The Bucket List

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The Bucket List.

Everyone needs to have one. And, I really do mean everyone.

It’s important to have goals in life, and to experience new things to truly live exhilaratingly. They don’t have to be anything outrageous or crazy out of your comfort zone, but they should be a little daring. They should expand your metaphorical box, inspire your creativity, excite you, and make you feel absolutely wonderful. These experiences are what makes up the memories in your life. They are the highlights of your mind, and the fond little anecdotes you will tell your grandkids. Now, that is not to say grandparents should not have a bucket list. It is never too late to start.

How to make a bucket list:

(No, it does not require a bucket. Just somewhere to jot down ideas, dreams, and hopes)

1. Write down your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations

 (You can make out little goals to meet those human wants, it’s up to you. It just helps to have a reminder of your goal so you don’t get too off track!)

2. Write down big activities you have always wanted to do. Some examples would be backpacking around Europe, traveling to Paris, learning Spanish, travel the world in 180 days….

3. Write down the smaller, weekly do-ables you’ve always wanted to experience. They can range from paintballing, trying that new donut shop that opened down the street, make reservations at that trendy restaurant you’ve always wanted to go to, and planning a short impromptu camping trip with friends.

4. Do it!

The beauty of the bucket list is that it is always able to change. There is no set format, no set order, no permanence to it. It is just your little world to jot down ideas, throw in some ideas for fun experiences, and to enjoy life. It is also an excuse to try that one daring thing you have never tried before, but have always secretly wanted to. The items on the bucket list can also be goals to reach themselves, or even rewards. Things on the bucket list can easily be removed, many things can be added as you discover them. Life is continually changing. Tastes change, dreams change, and activities can change too.They can also  be done over the span of a lifetime, or during that summer before you leave for college. There are no limits, no absolutions, no regulations.

Spice up your life, keep track of the things you’re interested in, and enjoy life (as cliche as it is), to the fullest!

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Innovation on Shark Tank

Innovation is all around us. From the light bulb above our heads to the carpet below our feet, everything started off as an idea in someone’s head and then developed through an innovative process to become the common things they are today.

Recently, I’ve begun watching the show Shark Tank on ABC. Every episode, different entrepreneurs appear in a front of a panel of potential investors, known as sharks, hoping to land a deal on their businesses and/or products. Although I’m not really aspiring to be an entrepreneur in the future, I’ve always had some interest in the business and entrepreneurial fields. When I learned from a friend that such a show like Shark Tank existed, I immediately decided to watch it. After just one episode, I was hooked.

Shark Tank was not only a show where I could learn more about investments and how to negotiate business deals all while watching a bunch of rich, old people fight over great products, but it offered some of the most innovative products and ideas I had ever seen. I was immediately able to relate to all the  innovative things I saw on Shark Tank, as our English class had been doing the same thing with our year-long Innovation/Idea-Farming Project, finding and coming up with innovative ideas and projects to help address certain needs throughout our local community or the world. (Of course, the products/ideas I saw on Shark Tank were a lot better and more complex than the ones we were doing in our class, but they both came from the idea of trying to solve a problem or fill a need in this world.)

Shark Tank 1

Some of the coolest products I’ve seen presented on Shark Tank include:

  • Mission Belt, a belt that does not use any holes to secure it (profits used to fight hunger and poverty throughout the world)
  • Breathometer, a breathalyzer that plugs into your iPhone
  • Define Bottle, a beautifully designed, eco-friendly water bottle that allow you to infuse your water with fruit
  • Revolights, a bike lighting system that provides 360 visibility and actual headlights/brakelights
  • Pursecase, a stylish purse/phone-case all in one
  • Boo Boo Goo, a paint on band-aid to protect/camouflage your “boo boos”

Shark Tank 2

Overall, Shark Tank is an amazing show that offers people a look into some of the coolest, most innovative new products and businesses out there. The whole idea of innovation behind many of these products and the many problems/needs that it helps to solve and fulfill in this world makes it one of the most interesting, captivating shows out there. It really boosts up the idea that innovation can help to improve our world, all while watching numerous entrepreneurs fulfill their American dreams. As Lori Greiner, one of the sharks on the show, said on one episode, “It only takes one good idea to make a difference in the world.” Who knows? Maybe one of the things we seen on Shark Tank will eventually change our world in some way.

