• school frustrations •

I actually really like school (for the most part). I enjoy learning. I fear mediocrity in anything.

And that’s kind of the reason I also hate school. Because I work so freaking hard to set myself apart, to excel, to make my parents and teachers proud, to avoid the disappointment when meriting only a B (it happened twice in the last four years and still frustrates me to a degree), to avoid beating myself up later because I could have pushed myself a little harder and done a little better.

I also hate school because, sometimes, the amount of energy I put toward it is not in proportion to the long-term rewards. Sure, I’ll have a nice record, but who really cares? I don’t think I’ve ever heard people I admire discuss the grades they received in college or high school unless they didn’t do well. And then they laugh. Those that probably earned high marks don’t discuss it because it’s probably not important.

Yet we spend so much time and energy on it now because adults tell us “it’s worth it”. I’d like to know what “it” is and why “it’s” worth all these frustrations and tears.

I dread the coming of school because I know that, no matter how much I say “I don’t care”, I know that I will still work myself into the ground to do well. That’s who I am. Regardless of what the task is, I have to do try to do it better than those around me.

That doesn’t only go for school. It’s my attitude at work too. Whether I’m at the register, filling the meat, fronting, stocking the cooler, or wrapping produce, I put my all in so the manager goes, “hey, she’s worth her salt. I’m going to give her more freedom than the others because I know she won’t waste it”.

We’ve all heard that comparison is the thief of joy. It’s true. I learn this lesson over and over again and I don’t know how to stop comparing and just be satisfied with my best. I want my best, regardless of the outcome, to be enough for me.

So I suppose I’ll try to focus on that during the fall semester. We’ll see how it goes.

Love,

Rana || xoxo

P.S.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find the extra classes frustrating? “Oh, you’re going for nutrition? Why don’t you take a precalculus class?”

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• chin up •

Last night, I was told that I was ranked within the top 20 students at my school; my immediate response was, “why am I not in the top 10? Do they not do top 10? Is top 20 the best?” I thought back to that time I finished psychology with a B+ and that time I finished the first semester of Spanish II with a B+. Everything else has been an A since I started high school and dual enrolling.

I wondered why I didn’t do better. Why didn’t they rank me higher?

Back in March, I submitted an application for a study abroad opportunity in Korea. I reviewed my CV and motivation letter so many times. What could I do better? If I were reviewing a bunch of applications, would I choose mine?

Today, I found out I didn’t get in. Turns out I wasn’t just competing against the kids in my local college, but against kids all over the world. If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have set my hopes up so high (and thus I am reminded why I prefer the pessimistic worldview).

This semester, I took on six college classes so I could graduate with my high school diploma as well as associates degree. I have 90% in three or four classes, one other 90-, and an A+. And, for some reason, thought it would be a good idea to start working too. I’ve always been a hard worker, so I thought I could handle this. Apparently not because I’m not all A’s or A+’s, it’s hard to find time to shower + exercise, and gotten difficult to fall asleep (and stay asleep).

But here’s the thing:

My worth is not based on a grade, acceptance statistic, or the approval of others.

what

my life is a lie

I’ve always wanted to be the best, the strongest (not necessarily physically; I’ve given up on that), the humblest, the smartest, the prettiest, the favorite, the hardest worker, the x, y, and z.

At the same time, I realize that I will never be any of these things. I will never be the best at anything. I will never be the strongest, the humblest, the smartest, the favorite, or the hardest worker. And I have to be okay with that.

We have to set reasonable standards for ourselves and, if we find that they are unattainable, we need to lower them a bit until we are at the point where we can do better – and then we raise it again.

We’re human. We fail. We learn. We do better. It’s all we can do.

So keep your chin up.

You’ll fail.

You’ll be crushed.

But something better will come along and the temporary defeats will make sense.

Take it one day at a time. It will all work out.

God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

• Hebrews 11:40 •

If you were looking for some encouragement today, that’s hopefully it. xoxo

Love,

Rana || xoxo

• mixtape : study edition •

Because I should be doing school.

