During the summer of 2019, I went to my very first and- to this day- my last orchestra camp. I have not gone to one again in the past 3-4 years, and most likely will not ever again. That summer camp left me with a bitter resentment towards myself and my instrument that I was determined to change.
So there’s been huge news regarding students using AI-based websites such as ChatGPT to complete their work for them. This includes using it to write essays and do assignments they should be doing themselves. Now, I’ve just recently discovered ChatGPT and even discovered it is restricted by my school. Funny story actually. I started using a different device at school than my school-issued one, and I had ChatGPT pulled on up one of the tabs to experiment with it. I accidentally clicked on the tab at school, it refreshed, and popped up as restricted for Academic Fraud. So yeah, it’s banned at my school. At many schools, actually. But that’s besides the point. The whole point is, really, how we could use AI such as ChatGPT at school for BENEFICIAL purposes. No I don’t mean to get a wonderful and fake report card from cheating in order to get a new phone. No no no. I mean, to have a TRULY MODERN way of learning using ChatGPT and other such resources. So let us begin.
The advancement of technology has become a major breakthrough in our lives, and yet we’re still working on improving it. Technology is outdated when it becomes inefficient and a faster method to do something is found. Every new technological invention is made to be faster than the current, yet will get replaced by a newer faster version. Take writing for example. We used to write essays and papers by hand, and spend painstaking hours creating something to perfection. Especially at a time where ink was commonly used. Imagine how many times the U.S. Constitution could have been re-written due to a spelling mistake. After quills we had pens and pencils. Then typewriters and after that, computers. Computers started advancing and becoming smaller and more powerful. We now have speech recognizing devices like Alexa or Google Home. There’s even development in Natural Language Processing and Neural Networks so we can use our thoughts to write. Technology will never last in one form forever. It’ll keep advancing and soon the world will as well. People will need to keep up with this in order to survive. Those who didn’t will go extinct. (Not literally but you get the idea.)
So how does this relate to ChatGPT? Well for starters, we can’t ignore the presence in technology in our lives. It’s everywhere around us. However, simply banning it our trying to prevent it from being used isn’t working. Schools are trying to ban the use of ChatGPT and other similar sites to prevent students from cheating. Is that really necessary though? Although ChatGPT can be used to generate essays and do work for students, it can also be used as a supplement to help enhance the learning experience.
Schools are made solely to teach kids. To make them proficient in the basics of where the current world is today. It’s preparing us for the world by kind of, fueling us with essential information. They want us to learn and then test us to make sure we’ve understood that concept. But the way everyone learns is different. Some can pick up on things quick and ace the topic while others need more time. Even when explained it can be difficult to understand. Sometimes the questions asked aren’t answered and students are left worse than they began. ChatGPT can solve that. It can provide one-on-one tutoring to help them learn at their own pace and even provide practice tests and answers to help them understand. ChatGPT can take the most difficult thing and simplify it in a way you could understand. Perhaps it’s easier written like a poem or maybe composed like a song. ChatGPT could do that and create something truly remarkable that will benefit you.
ChatGPT could even be used for research assistance. They can help students find and organize research needed by providing summaries, related articles and more. Ever had a difficult time finding an answer to one question? How many articles or websites would you have had to search through to either give up in defeat or finally get it? ChatGPT can help with that. It can quickly pull up exactly what you need. Now, as ChatGPT is an AI model, and like all AI, is imperfect, something’s may be incorrect. AI can only do as much as it is told to do. Hence, it can only have information up to the amount it’s been programmed with. ChatGPT is limited to knowledge up to 2020 (as far as I know) so recent events may not be provided. Even still, it may mess up. Like, earlier today just for fun I asked ChatGPT to list the members of SEVENTEEN in order by age. It took about three tries for it to successfully list all 13 members by age. The first time it started off almost 4 members late and repeated some of them. The second time one member was missing. After correcting the AI for a final time only did it successfully do what was asked.
Instead of banning AI websites like ChatGPT altogether, maybe they should create a feature that disables them. ChatGPT could be used to learn about new topics and develop a full understanding of them, but turned off when it comes to testing. Simply copy and pasting isn’t learning. If one uses ChatGPT in a way it should be intended- to answer questions and fill the gaps we are unfamiliar with- then is it really that harmful? I don’t think so. Is it wrong to try and learn? In certain circumstances yes, most likely, but otherwise?
As a way to conclude this post I wanted to share some other AI websites I found that are similar to ChatGPT, except with their own respective characteristics.
- ChatSonic (The underlying technology behind ChatGPT but going beyond ChatGPT’s limitations)
- Rytr (A way to generate ideas to help get started on a post)
- WordTune (A way to articulate your thoughts or when they sound awkward)
- Essaybot (I would consider this one cheating as it gives you a pre written paragraph re-worded, but otherwise this is an option)
- Talk to Books (Exploring ideas by getting answers from books)
So I had my first homecoming. As in, I attended my first homecoming. Not that I was the one invited for homecoming. Confused? Me too.
So lets break it down. Homecoming. Pretty much means what you would expect. Coming home. More specifically, the coming home of our prestigious alumni. (Insert singsongy voice) Homecoming is an annual, American tradition where people, towns, high schools, and colleges come together to welcome back former members of the community. I’m not disrespecting if that would still apply to us since we don’t really live near colleges. It might just be the welcoming back of former students, teachers, and community members. Maybe. I’m not sure. I’m new to high school, ask a senior. (Or someone more cultured than me)
Homecoming usually takes place near late September to early October, and is built around a central event such as a banquet or dance, and most often, a game of American football. Yes the game that isn’t really football but is, hence the name American Football. Call it non-soccer, or non-football football. Anyways, many common activities that take place during this time include a parade featuring aspects of the school such as sports and marching band, a football game on the home field, coronation of a homecoming queen and/or king, and a dance that takes place the day after the game. I had my first homecoming dance last night. So that’s what I meant by attending homecoming.
