Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Born on a Blue Day

In my english class we were recently assigned a book report. We could pick any book we wanted as long as it was nonfiction. I had heard about this book, Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet and I thought I would give it a shot.
I ended up loving it.
The overall point of the book is to describe what it’s like to have savant syndrome and how with hard work, one can overcome any obstacle. The book is an insight in to his mind, which is full of numbers that he sees as shapes, colors and textures. He has the incredible mental power to memorize things like 22,000 digits of pi and the ability to learn new languages in no more than a week. Daniel Tammet is proof that those with autistic disorders like him have a chance to live a happy and independent life. By accepting his differences, learning to communicate with others, and eventually finding love, he doesn’t need to try to fit in because he is comfortable with who he is.
I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in seeing the world from an autistic savant's point of view and learning what it's like to always feel like an outsider.
I didn't think I would like it as much as I do now. It was pleasantly surprising and I learned a lot from Tammet. If he can learn to love the person he is and believe in himself, even with all the hardships he faced throughout his lifetime, then so can I.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

J.K. Rowling: Writing Again

J.K. Rowling, author of the famous and well loved Harry Potter series, is coming out with a new book to be released on September 27, 2012.
Don't get too excited Harry Potter fans; it's not a continuation of the series. The book, titled The Casual Vacancy, is an adult novel focused on the character Barry Fairweather, a man who dies unexpectedly in his early forties, leaving his little town of Pagford in shock. Pagford, seemingly pleasant, is actually a town that is at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, and teachers at war with their pupils.
The missing place of Fairweather on the parish council provokes the biggest war the town has yet seen.
The story is blackly comic, thought-provoking, and surprising.
Although I'm disappointed that she's not continuing with Potter, I'm sure that Rowling's new book will be spectacular in it's own way because of the magnificent writer that she is and I'm excited to read it.

Carpe Diem

Just a quote to live by. Don't think about the past. Live life in the now and don't look back because you'll miss what is right in front of you. Don't dwell on regrets of things you should have done or things you should have said. It's okay to just move forward. It's never too late to change yourself. It's never to late to be the person you want to be. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games

For those of you who don't know, The Hunger Games is the first book of three, written by Suzanne Collins, just recently turned into a movie directed by Gary Ross. It is set in the future where North America, now called Panem, is split into 12 districts and the Capitol selects a boy and a girl from each district to partake in "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death, broadcasted on live television. The rules of the games are that twenty-four participants go in, and only one comes out alive as the victor. The games are part entertainment and part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts. The story follows Katniss, a 16-year-old, who volunteers in place of her young sister, Prim. She becomes the tribute participant for District 12 along with her male counterpart, Peeta.

I went to the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games on Thursday. I'm a huge fan. I've read all of the books and really was beyond ecstatic to see it. There's something to be said about reading a book and then watching it come to life on screen. It's almost magical. You get to compare the characters and scenes that you pictured in your head while reading to the director's version in a movie. Especially seeing it at the premiere at midnight, when only true fans come. We are all covered in Hunger Games shirts and dressed up like the characters. We all have a mutual love for the novel. There was complete silence during it except for the occasional applause and gasps when a scene was done so beautifully. I saw it again on Friday night and it was completely different. Not the movie. The audience. There were boys behind me trying to be funny and calling out things during it. There were people who laughed immaturely during emotional or romantic scenes. There was even a guy snoring loudly enough for the whole theater to hear. That's the difference between going to the premiere and going when everyone else goes. It's the true, diehard fans that make the experience. It was so much more emotional and breathtaking when I was surrounded by people who are in love with it as much as I am and don't talk or laugh during quiet scenes. So word of advice: If you read an amazing book and it gets the privilege to become a film, go to the premiere and I guarantee your experience will be undeniably more enjoyable and memorable.

