I am Not Stupid Just Because I am Not 18 Yet

As a 17 year-old college freshman struggling to find my place at my university, I decided to take to the internet to read the experiences and reflections of previous college freshman.

While all described the usual up’s and down’s, loneliness, friendships, and workload, some key things people LOVED about college really bothered me. Here are some of those luxuries described: choice, freedom, practical skills, work ethic, motivation, diversity of opinion/living/culture, etc. I feel I had all those luxuries before college, so why does no one else?

For one, I do believe most teenagers are lazy and unmotivated, and that is their own fault. I know because I was not one of those teenagers. However, the point is, some things people say are only offered in college are actually offered in high school and earlier, except people only choose to recognize and take advantage of them in college. Is that to say the school system is perfect? No. In fact, as I compare my pre-college school experience to those of others, I realize how deprived so many people are. Schools seem to think teenagers should not have access to practical skills, choice, diversity?

It may seem as though I am blaming schools for people’s challenging college experiences or life skill deprivation, but I am not. I am blaming society for treating minors as though we are 1 year-olds still learning how to speak. What do people think–that as soon as my 18th birthday hits, I am a changed person–an intellectual and proud asset to society? Well, maybe I am. But that transformation does not happen overnight. It starts early on. High school is probably the best time to provide students with some of the perks college students have. I think motivation would come naturally with those perks, and may even stimulate more of an interest in students to further their education.

How this would happen is a mystery to me, but I think it is something to think about.

Kids are smarter than adults think they are. So give them the opportunity to prove it.


Winter Break College List


  • 20 ?s Game or other things to do
  • Wintergreen tic tacs
  • Small organizational tub (to put snacks in)
  • Small fruit bowl
  • Mini hand sanitizer (1 or 2) from Bath & Body Works
  • Pink workout shoes
  • Gator
  • Notebook(s) (five star to take notes in)
  • Purple pens
  • Razors 
  • Fluoride
  • Pair of boot socks
  • New normal socks
  • New loofa
  • Envelopes
  • Book
  • Slippers


Fun & Free Ways to Pass the Time

boTrying to stay away from the internet and be more active? Me too. Here are free/cheap items/activities to have/do to pass the time in a productive manner:

1) Do word searches.

You can print pre-made ones, make your own, or buy a book (these are like $3 at Target, Walmart, etc.). Not only do these exercise your brain, but they are simple and fun while also taking up a lot of time. Personally, I recommend buying a spiral of word searches so that you can take them along with you on airplanes or anywhere you think you may have to wait. They also last longer. I bought my spiral word search book probably 10 years ago. It contains 94 word searches–some straight, some curved, some are even number-searches–and answer keys for each. I still have about 30 to go before I have to go buy a new book. I wish I had found the value in word searches earlier! (Remember, you need highlighters or pens or pencils to mark the words you find.)

Hapiness Word Search

2) Complete a puzzle.

These take time and brain power, but if you are bored and pick a fun picture, your motivation will push you through. REMEMBER: The more the pieces, the harder the puzzle and the longer it will take. Definitely start with something attainable so you do not get discouraged. This probably means you should start with a 100-piece puzzle (generally; you decide for you). Puzzles are usually something most houses have (in my experience); if not, they usually sell for around $15 at places such as Walmart. If you are looking for something fun and cheap/free to do with family or friends, puzzles are perfect! Look at this 1,000-piece puzzle I did with my four-person family in two days:


CHALLENGE: There are actually 999 pieces in the puzzle (one is lost). Can you find where the missing piece should be?

3) Journal

Journal-ing is both healthy for the brain and helps you practice your writing skills. Plus, it is super easy (you write whatever you want). You probably have paper (lined or printer) or a notebook lying around that you can journal in; you can buy a journal if you plan on doing it often or just want to keep your thoughts all in one place. Some people hate journal-ing because they have no idea what to write, so here are some guiding questions I use:

  • What happened today that I find significant and why is it significant to me?
  • Has anything upset me today (or in the past that still upsets you now)? What is it, why does it upset me, and how can I fix it?
  • What are some of my goals? How can I achieve them (write step by step)?
  • What made me laugh today?
  • Are there any topics you want to express your opinion on? Or any frustration you want to let out?

There are tons more, but those should help get you thinking. Note that if you only journal for five minutes, your brain is not really thinking. It takes time to get “in the zone.” Just keep writing whatever comes to mind and you will be surprised at how much time has passed. I usually journal for an hour before I have to stop because my hand hurts. I also use different writing utensils and colors to brighten up my journal’s pages.