Best excuse ever, amirite?

And because I get super distracted if I’m listening to lyrics I want to sing along to, but can’t stand soundtracks, foreign music is ideal. And not just any foreign music; foreign music that makes you excited to be alive; foreign music that makes your soul sing because you can’t; foreign music that doesn’t put you to sleep or make you go, “ugh, foreign noise”.

I know, I know. You’re just dying to learn what kind of foreign music I fill my ears with. You have no clue. Fine; I won’t make you wait.

• korean pop + japanese rock •

Hit you like a truck, didn’t it?

You never expected that from me.

Nah.

Well, I’m just full of surprises.

Now you want to hear it, right? Of course you do.

• BTS •

The Bangtan Boys encourage me when I feel like throwing a text book out the window + screaming, “I’M DOPE. I DON’T NEED TO BE EDJUMICATED.” The only pain I feel as I listen to this comes from the fact that Jungkook (one in the officer getup) is my age. And can dance. And can sing. And doesn’t have to do school. I don’t know if he does or not, but it seems like he has the option not to?

Dope

Do yourself a favor + turn on the captions.

I Need U

If only I could do more than the chicken dance…

• BIGBANG •

Fantastic Baby

Fantastic Baby whispers that I can do the thing. Well, it probably doesn’t. But I think being told, “wow, fantastic baby” a few times isn’t a bad thing.

• FTISLAND •

Pray

They are praying for me. I can do this.

Time To

And it’s time to fight, fight, fight. Time to do it right. Even though I’m down + afraid to go.

• SHINee •

Spoiler

The most amazing entrance + dance, yo.

• VIXX •

Chained Up

Because I can’t get away from all this school work.

Memory

I need memories of times when I had time to write, draw, smile, laugh…

Love Equation

Because math has taught me that I can’t do anything without calculations + watching grown men shove ice cream in another person’s face is kind of funny.

• GOT7 •

Just Right

Because I don’t need a 5.0 GPA to validate my worth.

Okay, kids, that’s what I’ve got. If you want more recommendations, please feel free to ask me. I really love chatting with you + enjoy the Korean culture very much.

Love always,

Rana || xoxo

• dual enrollment: what it is + why you should do it •

Once upon a time, I was a freshman in high school.

I hated life + I hated school.

But I repeat myself.

Ten to eleven hours a day was spent on getting school assignments done and just trying to stay on pace. I cried when my mother tore me away from my computer to take a break because I was terrified of getting behind. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – all my meals were eaten as I did schoolwork. Sleep was a thing of the past, the shadow of a memory; and the lack of it took form as the shadows beneath my bloodshot eyes.

But the summer after 9th grade, I took a course with the local college and thus began my journey as a dual (dually?) enrolled student.

I strongly support and encourage this method of learning for a few reasons.

• dual enrollment: what it is + why you should do it •

• What is it? •

Dual enrollment is the ability to take college courses while in high school in place of high school courses. These classes also count as your college credits once you graduate.

• Why do it? •

• Academically:

  • You are expected to put forth the same amount of effort and quality work as your college-level peers. It’s great college-prep + very effective. Once you are actually a college student, you’ll be leagues ahead of everyone else because you already know how to study and what’s expected.
  • You’ll be ahead of your peers once you graduate high school. They’ll be learning what you learned one, two, three years ago. (You’ll be able to help them out too which makes for a great friend + person.)
  • You’ll be academically superior to your high school peers, not to mention that your weighted GPA will shoot right up if you get good grades (oh, hello, Scholarship City!).

• Financially

  • $0.00 because you’re in high school.
  • Come on. You’re going to college for free! College credits for free!
  • I’m on track for receiving my Associates Degree by the time I graduate high school next semester. Two years of college done and that’s saved me $10,711.

