Wednesday, May 1, 2013

When There Is Little Time Left

When there is little time left

To leave your mark in the world

You can’t help but

Recall every missed opportunity

And failure to prove hate demurred.

I’ve no concern with fame

Nor the acknowledgement of a good deed

Rather, showing love to every

Single person, of every single creed.

The world is a place

Filled with people that lie

Cruel kindness surrounds them

Like the mal intent of a fire.

As time runs away

It feels like I’ve lost a battle

Because to those missed opportunities

Was I a benevolent example? 

In the Book, above all else

It says love your neighbor as yourself

When there is little time left

Did you leave pride on the shelf?


Anaphora: lines 9-10 Repetition of “every single” at the beginning of successive clauses. The effect is to stress that no one will be excluded

Oxymoron: line 12 “Cruel kindness” is a contradiction, describing the way some people disguise their viciousness with nice appearances or kind words.

Simile: lines 12-13 Comparison of cruel kindness of a person and the way fire surrounds something.

Personification: line 14 Giving “time” the human characteristic of running, implying that it is something that goes fast.

Allusion: lines 18-19 “The Book” is an allusion to the Bible and a reference to Mark 12:31

Diction: Line 17 The word benevolent is a much stronger word than “nice” or “kind”

Symbolism: line 21 Leaving pride on a shelf is just a symbol, not actually leaving something on a shelf, but the idea that you can leave pride behind and do what’s right.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Venice Itinerary

Our first stop in Italy is the beautiful city of Venice.

Piazza San Marco
Basilica di San Marco
Campanile di San Marco
Grand Canal
Palazzo Ducale
Interpreti Veneziani
Musica A Palazzo
St. Mary of the Friars
Scuola Grande di San Rocco
San Rocco (Scuola of St. Rocco)
Santa Maria dei Miracoli
Santa Maria della Salute
Ca' Rezzonico
Ponte di Rialto

I'd also like to take a boat ride on a gondola, and have an Italian boy call me "bella" 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Paris Itinerary

Our next stop is Paris, France. The first country on our route that we don't speak the same language, wish us luck!
Arc de Triomphe
Le Fumoir
Musée de l'Orangerie
Shakespeare and Company Bookshop
Institut du Monde Arabe
Centre Pompidou
Montmartre Walk
Shopping in the Marais
Musee d'Orsay
Musee du Louvre
Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris
Musee Nissim de Camondo
Le Marais
Eiffel Tower
Musee Rodin
Ile de la Cite
Musee Jacquemart-Andre
Towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral
Place des Vosges
Musee Carnavalet

Thursday, April 4, 2013

London Itinerary

This summer, my best friend Riley and I are going backpacking across three countries in Europe. After a month of adventure, I hope that we'll be returning home as cultured, travel savvy women that had the time of their lives.

Our first stop is London, the following are places and events that I hope to go to during our week stay.

Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre
Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre
Camden Lock Market
London Eye
Covent Garden
Piccadilly Circus
St. Paul's Cathedral
Westminster Abbey
Big Ben
Changing of the guards Buckingham Palace
(21 June 2013 to

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Flawed American High School

“The rules of high school turn out not to be the rules of life,” Stated Leon Botstein, in his writing titled “Let Teenagers try Adulthood.”  Simply based off of this statement, I already agreed with his critique of the American high school.

High school is not an accurate representation of the real world. The success you have socially doesn’t imply that you will have actual success later in life. Plenty of students placed into the stereotype of “nerd,” will one day be the boss of the oh-so-popular “jock.”

Botstein goes on to point out how “individuality and dissent are discouraged,” meaning that while they are in high school, students are not accepted if they have character traits that make them stand out in ways that are not “cool” or socially admirable. They are encouraged to fit inside little boxes that crush their uniqueness.

Which brings me to another of Botstein’s points, no other institution categorizes people by age. Sure, once humans reach a certain old age they could be put into a care center, but it’s not as if they turn people away if they aren’t old enough yet. In the real world, age-segregated environments do not exist. “In no work place, not even colleges or universities, is there such a narrow segmentation by chronology.”

“By the time those who graduate from high school go on to college and realize what really is at stake in becoming an adult, too many opportunities have been lost and too much time has been wasted.”

Botstein’s solution to this problem is to allow students to graduate two years earlier, at the age of 16, should they feel ready for the task of beginning life in the “real world.” This could be by going on to college early, entering a trade school, or directly entering the work force. The point is that it’s up for the student to decide. At this age, most students know their own strengths and weaknesses, and have a grasp of where they’d like the general direction of their life to be headed.  

