The Real Reason People Cry at Graduation

Graduation. I’m only a freshman, but this word already brings tears to my eyes. These are not tears of joy and bittersweet happiness, readers. These are tears driven by pain, boredom, and overall unpleasantness.

If you’re a senior, then I’m sure you strongly disagree with me at this point. That’s entirely fine; everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, even when one doesn’t agree with me. This is what makes America special, the fact that those who disagree with me are allowed to be wrong.

Enough about society, though, let’s focus on graduation (a cornerstone of society). You see, graduation can be fun, but it rarely is. High School graduation is a long, arduous process where people make the mistake of giving a microphone to those who like to hear themselves talk, because they are the only ones who will fill a good half-hour. Rather than explain graduation as I did pep assemblies, I’m just going to hit some highlights and offer some brilliantly intelligent insight.

The Big 15

At our school, 15 students receive special honors. 5 students who received an exact 4.0, 5 students who had less than a 4.0 but took many A.P. classes, and 5 students who had 4.0’s and took numerous A.P. classes. Usually, these students leave college and immediately become lawyers, CEOs, or politicians.

I don’t mind any of that, though, because those people have a four-year head start. If I choose to go into any of those job markets, it will have been long enough for those people to be disgraced, fired, forced to resign, corrupted, or jailed.

The worst parts are the excuses. Parents of these students get incredibly annoyed at these teens because they always got very little sleep, so the students pay the faculty to make their excuses.

For example, “Adam Lee finished high school with a 198.0 weighted GPA. When not studying, he spent his time coaching peewee baseball for physically disabled children, single-handedly rebuilding small African countries, and donating blood and various organs to those who have a greater need. Also, Adam is proud to have finished his small start-up company, which some of you may be familiar with, called Google. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Mr. Lee flies out to the gulf of Mexico every other night to mop up the oil spill using his old T-shirts.”

However, that’s for only fifteen students, so it only takes about 30-45 minutes, depending on how many people in the audience give up all hope of amounting to anything by comparison and throw themselves to their deaths over the side of the bleachers.

The Scholarships

These can apply to all students, and, sadly, they usually do. This means that every single student who won anything in their life must come to the stage and be honored for their success.

While some scholarships can be worthy of admiration and honor, such as the extremely descriptive “Class of ’43 Scholarship,” most are fairly laughable. I kid you not when I say that one of our ‘speakers’ introduced the ‘OMEGA’ scholarship as being, “A 1,000 dollar grant to a student who exemplifies the normal expectations. The nominees must have between a 3.0-4.0 GPA, participate in a few after school activities, and have the national average of 1.89 siblings.”

If you are from the class of ’43 (1643, not 1943), you might find the most annoying type of scholarships incredibly creative. These are the ‘acronym’ scholarships, with semi-descriptive names. For example, the LEADERSHIP scholarship. This would be a scholarship awarded to someone who was Lethargic, Empathetic, Apathetic, Distant, Energetic, Rotund, Super, Hind-sighted, Interesting, and Perfect. As you can see, the things the acronym stands for are unimportant and often contradictory, but as long as the acronym is a buzzword it doesn’t matter.

Therefore, taking these into consideration, I propose the BEST-EVER scholarship. Those nominated would have to be people who constantly exceed expectations by breathing, thinking, and metabolizing, and the scholarship name stands for a person who is Borderline sociopathic, Exceptional, Semi-intelligent, Thick-headed, Exceptional, Very thick-headed, Exceptional, and Really very thick-headed. This scholarship would probably go to a future famous athlete, like the next O.J Simpson.

The Music

Pomp and Circumstance. Enough said. Moving on.

The Speeches

For college graduations, the speakers are usually entertaining enough to keep the audience from pulling out their smart phones to entertain themselves. At most high school graduations (or, at least at mine, but remember what I said at the beginning? Feel free to disagree), the speakers bore the audience to the point where even the smart phones die of boredom. Since showing is better than telling (a picture is worth 1,000 words), I’ll give you a sample speech.

Mr. Speaker: “Thank you, thank you, you’re too kind. I believe that the real honor should go to our graduates, who have undertaken a great commitment, overcome a difficult challenge, and deserve our congratulations. This is a milestone, a successful transition in the journey of life.

