Success

As a high school student, I’m concurrently taking a business class at a local community college.  Today, a conversation I had with a group of students prompted me to write this post.

“I don’t like the classes where you have to show up every day!”  A student said this and a bunch of others agreed.  I immediately thought, what’s wrong with these people?  Why would you not want to show up to the class that you paid for?  Don’t you want to learn?

Apparently not.

In no way does this article mock community college students.  Many of them are hardworking individuals, but it was this specific group of people that really ticked me off.

hallenge

After the consensus in this group of students was that “attending class sucks,” I immediately jumped in and objected.  “Why would you not want to show up to the class you paid for?  Isn’t the point of going to college to learn?”  To my surprise, another student jumped in and helped my argument.  “If you want to go anywhere after this place [community college], you’ve got to work hard and show up to class!”

The other students of course objected saying that “the grade depends on the tests,” and etc.

It has always been my belief that you must go to class and participate, no matter how much you may dislike it.  In the current class I’m taking now, more than half of the students show up late, and more than 1/3 of the students have dropped the class within the first three days.  I’m working in a group of students for a presentation, and it is me, the high school student, doing almost all the work.

Something needs to be done about this mentality.  People cannot just slack off and not show up to class.  The taxpayers pay a heavy amount of money in order to fund the community college system, and literally 1 in 3 students waste their time.

College is an education.  High school is an education.  Middle school is an education.  Elementary school is an education.  How much of this education do the underprivileged kids in developing nations get?  Think of that, then realize how lucky you are to even have access to the education resource you have now.

Take school seriously.

-Ryan

Advertisements
Standard

I’ll Take it Black

Recently, I was pulling an all-nighter studying for a final.  I’d gotten home at noon and the exam was the following day.  Having not a minute to spare, I immediately began slaving over my book.

I had no time to take a nap, yet I’d only gotten an hour of sleep the night before, how was I going to survive the next 18 hours?

Coffee.  You betcha.

coffee

I went to my kitchen and brewed a huge pot to the top, but then I realized I ran out of cream!  Oh well, I thought, it’s about time I “be a man” anyway and learn to drink it black.

So I went back to my office and powered through the next eight hours.  The black coffee wasn’t even that bad, but I realized something.  There was no way I’d ever been able to study that way.  During those first eight hours, I didn’t even get tired or stop–once.  It was amazing!

All that with one cup.  I went back to the kitchen and poured myself another.

With two cups of black coffee, I was effectively able to stay up a combined 40 hours in total.  My normal, creamed-to-the-max cup of joe wouldn’t have pushed me to this limit!

After doing some careful research, I found that black coffee has more of an effect on the body.  Why?  Without the additives, the coffee can process more easily in your body, delivering more caffeine and antioxidants to your system.

So the moral of this story is, take it black if you want all you can get out of your coffee!

Happy studying!

-Ryan

Standard

The Struggle

It’s 3:30 AM and I’m sitting at my desk, Starbucks coffee adjacent to me along with my schoolbooks, and Coltrane playing loudly from my computer.  I haven’t had sleep in almost 24 hours and my eyes are bloodshot.  I have three important FINAL exams in a couple of hours and I’m cramming super hard for them. Some of the material is way too much to learn in one night.  I feel like dying.

Continue reading

Standard

My English Teacher, Mr. Theriault

Recently, I was asked to write about what certain thing or topic is the “best” for a final English assignment.  After pondering on this thought for a few seconds, I immediately knew the topic that I was going to base my work on.

Mr. David Theriault.  Advanced English teacher at Fountain Valley High School.

He’s been my teacher this year for Honors English, and boy do I have quite the story to tell.

Before I start, let me say that this post is brutally honest and from the heart.  I mean every single word of it.

When I walked into his classroom on warm summer day of late August, I was impressed and intimidated.  The walls were littered with educational contrivance, the desks were centered around the podium, and books were stacked on the linings of the wall.  I looked around, and the class was filled with a plethora of the intellectual students of my grade, all ready to learn and discuss the recent summer assignment.