I agree with this ideal completely. By my sixteenth birthday I knew that I didn’t want to be in a job that required mathematics, yet I’m still in a math class my senior year. I believe that if we give students the opportunity to make their own decisions regarding their future, we would find that many teenagers actually have the capacity to be intelligent thinkers and creators. I believe that the shallowness of high school will diminish. If everyone is focused on bettering themselves so that they are prepared for the near future, it won’t matter if you were the captain of the football team, or if you never got a date in high school. It would matter that you prepared yourself for success later in life.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Our Queen Is Irreplaceable

If I were queen of my school, I would strive to be as good of a leader as my current Principal, Dr. Mary Wilcynski.

This woman memorizes 1,800 names, first and last, every single year. She makes a point to have conversations with the students, and even get to know them.  

She holds a meeting once every month or so, called Cougar Advisory Council, where she sits and listens to complaints and concerns by students about our school. She actually takes these points and applies them to make things better for everyone. She compromises and finds a place where everyone can be happy.

Once, last term, she approached me and asked me how my classes were going, and expressed her concern for my final grade in my math course. She wanted to see me succeed, and knew my capacity for learning was above where I was performing. In a school of 1,800, she took the time to know I wasn’t doing well in Pre-calculus.

From how my teachers talk about her, they also appreciate her establishment of relationships in our school. My philosophy teacher, Coach White, even mentioned that he’s never met a more decent person in his entire life. When his son was having health problems a few years back, she didn’t bat an eye when he needed time off, she instructed him to be with his family. She not only cares about her students, but she treats her faculty as prized possessions.

I once traveled to Marshalltown to watch one of my best friends compete in women’s state swimming, and I wasn’t even shocked to find Dr. W in the crowd. She makes an effort to attend as many events, sports or otherwise, as she possibly can. I’m talking weekends, tournaments, multiple games or even multiple events per night.

And don’t even get me started on graduation parties. Kennedy High School has a typical class size of about 400 students. That’s 400 parties, 400 locations, 400 “congratulations” cards. This spring, Dr. W will attempt to attend each and every one of these parties. This absolutely blows my mind.

Though it’s become a running joke that she shoves AP classes down our throats, the concept has been a little dramatized. She may stress the importance of challenging ourselves, but she only wants the best for each of us. And she most likely knows what’s better for us than we do.

If I were to apply only one concept that Dr. W has taught me, it would be that you have to be your best, to expect people to be their best. How could Kennedy not have an outstanding academic record when we have a woman behind us that is working her absolute hardest so that we succeed? She drives people to do better, because SHE is better.

So I guess I didn’t really take the question of “What would you change if you were queen of the school?” to heart, because I believe that the Queen is already in her rightful place.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Why you should travel young (Final pt2)

So while there are plenty of reasons not to travel, more of them exist as we age. As students entering college next fall, we hold the least amount of responsibility and the most amount of potential and drive. There are numerous reasons to travel other than the obvious intrinsic value. Think about it, by traveling young, you are creating a picture-perfect resume. Employers look for well-rounded employees; you will most likely have foreign language experience, you’ve been proven to show initiative, and probably have a knack for problem solving. You will have experience with managing money and budgeting.  You will have become more independent, and fought your way through many difficult, out-of-your-element situations. You will be an employer’s dream come true.
 Another reason to travel young is the availability of student discounts when booking hostels or on-site activities. Many business owners realize that it is harder for students to afford as much as the typical traveler, and they can usually cut you some slack. By booking as a “student” you are more likely to get some sort of discount, or even get something for free. And we all know free is best.

But aside from the opportunity to save some money and beef up your resume, traveling in general holds such a tremendous value. It, in fact, ups your potential of compassion tenfold. Don’t believe me? Try not to shed a tear at seeing children run barefoot in the streets of a third world country, smiling even with their tattered clothes and desolate futures. Try not to get a twist in your stomach after seeing the wall of skulls from the Cambodian genocide. Or try not to get frustrated while attempting to comprehend why these things are still happening. Not feeling compassion is absolutely not an option while traveling. Even if you are intending to stay in posh hotels or resorts, there is still poverty to be found. Traveling will most definitely show you the need for compassion in the world.

One of my favorite T.V. shows, MTV’s “The Buried Life,” is a documentary series about four young men who were unsatisfied with the direction their lives were headed. They made the bold choice to set out into the world with one mission, to complete their list of life goals, and help others accomplish their own along the way. While their T.V. show ended, these guys still continue to travel, chasing their dreams and helping countless people. Their story is the perfect example of why you need to just go with it sometimes, even if it is not what you had planned. The Buried Life is proof of the success and benefit of following your gut, and seeing the world.

Traveling young will raise eyebrows, it will provoke haters. It will cause concern and give doubt. But the reward far outweighs the cost. There are so many adventures to be had, masterpieces to be seen, and people to help. If travel is something that you wish to do in your future, my question is, what are you waiting for?