Saturday, April 17, 2010

Important People

Earlier today, I was thinking about important people throughout my life.  People who have been instrumental in some way in helping form the person I am today.  So here goes!

Obviously, when you're young, your parents are the most important people in your life.  When I was a kid, my mom was the "rules" one, and my dad was the one who let me touch anything I wanted in the stores.  : )  My dad and I used to sit and watch tv and make fun of people like Bob Dole.  

When I was in grade school, my mom always sat downstairs with me while I finished my papers and read them when I was done to make sure they sounded alright.  She actually did this all the way up into high school. 

My first best friend was Lydia.  I don't remember all that much about our friendship because I was in kindergarten.  But I do remember getting the chicken pox from her (and missing a field trip to Lake Farmpark!)  There was another time when she wanted me to come with her to visit her grandma and get some McDonald's but my mom said no.  But when I went back to tell her I couldn't come, her mom just asked if I was ready to go and I was too shy to say anything so I just went.  I got in big trouble.  I remember it was a lot of fun though - what kid doesn't love McDonald's?  And we got to jump in a huge pile of leaves.

My next best friend, around like 2nd grade was Demi.  She lived on my road too (like Lydia did) and I used to go over to her house all the time and play dress up.  Later she moved away but I still wrote back and forth with her.  A few years after that I visited her new house, but I haven't heard from  her since then.  **edit:  I totally got super lucky today seeing if she was on facebook - the first girl I messaged was actually her! **

In elementary school I also had a pretty big group of friends for a while.  I was in a band because I loved singing.  Although the list of band members often changed, it usually included Krista, and often Katie, Amber, and Kendra.  It was called Full Moon and we made up the most terrible songs, but it was so much fun.  We would design clothes for our shows and even cd covers for the numerous albums that we would one day release.

Amber (we used to hang out in her basement and play college), Becca, all my camp friends (Bekah, Katelyn, Melanie, etc.) were also important people at the time.  But one of my best friends all throughout elementary was Justin who lived 2 doors down from me.  We hung out pretty much every day and did everything from fake concerts to volleyball to playing Harry Potter.  Once we got into middle school, though, we didn't hang out much anymore.

My younger sister and I used to play Harry Potter together, too, with fake cauldrons, old books, wands made out of dowel rods, and even a stuffed owl for a pet.  We used to play school, too, but she never liked it because I would always tell her what to do.  Same for when we would make up dances and plays.  Hehe.

When we went to 6th grade camp, I made a lot of new friends, like Luda, Ashley, Natalie, and a bunch of others.  By 8th grade I had a good group of friends, but Luda was my best friend.  In 7th grade, Emily was my best friend (and into 8th and 9th too).  

Then when I started marching band the summer before high school, I met Erin and we hung out at every football game and made tons of jokes and were laughing constantly together.  We used to sing on the bus rides home from away games and before games we would often ride around on those rolly carts at school that people used to cart around heavy stuff.  And we practiced flags a lot, too.  A lot.

In high school, it was Luda, Emily, and Amber who I hung out with all the time.  There was also Stephen (since 8th grade home ec).  But 9th grade, it was all about Andrew and Stephen.  We had our own "posse" and had pretty much every class together.  We were so cool.

Then there was Kimberly after I started going to youth group.  We were pretty much inseparable for a long time.  I was even over her house for like 4 days in a row right up until Christmas Eve one year.  And it was Kimberly that told James that I liked him back in 11th grade.

And now James and I have been together for 4 years and we're best friends.  Amber and I have gotten closer in the last 2 years, too.  Oh, and people at Johnson:  Melanie and Angel were probably my closest friends there.  Kimberly and I don't get to talk much anymore, but she's still a good friend.  I barely ever get to talk to Emily.  Meghan and I have gotten closer, but we fight a lot when we're at home.  And Andrew and I are pretty close again, through messaging on facebook and talking on AIM.

There's been a lot of important people in my life.  And I know there are a bajillion more people that I forgot to write about.  But all of these people have helped me become the person that I am today.  And for that, I want to thank everyone who has given me their friendship and all the people who I've come into contact over the years.  You are very much appreciated!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Growing Up Under the Microscope

I'm going to start out with a serious subject because it's something that hit me hard today.  I was reading the campus women's issues publication, Artemis, earlier today for the first time.  There was an article on how many women who are otherwise intelligent and successful often feel like impostors.  I can certainly identify with this feeling, but that's not the big "ton of bricks" realization that hit me earlier today as I sat up in Cartwright between classes.  (And got bread crumbs all over the magazine from my lunch).  I wrote some of my thoughts down earlier, so I'll share them here:  

"Do I procrastinate so I have an excuse if I fail?  This seems a fitting explanation for my behavior over the years.  There's always been that extra pressure on me to perform - to be the smartest, highest achieving, most talented, good-at-everything, most successful, know-it-all.  

The first pressure was from my parents.  I was a smart baby, smart toddler.  I showed promise going into school.  I learned quickly and I did well.  Teachers loved me.  When I was in third grade I tested well on the CAT test (California Achievement Test) and got a ticket to the Challenge class.  In Challenge, I often felt like the favorite - she sometimes expected more of me than the other students.  Everyone saw me as a brain in my regular classes.  By fifth grade, I was getting straight A's in everything.  

I competed in spelling bees in 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.  I was involved in music, playing saxophone for 7 years.  I was always on the honor roll and, in high school, the Dean's list.  I got into National Honor Society and won the Phi Beta Kappa award (highest GPA and ACT combined in the graduating class).  I was involved in everything from tutoring to Student Council to blood drives.  But I graduated #4 (with two valedictorians), but with above a 4.0 GPA (with advanced and AP courses).

There was so much to live up to.  My sisters both saw me as the smart one.  They sometimes struggled in school, but I made it look effortless.  That was my job, after all.  But I still procrastinated all throughout school.  I graduated with honors and went on to college.  I joined the honor's program there and got on the President's list (4.0) my first semester.  I maintained a 3.9 GPA and later transferred.  At Kent, I got a 4.0 my first semester here.  But I haven't been very involved since starting college.  At Johnson, I was in choir, but I have yet to join any groups at Kent.  I've been putting off getting a psych advisor and had no luck with a job or research experience yet (which I have to have to get into a Ph.D. program, which happens to be my career dream) and I've been putting off getting a transfer evaluation sheet signed.  (Which taps into other issues for other days).

I feel like a failure sometimes and it's easy to think I am not good enough.  It's easy to think I may never reach my goals or fulfill my dreams for the future.  I put off studying and papers.  I had a test this morning that I barely studied for and I knew I could have done better.  I guess if I'm not perfect, at least I have an excuse.  But if I do succeed, I must really be something right?"  

I guess a lot of things have come easily to me in life.  I barely had to try to do really well in school.  I picked up drawing and writing with little effort.  I pass exams with flying colors on little studying.  But deep down I sometimes wonder if I'm just a fraud, like the article said.  What if under all this confidence in my own intelligence and self-expression through writing, I really have no idea what I'm doing?  I realized I use procrastination as an excuse so that if I do fail, I can blame it on just not being prepared.  Then I won't have to say that maybe I just didn't understand the material.  Then I won't have to deal with the idea that maybe I don't know everything.  Maybe I'm just, sort of normal.  

Click here for the Artemis blog.