Friday, September 27, 2013

Gossip: Fact or Hallway Fiction?

While I'm not so much into it anymore, when I was in middle school, I was absolutely obsessed with gossip. I stuffed my binders with teen magazines about all my favorite singers, actors, and actresses at the time. Although I probably should have been stuffing them with schoolwork instead or PopStar and Astro Girl magazines. I would read, and reread these magazines all the time, and more often then not, believe every word that I read. Even what color to paint my nails, and who I do and don't get along with based on my star-sign. Unfortunately, yes, I'm serious. I was obsessed with all the little puzzles and personality tests, and even more so.. what my favorite stars are up to. But not only was I obsessed with the celeb gossip, but I loved hearing about the crazy rumors about my classmates. I loved to hear things, and pass it along.. even adding on to the story at times. Gossip is really fun, and rumors do make for interesting, entertaining conversations. However.. sometimes it's better not to get to involved with gossip and rumors.

The main thing to watch with gossip is that it isn't always 100% true, and it may not even be true at all. While sometimes pieces and parts might be true, someone may twisted things around, or added their own bits and pieces, to spice up the story a bit. And when you weren't directly involved it can be hard to tell what is real and what isn't. Many rumors may not even be true at all, and could have just been someones assumptions based on something they saw, or even heard them say. Sometimes they even get made up completely out of the blue, possibly by someone that wants to ruin someones reputation or hurt someone. It's nearly impossible to tell what is true, and what is just fiction. As a general rule of thumb, it's best to be iffy about even the most believable gossip unless it's confirmed by all of people involved. 

While gossip can be a great source of entertainment, and is relatively harmless, it can also get way out of hand, and really hurt somebody. Some gossip may just be an irritation or an annoyance to the person  involve, they may even joke around with it. But sometimes a rumor could spring up, and grow to the point that it ruins someone's reputation, and causes anxiety and depression to the person involved, whether it's true or not. If a piece of gossip sounds like it might hurt someone, get them in trouble, or ruin their reputation, DO NOT PARTICIPATE, even if you don't like the person. Even if you despise someone, it's no reason to try to ruin their life. Besides, why waste your lunch time talking about someone you don't like? And if you don't know the person, aside from their name maybe, don't let gossip affect how you treat them. Because what you heard may not be true at all, and even if it is, it doesn't mean that the person is a bad person... they may even want to change that part of themselves. And remember, even if something is true, think of how you'd feel if people spread your secrets around the school.. same with people saying horrible untrue things about you. 

In all honesty, it's best to avoid getting to involved with rumors, especially when it comes to rumors about people you go to school or work with. You may even want to refrain a little bit from rumors that go around about celebrities or internet stars. Just don't believe everything you read about them is true, and avoid adding to it. But when it comes to people that you work with or go to school with, it's best not to take part in it. Of course it really is easy to be drawn in, nobody is perfect. But just because you hear something from your friends, it doesn't mean that you need to pass it on or even 100% believe it. And if you hear something bad about someone, do NOT talk about it and feed into it. You never know how much it could hurt them. I know that this can be hard, especially if you already don't like the person, but it's better to change the subject, or stay out of the conversation completely. 

No matter what age you are, there will always be gossip. From middle school, to high school, to college, and even into your work place. I've even heard TEACHERS gossiping before. There is no getting away from it, and it cam be really tempting to take part and even add in your own bits of information. However, you never know whats really true and what isn't, or how it could affect the person involved. I can tell you personally that having rumors spread about you hurts. Things that you trusted someone with getting spread throughout the school.. or someone making something up about you that isn't true. 

Remember, nobody is perfect. And even if you do gossip a lot, that doesn't make you a bad person.. but it is best to not get to involved with it. Or treat someone different because of it. Because you never truly know what is fact, and what is hallway fiction. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Welcoming Fall

Over the last couple of weeks, the temperature has dropped dramatically where I live. But then again where I live it can be nearly 90 degrees one day, then freezing the next. Welcome to Ohio! Anyways, today is the day that we officially say goodbye to summer, and hello to fall. Goodbye bathing suits, hello sweaters and scarves, and let's not forget the yummy apple cider and warm beverages! And who can forget the gorgeous colors of the changing leaves and all of those festive fall decorations?! Those fun fall holidays are just around the corner, Halloween, Thanksgiving! And let's not forget my birthday is in the fall! LOL!

