Congratulations! It’s the second semester of senior year. You’ve been accepted to college, high school is ending soon, prom and parties and picnics are coming up, and, if you believe your parents, this is the high point of your hopefully-long life (“What do you mean ‘that’s kind of depressing’?”). Your future is finally secure, and things are winding down academically. You can breathe easy.
Except there’s also student loans, financial aid, scholarship applications, housing assignments, orientation, class scheduling… it’s a cliché, but in some ways, the hard part has only just begun.
The electronic age has made many things easier. Though you might still have to forward some paperwork to your university, most of it is done online. However – and maybe it’s just me – when I’m required to do important things on the Internet (i.e. activities that don’t involve scrolling through blogs about baby animals in human clothes), I become disorganized, confused, and generally incompetent. This is bad news for my future self, who will have to deal with all the life-altering decisions I’ve made by clicking – or not clicking – a button.
I’m willing to admit that this is often my own fault. As previously stated, I’m easily distracted, and I tend to shut down when I feel overwhelmed by pressure. But sometimes things get bungled up over the Internet. Last fall, I signed up for a program called QuestBridge, which connects low-income students to high-ranking private schools. I went through the process and did not qualify for a full ride, but QuestBridge is nice enough to still let the plebeian failures like me apply to their partner schools. I chose Northwestern University and Wellesley College.
Through QuestBridge, I forwarded my essays and short answers to both schools, then filled out their specific essay portions and financial aid requirements on the Common App and FAFSA, respectively. A couple months later I received a rejection letter from Northwestern. A few days after that, I found out that Wellesley was notifying people of their application status – but not me. I sent them an inquiry and was told that they’d never even considered my application. They’d gotten my essays, my short answers, my Common App and FAFSA information, just like Northwestern… but because I didn’t have the intuitive sensibility to email Wellesley and personally tell them “hey, I want to go to your school”, my application sat unread in a slush pile for three months.
Even now, there seems to be a virtual disconnect between me and Michigan State, where I’m enrolled for the fall semester – though for a couple weeks after I submitted my housing application, my move-in date was mistakenly listed as January, 2013. And as a prospective student of Michigan State’s James Madison College, I was encouraged to go online and check my spot on their waitlist. The website didn’t recognize my MSU Net ID, though. I called the IT department, which told me to delete my browser history on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox, and then try again. When that didn’t work, they found out that I wouldn’t be able to view the waitlist until I signed up for classes in June.
My point with this isn’t to complain or be negative about college. On the contrary – these things worked themselves out, so I’m not bitter, and I’m still in love with Michigan State. But I’ve learned that even – or especially? – at a time when such important life decisions are conducted over the Internet, it’s imperative that you stay focused and follow through. Check your emails. Then double check them. Recognize that people in charge sometimes have communication breakdowns and do things that make no sense, but if you’re determined, don’t let that red tape stop you from doing what you need or want to do. This is the beginning of the rest of your adult life. Try not to let the mistakes of others define it.
When people typically think of a marching band, they think of a bunch of musicians dressed in quirky outfits parading on the football fields during halftime at each football game. Some see the marching band as a form of entertainment; others see the band as a group of dedicated musical performers. There are those who take the role of being in a marching band very seriously, and just recently discoveries have been made that there are some participants whose hearts are not fully invested in the sport, due to prior complications and “forced agreements.”
American sportswriter and novelist Frank Deford released a commentary on NPR on March 13 called “School Bands Should Not Be Entertainment Adjunct For Sports”, where he addressed the issue of high school students being forced to join marching band against their own will. He brought up the case of Lisa Chismire, the parent of a high school band student in Pennsylvania. Being a former lawyer, Chismire was irked when her student had to join the marching band at the school in order to be a part of the rest of the musical programs. Chismire found it to be appalling, and she took the issue to court. As anyone would have guessed because of her prior experience in law, she won the debate and got the school to change its policy on students who are interested in becoming a part of the music program, whether it be marching band or a concert band of sorts.
