Category: Useful Information


Dear Internet Trolls,

Specifically, trolls that frequent a certain dating website that I occasionally frequent. You know, I’m usually a pretty tolerant person. In fact, I like to think that I can hold a conversation with any type of person you throw at me… except for you. You infuriate me to no end, which is rather the point, I suppose. I have pretty darn good self control. I once carried a candy bar around in my coat pocket for years just to prove that I could do it. However, you have no idea how hard it is for me not to engage in the mud flinging.

Can you seriously see how negatively your words affect other people and ENJOY it? I mean, if I watch a movie where someone yells something rude at someone else, I get uncomfortable and want to hide. I am the least confrontational person ever… When a teacher yelled at my class, I tiptoed around them for months and made sure to never do what they got upset about EVER. I wouldn’t ever be able to cause someone pain with my words and like it.

Now, I know that everyone is different and you guys have the right to all your opinions. I admire that you feel so strongly about your opinions. You have the right to voice and defend them. You do NOT have the right to attack ANYONE…. Everyone knows about you guys and everyone knows what I’m talking about, so I suppose that’s it.

Emily

Side note to the rest of the world (who aren’t reading this, more than likely):

Just a little something about belief. Everyone believes something, even the neutral people. Everyone has the right to believe whatever they want. Everyone has the right to share what they believe with others. Everyone has the right to defend their beliefs. Everyone has the right to understand and know the facts about what other people believe without falling prey to half-truths and myths.

Seriously, people. It doesn’t matter enough what other people think to call names and poke fun. Don’t be stupid about beliefs. EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOUR BELIEF IS RIGHT, you don’t need to be rude and you can accept that other people believe different things.

YOU DON’T NEED TO ACCEPT THAT WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS TRUE. You do need to accept that people are different; they think differently, they were raised differently, they see things differently. People can have decent conversations with each other and not be obnoxious. I believe that’s possible with all my heart.

Another point: It doesn’t matter whether or not someone came to their belief through intellect or emotion. It’s just as legitimate. I know there’s this thing about science versus religion/logic versus feeling and I’m definitely not going into it. Stop using the method of reaching a conclusion as an indicator of legitimacy. When I was doing Forensics for my high school Science Olympiad team, I was charged with identifying powders based on a couple of different basic properties of the compounds. There were a couple of different flow charts I could use in order to deduce what an unknown powder was.

Using the flow charts and basic property was the… shall we say “sanctioned” method of finding the identity of the powders. However, when I asked for the advice of one of the Chemistry teachers, he told me that I could determine the identity by tasting the powders. This was against the rules, but he said that he could identify almost any compound by its taste. Apparently, his college professors didn’t like this method at all, but he could reach the same conclusions (and faster, I might add) as his classmates using the “right” method.

All I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter how you come to a conclusion, you’re entitled to that conclusion. No more squabbling about how it was reached or why or when or how long it took. That stuff doesn’t matter. What matters is that you believe it and no one can take that away from you.

I’m not just talking about organized religion or theism or the usual stuff. Any opinions. Anything. Politics, favorites, strategy, morals. Anything and everything. Go ahead and believe what you want to. You can do it without reference to what everyone else is doing. Let’s be chivalrous and courteous. Go on, I DARE YOU.

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This is a question asked by my incredibly awesome and intelligent friend, Amanda. I am going to use it for an article on my sarcastic advice column later, but in preparation for it, I realized that I had some actually helpful advice for this problem. Thus I am going to answer the question here as well as there.

One thing I’ve noticed in my observation of people is that living life doesn’t equate to knowing what you’re doing. A lot of people go into a situation without any knowledge of the behavior expected or required and they manage not to fail at everything. The key to that is just making it up as you go along. Whenever I’m doing something for someone and they ask me to go get something, I don’t just stand around wondering what I should do, I wander off in the direction indicated and start looking in places that I would put the object I’m looking for.