I love my journal because it is made from recycled materials, is covered with good-quality leather-like material, and is held together with a spiral (which I ADORE because the opposing side’s pages never get in my way and my journal is always flat). It is from Target.

There are also various sites that have specific journal prompts. This was my favorite website I found: https://daringtolivefully.com/journal-prompts. Besides its journal prompts, it explained a great way to store the prompts, too (it takes time to do but is easy and resourceful). Instead of a jar, I used a ziploc bag. This idea is helpful for me on the days I feel like writing but am stumped on what to write about. The ziploc bag also makes the prompts more portable, so I can take them to college with me.


Blog--Journal 2


I think it would be fun to write a blog post responding to a journal prompt. If you have any requests (they do not have to be self-reflection; I am willing to write on controversial topics, too),  let me know by commenting or using the contact form.

4) Organize/Craft

Organizing may not be your idea of fun, but it might just pass the time. And if you can decorate what you make to organize, all the better, right? Try making boxes out of paper! They can be used as dividers in a drawer or as a tray on your nightstand to hold everyday items such as cords, keys, and credit cards. Plus, they are made out of things you already own and are simple to make! Read how to make them here: http://wp.me/p84uv9-w2 .


So far this is all I have come up with, but I hope to add any ideas I come up with in the future to this post. Do you have any suggestions?

Deep Freeze by Lisa Jackson Book Review


I picked up this book from the mystery section of Half Price Books because the story line (as communicated to me through the summary) and possible horror aspect of it intrigued me. I was not disappointed.

The story was well thought-out and the characters well-developed. I could not guess the killer until Jackson revealed him to me!

The beginning was slow, but eventually started to pick up. I actually appreciated the slow start, thought, because it gave me a chance to get to know the characters, relationships, and setting. Plus, it made the escalation at the end all that more terrifying.

The killer’s POV was fantastic because it was both believable and disturbing. I kept wondering, “how can a person actually think like this?”

Jackson executed third person point of view in a way where it almost felt like first person. I enjoyed reading different character’s thoughts and digging through their mind so that I could better understand the characters. I did not feel shut out.

I appreciated Shane facing his fears at the end.

The only part of the book I did not like was the sex scene. It felt unnecessary. Jenna and Shane could have made out and that would have been enough.

I do not have much more to say. I just really liked it. And I ordered the sequel, Fatal Burn, the day I finished the book (yesterday).

Racism vs. Stereotyping

Has anyone ever made a joke about rice to represent Asian culture or worn a feather on their head to symbolize Native American culture? Racist, right? Wrong.

If you do not think this way, I apologize for putting you on the spot. However, the truth is that–at least where I live–people think everything is racist. Obviously, though, if they think me wearing a feather on my head is racist, they do not understand what racism is.

According to Merriam-Webster, racism is “a belief that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” In other words, racism is the mindset that one race is better than another. Knowing that now, please explain to me how wearing a feather on my head means I am saying that I, as a white person, am superior to a Native American person.


It is called something, though: stereotyping. According to Merriam-Webster, a stereotype is “a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment.” You could point out that the definition holds the words “prejudiced attitude,” which is linked to racism. However, more context is needed to determine whether or not the person who is stereotyping also has a prejudiced attitude. Stereotyping can be racist, but usually it is not. (There are other types as well–such as gender stereotyping.) Someone’s intention might be to make you laugh, but you take it the wrong way; does that make it racist?

I understand the fear. Our society wants to avoid another holocaust and pro-slavery movement; however, if we censor everything we say, how do we live, grow, learn? For example, if I had not observed people stereotyping along with other people’s reactions, then went home and looked up definitions, I would not know the difference between racism and stereotyping. The best thing you can do for yourself, I think, is to allow yourself to live. Then go home and think about it.


Other Articles Explaining the Difference:

(history of the terms) http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/culture-miscellaneous/difference-between-racism-and-stereotyping/

(read differing views) http://www.debate.org/opinions/is-stereotyping-racist


Works Cited:



Why Gift-Giving is Superficial

I like gift-giving. In fact, gift-giving is one of the ways people can tell I really care about them because I must like the person enough to think about them outside of our usual meeting place, spot something he/she might like, and buy it for him/her. Also, the look on his/her face after I present the gift is priceless. Surprise gifts rock!

Here is what I do not like: gift-giving on holidays. Why? Because even if I do not like you at all, if we normally hang out and it is your birthday, I feel obligated to buy you something. Now, of course, I could just not buy you something, but ‘houston, we have a problem’ ’cause you are going to notice and get offended and then try to guilt trip me into buying you something. On the other hand, if I do not like you and I still buy you a gift, yes, you may be satisfied, but I did not willingly think about you outside of our usual meeting place and feel the desire to buy you something. In other words, the gift means nothing to me.