Posting College Acceptances on Social Networks

tcs college-acceptance-1I’m so happy for all my friends and classmates that have gotten into their dream schools, or even their second-choices.  I love seeing so many people be extremely excited because, being an AP student and seeing so much of the hard work, sweat, and tears that go into being a competitive student, my friends deserve to be happy and deserve to go to the schools they’ve worked so hard to get into.

InstagramimagesIn the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that social networks like Facebook and Instagram have been flooded with college acceptances.  From “back-up” schools, to 50/50 schools, to even big-time dream schools, I’ve seen such an array of colleges slip down my newsfeed only to have more pop up every hour.  And some of posts get refreshed at the top of the newsfeed by the hundreds of likes and repeated comments saying “Congratulations!”

Now like I was saying before: Those people deserve to be happy.  You got into your dream school?  Go ahead and share it with the world because, guess what?  YOU DID IT!

However, some people, I’ve noticed, have posted EVERY acceptance.  And it’s really cool and all that you (hypothetically speaking tosomeone who has done such) got into all the schools you applied to. 10/10. But does EVERYONE need to know EVERY school you go into?  Sometimes I feel like it’s really inconsiderate to others who hobsons_blog_acceptedhave worked just as hard and didn’t get in.  Although I hate to admit it, there were a handful of schools I didn’t get accepted to that I’ve seen on my social media networks.  And while I can say I’m happy for the people that are achieving their dreams (I’ve definitely had a moment or two of jumping up and down with my friends when they got into their dream schools!), it has made me a little sad because I want to share in the celebratory air as well.  I’m not saying someone should take all their acceptances and their happiness and take it to their own little corner to celebrate by themselves.  But it’s definitely absurd to have to post one after the other, even the “back-up” schools.

I feel that it’s definitely okay to post your #1 choice, because getting into your dream school is always going to be something to celebrate.  And, if not your #1, it’s okay to share with the world the place you choose to attend in the end! But, for future references to those who have yet to receive acceptances and (hopefully not!) rejections, keep in mind that although your success is awesome, others may be struggling in this emotional roller coaster of a month.

R.I.P.


No Man Is An Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

Recently, the life of one of the students at my high school was tragically taken away in a bike accident. He was only 15. Although our high school has over 3,500 students, and most probably did not know him, it was a beautiful thing to see how the whole school and community got together to honor his loss.  In our English class, our teacher decided to share this poem with us, talking about the importance of being together in times like this, and the fact that although our former schoolmate may have only been one person in this huge school, the loss of any single person can have a tremendous impact on society and mankind.

On Facebook, I saw a eulogy written about this former student by his English teacher. It talked about how he was always so cheerful, and would always do things that would make him happy. He “got life,” knowing to live not for certain results or to appease certain people, but to live to keep himself filled with joy, and thus bring joy to everyone around him. This immediately reminded me of something that my English teacher had discussed while talking about the above poem in class. Although it may seem cliche, life is short, and you need to live the best of it. Don’t leave the house upset or angry, because you never know which moment will be your last. I am glad to know that our former classmate did live his life in a happy manner, and that although his loss is tragic, he was still able to leave a huge impact on our school and community.

This also reminded in me the fact that when I leave for college next year, I will be leaving everything I know, leaving all the friends I’ve made, leaving my childhood. I had recently gotten into an argument with a friend over something, and there was a sort of grudge between us. Hearing about my former classmate’s death and thinking about how we would never be able to see each other everyday when we leave for college prompted me to just forgive my friend and stop our grudge. Life is too short to be wasted holding grudges or fighting or creating enemies. Even if I may not die tomorrow, I will be leaving for college, so might as well make the best out of my last memories with my high school friends before we part ways in a few months.

My English teacher was definitely right when he talked about the impact that a single person’s death can have, and how we need to honor it. Our former schoolmate’s death not only prompted a beautiful getting together of the community, but also reminded each and every one of us of the brevity of life and the importance of being happy. May our thoughts and prayers go out to this student and his family during this tragic time.