You aren’t going to do yourself any good sitting around wondering what to do, so you might as well go out and try something. When you’re thinking of the future, unsure of what direction you should head, find something you like or something you think is a good idea and run with it. If it doesn’t work out, then you’ve probably learned a lot about what not to do in order to have things work out and you can use that knowledge and experience to figure out how to get it right.

People are always saying that you should just try things out. This is actually some excellent advice. During this school year, I played in a pit orchestra for our school musical, I joined some dating websites, I took college level Chemistry, I asked a guy to a girl’s choice dance, I went to a Speech and Debate competition, I went to a region Solo & Ensamble festival with my violin, I was the Student Director and understudy for a school play, and I had a ton of fun. I didn’t know what I was doing in any of these situations and it terrified me to try them, but I did it because that’s how you learn to do stuff.

I used to avoid leaving the house because I was terrified to find myself in a situation where I didn’t know what to do. To be honest, I still avoid leaving the house because it makes me uncomfortable. The point is that my fear has depleted significantly the more I go out and live through a variety of situations. I’ve learned to talk to people even though it makes me nervous and I’ve learned how to accomplish the things I want to with the help of others.

I know there are a lot of teenagers like me who feel like they don’t know what they’re doing or who they are. I understand this feeling, but I think that there’s a lot of pressure on people to BE something. What more do we need to be than just people? I know that humans crave acceptance and recognition from their fellow humans, but I think we can get this without having to have a label to pin on our shirts every day.

If you’re wondering what you should do, not matter how specific or general your situation is, just do what you find natural. If you’re wondering what you should do when it comes to a problem concerning your peers, just remember what your goals are and do what is best for you to achieve them without stepping on other people. If you want to help someone else and you don’t know how to, just be nice to them. Don’t baby them or tip toe around them, just let choose how they want to feel and be their friend. Unless people ask me for my advice directly, I don’t usually ask them what is wrong or try to help them out. Just let people know that you’re available for comfort or whatever they need. Keep in mind, though, that you need to find a happy medium of doing things for other people and for yourself. Also, set a standard of decency for yourself because it’s only going to help you to be a decent person. Don’t let people step on you, but don’t be completely closed to giving them a boost up if they need it.

Make friends with people who like to do the same things as you and has a similar view on life.  Your relationships with people should never be forced or planned in a long-term way. Let things happen naturally and you’ll be able to avoid unneeded stress. For romantic relationships, you shouldn’t feel stressed about where you are and what you’re doing when they’re around, just act normally and what happens happens.

As someone who overreacts to stressful situations, I highly recommend you only try to figure things out as far as is necessary. Letting things just happen whatever way they will will help you have a less stressful life overall. I have used this method all throughout high school and it has made my experience a lot less horrific than a lot of my classmates.

Some people say that high school students can’t avoid all the drama that is characteristic of their environment. I believe this is partially true because of the focal point that teenagers maintain. Their primary focus in school is more than likely the social aspect. If a class doesn’t have a friend in it, then it sucks. If they don’t have a significant other or at least a crush, then it’s lonely. If the class requires any work outside of the classroom, then it’s way too hard. If nothing extremely exciting happens, then it’s boring. If they don’t go to every school dance, then it’s because no one likes them.

As long as you’re focusing on things like that, of course whatever you’re doing is going to suck.

I, on the other hand, have focused on what school is actually supposed to be about: LEARNING. Now, don’t panic. I know this is kind of a new concept for some people. It’s okay. Learning won’t bite you… unless you provoke it.

I have had plenty of classes in high school that didn’t have my friends in it, I’ve never had a boyfriend or a crush, I’ve taken hard classes that have required me to work a lot after school, I’ve had days that absolutely nothing noteworthy happens, and I only went to two school dances (one of them, as mentioned above, I instigated the date). None of this mattered to me. I loved high school so much. I took classes that were interesting and my grades in those classes were my biggest priority. I’ve spent a lot of times with my friends, but it wasn’t absolutely crucial for me to be with them as much as possible.

