May 21, 2021
April 27, 2021
March 24, 2021
December 16, 2020
November 18, 2020
Let’s Talk About the Rocket
May 21, 2021
By Jana Badawy, Grade 12
**Everything you are about to read is from my point of view. Reader discretion is advised :)
If you essentially existed in the past week, chances are you are familiar with China’s rocket, and the mass hysteria that it triggered. The now infamous Chinese rocket, the Long March 5B, re-entered the earth’s atmosphere on Sunday and its debris is likely in the Indian ocean currently.
Now you may be thinking, “thank god that was so close to hitting land” and the correct answer to that is no. The earth’s composition is almost 71% water and the likelihood of it hitting an inhabited area was minuscule.
So the real question is, why did we even fear that it could strike an inhabited area? In my opinion, a major part of this rose from the media. Earlier last week, U.S. officials and experts speculated that the rocket’s return may come with several casualties. Following that, the US was found criticizing Chinese authorities claiming that it had “fail(ed) to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris,” as expressed in a BBC article. Yet, many international space experts predicted that the chances “of anyone being hit by anyone were very small” as most of the rocket would burn as it re-entered the atmosphere.
This is where a lot of things became questionable for me. This wasn’t the first-ever failed rocket or space shuttle launch, NASA itself would confirm. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of popular news outlets reported it as a technological catastrophe, describing it as an “out-of-control Chinese rocket” that’s “really unpredictable.” As if the rocket was some kind of nuclear weapon that’s going to end life on earth. In a typical situation, wouldn’t government officials focus on minimizing mass hysteria? After all, nearly 10% of space launches failed in 2010. The United States had 6 failed launches to Mars and the USSR had 17/20 (completely or partially) failed launches, when it existed. So really, failed launches are not a brand new thing, nor are they as threatening as the media described them.
The goal from this was gaslighting people into thinking Chinese space missions are inadequate. Now, I am certainly not defending China. I am not defending any country for that matter, but I do find it concerning that government officials have been resorting to media to create bias. The idea that any foreign product is of lesser quality or even dysfunctional contributes to the sick mentality that can be later used to support racism. It fuels pre-existing hate or mistrust towards different groups and adds to consumer bias.
It angers me. If I learned one thing from the failed rocket, everything is about narrative. In a two-sided world, it’s incredibly easy to fall on one side without realizing it.
THE HAPPINESS EQUATION IN ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
April 27, 2021
Oftentimes, I’ve thought about how to create a happy, healthy relationship, and I’ve really only come to one conclusion; in order for two people to be happy in a relationship, they already have to be happy by themselves.
Now, here’s why I believe this- you can’t rely on someone else to make you happy. Know what I mean? It’s like if you’ve ever had that partner who you love, but who’s always down and relying on you to give them a boost- it’s too emotionally draining. Now, that doesn’t mean that someone shouldn’t be struggling or having a hard time ever- I’m just referring to someone who is constantly grumpy or sad and in need of your support without returning any of it.
I feel that although we may depend on romantic relationships to make ourselves happy, we also need to be happy by ourselves. So choosing a purpose that is fulfilling, hobbies that you enjoy, and values that keep you motivated. Obviously there are aspects of our lives that we can’t control that may make us unhappy at times, but having certain parts in our lives that we can control for the most part, is important for happiness. For me, I have three values and traits that have helped me maintain a lifestyle that makes me happy- I’m always curious and open to learning new things, I love art and reading, and I love helping others. For the most part, I have found having a set of values really useful. I feel like being happy without needing a romantic relationship is important, only since most people in western society are in monogamous romantic relationships, and many of them don’t work out.
