I think I forgot a citation!

Hi, this post is hot off the desk of a stressed-out student tonight as I am in the process of what seems to be a never-ending battle with IB. Yes, my Extended Essay, possibly the most time-consuming requirement of the IB Diploma, is due in approximately 55 hours. With my deadline approaching quickly, I’m sad to say that I, similar to my counterpart, Harry Haller of Steppenwolf, have progressed “disappointingly little in proportion to [my] great effort” (Casebeer 246). First, let me explain the nature of the Extended Essay and it’s significance to the IB student through Urban Dictionary, which has proven to be useful and accurate in the past.

The Extended Essay. You’re welcome to follow this link to the Urban Dictionary definition; however, I’ll also provide you with my own interpretation of the Extended Essay. Some necessary background information on my current circumstances include: It is midnight. I started working on this thing at 10 this morning. I only just now broke 1000 words.

The assignment from Hell, commonly known as the Extended Essay, is a mini-dissertation/research paper on any subject of a student’s choice ranging from Psychology to Math to History. The maximum word count is 4000, which means the minimum at roughly 10% less is 3600. It’s kind of a big deal. Like a Doctorate candidate prepares his/her dissertation with mentors who also grade it, the IB Diploma candidate has a mentor who grades his/her Extended Essay before sending it off to some scholar in Mauritius, an island West of Madagascar and just above the Tropic of Capricorn, who then ruthlessly tears the aforementioned essay paragraph from paragraph in effort to give the student the most objective (debatable) grade possible, which decides the outcome of that student’s entire life. If the literary works of Hermann Hesse happen to be the only pet peeve of the scholar in Mauritius and you receive a D, your only hope is that your combined grade on the TOK Essay and Presentation is an A so that you receive a measly 2 points toward your Diploma. (I’d also like to point out that no one would even know about Mauritius if not for the fact that it is home to some, most-likely bitter, person who decides the fate of some incredibly unlucky IB student.) I realize talk of the grading system and points and such is very confusing to the un-IB student, so I’ll put it into simpler terms. The Extended Essay determines my entire life hereto forward. Basically if I get a low-grade on my Extended Essay I can kiss all hopes of having a college education and, thus, a career goodbye. In the future, without financial stability I’ll have to resort to collecting Social Security at 25, but because Social Security is about to run out I might as well kill myself now before I have to stab my husband and only child so that I can eat the last package of Ramen Noodles.

I mean… the Extended Essay is a pretty big deal, but I think I might have exaggerated a little. Even if, by some chance, I don’t do well on my Extended Essay, or any of my IB exams for that matter, and don’t get the IB diploma, I’ll still be able to go to Virginia Tech because they’ll have already accepted me by the time I find out I didn’t even come close to getting the extra diploma. Realistically, the IB Program is only useful in the first three years of highschool. It shows colleges that I’m taking the most rigorous courses offered to a highschool student and that I’m serious about my education. They don’t have to know that I’m a failure until I’m making my bed in my new dorm room. At that point, what can they do? Nothing.

Honestly, I lied. I’m not stressed-out. Come Wednesday when I turn in this essay-on-steroids, I won’t be worried.

So, to all you IB kids working on your Extended Essay tonight. And to those of you who, like me, will be using every means necessary to stay awake Tuesday night (although I don’t endorse the use of caffeine). Let me remind you that the paper due Wednesday is only a rough draft. PLEASE chill out. You don’t want gray hair by the time your 19 or have a heart attack at 20.

Put things into perspective. It’s really not that big of a deal at all.

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I guess it’s a slow news day.

There are days when the 6:00 hour of the news is overloaded with one after another fluff pieces about a woman and her dog delivering hand-made blankets to homeless people followed by a segment on how to properly wash our hands and “Coming up next: Who your mailman really is- Exposing the secret life of the city’s letter deliverers.” As I watch I can’t help but wonder, “Is it a slow news day?”

Every once in a while something alarming or unusual happens, giving the news lady a chance to “interrupt your regularly scheduled program” with “Breaking News!” Unlike some people,  who want to know what Raymond was about to say to his mother Marie to get her off Debra’s back, I actually enjoy this rare instance when something happens so newsworthy they can’t wait until 6:00 or 11:00 to tell us.

Today’s interruption was the result of a gunman reported on the Virginia Tech campus. WOAH BABY! If this is true, I feel terribly sad for that poor school; they’ve suffered enough. As you may recall, a shooting spree at VT left 33 dead in 2007. This, my friends, is real news; something everyone needs and should hear about. Therefore, I condone the interruption, seeing as I’ve seen this episode 800 times (Spoiler Alert: Raymond chickens out because he’s a mamma’s boy and Debra gets mad).

TO READ THE FULL STORY…

On this rare day when something worthwhile is being reported, you’d think Facebook would erupt with “OH NO HE DIDN’T” statuses about the event. If any change in weather can make it into everyone’s status every day, this should definitely have triggered a few couch potatoes to alert the networking masses. To my dismay, I found nothing but Jersey Shore on my News Feed. There was even a “Happy Birthday Mr. Obama!” Nothing about the unfolding tragedy at Virginia Teach! Is this what our world has come to? I even gave the couch potatoes at least 20 minutes to make clever statuses, still nothing. I had to take on the role of Jerk Who Brings Morality into the Situation. Yes, I made my own status : “There’s a gunman in VT and everyone’s statuses are about Jersey Shore tonight. WHAD DAF UCKIS WRONG WITH YOU? smh.” (Notice, I would never say an actual bad word on Facebook)

However, I realize the season premier is tonight, which means the couch potatoes were too angry about the interruption of their Jersey Shore marathon to realize the emergency of circumstances at VT. In that case, I forgive you. NOT.

The Heart of Life is Good

So I’ve been in Radford, Virginia for the past week and a half. Why? Because I was accepted to Summer Residential Governor’s School for Humanities, which means I’ll be here for three more weeks. I say that like it’s a bad thing, but it’s not for so many reasons, but for one in particular about which I would like to spread the word.

Last Tuesday a group of people, including a professor of psychology at Virginia Tech, visited the Governor’s School students to relay a very important and true message: The world would be a much lovelier place if we were all nice to each other. In fact, I have held this very same philosophy throughout my life and find it to be a very frustrating concept. I was  taught from a very early age by my mother that when dealing with someone you wouldn’t necessarily like to waste energy trying to be friends with (a euphemism for someone who is not nice), it is best to “kill them with kindness.” This technique has brought me very far in life and I live by these words every day. Anyways, these people who came to visit us are with an organization called Actively Caring for People who’s mission “aims to establish a more compassionate, interdependent, and empathic culture within schools, businesses, organizations, and throughout entire communities.” It involves a large-scale movement in which green wristbands with numbers are used to thank people for “any behavior going above and beyond the call of duty for others.” This movement encourages actively caring for friends, family, teachers, strangers, and anyone else one might come into contact with by using the see, act, pass, and share method shown below.

See? It's so easy!

This shows the first three steps.

1. Observing the act of kindness.

2. Recognizing the act of kindness and thanking that person for actively caring.

3. Passing the wristband to that person and telling them to “Pass it on” too!

But there is one more very important step, which is the sharing part.

4. Share your actively caring stories on the organization’s website along with the number of the wristband so you can track wristbands you’ve given to people and they can track wristbands they’ve received.

So far I have both given and received a wristband and posted the stories to the actively caring website (click the link above). I really recommend you get involved in this movement. To me, there is nothing more desirable than a world in which everyone actively cares for one another.

yellow dahlia

yellow dahlia