Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I'm Such A Teal...

If you read my post about the colors of leadership then I'm hoping this title rings a bell. If you haven't, I implore that you read it before continuing on. And because I'm such a nice person, I'll include a link to it:

Moving on.

Today was my StuCo banquet. As in my last event with the Liberty High School Student Council. EVER. Now, most people know me as a musical person. That one unathletic kid who plays the viola and recently joined choir. I'm going to let you in on a secret, though: StuCo is what turned me into who I am today.

Music made me a disciplined, patient, and slightly competitive person. And that's great.

StuCo, though... StuCo made me passionate, spontaneous, caring, organized, happy, loyal, timely, crazy (in a good way), friendly (sort of), outgoing, excited, empathetic, harmonious, negotiable, serene, calm, and a million other things. The result of 5 years of blood (I've bled for StuCo on a number of occasions), sweat (it's quite the workout), and tears (manly tears) with some of the most outgoing people (both my StuCo family at home and my MASC family in Fulton) have molded me into a person that, after a lot of soul searching over the past year, I've decided I kind of like.

As a Sophomore on StuCo I was the little kid. I was a small person in a big school and I wasn't too outgoing. I did what I had to to get by. I didn't join Student Council again because I wanted to make a difference. I joined Student Council because I had done it before and it was something familiar. Sophomore year was also the year that I had mono. I wasn't at school very often (I missed 1 out of every 9 or 10 days on average) and I didn't go to a whole lot of events. The events I did go to were fun, though.

As a Junior representative on StuCo I had to put my nose to the grind stone. There was one dreadful word that makes all Juniors on StuCo cringe: Prom. Prom is your job junior year. And dang if it isn't a stressful one. Your whole goal is to throw a dance that the senior class will never forget. It wasn't necessarily fun at first... but then I went to the Missouri Association of Student Councils State Convention.Wow. My eyes were opened. I had heard of MASC before, but I didn't know exactly how amazing it was.

MASC is crazy, loud, exciting, a rush, fun, insane, familial. MASC is home to me. Some of my favorite people in the whole world are people that I met at MASC. Once the festivities of prom (and I use the term "festivities" lightly) were over, I was off to MASC's Summer Workshop in Fulton, Missouri. It was part of the requirements for my newly acquired office (Student Body Vice-Presient... holla!) StuCo camp was literally the best week of my life... and I'll be surprised if I ever have a week that can top it.

Senior year StuCo. I'm the vice-president of the whole Liberty High School student body (granted I ran unopposed...). I have HUGE shoes to fill and a new calendar to maintain. Memories of camp with Family K (my camp council) are still very much vibrant and running through my head. I am now one of the people in charge on StuCo, instead of being one of the people being told what to do. The 2012-2013 StuCo is by far my absolute favorite. It's a year of firsts (our first StuCo lock-in, our first Stu-Co banquet, etc.). We hit the ground running, and the hard work didn't stop until today when our final banquet was over. I teared up a little bit, I'll admit. This year StuCo was emotionally exhausting in the best way possible. I've never been more proud than I was this year when I watched all of my StuCo family develop both as a group and as individuals. What's more is that I got to see my MASC family again at Winter Energizer during the Martin Luther King weekend. This year was a year full of group success and individual success. Group success because our StuCo bonded, we put on 3 killer dances, a ton of community service projects and we had fun doing it. Individual succcess because I managed to tackle Spike-It-Up without having a conniption and I get to go back to MASC Summer Workshop as a junior counselor, which I currently consider my biggest life accomplishment (even ranked over finishing 8th in the state on viola).

I don't think there's a thing about high school that I will miss more than StuCo. I wish I could be a part of it forever, but that chapter of my life is finished and it's time to pass on the torch. I love every single person on StuCo more than I can describe with words, and I can't wait to see them tackle challenges that life throws them and climb mountains that stand in their way. I am so indescribably proud of the StuCo that I was blessed enough to be a part of for 3 years, and knowing that my time with them is done kills me.

It may seem selfish, but I hope that in some way I managed to immortalize myself in Student Council. I hope the class of 2013 StuCo members managed to do something that will forever be remembered by every StuCo that comes after ours.

I hope we made a difference.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Graduating with Spongebob Squarepants

I had to write a graduation speech for Comm. Arts... Enjoy.