Dear Admissions Office….I Regret To Inform You…

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Real Letter:

Insert Date of Rejection Letter

My name here. (Cry)

Dear Applicant,

I am very sorry to let you know that we are unable to offer you admission to Prestigious University. Please know that this decision in no way diminishes your application. We were humbled by your talents and achievements and by the commitment you demonstrated in all of your academic and extracurricular endeavors.

We appreciate the thoughtfulness and care that went into your application and want to assure you that your candidacy received thorough and serious consideration. Because we received tens of thousands of applications for an incoming class of approximately 1,700 students, we must decline the vast majority or our applications each year. 

Blah blah blah about how you aren’t actually unqualified, or no way reflects on your character, etc.

Signed by Dean of Admissions or whoever.

WELL. YOU KNOW WHAT?

It’s true. At first, the rejection may sting. Alot. Personally, when I received my first rejection letter, i bawled like a baby. It hurt. It feels like a rejection of you as a person when you first get that letter. But it’s not a rejection of YOU. There are just too many perfect students out there. Also, the reason why that college denied your admission, is to tell you, maybe that college doesn’t have the right fit for YOU. Perhaps the major you applied under was probably a bit too rigorous when put into perspective of your past performance in high school. Perhaps the community there isn’t what would make you feel at home. There are a ton of outliers.

College admissions officers usually know the best, after all, they have the most experience, have the most feedback from the students that they have admitted. I’m not going to lie. Even with this in mind, it still hurts. But if you think of it as the admin officers saving you from flunking out of college, or suffering miserably for the next four years, it makes it hurt a little less. 

Of course, colleges can make mistakes on occasion. If you truly think they have, appeal. Perhaps they will see a new side of you they haven’t seen before (which is what they ask for anyways). If that doesn’t happen, do your best at the college you will attend, and show them how wrong they were to reject you. After all, if they come clamoring for you when you apply to grad school, it can be your turn to reject them. 😉

Anger Management Class in 20 Minutes

Angry-Birds-2 Today in my English class, we talked about anger.  Yes, anger.  You’d think in an English Literature class, we’d talk about, well, literature, right? In class, we got to spill out our emotions onto a piece of paper, guided by three simple questions: 1. What makes you angry about your family? (Boy, did I have a lot to say about that one…)  2. What makes you angry about school?  3. What makes you angry about yourself?

We were given about 5 minutes to answer each one, in which I ended up spilling out everything into long, uncoordinated sentences about all the little things that had bothered me in the past.  If I had been given more time to think about the questions, I probably could have filled up another page of “It makes me angry when…” After we finished, I realized how much anger I had bottled up inside me that was either still there or recreated because I had been thinking about it all over again. In the last 5 minutes of our mini-lesson for the day, my teacher asked us to pick ONE thing that made us angry from each question (whether we had 10 or 100 things that made us angry) and write a solution.

At first, the class just kind of sat there, probably because everyone was wound up on emotions, and the last thing anyone wants to do when they’re upset is calmly reach a solution.  But once I started looking through my answers and picked out a few, I realized how easy it was to comeup with even the basic, first-step solution to a big problem.  When I was writing out something that bothered me, it seemed like this big entity hanging over my head with all the emotions coming back to me.  The ordeal was smaller than it seemed the second time around and that, maybe if I had taken a step back before, I could have spent less time angry and more time forgiving.  On top of that, I also discovered that it was important for me to realize that there were just some things not in my power, but what I do have control over can be solved if I break it up into smaller steps.solution

The Jedi Run

Ordre_Jedi_protecteurs_1.1As a track and field runner of four years, I’ve ended up running various workouts that work on speed, strength, or technique, depending on what my coach feels we need to build on or balance out.  Some days are more difficult than others–challenging me not only physically but also mentally because I really have to push myself to my body’s limits in order to reach the end of practice.

Although my coach has done this particular workout in previous years, this was the first year I was introduced to it.  The Jedi Run.  The first time I heard “The Jedi Run”, it didn’t too sound horrible.  I knew I had to expect something difficult, considering we had to balance out our “easy” days with the “hard” days.  But I mean, the name Jedi makes it sound like all fun and games and sounds way better than hearing my coach say 6 200’s or 4 400’s.

1579925_672201212837338_1020903065_nTrust me when I say this was specifically my nightmare of workouts.

