Cemeteries and Robots

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After seventh grade, I learned I would be transferring to a small school settled across the street from one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in the United States. How fitting. The gloomy and eerie atmosphere of the cemetery was an implication of the foredoom I’d face inside the building.

Initially, I wondered why all the other students were so restrained and robotic. Promising myself not conform with my insensate peers, but my efforts proved useless. It was impossible to express myself or have any original thoughts. Unconventional ideas and methods were frowned upon. The austere administration reprimanded those who didn’t abide by the rules or caused disturbances of any kind. Do not dare inform the math teacher he spelled 'logarithm' incorrectly, or you would be his prime victim of targeted sarcastic remarks for the next few weeks.

Moreover, the small size and dull personalities didn't sanction many friends, and I decided I'd rather be solitary and focus on my work than pretend to like my environment. Having plenty of alone time allowed me to truly get to know myself. I turned to books and music to fill the empty human contact and fell in love with fictional characters who had the exciting lives I craved like Alex DeLarge from the novel A Clockwork Orange.

Incidentally, during my sophomore year we miraculously reaped a new, young English teacher. Unfamiliar to the school's strict, G-Rated standards, (one had to skip word 'breast' if reading Emily Dickinson’s Her breast is fit for pearls,” out loud in class) my new savior encouraged me to rev up my abandoned motorcycle of creativity in the tool shed that had become dusty. We were allowed to speak freely, initiate debates, and not be afraid to test our analytical abilities.


English class became the only class period where I could think for myself. I began to heavily dissect a myriad of literature pieces, from the contradicting phrases of Charles Dickens to the neurotic sanity of Chuck Palahniuk novels. As my independent studies sunk me deeper into a literary world, everything in my daily life took a new route. It was amazing to unveil all the subtle things I had bluntly ignored before.

I noticed how companies exaggerated and mislead the public on advertisements by cleverly wording certain phrases. My mother used polar statements to trick me into agreeing to things she wanted me to do: “Do you want to not visit Uncle Jimmy?” (Huh?). I hated that my school’s inadequate library carried books that were so horribly detailed in their plots that I wondered how on earth they got published in the first place. I noted how my physics textbook used metaphors to explain difficult concepts. History came to be just one long nonfiction story about important events.

On uneventful days, I’d write fictional stories and news articles, pretending to be the editor of a prestigious magazine. Later, I didn’t have to pretend. I had so many ideas built up inside and became an active contributor to online teen magazines. In my senior year (after transferring schools), I became the editor-in-chief for the school’s newsletter. Writing manifested to be my greatest passion.

I had forgotten what it was like to engage in creative activities outside of a suffocating environment. My new enthusiasm for learning left me with an aura of positivity that spread through my schoolwork and interactions with family and friends. It was at the end of this odyssey that I learned the importance of connecting my mind with the minds of others. It has given me the combination to the safe of life. If only the authors I've studied knew how much of a difference their writing has made in my life. I want the chance to impact someone else’s mind with my own literature.

As much as I loathed the obstinate school, I do not have any regrets about the experiences I went through. Each school year allowed me to mature into a rational thinking adolescent. Although I was not able to choose my dream high school, I am ultimately able to have the choice for my college academics. College is my gateway to finally doing what I want to do, because a college education isn’t simply learning a set of facts. You are your own person and must utilize skills that go beyond a textbook by learning to be resourceful and creative. Coming from a school where my cultivation was limited, I will certainly not take for granted the freedom and opportunities college can offer.





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