All in all, I feel like our society tells us to rely far too much on relationships, specifically romantic relationships, for happiness. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a girl say she needs a boyfriend, or seen someone look absolutely defeated if the person they have a crush on doesn't like them back. Obviously that’s difficult, to want love or feel love that isn’t reciprocated; but it doesn’t mean someone’s life is over. In our society, we hear all the time, “I don’t want to end up alone!” meaning that someone doesn’t want to end up without a romantic relationship. The funny thing is, oftentimes someone has so many other incredible relationships in their lives that they undervalue or even ignore in searching for a romantic partner. I feel that our society puts way too much emphasis on the importance of finding romantic love in order to be happy- likely because it greatly benefits capitalism, since people buy tons of clothing, cosmetics, nice cars, and even attractive homes in order to make themselves more appealing to a potential love interest. With that being said, so many people feel like they’ve failed at life if they don’t find a love to spend the rest of their lives with- but there are so many other ways to feel loved and happy, ones that we often take for granted or ignore.
So there you have it- my view on the happiness equation of romantic relationships. That’s it.
THE ANXIETY OF MISSING OUT
March 24, 2021
By: Anneke Goodwin, Grade 9
I’m going to be completely honest with all of you. A year ago at the beginning of this pandemic, my inner introverted side was absolutely thriving! I was loving being at home, reading all day, spending time with my family, and online school wasn’t terrible! And most of that still rings true today! Most of it.
Because of everything that's been going on this past year, all of the canceled trips, all of the sleepovers missed, all of the holidays not spent with family, all of the high school experiences we're missing out on, me and my friends dwell quite often on the concept of missing out on life. It seems like everything on our Pinterests and For You pages nowadays is about how life just passes you by so you should live while you're young, and how you only live once so be bold! These messages and reminders are of course only meant to be inspiring and motivational, but instead they feel like a bombardment of anxiety and pressure, and I’m left wondering if I’m the only one who feels this way.
The hour-long conversations with my friends about living while we're young have all made me very conscious of the amount of time I waste in life, which of course is a good thing because it motivates me to be productive, but it also creates this constant anxiety and nagging in my brain. Is what I'm doing a waste of time? I'm over halfway through Grade 9 and it feels like I just started! Maybe I haven't put myself out there enough which must mean I'm missing out on life and experiences and yady yady yada! I could go on forever. The point is that the anxiety of missing out on life only creates more anxiety, and our worlds ever changing state only adds onto that. Will we be in lockdown or will we not? What does “red zone” even mean if the stores aren’t closed down????
The thought of everything I'm not getting in high school makes me want to cry. I may never have a high school dance, sports game, or in-person anything and just the thought of it’s painful! We are literally only going to school with half of Nepean every single day! I make this joke far too often but what if my soulmate is in the other cohort??? It's so challenging to make new friends with a mask on, and I think as we all found in the winter, even harder over a screen. I can sometimes feel so hopeless thinking to myself that I might never go to a high school party, and what if I never have a prom like the poor Grade 12s this year? And it sucks. It all absolutely sucks. And the way things are going, it looks like next school year will be the exact same. (This is of course no one's fault, we are all trying our hardest to keep everyone safe, these circumstances are just rough!)
Lots of people say that what I just ranted about is pessimistic and not within a positive mindset, however in these times we can’t all always have that positive mindset; we can’t all be super great or a ten out of ten, and expecting that from people nowadays in unrealistic, and makes people feel like they aren't trying hard enough when they’re doing their best. In case you needed this reminder today, you don't need to be perfect to be trying your best! You are making an effort and that's all that matters.
I WISH EVERYONE COULD BE EXPRESSIVE AND VULNERABLE
December 16, 2020
Sometimes, I worry about people. I feel like in our society, we compare ourselves to one another too much. I can’t compare myself with someone with totally different experiences, dreams, skills. How could I? Yet, I find myself wondering why I’m so overly sensitive, so weird, so insecure and so out of the ordinary. I wonder how I’ll cope in University, with my strange personality, my ignorance, and my inexperience. But I’m lucky because I have such open and loving friends and family who let me express myself, my feelings, and all my insecurities. I can’t ever imagine being in an environment where I can’t be myself- that would be an unimaginable burden. And as it is, I already find it so hard to be imperfect and weird in a world that values perfection and normallicy above all else.