I would give The Hunger Games five out of five stars. It really is a touching and captivating movie. Even if you haven't read the books, I would definitely suggest it. It's a movie for both guys and girls and it really keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Teachers Matter

I didn't really realize how huge of a difference the teacher makes until just recently.
Let's just say physics isn't my thing. I've never been interested in science at all until this trimester when I got a great physics teacher. He makes such a difference. I don't even mind going to physics and sitting through an hour lecture. He makes the class fun. He makes little jokes to keep it entertaining, shares personal experiences, and does real examples of the things we are learning about in front of us. Today, we were learning about static electricity and he pulled out one of these machines and we actually got to see what static electricity and electron transfer looks like. It's so much more interesting to actually see what you are learning about rather than just being talked at and given long formulas to memorize all class period. I had a different teacher my first trimester for physics and I didn't like the class at all. The teacher wasn't engaged and happy to be there. Good teachers are the reason why kids get interested in certain subjects. They are the reason why kids get better grades. If the class is extremely boring and not interactive at all, students won't be interested in learning. They will do their homework and just try to get through the class to get a decent grade. And that's not learning. That's just memorizing information right before a test and then forgetting it later.

The opposite experience just happened to me too. English has always been my favorite class. I really love reading and writing. Last trimester, I had a wonderful english teacher. She was so nice and happy to see us when we walked in to class everyday. She also had a sense of humor and was very in to discussion-based teaching which it made it so much more stimulating than just doing worksheets and reading a book all hour. We read at home and discussed in class. We had a great time debating about certain topics in the book and learning about each other's views. This new trimester, I got a different english teacher. He isn't a discussion-based teacher at all. We write down vocab words and turn in little one page papers everyday for completion points. There's no class talks. And it's really sad because my love for english has actually diminished from being in that class everyday. It's not interesting anymore. I don't like reading the things he gives us. They are extremely complicated and the vocab words are just dry. I can't wait for the class to be over.

So to all you teachers out there, take pride in what you do. Have fun. Keep it interesting. Make the class laugh once in a while. Make them like your class and you. You won't believe what a difference it makes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kony 2012

Please watch:
          This is a huge deal. A man named Joseph Kony, from Central Africa, is and has been abducting children and forces them to be in his army. The boys he captures are forced to carry a gun and do terrible things such as kill others, even their own parents. The girls he takes are used as sex slaves. He calls his abducted children the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). He has abducted over 30,000 children and forced them to be soldiers in Central Africa. He remains at large because he is INVISIBLE to the world. FEW know his name and even FEWER know of his crimes. This revolution that has been started is to MAKE HIM FAMOUS. We are trying to convince the United States as well as Canada and other countries to demand his arrest. No child should live in fear of being abducted and killed.
We can help make a change. We can make a difference.
Join the revolution. 
Visit and add your name to the list of people fighting for this important cause and share the video posted at the beginning of this blog entry.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We've all done it. Waited until the last moment to do something we should have done days, months, or even years ago. It's never fun when you have so much to in such a short amount of time. It seems like I've always been a procrastinator. It drives my parents crazy. I wait until the last possible moment to do homework, study for tests, and work on projects. It usually works for me. My excuse for procrastinating is that "I work better under pressure." Yeah, right. I just don't feel like doing things until I have to. But just recently, I learned the hard way that procrastination does not always work. I have an AP Psychology project to finish that I should have started months ago. I started it 2 weeks ago. To finish, I've been having to work on it sometimes more than 9 hours a day to be able to finish on time. Yes, 9 hours. I carry my book and laptop with me wherever I go to work on it whenever I have free time. In the morning, during lunch, and after school all the way up until I go to bed. It has been extremely stressful. I can't do anything else but work on this stupid project. I shouldn't even be writing this blog entry. The only times I come out of my room are for school and to eat. I never get a break. Also, I have the ACT test next week as well as finals in all of my classes the week after. Yikes. I could not be any more over my head. I'm drowning in all the work I have to do. The after-effects of putting things off until the last second have hit me and I can't do it anymore. I am now officially retiring from my position as the queen of procrastination. My advice to anyone who has always been a procrastinator like me: Do. Not. Put. It. Off. Seriously. It's going to get you one day. And you won't be able to handle it. Laugh now, but when you have a moment like the one I'm in right now, you'll know what I'm talking about. Don't wait until it's too late. If you get an assignment: please start working on it early. Do a little everyday, it's a lot better than spending hours on it the night before it's due. It takes away a lot of stress in life if you finish things early. There isn't a better feeling than when you are done with everything you have to do and you just get to relax. Well, I should probably go work on my project so I'll leave you with this: Please just do what you have to do, now. If you don't, you'll have a lot of regret coming your way later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

