Does Your GPA or Test Scores = Intelligence? The answer is No. Are School Systems the Cause of Unlearning? Yes.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about numbers, percentages, things that students have to do to get into a college. For example, the SAT or the ACT; a score in which determines whether or not you’re smart enough or, put it this way, a score in which a college can decide if you’re intelligent enough to attend their school.

But what does the SAT or ACT have to do with ones intelligence? It is merely just a score on another exam, like the many exams high school students need to reach the goal of… what exactly? Trying to reach a high GPA and a high SAT or ACT score to attend another school to continue doing the same thing over and over again?

Doing the same thing over and over, studying for a test just to do well, and then studying more for another one, can cause an overworked brain – an overload of information that… are we really truly digesting? According to Lesley University, in Massachusetts, “Brain overload stems from a variety of factors, each of which arises from taking in new information,” (Lesley University). When we take in an abundant amount of information, instead of learning and developing our knowledge, we are putting a lot of strain on our minds.

One of the main issues and causes of this overload is the constant need to gain new information and be informed of this information through technology and the media. Coming from an individual who uses social media for forms of artistic expression, as well as for typing this blogpost right now, it is true that technology can really distract us from everything else in the world that matters.

According to Daniel J. Levitin, a neuroscientist, “whose research focuses on the intersection of technology, addiction, and productivity, [believes that] information excess springs from the human indecision to prioritize tasks and activities. This uncertainty wreaks havoc with our rapid perceptual categorization system, causes stress, and leads to decision overload. The human brain, in other words, is in a state of constant distraction,” (Lesley University).

Why might our brains be overloaded with work and from technology? I think the first place we can look and turn to for blame is the school-system. I strictly remember in elementary school, 5th grade, the teachers gave out IPad’s to all of the students so that they were able to use them for educational purposes. In High School, the school provided me with a computer to use during my time at the school, and now, in college, I was also provided with a computer to use. Most of my assignments for the past several years of being a student are mostly online. I have not done a single assignment that I had to turn in on paper for…well I don’t even remember when.

Now, I don’t want to place all of the blame on the education systems, but, as Levitin expressed earlier, technology is one of the reasons as to why our brains are on brain overload as well as why we as humans are constantly distracted.

Not only does this easy access of technology affect our ability to stay on task, but it also affects our ability to read-well. One major factor of having intelligence, an intelligence that is earned and not one that is defined by numbers or percentages in school systems, is by the pure ability to read and comprehend what we’re reading. As well as to enjoy what we are reading and indulge the information clearly.

When you are constantly using a computer, or other device, to fulfill tasks a certain class is wanting you to complete, your eyes can actually develop something called Computer Vision Syndrome. According to Healthline, Computer Vision Syndrome, “Is a type of eye strain that’s caused by prolonged use of digital screens. Among other symptoms, computer vision syndrome can cause; eye fatigue, dry eyes and headaches,” (Healthline). Now, when we use computers for prolonged periods of times, not only does it cause the possibility of students being distracted, but it also can cause actual physical affects that most students and young adults already experience from their overworked minds.

I strictly remember in high school taking the pre-test of the SAT exam online as well. And as a person who once used to like to read for fun, or even just liked to read as a previous English major, reading on the computer and trying to think while also straining your eyes from looking at a screen for too long, definitely deteriorates your ability to fully understand and comprehend what you’re trying to do.

The title of this article is, Does Your GPA or Test Scores = Intelligence? The answer is No. And this might not all sound relevant, but it is most definitely related. Some students are simply better at being students than others, but that does not mean that they are in fact more intelligent than most. It just means that they are better at retaining information, chewing it up and swallowing it and letting it simmer in their bodies until an exam comes up. But do they really actually learn anything? Are they truly knowledgeable?

Let’s find out.

Please remember this: Memorization is not learning. I’ve heard countless amounts of professors and past teachers say to me “just try and remember.” Not just for exams, but also presentations. Now, not all of them have said that to me but a good number of them. Memorization is not learning. Trying to memorize a great amount of information will not only stress you out, but when time comes for the exam, trust, you will forget everything.

According to Ben Orlin in his article, When Memorization Gets in the Way of Learning, he brings up something that I believe a lot of people are yet to fully understand. And that is, “Memorized knowledge isn’t half as useful as knowledge that’s actually understood,” (The Atlantic). Memorized knowledge is simply the act of trying to memorize something for the end-goal of passing an exam or trying to present in front of a class without forgetting all of your words. I know this feeling personally, and I have definitely forgotten the things I wanted to say during a presentation. But, when you truly know the information, in regard to a presentation, you should be able to talk about the information you’ve learned and you’re trying to present as if you’re speaking to your family members or a friend. It should come easy to you. It is only harder because memorization was used instead of comprehension.

