I am more than a student.

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Five days out of the week, I wake up, go to school, come home, do homework, and collapse on the bed with weary eyes that have absorbed too much.

Two days out of the week I volunteer, take Sunday classes, go to mass, and prepare my mind for the next five days of brain-busting.

The vicious cycle repeats again and again. It’s a perpetual, taxing lemniscate of robotic actions and little creativity, only made bearable by the loneliness of humans who bear an identical cross.

I feel we all slightly lose ourselves in this lethargic daze of student life, yet we find ourselves there, too. We learn how we learn, how to learn. Through trial and error, we discover who we are, who we’re not, and what it’s going to take to be who we want to be. Slowly, the things that are important to us become buoyant while everything else drowns or drifts away, like sleeping otters who’ve unconsciously unclasped the hand of their partner.

 

But sometimes this frenzy of thought, this befuddling bubble of people pushing us in the direction they think we want to go in makes us believe we actually want to go there when our heart screams otherwise.

Sometimes I feel like life’s a hallway and our true selves are at the end of it, though we must go against the grain, swim against the rapid current of people and fight to not lose the ghost of ourselves in the crowd. We musn’t be distracted by the colorful doors or else we’d find a twisted version of ourselves and stamp our foreheads with “HAPPY” when we hesitantly embrace it.

This is, at least, what life feels like for me at the moment. This is probably an echo of what other students feel, though the fright of vulnerability has maybe replaced it with a more subdued version, a beach without waves.

Maybe it’s the time school occupies that makes us question its worth, or maybe it’s the forehead-creasing bafflement that forces devoted students to invest in grades, or maybe they’re both contributors to the depreciation of our true identity.

We lose ourselves in ranks, GPAs, or honor rolls, and forget that we are more than a number. We forget that grades do not define us. We forget that school is not a competition, but a vivacious opportunity to learn and grow.

We forget we are more than students.

As for me, I’ll try not to forget. I’ll write it in the condensation on mirrors from hot showers, I’ll spell it out in alphabet soup, I’ll even ink it in red on homework — but I won’t sacrifice my student days trying to outdo or prevent being outdone. Instead, I’ll devour knowledge until it devours me, until it blossoms into an earnest love for learning. I’ll create and fulfill my own definition of success. I’ll fight for the girl at the end of the hallway; she sees the my transparent ghost struggling and smiles at the thought of infusing it with color once it reaches her.

I  am more than a student, and the day I give up what I love to participate in this worldly race for “intelligence” will be the day I’ve lost.

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5 more brilliant new artists (PT 2)

A couple of days ago, I posted 10 brilliant new artists that’ll steal your heart PT 1 and promised five more that have stolen mine. Here they are, in 8…7…

6. THE CROOKES

Songs by The Crookes rocket me into space — their heavy electric guitar solos and steady percussions take a different route when paired with George Waite’s sultry, encompassing voice. The melancholy, almost lethargic quality of these British indie rockers make their songs perfect for reflection and as company on rainy days. Get lost in the depth of their music, blast them, and they’ll pretty much wiggle into your soul. PS: They’re all literature majors, meaning their lyrics are intimate, poetic, and … brilliant. And we all like intelligent British musicians, yes?

7. AIR REVIEW

For a second date, my boyfriend took me to an Air Review concert — let’s just say that was a stellar night. Air Review’s a quiet kind of band, scarcely advertised by the humble members that produce the mellow Indie music. Though they’re little known local Texans, they’re a gem with mind-blowing progressions, piano melodies, and hella soothing vocals. Their name matches their style: light to the ears but powerful and catchy as ever.

8. KIMBRA

No one understands the perfection of quirky Kimbra. No one. Despite her stranger-than-average (*Correction: better-than-average) music videos and chameleon hair colors, she remains incredibly classy and her vocal range grows with every new, upbeat pop tune. She overflows with passion, exuberance, and electricity, not to mention her songs will stick to your mind like clingy jellyfish. ALSO: She can dance. ~BONUS POINTS~

9. DELTA SPIRIT

This indie rock/alternative band is mad talented. The variations of their songs, strong instruments, and soothing, feel-good vibes never fail to send seizing chills through my bones. Close your eyes while you’re listening and you’ll see colors; open your heart to them and you might even shed a few tears. Their music is sweet, nostalgic, brilliantly composed, and lastly, highly recommended.

