Senior Project (CAS)

My high school has a day each month where the teachers/students/clubs band together and discuss one issue facing the school. In order for our group of IB students to finish up our senior service project, we decided to join the fray for one month and discuss the topic of stress management (we felt we would have the most to say on the topic).

We spent a few meetings planning how everything would go down. We decided to split the IB students into groups of two and send them to the different classes to keep order and explain how the whole day was going to go down. We had a few students make a video to grab the classes’ attention, worked out a few bullet points to have the teachers look over, and decided on an activity for the kids to do during the hour.

On the day of the Whole Child Stress Management workshop, I was assigned to a room with another IB student, and we assisted the teacher in carrying out the event. This included explaining the instructions of the activity to the students, which were to write down what makes students stressed, taking note, then how students de-stress, also taking note. I kept track of troublemakers and maintained order while the students enjoyed the activity. Afterwards, we discussed what we had found out during the activity, and I helped clean up.

That was my contribution to the IB class’ senior project. I actually thought the event went fairly well. There were the usual amount of naysayers and “cooler-than-you” kids who felt they were above participating, but myself and my partner handled things quite well.

Service Hours Finished!

Finally finished my service hours, now I’ve rounded out the 150 hours of CAS!!

To accomplish this, I helped teachers reorganize and decorate their classrooms (adding some things that I knew would get students more engaged in reading) and wrote book reviews for high-schoolers who have difficulty finding books that interest them.

Planned and initiated activities

  1. What was your organizational process? I initially set up a plan for reviews, but I found I couldn’t stick to it. I’d find a new book somewhere, and immediately would want to write about it.
  2. What did you learn about planning and initiating activities? Was it easy? Difficult? It was a bit difficult to stick to a schedule, especially since it takes different lengths of time to read different books. Reorganizing the room was a fairly easy timeframe (9-1, usually), it was more a matter of finding the time.

Showed perseverance and commitment in activities

  1. Was perseverance or commitment difficult? Why? A bit, I would get bored of the projects and fall out of interest, but the thought of seeing them complete and looking amazing and helping students really motivated me (that, and any excuse to use my label maker).
  2. Why is showing perseverance and commitment important? Perserverance is the only reason you get out of bed in the morning. Perserverance is necessary to get through life. If you don’t have perserverance or the ability to stick to your guns, then you’ll never get anything done.

Developed new skills

  1. What new skills did you learn? I learned how to use a label maker and a spray paint / glue hybrid. I also learned a lot about faculty members, who would stop by and say hi sometimes. I also learned more about the world around me by communicating with other blogs.
  2. How could this skill be useful to you in the future? If not only for the bragging rights of saying I know people from almost fifteen different countries, these skills are useful for getting along in the real world. I’ll have to use these again in my life, undoubtedly.
  3. How does this new skill make you feel about yourself? Very good, I’m very happy to talk to people from different countries who have different viewpoints than I on certain topics. It’s always interesting.
  4. Why is it important to learn new skills? So that you become a better person than you were yesterday. 

The Empty

Sometimes, I feel a darkness inside of me.

An inky blackness that taints the world outside

In harsh red and emptiness.

Everything is far too loud, too bright,

And all I want is to be left alone forever,

Or at least until I am finished.

 

Any utterance of sympathy feels false.

I don’t want the touch of a familiar hand,

I just want to sit for a quiet while.

I want to hear something happy.

God, I would give anything just to laugh.

I’ve always found humor in bleak situations,

But that ability seems to have left me now.

It’s swirled down the drain

With the rest of my chuckles and giggles,

And I’ve scrabbled and screamed

And scraped my hands trying to get them back.

 

When I feel like this,

Like I would trade my life for some peace and quiet,

I sit still for a moment

And

Let

The

Silence

In.

I walk away to any place that doesn’t have a sense.

No one who knows my name or cares if they’ll see me again.

I sit.

I sit and wait.

I sit and wait until I meet with an old friend

Who I know will lead me out of this emptiness of apathy.

 

Everyone has met my saviour,

Though to some, they are a demon,

An avenger of hate and bad decisions.

But them and I,

We have an understanding.

I love them because they pulls me back from the edge.

They are sometimes the only one who will.

 

Anger.

 

The sweet, white hot thrill of their presence throws all problems

To the wind.

They are a wake-up call that everything is not as bad as it seems,

And though the world is not pulling its punches

I cannot afford to leave the ring.

How dare this emptiness

This apathy

Try to take the sun from me?

My long walks amid nature?

The taste of ice cream and chocolate and carbs?

I am so angry

That I am whole again.

I’m sorry

But life is beautiful,

The stars are magnificent,

There is a sense of everything embedded in me.

 

And now I don’t want to go.

 

Thank you, anger, my knight in white hot flames.

I’m me for the time being.

When happiness had abandoned me as a lost cause

You swept in to take its place.

I know it’s wrong

But I’m so glad

To be angry with you.

Seize Determination

If it is brave, and it is good, and it is just, it is yours.

Take it.

Run with it.

When you reach the finish line, scream that you have made it.

Face those that still have a ways to go and grab their hand.

Offer assistance and levitation,

Tell them that while their burdens are heavy

You will lighten the load.

