind rather than the priest’s homily. And I can remember the emptiness I felt reading the Bible and the guilt of praying without fully meaning it at my mom’s church. For the next couple of years I would continue attending both churches and each time I left church I would still remain void of trust and love in a supernatural being.

Each Sunday I would be woken up, along with my sister and older brother, at 7:15 am with “Mass is in 45 minutes, get dressed” in my father’s half-asleep, but still intimidating voice. The only time we missed church was when we were on vacation; we even managed to attend church during a blizzard with only 4 other people were in attendance. After church the three of us would have to recite the homily and readings back to my father, since I was younger this task was left up to my siblings. Church became routine, I knew when to stand, when to sit, when to kneel, when to get communion, when to pray, etc. yet I never knew when I was going to have my spiritual awakening. A fact often overlooked by my father was that he was alienating us from his religion by forcing us to attend church. Mass still sends a quick jolt of panic down my spine as bad memories resurface.

At 9:30 each Sunday, after pancakes or waffles and “Breakfast with the Beatles”, the three of us would then get in my mom’s car and leave for her church. Her church was more exciting because the kids attended Sunday School with our close family friends. Yet, the disappointment was still there, following me out the door at 11 am after I had another unsuccessful chance with God. I didn’t know how to pray and I felt no connection to God.

I began attending a religious summer in Maine in 2012. We have a daily morning meeting which included reading from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (my mom is a Christian Scientist), praying, singing, and testimonies from fellow campers. On Sunday we have church and on Wednesday we have Wednesday Night Testimonies. Yet God is always incorporated somehow, whether it be Bible quotes taped to the mirrors in the bathroom or prayers before meals. Again, I felt nothing every time I prayed, and morning meetings were my least favorite part of the day. The empty feeling filled my stomach once again.

In 2015 I had a religious awakening so to speak, I came to the conclusion that I would no longer be forced into a religion. I firmly believe that everyone has their own interpretation of a god or gods and therefore no one religion is right. I don’t think faith is an evil word, but I don’t agree with religion at all. I respect the comfort others find in attending church, but becoming aware of the injustice perpetuated by religion (this includes all of them) has thrown me off the path of god. My faith has been slowly deteriorating and only fully disappeared when I realized I was afraid of not having anything to believe in. I didn’t need a god, I needed something as a backup when all else failed. The realization was liberating. I am no longer chained to rules and regulations and I’m not defined by my religion.

I was fully liberated when I talked to the local Catholic priest about having to attend confirmation classes. My dad told me that ultimately I could decide whether or not I became Catholic, but I still had to attend religious ed. I was fully against this as the original plan was to attend the first half of the final conformation class and if I wanted to stop after that, I could. So I emailed the priest and asked to meet. We met and I explained my beliefs, leaving out my declaration as an atheist, and he tried to convince me by showing me miracles. Finally he asked to meet with my father. My father met with him and after their meeting he came to me and told me that I didn’t have to take the class and I didn’t have to attend church every Sunday any more.

In hopes of still finding a god, I attend my mother’s church occasionally. Yet I always leave unfulfilled. When the teacher calls on me in class I say what I know will sound right without actually believing it. But I will continue to work on my faith and understanding of other religions and faiths. I’d rather find god on my own than blindly follow a religion and convince myself I’m religious. Don’t be a #fakefan.

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Donald Trump’s Twitter

WARNING- TRUMP SUPPORTERS MAY BE OFFENDED BY THE CRITICAL NATURE OF THIS POST

This is part two of my serial 140 characters of First Impressions- Analyzing Political Candidates through Social Media : Donald J. Trump Edition

One 2016 presidential candidate, Mr. Donald Trump, tends to favor the “shock, awe, and mortify” strategy that consists of complaining, scandalous comments, and vicious attacks aimed at his opponents. Trump believes that policy is a topic for a president, not a nominee, and therefore prefers to tell people what not to do and why they’re wrong, as opposed to what our country should do instead while he waits for a room at the White House.

Take this recent tweet, for example:

Within this singular tweet, Trump has managed to criticize the entire world, yell at Isis, and insult a fellow candidate, Hillary Clinton. Trump implies that he can fix it, but can he? I know now that he sees Isis as a threat and doesn’t think that Hillary can do anything about it, but I have no idea how exactly he plans to do anything more than she can.

Since I read the news, I know that Trump has said in an interview that he plans to not only take out Isis’ leaders, but their families as well. I have to admit, I’ve only ever seen a clip of this interview, so perhaps the words were taken out of context, but really, is their any acceptable situation in which one can promise to murder entire families for the actions of one of the family’s members? Anyway, to get back on topic, I know of these plans because I’ve taken the time to do further research into the candidates, not because I’ve scrolled through Trump’s twitter.

Here is yet another example of Trump insulting a politician, complaining about something, then adding a few exclamation points as decoration.

Great! The TSA is falling apart… So? Airports are a total disaster! Okay, well that sucks for us planning on traveling this summer, but what exactly is wrong with the security of our transportation, and how are you going to fix it, Donald?

Finally, to give a final example of Trump’s famous, “Prove everyone else is awful and you may seem tolerable” strategy, I have included a final tweet that encompasses Trump’s feelings on Hillary Clinton’s political views.

Oh, pardon my mistake. Did I say political views? I meant judgement. She has bad judgement and she’s apparently stupid. Whoops, I thought Trump was campaigning for President of the United States, not the President of  Kew-Forest High School’s Freshman class. Donald Trump successfully attributes Hillary’s election to four years of poor government, however he does nothing to explain why he himself is qualified. Donald Trump hopes that his followers already hate Hillary, so he riles them up with various tweets offending her. Trump’s twitter appeals to his supporters, but does nothing to gain appreciation from those he hopes to convert. At this point, Trump knows his audience and uses his tweets to get them fired up.

By reading these tweets, we as an audience immediately feel something deep in our guts. For me, I feel a sort of queasy, uncomfortable sensation that suggests that I am either completely embarrassed that this may be the man who becomes our future President, or I ate spoiled yogurt for breakfast. To an extent, you have to give the man a little bit of credit, he evoked an emotion out of us. Whether we feel riled up and excited after reading these tweets or whether we feel disgusted, we are likely to be talking about one person at the dinner table. He caught our attention with his uncensored, slanderous comments, and we play right into his trap. Trump is the King of emotional outbursts, and he knows how to use social media’s obsession with racy-gossip to his advantage.

Trump’s Twitter Rating:

Content: F

Connectivity: C

Entertainment: A

Personality: F (or A, depending on who’s name is on your car’s bumper sticker)

Next Week, Jill Stein, Green Party Candidate.