Monday, August 26, 2013

An Ode to the Introverts

As people who know me will tell you, I am not, by any means, quiet.  Honestly, when I know you, or have at least decided that you are not a threat, I am animated, talkative, and fun.  However, I have this strange shy streak that appears at certain times.  I never could put a word to what I was: not shy, because that implies a fear of people.  Not quiet, because my friends can never seem to get me to shut up.  At last I found it: I am a textbook introvert.

This means that, while I don't fear people, I simply feel no need to talk to the ones I don't know.  I'll sit quietly in a crowd of unfamiliar people and be fine.  If you want to meet me, approach me first and say hello.  I'll gladly talk to you, but I will NOT be the first to engage in conversation.  This introversion explains my crowd anxiety, my need for alone time, and my sometimes rough outer shell.  I'm not mean.  I'm not shy.  I'm not quiet.  I'm just an introvert.

I think the best way to explain it is this: it's like I was born with a fear of the word "no".  My mom used to always tell me, "just ask.  The worst they can say is no."  The idea of being told no terrifies me.  To me, "no" is like failure.  It's why I don't talk to new people (what if I annoy them?), it's why I don't like trying new things (what if I'm bad at them?), and it's why I hate to lose or be rejected.  Rejection is the ultimate "no".  It's like saying, "no.  You aren't good enough and we don't want you."

This fear of "no" permeates everything I do, ultimately leading to introversion.  So seek me out.  Show me that you like me.  At that point, I'm happy to put myself out there.  I just need to feel safe first.

So, to all you introverts out there, I get you.  I know how you feel.  Occasionally, try to get out of your comfort zone.  Try something new, or go to a party where you know only one person and actually talk to someone new.  Try to smile more.  People will think you're friendly even if you are scared to death of them.  Just relax.  It'll all be okay.

And to the extroverts: be kind to us.  We're doing our best.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Some Unsolicited Advice for the School Year

So. It's back to school for just about everyone and here are some thoughts regarding each stage:

Middle School
Ugh. Words can't express how glad I am that this stage of my life is over. Some advice for the road?
  1. It's an awkward time for EVERYONE. It's not just you.
  2. People are mean.  It's because they're uncomfortable.  Try not to get too upset because of the things they say.
  3. Figure out who you can count on and hold them close.
  4. Figure out who the mean ones are and avoid them.
  5. Be you and try to stay true. (cliché, I know. :p)
High School
I had a decent time in high school, but I had to make an effort to do so.  Here's how:
  1. Don't freak out. This isn't real life.  High school is just a stepping stone.
  2. Get involved.  It looks good on college apps, but it also helps you make friends and stay busy.
  3. Get good grades.  Yeah, that's obvious, but a lot of underclassmen tend to forget this one.
  4. Friends. Always friends.  Keep the old ones, but make new ones too.
  5. Let things go.  Mean people/drama queens/etc. aren't worth your time.
  6. If you aren't dating someone, it's okay.
  7. Yes, you can go to prom without a date.  Go with friends.
  8. And yes, you should go to prom and homecoming at least once each.  If you hate it, never go again.
  9. Prom>homecoming
  10. The "nerds", "drama geeks" and "band geeks" are some of the most genuine people on campus.
And finally, I've only been in college for about a week now, but here's some thoughts:
  1. Try not to eat alone.  Introduce yourself to someone else who looks lonely.  Or drag your suite mate along.
  2. Go to class.
  3. Know where your classes are in advance.
  4. Most professors are actually pretty cool.
  5. Sorority rush is scary, but overall, worth it.  You'll meet lots of new people, even if you don't decide to go Greek.
  6. Eat at some funky restaurant just off campus that you've never heard of.
  7. The chocolate milk in the cafeteria is delicious and addictive.
  8. Having a roommate can be pretty cool.
  9. ALWAYS bring an umbrella.
  10. Don't give up.  Classes are harder than high school, but so what? You can do this.
  11. Have fun. Just do it.
  12. That being said, don't do anything stupid.
  13. If you are in an upper level Chemistry class, you really should know that if your answer differentiates from the professor's by .001, it is NOT a big deal.  Do NOT raise your hand and fret about it in front of 296 other people.  You'll look dumb.
  14. TAs are usually stuck up. Let it go.
  15. Tech support for online classes sucks.
Happy back to school, everyone!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ah, Sweet, Beautiful Controversy

This blog post is very, very controversial.  You have been warned.
(not mine, obviously)
Okay.  So, lately there's this giant controversy because Rolling Stone magazine chose to write an article about the Boston bomber and place his picture on the cover.  Everyone is up in arms, saying that it's so awful and glorifying terrorism.  I do not agree even a little bit.
First of all, it is Rolling Stone's right as a magazine to publish anything they want.  Additionally, the story about the bomber is the largest story in the issue, and therefore it makes sense for a photo pertaining to the article to be on the cover.  Further, not to be cynical, but Rolling Stone is a company and they are selling a product.  Although many have refused to sell the magazine, the company has likely sold thousands of extra copies and gained tons of publicity due to the surrounding controversy.
Now, on the less cynical side, the picture shows a different side of the bomber, showing that he was a regular person once; not a born monster.  It argues that no one is a born monster, and it is the choices we make that determine the person we become, not necessarily the upbringing we had.
The article examines how Jahar fell from grace, going from a popular student to a terrorist.  It makes the bomber seem human, which, while seemingly degrading to victims of the bombing, sheds some light on the fact that terrorism does not have a specific "face".  While it may sound paranoid to say so, anyone could become a terrorist.  If they make poor choices, they could fall into such a trap.
While the picture may seem to be "glorifying" Jahar, it is not.  It is simply illustrating the point of the article: evil is made, not born.
On a more emotional level, I cannot argue that Rolling Stone should have put Jahar's picture on their cover.  It is clearly hurtful and offensive to many, but they had a right to do so, and there is nothing truly wrong with their choice.