Pulling Up One’s Bootstraps

By Taylor Boyer

Unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want. It’s another sad truth of life. (There seem to be a lot of those). No matter how hard we try, sometimes things just don’t pan out. I understand how it feels to fall short of goals, and being the generous person that I am, I thought I’d offer some helpful suggestions as to how to get through the often-depressing stages that follow.

My first suggestion is to remain physically appealing at all times. The worst time to fall short of something is when you’re sure that you’ve got it. The period of time that precedes failure can often be the worst. The following week includes sleepless nights, an unshaven face, bingeing on Funyuns, and wearing large hoodies. However easy it may seem to sink into a state of reclusiveness and straight up patheticness, don’t; people will be watching to see how you handle failure.

The second piece of advice I have is to keep trying. Yeah, yeah, I know, it sounds really cliche, but let me expound on what I meant. If the chances of getting something may seldom, or possibly never, arise again, it can be very hard to pick yourself up after not succeeding. However, I’d suggest that you identify several broad goals you have in your life: things you have to work up to. After doing this, find alternate ways to ultimately get your way.

Third: make connections. The absolute best way to find more opportunities is to let other people find them for you. I’ve learned that networking is the equivalent to magic, and trust me, I don’t take comparisons to magic lightly. Like magic, networking can provide you with things almost instantaneously. While people won’t necessarily get in touch with you and inform you of opportunities all the time, it does happen. So remember, when things don’t work out the first time, get in touch with your contacts and seek out more opportunities!

Finally: don’t whine. Ask yourself this: What has whining ever done to help you? Nothing. First of all, no one like a whiner. Second, whining inhibits your ability to seek out more opportunities and keep trying. Instead of whining, immerse yourself in activities that can help you succeed. If you cared enough about something to slip into a state of depression over not getting it, you obviously care enough to work even harder to achieve greater.

I honestly hope this helps someone; it’s helped me. I’ve encountered failure enough to know that it is something that you can easily distance yourself from. I promise you that if you remain physically attractive, keep trying, make connections, and don’t whine, then you will find yourself happier and better off than you were before.

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Prom: How to Fabricate Joy

By Taylor Boyer

No one could have predicted the emotional toll that prom would take on everyone involved. How can one genuinely enjoy something when you’re constantly having to worry about the state of relationships, decorations, invitations, reservations, and grand marches? Well, I’ll tell you: that’s what prom has always been about; sadly, no one cares about how fun it is.

Everything is so superficial. Having been to several proms myself, I can bear witness to the lack of substance at these dances. Underneath it all, it is truly unsubstantial. Underneath all of the decorations and fancy dresses is the product of an unfortunately mortal desire to synthesize happiness. Hundreds of pictures emerge from prom; on the surface, they create the appearance of authentic happiness, however, behind those high-quality pictures lie a tragically low-quality night.

The grand march, contributing greatly to the artificial atmosphere of prom, is perhaps one of the most disheartening elements of the night. I feel as though the elaborate introduction is extremely unnecessary and very demeaning. How many more people would show up to prom and enjoy themselves if they didn’t feel like they had to bring a date, dress up nicely, and march out in front of everyone?

Just forget everything you learned about humility and moderation when you attend prom. The grand march puts people on the spot; in people’s minds, as people walk down the aisle, attendees make comments about what other people wear and who they take to prom. At prom, we spend hundreds of dollars on decorations and clothing for no other reason than to fabricate happiness. If it’s fun you’re looking for, look elsewhere.

 

Entropy

By Taylor Boyer

In chemistry, the term entropy refers to the unavailability of a system’s energy for conversion into mechanical work; sometimes it is interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in a system. There is also another definition for entropy: the gradual decline into disorder.

After that lesson in chemistry, I drew several parallels between entropy and real life. In chemistry, the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that energy will run out; it explains that the end of the universe is inevitable. Will it happen anytime soon? No. Is it going to? Yes. Same goes for society. The system in which we organize ourselves is just like any system in science. Why, then, should our fate be any different from that of the universe?

Then I got to thinking: Are we, as members of society, gradually declining into inevitable disorder? No matter how hard we try to legislate people’s behavior or control what happens, there is a scientific law that states everything at a microscopic level will descend into disorder. Take out microscopic material and add humans and the same becomes true.

We are all contributing to society’s gradual decline into disorder. However, if one were to read the fine print of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, they would be pleased to learn that individual attempts to prevent contributing to disorder ultimately slows down the rate at which something falls into absolute chaos.

There is a social lesson to be had here; don’t contribute to the disorder. It is easy for one to dismiss their responsibility as a member of society. It is easy for someone to say, “What will it matter to me? I’m not going to live to see the effects of my decisions.” This is all true, very little that you do today will affect you. But, as the Second Law states, you can make things better by deciding to make things better.

If we try to be better humans in general and keep our posterity in mind when we make decisions, the world 20, 30 years from now will be an amazing place. In this temporary world, the best thing we can do is distance ourselves from chaos and make decisions that will affect society positively; future generations will appreciate us for it.

The State of the Union: More Than a Speech

By Taylor Boyer

Being the absolute nerd that I am, and having little interest in anything but politics, I cleared my schedule on Tuesday night to listen to President Obama’s final State of the Union speech. I live for this stuff; I feel no shame. Since I once sat in House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s seat on the floor of the House of Representatives, this year’s speech was kind of personal to me. I will be honest; I may have even shed a tear or two during the speech.

For those of you not familiar with what the State of the Union speech is, it’s a fulfillment of the President’s constitutional obligation to inform Congress of the state of the Union. Everybody who is anybody in Washington can be found on the floor of the House listening to the speech. Usually the majority party members stand and applaud the President at any chance they get, while the minority party members sit in “unified opposition” to the President; it’s quite entertaining.