Does anyone else have the same problem?

I am tired of buying gifts because I have to, because people expect them. It defeats the whole purpose of gift-giving. And it makes me like you even less.


Smart vs. Knowledgeable People

At my school, there is an award ceremony that happens once a year that is valued by the administrators in my district. Each teacher chooses two students out of all their students in all their periods and nominate them after the first semester of the school year. The award ceremony happens towards the end of the school year (end of second semester), where all the finalists are recognized and the teacher-voted winner is announced.

I was a finalist for the science award my freshman year (I did not win). At the time, I had no idea what the award ceremony was; I just showed up and went home, feeling proud of my nomination. I have not been nominated since.

At first, I looked up to the award-winners, as did everyone else. Not anymore.

What I realized soon after the award ceremony–after my proudness disintegrated into normality–was that the only reason my science teacher nominated me was because I had the highest grade not only in my period, but in all my teacher’s periods–and that bothered me. Honestly, I barely tried in that class. I did not have to. The information came easy to me because I loved the subject. I wondered how many other people were in the same situation.

Then I realized that almost everyone–if not everyone–that won an award was a senior. How unfair is it to grant an award to a senior just because they are a senior? What if someone younger than them deserved it more? Of course, I cannot say for certain that those seniors did not deserve their awards–but is it coincidence that all the winners were seniors? I think not.

People in my school greatly respect those awards, but I do not understand it. Who knows how many of the finalists/winners cheated to receive their As? (Yes, sparknotes is cheating!) I have the privilege of attending one of the best high schools in the nation, and even in my honors and AP classes, there are PLENTY of cheaters! And to think they get awarded for cheating! Sure, they may have the numbers, but do they have the brains? They may be smart, but are they knowledgeable?

“Smart” is thrown around to refer to people who receive high academic scores. But what does the word even mean? When I think of the word “smart,” I think of “book smart” and “street smart” and combine them to make a person whom has both abilities. I see “knowledgeable” more as what people define as “smart” (just knowing the knowledge but not being able to apply it). All my friends see my definitions oppositely; either way, one is superficial and one is comprehensive. After all, your intelligence means nothing unless you can use it.

And so, those awards mean literally nothing to me. I do not feel bad for not being nominated after freshman year. I also do not feel proud of or happy for my nominated friends and peers. People need to learn that “smart” and “knowledgeable” are two different terms, and I only want to be labeled one of them.




How to Make PowerPoint Presentations Interesting

Not only is public speaking nerve-racking, which makes appearing confident difficult, but on top of that, we have to somehow make a PowerPoint presentation interesting. Impossible? Luckily not.
1) Put minimal to no text on the slides. Pictures are your friends!

You are using flash cards as a resource so that you avoid reading off of your PowerPoint. What better way to reinforce that goal than to completely remove the text? In addition, if you have a lot of text on your slides, your audience will be overwhelmed and automatically bored, and if you have minimal text on your slides, your audience will focus on reading it instead of listening to you. The best way to keep your audience engaged and to appear knowledgeable is to include a one to three pictures on each slide that represent what you will talk about; that way, your audience will understand the direction of your slide while also being able to fully listen to what you have to say.

2) Say more than what is on your slides.

Hopefully, you have no text on your slides; however, even if you have a few short bullet points, this point still applies: ALWAYS say more than the words (if any) included on your slides. By doing this, you convey a sense of preparedness. Also, often having ample room (as compared to a digital square) to explain a topic naturally pushes you to write more (include more facts and ideas than would have fit on the slide)–making for a more informative presentation.

3) No white backgrounds.

If you are like me, white backgrounds are your friends because the color white helps you focus on the words and pictures decorating the slide. However, most people are not like this. White backgrounds are boring and often cause people to doze off–so either choose a solid color, a theme, or choose a picture background!

4) Incorporate transitions.

I actually hate this point because I view transitions as “so middle school.” However, transitions animate the presentation and are much more exciting to watch than the split-second switching of slides.

5) Everything is purposeful.

What the heck does this mean? Everything that comes out of your mouth should relate to the topic. Your titles should be short yet meaningful (a theme, person’s name, etc.). The included pictures should directly relate to the main points of that specific slide that you will talk about. There should NOT be an excess of text, pictures, or even what you say. My recommendation is to not talk longer than two minutes on each slide–or you may start to lose your audience!