Anyway, I worry about other people. At least I’m in touch with my emotions and have a group of people that accepts me as I am. There are so many people I know who either repress themselves and their feelings, or others from free expression and emotion. Especially boys. I see guys insult each other all the time, even their friends. I guess if you can’t express your insecurities, you take it out on others by pointing out theirs. I read an article once with statistics showing that men live shorter lives than women due to emotional repression. What a hard life it would be to suffer alone, without anyone there to understand your struggles- simply because of a lack of vulnerability.
I really hope that we can move past this toxic society, and toxic masculinity. I think that everyone would be much happier if they were able to express themselves, their emotions, and their insecurities openly more often, instead of becoming bitter from hiding them away for so long. I think that this would also make it a more open space for people like me, who are openly unusual and very expressive.
But that’s just me. Hope you enjoyed my rant. I certainly did, since I generally talk to myself when I’m upset, which concerns me, but writing it down actually makes me feel better and more sain. So thank you.
WHAT REALLY MOTIVATES US?
November 18, 2020
By Madeleine Bhamjee, Grade 12
In a chaotic time like this, I often question my purpose and what I am really working to achieve over the course of my life. As I sit on a pillow in my room, now a makeshift classroom for school, I reflect on this. Why am I writing this article? Do I really enjoy writing or am I writing this simply because I want to impress my parents? Or am I writing this because I’d like to impress the right person and get into my preferred university? Hmmmm. What am I doing here? Why do I want to go to university? Because of societal norms? To meet the unspoken expectations of my parents, peers, teachers? Why, why, why? What comes after university? An overpriced apartment, perhaps a pet of some kind to keep me company, rent, bills, a nine to five job? How will I find happiness in the scenario that I have little to no money? Whoever said money can’t buy happiness is deluded, the ongoing quest for money may not be a happy one but money gives us a sense of security and gives us choice, it can buy us fine clothes, nice homes and make us beautiful which in turn can make us popular and grant us friendships, maybe even love. Wouldn’t that bring us some happiness and satisfaction? I love to think of what my future could look like but when it all comes down to it, it is marred by uncertainty and doubt. I long for some closure and to have the gift of foresight, to look into my future and know that everything I’ve worked for will have some meaning in my future and will guarantee me happiness and love. But I don’t possess the all seeing eye nor is the universe merciful enough to grant me sweet relief. I must wait… And wait… And wait…
I am still waiting.
HOW THIS SCHOOL YEAR HAS ME FEELING...
October 15, 2020
By Madeleine Bhamjee, Grade 12
When I first heard about what our school year may look like, including the hybrid model, I was honestly, quite sad but not the least bit surprised. Over the course of the summer when COVID cases had dwindled, I had hoped that my school year would be completely normal, perhaps with some adjustments, but nevertheless what I was used to. However when it was announced in late August that the school year would be part online, part in class with cohorts my heart sunk.
I really do understand that I come from a very privileged place. I am fortunate to have a supportive, caring family that is able to adjust to these changes, access to technology and a support network but I can’t say that things have been how I’d have liked them… I am aware that it has been incredibly difficult for teachers and administrators to create this learning model and carry it out but so far I have found it arduous. As someone who struggles to focus and process information, sitting in class for even a short period of time has never been a walk in the park but sitting in a class for four hours is pretty hellish. At the end of the day, my head hurts after endless volleys of notes and lectures have been hurled at me.
This new school year has freed up more time in my schedule, as I attend school on and off and am productive enough that I finish my work quickly. I feel as though I am left with too much time on my hands. I thrive when I am busy, it keeps me productive and makes me feel accomplished even at my low points. Over the summer, I was lucky enough to find a job and work all summer and it felt wonderful to have a sense of purpose and belonging but now that school has begun and my days feel empty, I feel like a part of me is missing.
Maybe this is why I am writing this “rant”, because I desire to feel productive again and wish to vent my frustrations.