Lessons I’ve Learned

The advantages of learning a second language

by Ariana Sadoughi. 0 Comments

If you were to ask any high school student what their favorite class is, they would probably reply with an elective class, such as art or gym, because the class is fun and stress-free. Sometimes they might answer that they like English class because narrative writing is fun, or science because they enjoy participating in labs. However, in my experience, I don’t think I’ve ever met a peer who would say that a foreign language is their favorite class.

I personally enjoy taking foreign language classes, and this is my fourth year taking Spanish at school. Over the years, the sizes of the classes that I have been in have dwindled as students have met the state requirement for foreign language classes and have stopped taking them. I do not necessarily think that students really don't like foreign languages; rather, they think that foreign languages can be difficult to learn. I agree that foreign language classes can be particularly challenging because they not only require one to learn new vocabulary and pronunciation, but they also have to learn new language and grammatical rules in a second language.

Nonetheless, learning a new language is really important now more than ever because more people from different countries are interacting with each other in close proximity. There is no universal language so it is important that we can communicate with people from other parts of the world as efficiently as possible. Teachers are always able to rattle off countless reasons as to why we should learn a second language but I never really appreciated taking Spanish classes until I actually had to use my Spanish.

This past summer my family and I traveled to Puerto Rico for a family vacation. While in the process of choosing a place for our vacation, I kept asking my parents if we could go somewhere where they spoke Spanish. I had just finished Spanish 4 and I really wanted to practice speaking Spanish with native speakers. I knew that having taken Spanish 4 didn't make me fluent in Spanish, however I wanted to try my best to put what I knew to use.

Little did I know, but I would be using my Spanish in a situation that I never expected. My family and I had just boarded our plane to San Juan and I was getting really excited to see the rainforest, El Yunque, and to see the Puerto Rican beaches. My brother, my dad, and I were sitting together, and my mom was across the aisle.

All of a sudden, my mom leaned over and asked me to go talk to the little boy behind her who was crying. My first thought was, “Wait, why is she asking me to?” I had been so deep in thought that I never even realized that there was a screaming boy a few feet away from me. The boy was seven years old, flying alone to Puerto Rico, only spoke Spanish, and was seated on a plane with a bunch of tourists who only spoke English.

For some reason I was really nervous to talk to the boy, but he seemed so upset that I decided that I needed to forget about my silly anxieties. Standing in the middle of the aisle, I talked to the boy for a minute and was able to understand a few words out of his incoherent babbling. Later I tried to reassure myself that I might not have been able to understand even if he was speaking English.

A native speaker of Spanish sitting a few rows ahead of me came over and talked to the boy and was able to figure out that he was just upset about being alone and wanted to land in “The Other Puerto Rico.”

I ended up switching my seat so that I was seated next to him. He showed me a picture of his family and told me about his brother and dad. He told me he visited “no one” in the United States and that he didn’t like soccer, but he liked going to school. I remembered that I had my iPod with me, and I asked him if he wanted to play a game. I was able to explain the games that I had in a very basic way, and at this point, he had actually stopped crying. He played the games on my iPod for a while and although he didn’t seem too happy, he definitely was in a much better emotional state. The only time he smiled or laughed was when he used the bathroom; he thought the sound of the toilet was hilarious.

Unfortunately, he did start to cry again with about an hour left of the flight. This time, I wasn’t able to calm him down, and he eventually fell asleep and slept for the remainder of the flight.

I should probably comment on the fact that not once did a flight attendant check on him. A seven-year-old, unaccompanied minor who was crying was left to the passengers to comfort. This really bothered me, but the experience did help me appreciate my Spanish classes. We weren’t able to communicate perfectly, and sometimes he looked at me like I was crazy, but we tried our best considering he spoke no English and I’m not fluent in Spanish.

I actually thought I was really clever when I set my iPod’s language to Spanish, but then he told me couldn’t read.

Overall, I really enjoyed my trip to Puerto Rico. As cheesy as it sounds, I learned two important things from this vacation. First of all, when I went back to Spanish class this year, I realized that I had confused the verbs “to cry” and “to rain.” You can imagine how that went in conversation! Secondly, I learned language classes have many benefits, and knowing a second language can allow you to help others is one benefit that is often overlooked. I would never regret taking Spanish classes, and I definitely know that I want to continue on this pursuit.