• Personally:

  • Dual enrolling reignited my passion for learning. It’s something new.
  • High school assignments just seem like a waste of time for me. It’s so much busy-work and not enough learning.
  • I enjoy the atmosphere. You see and meet all types. I also find that the students and professors are generally accepting and friendly.
  • If you’re homeschooled like me, it’s an excuse to dress up a bit and look nice for a couple days out of the week.
  • If you’re an introvert like me, you’ll get just enough socialization in.
  • It’s a great place to people-watch.
  • It’s a great atmosphere for writers. Like I said, you meet all types with all different stories.
  • You’re playing on a different level. You’re expected to. And you learn to. It’s all preparation for the next level.

• Is Dual Enrollment For Me/My Child? •

  • If they excel in their high school courses.
  • If they are bored or frustrated with the courses/assignments.
  • If they complain about the work being too easy or just “busy work”.
  • If they are mature enough to spend time with people  who are 18+.
  • If they know where they stand on fundamental issues/beliefs.
  • If you want to save money.

I’d say give it a shot no matter what. There are really no downsides (aside from the usual “new situation” + “people”).

God bless + love always,

Rana

 

 

• my tricks to (actually) get stuff done •

Hello, loves!

I have a few tricks for you today on (actually) getting stuff done. As a basically-college-student-in-high-school-with-a-massive-disorder  t e n d e n c y-towards-procrastination, getting stuff done is a pretty big thing. In fact, it’s to the point where, if I get one thing on my list done in a timely manner without procrastinating (or, at least, a minimal amount of it because, let’s be honest, procrastination is just a part of who I am now //thanks, high school//), I feel like I’ve earned some procrastinating time.

Yes. I’m that low. *hides face in shame, lives in an abandoned cave, adopts new life as a hermit*

But lately (the past two days +/- three and a half years), I’ve come to realize that there are a few things I can do that will guilt-trip motivate me into (actually) getting stuff done.

Note: I’m not using parentheses around my (actually’s) to kind of wink a ‘this-doesn’t-really-work-give-up-now’. I’m just trying to convey the point that… I’m (actually) getting stuff done.

Let’s get to it, shall we? My face will be assisting us.

• Trick #1: Find Yourself a Planner •

• how I trick myself into (actually) getting stuff done •

• I was chatting with the frabjous Mirriam Neal and she gave me advice we’d do well to remember: when filling out applications, you really need to sell yourself like an educational harlot // this mindset is the bomb diggity •

Not so I can plan all the stuff I want to do, but will never get done, and cry myself to sleep over because I can physically see what I should have but never accomplished and dream about said life as a hermit. No.

Why it works:

  • It organizes your brain.
  • You remember stuff before you forget. Mom told you to do the laundry? Write it down. Check your planner after two hours of scrolling through Pinterest and bam! I just saved your life/honor/cow’s honor/dignity/social life.
  • You get a sense of accomplishment when you check something off.
  • It creates a sense of urgency.

How to do it:

  • Either at night, or in the morning before you start your day, run through the list of things you need to get done and write them down.
  • You can also write down the things you need to get done for the week and just divvy it up by day.
  • When you remember something that needs doing, write it down.
  • Check your planner often – at least two or three times a day.
  • Don’t forget to check things off! It really feels good; plus, you can get creative with it too.

• Trick #2: Get the Hardest Thing Done First •

• get the hardest crap done first w/ help from noodles + chopsticks // it totally works •

• get the hardest crap done first with help from noodles + chopsticks + determination if you have it// this totally works//100% recommend •

Or the biggest task. Whichever you fancy.

Why it works:

  • The rest of the day feels a bit freed up. You got the biggest thing done; now the rest is a breeze.
  • If you get nothing else done, you did accomplish something big.

How to do it:

  • Prioritize!
  • And then get to do it.

• Trick #3: Know Thyself •

• say what •

• say what? // you serious? // yup. // 100% •

Get to know your energy cycle. Are you more of a morning-person (if you are, I’m shooting you a hard glare because you are not okay //but I still love you)? Get your tasks done then! More of a night owl (we can be better friends)? Make sure you get your stuff done at night. Afternoon kind-of-person? Start when you know it’s time!

