Posts Tagged ‘essay’
Ever since I can remember, sports have been a huge part of my life. They’re something I’ve always loved and always will love no matter how old I am or how bad I get. George Orwell once said, “Sport is war minus the shooting.” I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately, and yes, to me playing sports is in a way, a war. It’s a show, it’s inconsistency, it’s opinion backed with statistics, it’s opinion based on geography, it’s opinion based on the way a certain player wears a certain emblem or number, it’s learning from your mistakes, it’s paying attention to the way the wheels go ‘round, and it’s deciding that you’d better laugh because crying just makes your eyes look ugly. But most of all, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
I’ve always been a softball girl myself. I think my dad’s love for the game of baseball might have had a little influence on this, but take it or leave it, you would never find me outside without that oversized Wilson mitt on my hand, a bright yellow softball wedged in its grasp. There was no convincing me that softball wasn’t the greatest sport ever created. Until one day, I met Mr. Tom Stralser.
I was making my way down the main hall, destination Algebra, when out of nowhere, he grabs my arm and pulls me aside. I thought I was in trouble, I really did. Just his business way of approaching things threw me for a loop. “Hey kid, I was watchin’ yer basketball game the other day. You’ve got some springs in those legs. Why don’t you come join us this spring?” I was completely and utterly stumped. Join who? For all I knew, the soccer team had just sent an invitation my way.
Later on that day, I asked around, put two and two together, and eventually found my answer. Stralser was the head track coach for the girls. Track!?! Hah! I was probably the farthest thing from a runner. Don’t get me wrong on this one, I love my sports. But running just isn’t my venue. Hell, if you get me to attempt a 3200 you’re doin’ pretty good, but if you expect me to complete it, you must be crazy. What I failed to realize at first is that track also has a field side. Hence, track and field.
Throughout the rest of my sophomore year, I was slowly but surely being convinced (partly by myself, mostly by Stralser) that by taking part in a sport I had never even given thought to in the past, I had made one of the best decisions of my athletic career. I absolutely fell in love with track and field. The atmosphere was awesome, I was actually excelling at what I did (high jump and javelin at the time) and I had Stralser to keep me going and to help pick me up when I was down.
My junior year, I decided to venture even more outside of the box, and tried my luck as a pole-vaulter. Turns out, bigger is better. My height masked my faulty drop step, and I ended up going to State on an 8’6’’. To make things even more perfect, I threw a 112’6’’ the next day (Districts) for javelin, placing third and beating out the two Pullman girls, thus sending me to State in my second event as well. I was ecstatic. Once again, I had struck gold by accepting to try ‘something new’ and in doing so, finding out that I wasn’t half as bad as I thought I would be.
Looking back now at where I started and how far I’ve come is something I’ll always be proud of. Now, about 2 weeks away from throwing at Districts, I’m in a kind of nervous-mixed-with-excitement mood. Throwing the discus is yet another ‘something new’ I’ve decided to go with this year, and so far, it’s been pretty good to me. Javelin has been the best it’s ever been, putting me second in the league with a 121’1. I can honestly say that the coaching I have right now is the greatest coaching I’ve had my entire life. There’s one coach in particular that I will never forget; Mr. Tom Stralser.
I can’t explain to you in words how much this man has helped me in the past few years. Actually, I take that back. I probably can. However, it would take a couple trees to do so, and I’m already past my bedtime working on this paper 8 hours before it’s due (it’s currently 12:28 pm), so I’ll keep it simple and to the point. Before Stralser, I had never really experienced the kind of coach who devoted way more time than they should in helping improve my skills, the kind of coach where you can make mistake after mistake and he’ll be right there by your side telling you it’s okay, and that you’ll make better ‘mistakes’ tomorrow. Hell, if it weren’t for Stralser, I’d still be a softball player to this day. If it weren’t for Stralser, I’d be carrying a mitt and a bat, instead of a javelin and a disc. And if it weren’t for Stralser, I wouldn’t be what or who I am today.
This was an assignment for LA class….we had to come up with a rule for life, pretty much any rule you could think of….so this is mine….