———

Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

The (unfortunate) versatility of the Internet

by Ariana Sadoughi. 0 Comments

A few months back, or maybe a year or so, I wrote an article about Facebook and the pros and cons of using it. In such a short period of time, I have to say that I think Facebook is nearing the end of its popularity. I find this migration from social networking website to social networking website to be intriguing because I cant seem to find the difference between any of them. In this article, I would like to elaborate on the development of new websites and the ill-fated results some users receive.

At one point, I got all of the latest gossip and news about my friends and the kids at my school, just by logging in to Facebook and scrolling down my news feed. I could see who was dating whom, where someone went on vacation or what funny thing happened to someone at the grocery store. Now if I were to log into my Facebook account, which is now rare, I wouldnt have too much to look at.

People have moved on from Facebook, onto new and different social media websites, such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. Im sure Im forgetting a website because the list of networks that people seem to belong to nowadays doesnt seem to end. I try to limit the websites that I join just because it seems silly to belong to so many different websites that essentially have the same purpose.

I personally belong to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. I belong to Facebook because at one point Facebook was extremely popular. Now I have a Twitter account as well, because many left Facebook for Twitter, so a lot of the news I would find on Facebook is now on Twitter. Im not too sure why this happened. I like Twitter, but I dont see what you can do there that you cant do on Facebook. Although, I do have to admit that keeping up with your Twitter timeline, is a very good way to keep up on local news. I dont use my Tumblr too much, I just like to have it so I can look at funny pictures and say that I have a blog.

I think people really like Twitter, because they can tweet as much as they like, about things that other people honestly dont care about, and no one will tell them to stop. Okay, someone might, but posting incessantly about random things is what Twitter seems to be about. I like the fact that you can tweet at celebrities, and sometimes theyll tweet you back, or even follow you back. Im obsessed with Ryan Sheckler, so its always fun for me to see what hes up to.

On Tumblr, you can reblog or like other peoples pictures, posts or videos, or post your own. I dont know as many people with a Tumblr as I do with Twitter, but I enjoy looking at art, fashion, make-up (and Ryan Sheckler) on my Tumblr every once in a while.

The main reason that I wanted to write this article, though, was not only to talk about the rise in new social networking websites, but, on a more serious note, how the increase in these websites has led to more locations for people to get cyberbullied.

I know a lot of kids think that its not cool to talk about bullying for some reason or another, but it happens and I feel especially bad when I see it happening over the Internet. I think its important for people to realize that its so easy to hide behind a computer screen and degrade a person until they dont feel happy anymore. It can even be done anonymously, and even though a person can ignore, or block, their harasser in some instances, it is still a problem. What I am trying to say is that, even though many times you are able to put an end to a cyberbullys run, you shouldnt have to take the measures, because their run should never have begun.

Everyone with social media has seen some type of bullying. People often get in Twitter fights, and Ive even seen on some people on Tumblr post links to mean-spirited blogs that tear down others. I honestly want to throw up when I see these things.

Ive also noticed that people can never give reasons as to why you should be mean to someone or why they are mean to someone. They just say that the person deserves it, which is even more disgusting. Its sickening that people would stoop so low as to say such cruel things.

Not only does your average, private citizen get bullied, but celebrities do as well. Recently, I was watching a Jimmy Kimmel clip where he had celebrities read mean tweets that they had received. I felt so bad for them, because often we forget that they are people as well. They just choose to be more public with their lives. We dont even think about the hate that celebrities receive.

People become so much bolder on the Internet where they can just type words on a screen. In my opinion, mean words can hurt more than the hardest punch, and while the pain of being hit may go away, the hurt that you feel from words will never leave you.

I cant remember which website this was, but I remember not too long ago some of my friends were using a website where they were able to ask other people anonymous questions. Some people used this to leave insults on peoples profiles. The creation of this website was not a good idea at all. With every new website that is generated, there are new ways for an attacker to say nasty things.

As much as I wish that everyone could just be nice to each other all the time, and we could pick flowers, and skip around singing happy songs, there is always going to be someone who needs to feed off someone elses sorrow. All I can ask is that everyone should treat others the way he or she would like to be treated, on and offline, and that if someone doesn't have anything nice to say, then zip your lips and throw away the key.

