Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

16 random mistakes I made and the lessons I learned

I’m not perfect. No one is, trust me.

I was assigned one hour to write about a time I made a mistake, and I will sheepishly admit that I had to waste time thinking about a time when I made a true mistake. This is not out of haughtiness, rather, I spend an inordinate chunk of my daily life ensuring that I don’t mess anything up. Call it chronic perfectionism, a flaw in and of itself, anxiety, or perhaps rigid meticulousness.

Inside, however, I know I have made many mistakes throughout my life. While I do not currently have any notable regrets in my eighteen years on Earth, here are some examples of times I know I messed up.

Mistake #1

I almost hit a motorcycle my first time driving to school.

What I learned: Don’t always listen to the person next to you and make sure to look before you change lanes.

Mistake #2

I mixed up the gas pedal and brake (You may reconsider getting in a car with me….).

What I learned: You may not be safe from crazy drivers like me, even in innocent parking lots.

Courtesy of Gurl.com

Courtesy of Gurl.com

Mistake #3

I have false hope about a lot of things.

What I learned: This is often a side effect of the “go big or go home” mentality. You know what they say, shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will get sucked into a black hole of despair. Something like that.

Courtesy of Bust.com

Courtesy of Bust.com

Mistake #4

I used to cut up my clothes to make new fashionable looks.

What I learned: Children are creative creatures and my mom was incredibly patient during my art escapades.

Courtesy of Buzzfeed

Courtesy of Buzzfeed

Mistake #5

When people would tell me that they have a problem/issue, I would not always take it to heart.

What I learned: You don’t have to be a sponge that soaks up people’s moodiness, but if someone says they are bonkers, avoid them, and if someone wants sympathy, just give it.

Courtesy of Zimbio.com

Courtesy of Zimbio.com

Mistake #6

I talked myself out of my STEM passions because I was afraid the abundance of men would be too intimidating.

What I learned: I am pretty intimidating myself, and not everyone is out to wage a gender war. Most students just want to build things and pass their classes, not discourage people from pursuing their dreams.

Courtesy of Huffington Post

Courtesy of Huffington Post

Mistake #7

I let flattery get the best of me.

What I learned: From personal relationships to college counselors to seedy folks, many people want things from you. Compliments are fine; but falling for sequential and deceptive falseness does nothing for you. The biggest flatterer in your life should undoubtedly be yourself.

Courtesy of Giphy

Courtesy of Giphy

Mistake #8

I want my life to be planned to the “T.”

What I learned: Plans and people change constantly. Fear is innate. Let things go.

Courtesy of CinemaBlend.com

Courtesy of CinemaBlend.com

Mistake #9

I believe some things last forever.

What I learned: Nothing lasts forever. Life, roses, pastries, love, friendship, movies… they are all terminal. Enjoy what you have while you have it, because forever and always is simply an empty lie.

tswift

Mistake #10

Dependency.

Avoid whatever enables you to stray from who you are in all circumstances.

Courtesy of Tumblr

Courtesy of Tumblr

Mistake #11

Apathy. 

EVERYTHING matters a little bit. You deserve attention, but don’t miss opportunities. If you are considering not trying too hard to achieve something, reevaluate why you are in the position of the challenge in the first place. Perhaps you are not striving because you do not want it. If you do not want it, leave it.

Mistake #12

Not getting involved in dual enrollment sooner. 

What I learned: Some of you may know that I have been homeschooled since 2nd grade. My social abilities are fine, but you do learn a lot of lessons in the school environment. I would definitely have started dual enrolling at community college full time in junior year if I had known how great it would be.

Mistake #13

Stressing over college.

What I learned: I applied to 8 colleges and eight additional honors college programs. I was flat out rejected from two schools and waitlisted at another. In many of the honors college programs I was waitlisted, and after my hands cramped up from writing essays and I stressed over packing for scholarship weekends, I discovered that I did not belong in Harvard or Duke’s class, but rather, at a public school’s. I have been thinking about college since 7th grade and spent so many hours reading essay-writing books and studying for the SAT. It did not hurt me, but I did not enjoy high school as much as I could have.