In fact, during the last 10 or so weeks, I’ve survived high school without a best friend (she graduated early). I still have plenty of friends, but not anyone that I always had to be around or that I shared everything with. It was a little lonely sometimes when everyone else paired off, but I always latched onto some group or another and I still had a lot of fun. I didn’t get invited to every party and I didn’t even date all that many people (two, including the date I asked), but I wasn’t always moping about in my room, depressed about how pathetic I am like it seems other kids do a lot. I had far too much AP Chemistry homework to worry about that.

I guess the point is that it’s actually pretty easy to live life and be happy, you just need to understand that a lot of the stress that is causing your unhappiness comes from you.

So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do? Just do stuff. Do stuff that makes you happy, furthers your goals, helps other people, and makes you a decent person. That’s as much as you can do. Everything else doesn’t matter much.

OCD or OCPD?

Dear Facebook, Twitter, Internet, and the world:

Remember all those times when you straightened a picture on the wall or fixed a pencil that was pointed in a different direction from the others? Remember when someone around you teased you about being OCD (first of all, you can’t BE OCD; you can HAVE Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)? Remember all those times that you defended your weird behavior with the claim that you were (had) OCD?

Well, guess what, you are not OCD. It isn’t even very likely that you actually have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, because, if you did, it’s not likely something you’d be joking about with such flippancy.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder, another type of disorder that you aren’t really likely to have. If you did, you’d know it (maybe not, but it’s not something you can be ignorant of for long if you do have one). If you were to have OCD, it would be because you are prone to obsessing over things. No, not “omg <insert name of celebrity here> is so hawt i luv him/her sooooo much!!!!!!!!!”, I mean the kind of obsession that fuels stalkers and serial killers. The kind of obsession that distracts you constantly. The brain of a person with OCD sets up defenses against the obsession by giving them the compulsion to do little things (distractions), like counting leaves or bugs or the campaign signs of local politicians. Like fixing pencils and pictures (though the pencils and pictures are often already straight) and closing or opening doors.

The thing that you have is not OCD, but probably a more common disorder (this one a personality disorder rather than an anxiety disorder) called Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). A lot of people have OCPD, significantly less have OCD, so unless you legitimately have OCD, please stop using it to incorrectly defend your behavior (usually with grammatic inaccuracy, might I add).

I guess it isn’t completely your fault that you weren’t aware of this distinction. In my seventh grade health class, I was taught (by someone with a college degree) that OCD was the thing that OCPD is. Another reason why the public school system of America should be reformed…

P.S. I will eventually blog about this vacation I just went on with my family, but I’m lazy, so no idea when that is going to be.

Teachers usually have various reactions to being corrected by their students. Whilst the point on which they are being corrected is a factor in their reaction, this blog-post is going to focus on one area specifically; grammar and/or word choice.

My Seminary teacher once asked me [after I told him that it was trimester, not semester (our school district splits the school year into three trimesters instead of two semesters)], “Do you just feel superior, being right all the time and correcting everyone?”. The answer to that question is: no. I do not enjoy having to correct people on their word choice, I do not enjoy being “right” all the time. I’m not “right” all the time. I correct people on their grammar and/or word choice because I just want everyone else to be “right”.

Most people will argue that grammar does not matter and that they don’t have to use it, but who wants to be intentionally wrong? If it doesn’t matter, why not use the correct way anyway just for kicks and giggles? There are a million blog-posts arguing about the importance of grammar, so I’m not going to waste time presenting evidence, but even if the rules of grammar don’t actually matter, I still think that people could stand to use them. Also, we spend years in school to learn grammar, so it’d be pretty stupid for us to waste all of that knowledge (assuming that you gained some knowledge during high school and didn’t just cut class to do drugs).

Having said that, as soon as I get out of college, I’m never using Calculus again.