I understand that it is unrealistic to fully put an end to cyberbullying anytime soon but I consider any progress a big step to an ideal Internet where people can browse without having to worry about being oppressed. Just like the world is a place for everyone to share, so is the Internet.

Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Being your own advocate

by Ariana Sadoughi. 0 Comments

For as long as I can remember, my mom has always made a point to tell me that I should stand up for what I believe in. I always try to do so but sometimes thats a difficult thing to do when you live in a world with so many different opinions. Its never fun to hear people shoot down your thoughts and ideas. At times, it seems like the best thing to do is to keep your mouth shut.

As Ive gotten older and started to develop my own opinion on different issues, I have found that it really is important to share what you think of things because all of the different opinions out there keep the world turning. If no one spoke up and said what was on his or her mind, no improvements would be made in the way of life and no progress would be made.

In some situations I definitely see why people would be shy to share what they are thinking. Now and then in some classes in school, like during an English class, students are asked to share with the rest of the class what they think about certain texts or to reflect on a question. Everyone is under pressure to say the right thing when what theyre saying isnt always what they really want to say. I can remember times when my friends said things to the class and I wanted to ask them what they were talking about. I knew them well enough to know that what they shared was totally different than what they actually believed.

Ive learned that the most important thing a person can do is to be brave when it comes to sharing their opinions because those who are courageous enough to share their personal thoughts are the people that can make a change in the world.

If everyone thought the same thing, it would be a boring place to live. When just one person proposes something different, that one idea can become a catalyst in making a difference.

Martin Luther King Jr., who may be a trite example, was a man who spoke his mind so proudly and fiercely that his opposers eventually assassinated him. However, King was very productive with the time that he did have. He left behind a legacy filled with visions of an ideal world where everyone was able to live together in equality. Nowadays, if you were to ask anyone, young or old, who Martin Luther King Jr. was, you can be quite sure that they could tell you. His impact on society is one of the greatest that I can think of in this past century.

I actually do not think that the sole reason we learn about MLK in school is because of his work for the civil rights movement. Of course, civil rights and equality are very important issues that we should all learn about and continue to fight for. But, I think the reason MLK is so famous, even 44 years after his death, is because of his courage, and because he took a chance when he knew that what he was doing was dangerous. He knew that many people would be standing against him, but he also knew that spreading his message was far more important than worrying about his adversaries.

Maybe Martin Luther King Jr. didnt solve all of our society's equality problems, but he made people begin to recognize that they exist. He wasnt afraid to speak his mind and because of this, his dream has begun to be achieved.

No matter how old, or how young one might be, its important to be your own advocate. Speak up for what you think is right, and make people listen. If you really believe that something is important, and you believe that you can make a change, you can.

Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Fangirls

by Ariana Sadoughi. 0 Comments

Last month I wrote about the things that make a celebrity famous and if they're really famous for their image or for their talent. Regardless of how they achieved their celebrity status, celebrities have created a new breed of humans, mainly affecting females. These girls have been around for years and are called fangirls.

There are plenty of definitions for the word fangirl on Urban Dictionary but my personal favorite definition reads:

fangirl: noun, 1. (derogatory) a female fan, obsessed with something (or someone) to a frightening or sickening degree. Often considered ditzy, annoying and shallow.

I dont always think that fangirl is a derogatory term because some of my friends call themselves fangirls to make fun of their obsessions and it is said in a joking way. Im okay with this, though there are plenty of times when fangirl should carry a derogatory definition because these girls have an obsession that is just annoying and over the top (although, I do have to give fangirls props for their undying love, dedication and discipline to stalking someone that isnt aware that they are alive or ever will).

A few bands, singers and actors that I would consider notorious for their fangirl bases include Justin Bieber, Cody Simpson, Zac Efron and probably the biggest yet, One Direction. All of these people have some star quality that makes them attractive. But what sets them apart from the average celebrity is that they somehow draw the fans into their life and make these fans live and breathe solely to see how they live their every-day life.

This brings me to the main difference between your ordinary fan and a fangirl. A fan might have a poster of the celebrity, own all of their music and go to a concert or two, but the celebrity at hand is only a part of their lives. They have a healthy interest in the celebrity and they in no way are devoting their time to following their every move.