Before the school year started, I had done some research on Mr. Theriault.  I knew he had a BA from UC Irvine and graduate degrees from Chapman and Walden Universities.  I’d learned that he had attended the prestigious Google Teacher Academy in Chicago and that he was the co-founder of California EDChat, an immensely successful teacher networking resource.  I’d heard that he had a reputation for being a tough but talented educator, integrating his teaching practices with technology to ensure that students learned liberally.

I’d also divulged that he loved food.

Hearing from a past student of Mr. Theriault’s, I expected a hard-nosed but well-meaning teacher.  After walking in and observing the classroom, I sat down in my seat.  The bell rang, and Mr. Theriault walked in.  All of the students, including me, gazed in awe at his tall and intimidating stature.

He walked up to the podium and begun speaking.  He told us about his life, how he struggled through high school with his family and grades.  He told us about his wife whom he’d met while in college.  It was a mix of friendliness and coldness, and I didn’t know what to expect of him.

When he asked us students to introduce ourselves, I put on my “swag” immaturity and showed off how much of a fool I was, essentially so the class could get a laugh out of it.  I had just made a terrible first impression of myself to a teacher I would have for the next year.

Following the first day’s presentation, I approached Mr. Theriault and recommended he read my right-winged bog.  I’d also decided to follow him on Instagram.

Keep in mind, this was August, 2013.  I still had the immature freshman mentality.  On my blog I’d written some certain offensive articles.  On my social media accounts, I had some inappropriate and unprofessional posts.  With all these faux pas up my sleeve, I’d just exposed my internet life to my teacher.

The next day, Mr. Theriault was angry.  Not at me, but at the whole class.

He gave us a lecture on the importance of your online identity, how it was what everybody saw of you.  While presenting this to us, he was passionate and extremely knowledgeable about everything he was saying.

“I was looking at some disturbing things, posted by someone I know recently, and I decided to take some screenshots just in case anything ever comes up.”

Boom.

I could tell right away that he was referring to me in his lecture.  The second I heard this, my body numbed up and I was afraid to say anything.  I was worried about what he could do with the “screenshots” he had taken, and I was also worried how this could affect my grade in the coming semester.

When the period ended and as everyone eagerly shuffled out of the classroom, I went up to Mr. Theriault, shaking.  I smiled at him and said, “I feel like what you said in that lecture today refers to me.”  Smiling back, he said, “I don’t know, does it?”

Following this discussion, I went on a firestorm against Mr. Theriault.  Although I still respected him, I absolutely despised him.  I conversed with other students of his about how much I disliked him and his teaching styles.  “He’s a fool, he teaches nothing!”

I wondered why all he did with us was talk about life.  I hated how his class did absolutely nothing related to English and focused so much on technology.  Following this hate, I came to class every day angry and filled with rage.  Whenever Mr. Theriault asked questions, I gave him a demeaning and stupid response.

Throughout the semester, I continued this mentality toward Mr. Theriault.  I disliked how we did “nothing” in his class.

He had us write student blogs, which I found incredibly stupid.  I thought this was his excuse for not wanting to teach anything.  He had us create an “Innovation Project,” which angered me even more.  To me, this project was unimportant and pointless work that didn’t even relate to the class.  I didn’t want to waste my time on something that benefited me in absolutely no way.

I came up with a project called “Google and Education,” which originally was a genius design in my favor.  I could literally do nothing but talk, and my project would seem better than everybody else’s!  Even so, it had enormous potential to be something great, and with my hate for Mr. Theriault, this realization was clouded.

One day, when we were presenting our ideas for the innovation projects, a team of school district officials were present in the classroom.  Naturally, I used this as an opportunity to show off my speaking skills and impress all of them.  In the end, even one of the district superintendents offered to help me with my project.

Mr. Theriault was impressed.  The next day, he pulled me outside and said these explicit words, “I believe in Ryan Carr.”

With these words in mind, I started to improve.  I mean, I had no choice!  With my “swag” facade I was trying to put on, my grades were slipping, I was getting no sleep trying to catch up on work I didn’t do at school, and all of my teachers hated me.