Fall is most definitely a fun time of year, but I'm going to be honest.. while I love fall, I also hate it at the same time. Only because I know that it means that winter is coming, and I don't exactly look to pleasantly on the cold. It's easy for me to transition from winter to spring.. and I tend to do so WAY to early... when there is still snow in the forecast. But it's really hard for me to transition from warm weather to colder weather, and I tend to do that really late... like around Valentines Day. Not smart considering how I walked to school everyday.. LOL! But despite the cold weather approaching, I still really do love the fall. 

If you tend to look at fall and think, crap, winter is coming like I do at times, try to think about the things you like about fall. Whether is be fall fashion, or even just the colors of he leaves. I like to think of all of the fun fall festivities. The festivals, the holidays, and my the fact that I was born in the fall. I also like the special treats that become available in the fall like apple cider, and baked goods. Then comes the fun of Halloween, and then all of the good food on Thanksgiving! Then the nerd in me likes the fact that a new expansion pack for The Sims 3 typically comes in the fall. I also just love looking at all of the leaves and the trees. I even like the extra rain... well at night anyways. It's really relaxing to read a book or fall asleep too. 

There is good in every season.. even winter. And let's face it. We can't change the seasons or skip a season we don't like, so it's best to make the most of it. Enjoy your favorite things about the current season.. even if you'd prefer to do so indoors. Perhaps that excuse to stay indoors and read a book or watch a movie could be a positive! I always love my simming and reading time. Fall seems like such a relaxing and crazy season to me. Through all the craziness of the holidays and celebrations, and when I was in high school all of the school events.. there where those calm fall afternoons, and the relaxing fall nights to unwind to at the end of the day. 

What is your favorite thing about fall?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11, 2001

Today is the 12th anniversary of the worst attack on American soil since pearl harbor. On September 11, 2001, nearly 3000 people died when hijackers crashed two planes into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one into a field in Pennsylvania after the brave passengers fought back against the hijackers. What started off as a normal Tuesday morning turned to tragedy which changed the country forever. Thousands lost their loved ones; parents, grandparents, friends, children, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives... Their lives changed most of all. So many memories that could have been made were lost, because of the acts of pure evil that took place on that day.

While my memory of September 11th is vague because I was so young at the time, I will never forget that day. I remember that I was in second grade, and my 8th birthday was a little over a month away. I don't remember what exactly what we were working on at the time, but I remember our teacher pulling as all into a corner, telling us that we were on lockdown. She then went on to tell us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania. Being only 7 years old, I thought, whats the big deal? Planes crash all the time right? At the time, I didn't understand the concept of war or terrorists, or even understand that someone would do something like this out of evil. I remember being upset that day that we couldn't go out and play for recess, even though it was sunny out. I lost some playtime... but that was nothing compared to the thousands who lost there lives, and the families that lost their loved ones. I went home that day to see images of the burning Twin Towers on the news. My parents then explained to me that this wasn't an accident, it was something that terrorists did on purpose. 

I had no understanding of why anyone would do something like that. Why would someone attack the United States? How can someone hate this wonderful country so much? I had no idea that there was so much evil in the world. To this day I still don't understand why anyone could have so much hate in their heart as to do something like this. But I do know this, there is a lot of evil in the world. But then through the evil, there is also good in the world. September 11 was a tragedy, but it did not weaken our spirit. That day showed us how cruel the world could be, but it also showed the good in us. All of the good that the first responders did to save as many people as they could from the World Trade Center, and all of the people who came together to help one another to get through the tragic events of that day. Through all the tragedy, when everyone came together, it made us stronger.  

That year for my 8th birthday in October we had been planning for me to go on a plane ride. As I had always wanted to fly when I was younger. To look down at the world below me, looking at all the little buildings and the people that look like ants. But because of the events of 9/11 all flights were grounded, so I couldn't go on the plane ride. I was really bummed, but after knowing about the plane crashes, I understood why. I honestly didn't really want to go on a plane after learning about the crashes anyways. I would have much preferred to do something... less scary at the time. 

