On Success

I saw a tweet the other day that said something like “It’s so refreshing to see people that aren’t young hitting it big and achieving their dreams” and honestly, I could relate.

Books and movies make it seem like if your dreams don’t come true by a certain age, it’ll never happen. As if there’s an expiry date on success.

The amount of stress this causes is unreal. We feel like we’re running out of time to make something of ourselves with every second that passes by.

But who can say when life will go your way? How can you know how many times you’ll fail before your chance comes along?

Alan Rickman, the man we all love to hate as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movie franchise, only got his big break, as the villain in Die Hard, at age 46! What if he’d given up on acting? What if he’d decided he was too old to get anywhere with his career? I have serious doubts about anyone else’s ability to bring Snape to life the way Rickman did, may he rest in peace.

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Arguably the most iconic actor of all time, Morgan Freeman, scored his biggest role in Driving Miss Daisy. He was 52 years old at the time.

Teenagers and young adults are not the only ones who get to be successful. There is not a limit on who can and cannot be good at something, and life doesn’t always play fair.

Life doesn’t always go according to plan and sometimes dreams get pushed aside for a few years while you work on other, just as important goals. But life also has a funny way of working itself out. Success is success, no matter how old you are when you get it.

Radeeyah

 

Classroom Etiquette

Honestly, I am not the world’s best student. I mess around during class sometimes and I don’t always do my homework and I’ve been known to make it quite clear when I’m in a bad mood. But, I do try to be as respectful and polite to my teachers as I can.

Teachers do not have the easiest job in the world, and they do not need students making their lives even more difficult. They spend all day explaining lessons to students who don’t want to learn from them and then spend their free time working up lesson plans and tests for later on. Their workloads are quite heavy and in many schools they are not paid as much as they deserve to be paid.

There are two types of teachers: the ones who chose to be teachers and the ones who got stuck being teachers.

The former are usually better teachers than the latter. They’re more dedicated, they’re more interested, and they’re easier to learn from because they actually want to be teaching.

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This does not mean that the latter group deserves less respect! You do not have to like every single teacher you have, but at the very least you should respect the work that they do.

In religions and cultures all over the world, teachers are extremely valued in society. They are the ones that shape us, that carve out our futures. Other than this, they are human beings that deserve as much respect as you would give to anyone else.

Every teacher is someone’s parent, someone’s sibling, someone’s child. They have families who care about them just like you do. How would you react to someone disrespecting your mother? Your brother?

The treatment of teachers in today’s society has become shameful. I grew up with kids who aspired to become teachers. They’ve changed their minds because they see the way students treat teachers and don’t want to put themselves through that.

But where would the world be without teachers? Three of the world’s greatest philosophers (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) were students of each other. Bill Gates, before dropping out of Harvard, was taught by someone who likely contributed to his ambition.

Teachers play one of the most important roles in our lives, and they deserve more respect, more recognition for their work.

 

Jokes

In my group of friends, it seems like everyone is always competing to be the funniest. Someone is always trying to work the latest meme into our conversations or make the most relatable joke.

A lot of the time, the joke comes out racist or sexist and I’m caught between speaking out or letting it slide. I feel like it is my duty as a decent human being to shoot down behavior like that but nobody wants to be ‘that kid’, the one nobody wants to hang out with for fear of getting scolded.

I shouldn’t have to make that decision though. Insensitive jokes should never be made in the first place. I shouldn’t be put in that position.

Sometimes I choose to let it slide because I know the person behind the joke is a good person at heart. This does not, by any means, excuse the joke. It was still wrong to say.

People who make insensitive jokes should not be enabled. We should not laugh. We should not brush it off as though it won’t happen again. We need to stand up and make it stop. It’s the only way we’ll ever see real change.

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Jokes about serious issues are not funny. Jokes lead to the devaluation of these issues. Society starts to believe that the problem isn’t as big as we make it seem. Rapists are let off the hook. Hate crimes are excused. People get hurt and nobody gives them justice.

Good people make bad decisions. A hurtful joke happens once or twice. If the person is educated on the issue and still continues to devalue it, maybe they’re not that good of a person.

I’ve started to speak up. I decided that I don’t care if people stop inviting me out. It’s more important for me to stand up to what’s wrong than to be part of the ‘cool group’.

I don’t want to be friends with someone who thinks it’s funny to make light of serious, pressing problems. I don’t want to associate with someone who thinks people’s pain makes a good subject for a joke, and you shouldn’t either.

 

Choices

Our choices do not define us, but they do shape us. Whether they were good or bad, they taught us something and that lesson is why we are who we are.

 
Speaking to a friend of mine, the conversation soon got deeper than we intended and he posed a question: would our morals still be the same if the environment we grew up in had been different?
 
I’d like to say yes. I like to think that I’d still believe the things I believe even if my life and experiences had been different. I like to imagine that I’d still make the same choices and have the same priorities.
 
Although the truth is that they might not be. If I’d grown up surrounded by murder and thievery, I might think that sort of behavior is okay. If I were raised to believe that racism and sexism and other forms of discrimination are normal, I might believe that it is.
 
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There are stories of people who grew up in a bad environment and decided that they want to be different. It is possible to become someone other than the role models you had as a child, you just have to want it enough.
 
That prompts another question: is it possible for people to change? Some people believe that who we are is engrained in us so deeply that it can never be uprooted. Others believe that people really are capable of change, depending on the circumstance.
 
I’m actually not sure what I believe. Maybe what we believe can be changed, but the way we act on these beliefs cannot. Maybe it depends on the person: some people can change, but some are too stuck in their ways.
 
Sometimes we have thoughts like this. Usually late at night when we’re the only ones awake or in the shower early in the morning. But they leave a funny effect on you, since absolutely nobody can answer the but you.