Then cheer and shout and whoop and holler

As they cross their own finish line

And make a dream for themselves.

A Letter For My Father

Dad,

 

Sometimes it’s difficult to put feelings into words.

They tumble outwards, the dam bursts.

They bubble out like a geyser,

Like a babbling brook.

But the words are unsorted, unspecified.

They’re uncooperative, they hurt.

 

So allow me to weave these words

Into a coherent “letter”

Though I guess it’s more a poem

This format suits me better.

 

I want you to know I love you,

Though I might act the opposite.

This time has been difficult

Silence is how I deal with it.

 

I’m curt because I’m unsure,

I’m quiet because I can’t think,

I’m angry because I hate repetition,

I’m sad because I’ve seen the brink.

 

Your words,

Your promises,

They sound so sincere

Like you believe every sentence

Like you can deliver.

 

But to me, to the receiver

They’re empty

I’ve heard them before

I was disappointed then

Heart broken

Why move the hand back

When it was just bitten?

 

I want so much to believe you

Forgive you

Embrace you

But

Every

Single

Time

It falls through

This go ‘round

I’m asking for solid proof.

 

I’ll admit, I don’t understand.

But I will soon,

While you’ve been bleedin’ and fightin’

I’ve been readin’ and writin’

And soon I’ll come through.

I’ll know what you’re going through.

 

I’ve got a question for you.

That man I once knew,

The one who’d joke and laugh

Make me giggle, pat my head?

Is he locked away

Or is he dead?

 

So do your best.

Relax, heal, and rest.

And let this be the last

Test you pass.

 

You want forgiveness?

You need to work for it.

It ain’t as easy as you seem to think,

And don’t forget it.

 

If this is a disease there must be a cure.

Though I’m not always sure,

It’s pure

Bullshit

That I gotta’ sit here all demure.

I assure you,

If this happens again.

There will be no forgiveness.

So get better, man.
Sincerely,

Your daughter

A Letter For My Mother

You called me sunshine,

Your little sunshine.

You kept me happy

When thoughts were gray.

You’ll never know, Mom,

How much I love you.

But your sunshine is going away.

 

You shed a long sigh,

Then your knees crack,

A long day over,

And now you’re toast.

But still you smile

As if it’s nothing.

Crack a joke, then ask about my day.

 

Your taste in TV

Could use an upgrade.

And you say my shows

Could rot your brain.

But you’re still quick, Mom.

Quick as a whip, Mom.

Your intelligence too high to decay.

 

You taught me early,

Treat others kindly.

But retaliate

When you’re done wrong.

Respect is tricky

But give it easily

Big hearts beat egos any day.

 

Some days

I came home empty.

Cheeks stained with teardrops

Mind heavy as stone.

You hushed the world silent

Shooed off the darkness

Held me close, kept reality at bay.

 

And so, Mom,

I want you to know, Mom.

You are perfect

Despite all you say.

You raised a good kid

So cut the bullshit.

Keep up that smile, your sunshine’s okay.

Creativity Hours Complete!

Over the summer I finished up my creativity hours for CAS (or at least, as close as I can figure). I spent my days working out in the mornings for about an hour, then spent the next several assisting my buddy Gwendolyn117 in writing a book series! This consisted of writing chapters, character exercises, and plot formation, and is technically still going on to this day.

Planned and initiated activities

  1. What was your organizational process? I would go to Gwen’s house, then work on the book for a bit. There was never really a set schedule, other than showing up every day.
  2. What did you learn about planning and initiating activities? Was it easy? Difficult? I learned that planning and initiating activities is sometimes quite difficult, considering the individual schedules of two people. Often we would need to work around each others’ schedules and be concious of the other’s commitments.

Worked collaboratively with others

  1. Is working with others generally easy or hard for you? With Gwen, it’s very easy to work together. We often think on the same wavelength, picking up the other’s slack. With anyone else it’s variable, depending on the competency of the group.
  2. Did you have to work with anyone difficult? How did you handle it? At times we were our own worst enemy, and would bicker over plot details we hadn’t figured out. When this occurred, we would take a break, do some individual research, or just spitball alternative ideas until something fit.
  3. Why is it important to be able to work collaboratively with others? The book will never be done unless we work together. The reward for working with each other is getting to see the labors of our efforts on store shelves.

Showed perseverance and commitment in activities

  1. Was perseverance or commitment difficult? Why? At times we would hit a wall, commonly referred to as writer’s block. When this happened, it was very difficult to continue with the project, and we would end up cutting the session early.
  2. Why is showing perseverance and commitment important? The feeling of FINALLY figuring out a plothole that’s been stumping you is a reward in and of itself, but another was seeing the progress we were making in front of our own eyes.

Developed new skills

  1. What new skills did you learn? An in-depth look into what it takes to write a novel.
  2. How could this skill be useful to you in the future? In many ways as an English teacher, but in many more as an author.
  3. How does this new skill make you feel about yourself? Proud. It makes me confident to know that I have a starting point when I begin writing solo novels, and that I’m not beginning as a newbie.
  4. Why is it important to learn new skills? To have a platform with which to start ugrading said skills. These skills also prepare you for adult life.