Throughout the rest of the semester, my relationship with Mr. Theriault improved immensely.  I no longer walked into class flashing an imitation gang sign at him, I stopped saying immature and irrelevant things in his class, and I also took his blog writing seriously. Occasionally, when he was impressed with my improvement or class participation, the day would end with a modest handshake.

The end of the semester came and I was worried about what grade I was going to receive from Mr. Theriault.  I went to see him after school, and he told me that he was satisfied with my improvement and happy that I was working hard in his class.

You can imagine my chagrin when my report card came home and the grade was a B.

This was unacceptable to me.  I was angry.  Angry because I had worked so hard to change myself that semester, that I’d written so much wholeheartedly on my blog, and I’d also done much to contribute to an “A” grade in the class.  I went to Mr. Theriault with my game face on, pissed off and ready to breathe fire.

Speaking with him solved nothing.  It made me even angrier to be his student.  I sternly said to him, “I could go to another English class and get an A there!”

Why did I feel this way?  I mean, at least he didn’t give me a C, right?  I was angry because I could’ve literally continued my swag facade, goofed off, and messed around in his class and STILL RECEIVE THE SAME GRADE.

For the next several weeks, I was at an impasse with my former beloved English teacher.  I tried not to look at or smile at him during lectures, did not say hello to him during encounters, and did not participate in any of the activities he assigned to us.

Eventually, Mr. Theriault gave me the chance to rectify the loathed grade with a little hard work.

Fast forward to late April.  Mr. Theriault was holding a huge event to showcase all of the innovation projects.  “Google and Education” had accomplished nothing in the past school year, but I still wanted the opportunity to present the project and gain some awareness.  Unfortunately, there were no spaces left for me to present in front of the audience, but I still was able to set up a booth to showcase what the project was about.

Hastily, I changed the project’s name from “Google and Education” to “The Chrome Initiative” to attract more people to the booth. This later became a problem, because many people don’t know how to spell “initiative.”

Screenshot 2014-06-08 at 4.34.55 PM

Carrying a computer in my right hand and a briefcase in my left, I walked into the school on the eve of the innovation project event, dressed like a professional ready to make a million bucks.  Even Mr. Theriault said, “Wow you know to dress,” upon seeing me.

I was still upset about not being able to present.  I set up my booth in the room where the event was being held, and started to introduce myself and my project to the many people who showed up.  I was invited to an event at my high school district that was centered around technology, most notably Google technology.

Throughout the night, I was watching the presentations done by other students and all I could think was, “I want to be up there!”   I went to Mr. Theriault and pleaded, “I will literally do anything to showcase my presentation.”  His friendly response was, “Would you even vote for Obama?” (I’m extremely conservative so you draw the conclusion here).

Me presenting at Mr. Theriault’s Innovation Symposium.

A few minutes later, he was standing at the sidelines of the stage and calling my name.  “Yes!” I thought, happy I was able to present.  Mr. Theriault took me by the shoulder and led me up in front of the crowd, introduced me, and then let me tell the audience what the project was about.

I was extremely happy that I could jump at this chance.  For the rest of the night, as I helped clean up the room and wrap up the presentations, I felt an immense connection to Mr. Theriault.  I was extremely happy to have such an inspirational teacher who taught more than just English, but the skills necessary for success–things we would actually use in life.  I loved having Mr. Theriault as a motivator to me, someone who helped me change from the immature fool that I was into a professional, hardworking student in just a few short months.  I appreciated the fact that Mr. Theriault was somewhat of a father figure to me, helping with many of the obstacles I was facing in my life.

Then it hit me, “I believe in Ryan Carr” was something he meant completely.

Other teachers I’ve had this year have just completely disregarded me because of my behavior.  They saw me as a lost cause, one who would continue to cause trouble with no end in sight.  Mr. Theriault believed in me, and this made the biggest difference in the world.

Thanks to the inspiration I’ve received in his class, I’m now pushing a 4.4 GPA, respecting and being courteous to my teachers, and not acting like a fool with every word I say.

“The Chrome Initiative” has grown immensely, and in a few short months the project will go national with a plan of action I’ve created.  My student blog, “The Fore Horsemen,” is something I enjoy writing and I will continue it even after the class ends.