Here is an example of one of my own PowerPoint slides:

(I used a website called Powtoons.com–as the logo in the bottom right-hand corner shows–and luckily I was able to record my voice instead of present live, but I still wrote a script and followed all the tips!)


Good luck on your PowerPoint presentation!

Sexism Does Not Exist

Before you freak out, I acknowledge the fact that not everything is equal for both genders. However, I do not think that any inequalities present (all I know of are slight) justifies a women’s movement.

Only 19.4% of Congress seats are held by women. Statistics like this outrages many, but not me. I think of what America stands for and what Americans fight for, and it just does not make sense that we would purposefully make the genders unequal. So here is my perspective:

There are some things that men do better, naturally, biologically, scientifically. Some of these are sports/exercise/athleticism, math, science, etc. This does not mean women cannot perform these tasks as well or better than men, but generally men do them better. That is something uncontrollable. On the other hand, there are many tasks women naturally perform better than men: art, english, etc. In the same way that women can do the same tasks as men, men can do the same tasks as women–just usually not as well. In order to better enjoy life, this is something people need to accept.

Just because men hold 80.6% of Congress seats does not make the government, citizens, country, or system sexist. If more men happened to go out for the job, obviously they are going to hold the majority! Also, if they were more qualified for the job, they should be hired over a woman whom is less qualified. It is ridiculous to expect every job to be 50/50 because then where would talent come in? Statistics cannot be used to prove or disprove sexism just like quotas cannot be used to prove or disprove racism.

I am sure sexism exists somewhere in America, but not until we understand sexism can we identify it and put a stop to it.






My Opinion on Veganism

Let me start off by disclaiming that I am a non-vegan.

Carnivore, meat-eater, animal-killer–whatever floats your boat.

I like meat and I do not plan to stop eating it; however, I have thought about the issues surrounding eating meat many times before.

I may not like animals, but I am against killing them off. When I confronted my mom about the morality of eating meat, she gave me a religious response: God created animals for humans to eat. This held me off for a while, but at 14 when I became non-religious, I got to wondering again…

Here are the reasons I have collected for why eating meat is justified:

  • Animals eat animals–it is part of the food chain–so eating meat is a natural part of life (and it is scientifically proven that natural foods are healthier for you than processed; after all, humans are meant to eat natural foods)
  • People that do not eat meat look unhealthy (a lot of times you can identify how healthy someone is just by looking at them)
  • It provides the human body with necessary nutrients by natural foods rather than processed supplements


I understand that eating meat harms the environment, kills off animals, etc. Regardless, I choose to eat meat. There are much worse environmental harms to worry about than meat! The only reason people bring it up is the moral aspect of it, and now they try to use science to contradict itself. Well, nice try, but I am not falling for it! (Also, please keep in mind that just because I do not support veganism for my individual self does not mean that I support harming the environment–I may be a tiny contributor, but I, honestly, do not believe that eating meat is a major harm.)

Some people believe the wealthy have an obligation to become vegan in order to use their money for good (because going vegan is costly!). I can understand the word ‘responsibility’ because I see it as more of a ‘should but can choose not to’ word, but ‘OBLIGATION?’ ARE YOU KIDDING?! What happened to the ‘leave them alone; they can do whatever they want; it’s their lives; it doesn’t affect you’ attitude that is so popular nowadays? I understand that vegans become vegans for a cause they passionately support, but this is like politics, and in politics you cannot force someone to join your political party. The wealthy have the right to spend their money, service, and time however they want to–just like everyone else. With some exceptions, people earn their money. As a result, they get to decide where their money goes.

Veganism is supposed to be a team effort, necessary to achieve change. With people so passionate about the cause and the cause needing the world’s support, it makes sense that vegans think everyone should become vegan and are trying to convert them. Unfortunately, what they fail to realize is that humans are not two-dimensional. We are not robots. We are not copies with one-track minds. We are people, three-dimensional with defined personalities that hold a variety of beliefs, values, opinions. And there are a lot of people. A lot. So, hopefully it is evident that convincing every single person on planet Earth–that is 7.3 BILLION people, by the way–to believe in one cause is not practical and not possible. So stop it. Stop trying to convert people by shaming them and ambushing them, and stop with the YouTube videos titled ‘Why Everyone Will Be Vegan.’ The world is not horrible, but that is not going to happen.


I am not against veganism in general, just for myself. I personally do not believe in it. However, I love to see people banding together for something they believe in. What I do not love is the pressure by vegans to become vegan. Please respectfully share your opinion, but leave out the pressure on others.