The first homecoming-like event was the University of Missouri’s 1911 football game where alumni were invited to attend. This was centered around a game and parade, and from this, it became an annual event. Homecoming usually has a backings court which is a representative group if students. My school’s homecoming court was Lord and Lady (Freshman), Due and Duchess (Sophomore), Prince and Princess (Junior), and then King and Queen which is Seniors. We also have His and Her Excellency which consists of two teachers/staff. I know, a little excessive. It’s a fun tradition though.
For my first homecoming experience, I have to say it’s as really exciting. My favorite part is the decoration I’m not sure how each school does it, but we had every sport, fine arts, club, and such decorate a window or a section of a wall. There were balloons and streamers, colorful pop outs, familiar cultural references *cough cough BTS cough cough*, and so many other cute decorations. I loved how each group had something unique and true to what they do, and I loved seeing the school decorated and glammed up for this. The spirit week for homecoming was also super exciting. Monday- Where did all the time go. Each grade had a different theme such as freshman as little kids and seniors as senior citizens. Tuesday- Dress up with another person. Have another person dress you up in a crazy, cool, or fun outfit. Wednesday was a favorite artist, celebrity, album day. Thursday was a pajama day, and Friday was a Hoco shirt (special shirts sold for Hoco ‘22) and Mums/Garters. Now. What is a mum?
Frankly, I have no clue. This is apparently a Texas high school tradition, and is very popular. (Of course it is.) So a mum began as a “sweet Texas token of affection given to a girl by her date in honor of the high school homecoming football game and other events.” ( Schumann, Natalie. “How Giant Homecoming Mums Became a Texas Tradition.” Country Living, 20 Sept. 2020, https://www.countryliving.com/life/g28035883/homecoming-mums-tradition-ideas/. ) Boys would accent a chrysanthemum bloom ( which became the unofficial flower of homecoming events) with ribbons and ornaments and give them to a girl. These would be small and pinned on to clothing. However, over time, not only have they been worn around necks, but they’ve also grown in size. On Friday I saw a mum wider than a girl’s torso, with huge decorations. Some covered their entire torso and were heavily adorned with ribbons, bells, stuffed animals, ruffles, multiple artificial flowers, and such. Some even had lights on theirs.
On home games, we have a pep rally during school. This usually consists of some stunts and tumbling performed by the cheer team, a bit of dancing by the Dazzlers, the band/marching band performing, a little about the football team, the drum line coming out and being the absolute coolest (my favorite part of you couldn’t tell), class chants, and a finale of singing the school anthem(?). I’m not sure if it’s the anthem. It’s more of a song, not a fight song, but it’s sung at the end of games and pep rallies. Pep rallies are the best. Except for the fact that literally no one in my grade wants to cheer along or participates in the class chant. I don’t know if other schools do this- they probably do- but each class has a special chant for all four years of high school. I think it might be because we’re new and we want to seem cool but in reality it makes us look like wimps and spiritless. Like, come on guys. You can do better. We’re the biggest class ever seen. We’re loud. Show that off! Stop being so shy. But yeah. That’s it.
Now, final dance. Prom. I won’t be able to go to prom yet since it’s for Juniors and Seniors, another two years before I can, but it is something I’m looking forward to going when I can. Prom, short for Promenade, means (according to Merriam-Webster) “…a ceremonious opening of a formal ball consisting of a grand march of all the guests.” In th past, it was meant as a way to promote social etiquette for university’s senior classes as they finish their studying years and enter society. Over time it has now become something for high school juniors and seniors. It can often be seen as one last way for the class to have fun together before the year ends. The main reason I would want to attend is because one, it’s a final memory with my grade, and two, it reminds me of my 8th grade dance from last year.
Homecoming. was really nice and I had a lot of fun. However, it was the entire school invited, and my friend and I could barely find people we knew. We had fun together, but not as much fun as we could have with other people. Last year’s dance was only 8th graders, and it was at the end of the school year. At that time, we were finishing the last of our final exams, and it was very easy-going at that time. We also knew each other very well, having bonded together over the past 3 years. It was really comfortable, and it was easy to enjoy. Homecoming is pretty early in the year, and we only started interacting with our peers. (Freshman I mean) Since two other middle schools’ 8th transitioning to 9th grade students were joining us at high school, we had classes with new people. It was 6th grade all over again. It would have been nice to have a dance at the end of the school year, where we had closer relationships with others and could enjoy better. But at least I got to go/ decided to go. Super happy I did. I was considering not going for some time but I’m really happy my parents convinced me to. It helped set up future expectations for the upcoming years.
Firstly, wear comfortable shoes. As pretty as high heels look under a nice dress, they are absolute PAIN when dancing. I took off my heels around the last 45 minutes and my feet have never felt more relieved. It was so much more comfortable to jump and dance flat footed. A bunch of other girls wore white adidas, Nikes, and converse under their dresses as per fashion, but also because of this reason. Now, understanding why, I’ll try that next time. Second, the dress codes aren’t as strict as last year. There wasn’t a lot of action taken on revealing-ish dresses and so a lot of people wore short dresses, had open backs, low necklines, and the guys even took off their shirts near the end. (Ok that was weird to admit.) I mean, I get that it was super hot in the Student Union with everyone dancing, but c’mon man. There’s kids here. Have some decency. Lastly, I need a date. Not for a relationship or anything romantic, but for someone to carry my stuff for me or provide jackets if it’s too cold. And also if your friends abandon you and you want someone special to talk to. Maybe. Yeah. That’s it. (I kinda had a date to our dance last year. We went as ‘friends’ and had fun together. I kinda abandoned him a bunch of times to dance and meet other people. (Sorry) But hey it was fun. *AHEM* Too personal. (HAHA) Anyways, yeah. School dances are fun. I understand why people make such a big deal out of them. I would say that a lot of people choose not to go because they don’t have a date. I think that’s incredibly stupid. I remember saying something like that for a dance in 6th grade. I missed out and regretted it ever since. School dances are just ways to have fun.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a date, or no one you know is going. Just have fun. I can argue for the no friends going part, but I guarantee someone you know will be there. I have personal experience. The least likely people you expect will be there, and you can have fun with them. Just enjoy yourself. That’s all that matters. Just have fun, make memories, don’t do any funny business, and have a great time. That’s what should count.
