Last year I had a really hard time in seminars, and every chance I could I skipped them or did makeup work instead of doing the seminar. The seminar pre-writes would always be easy for me, but talking to an entire group of people about potentially personal or in-depth topics was nerve-wracking. The first seminar this year, which was on The Alchemist, I was very anxious for. As it actually came around, though, I did well during it and actually got my points in, which was almost surprising to me that I was talking. During the past seminars up until now, I have been trying to improve things other than just “talk more” because I am doing that already. Every seminar I advocate to be put in the first group before lunch so I can get it over with and not let anxiety build up. This has helped a lot. Another thing that I’ve realized that fits into the social growth category is, in class, when we are doing discussion questions whether it be about Siddhartha or The Things They Carried, I am able to talk about the books in a clear way and tell my opinions to my group despite that they aren’t in my friend group. This is such a huge improvement from last year, where I would be on the verge of a panic attack if a teacher mentioned group work. I’m very proud of myself for this. In my seminar feedback from my first seminar to our latest one, I have gone from just trying to get my ideas in, to posing questions and thinking especially critically. In an email sent by Ally for my first seminar, she says, “To take your seminar participation to the next level, I’d love to see you pose an original question to the group.” In the latest seminar, she said this in her feedback: “You played a real leadership role in this seminar, bringing the group back to the questions at hand, and the big ideas in the book.” This shows that I have taken stronger roles in the seminars and that I have gotten much better at talking to my peers.
Perspective and judgement
This year I have become much more understanding of people and what they’re going through. Despite what their outside shows, everyone always has something deeper. During one specific x-block, we rode the bus to the skatepark. I watched all the kids laugh and goof off. My day was already not the best and the added screeching of teenagers was not helping. One boy sat with his friends yelling and laughing and I rolled my eyes at him, wishing that he wasn’t on the bus. I sat facing my friend and I meanly told her that he was so annoying and rude and a bad person and this and that. She shrugged her shoulders and then shook her head. Mad that she wasn’t mad, I turned my body and stared out the window. On arrival, we all marched across the dirt to the slopes of the concrete skate park. We set our bags down and I sat down for a second. The boy from earlier came up and sat with us. My friend was mostly talking to him and I commented every once and awhile. As he gestured across the cement, describing something, his bare arms lit up against the grey sky. Small pink lines marked up and down his forearms, and my heart flipped. What I had thought before was cruel and unnecessary. Nobody is without pain. Even though I still often get annoyed when people are being obnoxious and loud, I don’t judge them as a person. Because of this experience and much more this year, I have slowly become a less judgemental person, and I acknowledge that the outside is not always as it seems.
Removing harmful people from my life
Another thing to celebrate is me getting harmful people out of my life. There have been a couple of people in my life who either hurt me or were bad influences. I kept them because I thought that everyone had to like me, but that is irrelevant if they are hurting you, which I learned. I haven’t cut off all communication with these people, but I don’t talk to them near as much, and I am much happier because of it. I didn’t realize the burden of having someone bad tagging along in your life until I snipped them off. It has made me much more relieved and way happier than I thought I would be because of it. A specific example would be a friend who I have known for many years. We have been friends on and off, but recently they have been getting into bad situations and drugs. For a while, I was friends with them and tried to help them, but they didn’t want to be helped, and eventually they got help on their own. Because this person was a bad influence on me and also was interested in things I wasn’t, I started to distance myself from them. We are still friends, but definitely not as close and it has lifted a weight from my shoulders.
Two Areas For Growth
Trying hard on my work even when I feel it is irrelevant
Although this year has had several projects so far that I feel are relevant to the world and building essential skills, there have been a couple that I felt were pointless. During these projects, I tried significantly less to make my final products interesting and beautiful. I put minimal effort into them and didn’t care if they were good or not, just that I turned them in. This is one of my areas of growth because I need to try hard on everything I do. I would like to produce beautiful work throughout my projects even if they won’t help me in the long run. Being proud of most of the things I do should be a top priority for me, so slacking off on projects is something I definitely need to work on. This is especially hard for me though, because if I feel a project isn’t helping me learn anything important, I’m not motivated at all. I have improved on motivating myself to do work from last year to this year, but I am still struggling with this. An example of not putting in as much work as I could on a project because I deemed it unnecessary is my taxonomy mini-project in environmental science. The basis for this project was learning about evolution and how species split and changed over time. Evolution on a general basis is important to me to learn about, but we were learning about a specific species which was not real, and placing them in the correct places on a timeline. This was time-consuming and instead of making my poster look nice and clean, I taped the cut-outs without planning much first, and put minimal effort into it. In the end, I was not proud of my work at all. If I had tried harder and asked for an extension on the project I could have turned it into something much nicer that maybe other people could look at and learn from.
Procrastination if I don’t understand
Throughout all my school years so far I have had a problem with procrastination. If I understand a subject and even if I am not looking forward to it, I will still do it. It is with content that I am struggling with that I procrastinate on. This is an extremely bad and detrimental habit to have because the more I put things off, the less sense they’re going to make because I will forget. An example of this would be my math POW. Because I usually understand math, I was not worried about the POW until I read through it. None of it made sense to me. I decided to ask several peers for help. My friend and I spent at least an hour going over and over it, and she described it in different ways. I still didn’t understand it, and so I put it off. Finally I worked on it, and I finally got some of the answers, but I didn’t understand it enough to come up with a full question. This stresses me out a lot, and if I had asked the teacher for help, or spent more time after school on it instead of putting my social life first, I would have had it done.
Question: How can I not only affect those around me, but the world?
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