21st Century Learning

Right now, in high schools all around Michigan, teachers are trying out the method of a "flipped classroom," also known as 21st Century Learning. The goal is that students become more in charge of their learning and more independent. The thought is that there won't always be a teacher to guide them in the right direction so kids have to learn how to do things on their own. Basically, students are expected to teach themselves. Teachers will just "guide" them in the right direction. I know that this is a new concept for schools and teachers might not have approached it the right way yet, but in my honest opinion, I think it's a load ofexcuse my languagecrap. I don't mean to bash this new idea because I know a lot of teachers are under pressure to incorporate it, even if they don't want to, but I would have to say that most students my age agree with me when I say that it's really just not effective. Teachers are there to teach not to guide. That's why they are called teachers and not guiders. My math class is now 21st Century Learning based and it has been really challenging. We do our homework in class and then when we come home from school, we are expected to watch video tutors online to teach us the lessons. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the teachers job? Why are we watching another teacher teach us how to do math at our houses while our teacher sits back while we do our homework at school? Math isn't usually a problem for me but I now have to work a lot harder to get good grades. I go in early to school many times before my math tests and have my old math teacher explain things to me because I need that teacher-student connection. I need to be able to ask questions when I'm confused and have things explained to me. That's what school should be like, and used to be like. In the words of a classmate, "Why fix something that isn't broken?" Why are schools trying to fix something that has been successful? And why isn't anyone asking us students how we feel about this new way of learning? Why don't we get a say? Teachers have always been the people who set students up for the future. They teach us now so we know how to do things later in life. It's too early for us to be expected to do things on our own already. If we are still in school, we expect to be taught by our teachers, not a computer. Maybe in the future this concept will be figured out and used correctly/effectively, but right now it's just made high school even more challenging and more stressful.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Friendships: Figure It Out

Being a highschooler in your late teens means finally figuring out who your true friends are. Through middle school, you most likely changed friend groups a few times. There have been the back-stabbers and the liars. There have been the mean friends and the friends that take advantage of you. But once you are in high school, you know that the real ones are the people who are there for you through everything. Your bad days and your good days. They are the ones you run to when everything goes wrong. When you lose yourself. They are the people you trust. Trying to impress those who don't want you in their life is a complete waste of time. I honestly don't know what I would do without my four best friends. They have been there for me through all the catastrophic events I've had during high school. We know every little detail about each other and I've never laughed harder with anyone else but those four people who mean the world to me. So if you didn't figure this out already, spend your free time with the people who want you to be there. It is less important to have a ton of friends, and more important to have genuine ones. Going to parties with a bunch of people you don't know that well instead of just hanging out with your friends is never as fun. Let the losers who like to get drunk and make fools of themselves go to the parties. Stay home with your friends and enjoy life with the people who are just like you. They are the ones who matter. Best friends are the siblings God forgot to give us. So if you haven't done so lately, tell your best friends how much they mean to you. I'm sure it would mean a lot to them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Biggest Decision: College

Picking a college is probably the biggest and hardest decision highschoolers will have to make their junior year. It's a decision we all put off until we get to the age when every adult we talk to asks us what college we want to go to. The first time we get asked, we stare at them blankly and shrug our shoulders. Then the pressure starts. The decision for picking a college is upon us and we have no idea where to start. The time comes for college visits and getting that perfect ACT score. But that's a whole other stressful thing to worry about. Right now, in the Bloomfield Hills area, most teenagers are under the impression that they have to go to a "good" college. Not some small school up north that no one knows about. They all think that they want to go to either Michigan, Michigan State, or some other world-renowned school. They are raised to believe that this is the standard they have to make. If they don't get into schools like those, the thought is that they aren't enough. They aren't smart enough. They aren't good enough. Teenagers get confused about the concept of picking the college that is right for THEM. Not the college their friends are going to, or the one all the "smart" kids go to, or the college their parents want them to go to. My advice to to every junior, especially the ones who think that they aren't good enough, is this. College is about one person: YOU. College doesn't make you, you make college. Go to a college that is the perfect fit. If you do better in a small-classroom setting, visit small colleges. If you are interested in being something specific like a Psychologist or a Writer, research the colleges that are known for that. If you don't know what you want to do, go to a liberal arts school and figure it out. Who cares if the stuck-up kids scoff at you when you tell them you are interested in going to a small school? Don't try to live up to anyone else's standard but your own. Wouldn't you rather take that first step of being an adult in a place that is just right for you? It's your decision. It's your life. So make the most of it.