This week’s post is another weekly school story/ breakdown. Well, more like a short light-hearted one-sided conversation. Hah. Well, let’s go!
Oh my god, was last week a daze. So last week was Thanksgiving break. One full week of no school, hours of free time, and no work. Something truly looked forward to every year. Well, so was I. Was. In the future, at that point I still will, but given how the after effects of this year’s break were, ehhhhhh. Not really.
Almost every time there’s a long weekend or a break at least 4 days long, I forget everything. Literally. I can never seem to get back into my schedule. Maybe this happens to everyone, but I’ve experienced it multiple times lately. Following Halloween, we got Monday no Tuesday off from school. On Wednesday, when I returned, I forgot my ID. I was panicking so bad because I was terrified some teacher would find out I didn’t have it and would make me stay outside until I did. I remember hearing a story in 5th grade of a boy who didn’t wear his ID and couldn’t go to school unless he found it. I was fortunate enough that my dad was able to bring it to me before school started. The next day, I forgot my chrome book. So once again I had to call one of my parents to drop it off. After a few days, it was normal again. However, this week was also a disaster.
So, on Monday I forgot my chrome book. And in the first half of the week I thought I lost my violin tuner. When I was reviewing for my quiz on Wednesday, I forgot all my proofs and theorems in Geometry. Oh and then I had a hard time reviewing for my Brain Function Test on Friday because I couldn’t get the Olfactory Bulbs/tracts and Optic nerves/chiasms right. I also completely blanked out on my math test for a good 5 minutes before I was able to get into my senses. ( I still got a 104/105 though. Disappointingly, I lost 1 point in a very minor and frustrating error.) I also messed up on one question of my math quiz and didn’t read my writing correctly , so I messed up and lost 2 points.
Before the break begins I’m so relieved and joyous and grateful I get a break. I mean, do you know how much work you get before the break?! Like at least 6 assignments and 3-4 quizzes or tests before. It’s such a relief when you finally get a break. But then it ends and you feel so drained. Breaks are helpful, relaxing, and exciting, but also annoying, troublesome, and tiring. Although I get a lot of time to myself and can feel good in that moment, it’s really difficult to get back into that same work mode again.
After seeing what happens after a 4 day break and full week break, I wonder what’s going to happen after winter break. I’ll be leaving for winter vacation a week early so I’ll miss the last week of school for the 2021 year. So after missing 3 weeks of school, I’m most likely going to be in the grumpiest and most sour mood to exist when I return. I’ll probably have forgotten everything and will leave the majority of my stuff behind at home. Can’t wait for that. It’s funny. I just get back into my regular schedule and routine, and then it’s going to break again.
Apart from that, I’m super excited for the next few weeks. This Monday I literally told myself that days pass by really quick, and it’s only this week full of work before I get free days. Well, less work-filled days. See, next week after Tuesday, as far as I know I have the next few days a bit casual. I may have a quiz in between, but otherwise, it’s gonna be great. Next Thursday I have a Winter Orchestra Concert which I am super excited for. It’ll be my first time performing for a live audience in almost 2 years. I unfortunately wasn’t feeling well the day of my Fall concert so I had to miss that. However, this time it’ll be great. I also get to perform as concertmaster for my orchestra, and I am really excited. Especially with the pieces we get to play. Jingle bell rock, Harry Potter, and Ode to Joy. Ode to joy is a kind of tradition each year where all orchestras play a part of the piece together. Jingle bell rock is pretty simple. But Harry Potter is the best. We did a run-through of the whole piece on Tuesday and it was so lit. It’s one of the harder pieces we are playing this year, so it’s a new experience. Because of that, it makes playing it even better. I cannot wait to play it in front of an audience. It’s so energetic in the end as the tempo increases, and it’s definitely an adrenaline rush just from listening.
Also, we have Holiday Tours on the day after. This is also a tradition with our school where we go around and play for the elementary schools nearby and show the kids there how great the fine arts department is. Band, Orchestra, and choir perform there, and it’s really exciting. When I was younger, it was something I always looked forward to and loved, and I’m really excited that Iget to be a part of it this time. I never imagined I would be in that same place of those musicians who I admired, and would be able to play for kids who would do the same in the following years.
Then, the evening of that Friday I have my first All Region rehearsal. It’s my first time getting into All Region and I’m looking forward to that as well. Compared to All District, I’ll be playing with kids from all over the region of Texas. On Saturday we’ll have one final rehearsal before we put on a concert. Then, on the following Monday I will be leaving for an early winter break. More details on that will come later. But anyways, it’s gonna be great. So many Orchestra live playing days. I’m really looking forward to next week.
Other than that nothing else really happened. About 87% of my week was just me being done with everything and exhausted, 8% was me being excited for cutting open a sheep brain, 3% was me manifesting the excitements of next week, and the remaining 2% was me thinking life is good. I dunno. Sometime between the week I started feeling good and told myself everything was all right. I have no idea where that came from, but it’s positive reassurance that is comforting to know. That’s pretty much how my entire week went. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and an excellent evening. Bye!
Kids have become so spoiled it’s unbelievable. Recently, or not too long ago, a new trend started to surge throughout TikTok. It’s been known as the “Devious Licks” trend, where students will go around and, usually from the bathrooms, steal or vandalize school property. I’m not talking about just toilet paper, but kids have been stealing sinks, toilets, soap dispensers, etc. Then they post themselves doing it on TikTok, showing how great of a feat it was. Not only is it sick, but it’s also incredibly selfish. But before I share my view, let’s see theirs.
Apart from it being stupid, it also shows how ungrateful and how much these kids have taken things for granted. What is considered common for us, is considered a luxury for others? Kids should be lucky to be able to have nice bathrooms every day while some don’t even get clean water. Thinking that it isn’t a big deal is absurd. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that others can. These kids are ungrateful to the fact that they can get these things easily while others can’t, and instead start wasting them for no reason. And not to forget that they actually think it’s funny. There are posts of posts saying how people are thinking too small in the licks and then they show off even worse items. They actually think it’s a friendly game that doesn’t mean anything. And to think people actually are liking this? That only makes it worse. It drives them to go for even bigger things and to keep doing what they’re doing. Traffic lights, other people’s vehicle doors, fire extinguishers, etc. Kids are trying to steal computer equipment. COMPUTER EQUIPMENT. Here’s a more drastic scenario. What happens when there is an actual fire in the school, but some stupid kids who were too immersed in a stupid trend stole the fire alarm? What happens then? Shame on those students who think of this as a fun trend, and to those who liked it as well.
