Tag Archive | education

Senioritis

I am a senior.
I have reached the ultimate grade.I am older than most every junior, sophomore, freshman, middle schooler and kindergartener. Well, older than every kindergartener for sure.
This is my year. My last year.
I am scared, I am nervous, I am excited.
I will rule the school.
I will tackle the unknown and triumph over the French education system.
I will survive.
I am a senior, and today my future begins.

PS: If that sounded cool, calm and collected, then I’m a better writer than I think. I’m a freaking churning ice cream maker on the inside!

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The 5 Stages of Finals

impendingdoomAfter a certain amount of studying, you start to look decrepit, with dull eyes, terribly close to bursting into a fireball before ending up as a sad little pile of ashes. But once that last final is over, the last “TIME!” called by a bored, grumpy teacher, you rise from those ashes.

To those who got the Harry Potter reference to Fawkes, my supreme geekness commends you (yup, we’re back to making up words), although I’m not saying that I look like a half-plucked turkey or… um… whatever. I realize that I’m just digging a hole for myself but once you start it’s awfully hard to stop *sigh of resignation*

Having spent the last month on an TV, movie and blog hiatus; I am fully aware of the apocalyptic consequences that too much work can bring upon a person. In fact, now that I have a New Perspective (Panic! At the Disco reference! My, two references already, what is happening?) I can safely conclude that finals, or indeed any big test or series of tests resemble quite astonishingly the 5 stages of grief. I hereby elaborate.

STAGE #1: DENIAL AND ISOLATION

Finals? What finals? Oh those test things that we have soon? Those are still two weeks away though.. I have loads of time! Anyway they aren’t that important right? I mean who cares! Gosh, I do wish everyone would stop talking about them, it’s getting to be overbearing and stressful. I say implement the ‘zen-attitude’: [takes voice of a stoner] Life man… that’s what’s important… not some numbers on the top of a page that has been marked with the red blood of a teacher thirsty for revenge on innocent students because he/she failed to get their dream job of mixing cocktails in Tahiti. Chill dude, chill. Everything will be fine.

STAGE #2: ANGER

You know what? F*ck them. They have no right to come in like the monsters that they are and ruin our lives, especially around Christmas! We’re teenagers for crap’s sake, we should be out enjoying life, not studying in a crammed little space for hours on end only to end up with a shit*y grade anyway. And who on this planet wants to spend 4 non-stop hours trying to force yourself through math finals in a room underground with no artificial light and a heat so hot (please ignore the sentence structure, anger doesn’t bring out grammar skills) that you’re in a comatose state and come out looking like you’ve just served your 3rd tour in a war ridden country? You know what we should do? We should boycott finals. You heard me! If no one is there to take them then nothing will happen! They can’t fail us all, the school’s reputation is too important. Who’s with me? COME ON PEOPLE, RISE UP AGAINST THE ENEMY! No? No one? Oh fine. Chickens.

STAGE #3: BARGAINING

I’ve been at this for too long, my eyes are watering and my muscles are about to atrophy from lack of movement. I’ll just take a five minute break OK? Only five minutes… please, I’m on my knees here! *five minutes later* Oh dear apricot, what have I done? I needed those five minutes didn’t I. And now that I’ve wasted them doing completely irrelevant things like hydrating and breathing fresh air, I’m going to fail. Well, time to pray. O Great Cookie, please help me ace this final! You see it’s indispensable for my future and junk like that. If you can’t help me ace it, can you at least make sure that I don’t fail? I’ll give you anything if you do! That sounded so wrong. Let’s say, I’ll give you one of my most prized possessions: my signed David Wright baseball. AAAAH nope sorry can’t do it.

STAGE #4: DEPRESSION

What’s the point, I’m going to fail anyway. From there it’s just a simple chain reaction: once I’ve failed finals, that will inhibit my graduation and I’ll end up flunking out of high school. Goodbye sweet college dreams, goodbye nice house and comfortable salary. Hello winter, hello alcoholism and bridge that is my new home. I might as well just hunker down under my covers and watch the Patriots get beat by the frickin’ Dolphins. So close to #1 seed… The pain, oh the pain…

STAGE #5: ACCEPTANCE

I guess that at a certain point, whatever happens will happen. It is best, when presented with such a series of events, to go about things with an approach close to the philosophy of stoicism. Just purge yourself from all emotions and become a robot for a month. Nothing must affect you, you are a rock. Nope, not even the video of the cute kitten playing hide-and-seek. No, not the guy getting hit in the nuts by a little kid playing baseball. Oh man that is classic. NO, CT. ROBOT.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to The Mostly Confused Teenager.

Live long and prosper \V/
Yours sincerely,
The Mostly Confused Teenager.

