Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website

As I'm preparing to leave for school, I've had some time to contemplate my place in life - especially in regards to relationships with other people.  I'll just reflect on a few thoughts. 

According to what I have read, mangroves float out on the water, holding dirt from storms and sediment that their roots collect.  And sometimes, these mangroves are able to join together and create entire floating islands of mangroves. And then eventually by some force of nature, mangroves break off and float on their way again. 

Physically moving across the country, I feel like my own little island floating off, breaking off from a larger collective - though I suppose most of us are in the same boat, but I feel like my journey goes down a longer, lonelier path. But regardless, it seems that for the first while, I'll be leaving, but tendrils of leaves are still holding on, stretching out until they inevitably break from the tension.  And then I'm floating by myself, ready to join another island.  Of course those vines don't have to break - it's just that the knowledge that some of them will, and that others will be hard to maintain that gets to me sometimes.

I have many friends. Some friends are closer than others. Some seem like come and go friends. Others I feel like my roots are entwined with.  And many are somewhere in between.  I feel like a man falling off a cliff, grasping at anything he can hold on to - or at least that's how I'd imagine it in my mind's eye.  It's just figuring out what to grasp on to.  Maybe a better analogy is the man who catches 40 pounds of fish but can only carry 10 pounds home.  Here he is, grasping at all the fish flopping in his arms, trying to save as much as his catch as possible. But then there soon comes a point that in his struggle to grab as many fish as possible, he'll lose all of them.  And therin lies the dilemma. And to add on to that, there's another mile of river left, and the fisherman still has fish to catch.  Sometimes I think I have things figured out, but then everything is turned upside down.  But I suppose that's life. 

Another image in my head is that of a boat. And I'm going off across the ocean.  I'm trying to stay on land as much as possible, and as I'm leaving, I can't help but feel the need to see land, to feel that connection.  But inevitably I'm going to reach that point where all I see is water.

I suppose I've pretty much described the same feeling three different ways.  But there's hope yet! Returning to the same island; returning upstream to grab a second batch of fish; coming back to the mainland.  It's not impossible, but friendships and relationships take time and work.  And really deep relationships require personal interaction - which is hard to do over AIM or Facebook.  But if it's worth it, I'll do it.  Some fish are too precious to throw back in the water. 

December, here I come.
I got shot yesterday. Or rather, shots. 4 shots plus a 5th for a TB test. But that's not exactly the point.  For Cornell, I had to go get a physical, since my last one was too long ago to fill out the forms.  For various reasons, I wasn't able to get the 4 shots at my doctor's office, and we were told to go to a medical clinic.

Now I had never before been to a public medical clinic. I think when you hear medical clinic, there's a certain stigmatism attached to it, a negative connatation. It was a totally new experience for me, but it was something humbling at the same time. 

Walking into the clinic, it was very much different than the doctor's office.  The doctor's office had the receptionist at a window, some potted plants, soft chairs, a tv, various magazines, and toys for the kids.  The clinic was very different. Instead of a receptionist, there was...well I suppose a receptionist, but behind a glass window, like a ticketing counter.  There was no waiting area persay, but rather a row of plastic chairs along the long hallway which was the clinic.  Waiting over an hour for my name to be called, even though there were few people there, was a stark contrast to the few minutes it took at the doctor's office.  While I was waiting, I skimmed a faded lead posioning poster in english and spanish, from the county of Los Angeles. 

But regardless of all that, the nurse who gave me my injections was one of the nicest I've ever met. Know here's a person who has a mortal fear of needles, and needed to get 4 jabbed in me at once. She was very good at calming my fears, and she had a great sense of what she was doing. I'm sure she's had a lot of experience with a whole plethora of people.  At no point did I feel that she was exacerbated or bored or angry - she seemed to genuinely love what she did.  And I realize now that I don't even know her name.  Being a public clinic, the service was free (tax dollars at work!), and I'm sure she doesn't get paid as much as the same person who probably does less work and gets paid more at an expensive medical office. 

Getting to go to a medical clinic was not something I was looking forward to, but turned out to be a humbling experience.  I guess I'm pretty much used to calling the doctor to get an appointment, and going over there, and paying, when I need medical service.  But for those without insurance, they have to do what I did on a basis much more often.  Waiting in line for hours on end, in a hallway with fading public health posters.  And these are probably the people who most need that time to be at work to provide for their families.  Yes, the staff at the clinic were some of the kindest I've met in the medical field, yet I get the feeling that this speaks toward the health care system as a whole. Maybe it's broken, maybe it's not.  But the reality is that at the very least, it needs to be improved.  Whether that is moving everyone over to an insurance mandate, or providing public health service, I don't know.  But so many people criticizing reform are those who's exposure to health care was the same as mine - call up and make an appointment.  I'd like to see them wait hours to get an injection that would take about 15 minutes in a doctor's office - and then have them do that every time they need medical care.  And hopefully they'd realize something needs to be done too. 