But, there is one part I really appreciate. To beat the Devious Licks, people have been doing Angelic Yields. Basically, kids go out and replace the stolen things with anonymous donations. For example, more rolls of toilet paper, a new faucet, more soap, etc. Some even just give some cash as a gift for someone to find. I really appreciate these students who go out of their way to correct the behavior of others. It’s a good counter, and I think the schools would also be grateful for those who do the yields.
Another thing I also want to include is school lunches. While it doesn’t exactly relate to the topic of vandalism, it does relate to kids taking things for granted. So, school lunches are free for the 2021-2022 year, and the number of students buying every day is unbelievable. In my school, for both lunch lines, there is a line of 20-30+ students waiting to buy lunch. And a little less than half of them aren’t genuinely buying lunch. Along with their own lunches from home, they buy a school lunch as well. I don’t have any problem there, but what really ticks me off is how these kids finish their entire school lunch and throw the uneaten lunch in the trash. At least take it home!
There are an estimated 14 MILLION kids under the age of 5 worldwide who suffer from malnutrition. Kids who are lucky to be able to have packed lunches every day, or lovingly made food from their parents simply throw that all away for no reason. I really don’t mind if they just leave it as is, but throwing it away? Parents go out of their ways to make sure you eat well for lunch, but their kids throw it away. What should I say… But then some kids don’t even finish most of the food they get from the school lunch and throw it away. It’s like taking advantage of the fact that you don’t have to pay. I personally dislike buying lunch, so I rarely buy. But when I do, I usually get a side of fruit with a meal and let me tell you. I try to finish everything I’ve gotten, but after 5 minutes of peeling a stubborn orange and finding out it tastes horrible, I couldn’t do anything but throw it away. There was also a time where my chicken sandwich seemed anything but crispy or chicken. It was a very vivid orange and had no crispiness whatsoever. I understand that, but some kids eat only half of their meal and throw it away just like that. Then why even buy it in the first place?! It upsets me how ungrateful people can be for things not everyone gets.
I think the main point of this blog was to show how ungrateful some students are. It shows when they do these stupid trends or vandalism, simply for views. These kids should see how other students in other countries live. They should see how lucky they are to have huge, resourceful schools, and be grateful. They should know that others are the same age as them and don’t get the same luxury. They need to see it themselves to know how stupid, and ungrateful they are when they do these trends. The same goes for kids wasting food. Be grateful that your parents put in time in the mornings to make home-cooked lunches or simply pack one for you, instead of throwing it away like it’s nothing. Because to others, it could mean so much more. Just be grateful for what you have. Not everyone has the same luxury you do, so don’t take advantage of it.
Angelic Yields Video:
Devious Licks challenge:
Devious Licks Challenge- Bathrooms:
Picture Day. For me, whenever I hear this I think of three words.
What to wear?
Elementary School. The time where we would have everyday outfits chosen by our parents until we were allowed to do so ourselves. Hence, the numerous pictures of us dressed up extremely fancy for picture day. Slowly over time, we’ve started to grow out of that, like I’ve said, and we start to have our own choices. Some kids don’t dress up at all. Some do. Either way, it’s simply for a picture. But, this year’s Picture Day has been playing on my mind, and that’s why I’m bringing this up.
This year was a shock to me. As soon as I stepped into the school, I began to grow more and more unsure of my outfit after seeing the other students. I had worn something semi-fancy that day. It felt as if no one dressed up at all, and I had made a fool of myself. Everyone wore something so basic, I wondered whether they remembered it was picture day or not. I was even more surprised seeing how many of the girls also didn’t dress up as well. Almost every year I would see stylish blouses or flowery dresses for pictures, but instead, it was the regular ripped jeans and shirt. I couldn’t understand what changed through the past year, causing this to happen. It wasn’t until later where I had a possible theory.
Maybe it’s just that people have started to care less for Picture Day. Well, I doubt many people would be excited for Picture Day. Maybe they are, but generally, kids don’t like Picture Day that much. It’s a hassle to have to dress up and pose nicely while giving your best fake smile. Other than possible pictures to buy for updated portraits, what else is Picture Day for? Ids? I don’t mind if it’s used for IDs or maybe for the yearbook, but otherwise, it feels so unnecessary. For me, I don’t even keep my pictures. I can’t be bothered to buy pictures of myself that will be replaced after a year. Not only that, I can take better pictures in places besides photoshopped green screens. ( No offense towards the Picture Day photographers.) So, really what is Picture Day meant to be for. Other students might have also realized that by now, and that’s probably also why they stopped dressing up. But, there is also one more possibility.
Dress Codes. Dress Codes are there for a reason, but right now, I want to state some opinions. Dress Codes suck. This may stray a bit from the Picture Day topic, but I believe this must be brought up. I feel like every Dress Code that exists, is meant just for the girls. I was reading through my school’s Dress and Grooming section in the Student Handbook, and frankly, it seems to be mainly towards girls. There are a few points directed to both, but in a given diagram of appropriate wear, there are far more labels for the girl than the boy. There are logical reasons for this, and I agree with them. But it seems so wrong. With the number of guidelines towards clothes for girls, it’s almost like they can barely wear anything we like. In fact, most of the time, girls doubt their favorite outfits or clothing choices because they’re worried about whether they will get dress-coded or not. And even when they are sure they won’t, they still can’t help but remain tense the whole day. So, that could also be a reason for the lack of dress-up on Picture Day.
Apart from girls, boys have also started to dress up less. Even less than they usually do. Every year, I only see a mere handful of the boys dressing up. Boys aren’t that concerned about dressing up as girls normally have been. Even now, I don’t recall seeing a single boy stick out who was dressed up. Maybe they wore a simple, nice shirt with slicked-back hair, but otherwise, it wasn’t that “grand”.