Why it works:

  • You won’t be dragging at a time you’d rather be sleeping. Get stuff done when you’ve got energy.

How to do it:

  • Avoid distracting areas/people. Find an area that’s conducive to your studying (or whatever else you’re doing) vibe if you can. Then get your tasks done there!

• Trick #4: Headphones •

• I promise I wasn't trying to make a duck face. I was in a hallway at the college and it was awkward enough + my hair was on-point so •

• I promise I wasn’t trying to make a duck face. I was in a hallway at the college and posing for a picture with my planner + a computer on my lap was awkward enough; + my hair was on-point (as usual, I must confess) •

…are a blessing and a curse. They can help you zone in or give you more ways of procrastinating (stop clicking those Stephen Colbert show and K-Pop/J-Rock music video links//I’ll do it for the both of us).

Why it works:

  • You’re noise-distraction-free. You’re in your zone. Hooray!

How to do it:

  • Find a study playlist. Spotify has great options (//bless you, Spotify). Listen to it and only it. I’m just as interested in new music as you are; but we are stronger than our feelings (*channels some mentally strong book/film character and listens to only lyric-less music*).

I would tell you to ask someone to hold you accountable, but I don’t do that. I’m a very private person and don’t like anyone up in my business. But if that’s your style, go for it!

I hope this helps!

Love always,

Rana

P.S.

I wish the happiest of birthdays to my favorite cousin on her 13th birthday. You will do amazing things in your life if you only strive to become better than who you were yesterday. You will do amazing things if you trust in God and align your will to His. His plan is perfect. // Life’s not easy. It never will be. But we can get through it. We are warriors, you and I. And we will fight to be our best selves. You’re the strongest person I know. One of the funniest. And you are my cousin. What a thought… ❤

• mini cake •

• Sorry the cake didn’t turn out well; it was pretty though! •

• the creative vibe •

Ehh, what’s up, Doc?

[Written while sipping her mocha + caramel coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.]

Labor Day Weekend •

I know it’s a bit late, but I really felt that I needed to add to the gender rights debate (although I feel that calling it a debate is putting it kindly as most rely on emotions to spur them on). So with that out of the way, I think we can move on to happier, less controversial topics.

Like cupcakes + photo shoots!

My favorite fellow ginger came to stay with us over Labor Day weekend and we had a blast. We decorated for autumn, blasted K-Pop over the speakers, made cupcakes (I say we – I mean I made cupcakes), and stepped outside for pictures.

Cupcakes

I have a little story for you here.

Mom cleaned our baking cupboard a few weeks ago and I discovered that we were in possession of a cake decorating set. The feeling I had upon this discovery can be likened to that of finding out that you have a long lost twin and they were living in the basement you didn’t know you had.

Essentially, a m a z i n g.

For the cupcake recipe, click here.

For the frosting recipe, click here.

• the creative vibe •

IMG_4467

Photo Shoot

So it’s not officially autumn, but it is autumn in my heart. I feel that it is now appropriate to dress the part.

*cue the purple eye shadow, plaid, black, + combat boots*

• the creative vibe •

IMG_4403 (2)

IMG_4406 (3)

IMG_4423 (1)

IMG_4493

IMG_4363

• Beyond Labor Day •

Since then, school has been metaphorically kicking my butt, but I am overcoming it. Or maybe not. I’m not sure anymore. Last night, I got bored, so I did algebra.

I’m not sure who’s winning.

I’m not even sure whose side I’m on anymore.

However, I did speak with my high school teacher yesterday and we struck a deal. Cookies for an A. She’s really quite the bomb diggity. This is the teacher that gave me all the points for a smart alec answer to a math question.

On the even brighter side, I made pumpkin bread + crumble topping.

For the recipe, click here.

• the creative vibe •

(It’s absolutely delicious with cream cheese!)

I also made a paleo pumpkin syrup for coffee! I find it’s best if you heat up the milk + syrup at the same time. That way, the spices dissolve a bit. Here’s the recipe for that.