~ Happiness is not based on possessions or power, but on the relationships you make with the people you love and respect. ~
For my rule, I guess to fully understand it, you can’t be one of those money-hungry economists or businessmen who only care about how much they’ll make today or what kind of cash will be in their hand tomorrow. Happiness, I’ve learned so far in my eighteen years on this crazy Earth, is something you can’t touch. Something that the blind can see and the deaf can hear.
Hell, you could be the richest man in the entire world, but at the same time, the unhappiest. Living in a beautiful mansion along the sandy beaches of the Fiji Islands, retired at the ripe old age of 36, with billions and billions of dollars to your name sounds like a perfect picture of paradise, right? But what if there was a catch. The tiny writing on the bottom of the contract of life, the last two seconds of that ‘side-effect free’ Pepto-Bismol commercial. What if I said you could live that life of riches and bathe in all that fame and glory, but had to leave all your family and friends behind, having no contact with any of them for the rest of your life? You’d have all the essential things to live of course; money, food, and shelter. But without happiness and love, you’d have nothing to live for. At least I wouldn’t.
Marissa Krause, one of my closest friends, asked me the other day if I’d rather be filthy rich, but sad, or dirt poor, but happy. “Hmm, how bout’ filthy rich and happy, Sis? That sounds pretty good to me.” She just looked at me shaking her head back and forth, laughing quietly at my response. But once I got to thinking about the true reality of her question, I realized that indeed, if I did have a choice of these two, I’d have to go with the poor and happy one. And I don’t think I’d regret it either. You see, to me, happiness is the key to life. So if you’ve found that, you’ve found life.
It seems like every day now people are losing their jobs. From hosting important business meetings at Itron to emptying the greaser behind the counter of downtown Burger King, America’s job market has taken a turn for the worst. Keeping a steady job in the US today is almost as slim as finding one in the first place. As the outsider looking in (considering the fact that I’ve never held a job), I find myself quite puzzled. Where have all these job openings gone? Why are these companies cutting employees? And maybe the most confusing of them all…why aren’t we able to fix it, whatever that ‘it’ may be?
Approximately five and a half months ago, I was just stepping into the realm of becoming a senior at Cheney High School. I can honestly sit here (it’s currently 9:34 pm, the night before this paper is due) and type close to around two hundred pages of ridiculous anecdotes, stories, lessons, rumors, experiences, and pretty much anything else randomly random that doesn’t relate worth a damn to this paper. But of course, Father Time is a huge barrier in my current dilemma of having this paper finished, and besides, I wouldn’t want to bore anybody with tales from the past when the real focus on hand is facts from the future. Anywho, I had just blown out the eighteen candles on my Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream Cake, and getting a job was the farthest thing from my mind. It’s not the fact that getting a job is hard in any sense, but moreover that I have so many things that currently come before that.
Friends and sports top that list. I guess that’s not really what a teacher reading this wants to hear (maybe Stralz puts it best; “You are a student-athlete and not vice versa.”), but academics were (and still pretty much are) just not ‘high priority’ in my mind. Even though parents don’t want to admit it, school isn’t about what you absorb while sitting at that cramped desk in the front row, but what happens around and in spite of that. I think I may have caught that ‘senioritis’ bug that all the anxious twelfth graders talk about. However, throughout my senior year (so far), I have managed to maintain a 3.33 GPA, my lowest letter grade in any class not dropping below a ‘C’. Which brings up the whole overwhelming process of getting a job once again.
“C’s aren’t going to get you anywhere in this world, Bree. They’re average. What’s gonna happen when you apply for a job, huh? Do employers want ‘average’ people to fill their positions? Do they?” I just want to yell at the top of my lungs whenever our conversation gets to this point. “No, DAD! Rhetorical question, DAD! I’m working on it, DAD!” But of course, I can never say this to his face. I’ll always respond calmly with one, two or even a combination of all three of the excuses provided below.
A. “Nobody’s gonna wanna hire a senior in high school with absolutely no flexibility in her schedule to work for them. It’ll be best for us all if I just wait it out until summer, Dad.”
B. “There’s no possible way for me to juggle school, sports, and a job all at once. It’s hard enough already, Dad.”
C. “Even if I did find some rare company who hired people with my crazy schedule, you would be the one having to drive me there every day because you seem to overlook the fact that I don’t have a car, Dad.”
