Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 13: Being a Teen

Adnan Selimovic along with his partners, Will and Emily, came to our class and talked with us. The class structure was very flexible, and my peers and I were encouraged to be honest and do what we want. Our discussions were focused on the youth and Capitalism. A lot was covered and our class was fully engaged. This subject is about us and our place in society. We are perceived as being stuck in some in-between "phase;" we are treated like kids, but expected to be responsible like adults. We discovered that because we may not understand how life is for our parents, we end up taking care of them. Being responsible, following all of the rules, trying to make them proud, resisting our desires in order to please them, is in ways taking care of them. How our teachers explained it to us was mind blowing. They really helped me to realize that being a teenager does not mean that I am powerless or shouldn't be listened to. It was empowering.

At lunch break I, along with three other students, had lunch with Professor Lamas. We talked to him about life, his teaching career, the University of Pennsylvania, and anything and everything. He was honest with us, as always, and provocative, as always. I learned a lot about the people I ate lunch with as well and discovered that they are similar to me. I bonded with another girl over our love for films, and another classmate over our similar childhood background.

For the second part of class we had a class discussion, which somehow became focused on SATs and standardized testing. This is a subject that has been discussed in class before, which is proof of how relevant it is in youth's lives. There were many negative comments about standardized tests, like the SAT. Comments revolved around the SAT categorizing the students, it being unjust, and oppressing students. Not everyone can afford a private tutor to teach them the "tricks" to getting a good score on this SAT "game." But there were a sprinkling of people who said we need these tests in order to create a standard, and that it is beneficial for education. Standardization is about learning discipline. You take a kid, put him/her in school for eight hours and pretty much teach them to sit there. This was used to prepare kids for factory work, which our economy needed, and still needs, in order to function. Something I learned today is that we need to question things. We have to break apart everything we thought was normal, challenge the status quo, and stop accepting oppression.

We eventually split off into small groups and had group discussions. Our group somehow got into the subject of racism, which seemed to play a stronger role in some people's lives than others. An Asian-American peer of mine spoke about how he had experienced racism in middle school when he attended a majorly white, Catholic school. Another Asian-American talked about how he had despised his race and nationality at one point, but came to appreciate it. A Caucasian peer of mine talked about racism that has happened towards her for being White. She told us that what comes with being born into the Caucasian race is people automatically see you as the oppressor, whether you are or aren't. I told them about my experience as a biracial person who experiences racism because I am neither purely "Black" or "White." A couple of my peers had not experienced racism themselves but have witnessed it. We recognized in our group that none of us understand racism and it is something that we want to change.

After class, I hung out with new people from class, and we ate dinner at the Commons and watched a movie. We were watching "Eraserhead" directed by David Lynch. Most people left during the first five minutes, but I stuck it through for a while. Then my parents called me so I had to leave. The movie was different and surrealistic. It is a horror film about a man trying to cope with living in an industrialized world with an emotional girlfriend and a mutant baby. I have never seen anything like it before, so I will have to try and watch it again in my free time.

1 comment:

  1. You might recall, Audrey, that in The Ivy League Connection I’ve been telling you all from the very beginning that we would treat you asa adults all the way until your actions demand that we treat you as children--and we have no children in the ILC.

    Sadly, we’ve had too many ILCers over the years who have demanded that we treat them as adults and then throw back in our faces the old “but we’re still just teenagers” defense for when they do something wrong. You can’t have it voht ways.

    You’re going to find yourself in a lot of environments where you will be treated as a “teenager” solely because that’s exactly what you are. You’ll be treated a certain way because that’s the standard treatment for someone your age. They’ll fail to see you as a person who needs to be treated in a unique way because of who and what you are.

    Even amongst our ILCers, we have some that need to be treated as adults and others who should be sent back to middle school so they can learn more about growing up.

    No one really likes the idea of standardized tests but until we have an alternative, they’re what we have to use to compare people. When we have a group of 10,000 applicants for a college, how are we to compare them? We certainly can’t afford the time to get to know each of them on an individual basis. Even with standardized tests and transcripts the admissions officers can only afford less than 15 minutes to evaluate an applicant.

    Is it unfair? You betcha. But what is the alternative? The world is watching you, Audrey, hoping that you’ll be the one to come up with the solution.