10. ONE NIGHT ONLY

Perhaps it’s the teenage girl in me but … *swoon.* These (*cough* BRITISH *cough*) rockers are charmers. Though their high-quality music and melodies are crisp and very 80s-rock inspired, the lead’s voice was what stole my heart. The frontman doesn’t lose his accent when he sings, and his pronunciation and gritty voice actually made me wish I had “One Night Only” with him… Kidding, kidding, ’twas only a pun. (Maybe) PS: This music video has Emma Watson in it. Watch for perfection overload.

…And that concludes it, hopefully you’ve enjoyed rocking out to these amazingly talented artists! Drop a comment and feel free to suggest, half of these were suggested to me by family and friends.Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you whenever inspiration smites. 

Advice for an older sibling, written by a younger sibling (7 year gap)

“A crisp day, isn’t it, Mr. Run?”

Yes! Indeed, it is most definitely a crisp winter day.  Did you hear that? A crisp WINTER day. Guess what guys, Christmas is approaching as quickly as a choo-choo train, fools!

I’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months –  a very fashionable, diamond encrusted rock, (my birthstone) that is – but a ROCK. A big old fat boulder.  I apologize.

The other week, I had a revelation while carefully shampooing my bird’s nest.  I always have these emotional episodes in the shower.  It’s just something about that cold water attacking you and stinging soap that makes you panic when it gets into your eye that just evokes so many cry-able moments.

You know, the best part about crying in the shower is that no one can see your tears! That quote was originally by Mr. Bean, (substitute “rain” for “shower”) the comedian.  How about that? Whoa there, paradox.

So, here’s the stitch:

I’m 14. My name is Kezi.

My sister, who I’m calling Cat, (an abbreviation of her middle name) is 21.

We’re 7 years apart! She’s graduated college. I’m a freshman in high school.

She left for college when I was starting 6th grade.

I probably love my sister more than anything in the entire world.  Although she’s been “missing” most of my life, she’s always been there!  I’ve been living both as a sibling and as an only child all these years.  Here are some tips I suggest for older siblings, because, believe it or not, Cat and I went through both good and bad times that may have changed our relationship forever.  So, grab your nacho bowl and donkey pinata and listen up, chicas.

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DO:

1.  SHARE THINGS WITH YOUR YOUNGER SIBLING.

Yes, no matter how old they are! Sometimes you’ll feel that your little sib can’t handle something because they’re too young.  And yes, sometimes, they ARE too young.  But please make sure to inform them of big (or what you feel are big) events in your life – like who you’re dating, how you feel about family problems, or simply keys to your personality.

Your younger sib, however squirmy or sassy they may be, most likely looks up to you.  A lot of their decisions in life will be based upon your judgement.  If your sib thinks of you as another god, it’s important to show some sensitivity.  This is especially important as they get older – the more you trust with them, the more they’ll open up to you.  This will create a sibling bond as strong as the shell of a cockroach! (For lack of a better simile)

2.  ENCOURAGE THEM TO TRY NEW THINGS.

This is so, so, so, SO important! Your sibling might be encouraging YOU to be the one to try new things, or they might be as close-minded as a person that only eats fat hamburgers.  If your sibling is the latter, try to persuade them (without forcing them) to BE DARING.  Here are some things my sister persuaded me to do:

-surf in the middle of the ocean

-ride this:

-eat seafood, including sushi

-learn how to skii and actually skii down the largest hill in the resort

-ride a jet skii

-play paintball

-Run for STUCO secretary, joing National Honor Society

-go horseback riding

-Jump off a platform 100 ft in the sky with only ropes to catch me when I fall

And so much more!

You see- my sister taught me I could do anything.  She is an amazing role model for being daring, adventurous, and living life the way it’s SUPPOSED to be lived.  Without her, I would’ve never done any of these things that made my life that much more interesting.

By encouraging your sib to do things out of the ordinary, not only will they have another thing to boast about, but they will most likely become a much more outgoing, social person.