It doesn’t bother me if people dress up on Picture Day or not. Never has. But, the reason I wanted to write about this was because of the strange interaction I had that day. I just found it unbelievable how not many people, especially the majority of girls, didn’t dress up. I thought that now we were closer to high school, even more people would dress up. Never expected the opposite. Still, it was a good insight into what Picture Day really is like these days. But I genuinely want to know, what was the cause of change this year?
Recently, when I came back to middle school in person, the biggest change I recognized was the appearance of makeup. Seeing this made me think that they were trying too hard to be someone else, or that they were doing something unnecessary or their faces. But through the weeks, I’ve started to discover that there was more to makeup. It seemed that most people wore makeup to fit in and not be different. This led me to a big question.
Is makeup necessary to fit in, in Middle School?
Is makeup necessary to fit in, in Middle School?
Yes, and no. Makeup can be used to fit in, but that isn’t the main reason why it would be worn. For example:
Drawing attention away from something eye-catching
I’ll talk about these more throughout the post. Along the way, I’ll share my views on these, as well as the opinions of many others on this topic.
In order to collect this data, I sent out a survey to several of my classmates and teachers. Throughout the week, responses have been flooding in with so many different perspectives, that my own opinion on makeup has changed a lot.
Here’s what they were asked:
- Do you think girls at this age should wear makeup?
- Why or Why not?
- How much would some makeup be?
- How much would a lot of makeup be?
- Why do you think others would wear makeup?
- Is makeup a need or a want? Why?
- Is makeup only for girls? Can boys wear it as well?
- Does wearing makeup make boys girlish and less manly, or not?
When I first saw the responses, I was shocked, yet pleasantly surprised. I thought that the general answer for whether girls should wear makeup or not would be no. It was the opposite. The most common answer for why was expression. A lot of people replied that makeup can be used to express their feelings or even themselves in new ways, as well as to become more confident in their appearances. Reading this, I realized that they were right. In my mind, I thought that makeup showed a fake appearance of someone, and was used only to look good. I didn’t realize how it could be seen as something completely different for others.
For some, it helps define their personalities and even can help improve their confidence and self-esteem. Middle school and high school are the ages where we start to become more aware of our appearance to others. We become self-conscious about every trivial thing about ourselves and become insecure about them. Makeup is a way we can hide these insecurities. By doing so, makes us feel more physically attractive, and make us feel confident.
How? By using makeup, it allows us to present ourselves in a way we want to be seen, and be comfortable.
I can relate to similar concepts. When I dress up or change my appearance through nails or hairstyle, I feel a different personality. The adrenaline and excitement from it peaks my mood, and I feel absolutely incredible. It’s like acting. With a new boost of confidence, I feel like a whole other person. I think that those who wear makeup might also feel the same way. Wearing it makes them feel special and lets them become a different version of themselves. It lets them be themselves, and because of that, I think that they should be allowed to wear makeup. However, I also believe that kids should try to feel confident by being themselves. Once they are confident with who they are, then they should use it. I will say though, that they should only do so if their parents allow them to. Makeup can be harmful to your skin and wearing it every day will damage it even more.
Another reason for makeup is, taking attention away from something eye-catching. A blemish is an example of this. Blemishes are usually the first thing one would notice since it’s something eye-catching. These things draw our attention from the main thing and make us focus on it instead. For people, it can make them insecure, or even annoyed. Perhaps, when they’re talking, the other person’s attention might be drawn from the conversation to the blemish. To prevent this, that person could conceal it with makeup.
Scars or even wounds are also examples of eye-catching marks. For example, in The Karate Kid, Dre uses his mother’s foundation to hide his black eye so she wouldn’t find out about his fight. Dre is using makeup to hide something eye-catching so attention is not drawn to it.
Besides insecurities and self-confidence, makeup is very commonly used in performances. Be it movie filming, dance performances, plays, etc, makeup is used. It’s used to take on the appearance of the character or act they’re performing as/for. A lot of theatrical makeup can be used to really portray the character to the full extent so the audience can be convinced.
How much is some makeup? How much would a lot of makeup be?
The responses to these two questions were very similar. For some makeup, the most common answers were mascara, lip gloss/lipstick, eyeliner, some blush, and concealer. I agree as well. I don’t know much about makeup, these being the only ones I know and think that at this age, this should be the most used. I would consider anything more would be too much, and perhaps improper for school. It doesn’t feel necessary for people to use so much every day.
Everyone expressed the same answer for a lot of makeup. A full face, or an amount that changes the natural appearance of someone to the point they are almost unrecognizable. I have a connection to this. I see a girl every day, and she wears makeup. There’s nothing wrong with it. But, whenever I see her, I get confused. On the first day of school, I mistook her for a high schooler. I’m not sure if it’s how her face is, or because of the makeup, but she looks as if she’s in 10th grade. I don’t want to assume anything, but I couldn’t help but wonder about it. I remember trying to figure out what she would look like without makeup. Perhaps that’s the type of look she’s going for. I’m not criticizing or throwing any hate at her. I’m really just wondering. But, to me, it feels as if her appearance is different because of it. So, would that be considered a lot of makeup?
Why do you think others would wear makeup?
I’ve already shared my opinions, and I’d like to share the responses here instead.
Some respondents mentioned insecurities and self-confidence like I mentioned before, and others mentioned dressing up. Someone mentioned it makes us feel special. I can easily relate to that. I’ve always felt different, in a good way, whenever I got to wear makeup for special occasions. It felt…magical.
Another respondent talked about how girls are raised to believe that their value lies in how they look. That’s true as well. On social media, influencers show photoshopped and filtered images of themselves, creating an unattainable beauty standard. These fake images have a bad influence on others. It can become a social norm to reach that standard and develops into pressure.