Usually Excuse ‘C’ provides all the cushioning I need to override his side of the argument. I know it does. I know for a fact that my father is way too busy to become my little taxi service overnight. Or at least was too busy.
You see, at the time, which was only but a few months ago, he held two well-paying occupations. On one side he was the head produce buyer eight years running for Charlie’s Produce. And on the other, being a realtor for Kestell Company Realty had yet to let him down. I guess you could say I had it pretty well off. I still do. No job, little to no serious responsibilities, about fifteen bucks a week via allowance, and a roof over my head with free food is livin’ the dream in my eyes. How could I contest to that, yu know? So you can only imagine the cold sensation of shock that shot through my body when Dad came home that idle Tuesday afternoon (five weeks ago today) and uttered those five ugly words…
“I lost my job today.”
Those words mocked me for the rest of the week. They still manage to send a chill down my spine whenever I start reading the ghastly sentence looming at the top of this page. Bold and CAPITILIZATION fail to expose the seriousness that settle behind them. “How did this happen?!?” I exclaimed, half expecting the words ‘Just kidding!’ to tag along. But before he had a chance to answer my question, I let my emotions get the best of me. My tears pierced the shoulder of his polo shirt as he pulled me close, hugging me and saying that everything would be okay in the end, and that if it wasn’t okay, it wasn’t the end.
It’s actually quite scary writing about that today. Not scary I guess, but it makes me think of all the things that could happen next. It’s amazing when you get to that point in your life where you realize how lucky you really are, and how much you depend on your salary as a means of survival. I mean, of course my dad is just another statistic in all these unemployment percentages nowadays, but getting into the cause and effects of not having a steady income really puts things in perspective.
For an excellent example, take the Chicago-based company of Boeing. Not even a month ago, their headquarters announced on national news that they were going to be cutting 4,500 jobs in 2009 just in the state of Washington. 4,500 jobs?!? That’s insane. Boeing as a whole employs 160,000 people, 76,000 of those who work in Washington alone. Taking higher mathematics and applying them to this current world issue makes you not help but raise an eyebrow. Take a look. à 4,500(divided by)76,000(equals).0509 and so on and so forth which turns out to be 6%. So three out of every fifty employees working for Boeing in Washington State were dropped, just in the month of January. Wow. I can’t imagine all the hate mail and other negative vibes that franchise gets from laid-off workers, their wives, their husbands, their extended families, their friends, etc.
(The following letter is NOT REAL. It’s a very bad dramatization of what my hate mail will sound like if my husband ever loses his job due to layoffs and what not. Please do not try this at home… )
To Whomever Fired My Husband At Work Last Week;
I hate you. I hate you, hate you, hate you. Do you have any idea how much time my husband wastes lying around the house like a lethargic bum? He has yet to empty Fluffy’s litter box. The poor cat has to climb to the top of ‘Turd Mountain’ every time she has to go #2 anymore. And to hell if I’m layin’ a finger even near that wretched thing. Ugh. How could you fire a man who has provided you with 25 years of nothing but back-breaking labor and unpaid overtime shifts? It’s all your fault. You want to know what he accomplished today? Nothing. Oh wait, no. Moving from one chair to another has to account for something right? Even if the reason behind it was because he can’t fit in his blue recliner any longer. Twenty pounds in twelve days. TWENTY POUNDS IN TWELVE DAYS! How does that even work?!? I honestly think he can’t feel feelings anymore. The other day, I caught him having a heated argument about whether or not Jesus was black with a half eaten chocolate Twinkie. I ask you now before I go absolutely insane and leave the love of my life behind me. Okay, screw asking; I’m telling. Take him back! Do it. Please.
With Hope And Faith For The Future,
Ivuh Gawn Maad
P.S. “Meow, deeper meow, short hiss, right paw swipe, long hiss, followed by a shrill MEOW at the end.” (Fluffy says she hates you, too.) xoxo
So, I’ve officially found excuse ‘D’ to put on my list. “Ummm…Daddy?…I’ve analyzed through and through the job market today, and I’ve come to a conclusion. I am currently not able to find a job because people who are supposed to be taking jobs like yours are now coming down to jobs like mine and taking those instead.” This actually would not be that far from the truth. Just the other day, I submitted my perfectly filled out application to the Iron Skillet and couldn’t help but notice the stacks of other applicants’ applications underneath mine. I swear to God, there must have been at least forty other forms there. Think about that for a second or two. Forty people battling for one job. Hell, go back to last summer and you don’t even have half the stack of paper you have now. Desperation from unemployment has legitimately blinded our country.