• the muse •

My art class is entirely too long (3.5 hours every Wednesday) but it’s gotten me to do a little more than I normally would.

For homework, I had to draw some interior. I chose my side of the room my sister and I share. Hopefully, I’ll get that up sometime, but it’s on my USB which is currently not plugged in to my computer and I’m far too lazy to fish it out of my bag.

do have a non-homework sketch though!

Meet Luhan, ex-member of EXO (a pretty kicking K-Pop boy band).

• the creative vibe •

I need to fix his eye and mouth (mouths have always been a trouble spot for me artistically speaking and not so artistically speaking), but I’m pretty happy with how he turned out anyway!

His hair was fun. I really like drawing hair.

It might be because I have an affinity for my own head of the stuff, but h a i r, man.

Speaking of which, check out this video.

I nominate Stephen Colbert for president.

#Colbert2016

And now, I’d like to close by quoting a mischievous bunny: The-uh-the-uh-the-uh-That’s all folks!

Have a lovely rest of the week! You’re going to be swell!

Love,

Rana

//feelings, rights, + logic

For my U.S. History class, I had to write about a current event (synopsis + my opinion) in a discussion board. I chose to write about “Lila” Perry (I can’t find his real name anywhere). Why? Because I like to rock the boat and because I’m a conservative bigot [/sarcasm].

I’d like to share my views on this issue (while morals did come into play just a tad as you’ll see, my main focus was on science and logic).

If you don’t feel like reading four discussion posts, head on down to the bottom for a basic summary.

Here was my original post:

Synopsis: At a high school in Missouri, a “trans-gender” boy wishes to share the girls’ locker room because he believes that he is actually female. Not surprisingly, actual girls weren’t a fan of sharing their locker room with a boy (the fact that he wears skirts and a wig is inconsequential), so they staged a protest to fight for their right to privacy.

Opinion: Before I state my opinion on this issue, I’d like to say that I understand this is a heated topic and there are strong opinions both ways; however, I believe that a healthy discussion is the best means of understanding an opposing view. I appreciate (and enjoy) respectful debates.

With that said, my opinion is as follows (we will take a look at this on two different levels: scientifically and logically): Perry should either use the boys’ locker room or a unisex restroom. Scientifically, men and women are more than body parts. They are fundamentally and intrinsically different – both physically and mentally. Personally, I find it insulting for a boy to say he thinks he is female. First off, our brains are totally different. We respond to issues differently. We feel things differently. It’s science.

A woman’s clothes does not a woman make. Would a wolf in sheep’s clothing be considered a sheep? I think not. Would a person who thinks they are a cat be considered a cat? No. They would get help and possibly be placed in a mental institution.

Similarly, as in the case with Bruce Jenner, to exchange body parts and call oneself female is utterly degrading and infuriating. This action states that women are merely body parts – a mindset I resent.

Furthermore, logically, for Mr. Perry to claim that he is female because he wants to be and trump hundreds of other girls’ rights to privacy is simply ridiculous. One person ought not to infringe on other people’s rights because they want to. It doesn’t make sense and that is not what freedom is about. That is abuse of freedom. In America, we are focusing too much on what people feel, which is entirely subjective. We ought to focus on what is logically sound.

No one agreed (I wasn’t really expecting them to). But I got three responses. Ironically, all three were female. I wish I could say that I was surprised they would be comfortable advocating for boys and girls sharing a locker room based on feelings.

Here are their responses:

Response #1:

Hi Rana, so I read your post, and I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you. First of all, I feel like I should point out that you using male pronouns when referring to Miss Perry, who obviously wishes to be referred to with female pronouns, is incredibly disrespectful. Whether or not you agree with someone’s choices, they deserve the same level of respect as any other human being.

Secondly, I see that you made a point to say that body parts aren’t all that make a woman, and I absolutely agree with you. What makes a person a woman is if they personally feel that they are, in fact, a woman, regardless of the physical gender the were born with. And in regards to your point that men and women think differently, obviously that’s true, but our thought processes don’t differ so extremely that just by observing the way someone thinks couldn’t judge whether or not that person was male or female.