2 years ago for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 my school did two remembrance ceremonies for those who died that day. One for the students, and one for the community. For the student ceremony I remember that they asked each of us to make a drawing of our thoughts on that day to put on a post and put in the ground outside. We also given a list of a few of the people who died on 9/11, and were asked to incorporate there name somewhere on the drawing. The list also gave the ages of the people who died that day. On my list I saw that one of the victims was a 7-year-old boy. My first thought was, that that is way to young to die. He'll never get to make all of those great memories that come along with growing up. He won't get to go to middle school, high school, prom, graduation, college, get a job, get married, and have a family. As all those thoughts went through my head it hit me... we were the exact same age. 

On most days of the year I wake up having absolutely no clue as to what the date is. Only significant dates stand out in my head that it is in fact, that date. September 11th should never have been one of those days where I wake up, well aware of the significance of that day. I often wonder what it was like to wake up that day before the attacks happened and not see any significance to the day. I imagine it felt like it did that morning when I headed off to school, or the year before that when I probably didn't even know it was even September. Sometimes I see the twin towers in older TV shows and it gives me this eery feeling. Like this one episode of Full House where Stephanie built the New York skyline out of blocks, and the twin towers were there plain as day. A small scene that holds a lot more significance now then it did when that was probably first aired. At that time, it just seemed like an everyday thing. 

As I was writing this, several planes flew over my house, and it gives me this weird feeling.... It's an eery feeling, mixed with a sense that we have begun to move forward. We will never forget September 11th, but it won't hold us back. We will stand strong and keep pushing forward. 

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

Proud To Be An American
United We Stand

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"You Will Be Presenting This to the Class..."

As a nerdy girl, I sort of liked it when I was able to choose a topic, or do something creative with something we did in class in a project. Of course at the same time my lazy side wasn't so pleased that it meant more work would have to go into this project then reading a fun book or playing The Sims 3. To make matters worse my procrastinator side would always often come out, and I'd dump all the work on myself the night before the project is due. But overall, I did enjoy some projects, unless I completely did not like the given topic. My favorite school projects were the ones where I was able to choose my own topic, and state my opinion on it. I just love to state my opinion, especially on things I feel strongly about. I even liked putting my own spin on a book we read in english, or even looking more into a certain scientific or historical topic. Why am I such a nerd? LOL. After getting over my laziness I was typically able to come up with something I was proud to turn in. But the thing was... no matter how proud I was of the work I did, or how much I wanted to state my opinion to everyone, I'd always get this churning feeling in my stomach whenever we were told that we had to present our project to the class. I got nervous just reading out loud from my seat!! I didn't even really like to even give a brief summary of what I did, let alone a full presentation or speech. 

There were times when I was actually quite exciting to state my opinion to the class. That was... until it was my day to present. I'd always avoid being the first person to present as much as possible, and I'd often try to go at the very last if I can. And I'd always hope that my presentation gets pushed into the next day. That feeling in my stomach would just not stop, my mind would be racing. I'd be so relieved when the bell rang and there was no time for my presentation, even though I knew it would be the next day. I could check over my powerpoint again to make sure I have everything right, and think more about what I want to say. But in all honestly... the biggest relief came once I actually went through with the presentation and got it done. To tell the truth, I don't think that giving my presentation at the VERY end was the best idea. Because that just allowed for the speech anxiety to build up more and more, rather then just getting it done and over with. But I really did not want to be the first person to go either,  and seeing other people do it before me did help to give me a little more confidence. If you can, I recommend  trying to give your speech or presentation somewhere in the middle. This way you can see a few other presentations before your own, but keep the anxiety from building up more and more as the days progress. 

My senior year I decided I really wanted to improve my public speaking skills, knowing that I'd more then likely need to give some kind of presentation later in life, so I took a speech class, and actually did really well in that class. Of course it helped having an awesome teacher for that class who let us have fun with our speeches. He even let us turn a few of them into a performance and add in some humor. Adding a little humor can really help out, as it makes you feel people are laughing with you, and not at you. It also helps to lighten up the mood a lot. However, before throwing in a few laughs you may want to make sure it's okay with your teacher first... and that humor would be appropriate for the topic. You'll also want to avoid overkilling your speech with humor if its meant to be persuasive. Some types of presentations may even call for a small bit of acting or performing. Small changes in tone of voice, facial expressions, and even body language can go a long way. You could even try using fun or funny voices, if its okay with the teacher, but do be careful with this, as some teachers really don't like this. When in doubt.. ask first. Also, if you are shy reading out loud, you could even try using voice changes when reading. Not only does it make it slightly more fun, but it can also get the class more engaged in what your reading. 