Courtesy of HerCampus.com

Courtesy of HerCampus.com

Mistake #14

Allowing other people to change how I felt about my body.

What I learned: It’s the same story as everyone else’s: girl is confident, girl sees skinnier girls, girl loses confidence, girl eats less and exercises more and runs a dark streak through her formative tweenage years. Now, I eat cheesecake. I eat fries. If anyone truly cares about how much I weigh less than I do I would be extremely shocked.

Courtesy of HelloGiggles.com

Courtesy of HelloGiggles.com

Mistake #15

I felt guilty about not having a boyfriend during most of my teen years.

What I learned: The last thing a stressed 14-year-old with zits and plummeting self-confidence needs is a boyfriend to attempt (and probably fail) to impress. I write boss stories, belch loudly, don’t curl my hair, dance like Beyonce, and watch football every weekend. I would not be me if my favorite habits were squelched by some outside influence for yeeeeears.

Mistake #16

Not being YOLO enough.

What I learned: Zac Efron has a “YOLO” tattoo and I try to live by the #YOLO mentality. Coincidence? I think not.

Courtesy of funnygirls-help.tumblr.com

Courtesy of funnygirls-help.tumblr.com

There you have it, internet: 16 random and not-so-shameful mistakes and the decently insightful lessons I learned from making them. Now, it’s your turn. What is your biggest mistake? Leave a comment if you are feeling zesty.

 

Affirmative Action is Not Just Black and White

1/16. A number. A legal number. I am Native American.

De jure: slash a pumpkin pie into sixteen pieces and shove down a cold, cloying slice. Schrodinger’s cat purrs: I am one of them, yet not. Check the box: I’m in. Leave it blank: I’m out. My hand quivers over the keyboard. De facto: white, def. “The absence of color.” My hand grasps the mouse and scrolls, leaving the box absent of an incorrect smudge. I am not Native American.

At times, affirmative action, or utilizing it to circumvent unjustifiable scrutiny, appears systematic. Some students assume that if they report that they are a member of a minority group to prestigious institutions their qualifications will skyrocket over the balding heads of admissions counselors. Affirmative action is used by many colleges and workplaces to ensure equal access to resources, and potentially eradicate interracial and inter-gender discrimination. Since the desegregation of public schools, social justice in education has been at the forefront of our minds and policies. What’s wrong with that?

Photo courtesy of the Public Domain

Photo courtesy of the Public Domain

In many cases, people may self-identify as a minority in hopes of having a statistically better chance of receiving admission or a job offer. It is unethical, but not uncommon. So we attack the system because it has a crack that greed and immorality has so abruptly wrenched open, one that is seductive in its promise of prestige, yet disturbing in its existence. Must we deem affirmative action to be too easily manipulated, when its benefits are tangibly beautiful, like wildflowers blossoming under our heavy heels?

We all benefit from affirmative action; for example, I attend an extremely diverse school in Orlando, in which I am a minority, and I have learned through both personal experience and observation that having preconceived notions about people is a waste of time. Our races do not dictate our thought patterns, however, we oftentimes we do all share common speech patterns, languages, privileges, and disadvantages based on our genders and ethnicity. Yet it is these subtle variations, the plights we may have faced, that enhance our conversations among people who do not share our backgrounds. I have friends of many different faiths, from different countries, and who possess Spanish, French, and other accented tongues, and in many ways I am happy that my interpersonal educational experience is shaped by what they say. School becomes a microcosm of the world, and ethnocentrism is abolished in favor of friendly cultural relativism and global perspectives.

A fine example of affirmative action at its most effective is at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The gender breakdown is roughly 50/50, which is unheard of for an American tech school, and the racial pie chart is relatively well split among ethnic groups. Some claim that it is “easier to get into” the school with an already abysmal acceptance rate because of this difference distribution. Instead, most should view the school as the “perfect society,” a Utopian concept where the tech world is equally shared among groups, who all share the common spirit of innovation, yet the differing mindsets of people across the globe.