“He’s a fool, he teaches nothing!”  I said that less than 6 months ago.  Now, I look at what I’ve accomplished under the wing of Mr. Theriault, and the results are incredible.

As this school year dwindles to an end, I think back at all of the wonderful things I learned in Mr. Theriault’s english class.  Without his guidance, I wouldn’t be the same person.

It’s amazing how far the simple words, “I believe in Ryan Carr” went.

With this I can confidently say, Mr. Theriault, you are the best teacher I’ve ever had.

 

Standard

Kids and the Internet

I am probably one of the biggest fans of teens using technology, but have you ever heard that expression “Ask your parents’ permission before going online”?  Well that warning is hardly ever being enforced in today’s world.

The reason I’m writing this article is because yesterday I decided to list my iPhone on Craigslist, since I’d purchased a Blackberry for business purposes.  Soon after, some kid responded to my ad wanting to buy my phone, and asks when we can meet.

So this person tells me that she is eleven years old through our short sequence of emails.  I’m not all that concerned about this as long as I get my money, so I tell her my address to come pick it up.  Twenty minutes later, this small 5’1 girl shows up at my door with $450 cash, and guess what, she’s alone.

I asked her how she got here and she said she walked.  I asked if her parents knew what she was doing and she told me no, they’re at work.  So basically this eleven year old girl shows up to some random stranger’s house, with a large amount of money and no one else who knows what she’s doing.  I give her the phone, tell her to be careful, and she runs off.

There are so many problems with this I can’t even begin how to explain it!  First of all, she told me her age through the emails.  That’s a whoop-de-do moment for your garden-variety pedophile.  What if she was meeting someone much older than me, and also what if they had criminal intentions?  Imagine the look on a recently-paroled sex offender when he finds out that there will be an eleven year old girl showing up, alone, to his house?

There have been many incidents where kids who went to meet people on Craigslist were kidnapped, raped, and even killed!  I even get the urge to kill someone on CL when they’re aggressively trying to lower the price.

Second, this kid came to my house alone and doped up with money.  What kind of parents allow an eleven year old to go out on their own?  I certainly would not if I had a kid that young.  Also, this small, 5’1 girl was carrying more than $400 in cash around.  Dangerous to begin with.

Third, the little girl just paid me and ran off with the iPhone box I gave her.  Sure, there was the iPhone and accessories in it, but she didn’t even bother to check, much less test it.  She could’ve just handed a large sum of money to someone trying to scam her!

Fourth, where was this girl getting the money?  $100 is a lot of money to a teenager, and now an eleven year old shows up at my door with over four times that amount.

In conclusion, I think that teens as immature as that should stay away from Craigslist, much less stay off the Internet!  I guarantee you that girl will eventually get robbed, or worse!  I cannot believe I’m saying this but I think that parents should regulate Internet usage and monitor their children!  (And I thought my mother was hard on my Internet use!)

Craigslist is not a safe place for children to be on.

I’m not a hypocrite for using Craigslist myself, because I actually know how to use it and be safe with it!

So kids, be safe!  My advice, if you are using Craigslist then meet in a public place (e.g., a store or coffee shop), always go with your parents or at least someone who can defend you, and always let someone else know about it just in case something happens.

-Ryan

Standard

Police

While in Las Vegas, I had nothing to do, plus I’d eaten at one too many of the buffets.  So, I decided to go biking to burn off those extra calories (yes, I brought my bike, don’t ask).  I was too cheap to pay for the fitness center so off I went, onto the unfamiliar, dirty, and dangerous Nevada streets, where drivers cut you off and guess what, there is no bike lane.

In nice Orange County, I don’t ride my bike on the street, but even if I did, the drivers would be careful enough to “share the road.”  Here, they expected me to ride within half a foot of cars when the law mandates that there must be three feet in between bicycles and cars.  No, I opted for the safe route, the sidewalk.

For those who know me, they know that I bike outrageously far distances, and that’s what I did that day.  I ended up in the nearby city of Henderson, where guess what, I was pulled over by a cop.  Yes, a cop.