3.  SHOW THEM YOU CARE ABOUT THEM.

Perhaps it’s just the needy younger sibling in me, but a little affection now and then really can’t hurt!

You don’t have to bake them cookies or flood them with kisses when you come home, but make sure you do simple things occasionally that show them that you care.

Growing up, my sister was really harsh on me, especially during her teenage years.  You would think that as I got older, I would realize that she isn’t a goddess and that I would be so fed up with the way she treats me.  Nope! I enjoy her company (however sassy she may be) much more than I dislike her attitude.  This is because, amidst the irritations she showed me, she was extremely thoughtful.

Examples:

She always helped me with my homework, even making flashcards and creating techniques for me to study better.

When something reminded her of me, she bought it happily.

One day, she spontaneously came home with bubble swords and we spent the day blowing bubbles bigger than our heads

I can easily say that the small things she’s done for me has kept me going.  If she had never showed a sensitive, fun, or caring side, (and I do feel terrible as I write this) – I would’ve given up on her a long time ago.  I would think of her maybe as an old, distant friend rather than a sibling.  You really don’t want your relationship to resort to that.

There are several other things you should do for your siblings, but to make this post shorter, here are the no-no’s!

NO-NO #1 –  TREAT YOUR SIBLING AS YOUR SLAVE

“Can you take this to the sink for me?”

“Can you read this book and summarize it for me?”

“OH YEAH . . . . I left my exotic bird, Quackers, at that resort we stayed at in Switzerland.  Next time you go out, can you bike over there and grab him for me?  Kay, thanks.”

Two ways your sib will react to this:

1)  ARE YOU CRAZY? I got stuff to do, places to be.  You may be older, but you aren’t the boss of this!!!
2)  Oh ok.  I get/do/sniff that for you :D

If your sib lashes out at you, then they’re probably acting accordingly if your request is . . . grand.  A multitude of small orders can also produce this same reaction.  Their respect for you will most likely drop.

For #2 – Alright.  So your sibling fulfills your every order.  It’s pleasant for you, but this can actually damage the self-confidence of your sibling.  However happy they may seem while serving you, later on, they will have issues saying “NO” and will become a doormat.  They may feel like that have to fulfill everyone else’s needs as well!!

NO-NO #2 –  POINT OUT THEIR FLAWS, OR COMMENT ON HOW THEY’RE CHANGING.

This is really more common in siblings with larger age gaps.  If the older sibling has been away for some time without seeing the younger sibling, naturally, they WILL change.  They aren’t going to be the little baby you saw at the hospital forever.

“You know, you’ve changed.  I can’t believe you went from being a girly-girl to someone that’s hardly a girl anymore.”

“Since when did you start wearing make-up?”

Comments like these, however harmless you may intend them to be, can really shut down your sibling’s confidence.  Friends’ comments can be shaken off, but if your sibling respects your opinion, they may feel as if they’re doing something wrong.  Remember how you changed personality and appearance wise as you grew up?  Well, the same thing is happening to them.

NO-NO #3 – COMPARE THEM TO YOU/MAKE THEM A CLONE OF YOU

“When I was your age, I was MAKING websites, not just looking at them for hours.”

“WOW, I was that size when I was 18 . . . . and you’re 15!”

 

Please, don’t do this!  Everyone evolves and discovers what they like at different ages and points in their lives.  If you have a large age difference, keep in mind that times have changed since you were their age.  Some things are harder, or easier, to accomplish.

You sibling most likely is compared to you by your relatives, family, and friends.  Even subtle comments from unsuspecting people can make your sibling think that they are dependent on YOU.  Example:

“Oh, so are you going to be a doctor like your brother?”

Once, my dad said to me, “When your sister was your age, she had much more friends than you did.”  Chances are, your sibling is compared enough to you by other people, and they really don’t need to hear it from you yourself.  Once again, this shuts down self-confidence.

 

I supposed that sums it up! I really hope that you can you these tips, or if you’re a younger sibling, you can relate.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to make more posts like this since I have a little too much free time! See you next time :D

 

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Cat (left) & I ♥