Another small thing you can do to improve your confidence for giving a speech is to dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Personally for me, I like to wear more dressy clothes when I give a speech. For me the dressy clothing just makes me feel slightly more prepared, and little more professional. I typically prefer dressier looking clothes as my everyday wear anyways, but it does help to give me a slight boost to my confidence. However, I know this is certainly not the case for everyone. If you are not comfortable wearing dress clothes for a speech, and it isn't specified that you have to, then by all means don't. Wear something that you feel comfortable in, whether that be jeans and a t-shirt, or even sweat pants! I personally prefer to look nice, just because looking nice gives me an instant mood boost. But for some comfort may be a bigger priority. :)

The most important thing when giving a presentation is to BE PREPARED! Look over your visual aids (power points, posters, ect.) and make sure you have all your information correct, and you have it how you want it to look. Create notes or notecards to help you along with your speech in advance and go over them as often as you can, and make sure they are all in order before you give your speech or presentation. It may also help to highlight the most important points in your notes. You'll also want to practice giving the presentation outside of class. You could practice by giving the presentation for friends and family, in the mirror, or even just in front of some teddy bears. As many speeches have a time requirement, you'll also want to practice timing yourself to see if you need to make it longer or shorter by adding or removing information. Don't try to memorize an entire presentation word for word, as trying to do it the exact same way each time will only make you more nervous. 

If you have a cold or your voice is all funny because you are sick the day of your speech, be sure to drink plenty of water before giving your speech (and all the time because water is good for you) to help clear your throat a bit. You may also want to let the class and the teacher know that your voice isn't at its best. That way they'll know why your voice might crack, or why you may need to speak softer. Teachers often look for volume when it comes to speeches, and if they know that you need to speak softer because you are sick they will likely be more understanding of that. 

Giving a speech doesn't have to be as scary as it may seem. Just be prepared, and relax while your giving your speech. Eating a good breakfast may also help the stomach rumbling. Try looking over peoples heads, rather then into their eyes if it helps, but avoid looking down or at the ceiling. Go up their and give it your very best. Even try to have a little fun if you can. Not giving your speech is not an option without a huge hit to your grade. So it's best to just give the presentation. Any grade you get will be better then a zero for not doing it. 

What do you like to do to boost your confidence before a speech/ presentation?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bad Girl Gone Good

When I was in high school, I absolutely loved receiving my report cards and interims. I couldn't wait until my mom got home so that I could show her my A's and B's... and the occasional C, which are all considered to be great in my house. I often made the second honor roll (all A's and B's), and I even made the first honor roll (all A's) once in my senior year. It felt great to get these grades, and make my parents, and myself proud. The money and other treats I received for getting good grades also felt pretty good as well, LOL! But just the overall feeling of accomplishment was a great treat all on its own. It felt amazing to graduate with a 3.8 GPA, and to be in the top 20 of my class. It also felt amazing to not have something to try to hide...

I wasn't always the good student that I was in high school. In fact, in middle school, I was the exact opposite of a good student. I was a teacher's pest, if that's what you want to call it. I was failing most of my classes. In fact, I was actually held back a year in 6th grade, and I was in question to be held back in my second year of 6th grade and in 7th grade. I just didn't care, and at the time, I thought that it made me all big and bad to have such terrible grades. Along with constantly getting detentions (and skipping them at times). I even got suspended in 7th grade. My bad grades, combined with my horrendous behavior, made me feel like some "bad girl". I thought that it made me cool, which was all I really wanted at the time, as I was being bullied in middle school. I was completely different person back then. I was a little brat that thought she was all big and bad, when I most certainly wasn't.

I got a rush off of showing off my detention notifications reports card full of Fs around the middle school. "LOL, look! I got a detention! HAHA I'm failing everything!" I would run around the school saying, thinking I was impressing people by acting like a dumb brat, when really it only gave them something else to laugh at. But while I got a rush out of it at school, it was a whole other story when I got home. I'd often hide my report cards and detention slips in my locker so my mom couldn't find them. I'd avoid letting her know about my grades or my behavior as much as I could. In fact, I'd even make up stories of things she'd want to hear about my life at school so she wouldn't know the truth. I knew she'd find out about my grades eventually, but I still hid it for as long as I could. But I knew that if she found out about how I acted at school, that she would be really upset. 