“I remember my graduation. The excitement, the joy, and the fire department. But that’s another story. Today, the focus is the graduates, who are decked out in blue-semi-navy garments with square hats that fit almost too snugly. It is a special night, tonight. I am privileged to be speaking to…”

I don’t remember how the rest goes, because at that point I faked an upset stomach and asked to be excused to the bathroom. Eventually, my peers caught on, and, well, let’s just say they really ought to make those bathrooms bigger. By the time we came out, it looked like we were actually sick; we walked out sweating from being tightly packed together.

All things considered, I think it is entirely reasonable that graduation brings tears to one’s eyes. Thus, I’ve added it to my list. As of now, the things that make me cry most often are smoke, onions, popular music, pet fish that have died, and graduations.

Quiz: How Many Hours would you last during High School Finals?

FinalsSchool ends in a month, and, like a bad blog post, you want it to end, but there’s that little bit of you that thinks: do you really want it to end? (The answer is yes).  Of course, just like a bad blog post, and Rebecca Black, the more time you spend reading/watching/attending, the worse it gets.  Which means that the last week of school will be full of these little inconveniences known as finals.

They are not as inconvenient as, say, waking up on the wrong side of the bed and breaking your nose because the bed is against a wall, then being carted to a hospital where they inform you that they will need to amputate your nose and that you will walk around looking like Voldemort for the rest of your life (unless, of course, you are somebody famous, in which case many people will rush to amputate their nose), but more inconvenient then, say, getting pushed into a pool while wearing a tuxedo.

I’d like to start off, two paragraphs too late, by telling you why finals are so stressful.  Basically, finals determine your grade, which determines your GPA, which determines what colleges you will apply/get accepted to, which can determine your job opportunities, which determines whether or not you have the free time to blog for the rest of your life.  See? It’s you who are stressing me out, reader.  You can cure this, though.  I’ve noticed that after 10,000 followers or so, the stress significantly decreases.

Either way, I figured that I would show you just how stressful finals are by quizzing you on how many hours you would last before a complete mental breakdown (or worse).

Readers: Same note as last time.  Like quizzes? Don’t like ‘em? Comment (this is only my second quiz, so feedback is welcome).

1. How many hours of sleep do you usually get a night?
10-12 hours
8-10 hours
6-8 hours
4-6 hours
2-4 hours
Must…get…coffee…
2. How much do you value grades?
More than sleep
More than my phone
More than Facebook
More than my pet rock
More than anything
3. How well do you perform under pressure? (For reference purposes, let’s say there is a cat caught in a tree that you’re trying to rescue, and, of course, a national news crew is there filming).
Not well-I’d pretend that I actually took the ladder out to fix some loose shingles
Fairly well-I’d probably only break my arm falling off the ladder before I saved the cat
Well enough-I’d save the cat, then fall and break my arm
Very well-I wouldn’t use a ladder, I’d just climb the tree
Supernaturally well-I’d fly up, save the cat, and then transform back into mild-mannered me
4. If you had 1:30 to write an essay, how far would you get?
I might not finish…my last name
Wait, wait, wait, last sentence…
The intro’s done; body paragraphs, here I come!
Now I’ve got time to finally get some sleep
5. Do you ever check your work?
Yes, I scan it quickly.
No, only people like the National Security Advisor, the Supreme Court, or that guy who works at the drive-through (especially him) should check their work.
I double my work time because I check my work frequently.
I know I should, but I’m too busy doing other things…like reading this blog.
6. Your work ethic: let’s say you have a 3-page essay due tomorrow about modern Europe. Which of these best describes you?
It’s already done-I only read this blog after I do my homework.
I’d finish it before dinner.
It’ll get done.
Well, I’m sure I can do it at lunch, I mean, I already know that, like, France, China, and Australia are all in Europe.
I’ll be up late tonight.
7. Reaction to challenges-if life gives you lemons, you:
Don’t swing (and take the strike)-you’re waiting for the curveball instead.
Make lemonade.
Sell them for profit, buy more lemons, repeat that process, and eventually dominate the national economy so that they name a stock market average after you (who was ‘Dow Jones’, anyways?).
Make a gourmet 5-course meal.
Throw them at somebody.
8. How much self-confidence do you have?
I can speak comfortably in front of a crowd.
I smudge my name when I write it so no one will notice if I accidentally misspell it.
I wouldn’t be fazed if I had to sing karaoke in front of a crowd (and the song was by Bieber).
I try to blend in and not be noticed.