Throughout my life, I have had many learning experiences. For example: It’s never a good idea to drink apple juice right after you brush your teeth (for the record, I hate orange juice). Fedoras will never be in style. It’s perfectly okay to wait to do an assignment until the night before it’s due. If you have to choose between doing your school work and getting on Twitter… well 4000 tweets later and you should be able to admit that you have a problem. My name is Tyler and I am a tweet-a-holic. If you would like to sponsor me please let me know. If you leave a Lego on the floor and step on it, you will be in pain. Likewise, if you leave a Lego on the floor and your parents step on it you will be grounded.
                There are a lot of lessons I learned in my childhood, but some of the most important lessons came from my childhood hero… Spongebob Squarepants. This little sponge practically defined the meaning of life. Without Spongebob I never would have learned that the best time to wear a striped sweater is, conveniently, all the time! The Krusty Krab pizza is indeed the pizza for both you and me and mayonnaise is not an instrument*mind blown gesture.* But there are five very important lessons that Spongebob and company taught me that have been able get me through high school:

1.       Pursue your goals with enthusiasm. When Spongebob and Patrick wanted to be entrepreneurs did they let anything get in their way? No. They sold their chocolate bars with their eyes on a prize: Fancy living. Nothing could stop. If you have a goal don’t let anything stop you from going after it. Former football coach and motivational speaker Lou Holtz once said: ““If you're bored with life, if you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things, you don't have enough goals.” High School has taught me that life is much more enjoyable if you wake up every day and tell yourself, like Spongebob, “I’m ready.”
       You don’t have to be what everyone expects you to be. My spirit animal, Gary the Snail, once said: “Meow…” I’ll just let that sink in. We live in a society where people want to turn you into something. There’s no rule that says you have to let them. If Sandy Cheeks conformed to society would she be living in a dome underwater? No. She’s a squirrel. Coincidentally she’s also a woman who is a rocket scientist and a karate master. Spongebob and company taught me that it’s perfectly okay to be an un-athletic male in a society obsessed with sports. Perfectly fine. Not one thing is wrong with that scenario. Everyone has the right to be the person that they want to be. Except for Jack the Ripper.
            Don’t take things for granted. The world is not obligated to hand you your life on a silver platter. If you expect the world to be spoon fed to you, you are sorely mistaken. If you expect life to be spoon fed to you while saying “open the tunnel, here comes the train!” you are sorely immature… and still mistaken. The fact is that sometimes your neighbor / co-worker annoys you. They like to sing songs and interrupt your clarinet playing. They’re kind of loud and obnoxious. But when you find out that they might have swallowed an explosive pie you realize you took that person for granted. You are going to miss that person. While we might not realize it now, there are things about high school that we are going to miss. It varies from person to person. Don’t wait to appreciate the things you have until after they’ve ingested an explosive pie.
             Your friends are important. Every Spongebob needs a Patrick. Who else is going to go Jellyfishing with you? Who else will blow bubbles with you? Once upon a time Spongebob asked Patrick “What do you normally do when I’m gone?” To which Patrick replied “Wait for you to get back.” That’s beautiful. If there’s one thing that Spongebob taught me that has helped me survive the occasionally hellish world of public high school, it’s that you should be able to lean on your friends. More importantly you should be able to have fun with your friends. High school was a lot easier when you were having fun.
            If you have a passion you need to go for it.  Squidward plays his clarinet. Sandy is a rocket scientist karate master. Mr. Krabs is a cheapskate. Spongebob does karate, fry cooking, jelly fishing, the occasional song, laughing, nose-fluteplaying, weight lifting when he had those blow up muscle arm things that I wish I had, driving (kind of), and his love for Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. Everyone minus Lindsay Lohan has the right to be passionate about something (as long as that passion isn’t collecting your nail clippings, streaking, veganism, or a dedication to bad personal hygiene). If you love it go for it. If you want it you need to go out and get it, because good things don’t come to those who wait. Good things come to people who get off their butts and chase after them… unless you count excessive amounts of cholesterol as a “good thing.” Then by all means, sit there and wait.

 High school is a government mandate that occasionally drives you crazy… just like sales tax. However, unlike taxes, high school was, hopefully, good for you and a learning experience. Hopefully you will walk across that stage, diploma in hand (unless you didn’t pay those parking tickets or library fines) and feel like you have accomplished something. As young adults I think that sometimes we forget that this is the end of a chapter, and the novel of our lives is still very much in the beginning part of the story. The best part is that you’re the author. Write the story that you would want to tell (and try not to base it off of the life of Amanda Bynes or Charlie Sheen). There’s a whole world out there that you haven’t seen yet. So as the random pirate picture on the wall would say… are ya’ ready kids?