This speech was particularly interesting, as there seemed to be a certain sense of reverence that fell over the crowd while the President spoke. Perhaps it was the fact that it was his last speech, or maybe no one saw the need to get up and heckle the President; I don’t know, but whatever the reason for the reverence was, I felt happy to have witnessed the short glimmer of bipartisanship. To be honest, it made me cry a little bit.

I was especially touched when the President said, “The future we want — all of us want — opportunity and security for our families, a rising standard of living, a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids — all that is within our reach. But it will only happen if we work together.” I looked beyond the politics of the speech and thought of how we, as people, can learn to be a little more “bipartisan.” Nothing estimable was ever accomplished between two persons without considerable effort on one side to accommodate the other. This is one thing I would like to see change in the world.

Look around; we are all human beings. The things that appear to make us so different from one another are trivial and don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I’m a firm believer that if we were all to try a little harder each day to be a little more accepting of each other, then life will ultimately be better.

I doubt that this was the message the President was trying to convey when he gave his address, but I’d like to think that it was. Imagine the day that gridlock in government will free up, the day that people who feel treated as inferior now will not feel that way anymore, the day people are less concerned with others’ beliefs and will instead look to improve the way we all live, together. I live to see that day.

 

The Apathetic Cog

By Taylor Boyer

I honestly don’t think I’m ready for the future. Don’t get me wrong: I want to get out of high school and go to college, but I’m just questioning the conventional means by which people receive their post-high school education. Why is everything structured the way it is? Why is college such a concrete institution that has done things the same way for decades?

I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world; I remember telling myself early on that I was going to choose a career that would allow me to make a positive difference in a lot of people’s lives. I never want that goal to be extinguished by going to college. I’m afraid that after high school I’ll just become some apathetic cog in society and I’ll no longer have the desire to make a difference.

Look at all of the expectations that society has put on everyone. I just hate how many people seem bogged down by stress and low motivation, and view their jobs as obligations. That’s the point that I don’t ever want to reach; I always want to love what I do. This even applies to the present: I won’t participate in anything if I don’t believe that I’ll enjoy it or will be able to make a substantial difference in whatever it is I’m doing.

I suppose the main goal of my seemingly disconnected article is to plead with you to always love what you do. Never do something because you think it will please someone, you’re never going achieve your fullest potential if you’re being held back by others’ expectations. If this article doesn’t turn on a light bulb in your mind, it will at least serve as a reminder to myself that I have big goals that I want to reach.  

Happy Holidays, Inc.

By Taylor Boyer

Don’t you just love the greed and selfishness that has become tantamount to the holiday season? Do you love shopping for gifts for your family members whilst other innocent shoppers are trampled under the feet of people who would literally kill for a good deal? Do you neglect your family and instead choose to watch the Hallmark channel’s “25 days of Christmas” program? Of course you do. You are an American, a product of commercialism, a cottonmouthed consumer whose thirst can only be satisfied by material possessions.

The holidays yield the perfect conditions for a breeding ground of gluttony, greed, avarice, sloth, and envy; these have become all too common during the holiday season. How is it that during the holiday season, the holiest of all seasons, we find ourselves breaking five of the seven deadly sins?

For crying out loud, we tape off a whole street corner to parade giant balloons around that personify commercialism. Go ahead and call it a “Thanksgiving Day Parade”; it doesn’t change what it really is: an opportunity for big businesses to tout their wealth by flaunting an undeniably eerie balloon down the street. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a 7-story Pillsbury Doughboy flying over the citizens of New York.

I can only suggest that we, as a society of object-loving people, reconsider the true meaning of the holiday season. Yes, I know: cliche. Regardless of how cliche it sounds, it’s true; we have severely distanced ourselves from the love and kindness that is supposed to be synonymous with the holidays.

I hope that my informative axioms about the holidays inspire you to cast off the shackles of materialism and pull down the blindfold of commercialism, for during this season, it’s important to appreciate what you already have and focus less on what material possessions you don’t own.

Homecoming Parade: A Pageant of Pride

By Taylor Boyer

WHS sophomores Maria Rosales, Dezy Cardona, and Sabrina Sierra put the finishing touches on this year's float. The wind made keeping signs and streamers attached to floats a challenge.

WHS sophomores Maria Rosales, Dezy Cardona, and Sabrina Sierra put the finishing touches on this year’s float. The wind made keeping signs and streamers attached to floats a challenge.

I thought this year’s parade would be the same as the parades in years past: participants who grudgingly rode their class float, delays that postponed the parade, and a hasty procession so as to get home and cram in the night’s homework. I found out that this was not the case; this year’s parade was a positive change.

This year’s homecoming parade reflected the ever-growing sense of pride that has swept the school this year; floats were fitted with attachments and implements that were not seen the year before; even in the strong wind, the band marched and proudly played the school song; and record numbers of students participated in riding their respective class’s floats.

“There were a lot more people who helped out and rode the float,” said sophomore Teggan Freauff, who helped in building his class’s float. “It was kind of stressful at some points, but overall, it was fun.”

The only setback was the wind; many of the students struggled to keep streamers and posters on their floats. “We had pipes for our football goalpost, and they were flimsy anyways, but when the wind came, we had even more trouble keeping them up.” said junior Raquel Galvan. “We even had issues with our posters,” said Galvan as she recounted the struggle, “Our posters kept flying onto the float and we had to keep taking them down.”

Even faced with unfavorable weather conditions, the students overcame their difficulties to keep their floats intact and made this parade one of the most spirited parades that I’ve participated in. If it wasn’t for the renewed sense of pride that our students have began to bring into the classroom, the parade would not have had such an elaborate display of school spirit.