There was also a mention of “artistic flair”. After all, isn’t a face also like a canvas? Using makeup is very similar to painting something. I remember when I was younger, I and my friend would use her makeup kit on each other. Well, I would use it on her. What I would do is try out different styles and looks on her, and would experiment with them. ( With her consent of course.) I really enjoyed those moments because I was able to try a new form of art and try to express myself on a different canvas. I liked to find what matched my friend and to try and make her look amazing. Others could feel the same way. They might like expressing art through makeup and enjoy trying different styles and shades of colors on themselves.
Someone also said that it could be worn to impress someone. I’m not sure if that’s a common reason in middle school, but definitely in high school. Girls will often try to change their appearance or use some makeup to make themselves appealing for a crush, or even in general. Boys as well. They could try to be strong or amazing at sports in order to impress someone they like.
Is makeup a need or a want?
Once again, everyone had a similar response. It’s a want. It’s not something you cannot live without. It can be seen as something important in one’s life if people use it every day, but it’s not a need.
The respondents said the same thing. One said makeup is a want and is used to feel beautiful, but it’s not needed to look so. Very true. Even though makeup can help boost our image, it cannot compare to the natural beauty you already have. Everyone is beautiful, and we all don’t realize it. Another said it’s not something needed to function in everyday life. Makeup isn’t something you will die without. Food, water, and oxygen are some of the main things we cannot live without. Everything else comes after that.
People say that makeup is something they absolutely cannot go without. Some people use makeup to hide excessive scarring or permanent wounds. Because they use it so much, it’s almost like a habit for them. Even so, it’s not to a point it’s a need. It may be something really important and a way to not make them stand out, but it wouldn’t count as crucial. It is not something that they will die from if they don’t have it. I’m not trying to sound harsh, but state the facts.
If you were in a situation where you were stranded, would the makeup be the number one thing you would need at that moment? No. You would first have to find some kind of shelter, food, and water before planning a way to get some help. Your first idea would be to survive in a new environment. How you look would, and should, be the least of your worries.
Is makeup only for girls? Can boys wear it as well?
In this discussion, I’ve used the word ‘us’ many times. By doing so, I’m not just referring to myself and other girls/women, but also to boys and men as well. In my opinion, makeup shouldn’t have a label and should be considered gender-neutral. I’ve expressed this before in an earlier post, and want to say it again. Shirts and shoes are seen as gender-neutral, but when it comes to dresses or makeup, it’s immediately labeled as feminine. Why is that? One of the earliest cultures to use cosmetics was ancient Egypt, and even then both men and women wore makeup. Back then it was considered gender-neutral, yet because girls use it more often today, has it started to become feminine? The gender that uses it shouldn’t necessarily define what it is. Makeup shouldn’t be only for girls if they use it more commonly. Boys shouldn’t be afraid to use makeup if they like it, simply because it’s only for girls. Makeup should have no label, like clothing.
The respondents also felt the same way. In fact, the majority of responses to this question were very positive. Many of them answered it as if addressing a boy instead of a survey, and were encouraging them that they were allowed to wear it if they wanted to as well. They were very open to the idea of boys wearing it as well.
I also received some responses about how it would be strange for guys to wear makeup. There’s nothing wrong with that as well. Despite that makeup can be gender-neutral, it can still be seen as awkward whenever boys wear it. Since makeup has become more common with girls, seeing a guy wearing makeup can be strange. I think that makeup is gender-neutral, but if I see a guy wearing it, I might be hesitant. It seems out of place and we might wonder what’s wrong with them, or why they want to do such a thing. It doesn’t feel right.
I think the answer to this depends on society. It really depends on what you’re exposed to or sees commonly. In America, it’s not very common for guys to wear makeup, making it be seen as something only girls would wear. In other countries, it’s different. For example, in Korea, it’s typical for boys to wear makeup. Several male K-pop idols wear makeup, and it’s considered normal. But to other countries, they can be seen as gay or feminine. Because of the society, they are around all the time, seeing something completely different is a shock.
Does boys wearing makeup make them girlish and less manly, or not?
The responses for this were similar to the previous question. Many replied that makeup can be for both. Someone said that if a guy wears makeup, people can be confused about their sexual identity. Since it’s not common, seeing it makes us find a reasonable explanation for it and assume something different, even if the guy really just likes to wear makeup.
A couple of respondents also mentioned how makeup can also be used for guys to express themselves and enhance their looks like girls do.
I want to point out one response that caught my attention. This respondent replied that a guy wearing makeup isn’t girlish, and is more manly because they are not afraid to be judged for their actions. I wholeheartedly agree. When a guy wears makeup in our society, he’s indeed very brave. That guy is defying social norms for something he likes and isn’t worried about others’ opinions. He could be terrified, but then again, he wanted to do something outside of what is normal. That courage is truly remarkable.
Another respondent also talked about makeup being gender-neutral and explained how there’s a huge stigma around men/boys wearing makeup. They also said how it shouldn’t be girly as it’s a form of self-expression. This also relates to K-pop idols. Makeup can be used to help them with performances, and can also give them a boost of confidence like it does for girls. I know that Jimin from BTS finds eyeliner important when it comes to performances. For him, without it, he feels shy and cannot dance in a more powerful manner. Aren’t the situations similar?
Both boys and girls use makeup for similar purposes. It lets them express themselves, and feel confident. So why should makeup be labeled as feminine? By taking that away from boys who like it, aren’t you restricting them from being themselves? If makeup is how they want to do that, then shouldn’t they be allowed to? Don’t classify it as only a girl-thing, when the purposes of it are common between boys and girls.
Let’s go back to our question.
Is it necessary to use makeup to fit in, in Middle school?
No. Makeup is not NECESSARY to be used to fit in, but it can be. We shouldn’t use makeup only if others are wearing it, but only if we want to. It’s something that should be your choice. Not everyone has to wear makeup if they choose not. If it’s your choice to wear makeup to fit in, that’s fine. But try to be yourself when wearing it.
Makeup can be used to not stand out and be different, but it also serves as something greater for others. It can be a form of confidence, a way to hide insecurities, draw attention away from eye-catching marks, and so much more. It also can be used by both genders. I believe that makeup should not have a limit to what it is used for, or to who uses it. It should be used by anyone, anyway, they want, no matter what.
