I don't know how to feel about the American education system. Or rather, I'm barely starting to realize that I have some inkling of an opinion of what I think is right. See, I've only recently (like, this semester recently) started weaning myself off of the idea that my high school transcript is the do-all end-all piece of paper that will determine my life's worth. It sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud, slightly dystopian, and (dare I say?) hugely terrifying that so many of us have been sold the idea that four years will determine how our entire lives will play out. Still, I've gone along with the status quo and will probably continue to in the future, just because I'm human and our collective number one priority is self-preservation. I say probably because I've seen High School Musical.
The belief that validation comes with exhaustion has always been a daunting one for me, because it's one that I've felt constantly emanating from my parents. Even though they swear on "health before wealth", their actions have spoken otherwise - 100 hour work weeks are both inspirational and deterring for a young, spoiled American. Back to High School Musical.
If this work ethic is Ashley Tisdale, tirelessly working to cater to the world's definition of "success", then another work ethic is Zac Efron, worrying more about what he thinks is worth pursuing. Now, recently I went to PASF's Convention and while there I found myself talking to Isabella and Mashad about college applications and their experiences. I don't know if it was their intent to do so, but talking to them confirmed for me that trying to fool admissions officers with pure resume-builders shouldn't be a priority (especially now when most everything has been set in stone). Isabella and Mashad are basically the Zac Efrons we need in the sea of Ashley Tisdales that is SciTech. They've been able to work their butts off in pursuing successes that they've defined for themselves, and I think they are among those who will inspire change in the world. Hats off to both of you and the others I'm sure have gone, are going, and will go through SciTech with the same mentality.
Even with just this past week of SHOWERTHOUGHTS, it's been enough for me to realize that these upcoming months should be filled with doing what I think is worthwhile and trying to stimulate change through my efforts. I admit, I may only be comfortable with accepting this because in the past three years I've done all I can and am satisfied with how I come across to others who buy into the world's definition of success. Reaching this point has made me realize that if I have to attend a university that only accepted me because I was a cookie-cutter student to the end, I don't think I'd be truly happy with myself. My beliefs tell me that I only have one life to live, and if defying the norm leads to my definition of success then it's validated. I don't want to drop.
So on 4/20 I posted on the Class of 16 Facebook page, and at the very end I told people to ask questions in the comments. This was the only question I got and my response -
Samia's joke-question kind of began a connect-the-dots process that involves me being desi-thin, today's limbic-vomit, and future college apps (as a soon-to-be-senior, everything kind of goes back to college apps).
Read on if you're interested.
For most of my life I've been desi-thin. What's desi-thin, you ask? It's the kind of thinness you see commonly amongst South Asians. Think about it - Niroshan, the Jalils, Zooha, Ramlah, most of the South Asians you see at SciTech are pretty thin, and if you're wondering why - it's just genetics and culture more than anything else. I used to be desi-thin as well, and after gaining nearly twenty pounds in the past four years, I can tell you that (for me anyways) gaining weight has totally sucked. No, I'm not talking about joining in with the rest of teenager America's obsessions with diet pills, starvation, and being "model-thin". I'm talking about heat. Sweaty, nasty, heat that is a direct result of gaining weight. The kind of heat that made Mercutio straight up kill a dude and made me limbic-vomit on my mom today.
So now, you're probably asking what limbic-vomit is. Limbic-vomit is when you couldn't care less about the repercussions of vocalizing your anger, a.k.a. letting your limbic system take over, towards someone. Today that someone happened to be my mom. See, my mom is awesome. She loves me a lot and she's taken care of me for almost 17 years now. But what she has yet to understand is that when I go outside in the summer, I overheat. And when I overheat, I get pissed. Today, my buttons were pressed to the limit when my fam left me outside for half an hour while they went to BR's to get ice cream (seriously?). They thought I wouldn't sweat it (hah! get it?), but they were so unbelievably wrong. I'll spare you the grisly details, but to give you some idea of how hot I got my iPhone went into limbo because it had overheated in my hand. Seriously gross - I haven't felt this affected by the heat since I got heat-stroke in Pakistan 10 years ago.
When I got home, I made like a sophomore with wire-cutters and stripped. The shower was my only hope, and while taking my shower I did what so many of us do and became introspective about life. Is the universe real? Does Obama really care? Why does Sister Wendy have such a weird lisp? These are all valid questions, but one question became the subject of today's showerthoughts - are my showers trying to teach me a life-lesson? I know I'm weird, but humor me and hopefully I'll humor you. See, I love taking hot showers because I'm young and inclined to choose instant gratification. Hot showers are relaxing while I'm in there, but afterwards I end up with an overabundance of oily skin and a low-grade fever. The only solution to my inability to achieve homeostasis? Polar-showers.
So now you're probably asking what a polar-shower is - polar-showers are when you take showers in water so cold you might as well jump in the Arctic Ocean with the polar bears while you're at it. When I took a polar-shower an hour ago, I began thinking about Samia's question-joke, thinness, limbic-vomit, and instant gratification, and how much better polar-showers are than hot ones in the long-term. Today's polar-shower, of all things, led me to the final line in my mental connect-the-dots - college.
See, I've always wondered why people say that going to SciTech helps later on in life. Right now, all I know is that I'm suffering with the bajillion things that need to be done by yesterday. After today's shower though, I think I can kind of understand. My home high school was like the hot shower, where it's easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy for a little bit but not the right choice for me. SciTech has been the longest polar-shower so far, and all I can do is hope that this little bit of suffering will lead me to much better places. I just hope I can achieve homeostasis by then.
Thank you for reading! Leave any comments and feedback below. I look forward to reading them, and hope that you read my future posts.
I began this blog to document my growth.
This is my first time publishing any of my thoughts online. I just finished my first blog post, and I can tell already that this blog will be rough around the edges. I hope to post a couple times a week an devolve past this embryonic state when summer break begins.
I hope you enjoy!