I'd eventually end up showing my mom my F filled report cards, or just telling her when I couldn't hide it anymore (when the unavoidable parent-teacher conference would pop up). I would receive some form of punishment, such as not being able to watch my favorite shows, earlier bedtime, ect. And my mom was actually kind of lenient on my punishments, as I was still allowed to attend some school activities, play with my DS, and even have my phone (sometimes taken away), and play outside. But I'd NEVER tell her about my behavior, or the fact that I was being bullied. But eventually I could not hide that anymore either. My parents eventually found out how I really acted, and how my situation at school really was through several parent-teacher conferences, and calls from the school. My mom actually cried when she found all of these things out... But I still continued this behavior and flunking every class though my whole time at the middle school. 

It wasn't until 8th grade, when high school started at my school, that I decided to cut this stupid girl act. I was tired of seeing my parents upset all the time, and having to hide my report cards. I was tired of being yelled at by my teachers, and always being in trouble. I was tired of having to wonder.. what privilege am I losing this report card? Being a bad girl was not going to make me popular in high school. And some of the things that I said and did in middle school would have gotten me my butt kicked in high school, especially as a little 8th grader. I decided then that I needed to get my grades up and start to at least do my school work. I needed to stop reacting to bullies by being a bully back and cursing at them or calling them a name back. I needed to do what the teachers told me to do, and not talk back or be a teacher's pest. I needed to change for the better. My bad grades and actions weren't going to get me anywhere but in more trouble. 

It wasn't easy to change my actions at first. For me it wasn't so much a matter of getting my grades up, as all I really had to do was start doing my homework and turning it in, and that alone brought my grades up to A's, B's, and C's. But changing how I acted in class and how I reacted to negative comments was really hard. I really had to bite my lip at times so that I wouldn't cuss at someone or say something to get me in trouble, or punched in the face. To make matters even worse, the fact that I stopped reacting caused people to intensify the bullying. Trying as hard as possible to get a reaction out of me. But I decided to stay strong and just try to ignore it the best I could. And after a while, the rude and  hurtful comments went down a lot. Sure there were still some dumb comments that lasted through graduation, but it was nothing like before, and as high school progressed, I even made a few friends that made it seem a lot less harsh.

The combination of being on my best behavior, and trying my best in school made my life both in school and at home a lot more pleasant. I no longer felt like my parents and teachers were out to get me or to bring me down. At school I got along much better with my teachers, and even enjoyed being in some of their classes. At home I enjoyed not having my parents all over my back, and the increase in privileges that I had. Getting a computer in my room, and having no parent enforced bedtime was certainly really nice. Not trying to be a bad girl made my life a whole lot easier, especially when I wasn't sitting in detention, in the principal's office, or coming home to see my displeased parents sitting on the couch with some kind of lecture. 

I am not afraid to admit that everything that I did back in middle school, all the excessive cussing, the failing school, the disrespectful things I did, I did for attention. I wanted people to react to this "bad girl." And it certainly drew attention, but not the kind of attention that I wanted. The way I acted gave people a reason to make fun of me. Nobody thought that it was cool, and certainly nobody felt sorry for me. I was taking a bad situation and making it worse. I pity that middle school girl now, and I sometimes have a hard time believing that girl was me.

Changing for the better doesn't mean that you have to be perfect, or a goodie two shoes all time time. I am certainly NOT a goodie two shoes all the time, and I even still break some of the rules and goof off a bit when no one is watching. Gotta have some fun right?! LOL! But I do know when a little rule breaking or goofy-ness crosses the line, and I know not to take it to far. I do the things that I'm supposed to, and thats certainly what matters most. Sure I stayed up past 1:00 am on a school night, and then took a nap in study hall or in my least favorite class sometimes. But I still got the work done. There's no reason that you have to be a perfect angel... because come on, nobody is perfect, even if they may seem like it. Just be careful not to cross the line. You don't need to be straight A student either, just put in the effort and try your best. And if anything.. think of how nice it would be to not have to worry about having your phone or computer taken away. Or getting into even worse trouble... 

I don't know where I would have ended up had I not decided to straighten myself out, but I certainly wouldn't have graduated with a 3.8 GPA, not would I have probably even graduated. I probably wouldn't even be blogging right now. If any of you out there are constantly failing and getting into trouble like I was, pick yourself up. You are much better then what you think. You can go far if you just straighten up, even just a little bit.