On the other hand, a fangirl not only owns plenty of merchandise pertaining to the celebrity, but follows them on every social media website and talks about them all of the time with their friends. They are completely obsessed and cant seem to hold a conversation for very long about any other subject, or they somehow find a subtle way to edge their favorite star into the conversation.

Sometimes I think its kind of cool for someone to know so much about a certain person or subject. It really shows that when they are interested in something. Other times, I just get really annoyed with these people who revolve their lives around others who are really just regular people but happen to have jobs that make them well known.

Maybe I am just really easily annoyed by people, and this article may seem really shallow of me, but I cannot stand fangirls in most situations. When people can only talk about one thing, I get very bored, very fast. It makes me think that their own life must be incredibly boring if all they can do is cyber stalk their favorite celebrity all day long.

Ill admit that there have been a few people that I have been pretty interested in over the years. About a year ago, I was in love with the Iconic Boyz from the sixth season of Americas Best Dance Crew. Lately, Ive been into Ryan Sheckler. In both of these periods of time, however, Ive never been over the top crazy.

Sure, I watched every interview about the Iconic Boyz and I follow them on Twitter and liked their Facebook page but when the season ended, so did my obsession. Now, with Ryan Sheckler I read his tweets whenever I go on Twitter and sometimes I watch Life of Ryan. Once in Spanish class, I even did a project about him.

While I do have favorite celebrities who I enjoy following, the big difference between me and a fangirl is that I dont feel the need to share my fascination with the rest of the world.

Why is that? Honestly, I dont think anyone cares, and I dont blame them. I dont want to sit around listening to them talk on and on about whoever theyre captivated with. To me, it just seems like common courtesy. Dont bore others and they wont bore you.

Right now, with One Direction I am seeing the biggest fangirl base that I can remember, probably even bigger than Justin Biebers. A few good friends of mine are huge fangirls and Ill admit that sometimes I want to shake them really hard so that theyll come to their senses.

Okay, maybe thats a little extreme but still; how do you relate Niall Horan to a technology class?

I like One Direction myself, and I have their album on my iPod and I often listen to it. I cant watch a full interview all the way through though, it just becomes too boring for me. Plus, Im not really sure if I care about what their favorite color is or what their most traumatic childhood experience was.

All in all, fangirls are an interesting group of people that take an adoration to a new extreme, and in my opinion, a wild level. The only thing I ask is that the next time you see yourself heading in the fangirl, or fanboy, direction, ask yourself if you have the time for it.

Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Why are they famous?

by Ariana Sadoughi. 0 Comments

A few days ago while hanging out with some of my friends we started talking about the band One Direction. Before something was said about their music (which one would think would be the details of a conversation about a band), one of my friends immediately said that all members are so attractive.

For some reason when my friend said this, I had to consider why some celebrities are famous. If the first thing mentioned about them in a conversation is their appearance, are they really known for or liked for what they do or for what they look like?

As an example, the band One Direction that my friends and I were talking about is comprised of five boys from the U.K. They competed on the X-Factor together and took home third-place. Obviously, they are pretty talented to have made it as far as they did on the show. Their music has sold at the top of the charts and their song What Makes You Beautiful won Best British Single at the 2012 BRIT awards.

I myself do enjoy One Directions music however all I can think of now is how much their success can be attributed to their image. In this day and age, I believe that your image is really important and can really change how people perceive you. Beauty and good looks can really take you far. How many not-so-attractive singers and actors have you seen? Not many, if any.

People prefer to watch someone sing or act if they are good-looking. For some reason celebrities are just not as fun or enjoyable to follow when they arent attractive. Its pretty sad that society is like this but for some reason humans are just wired this way. Im sure that there are thousands upon thousands of people who are just as talented as todays celebrities but just havent made it because they dont have a pretty face.

Considering this, Im curious to see if all of the most famous celebrities suddenly became 100 times less attractive if people would still be interested in them. Or, if they would make as much money or be as successful. In other words, would people care about them if they werent attractive?

As a matter of fact, a few months ago I saw a video on the Internet of an interview of the Kardashian sisters. What was so interesting about this interview was that they said they werent talented. They literally spoke those words!

