college

“Pocahontas Never Went to College”

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I know how you feel. I know that heart-wrenching, balloon-deflating feeling when you received that email and scanned through the sentences only to read the words that you were scared of reading most: “We are unable to offer you admission…

You sink into your chair, feeling like a complete idiot. You throw your phone across the room, wreck everything in sight and punch the wall as tears threaten to spurt out of your eyes. You think about how that dude you hate in class who got into your dream school while you hadn’t, which makes you even angrier.

You punch the wall again.

Then you ponder about what you’ve been doing for the past four years of high school, the past four years of your life. You’d studied your rear-end off, spent all that money on tutoring and SAT prep, not to mention spent a ridiculous amount of money on those stupid AP exams. Heck, you sacrificed your sleep and social life to get into college and guess what?

It didn’t pay off.

And it sucks.

Big time.

I even felt angry while typing that very paragraph above. Had to refrain myself from using expletives.

BUT. I know how you feel. Bartleby Gaines does too. And who’s Bartleby Gaines?

THIS IS BARTLEBY GAINES:

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And he is my newest idol.

Some of you may recognize him as the main character in the movie Accepted, aka one of the best movies ever.

Bartleby over here got rejected from all of the schools that he’d applied to. His parents viewed him as a disappointment and no doubt he felt like the biggest loser in the world for letting them down. So what does he do?

He makes his own college.

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“South Harmon Institute of Technology” starts off as a mere cover-up in order to gain his parents’ approval. But what was only supposed to be a little lie turns into an institution that suddenly thousands of other kids want to go to because they didn’t get accepted anywhere else.

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It intrigued me to see the amount of sense in this movie, as ridiculous and comedic as it was. Students were the teachers, and through the abundance of creativity and ideas shared by the entire student body, actual learning took place. Society’s so-called “rejects” were getting more learning done than the prestigious, well-known Harmon College down the street.

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The student-learning environment portrayed in the movie is actually no different from learning today. Students are more and more encouraged to survive tests and quizzes with “independent” learning. Students are expected to share ideas with each other and learn from limited teacher-student interaction. I don’t know much about college but I have heard about how most of time, it’s just lecturing. You’re basically on your own, doing your own homework and developing your own study habits.

Where am I going with this? What I got from Accepted is that grades and teachers can only teach you so much. Sometimes, the real learning comes from talking to people, interacting with them, hearing their life stories. It’s much more enjoyable to learn something when it’s told in story-form. Through people and through others, your friends, you can actually learn things that help you with life, things that you can’t learn in a classroom setting.

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The best place to start for stories? Your teachers. Love them or hate them, they were once students too. You’ll be surprised how mischievous or rebellious some teachers were back in the day. I have never found a teacher-told story boring or uninteresting at all. If anything, they gave me hope and a laugh that would last the entire day.

So keep an open mind. That athlete who sits next to you in Physics or that theater geek who helps you on homework can be some of the best teachers you will ever know. And if you have learned from them, embrace that new profound knowledge. You don’t need a quiz or a test or a college acceptance letter to prove that you’ve learned something valuable.

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And remember.

Pocahontas never even went to college.

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Drabbles: At The Bus Stop

A girl was walking home alone. It was dark out, the streets bare and lifeless. The moon was high up in the night sky as it overlooked the city of Compton.

She pulls her coat closer to her as a chilly breeze sneaked by. Tears stained her cheeks, her eyes red and watery. She ran her fingers through her hair to keep the curly strands out of her face.

Up in the distance was a man. He was leaning against the bus stop sign, smoking a cigarette. His attire consisted of a torn-up sweater, a big burly, smelly-looking jacket, tattered up boots, and a scarf. He sported a tangled beard and uncombed hair.

The girl paused and considered her options. She could return home and avoid the risk of possible danger. That would’ve been easy.