It’s Just That Time of Year

Unfortunately I’m not talking about the holiday season (although the pumpkin spice latte is back at Starbucks!! It costs a third of my weekly allowance but it tastes so good. Oh dear I just went fangirly over a drink. I really need a boyfriend). I’m talking about the beginning of October, when the days are getting shorter, the weather getting rainier and the teachers getting crankier. This, associated with football season and the start of the MLB postseason results in students experiencing what I call the kangaroo syndrome. To explain briefly, the kangaroo syndrome chooses it’s victims by degree of addiction to movies and TV shows: once you have been chosen you will experience periods of nothingness (quite literally) before going into full blown hyperactive mode. It’s a familiar feeling, occuring every year since we realized that we actually had to study for tests (boy, what a shock that was huh?).

So today my morning consisted of an hour and a half math test immediately followed by an hour and a half french test. SO MUCH FUN RIGHT? No. My guess is that teachers, having been on a no grading hiatus for two months, are extremely thirsty to inflict pain on their students (penpal xx). So because of this grueling schedule I haven’t had much/hardly any/any time for myself and thus for the Mostly Confused Teenager to stop being confused about 4th degree functions and start being confused about other important things such as why her cookies are disappearing at such an alarming rate.

But do not fear, adoring fans of whom I have none, I am not forgetting about you guys! You people are my sunshine, my life, my soul… Oh dear I went rather too far with that didn’t I? Isn’t “moist” a weird word?

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

Friendship is Magic

At the beginning of the year I volunteered to help the new kids get acquainted with the school. Now I have to stress that I didn’t do this as a totally selfless act, being a naturally lazy person I often don’t see the point of doing something if it doesn’t benefit ME in some way, so I did it for my college application. ANYWAY, ignoring the fact that I am a egocentric selfish person, I actually learned a lot and loved helping people.

I, as a peer leader (I know, bad name right?), was assigned the new high school sophomores in the morning and I got to see what I resembled a year before at that same point in time. Well, not me exactly, because I wasn’t invited to the ‘new kid assembly’ *mean* but you get my point. The students were painfully awkward and sat quietly on their chairs, staring at each other while I babbled on like an idiot, telling them how badly they were going to suffer/die in the year to come. As I moved on to the meaning of life or some shit like that, I noticed that they weren’t listening to me. Duh. So I tried to imagine what was going on in their heads:

“Holy crap I’m sitting with the people who I’m going to spend my whole year with. Will any of these bozos be my friends? Ooooh, he/she’s cute!”

I’ve seen a few of them around since then, and it made me really pleased each time to see that they had made friends and were still breathing.

 

In the afternoon we got assigned to a different age group: the littler kids. The EABJM starts in 1st grade, so none of the 6 years olds knew each other. They toddled over, hanging onto their parents, clinging desperately to the last thread of the first part of their childhood. Some of them were so shy that they couldn’t even tell me their name, and could only point their tiny trembling fingers at their nametags. We had a couple of crying cases and outright refusals to go play duck duck goose, but after a little coaxing and bribing by the parents, most of them eventually stumbled reluctantly into the ‘games circle’. And then, magic happened. After about five minutes of knocking each other out and being silly geese, the kids were all best friends. The girls were already sitting around talking about, um, ponies and hair ties (sorry, I’ve forgotten what 6 year olds talk about) and the boys were kicking a soccer ball around. HOW? HOW I ASK YOU? 5 minutes. That’s all it took and they were friends for life! Or, like, as long as they’re at the school.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how we, today, as people having passed the stage of early childhood, make friends. It’s not like we can just walk up to a random stranger on the street and ask “Heyyyyyy [elongated word to show just how cool you are. not.] Wanna be my friiiiend? *smile that is meant to be warm but is in reality just creepy*. The person who you asked would probably call the police.

But for all my odd musings, I do know one thing for sure: (well more than one thing but… um… anyways) that I have found the most amazing people through this blog, some of whom have become very awesome friends 🙂 So I just wanted to say thank you to every single one of you 204 people who have subscribed to The Mostly Confused Teenager during the past two months, it really does mean the world to me. I love you guys! [In a totally platonic way, and not in a weird stalkery (not a word recognized by spell check, dammit!) way. I should probably stop talking, I’m just embarassing myself.)

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

PS: Sorry for the quality of today’s writing, this post was written in a boring History class. I can say this because my parents have promised never to mention my blog or anything on it. Yay!

PPS: Pipi. Hihihi. *blushes and dives under covers* I know I haven’t been on the reader or addressed my wonderful awards yet, but I will, I promise! It’ll be easier when my teachers decide that they don’t want us to die after all.

 

 

 

 

Maths and Me

Maths and I have never exactly been best friends. How can I put this…  I am to math as Tim Tebow is to the position of QB (another example: I am to math like Taylor Swift is to relationships.)

