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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Senator Sonnenberg: The Gentleman from Sterling

By Taylor Boyer

I’ve always wanted to be a politician. Always. In fact, there was never a point in my life where I didn’t want to be a politician. However, certain negative connotations have always accompanied the word “politician”: falling back on promises, putting on a false face of sincerity in front of others; the list goes on and on. I thought I’d never meet a person who embodied all the best qualities of an honorable statesman; not until I met Senator Sonnenberg.

Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, a state senator from Sterling, Colorado, is a man who I believe has achieved the highest standard of integrity. The senator is a man who, as long as I’ve known him, has never deviated from his inner values, even when it might benefit him to do so. I value highly the conversations I have with Senator Sonnenberg as I know that he genuinely cares and looks for ways to alleviate the problem.

Earlier this year, Senator Sonnenberg visited our school as part of his school tour. This tour was aimed at trying to understand what ails rural school districts and how he could solve those problems as a legislator. During his tour, Senator Sonnenberg visited every single school in his Senate district. I had the unique opportunity to give the senator a presentation that focused mainly on the lack of funding to building maintenance.

After the presentation and expressing to him my desire to go into politics, the senator invited me to shadow him at the capitol. At the capitol, the Senator brought me onto the floor, asked what issues were important to me, and brought me to every meeting he had that day. Everyone loved him. They might not have agreed with him, but everyone’s face lit up as soon as Senator Sonnenberg walked onto the floor. I believe that love and respect to be a consequence of the senator’s ability to get along with and help everyone.

To no surprise of mine, Senator Sonnenberg followed through on the promises that he made when he toured my school. Just this week, the senator’s bill, which would raise 50 million a year for schools and rural school construction, passed appropriations. This action is only one example of the good that Senator Sonnenberg is capable of.

A man who once tried to “cure me” of a “political bug” has ended up inspiring me to pursue politics further. I admire the intentions of Senator Sonnenberg; I can only hope to become half the gentleman that he is. His unwavering sense of duty towards his constituents is deserving of thanks; he is a shining example of what every elected official ought to be. The gentleman from Sterling is not just a voice for the people of rural Colorado, he is a friend to them, as well as myself.      

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.

 

Progress is Thirsty Work

By Taylor Boyer

You’ll have to excuse me; my mind has been on this election, and more specifically, the low voter participation during this cycle. In an article published by NPR on February 24, entitled “The 10 States Where Millennials Could Sway The Election,” author Asma Khalid explains how Millennials have the ability to influence the outcome of this year’s upcoming presidential election. Yep, that’s right, they could influence an entire election.

Khalid explains that in the last election, Millennials had the lowest voter turnout of any age group. On the plus side, Khalid predicts that this trend will reverse in years to come and suggests that if political parties and candidates began to target Millennials and “tap into the power of young voters,” election results would start to show record numbers of voters from ages 18-24 participating in the election process. However, it’ll take some time until this kind of progress is made; progress is thirsty work.

The issue of voter turnout has a large amount of political significance as low voter turnout can potentially become a problem for equal representation in our political system in terms of age, and, as the article suggests, an increased voter turnout by Millennials could sway an entire presidential election.

Without more outreach to young potential voters, our political system will become increasingly more disproportionate with each subsequent generation of young voters. The article suggests that several improvements be made to the current voter registration process including pre-registration and same-day registration in order to attract first-time voters.

Young voter turnout has become so significant in recent elections because when these young voters are mobilized and actually vote, they have the ability to sway an election in a direction that was not originally projected before taking these young people’s votes into consideration.       

While it may not seem like much, voting is one of the most basic examples of political activism. Voting is a relatively new process in terms of human history; it allows each voice to be heard and weighed, and as Khalid suggested, may allow young Millennials the chance to sway the outcome of the presidential election.

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.