Approaching this economic crisis in an optimistic view takes some courage, I’ll admit it. But approaching this economic crisis in an optimistic view and using it to your advantage is a whole other concept. Maybe that’s why I have an overbearing sense of pride for my dad. Losing his job didn’t mean the end at all. It meant a new beginning. Because now, he’s going to school to become an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). It’s weird in the sense that when I’m going to attend college someday, he will be, too. His will be for a completely different career of course, but none the less, I was very surprised at his decision in choosing this.
According to him, the economy will end up fixing itself with Obama leading the pack. According to me, that’s a bunch of sugar-coated crap. I believe our world consists of two kinds of political stereotypes; the blind and the deaf. The blind being the ones who constantly overlook the little things that could be important pieces to our ‘puzzle of prosperity’, and the deaf being those who do pay attention to the little things, but choose to take no action towards them. So in most cases, it’s the deaf leading the blind. If that makes any sense at all.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that this economy is in an enormous whirlwind of debt, unemployment, and foreclosures, and that we, the people, are swept up in it all without ever having a chance to brace ourselves in the first place. However, suppose everyone forgot about this huge obstacle we face today. Suppose unemployment rates drastically fall from that dreadful 7.3% and creep down into a comfy zone of 4.4% – 5% instead. Gas prices magically pulled off this feat didn’t they? Of course I know we’re dealing with jobs here, but still. I can almost guarantee that if you were to pull someone aside, off the streets of New York per say, and ask them the simple question of “What do you think about the current unemployment rate of America?”, they would have something specific to say, mostly complaints and endless rants. But turn around and ask that same person what they would do to help the global economy and how, and you find yourself back to square one again. “Ummm…let’s see…ummm…I would…recycle more?…ummm…” And thus the vicious cycle starts all over again.
Looking back upon this paper, I realize that yes, America is in a struggle for their lives. Literally. Yet, I also realize that contributing to the problem instead of helping to destroy it is one very dire weakness, we as a country portray. So as I sit here, a jobless senior whose biggest current worry is finding out who ate the last piece of my birthday cake, I find myself lost in thought over what will become of America as I know it, and have known it for the past eighteen years of my life. Will we ever make enough progress as to fixing our billion dollar debts? Will our countries unemployment rate ever go back to where it was prior to the Iraq War? And maybe the most important question of them all. Will any of this happen within my lifetime?
“I have 59 days left until school is done with. Forever.”
You have absolutely no idea the glee it gives me to finally be able to say that. Letting those eleven words slip off the tip of my tongue with the greatest of ease, without even having to tag along ‘just kidding’ at the end of them. The burly black doors of freedom have just burst open, revealing infinite fields of caramel kettle corn, orange popsicle trees, and smiling wisps of cumulus clouds that transform into Swedish Fish when you snap yer fingers. Although, I’ll have to admit, being a senior at Cheney High School has been quite an exciting and rewarding journey. Let’s rewind to the golden years for a paragraph or two.
I began my educational pathway at a tiny little brick schoolhouse out in the middle of nowhere. Ahhh, Great Northern. I believe my graduating class (6th grade) had five of us in it. Quite a turnout if I may say so myself, considering the whole school (K-6th) housed approximately 32 students in total. Despite the limited number of kids to become ‘besties’ with, Great Northern is, and always will be, my most memorable school. And since it was so small, you really got to know your teachers and vice versa. One particular individual, who will always be remembered in my book, is my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Kathy Vela. I was always the shy kid in the corner, you know the one. Where anything and everything I said triggered a dark shade of red to sneak its way across my chubby white cheeks. Well, being the understanding mentor she was, Mrs. Vela managed to coax me out of my anti-social habits, slowly but surely. To tell you the truth, she was one of the first people (besides the good ol’ rents of course) that I felt I could fully trust. This was awesome for me, because I was a very self-conscious kid back then, (I sported double-row braces, leopard framed glasses, and insanely curly blond hair) and she provided that safety barrier which I knew I could always fall back upon.