I doubt that they would have a television show and all of the fame if they werent pretty and if their father wasnt OJ Simpsons lawyer. All viewers see on the show is them arguing and shopping and getting married and getting divorced a short time later. You dont have to be a celebrity to do any of that.

It will be interesting to see how these ideas and mentalities of society change over the years. In my opinion, I feel that having a pretty face will only be taking your farther, and there is really no way to rewire our brains on this topic.

Maybe the biggest burning question I have on this topic is one that may never be answered.

Why is Miley Cyrus famous?

Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Why not?

by Ariana Sadoughi. 0 Comments

For the past two months or so I have been very busy working on my school musical, The Wiz. Many nights I stayed after school until late, and I even dragged myself to the school over the weekend to put in extra hours. This past weekend we put on our last performances and tore the set down which served as a sad reminder that all was finished.

I had not originally planned to participate in the musical. I knew that musicals involved singing (big surprise) and I usually prefer to keep my wondrous singing voice to myself to prevent others from becoming jealous. Actually, I cant sing anything on key for my life, not even the old classic Happy Birthday. Because of this, it seemed pretty clear to me that the musical was not at all a good activity for me.

A few days after auditions, I had completely forgotten about the musical when one of my friends asked me if I would be interested in doing stage crew with her. My initial thoughts were, eh and what if the kids are really weird.

In the end, I decided to go to the meeting just for kicks and so I could say I looked into it. I ended up trying-out, which included filling out a paper listing talents, abilities and past experiences.

One of my first, and funniest, memories from the musical came from this meeting. My friend answered the question about having relative experience by saying My older brother did stage crew. I was laughing about this for days.

I ended up being chosen for stage crew and I just decided that since I didnt have anything else going on during the winter, I might as well fill my time with something. Additionally, I was able to participate in the musical without having to sing although, stage crew sometimes decided to grace the cast with our talented voices during their vocal warm-ups.

This was one of the best decisions Ive made all year. I was among about sixty cast members, stage crew, tech crew and musicians who ended up working together on this project.

Coming into this experience, I think I knew four of these sixty kids and one of them was just an acquaintance. Without drawing this all out, I can say that by the end of the two months, I had a conversation with almost everyone involved in the musical and I gained many close friends.

Yes, my initial fear of being around weird kids became a reality but most of these kids were weird in a really funny way. I gained friends in all different grades and social circles whom I probably would never have met otherwise.

After spending so much time together, just days after the musical ended, I already miss my new friends. Someone has already told me, though, that I shouldnt miss people already. I said that I was just getting a head start.

Letting go of the seniors who are off to places near and far is especially upsetting. Ill admit that some of them intimidated me but all of us underclassmen really admired them, all for different reasons. Some of them had really good self-confidence, others were amazing singers and various others were extremely well-rounded.

With all of these amazing people, I created new memories. We spread new words, such as trill and moist which everyone should start saying and we have all grown an American Sign Language vocabulary which we use to have short and meaningless conversations. We have discovered interesting things in our school such as graffiti saying Thug Nasty in the scene shop where set pieces are built. We have even become friends with friendly janitors who take us in the elevator.

I have had so much fun participating in this show and I do not regret joining stage crew. In all honesty, it was probably one of the best choices Ive made all of my life.

If there is one thing that I have learned from this experience, it is that you should take risks once in a while and try things that you are not sure if you will like or are interested in. It can be very rewarding in the end because you could gain so much.

Now that it is all over, all I can say is that I will be very bored in comparison to the past few weeks but I am having a great time catching up on sleep.

Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Rare Disease Day

by Ariana Sadoughi. 0 Comments

It is common knowledge that Feb. 29 is Leap Day but not as many people are aware of another holiday that will occur this year on the last day of the month: Rare Disease Day.

Rare Disease Day is celebrated on the last day of February all over the world to spread the word about rare diseases. This is the fourth rare disease day in the world, and the third celebrated in the United States.

A rare disease is characterized as a disease that affects less than 1 in 200,000 people, or .000005 percent. This statistic might seem small. However, if there are about 7,000 rare diseases in the United States, 30 million Americans are suffering from one, or 1 out of 10 people.