Welcome back to Part 3 of the “Middle School Tales: Experiences from a back-to-in-person-learning middle school student” series. Yes, I did just come up with that name and yes, it is very long. Anyways, I wanted to share some more funny and interesting stories from my in person learning experience.
Like I’ve said many, many, many times before, I have been an online learner for 1 and ½ years. Coming back to school in-person has been extremely challenging, and very different. Everything in your learning environment changes. But, what changes in the students during middle school?
You know how when you go to a new grade or advance to a new level of school, you always admire how tall the oldest, senior-most kids are? Well, that’s similar to what happened with me and my friend. Except, it was us who were amazed at how tall our peers were compared to ourselves. Standing next to them, we look so small! And yet I was so proud to be 5’3 and the tallest in my friend group. Some kids in my grade are extremely tall, no doubt there, but overall, if you line up all the students in my grade, I will most likely be somewhere near the front. In fact, we actually did that in two of my classes, and both times I ended up near the beginning of the line. ( It went from shortest to tallest.)
It’s funny how that happened because it only felt like yesterday when we were all in elementary school and were all the same height. It felt like we were on the same level as one another but now it’s surprising seeing how we’re not. I remember a girl who was in my 2nd grade class who was the same height as me, and now, she’s at least 3-4 inches taller than me. When did that happen?
Not to forget the boys. Oh my god, when I came back to school, I was so shocked with how different the boys were. The most specific thing to me was the voice. I’ve always known that boys’ voices deepen during puberty, but I was so caught off guard when I heard them. There’s a boy who was in my 5th grade class before, and his voice used to be a bit high-pitched. But now, it’s deepened. Hearing him speak feels awkward now.
So in CCR- College Career Readiness class- we were supposed to share our results from a personality assessment we took the day before, with a group of three. My tablemate invited me to join her group with her friend and we all shared our results. We finished our discussions early so we ended up talking the rest of the time. Or more like, they ended up talking. They started talking about haircuts and what lotion or shampoo they use and stuff. Less than 5 minutes in, I was already bored. I didn’t want to sit around and listen to how you wanted to cut your hair or what products you used. Giving up on listening, I turned my head forward, as our seats were currently in rows, and found a more interesting conversation with the boys.
Boys are interesting. There may be times where they can be incredibly stupid and will make you want to kick them in the leg, but, at least they have a conversation of variety that’ll make you want to listen further. And that’s exactly what happened. I don’t remember the exact conversation going on between the boys, but I do remember how they were all joking around and talking about the most random things.
It made me remember a specific memory I kind of cherish back from 6th grade. I and a few other students part of my Leadworthy Class got to help out in an 8th grade parent-student lunch event. We were supposed to give each parent a name tag, hold the doors open, and take them to the lunch area. Anyways, I and two other boys were on door-holding duty for some time. It got pretty boring as no one showed up for some time, so we started making small talk with one another. Standing some distance away from us was an 8th grader waiting for his parents, and had been waiting for a while. I don’t remember exactly how the conversation was initiated, but I do remember how we were all coming up with these crazy theories about how the boy could have gotten here. Teleportation, aliens, undead armies, etc. It was probably one of the best and most interesting conversations I’ve ever had in my life.
I’m not saying that all conversations with girls are boring, but definitely most of them have started to become so. Of course, I do enjoy listening to my friend talk about her crushes and giving my opinion every now and then.
For the last 1 and ½ -ish years I have been doing remote school. That means, I have not been to school for over a year…until now. I’ve only given you a small glance into what the first few days have been for me, and now, I’d like to share my experience after a full week.
Before I talk about my week, let me give a quick explanation of how school last year was like for me.
In remote learning there wasn’t much expectation set for us as compared to in-person students. For example, several activities or projects would be taken from our curriculum because we were digital learners. Because of that, most of the assignments were extremely simple. (With the exception of Shakespeare.) Not only that, the teachers were very easy going on us. There was no pressure on us about coming into Tutorials to make up/redo work or any “before class ends” deadlines. From that type of relaxed mindset, it was easy for students, including myself, to quickly lose a lot of the good study/working habits we used to have and develop some unhealthy ones. For example, listening to music all the time, completing assignments during another class, taking advantage of the off-camera feature of zoom and snaking messages to friends, or even just procrastinating and lazing around a lot.
( I’m not saying all remote students were like this as some did really well throughout the online school year, but I’m giving out some of the habits I, and possibly many other students, developed throughout it.)
I didn’t think much about it at first, but during our school’s awards ceremony, the realization dawned on me. And when it did, I was unbelievably upset. Throughout that night, my friends each went home with at least two awards, including an A honor roll. I went home with just an A honor roll. I never got called again, and watched and clapped as my friends got called up many times. Later, as the auditorium emptied out, we all came together and talked for a bit. We all laughed and chattered as if it was no big deal how they all could barely hold their medals while I held onto a measly paper. Nothing clicked in my mind that anything went wrong. Not even when we took a photo all together. In that photo we’re all smiling, and even through my mask, it looks as if I’m proud. I hate that photo. I hate how I have the audacity to even smile. I hate how it looks as if I’m fine and it was the greatest thing that had happened to me. Later when we were driving home, my parents pointed it out to me and I agreed. Even at that time, it still did not come to me what had happened. It was only until we came home and were reviewing for my Marathi finals that I realized what happened. It was as if the weather followed my mood. The grey clouds had darkened more and more as we went home and poured down on us as soon as I left to use the bathroom, and cried my eyes out. Everything came to me and I realized how the year became. I scolded and criticized myself for everything I did, and believed I had failed. I felt low and realized how foolish I must have looked hours before. I couldn’t blame anyone but myself for wasting a potential year and for dropping to a level lower than acceptable. I felt extremely humiliated with myself and swore that it would never happen again. From that moment onwards, I decided that I was going to pull myself up and make next year the best I can, no matter what it takes.