Yeah, it’s that rough. I mean I’ve never had a problem with it in in of itself until the 8th grade. My parents always made me learn the notions in advance so that I wouldn’t then have any problems in class; it’s sort of as if they predicted my future math problems 😉 In 8th grade I missed several months of school and when I came back I realized that math no longer came easily to me and that I actually had to work, hard, to understand the notions. And of course, as a naturally lazy person, I didn’t like having to work to achieve my goals.

Last year I changed schools to come to the EABJM, where I am now. I quickly realized (through miserably failing my first test) that the level of my supposedly good school was nothing compared to what I was encountering here. In France we have 3 sections, S, ES and L and quite basically the people who have an average of 8/20 in math are not supposed to do the scientific program. Unfortunately it’s the only way to become a doctor so I’m forcing myself through it. I am the reason why there are too many people in my section and class. Am I making any sense at all? Ugh, I’m soooo tired.

So now I’m taking private lessons with a teacher from the school and while I silently curse my old junior high for screwing up my mathematics education I nod and repeat what she tells me. Then, on Tuesday, I saw math in a whole new light thanks to her. I’ve always seen it as a very concrete thing: the numbers on the board, the formulas to follow religiously. Suddenly it dawned on me: all of this was invented! In Ancient Whatever some dude sat down and said “I decree that 2+2=4. Also, because I’m too bored to think of anything else, 2×2 also equals 4. Bam, mathematicianed.” They say you don’t have a lot of imagination if you practice math as a living (do they? Really CT?) but that’s in reality excrements of an uncircumsized male cow! Suddenly the numbers were jumping off the board in front of my eyes, dancing in perfect unison. It was magical. Of course when I recounted this to my best friend she asked if I was high, at which point I responded that I couldn’t remember, which probably wasn’t the best thing to answer.

I’m still struggling past the domain of algorithms but I hope that now it’ll get a little bit easier. [My inner voice is telling me to prepare myself for disappointment]. But hey, if math is hard, so is life. I’ll just have to deal accordingly.

I can’t help but think of how ironic this whole situation is, seeing as how my dad is a mathematician who’s official title is “director of numerical algorithms”. Huh, didn’t see that one coming did you? You did? Oh, well then.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

PS: I haven’t posted in two days! Aaaaaaaaaah the daily blogging ritual is broken!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes *voice breaks*

Cookies :D

Cookies 😀

Sit back and listen to the tale of CT’s search for the Holy Grail. Um, wait no that’s not what I wanted to say, I’ve gotten too poetic-like after yesterday’s post. I meant “sit back and listen to the tale of CT’s botched birthdays”. See, it doesn’t even rhyme.

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved my birthday; it was always a day where I was the queen and I got to eat cake and open presents. I got a special birthday dinner, which, let’s face it, always consisted of pizza and everyone was happy, or at least pretended to be. I remember that my dad, who drove us the half an hour to school every morning, always fighting with me on whether it was better to have the windows open or the air conditioning on. Since he had control of the car he consistently won that battle, but on the week of my birthday, as a special present, I got to roll down all the windows and ride with my hair flying in the wind.

As I grew up things slowly changed, not only circumstances but people. I moved to Paris and those big birthday dinners weren’t really possible anymore. I still get to choose what I want but it has to be able to fit into our tiny microwave-oven which greatly limits the possibilities. My little brother and I evolved into teenagers and suddenly there was no assurance of a good mood on the special day. And then last year it all went south (I mean literally, the EABJM is south).

On the 5th of September 2012, 15 years after I was born, I found myself standing awkwardly in the midst of crowds of students who all already knew each other. It was sophomore year, the first day of school, and I was alone. I found the other new kids and started to panic when I realized that I was the only stranger in the group (–>Stranger Danger). I thought that maybe they all came for the same school but it was soon explained to me that there had been a meeting that all of the new students had attended, except for me. I wasn’t invited. Finally the headmistress (mistress of the head, sounds weird) got around to dividing us up into classes. Guess who’s name was never called and was left sitting on the cold hard gymnasium floor by herself? YES, it was me. If you guessed right, have a cookie, if you guessed wrong, do a math excercise. Mouhahaha I feel so evil, oh dear I’m choking. The result of this was that I went in late to my class and everyone stared at me. I tried awkwardly waving and they stared even more. It was a tough crowd. When it came time to pick up our school books, they didn’t have, of course, mine. When I told my French/homeroom teacher that I wouldn’t have my French book the next day she told me to either have it or get detention. I felt like crying. Luckily one girl saw my pathetic surface as worthy friend material and took me under her wing, although she talked so fast I couldn’t understand a single word she was saying. She’s now one of my best friends ever. All afternoon I buzzed around trying to find a way to get my books, which I eventually did. I’m just glad that that birthday didn’t serve as an example for the following year.