To finally let you in on the secret of WHAT The Jedi Run is, it’s essentially a 400, one lap around the track.  But the trick is to trick yourself.  While my coach stands at the 300 mark, your goal is to run a 300 all-out and hit a time that satisfies what you should be hitting.  If you hit the mark, you have to finish the 400 with an “angel” (someone pushing you from behind, gently!) to help you finish all-out.  If you don’t, you drop out at the 300 and, well, that’s bad.

The Jedi Run is definitely a mental workout.  After running a full-out 300 sprint, it’s near-impossible not to feel like you just want to give up right on the spot.  It really takes it 974572_672201216170671_1880994845_nout of you.  But you have to finish if you get the dreaded ‘go ahead’ from the coach.  The first time I ever did it, I had to drop out because I hit the mark too slow, because I had watched the first girls suffer through the first rounds and I was so scared, I subconsciously slowed myself down so I wouldn’t have to finish.  The second time, however, I hit the mark (but not without having a near panic attack before starting… And that was ugly).

Since then, I’ve done two more Jedi Runs, making it a total of four.  Today, my fourth one, I was able to push myself, break down my mental walls, and make a PR (personal record) or the year.  And it felt great.  I felt strong, and much better than I had felt after the previous runs.

From The Jedi Runs, I’ve learned that it’s important to persevere.  I find myself relating these unsettling, mind-challenging runs to this month of emotional college letters because I have to remember to just keep pushing through.  Even though I’m not getting the results I want now, I can’t give up on myself and let my head get to me and keep me from reaching future achievements.  It ties back into what I’ve always been taught: hard work will pay off, even if I don’t see the results immediately.  And let me tell you, success feels great.

Sorry, Rejected. Just ‘Cause You’re too…. Asian

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Dear Applicant, we regret to inform you that you have been REJECTED to our college. Feel free to apply next year. Thanks for competing against the pool of applicants, though they are not all as qualified as you. It’s just life you know? We want more Hispanics, African Americans, and of course, Caucasians.

Reasons for rejection:

1. You’re not white.

2. You’re not black.

3. You’re not Hispanic.

4. There are too many of your kind here.

Basically, you’re asian, so you’re penalized for being too smart, too qualified, too likely to succeed. We just don’t want successful future-builders like you anymore. WHAT?

The SCA 5 is the Senate Constitutional Amendment that was introduced by California State Senator Edward Hernandez, asking to eliminate prop 209’s ban on affirmative action. (Here’s the internet’s description of what it does: it’s a ban on the use race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in recruitment, admissions, and retention programs at California’ public universities and colleges. California Proposition 209 prohibits state government institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity, specifically in the areas of public employment, public contracting, and public education.)

How is this fair? Certain groups will be limited in their access to education, employment, and recruitment. Asian ethnicities will be competing against their own group for limited spots. Groups that are more prone to higher education will be denied because there are too many applicants that are beyond qualified, but cannot be admitted due to lack of spots for that certain group. Others with lower standards of qualification will be denied simply because they are part of another group that has less applicants, but are in no way comparable to the first group. This penalization will discourage many from pursuing a higher education as it violates rights of equality and equal access. Instead, the range of abilities of colleges and other institutions will expand, and the quality of these institutions or organizations will decrease.

Thankfully the SCA 5 has been halted. However, there is still support of this movement. What’s your opinion on this matter? Do you think it is justified? Or will this affirmative action plan be more beneficial overall?

Taking the Elderly Back to the Past

I want to retire in NL. . did you know? There is a fake village with fake shops and restaurants that is actually a care heme for elderly dementia sufferers in t

The word “fake” often brings about a negative connotation to people. From fake paintings to fake personalities to fake faces, we typically associate “fake” with bad things. Yet, sometimes fake things can actually be good.

I recently came across a picture on Facebook talking about a new type of nursing care facility in the Netherlands (See above). My grandmother suffers from some mild forms of dementia, and I know the troubles it takes to help her remember things that just happened recently. My family has always tried to help her recall her memories and try to stop the dementia, so seeing a care facility that embraced the dementia, instead of fighting it, really intrigued me. My curiosity urged me to take a more in depth look at this new way of treating dementia patients.