But the thing was, she didn’t want to go home. Home was no longer the sanctuary that it once was to her. Home was where her parents were, where the expectations were. She hardly had the motivation to go back. It was stupid to think that she was choosing danger over safety. But at the moment, danger seemed more appealing to her than lectures about things that she already knew.

The girl pulled up the hood of her coat and gently made her way over to the bus stop. She stood at a clear distance from the man, keeping her guard up.

Then she felt like she was being watched. Slowly turning her head, she peered over at the man next to her. Their eyes met and she was surprised to see that the man had bright, red eyes.

She flinched, suddenly realizing what kind of person this man could be.

The man smirked and threw his cigarette to the ground, smashing its remains with the sole of his boot. He inched closer.

“What’s a girl like you,” he said, almost in a hushed whisper, “doing out here alone on the night streets of Compton hm?”

The girl backed away. “D-Don’t come any closer.” Her palms began to water and flashes of what could possibly happen ran throughout her mind. Why didn’t I just go home?!

The man cocked his head to the side. “You think I’m going to hurt you?”

“Why wouldn’t you?”

“The question is: why would I?”

The girl’s back reached a pole. She felt panicked, as if she’d reached a dead end and there was no way out. The man walked closer to her.

“B-Because,” she stammered, “because…your eyes…”

“Now you’re just being prejudiced.”

The girl blinked and looked away, knowing that her answer sounded pretty lame and judgmental.

The man stopped at about a yard away from her and  slid his hands into his pockets. Then he looked up at the night sky, observing the moon.

“I’m truly curious,” he then said, quietly, gently. “What are you doing out here by yourself? Compton isn’t very safe at night, I’m sure you know that.”

“Of course I know that,” the girl said. “I’m no idiot.”

“You’re beating around the bush here.”

The girl sighed and her shoulders relaxed as she gave in to his curiosity.

“My parents,” she started, “were giving me a hard time because I didn’t get into a college that I wanted to go to.”

The man nodded. “I see.”

“You should’ve seen them,” the girl said. “They were yelling and shouting and then they asked me why I was crying because apparently ‘crying doesn’t solve anything’ and then they called me weak. I know my failures more than anybody else and it doesn’t help when my own parents just start shoving it into my face.”

Tears began to fall. The girl sniffled and quickly brushed the wetness off of her cheeks, suddenly feeling embarrassed.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized.

“There’s nothing to be sorry about,” the man said, his head still facing the moon. “You tried your best, did you not?”

“I did. But it wasn’t good enough. Nothing is ever good enough when it comes to them. They expect some Goddess of a daughter and I hate to admit that I’m not capable of that but I’m not.”

“It’s not the end of the world,” the man said. “It really isn’t.”

“No offense, sir. But how would you know anything about this?” the girl asked.

The man smiled to himself. “Believe it or not, young lady, but I was once a Harvard scholar.”

The girl’s eyes widened. “No way.”

“It’s true.”

“I don’t believe it.”

“Believe what you wish. But remember that in the long run, an education is what matters the most. Of course it’d be nice to go to an Ivy League school or a UC and whatnot but take in account of the money. You will be drowning in debt before you can even blink.

“I-Is that why…”

“Life’s too short to be worrying all the time. You’ll get accepted into other schools, you’ll still be offered an education. Your parents will learn to accept your decisions. You’re an adult now.”

The girl shrugged. “I guess so. What’s done is done, right? Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.”

“Maybe it wasn’t.”

The bus lights shone brightly in the distance, coming closer and closer until it pulled to a stop just in front of the pair. The doors opened, and the man stepped inside. He turned around, noticing that the girl hadn’t followed him.

“Are you going to get on?” he asked her.

The girl shook her head. “No. I’m going home.”

The man nodded with a grin. “Great choice.”

The girl smiled through her tears. “Thank you,” she said.¬†“By the way, why are your eyes red?”

“Birth defect,” the man replied. “It’s extremely rare but I like to think of it as a gift.” Then with one last look, the doors to the bus closed.