Saturday, May 12, 2012

some updates

I spoke at the Mashable Connect Conference in Orlando, Florida, recently--you can check out my speech, and the accompanying article (which has already gotten hundreds of tweets, amazingly!) here:

Also while in Florida, I had the chance to meet Dave Finnigan, the legendary juggler (author of several books on the topic, and founder of a non-profit, "Juggling for Success," which teaches young people important life skills through juggling). He taught me how to juggle, a first for me, and we also discussed his new program, "Climate Change is Elementary"! It's an awesome non-profit which brings compelling, interactive education on the issue of climate change to elementary school students. One of my favorite things is that it really empowers students--to learn about something in an active way (the program doesn't use slides and a lecture, but rather interactive movement and modeling), and to become activists. I love this approach and encourage you all to check out the website: and encourage your local schools to check it out! They're also hoping to partner soon with the Earth Island Institute, another great organization.

Furthermore, I finished my first AP tests this week--AP Art History (the hardest, and most epic one), AP English Literature and Composition (I thought it was going to be quite arduous when I started going through my massive stack of flashcards and saw words like "polysyndeton" and "epistrophe," but it was actually pretty manageable), and AP US History (my studying was a little last-minute, so I'm unsure, but I felt fairly good with most of the content). I feel like CollegeBoard makes way too much money off these exams--and is a little hyper active about test security--but I think it is cool that we high school students have an opportunity to get college credit, and do college-level work, in high school. Your thoughts on AP's and standardized testing?

Hope all you youth writers think of contributing to my writing blog,, and the education reform discussion on The Student Union: See you all with some more posts in the summer! :) (or sooner)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

on being overly apologetic

I never thought I had a problem with saying "Sorry" until I apologized to a chair.
"Sorry!" I gasped as I barreled past, almost knocking it to the floor. "I mean--nothing--chair--" and then I stopped talking, because I realized I looked like a big enough fool already.

But this issue of over-apologetic-ness has come to a point where even my biology teacher told me to "stop saying sorry!" Apparently, now that I'm aware of the word, I use it everywhere. I say, "Sorry" when I'm beginning to ask a question to a busy person, "Sorry" after a near-miss collision in the school hallway, "Sorry" to car drivers who patiently wait for me to run across the street (even though they probably can't hear me mumble)...all this despite the fact that, really, I've done nothing wrong.

With this unnecessary use of the word you might think that I'm an awesome apologizer (which, by the way, is not a word, though it totally should be). Not true. I can't remember the last time I apologized without the strange habit of crossing my fingers to invalidate it (blame it on a childhood filled with perceived injustices in sibling disputes, alright?)

So yeah, I really have a problem with the word "Sorry."