After saying goodbye to Great Northern and all the unforgettable memories I had created there, I moved on up to Cheney Middle School. For me, this was a huge, crazy, overwhelming change. To put it in simplest terms, everything that was going great for me was violently sucked up into a giant gray cloud, never to be seen again. Imagine if Earth was just an enormous, dirty dust ball and the Milky Way was a top-of-the-line Hoover with incredible dust ball GPS built into it. SLLLLURP! Total disaster, right? Well, that pretty much described my life as a 7th grader. That is, until I met music.
Music has always provided me with an outlet from the stresses of everyday life. I believe, where words fail, music speaks. If I woke up one idle Thursday morning to find out I had lost my hearing I could not fathom what I would do. It would be the ‘deaf’ of me. For example, when two of my best friends are arguing, and I know they’re both wrong, the ability for me to remain silent is almost as hard as falling asleep on Christmas Eve. So to play it safe, I just pop in my earphones, and trade their heated words in for a much needed daily dose of Chris Martin’s (Coldplay) incredible British accent. Works every time.
But anywho, back to my reflection, 7th grade continued to 8th and that’s when I discovered I had an itch to snatch a spot on the team of dancing, jiving, and all but boring Show Stoppers. These guys were breathtaking in my eyes. I want to be up there so bad, I’d tell myself day after day. But it was more than just a ‘want’; it was a ‘need’. I needed to showcase my soprano voice, needed to represent my fellow Nighthawks, and most of all, needed that sense of pride that came with performing alongside the best of the best. And so one chilly September morning, I swallowed my doubts and uncertainties and tried out.
Two weeks full of worry, baggy eyes, and stubby nails had finally come to an end as I anxiously read my results off the little metal bulletin hanging in the cafeteria. I had made it! Engulfed in happiness and satisfaction, I had finally found my place. Soon after my euphoric moment by the little metal bulletin board, life seemed a lot more enjoyable. Classes were easier, aiming distance for that 4.0 didn’t appear half as far, and Mr. Waud had to have been one of the most down-to-Earth teachers to make a difference in my life.
My favorite piece of middle school (besides choir) would easily have to have been the Fridays. Every Friday, rain or shine, my two best friends and I would dress up in a theme that we ourselves had created. I don’t even know how we thought of this idea, or the reasoning behind it. It was just ‘one of those little things’, that eventually evolved into ‘one of those big things’ by the end of the school year. I suppose you could have called it our mid-life crisis, but instead of blowing $30,000 towards a brand new Mustang convertible, we transformed our Fridays into (and these are just to list a few) Disney Day, Nerd Day, Backwards Day, Indian Day, Dress-Like-Your-Dad-For-A-Day Day, Superhero Day, Goth Day, Gangsta Day, 70’s Day, Hick Day, Pajamas Day, Beach Day, and just so many more. Everybody always thought we had literally lost our minds, but I guess they were right in a way. However, to me, middle school Fridays were always too far away, but when they finally did get here, they made school so much more worth going for.
Although our Fridays were extremely entertaining, Britney, Kaneeka, and I had to leave them with the Nighthawks. Despite the I-don’t-care-what-anybody-thinks-of-us attitudes we had once possessed, being a freshman was a scary thought. Plus, atomic wedgies, wet willies, and all the other senior pranks that were supposedly going to happen to us always managed to leave quite a sour taste in my mouth. So that was that, sad but true.
Prior to contray belief, freshman year proved to be an outstanding one. Closed campus didn’t really affect me because when yer a freshman cafeteria food is part of a normal/consistent food source. I don’t know what it is about being a senior, and I still can’t explain it to this day, but going out to eat means something more than just grabbing some dollar fries and a Big Mac. It’s like a rite; a passage. When you have the ability to leave school grounds, be it by friends with cars or maybe even your own car, there’s that ‘cool factor’ that comes along with it. Automatically, you become that much cooler. It’s honestly one of those labels that will never get old.