Even though that Pennsylvania high school changed its policy, a good portion of high schools across the nation still have that marching band requirement tied to their band programs. Being a participant in the marching band program here at HHS, I’ve come to find out that a good majority of the high schools here in Michigan require their musicians to participate in marching band as well as another music course in order to do either of them. Howell is not one of those schools. Here at HHS being in the marching band is an opportunity that students can choose to take. Students in the band program can take just marching band, just a concert band, or both. Sometimes being in the marching band can interfere with work, sports, and personal schedules; other times it can just be out of one’s element.
The HHS marching band has 125 members this year, making it one of the largest the school has ever had. Being in marching band involves attending the summer band camp in August, participating in the home football games, taking part in local parades, and playing at the occasional pep assembly. Ask any of us “bandos” and we’ll tell you that joining marching band voluntarily has been one of the best decisions ever made. With the choice of joining comes discipline, pride, a sense of unity, and a feeling of belonging, which only come from dedicated students participating.
Senior Julia Viel looks back on her experiences with the HHS marching fondly, saying, “I’m so happy I ended up joining the marching band. I never knew what I was missing out on until I actually attended a rehearsal. I love the dedication and the discipline, and I’m definitely going to miss it!”
On the flipside, at some other schools, the students involved in the marching band sometimes feel as if the requirement is too much. Brian Ferro, a high school senior from Forest Hills Eastern in Grand Rapids, has been a part of his high school’s marching band for four years now.
“I have been playing the saxophone since middle school, and I obviously wanted to keep the tradition going in high school, so I signed up for high school band and later found out I was automatically put into the marching band program as well and it kind of threw me for a loop. It’s tough trying to maintain my grades, a job, jazz band, concert band, and marching band, but eventually I grew to love it anyway. Sometimes though, I wish I still had a choice.” Ferro explained.
In response to the Deford commentary as well as Chismire’s actions taken against the school, some parents and dedicated marching band members have expressed their concerns against having marching band become a choice rather than a requirement. Since many schools in the country have very serious competing marching bands, some schools find it completely necessary to have marching band become a requirement in order to acquire enough members to compete. HHS marching band is not competitive, which is another reason why marching band is a choice; we don’t take it to that level.
An anonymous person replied to the online commentary disagreeing with Chismire saying, “The majority of our trips are to marching competitions, which have nothing to do with football (other than the “other” activity that happens before and after our show Friday night). There are few other activities where hundreds of students can move as one body. A concert band simply can’t accommodate 300 students like a marching band can. A sports team CERTAINLY can’t. This experience is valuable to a student.”
All in all, from my personal experiences as well as the majority of the marching band members, we believe that participating in marching band should remain a choice. We see it as a sport with a team involved, just as any other athlete would. As we all know and come to find out, if a team member’s heart isn’t fully invested in the sport, then why are they there in the first place? A team works best when every member wants to be there and wants to take action. By making marching band a choice instead of a requirement, it would allow more success to be made and the performances would be better because the participants would actually want to partake in the wondrous thing that is marching band.
Call me crazy, but I just can’t picture old people using social media. There’s something just not right about it. Maybe it’s the exhausting trials that the older generation often experience to simply use an iPhone; maybe it’s the fact that the entire world of technology has introduced a new and constantly changing lingo that doesn’t quite fit into their vocabulary. But whatever the reason may be, old people using social media – Twitter, Facebook, or even merely a Smart Phone- is a notion that society may never be able to fully embrace.
Take Twitter, for instance. In the beginning, everyone sneered at the concept of tweeting; its idea of posting virtually unlimited statuses, pictures, and links was something that had suddenly turned out to be socially acceptable, whereas anyone on Facebook would have been severely frowned upon for even thinking of posting more than two updated statuses per day. Now the hype for Twitter has gone viral – nearly 500 million people currently have a Twitter account. Even celebrities have been drawn into the Twitter universe.
And now, old people are starting to pick up on the trend. The very much beloved (and elderly) celebrity Betty White has recently started her own account on Twitter, with her first message to the world being, “Hello Twitter! And they said it would never happen. Oh wait, that was me.