Note - feel free to leave comments, ask me questions, etc (a more formal version of a - I'll try to answer some in mailbags on entries!) I'm not sure how I'm going to format this for today...

@virginia - thank you!!  you are wonderful too =)

@kevin - "Obama" refers a contest several students and I worked on to get President Obama to be our commencement speaker at graduation.  About 2 weeks worth of intense writing, brainstorming, and filming, in order to send our application to the White House. Unfortunately (and obviously), we didn't win, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience.

@esther - hahaha, yes I remember you licking all those envelopes! Thank you so much for all you did back then!!!

@priscilla - kicking chairs or kicking stands? haha. And don't feel like a stalker commenting...I really want comments. So I can this stuff! =]

@matigus - thanks man, I'm going to miss to you next year!
First, I think I will update the blog more often.  Or more likely, I will get myself my own paid website or a blog on wordpress. But anyhow, I've spent the last 6 months as a Senior in IB, watching the Winter Olympics, discovered 30 Rock, been on Twitter, applied to 11 colleges, built, done Books of Hope, and more.  Really, most of this is on Twitter. 

But anyways, I've been accepted to college, I'm going to college! UC Berkeley, as I found out in my interview today for the Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship.  I'll find out about the scholarship in a few weeks.  But that's just my little check in , I'll try to update this more often - writing every day will help me! So with that, I bid you goodnight as I attempt to finish my IB physics lab write up before morning. 

Yes! SAT's are done with, forever and ever.  Not that I'm done with College Board.  The horrid acron, the harbringer of stress and pain.  Wonderful slew of AP tests to take next year. 

I'm not sure what's worse.  That the basis of higher education in America seems almost totally reliant on a single corporation (well 2, there's the ACT.  But regionally, ACT is middle of the country, SAT is the coasts.  Not a huge amount of choice, espcially if you live in an area where SAT is 2 miles away, and ACT is 20.  Or vice versa.)  Or, that we have all accepted it for this many years. 

Now I understand that colleges like to have some sort of standardized way to compare students, but sometimes I feel the College Board keeps milking us for money.  When you get your answers, they tell you "Students with your score tend to gain __ points when they take it again."  Why not just say "Come take it again, so you can get a couple more points, and we can get a couple more dollars?"  At least it's truthful.  But then it's like - people take the ACT for other subjects?  Let's make subject tests!  Parents send younger kids to take the SAT?  why not make a special test for them, PSAT!  (I'm sure that these weren't the only reasons for making additional tests, but it seems like it to the unsuspecting test taker). 

Plus now, there's a whole industry of test prep books, classes, and more.  And yes, I've fallen into the trap, I have a stack of SAT prep books on my bookshelf.  Though I never really agreed with the SAT classes.  To me, it says that those who have money and can afford it get good SAT scores, and too bad for those who can't.  Should someone who can do more get some sort of reward compared to the person who pays their way?  Or the child who studies at home diligently compared to the one who paid a tutor to come?  Maybe, maybe not, it's not for me to decide how you should think.  Though it seems that if we can pay to get good SAT scores, then it defeats the purpose of the test.  We now have a Scholastic Aptitiude Test that measures neither Scholarship nor Aptitude.  Just test taking skills.  And our continual reliance on them to provide some "standardized comparison" seems biased, as there is no standardized basis in scholarship or aptitude if so many students' scores are determined by money.  The tests seem to promote, well test taking skills, and not actual knowledge.  So I ask is the benefit really worth it for a college to see that we know how to bubble in letters, and write a few paragraphs of meaningless lead marks in 25 minutes if all we're doing is throwing millions of dollars down the drain a year to one corporation that stands to profit from the millions of students who apply to college every year? 

I understand that College Board is a business, and needs to make a profit to survive.  Especially during this economy.  Though maybe not.  Since more people are applying to colleges to be more competitive in the job market, I bet there's an increase in SAT takers. 

I'd like to see, however, what would happen if students across America were to boycott one date of the SAT.  How would College Board respond?  How would the colleges and universities across America respond?  Maybe they wouldn't, knowing that we'd need to take them again the next month.  Or maybe they would stop a moment and use it as an opportunity to change the testing system into a fairer, less monopolitic one, not based on the wealth of the test takers, but the actual scholarship and aptitude of the students taking them.