But enough about the food part. (I’m hungry can you tell.) I flew through my freshman year holding steady a solid 3.6 cumulative GPA. This was quite a feat for me, looking back now and knowing that I wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box, nor did I have the attention span to make up for it. I met many irreplaceable people along the way. One of them being my volleyball coach, Cherie Gwinn. She was one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever been coached by. Staying after practice to improve her players’ skills didn’t bother her in the least bit. “Are you sure you wanna stay, Coach? Cuz I totally understand if you don’t.” She’d always respond back to me telling me how ‘practice makes perfect’ and how she was here to help me out in that little saying. Thanks to her, I shocked everybody (including myself) and made varsity my sophomore and junior year. It was just such an awesome feeling; one of my high points in life so far.
Since we’re on the subject, let’s talk sports. My whole life, whether it be bush or competitive leagues, summer or in-season, sports have always been there for me. Perseverance and determination are big factors, but are also big learning curves. Take track as an example.
I absolutely fell in love with track and field. The atmosphere was awesome, I was actually excelling at what I did (high jump + javelin) and I had Stralser to keep me going and to help pick me up when I was down. Sophomore year was kind of a bummer because I missed going to State by a mere 4 feet for javelin. That hurt, it really did. However, my junior year, I decided to venture outside the box, and tried my luck as a pole-vaulter, working harder and more determined than I ever had in the past. Turns out, hard work pays off. My height masked my faulty drop step, and I ended up going to State with an 8’6’’. To make things even more perfect, I threw a 112’6’’ the next day for javelin and beat out the two Pullman girls, thus sending me to State in my second event as well. I was ecstatic. Perseverance, determination, and an open attitude to embrace/try something new had struck gold for me.
I can not explain to you, within a two sentence radius, or even an eight paragraph essay what all of my educational experiences have taught me. First of all, there’s just too much to list, and secondly, my words would not be enthusiastic enough to represent my past. I can tell you this though; I am a very independent learner. Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting new people. Taking differences between my attitude and beliefs and accepting someone else’s is one of life’s simple pleasures. But when it comes to learning, being stuck in a group is definitely not leaning towards my ‘educational benefits’. I’m not sure how to reason with you on how, or why that is. It’s just who I am as a learner. It’s kind of unique in a way, because if you take my outside-of-school activities and then try to match them with my inside-of-school activities, you’d find that opposites attract, considering I’ve been in team sports my whole life. Funny how that works.
To further my education, I am planning to attend college, but don’t know where or when. To be completely honest, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Freshman year I had my mind set on becoming the most well-known veterinarian in the history of Cheney. Hah! The following year, my choices narrowed down to a sharp tie between any job having to do with animals, and/or a field in sports broadcasting. Like I’ve said before, I love sports. I always have. Put me in almost any game situation and I will perform to the best of my abilities. But get me in front of a camera, and the whole room seems to spin, leaving me totally speechless with maybe a few ‘ums, uhs, and hmms,’ here and there. Therefore, broadcasting live in front of hundreds of people on a daily basis is out of the question.
About halfway through my junior year, I realized that I didn’t really mind what I ended up doing, so long as each day of my job was unique and different and preferably took place outside. I mean, I could never ever be one of those people who do the same thing over and over again, hour after hour, day after day. Take a Wal-mart greeter for an excellent example. “Hello, how are you? How’s yer day going today? Welcome to Wally World, I’d rather be knitting purple elephant sweaters with Grandma Rosey, but enough about me, what’s up with you?” Okay, maybe I exaggerated a bit on the last one, but I needed to make my point. Point being; repetition = not exciting = boring = not me. So once again, I still have no clue what I want to be.
However, I do believe that the skills I’ve developed over the years, in and out of school, will provide me with a huge ingredient in impacting my future dreams and career stepping stones in whatever I end up doing. They will also allow me to learn from my mistakes in the past, and correct them in the future. Or even better; not even make them at all.
Writing this senior reflection paper has opened my eyes in many ways, and makes me realize how lucky I really am. Throughout my experiences, K-12th, I’ve found that life can be a journey to nowhere and everywhere, all at the same time. Meeting new people is always something you should be encouraged to do because you never know where they might lead you in life. I’ve also learned that before things get better, they have to get worse first. Which sucks in the short perspective of things, but pays off to a tee in the long run. Before I end this masterpiece, I want to thank all of the people who’ve made a difference on my outlook of life and say one last thing. I may have no idea where I’m going, how I’m getting there, or what I’ll end up doing, but by God I promise it’ll be everything but boring.