Starting a new year is always challenging. But it was especially challenging for me as I had been remote for more than a year. I forgot how I’d have to skillfully navigate through the densely packed halls of students bustling to get to their next class within a span of 4 minutes, work in a fast-paced curriculum, manage and use my time in class effectively so I have less work at home, and so much more. In addition to that, I also have kickboxing, tutoring, and the usual Friday Marathi class after school, giving me less time to complete my work. So, the first week of school pretty much drove me mad. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration.
With a new environment and fully-packed weekly schedule, what else is left? Goals. I had decided last year that I wanted to work hard this year. How hard? So hard that I need to maintain a 100 average in every class, on every test, assignment, activity, etc. I needed to fully ace everything I did this year, and that meant by going beyond what is expected. It’s a challenge, but a necessary one. I needed to pull myself up from where I was last year. And so far, it’s been a rocky start.
One, I’ve already gotten a few grades below a 100. Two, I’ve taken on kickboxing and tutoring my neighbor who has just started his middle school era, leaving me with less time than before to complete my work. Third, I got sick.
Let me start with the last one. No, it’s nothing major, just the common cold. After doing online learning for over a year, you pretty much stay at home for the whole day. As a result, my immune system didn’t get much exposure to any viruses, causing me to get easily sick within my first week out. That’s pretty much why I spent 3 days of school acting like an alien. It was incredibly awkward when I get up in the middle of class to randomly blow my nose or when all of a sudden I make a sound that sounds like I’m laughing. Good thing masks hide most of your face.
I have kickboxing every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday- 6 to 6:45 on the weekdays while 10:45-12 on Saturday- and have decided to tutor my neighbor on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I then have Marathi School on Fridays. AT the end of the day, I’m already exhausted from school, and half an hour to get only the review portion of my work done. After that I’ve got to go to class or help out my friend, and resume my work by around 7-8:30. I’m not used to having such a packed schedule like most students do so I’ve been having some trouble with getting all my work finished. Hopefully it’ll get easier soon and I’ll be able to complete everything without any worries.
Lastly, grades. For me, the main reasons for some of my “worst grades” so far is because of 7th grade review and working with partners. I don’t like to work in groups that often, but when I have to, it stresses me out a lot. For example, on Friday in my ELA class we got an official seating chart, and I am table mates with two boys. I don’t mind boys, they’re pretty chill and I like hanging out with them. But, my problem is that our next grade in that class, analytical paragraph, involves working with our table mates. Oh boy. We barely got a proper topic sentence within the 30 minutes given because the boys would do everything but focus on the assignment. Who knew boys would talk about haircuts and stuff? I was so done with them, and it had only been a day. Apart from that, there was a measuring activity in my engineering class which we had to solve with a team. We ended up getting a terrible score, and so we’ve planned to go fix that.
And then there’s the 7th grade review. I had a Science quiz on review from 7th grade science, and I got an 86. Saying that I remember at least half of what I learned in science last year, is a lie. I took the entire course through an app, and I barely remember 30% of it. So, when I took the quiz on Friday, even after reviewing the concepts, I blanked out and got an 86. But, the past is in the past. The most I can do is assure that my next grades are all 100’s.
Long story short, online school sucks. It’s not really the curriculum’s fault, but rather mine. I was the one who got into the relaxed mood and took everything so easily. But, I have to say the way that online school works is what causes the mood to be developed. In the end, I am extremely glad to finally be back at school. I have missed going to school in person and actually participating in projects and activities a lot, so, going back was really special for me. I hope that I can get used to the feeling though. Hopefully everything will calm down soon. Until then, bye!
I want to bring up this topic because it’s become more common around me. Even if I find it more commonly in the typical back-to-school drama going on, but also in between some international levels. Before that, let’s have a quick refresher.
School started for me last Wednesday, and despite being there for only four days, there has been A LOT of drama. There have been a lot of different aspects within all this, but there is one very specific part I want to talk about.
So, there has been a lot of disagreements over who sits with who at lunch. One main argument happened Thursday-ish where two of my friends had a disagreement with one another, and one friend texted me about it. Let’s call this friend…Coni. Coni and the other is Glasses. What happened is, Coni sat with another friend of hers. We cannot control who she is friends with, but this certain friend is currently on bad terms with me and is not very much liked by Glasses. Since Coni decided to sit with that friend instead of the two of us that day, Glasses got upset and texted Coni about it later that afternoon. As a result, the two had a disagreement, and later Coni comes to me saying how Glasses unfriended her. Coni talked about how mean Glasses was acting, and when I soon became annoyed at her rants, Coni says that I was being mean as well and did not defend her. And here’s where the pinnacle comes.
Should we fight others’ battles?
Yes. An immediate response. Well, why wouldn’t you? Isn’t it right to help others when they need help? Yes, and no. Helping others is right, but it depends on whose battles are more worth fighting.
This question comes from one simple text I got from my friend. “You did absolutely nothing to defend me.” Amid a minor argument between us two, a question was burning in my head after a text. “Why should I defend you?” To any onlooker, I might sound harsh or even cold. But, I had my reasons. When I first read the text, I immediately asked myself if it was ever established that I was supposed to stick up for her by default. Sure, I’m a pretty kind person and I’ll stand up for anyone in trouble, but it just didn’t feel right. For instance, it felt like she expected me to always fight her battles or always be on her side no matter what. Second, my friend was never in a place where she could not stand up for herself or was struggling to fight. She was more than capable to solve the matter herself, yet she expected me to help her.
One should not fight anothers’ battles unless they are worth fighting. If someone cannot fight their battle, then someone should help them. If some freshman kid is being bullied by a bunch of seniors, shouldn’t someone step in to help that kid? Someone should help him stand up for himself until he is strong enough to stand up for himself. Similar with countries. When some allied countries are suffering or cannot fight in their battle, shouldn’t a friend come and support them until they can once again? Yes. They should. But they should also be aware of the ones that are not meant to be fought in.
If you unnecessarily get in someone else’s battle, not only will there be a bigger problem, but you will also be gone against by the original opponent, and the one you were trying to help. You are interfering with someone’s personal matter. The only time it is necessary to interfere, is when it shows they cannot fight their own battle, or when they ask you to help do so. Otherwise, it is best to stay out of it and let matters be.