Today, in my English class, we had a Socratic seminar. If you don’t know what a Socratic seminar is, it’s basically where everyone sits in a circle and has a discussion (not a debate, teachers emphasize) on a specific topic. I don’t generally have a favorable view of these discussions. They’re usually just horribly dry recaps of boring articles, with students merely recycling one another’s statements. I don’t enjoy being stared at, forced to analyze things on the spot, and being graded on my thoughts. I was nervous. Talking, thinking, and taking notes on others’ statements is multitasking overload. I wasn’t particularly interested in the topic anyway. I told my teacher that, to be honest, I’d rather write an essay.
Thankfully, we got twenty minutes to collect our thoughts before the seminar. Before we began, I just decided to voice my true thoughts, regardless if I related back to the text or not (which we were strongly encouraged to do). I didn’t make reference to the texts even once.
But I blew it out of the park.
My thoughts sparked a whole new discussion–deeper and more difficult. I saw my fellow classmates discussing moral relativism, ultimate truths, the overarching principle of personal conviction, and other related things. It was so beautiful. Some girls started laughing whenever anyone said anything profound or difficult to comprehend, but they only fueled me. I was invigorated. The people whom I’d only heard discussing sports were talking about moral relativism. Afterwards, a guy who sits near me–one who’s generally uninvolved–told me his mind was blown. And even though he hadn’t participated very much in the discussion, I could see his face ablaze with fascination the whole time.
I’m full of faith. Not only did I prove to myself that I can do well when I don’t think it possible, but I inspired my peers to dig deep into the universe–deep within themselves. If that’s not amazingly beautiful, then I don’t know what is.
National Do Things You’re Bad At, day five.
I didn’t write last night because I was finishing a project. It’d been assigned weeks ago, but, being the lazy ass I am, I did absolutely nothing. So I completed it all last night. I had a lot of fun for a while; the project was interesting and entertaining to make. As the hours dragged on, however, things gradually became unpleasant. I needed to go to sleep, but my work was unfinished. I stayed up until an ungodly hour getting it all done (2:47 AM is when I went upstairs). My goal was to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed–somehow.
When I woke up for school a couple hours later, I felt like a rock. A numb, expressionless rock. I asked my mom if I could pay her to let me go back to sleep. I did (not the paying part). I feel awful about it now, because I missed school (that’s not something I enjoy doing, even if school sucks), but I realized I wasn’t going to be productive anyway.
I suppose it’s only natural that I’d fail. It’s not really possible to function well on four hours of sleep. So I’ve learned my lesson: on school nights, do not stay up past 1:30. I’m fine with 12:30 or even 1, but once you get to the 1:30 mark, you’re shot.
National Do Things You’re Bad At Week, day four.
Once I got in to ninth grade, I wasn’t familiar with very many people. Most of my middle school friends were either assigned to different schools or weren’t in any of my classes. So I had to make new friends. I hadn’t yet developed the best conversational skills (it would be another year until I realized I was a better speaker than I thought), but I got acquainted with a few people nonetheless. It just didn’t bring me that much satisfaction. I got bored and ran out of things to talk about. Once I rediscovered my love of reading, however, I never felt bored again. I felt bad reading during lunch, because I’d mentally check out of everything and leave my acquaintances to talk among themselves. Eventually, though, I stopped caring. Books were just better than acquaintances. I abandoned the group and moved to the far end of the table to sit alone.
Tenth grade rolled around, and I’d already decided to find my own spot right away. I chose a circular table in the corner of the cafeteria. Nobody noticed me for months. One day, I accidentally made eye contact with a nice fellow–and he joined me. A few strangers had sat at my table before, minding their own business, and I was usually fine with that. But this fellow wanted to talk. And by talk, I mean make small talk. Tiny, microscopic talk, fluffed up beyond all hope. About what my classes were. My weekend plans. Upcoming assignments or tests. Every other day he came and sat with me. I wanted to be nice, but it felt like torture. One day, I told him that some others had asked me to sit with them. I found a spot with a group of friends, made a partial cubicle with my backpack, and asked them to cover for me. A few weeks later, I saw him sitting with another group. I felt a little guilty–admittedly, I hadn’t handled it it very well at all, but I took solace in the fact that he looked like he was having the time of his life.
This year, I’ve made the choice to sit with people at lunch. I’m a junior, for God’s sake, and I’ve been completely and utterly involved with my school. So I found some friends and asked to sit with them. They’re cool people. I’m a great conversationalist when I put my mind to it. But I always find myself back in my book. It’s almost unconscious, like I don’t even realize it until lunch is over. I don’t want to push everyone away and realize years down the road that I’d shut down opportunities that could have (who knows) changed my life. So today, when somebody struck up a conversation with me, I decided to engage more. We hit it off really well. And while I’m proud of myself for making wonderful new friends, I’m still going to let myself read sometimes. I’ve earned it.
And I always have free period.
As day three of National Do Things You’re Bad At Week, I decided to try focusing on something for an extended period of time. My first choice was reading. Don’t get me wrong; I adore reading. It’s just been really difficult in the past few months, with all the activities going on around me. Also, the internet has sort of killed my focus to some extent. I’m a little sad that I’m less of a bookworm than I once was, but I know I’ll get it back. It just takes a little practice.
Blog post on my love of reading soon.
As day two of National Do Things You’re Bad At Day, I decided to attend a club meeting. I’ve gone through two full years of high school without joining any clubs or groups whatsoever. I go to youth group, and that’s about it. After school, I go home and read, listen to music, and play with my Sims. I’ve always been fine with that–that is, until I had to fill in a resume with which groups and clubs I’d ever been a part of. I decided that I have to go out and make some more connections.
So I stayed after school for Gender Equality Club. I was a little confused, and I can’t say I had a blast, but it was certainly interesting. I might even go back. It’s high time I get involved with my life. 🙂
It’s day one of National Do Things You’re Bad At Week. Today, I attempted to pay attention during the church sermon. As I expected, it was a failure. And I say failure in a gentle, positive way.
My attention span just isn’t great, at least when it comes to things that aren’t particularly interesting for me. It’s not that I can’t sit still. In fact, quite the opposite; I’m a rather sedentary person who would actually prefer to sit still. My mind is what becomes restless. I find myself mentally wandering off to somewhere far away, or reading, or writing in my journal. Sometimes I whisper to my friends or laugh at a joke I made up in my own mind. It’s just difficult to stare at a priest and comprehend everything I’m hearing. I’m not an auditory learner by any means.
I’m not sure how I’m going to be a normal, responsible adult. Adults’ minds never wander; they always seem focused and attentive, whispering “amen” at all the appropriate times. They never pull out their books or phones. It’s like they have superhuman powers of concentration. One day I’ll be like them, I guess. But then again, I kind of don’t want to. For some reason, I get my best ideas when I’m supposed to be focusing on something else.
This coming week, the 18th to the 25th, is National Do Things You’re Bad At Week. Each day, try something you absolutely know you’re horrible at doing, especially those you avoid doing out of fear of failure. The point of this is to open up to the idea of learning from mistakes, trying new things, and ultimately discovering the beauty in laughing at ourselves a bit. I’ll be blogging my way through this week, and I encourage you to do the same. Feel free to tag National Do Things You’re Bad At Week, or just DTYBA (do thing you’re bad at) for short.
Happy failing, learning, and laughing!
P.S. My daily posts will seem off because of my general schedule. I’m a night owl, so I usually don’t publish until after the day has technically ended. My personal day doesn’t change until I wake up in the morning. For example, it’s the 18th because it’s 1:23 in the morning, but it’s the 17th for me because I haven’t gone to bed. Just warning you.