Finally, I don’t agree with you statement that Miss Perry is transgender simply because “(s)he wants to be and trump hundreds of other girls’ rights to privacy.” I find it incredibly hard to believe that Miss Perry came out a transgender in an effort to impede on the privacy of other women. Considering the fact that she would most likely be in danger if she was to use a men’s bathroom, I would say this is more about conserving her own privacy rather than diminishing someone else’s.

Response #2:

Dear Rana,

I understand your refusal to use the pronouns that Miss Perry prefers on your belief that saying you’re a girl when you weren’t born one isn’t scientifically correct. Although it’s your choice how you think about this matter I ask you to think of this in Miss Perry’s emotional view.  I also ask of you to remember that we are all people no matter our gender identity. At the end of the day science matters, but I also think people’s emotions matter and for someone to go through the ridicule of not simply being called their preferred pronouns is a little rude.  Transgender kids go through a lot more criticism in the life and quite frankly they are still people so just try and be nice to all people because we’re all just trying to get through this thing called life happily.

Also I do think that Miss Perry should just use a unisex bathroom if her school has one. If Miss Perry’s school doesn’t have one in convenience with her school schedule then I believe she should talk to her teacher or principal to find a solution that works for her. I do not think that she should be forced to use the boy’s bathroom due to the fact that teenagers and kids can be straight up cruel. There are little things we can all do to help make other people’s lives better and in doing that you’ll get the gratification of seeing someone be happy for the littlest thing that you never knew would affect someone. I think that what I’m trying to say is that even when you don’t agree with someone and their beliefs try to put yourself aside and think of someone else’s emotions, because your one word could be the push that send someone crumbling down. Anyways have a fantastic day!

Response #3:

Gender and sex are two different things. If a cis-boy feels that he wants to become female, it doesn’t matter what biological body parts, or sex he has. There are three different categories that makes up gender:
1) How said person feels about themselves. If a cis-boy feels that he is a girl, or that he was meant to be a girl, then it is only morally and logically right to use the pronouns they specify. In Miss Perry’s case, these would be she/her pronouns. It is the same as calling a teacher Mr. or Mrs., or even something as simple as calling a girl, who believes they are a girl, a boy.
2) How said person expresses themselves. This means how they dress or appear. There are two different sides of the scale, and then an in between. There is feminine, masculine and androgynous. Androgynous is in between masculine and feminine.
3) How said person feels towards others. This includes sexuality, which is another whole debate in itself.

To sum this up, gender and sex are different. Gender is not based on your sex, but the mindset of “if you don’t have female body parts, then you’re not female” has been instilled by society. You don’t need to have a female’s body parts to be considered a female. It is all about who you think you are.

I was only able to reply to the first one on the discussion board before the due date came along and here was my response to it:

Hi, [name]!

Thank you so much for your well thought out and respectful reply. I enjoy a good debate so let me refute the main principles behind your ideas:

1) I ought to respect one’s wishes whether or not I agree with them.

Well, maybe. But I think it depends on what those wishes are, don’t you? Ought I to respect the wishes of, say, someone like Hitler and not marry another red head (because he did ban marriages between two red heads for fear of them having demonic children)?

My main argument against this idea is two fold:

a) A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. I won’t call Mr. Perry Miss Perry because he is still a boy. He is still male regardless of how he feels.

b) I can respect and love a person (and I do respect Perry as well as you) without conforming to their every wish. I won’t encourage something I disagree with and that’s what I would be doing if I called Mr. Perry Miss.

2) If someone feels that they are a woman, then they are. Logically and scientifically, this is a ridiculous notion.

My main argument here is this:

a) Feelings are irrelevant. They really are. They are fleeting, misconstrued, and do not determine truth. The philosopher Francis Bacon believed very strongly that the senses ought not to be trusted because they are so dependent on subjective feelings (which are very finicky) and, in that area, I agree.