Diversity in educational settings is critical to establishing a culturally-sensitive mind, however, this still is not enough to defend affirmative action for the more disgruntled members of the conversation. One must look at the benefits beyond the conceivable: America was built by people with one common goal: dreams. We believe in the pursuit of happiness, yet, not everyone is able to get past the social and socioeconomic barriers to obtain the one thing that holds the nation together. Once we are here, we deserve freedom. I am a firm believer in the concept of hard work, and that no matter one’s background, one can aspire and gain anything. Yet, this is idealistic. Judgment and setbacks still exist through policy and groupthink, and one cannot underestimate the power of social sanctions in our society. It is harder if you are a minority, a woman, or of a not “privileged” group. But, affirmative action is not meant to “cut a break” for racial minority groups, international students, or even women and men. It is designed to propel people to government positions, CEO statuses, and financial power, so that more people of historically underrepresented groups may have voices to look up to and incentives to shoot for the stars.

I see it every day: my face lit up when I heard about women in the business and technology spheres. I get goosebumps when I imagine a female president. And whether or not I agree with President Obama’s stances, I still watched his inauguration with awe at history unfolding right before America’s eyes, for better or for worse.

Affirmative action could be renamed to aspiration action. We want everyone in the country to simply aspire. With an aspiration, one will work. With work, one will shake the world and bring up those who do not feel strong enough to give it a shot.

Policies are rarely black and white, or Hispanic or Asian. They are one thing alone: American.

1/16. A number. A legal number. I don’t check the box – I only check the truth: white. If my seat disappears to someone equally qualified, who is a more meaningful 1/16 or higher, I will smile. I am not a victim of affirmative action. They are a winner of aspiration action. And I am ready for them to inspire globalism and a special kind of education: people education, where we learn that there is not a majority or minority. Not in this country, one that was designed to be a melting pot. This is America. This is our chance to create a nearly unbiased society, where free access means recognizing privilege, and actively contributing toward its equalization for all members.

What is your opinion of affirmative action? Leave a comment below. 

 

Happy Birthday, Miss

*insert greeting in any language here, and a kind gesture to welcome you with positivity and happiness*

I am writing to tell you that Miss Musings is a year old. In April, she was born – I stare at a picture of an overexcited child screaming of social media strategies and content ideas. As she aged, she became a bit more quiet and settled into a gentle weekly, and eventually monthly, rhythm. I kindled her spirits and sought her voice in post after post, and received few comments but (mostly) kind reactions to her smiling face. “What a cute blog you have there, Sam. She’ll be Mrs. Musings before you know it.”

Courtesy of the Public Domain.

Courtesy of the Public Domain

Since M2 is a year old, that means I am a year older – and boy, what a year. From April 2014 to April 2015, I have:

  • Changed my career path (several times) ((constantly in flux))
  • Written stories I am proud of
  • Believed in myself
  • Found art in unexpected forms
  • Watched more football than I care to share
  • Applied to college, was accepted to five great schools, and chosen where I will shake the world for the next four years
  • Competed, and lost
  • Competed, and won
  • Met my best friend
  • Fallen in love with said best friend
  • Inspired myself
  • Went to prom
  • Cried, talked, and laughed myself to sleep
  • Discovered that I am exactly who I want to be, and who I always aspired to be
  • Spoke without shaking
  • Did some research (or at least gave it my best shot)
  • Lived away from home
  • Eliminated toxicity from my heart and my mind
  • Pinpointed and began coping with a dreadful case of worry
  • Stayed fitfully curious
  • Found my heart in New York
  • Helped someone who was hurting
  • Was helped when I was hurting
  • Felt accepted
  • Accepted others in full
  • Found beauty in the little things
  • Cultivated my passion for human rights, feminism, and domestic politics
  • Learned to never apologize
  • Learned to never be afraid
  • Never, ever, gave up

 

What have you done this past year? Let me know where you have been, what you have done, or who you have become.

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