Known as Hogewey, this care facility is set up like an actual village, with an actual town square, supermarket, hairdressing salon, theater, pub, and restaurant, as well as twenty three houses. All the elderly residents there are sufferers of dementia. Unlike traditional nursing homes, Hogewey uses reminiscence therapy, allowing dementia patients to live out their lives as they did before in their heydays. The patients there live like they have real jobs, and do all the necessary shopping, cooking, and socializing as they would do in the real world. The doctors, nurses, and caretakers dress up as store clerks, servants, or neighbors, trying to make the experience as  real as possible.  All the houses in the village are customized to fit the lifestyle of each patient, through the way the home is decorated, the food, the music, and even how the table is laid. In a way, the patients there are living in a hyperreality, with time stopped and past memories actually come to life.

Hogewey

This new way of taking care of dementia patients not only reminded me of my grandmother’s dementia and how we tried to help her overcome it, but also reminded me of the processes of innovation that we were carrying out in our Innovation/Idea-Farming project in our English class this year. The creators behind Hogewey were able to address a need in this world, and through it, create this new, innovative way of helping out the elderly. Realistically speaking, implementing something like Hogewey here in America would be very expensive and probably only the rich would be able to afford it. However, this idea is still a very great way of  helping to solve the problem of caring for dementia patients, and it would be very cool to see it implemented in other areas throughout the world.

Disneyland and Shakespeare?

Every American that has been through high school has probably read Shakespeare at least once in his/her lifetime. From Romeo and Juliet to Julius Caesar to Hamlet, Shakespeare’s plays are known throughout the world, and have created many of the prototypes and cliches seen in literature today. However, most students hate Shakespeare. It’s hard to understand and it’s forced upon us by teachers. Many things, even enjoyable things, start sucking just because we’re forced to do them. Even though I’ve read many Shakespeare works in class, it still didn’t click for me why his plays were so popular during his time until a recent trip to Disneyland…

I recently went to Disneyland California Adventure with  my friends. During the afternoon, one of my friends suggested we go see the musical Aladdin. I thought it was a stupid idea. Why would anyone want to watch a stupid musical version of a movie that everyone has seen countless times? However, I kept these thoughts to myself, because literally everyone in my group was super ecstatic and excited to go watch it. So I decided to just tag along. At least it was only a 45 minute show, so we could go straight back to roller coasters after seeing it.

However, the musical turned out to be much more than a simple remake of the movie. The sets were designed beautifully and it was a very exciting show, but most importantly, many of the characters, especially the genie, made hilarious allusions and comments about modern day things. They poked fun at the new health care bill, at Miley Cyrus, at Jenny Craig (which they called “Genie” Craig), and made numerous other puns that did not fit into the time period of Aladdin, but were used as devices to keep the audience laughing. They were literally some of the most clever puns and jabs at present day situations that I have ever heard. Like, I’m not even gonna try to give you an example, because I would never do it justice (as I don’t clearly remember word for word how they were said).

Seeing these things instantly made me think of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which we read earlier this year in English class. The character of Hamlet makes numerous witty and sarcastic remarks throughout the play that most modern readers don’t understand, but that the audience in the Elizabethan era probably found hilarious. We had talked about Shakespeare’s use of these in class, and my teacher explained to us that these little puns and remarks were relevant to the audience members, and served as a form of comedic relief. It’s what kept them hooked and constantly laughing through these tragic plays.  (The only reason we don’t get a laugh out of it is because we don’t understand some of the references Shakespeare is trying to make. I mean, just ask an Englishman 500 years ago what he thinks the word “thirsty” means. He’ll think it just means you want water, and won’t know the other modern meaning. Likewise, we won’t understand some references Shakespeare is making, because it’s not relevant to our time period.)

This was exactly the case with Aladdin, except we could really understand the jokes and get a laugh out of them. The hilarious remarks the genie made, comparing the time being trapped in a genie bottle to the time spent trying to log onto healthcare.gov, or poking fun at Miley Cyrus’s style change when talking about Aladdin’s wardrobe change, were just like the witty remarks Hamlet said throughout the book. They were downright hilarious and allowed the audience to connect with the play as a whole better.

I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy Shakespeare as much as some literary scholars do, but at least I can see why the viewers back then enjoyed Shakespeare so much. They understood the jokes the characters made in the play, and this allowed them to thoroughly enjoy it. Who knew a day at Disneyland could ever change your outlook on Shakespeare literature?