Furthermore, you failed to respond to my points about a wolf in sheep’s clothing as well as the “if I felt that I were truly a cat” point. If I felt that I were actually a cat, people wouldn’t take me seriously.

3) Mr. Perry’s belief that he is a girl is actually more important than all the other girls’ rights to their own privacy.

I’m sorry, but I fail to see the logic here. You are essentially saying that hisfeelings trump the actual girls’ rights to privacy. Furthermore, my point wasn’t that his rights were less important than the girls’. I was simply observing that his feelings apparently mean more than the girls’ right to privacy.

Inherent rights vs. subjective feelings. What would you say has more weight in this debate?

I also said that he had the option of using a unisex restroom. He has options but he chooses to impose his feelings on the rest of the school. As a girl, I would not want a male body changing beside me in the locker room regardless of what was going on in that brain. He claims to be discriminated against, but as the first article I provided stated, girls’ and boy’s locker rooms are for the exact purpose of segregation. And if we are not to separate people based on their gender, then on what? I know boys who would take advantage of this relative belief system and abuse it.

It’s all justification for immoral actions, in my opinion.

Honestly, I don’t care about feelings. I care about logic and science – both of which support my stance on this issue.

Thank you for your response, [name]. If you would like to continue this discussion, I am totally up for debate!

Rana Aboujaoude

I’m pretty sure I responded to all of their arguments (even those last two that I didn’t have a chance to reply to personally).

Summary

Their argument: Feelings. Think about how he feels. Think about how your callous logic and hardhearted morals make him feel. Your harsh words and thoughts could tip him over the edge and you could be responsible for making him crack. Essentially, you’re a bully.

My argument: Feelings ought not to trump logic, science, or rights. See my response above. 😉

See, relativity is a dangerous thing. There is a vast difference between being tolerant of other beliefs and accepting them.

Acceptance of this mindless worldview is one of the most intolerant things we can do because it forces other beliefs and respect for those beliefs out of the picture.

It forces other beliefs to the side to favor another one – the very thing these “tolerant” people claim to abhor. It’s quite contradictory and hinges entirely on immediate feelings.

I will love + respect a person, but I will never put aside my morals in favor of their feelings.

Love + peace,

Rana

Awkward First Day + Vote For Me

Well, I’m up before 9:30 a.m. which is a huge change for me.

Over the summer, I’d gotten into the habit of getting to sleep anywhere between midnight and 1:00 a.m. Ah, that was the life. But now that school’s started, I’m less nervous and it feels good to have something of a schedule again.

So I guess you’re just dying to know what I mean by an ‘awkward first day’. She’s homeschooled. What? Did she socialize with her fifteen siblings? For your information, I only have two and I’m dual enrolled. I believe I’m on pace to graduate with my associates degree next semester and yes. I socialize. So I have classes on-campus Monday and Wednesday.

The other day, I was in a study room up in the library. I had to use the restroom, and, when I came back, I sauntered into my study room again. Like a moron, I took a few seconds to read the sign on the back of the door because I hadn’t done that the first few times I’d been in there.

As I’m closing the door, I realize, “This is not my study room.” How do I know this? Well, for one thing, my stuff isn’t spread out everywhere and, for another thing, there was a dude just sitting there watching me like, “Uh, should I say something? Why is this potato with hair barging in on me?”

So yeah.

Short story short, I apologized multiple times, pointed out how awkward that just was, and scurried a couple doors down to where I ought to have been in the first place.

Vote for me!

No, I’m not running for president. I have no cool little buttons or flyers to give you. But I can give you the opportunity to do something selfless and kind for a poor student like me (actually me). You’ll earn brownie points or something (although I can’t give you those either).

I need 50 votes to be qualified to submit a video addressing why I should be the winner of $100,000 in scholarship money.

Click the picture or this link to vote! And if you’re a student in need of scholarships, go ahead and sign up for this one. Leave a link to your profile in the comments and I’ll be sure to vote for you!