Fortissimo School Pep Assemblies (and Dr. Seuss)

Sound Comparison ChartPep is one of my favorite words, because I know how to spell it.  For this reason, I try to use it whenever possible.  Word that describes you? Pep.  Your best friend? Pep.  Favorite Color? Pep.  See? It’s easy.

Schools have also become attached to this word; instead of having a “time-for-the-school-to-gather-and-scream-their-lungs-out assembly”, we have a “pep assembly.”  In case you didn’t get the description from the first part, the school gathers and screams their lungs out, hoping that the noise is enough for a certain saucy marsupial to hear and believe that there are actually people on a clover.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry, that’s wrong.  I’m getting real life mixed up with my English novel again; I think it’s called “Horton Hears a Who,” or something like that.

Anyways, these pep assemblies are great fun.  At them, there are three groups of people.  The students, the band, and those worthy of receiving pep. I have had the bad fortune to be a part of all three of these groups, at one point or another, so I am definitely an expert on Pep Assemblies.

The band gets there first.  They don’t actually do anything yet, because they have to mentally prepare themselves to play the worst hits from ‘80s.  Then, as people walk in, the band plays, as loud as possible, in the hope that the arbitrary quota of loudness is reached before everyone shows up, so people could skip the assembly and go straight to lunch.  This never happens, though.

As the students arrive, they go to the bleachers on the inside of the gym.  A number of factors that are considered upon arrival are: where are my friends, where are the teachers, and, most importantly, which 20-pound lights hanging from the ceiling look like they are swaying the least.  Then the students sit down and warm up their vocal chords.

While all this is occurring, the people who have lost their pep, and need to borrow some from the student body (the people the assembly features) are in an adjoining room to the gym.  Here, the athletic director goes through the list of names of the people he is introducing.  This is an attempt to psych these people out and make them think that the director will not mispronounce their names.

However, being a seasoned pep-er (no pun intended-actually, yes, yes pun intended.  I’m so sick of everyone saying, “no pun intended” to draw people’s attention to a pun that was obviously intentional but one that the creator is worried won’t be found funny.  I stand by my puns), I can attest to the fact that the athletic director will almost certainly mispronounce your name (unless you are named Bob, which has the same spelling properties as “pep”).

Once the student body and band has settled in, the athletic director will use the mic and make a high-pitched squeal for attention (usually this is the mic malfunctioning, unless your athletic director just hit puberty and his voice is cracking).  After that, the director introduces the people the assembly is featuring.

After the featured people are lined up, having been left to stand awkwardly in front of the student body, the athletic director starts focusing on the true purpose of the assembly: to get loud.  In fact, he’s very open about it, saying something like, “Let’s get LOUD!”

The crowd responds, “aaaAAHAHAaahahah,” so the director goes, “That’s not loud enough! Get LOUDER!” The crowd goes “aaAAAAHAHAAAAHAHAAa,” and the director goes “Still not loud enough.  Let’s get LOUDER!” Then the crowd goes, “AHAAAAAHAAAHAAHAA!” (With a siren in the background as somebody’s esophagus comes loose and a friend calls 9-1-1).  Then, depending on the age of your athletic director, he’ll say, “Can you get ANY LOUDER!” and the crowd will go, “We are here! We are here! We ar-“, oh, sorry, switched into English-book mode again-the crowd will go, “WE CAN’T GET LOUDER THAN ALL CAPS WITHOUT MESSING UP THE FORMATTING!And the director will say, “Alright!  We’re loud!”

After the crowd is sufficiently loud, the athletic director will go on to narrate how amazing the students the assembly is featuring are: “The members of the boy’s sardine-canning team standing before you now have worked extremely hard to get to where they are, tonight, competing in the sardine canning state championship.  They’ve worked hours every week, braving dented cans, pollution-infested sardines, and broken nails.  Ladies and Gentlemen, your NIXON HIGH SCHOOL SARDINE-CANNING DISTRICT CHAMPIONS!”

Next, the athletic director will ‘invent’ a new cheer specifically for the event.  It usually pertains to the sport, so it might be something like, “Can the sardines! Can the sardines! We can can the sardines!”  As you can see, they are usually extremely creative.