A person with a rare disease must not only deal with health issues but many of them are lacking in proper diagnosis or treatment. The big issue with rare diseases is really that they are rare. There is not as much information that scientists can use to conduct research, and they usually do not have proper funding to do the necessary research.

As I write this, a little boy that I knew is being buried after a courageous fight with a rare disease. He had Battens disease which is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder. In other words, neurons, or nerve cells, will slowly lose their functioning capabilities. Among many symptoms, children with Battens progressively lose their sight, speech and motor skills along with mental impairment and regular seizures. This special boy was well known in our community and already is missed by many, but he will be remembered forever.

Many of us know people who are fighting a rare disease or have passed on from complications of one. After seeing someone suffer from a rare disease, one would never want to see others suffering for the same reason.

Rare disease communities are small but usually very active. Still, these groups are not able to properly raise money for research.

As mentioned earlier, research is made more difficult due to this lack of funding. Experiments cannot be run without money, and groups can only raise so much money.

Additional funding is left to the government to cover. But the government isn't able to cover the bill in many cases. With a limited budget, it is very difficult for them to provide money to individual groups while there are thousands of diseases that need a cure.

Until the government is able to fund more research, it is up to the rest of us to raise money to allow this research to go on. There are many places that one is able to contribute money to. If you look up any rare disease you are likely to find a website that is welcome to donations.

Other ways to help is by spreading advocacy about rare diseases. Educating others is the best way to help.

And like the Rare Disease Day motto states, Alone we are rare. Together we are strong.

For more information, visit rarediseaseday.organd bdsra.org.

Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Listen to the words of a song

by Ariana Sadoughi. 0 Comments

People like what they like for their own reason, and music is no exception. Some people might like to listen to music because they like to dance. Some people listen because it calms them down and helps them relax. Others listen to music because they think knowing all the popular songs makes them cool.

I listen to music because I think music is one of the only places that you can get true, honest advice. Musicians are not going to tell you want you want to hear just to make you feel better just like your mom or best friend might. They will not tell you that everything is going to be fine when really, everything is looking pretty negative and it might not look better for a while. They probably will not try to convince you that life is perfect and that those bad days will not come, unless they are some teeny-bopper who is trying to make some money.

In my eyes, the best musicians are going to be brutally honest with you. Youre practically guaranteed to hear all about heartbreak and pain and suffering and those days when you feel like giving up. You can feel the emotion in their voice and you can relate to it.

When a singer belts out their lyrics you can tell that they mean what they say and that theyre saying what they think. You can relate to them because at some point in your life, their lyrics were running through your head in different words.

Green Day. 21 Guns. Do you know whats worth fighting for? When its not worth dying for?

Sometimes we push ourselves to extremes when in the end, it doesnt matter. So just give up. Stop trying.

Its true. No ones going to tell you to give up but sometimes you should. Nothing is worth killing yourself over.

Sure, there isnt a value to every song. I seriously cant think of any message conveyed through a single one of LMFAOs Party Rock Anthem. You should dance and party; nothing too deep to think about.

Beautiful. Eminem. I would have to say Im pretty biased by Eminem; I can get a message out of anything, not matter how goofy, that he raps.

Marshall Mathers has been through a lot of rough moments that many of us havent. However, this doesnt mean that we cant glean anything from his lyrics in this song. Even when youre down in the dumps and you cant figure out how to fix things, you have to remember that youre worth it. This is a pretty powerful message in my eyes.

Unless youre looking for a nice party-dancing song, the best songs are written and/or sung by those who have a lot of baggage or who have gone through a lot. Lyrics about drug addiction are going to sound a lot different sung by someone who has never touched drugs than by someone who went through rehab for drug abuse.

Maybe you arent going to get a single bit of advice from a song, but at times, knowing that someone has gone through the same thing as you can be all that matters.

Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Looking into the past

by Ariana Sadoughi. 0 Comments

In a moment of boredom, I decided to look at my past articles and reminisce about the person that I was when I wrote them. I have been writing a column for about three years now and that equals many articles when you write monthly!

The funny thing for me when I read my past writings is that I can see myself changing into a different person over the three year span. I started writing as a middle schooler and now I am in high school. A lot has happened in that time frame. I can see a change in myself from my first article to my most recent.