Vote for me to get a scholarship from Dr. Pepper!

Thanks a million + good luck with this semester, fellow students. If you’re not a student, well, good luck with whatever you’re doing too. 😉

God bless!

Rana Aboujaoude

Words to the graduated…

My brother graduated yesterday, summa cum laude.

He was the valedictorian, gave the speech, and spoke on patriotism (and what we can do to be more patriotic, I think). This is a passion of his and I urge you to check out a group he founded: Society of 1776.

But I’d like to focus on something that, were I to graduate the valedictorian, I think I’d talk about (but who knows where I’ll be a year from now?).

Last year, after four years of fruitless competition in my speech and debate league, I finally broke to regionals. I was finally going to the next level. But I didn’t do well there and it felt like my first year. Everyone was better than me. And, after the tournament, after seeing all the people around me doing so much better, I was feeling like crap. But a sweet kid (who graduated that year) told me that my worth was not defined by my failure – or my success. (But, you know, I’m happy I did better this year with a 4th place and 6th place in debate, and semi-final ranking in my speech at all three tournaments.)

I think this applies to literally everything.

We are priceless by no achievement of ours. Nothing we do or don’t do can change how much we’re worth.

The queen of England, the president of the U.S., the emperor of China – none of these people are worth more than a child dying of starvation and disease in the streets of India.

Someone, though, way back when, thought it would be a good idea to measure someone by success, what they’ve been through, whether or not they have a piece of paper on their wall saying they went to college, the number of 0’s on their paycheck, the number of “friends” they have, what brand of mascara they use, and, and, and…

Guys, it’s a lie.

You are not defined by any of these things. And your worth is not measured by them either.You are not defined by your failure - or success.

Don’t let anyone rank you according to these lists because your position on it will fall so far short of who you are. And you are amazing.

Know who you are before you go out into the world. If you don’t know who you are, people will tell you and it won’t be correct. I know the importance of this – I realized it when I started homeschooling after five years of public then private school. I wanted to be like everyone else. But I wasn’t.

And now I realize that’s because I’m better than that.

I realize now that those kids in school were so petty and I deserved more than running across the field to grab a forgotten lunch box (that probably wasn’t mine) to make people like me; I deserved more than judging myself based on the way I looked; I was more than where I did or didn’t shop; I was more than the shows I watched or the music I listened to (or was allowed to watch/listen to).

And so are you.

Take a step back, look at yourself objectively, and understand this truth please.

If everyone was okay with being themselves, this world would be a much better and honest place.

“Don’t be afraid to not like what everyone else pretends to love.” (Emma Watson said that, I think.)

You’re not defined by and your worth is not measured by your failures or your success. When we can get past that illusion, we can start living to be happy, to love, to glorify God.

This is my hope and prayer for you all.

Love,

Rana

//whimsy and wishful thinking

I want to make s’mores and spend time, under the stars and moon right now.

But not alone and not with the people I know.

I want to spend time with people who can tell me stories of times long before I was born, in the ages of dragons, magic, and castles. In times of valor and honor and in times much purer than our own.

Adventures, impossible things, and madness.

I want to wear a crown of flowers on my head, walk barefoot in a forest, and feel a cool breeze on my face.

But it’s Florida. It’s hot, humid, and the only stories I hear are from well-meaning people who tell me what they wish happythey’d done differently at my age. Or what I have that they never did. Or what they want me to do.

I just finished my junior year of high school and I want to run away from my creeping responsibilities. I don’t want to be told I’m a loser if I decide that college isn’t for me. I don’t want to be told I’m doing things wrong if I have student debt. I don’t want to be told anything.

I don’t want to be labeled a loser for decisions that go contrary to society’s definition of “success.”

I want to be happy.

I want to travel, explore, meet people I can learn from, tell stories, love, make good food, and just…

I want to be happy.

And I want to make other people happy.

I wish making people happy was a job. Because that would be great. And I would totally love it.

Have a lovely Friday, friend! ❤

Love,

Rana