Though White was able to be humorous about the situation, the reality is many old people are now persuaded to join Twitter because of her. If only they could avoid the same temptation she encountered.
While I adore Betty White and find it endearing for her to take part in tweeting, I could never envision my own grandmother using any type of social media. Like a lot of the older generation, my grandparents prefer to own a standard home phone, kitchen appliances that they hope last for another thirty years, and the same television set they’ve had since 1979. They haven’t ever owned a computer, they’re intimidated by cell phones with touch screens, and they would never want to even conceive a thought about Facebook. And on top of that, they constantly like to make fun of technology.
Now I’m not saying that my grandparents represent all of the older generation, but I have to believe that a large percentage of old people are extremely stubborn and don’t like change. So when I see that some of them try to be “cool” and hook on to the social media outlets that young people are a part of, I’m not only angered since it’s hypocritical, but also terrified since they are, to put it nicely, not very aware of how to use those social media outlets properly. Hence, Betty White’s total of 12 tweets since April 10, almost a month from now (an avid Twitter user typically tweets about five times per day).
Of course there’s the type of people who, at no matter what age, prefer to stay up to date with the world; they like being “hip” with their grandchildren and taking risks in life; they actually own a computer, keeping up with the latest models, and frequently check their Facebook status. They like technology. They don’t mock it. This is the type of people who deserve to participate in the world of social media. But unfortunately, this type of people comes few and far between.
All I’m saying is, for most old people, social media is not the right way to conduct a retirement lifestyle. Instead of trying to create an event on Facebook, they could channel their inner athlete into golfing; instead of tweeting about eating runny oatmeal, they could take a free class at a local college. Those of the older generation who force themselves – those who aren’t particularly fond of technology – into participating in social media will inevitably end up desperate, frustrated, and embarrassed after their attempts to mirror the young crowd. Because tweeting, “Just broke my hip after playing football with the grandkids #YOLO” is just not cool. Trust me.
What happened to Lindsay?
Remember The Parent Trap? Not the old, 1961 black-and-white version that our parents grew up with, but the one that we did – the remake, starring fresh-faced, innocent Lindsay Lohan who played both twins, although we didn’t figure that out until years after the obsession had faded.
Remember the scene where one of the twins pierces the other girl’s ear? I could never watch it because I was too scared. They actually showed the needle going through her ear,
and that was too much for any third grader to handle.
All of the critics ranted and raved about the little red-headed girl who played both the twins with such finesse and maturity, but with a sense of youth all at the same time. The VHS tape box actually says “introducing Lindsay Lohan!” on it. I just checked.
Remember her Disney years? Life Size, Get A Clue, Freaky Friday, and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. The girl was still a girl, but she wasn’t too little anymore. I remember dancing around my room to some of the soundtracks, and thinking Freaky Friday was the funniest movie ever.
Or Speak, the album she released in 2004, full of teenage angst and emotion. I have it in my CD case in the back of my closet, next to the Baha Men and the Disney Mania albums.
Remember her Mean Girls days? That movie is still one of my favorites. I wasn’t allowed to watch it until awhile after it came out due to its PG-13 rating, though. Lohan is a little older than I am.
Recently though, I’ll just be clicking through the Internet, or flipping channels, and I’ll come across story after about her. “Lindsay Lohan in Court: Judge Sentences Her Back to Jail” is the most recent headline I’ve come across.
It’s sad really – that drugs, money, and fame can change a person all the way around. Who I remember as someone I’d like to be best friends with is someone whose life is now a mess. At one time Lohan looked like she had the whole world in the palm of her hand. She was cute, talented, and she was a girl I wanted to be like.
Lohan has been arrested for countless incidents, and is known for her drug and alcohol abuse- she’s been to rehab seven times. Her media exploits with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton didn’t help her image much. She became a one note joke for tabloids and entertainment news in general. “Pulling a Lindsay” is a phrase often used for anything that a celebrity does that is seen as racy.
So what happened to Lindsay?
We all know what happened – drugs and money and fame happened. Growing older happened.