Let me walk you through what happened.  I was in Henderson, Nevada, but a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer pulled me over.  How odd.  The fat officer got out of his car and asked me for ID, then proceeded to tell me that I was riding on the sidewalk, which was illegal, and also I had no helmet on.

I complained to this officer and told him he was outside his jurisdiction, because he was in Henderson, not Las Vegas.  The officer ignored me.  He asked for my information then started writing two tickets.  That’s when I went on the offensive.

This pretty much an outline of what we said to each other.  It wasn’t as straightforward but you get the point.

“Officer, you’re outside your jurisdiction and have no authority to ticket me, and also there’s no way I could share the road, look at the street!”
“Quiet Mr. Carr, what’s your parent’s phone number?”
“Officer, may I speak to your Captain?”
“No.  Tell me your parent’s phone number or I’ll arrest you.”
“On what charge?”
“I can arrest you for whatever I want son, now what’s your parent’s number?!?!”
“Give me your name and badge number, I’m calling the Internal Affairs Department.”
At this point, the officer hesitated.  He handed me the tickets and the location fields stated two streets down, streets IN LAS VEGAS.
“You’re outside your jurisdiction, unlawfully giving me a ticket, and threatening to arrest me without cause.  Give me your name and badge number.”  I pulled out my phone and prepared to call.
“Pay the ticket son.”  He then tried to walk to his car to get away.  I looked at the bogus tickets.
“All I need for Internal Affairs is your name and badge number, which is on this ticket!  Are you going to perjure yourself just because you wanted to ruin my day?”
The officer walked up to me, grabbed the tickets from me, and crumpled them.
“Have a good day,” he said as he drove away.

Well, it’s a great thing to know the law, this is the second time I’ve gotten out of a ticket by threatening to call Internal Affairs.  This time, the officer was writing me an illegal ticket.

Officer A. Patrick, badge number 44015, is a LVMPD officer.  He w as in the city of Henderson, outside of his jurisdiction, where he could not ticket or arrest me.  Also, he threatened to take me into custody without just cause or a warrant.  Yes, I was riding on the  sidewalk (for my own safety) and not wearing a helmet, but if he caught me two streets down he could have ticketed me.

This really angered me because the officer thought he could take advantage of me because I was a kid.

I called LVMPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau to file a complaint and they haven’t gotten back to me yet, but I hope they take action against the officer.  If you’d like to question Officer Patrick, call LVMPD’s Traffic Bureau at (702) 385-5555.

This happened a while ago, and Internal Affairs never got back to me.  Oh well, another injustice for the American citizen.

Standard

Slackers: Part I

Hey everyone, I’ve recently noticed that my blog has been getting many hits.  More than a thousand in just a few short months!  Before I begin with my next article, I’d like to thank all of my avid readers and I hope you continue to enjoy my writing.  There’s a lot more great stories to come!

I am currently a sophomore in high school.  Today, I’m writing about some of the things I’ve learned about people’s character.

High school.  It’s challenging, time consuming, and for many, it’s a waste of their time.  It is, in my opinion, the most important time in any persons’ life.  I believe that your performance in high school determines what you will do in life.  Will you be going to college, or are you going to get a job straight out?  Are you going to graduate and be successful, or are you going to drop out and fail?  In summary, it is extremely important.  Me?  I’m an A student who is applying myself and is determined to attend a top university.  Who I’m writing about?  This person is a complete slacker.

This guy used to be my best friend in middle school, we spent every day together.  The only difference was that I cared about my education, and he didn’t.

He was never a good student or that smart, and I didn’t blame him for that.  However I blame him for not trying.  On a daily basis, he didn’t do his homework.  His report card had one continuous letter on it, and I’ll leave you to guess on that.  He spent all of his free time playing video games.  Now?  His situation is even worse than before.

Back when we were in middle school, he kept promising his family that “he’d do better in the next trimester,” and when that didn’t happen, “I’m going to do better in eighth grade!”  Guess what didn’t happen.

