The Importance of Pets

 
I’ve grown up with cats. I was born into a house with a cat, and I’ll likely die in one. I’ve also had some hamsters and turtles, but cats are my family’s animal. The longest I’ve ever been without a pet is only around two years, three at the most.

Having a pet has had a huge effect on the type of person I am today. I learned responsibility, sympathy, and kindness from my animals  and caring for them.

I’m pretty sure almost every kid begs for a pet and is told no, unless they promise to care for it. That’s exactly what my parents told me when I asked for a hamster, and they made sure I stuck to my promise.

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I had to clean out the cage at least once a week and make sure the hamsters were fed and watered every morning and evening. Because I was still a kid, my parents helped me out and reminded me to keep tabs on my pets, but overall it was my job. I learned a lot about responsibility from those hamsters, even if they actually didn’t live their full lives.

It has actually been scientifically proven that playing with cats and dogs decreases stress and blood pressure, which is extremely helpful now in my stress-filled teen years.

Children who grow up with active pets, like dogs, are more likely to play outside and be active. This definitely contributes to better health.

Growing up around animal fur makes a child more tolerant to seasonal allergies and asthma. They’re healthier and require less doctor’s visits.

Any kind of pet can be man’s best friend. I have no idea what I’d do without my cats and I know people who’d be lost without their dogs or birds.

Clearly, I am an advocate for getting a child a pet. I could sit here all day and list the benefits of having pets. The pros far outweigh the cons in this situation, I think.

Is Shakespeare Still Relevant?

As I type this title, English teachers all over the world prepare to defend one of the legends of the literature world. Shakespeare’s work might’ve been great 400 years ago, but does it still matter today?

The answer, my friends, is yes.

I enjoy reading Shakespeare as little as any high schooler, but I cannot deny the effect his work has had on literature and pop culture as a whole, and language in particular.

Romeo and Juliet, one of the most popular plays of all time, has inspired many, many movies and books. West Side Story, Gnomeo and Juliet, and others all play on the star-crossed lovers trope made popular by Shakespeare.

The themes used in Shakespeare plays are universal. He worked with themes like love, power, war, and family, themes that everyone can relate to. In addition, the themes are interpreted differently by everyone. No two people will interpret a Shakespeare play in the same way.

Shakespeare invented over 3000 words, some of which we still use today. Ordinary words, like ‘bedroom’ and ‘uncomfortable’ are words whose creation is attributed to William Shakespeare himself.

pexels-photo-18953225 of Uranus’s 27 moons are named after some of Shakespeare’s characters:

Titania, Oberon, and Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ariel, Miranda, Caliban, Sycorax, Prospero, Setebos, Stephano, Trinculo, Francisco, and Ferdinand from The Tempest. Cordelia from King Lear and Ophelia from Hamlet. Bianca from The Taming of the Shrew, Cressida from Troilus and Cressida, and Desdemona from Othello. Juliet and Mab from Romeo and Juliet. Portia from The Merchant of Venice and Rosalind from As You Like It. Margaret from Much Ado About Nothing, Perdita from The Winter’s Tale, and Cupid from Timon of Athens.

The one thing I do have a problem with, though, are the characters. A lot of the females are weak and submissive and a lot of the males are power-hungry and controlling. These are not characters I want to be reading about, nor would I want my children to.

Regardless of my personal opinion of Shakespeare and his work, an undeniable fact is that he has had a major ongoing impact on today’s world. Maybe we can all learn something from him.

E-Book Textbooks

Exam season! The time for stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness. I’ve got to start studying this weekend so I had to lug all of my textbooks home. My teachers were so shocked at the weight of my bag, as if each textbook doesn’t weigh a ton.

I understand the need for textbooks, okay? I know they’re important, and I understand why they’re so heavy. We have so much stuff to learn they couldn’t possibly make a textbook that isn’t heavy, unless the writing is miniscule.

Of course, publishers could print multiple volumes of a textbook, but that just becomes cumbersome and adds unneeded responsibility on the student.

Rather, the solution should be ebooks.

At enrollment, parents can choose whether they want to pay for all the needed textbooks in print or in e-book version.

The school could provide students with e-readers instead of iPads or similar tablets to minimize unwanted, distracting activity. Or, the student could bring their own e-reader if they already have one.

The school would still make money from selling e-readers and e-books, albeit a little bit less. Families would save a lot of money on unnescearily expensive textbooks. Students would be spared the agony of carting textbooks to and from school and classes. Most of all, it’s much more environmentally friendly.

Many schools in my area have started transitioning to e-books. They atarted with one or two at first, but eventually just transferred all the books.

My school is a little less progressive. We still use regular old paper and ink. If a student manages to find an online version of the textbook, he or she is allowed to bring their iPad to class, but the school does not sell e-books.

This is slightly better than schools where the only thing they’re allowed to use is the textbook administered by the school.

But why not move over to e-books? They’re much more affordable, they’re portable, students are able to carry all their books at once, etc. The pros greatly outweigh the cons in this case, if you ask me.

Effort and School Projects

I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, but I like things done correctly. When I do things, I like to do them right, and I’ll sometimes spend hours on simple tasks just to do them as well as I can.

As a result, I can turn in projects that I spent hours on. They’re neat and well organized and extremely creative. But nobody grades you on how pretty your work is, just on whether all the information you need to know is shown in your project.

Admittedly, this is a fault of the education system, the system that seeks to drain us of all individuality and creativity.

I’ve found that it is easier to do a simple Powerpoint presentation that takes me 20 minutes and contains all the information the teacher asks for than to go all out on a project that ends up being completely stunning.

In the end, whether I do a 20-minute Powerpoint or a 3D model of a cell, I can only get a certain grade, and I’ll only get this grade if I have all the information the teacher asks for.

Creativity in school work is not valued. When I was a kid, teachers would award one or two marks for creativity, but this gradually slowed to a stop.

photo-1452860606245-08befc0ff44bThe saddest thing is that it’s fun for me to do school projects where I get to do something out of the box that nobody would expect. I love thinking up new ways to approach a problem and display my results.

But it’s just not worth the extra effort. I could spend that time studying for a test I absolutely need to pass or spending time with my family.

If I were guaranteed recognition and rewards for my work, I’d gladly put in the effort. Every project would be like my life’s work. But I don’t and so it’s not.