Yesterday, after my first (incredibly stressful) first day of school, when I got back to my apartment, my parents pounced on me and started singing happy birthday, they then asked if I wanted my presents right away or later. Looking at them in incomprehension, it dawned on me that they had gotten my birthday wrong. Frickin’ fantastic.

Now it’s early morning in France, and it’s officially my birthday. Happy Sweet Sixteen CT, let’s make it a good one.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The (finally 16 years old) Mostly Confused Teenager.

 

The French and School: a Match made in Hell

School is school. Now you might be thinking ‘geez, this one has a knack for stating the obvious’, but as the awesome Attempting Reality demonstrated, school can be very different depending on which country you’re in. And while Attempting Reality (who I love, check out her blog!) presented a more elogious description of her school, mine will be a bit more, let’s say, ranty.

There is one master key to French schools; and that is academics. Yes yes I know, academics are the key to most (I won’t say all, who knows, I might be wrong, though I find this to be unlikely) education systems, but the French, as they do with a lot of things, go over the top with it. On average, we have class from 8:30 to 4:30, although in my old junior high we went from 8 to 6. It was rough. I mean it doesn’t give you much time to enjoy life, and that’s what our teenage years are all about right? Like, YOLO people! Oh dear God, I may have just rendered my whole argument invalid by saying YOLO. And of course now I have the Lonely Island song stuck in my head. Anyway, back on topic. A study showed that we spend around 847 hours per year in school, as opposed to the 774  hours that constitute the European average. And yet our education system ranks far lower? Um, hello people? Wake up? Please, copy Finland, I beg of you.

Oh homework, I hate you so. There’s so much of you I can’t even keep up anymore. We’re supposed to spend a minimum of 4 hours a day on homework, and if you get out at 5, it gets difficult. Over the last school year (sophomore year) I pulled around 20 all-nighters, and on most nights didn’t go to bed until 2 am. It’s not healthy! Jobs after school are unheard of. And you can forget about extracurriculars, who has the time? We squeeze them in as bet as we can, after all there’s no getting into American college without ’em, but they’re a blow to the homework designated time. I should point out that none of these extracurricular activities are school operated, we have no football or baseball teams, no Friday night games, no Spring musicals. As far as french thinking goes, school is for intellectual studies only. This also means that there are no social gatherings like Homecoming or Winter Formal, much to this teenager’s sorrow (yeah, I’ve seen movies and read books. Everything happens at the dances). Quite basically, we’ve got no school spirit.

Now since we’re so focused on becoming corporate lawyers and Wall Street bankers, everything is fiercely competitive. We are ranked, cataloged, and watched closely for the duration of our scolarity, from the age of 6 ’til we’re done. And then comes the stupid part. At age 16, at the end of sophomore year, we are forced to make a life changing decision, one that will follow us for the rest of our careers. And really, once the choice is made, there’s no turning back. We have to choose in between 3 (I know, not a lot of choices) programs: S (scientific), ES (economic & social) and L (literature). They didn’t want to let me into S because I don’t have the grades in math, but I fought back hard. I want to study biology, not math! You can’t make me study economics when I’m going to become a doctor! The system is rigid and blind to individual needs, and that’s what makes it difficult to succeed. Apart from college counseling, which is particular to the EABJM, we get no guidance. You either shine or you fail. And you have to get your claws out (isn’t that a weird turn of phrase?) to get where you want.

Concerning the actual school system, we have only 3 years of high school that culminate in the grueling and infamous baccalaureate, or BAC for short. And contrarily to the american system, we don’t get to choose our classes. We have a core curriculum that we are given, so there’s no AP junk, mixing grades or anything. We move from classroom to classroom as a unit, never truly separated from each other. Since I go to an  international school, I’ll be taking the BAC OIB (with international option). Also, my school likes to torture its students by forcing a lot of tests on us: last year, the british IGCSE, next/this (oh gosh, it’s that time of year already!) year the american SAT and in ‘terminale’ the french BAC. We’re being prepared for ‘prepa’, which is a 2 year ordeal wherein you have no social life whatsoever, thus no development. All I can say is; college is the easy, more expensive way out for me, and it is going to be a breeze!

Now as much as I hate the french school system with all my might, I do love some aspects of my everyday school life. I love the exhiliarating feeling of flying towards the subway station in the morning, knowing that if I miss the next one I’ll be late. I love seeing my friends when I enter the classroom. I love grabbing some takeout chinese food and rushing to my friend’s house to watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother before classes begin for the afternoon. I love guessing what tie my Physics teacher will be wearing (Snoopy? M&M’s?). I love spending all of my money on Starbucks (seriously, 5 bucks for a Chai Tea? Come on Seattle, get your sh*t together) when the day is done. I love accompagnying my friends to their subway stop even though I then have a longer trip back. I love homewor- oh wait no I don’t, I’ve gone too far 😉

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.