Now he’s in high school, only three months into the year, and the slacking has not ended.  He’s failing in all of his classes.  He was lucky enough to get on the high school’s soccer team, but he quit because he wanted to go home earlier and play his video games.  He’s trying to quit his Spanish class because he’s too lazy to do any of the homework and doesn’t want to do a project.  He believes that the “freshman year doesn’t count” and he uses that as an excuse not to apply himself.

He is the biggest slacker I’ve ever met and there’s no end.  I guarantee when his perception of freshman year’s grace period is over, he will be making the same excuses and won’t be trying.  His solution for not trying in a class?  Drop the class!

When we were in middle school, he believed that he’d get into college through a sports scholarship.  He made it to the high school’s soccer team, but he quit.  Bye bye to that dream!  He didn’t even play sports!  People who receive scholarships for basketball, soccer, baseball; they’re out practicing every day and are succeeding in school.  His belief was just a complete excuse to be lazy.

After he quit the soccer team, he told me that you could be “rich” and successful even if you didn’t go to college.  That happening to him is one in a million.  Studies show that people who go to college make more per year than those who don’t, and a high school degree alone doesn’t get you as far as it did in the past.  Yet again another excuse!  I doubt that with his poor performance he won’t even graduate from high school.

He is lazy and unfortunate.  He thinks that being popular is all that matters.  However, he isn’t liked by almost everyone.  I swear to God every single person I’ve asked about him, the first words out of their mouths were “I hate that kid!”  They said he was annoying and self-righteous.  Even the people who’ve stuck by him trash talk him to the extreme behind his back.

He wants to quit his Spanish class, however to graduate high school you’re required to take two years of a foreign language.  If he quits now (I don’t think that he will be able to) than he’ll have to retake the class next year, and he’s already done with a third of the year!

I’m no longer his friend because I don’t like the way he acts and how he makes so many excuses.  He slacks off in almost everything he does.  He doesn’t care about his future at all.  It’s his loss!  I just don’t want to be around him.  The most significant reason I dislike him is because he thinks everyone’s going to want him for his looks; employers and women.  Let me give you a piece of advice that you should live on.  If you’re a slacker and you don’t care about school, it doesn’t matter if you look as good a supermodel, nobody is going to want you.  Do you think that businesses are going to want lazy slackers on their payroll?  Do you think that women will want a man who can’t provide for his family?

There was a short time when I was like him.  When I realized this problem, I snapped back to reality and am now back to my days of excelling.  I tried to help my friend, to get him out of his situation, however when I tried he was just appalled.  “You’re doing homework at recess?  You’re gay!”

Slackers are a huge problem in today’s society.  Many people today believe that they are entitled to a life without doing anything.  If you want to lead a successful life, you need to work toward it!  Being lazy doesn’t get you very far.

This person and all of the slackers out there are just more complications of everyday life.  He has the perfect opportunity to succeed, but since he thinks he’s going to lead a good life because of his “good looks” and popularity, this opportunity is quickly fading away.

You only get one chance, utilize it.  If you’re in school, I hope this story inspires you to do well.

**UPDATE**

This past week has been our finals week.  I ran into the slacker on the street, and I asked him if he was going to study.  You’ll never guess what he told me.

“THERE’S NO WAY TO STUDY FOR FINALS!”  Ahem… I literally gagged and started laughing uncontrollably in front of him.  Then he made the laziest comment ever, “What am I supposed to do, look through the whole book?”

After I was done laughing, he started getting angry at me because he thinks that people who go to college are failures.  He now thinks that he’s going to be a famous actor, and that’s just another one of the hopes he’s holding onto because he’s too lazy to even try.

One last thing that I remembered.  He told me one day that the average American salary was $16k per year.  My mouth dropped and I corrected his logic.  Then he started arguing with me and he gave me these examples: “A lot of people work at fast food restaurants,” and, “abortion pills are free.”  Well…

He’s obsessed with sex so okay he would say something about abortion pills (which don’t even exist and if they did they’d be illegal), and I don’t know where he’s learning this stuff.  I can’t wait for the day he get’s some girl pregnant and won’t be worried because he’d tell her to take an abortion pill.  If he wants to make 16k a year off of welfare he can be my guest.

Folks, just please, DO NOT be like him.  Don’t be lazy, don’t be stupid.

Standard