I dont mean to say that I have only grown as a writer but I have also grown as a person. However, this growth reflects into my writing. Maybe others would not notice this, but as I read my old work I feel like I am reading something a kid wrote for a school project. I still am a kid now, but as I am reading all I can think is Did I really write this? Really?

I definitely am not embarrassed by what I have written since it was a reflection of myself of that time that I had written it. But if I were to rewrite some of my past articles I probably would not even start them to begin with.

In a sense I guess there is some humor in the fact that I think that my past self had poor taste in choosing topics to write about. I dont think that I always wrote about things that I was really knowledgeable about. There are even a few articles that I started laughing while reading. Did I think that I was a therapist, writing and giving advice on different issues?

I am not too sure at what point that I totally became a new person. Actually, I do not think that there was a specific point.

I think that we are always changing. We will never be the same person that we were a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, five years ago. When we go around meeting new people and seeing new things our opinions and sense of self are always changing.

Sometimes, when a certain event occurs or when we witness something that really makes us think about things, that is when a sudden change is seen.

An example would be transitioning from middle school to high school. I do not think there is a big difference between a seventh and an eighth grader, but the behavioral difference between an eighth and a ninth grader could not be larger.

Who knows why that is? Maybe its something in the water.

The big point that I am trying to come to is that we cannot be resentful or upset with our past choices. Of course, I am not going to get too upset over something I wrote. Its not like I killed an animal and had to live with the guilt and pain of that action.

In some cases, we wish we had a time machine so a certain event never took place. Unfortunately, time machines are not available to the public so we are left to deal with our choices. Like Oscar Wilde said, No man is rich enough to buy back his past.

Living in the past stops you from living in the present; whether you regret your choices or if you strongly stand by them, all you can do is learn from them and keep on going.

Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Food for thought

by Ariana Sadoughi. 0 Comments

I really do not like to write my monthly article as a whole list of facts about something that anyone can go on the internet and look up to learn for themselves. However, during Thanksgiving this year, I was thinking about the first Thanksgiving and how our idea and how we celebrate Thanksgiving nowadays must be so different yet we still carry on the tradition. I decided to do some investigating online and I was pretty much shocked at what I found.

As an early elementary school student, we are taught that in 1621 the Plymouth Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians had a feast that we recognize as the first Thanksgiving. What the American children are NOT taught include the following things

1. Thanksgiving was NOT an official public holiday until 1863. Some of the Presidents decided that they would declare a Thanksgiving every once in a while but the tradition pretty much was eradicated for 200 years. Then, a man named Abraham Lincoln (more commonly known as our 16th president) thought that in the midst of the Civil War, we should start to annually celebrate what we are thankful for by eating large amounts of food.

2. The Pilgrims did not in fact eat a turkey at the first Thanksgiving. While most Americans consider turkey the main dish of Thanksgiving, if we really are supposed to be celebrating Thanksgiving we should be eating some shrimp, deer, vegetables and nuts. Doesnt sound very similar to what the typical American dining table will hold Thanksgiving day, now does it?

3. A lot of people grow up thinking that Thanksgiving is about family or religion when in fact it is about neither. In either instance, would the Pilgrims really have invited the Indians? Its even believed by many people that the Indians were not even invited to the Thanksgiving feast. They happened to be in the area and saw the celebration so they decided to bring some food of their own and join in on the fun.

4. Thanksgiving is not really a happy time for all it's celebrated now. The Indians were at first quite hostile toward the Pilgrims but ended up helping them when they were having problems setting up houses and providing food for their families. In return, they were given diseases that they had zero immunity to, had their land seized, were viciously fought with and were even relocated off of their land. From an Indians point of view, Thanksgiving can be considered as a betrayal of a friendship.

5. On a more recent note, the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade used to include live animals rather than the floats used today. Black Friday is just a gimmick that was created by department stores to increase revenue. Joe Madden did not create turducken and you can thank the Detroit Lions for Thanksgiving Day football.

Of course, no one knows exactly what happened at the first Thanksgiving but from my research, it seems that what we have grown up to believed have happened is most likely not the entire truth.

Honestly, I still cannot believe that some people think the Indians busted our party! Perhaps that day in 1621 is not only the first celebrated Thanksgiving but the first documented American party that was crashed.

Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.