The audience practices this cheer a few times, and then the athletic director signals the band.  The band plays the school’s fight song (as loud as possible) so the crowd will realize that the fight song was stolen from a college somewhere.  After the fight song comes the Alma mater.  Everyone mouths the words, listening to the person next to them, because no one actually knows the song.  It doesn’t matter, though, because the band drowns them out.

Lastly, the assembly ends, and the students run to lunch.  Usually, no one actually shows up at the competition that night, probably because they are too tired from the pep assembly.  Instead, the athletic director is forced to grab some people from a nearby apartment complex, explain what they need to do, teach them the cheer, and drive them to game.



Returning One’s Textbook gives the same benefits as Dead Fish

Inside Cover of TextbookI’ve heard that a number of things can teach you how to say goodbye for good.  The worst argument I’ve ever heard in favor of buying a child a fish, for example.  This opinion is that fish are good because when they die (which fish are known for doing), the child will learn to say goodbye.

Whenever I hear that, I know I’m in the presence of one of those people who is convinced that Global Warming is a conspiracy theory propagated by rich oil companies as an advertising campaign (I’m sorry so many of my political jokes are about the environment lately, but it is one political issue I think that most of you will agree needs fixing.  I couldn’t use abortion the same way, because some of you are in favor, some of you are against, and some of you get abortion and abstinence mixed up).

Basically, this argument says that there are actually benefits to young children crying over dead fish.  The only benefit I can think of is that the pet stores sure make a killing with repeat customers.

Another way I suppose someone could learn to say goodbye is by watching sappy movies.  Then, when their spouse/friend/partner/accountant leaves them due to their poor taste in movies, they will learn to say goodbye.

More personally, though, I think that the returning of textbooks is an emotional subject, at least for myself.  I mean, I’ve been with the same four textbooks all year, and we’ve really bonded.  Therefore, I’ve drafted some goodbye letters that I would like you to see before I send them; feedback is welcome.

 

Dear Math Textbook,

Do you remember all of those fun times we had in class, with you as my pillow?  I will certainly miss those.  You were a great friend in times of need, and, although you caused my back to require insert-a-metal-rod-oscopy surgery, you were genuinely fun loving.

I especially love your cover illustration.  It is very creative of your publishers to have somehow tied a soccer ball, the great pyramids, and the Golden-Gate Bridge all to math; while I don’t see the connection, I’m sure it increased the interest level most people have in math.

I am sorry for that one time I dropped you.  The fact that your condition went from “New” to “Thank-God-for-duct-tape” shows how much fun we had together.

I’ll miss you,

Phil

 

Dear Science Textbook,

I would like to apologize for almost setting you on fire, but aren’t you glad you’re not John’s textbook? Ha ha.  I would like to thank you for having so much useless information; you made a great scavenger hunt out of finding the title of each chapter.

One of these days I will try to come back and visit.  I heard rumors that they might replace the science textbooks next year, so I wish you luck in your future career (can I recommend speech-writer?).

I appreciate that you stood firm against those who wanted to remove certain parts of you (such as your evolution chapters), although, seeing as you are pretty much an unbendable pile of thick paper and cardboard, I don’t see how you couldn’t have stood firm.

Miss you,

Phil

 

Dear Spanish Textbook,

You were, by far, my least favorite textbook, because you had the fewest pages (I love learning).  Thus, it is your fault I almost left you on the plane (which was next going to France, by the way.  Let’s see you learn a new language; it’s harder than it looks).

We had a great time conjugating those verbs, except for the irregular ones.  It is a shame that you will be slowly and steadily replaced by things such as Google Translate, but that’s the “Name of the Game,” or the “Llama del Partido.”

I would like to thank you for having best-of-the-90’s graphics.  Your colorful page borders and shadowed pictures made it seem as if your publishers were almost eager to show off (“Look! I can make a yellow swirly!”).

Miss you (but not as much as some others),

Phil

 

Dear History Textbook,

I never really used you for more than an hour a week, and I apologize.  Talk to my teacher, it’s not my fault.  I’d like to thank you for having so much misinformation, according to my teacher and other authorities.  You must have been the Wikipedia of your day.

I enjoyed thumbing through your maps; I learned that the United States is located in the northern hemisphere.  I’m sure that will help me later in life, especially if I apply for a job at Hank’s auto repair (“What type of wrench would you use for small engine repair?” “Well, I think it would be a wrench from the northern hemisphere, but it could also be from other places, like the Southern Hemisphere, etc.”).

Miss you (not really),

Phil