Now here’s the tough question; are students in schools truly in school to learn or to memorize? If a student forgets everything that they had learned in a previous unit, and received an A on a past test, does that truly equate to them being the most intelligent with a 3.0 GPA? Will they truly be successful in the real world with these memorization tactics?

That’s a difficult question to answer. I’m not sure what the answer truly would be. It is true that every individual is different but as a college student who has been taking college classes for a few years now, transferred from one school to another, I’ve learned that your test scores and your GPA do not determine your ultimate success.

For example, I know of someone who’s extremely smart. Didn’t finish college, attended a year of it, and now works somewhere that might be frowned upon by others because it isn’t a job that a kid might say they’d want to be or do when they’re five years old. You know the usual, there’s the veterinarian (which my sister said she wanted to be when she was younger, and now it’s completely different), the doctor, a dancer, a singer (which is what I said before I realized I was a horrible singer, and many others. Now, there’s no shame in having goals and dreams but sometimes people’s dreams and goals do not align in the path that life takes them on. Other times, a job, regardless of what kind of job it is, does not define who you are or how intelligent you are as a person.

But in this society, it does. In this society, or at least in the environmental society of college that I am currently in right now, your GPA is the only thing that matters in terms of being successful and having a ‘good well-known job.’

It is not. But maybe that is the belief and only belief that some people will have and that is okay. But that does not mean that someone who has a high GPA is more intelligent than someone who has a low GPA or no GPA at all.

The person who I was talking about is probably one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known. But intelligence comes in many different forms. Sure, if someone has a high GPA, they can believe that makes them intelligent, but with this person, his intelligence stems from his constant desire to want to learn. Many students in high schools and colleges and maybe even in elementary schools use memorization tactics to get by, rather than truly desiring to want to learn and develop their brains.

Not only does reading enhance your intelligence (as long as it’s not on a computer that causes computer vision syndrome), it also enhances your ability to write. You can become a better writer when you read more. I honestly do not believe some of these education systems can truly teach a student how to become a better writer if they do not enforce students to read and use their understanding of what they had read to write something. I think the only time I had felt that this was the case, was when I took a class with a teacher of mine in my high school, and a professor at the current college I attend. Besides that, I remember being told to write a paper about gender and something about panda’s having feelings in one of my courses from the first college I transferred out of. I do not recall reading any journals or studies or having the things I was ‘learning’ about be related to English (as it was an English course). There’s no reason to truly get so deep into that past experience, but it definitely reveals the complete disbelief of unlearning in the school-systems.

Learning should challenge a student’s mind but it should not challenge a student’s belief that they are not intelligent. And I definitely think that is something that the school systems are doing. Not just in regard to telling students that memorization is key, which I’ve heard before, but also by feeding them information that truly has no place in a school-system. This includes things that are unrelated to the course that is being taught such as learning about gender or panda’s feelings in an English class or pushing students to attend a ‘Unity Rally’ while also pushing a certain narrative about the amendments in the Constitution.

Are school systems the cause of students unlearning? Yes.

Before attending the college, I do now, I remember how badly I felt about my GPA in high school as well as how many other students as well as people in the school administration made me feel about my GPA as well as my grades. Many students strictly believed that if they did not have a high GPA and did not get into the college that they wanted, their life was over, and they would not have a job. The administration pushed me to think about colleges my sophomore year of high school. I’m pretty sure I was 15 or 16 at the time. College wasn’t something I was nearly thinking about, and neither was my GPA. The only thing I thought about when I was 15 and 16, and also thought about when I was in 2nd grade, was that I wanted to write.

In 2nd grade, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said I wanted to be a writer. And as I grew up, I wasn’t worried about having a high GPA, or a well-known high paying job, or to have perfect SAT scores. But I grew up with a lot of people who did say things like that. And I think that’s truly another form of brainwashing within the school systems; Making students believe that the numbers that they receive, are the only thing. that matters.

But that is not true.

Having a high paying job does not immediately suggest that you earned that high paying job and truly are knowledgeable. There are so many individuals in this world who never went to school or didn’t finish school (college) and learned about the world as well as taught themselves different things that later turned into success. According to Sarah Kristenson in her article, 51 Successful People Who Didn’t Go or Finish College, “Mark Zuckerberg started programming when he was a kid and developed Facebook while he was studying at Harvard,” ( Yes, Zuckerberg did attend college, but he took the time to learn for himself how to program which isn’t an easy hobby or thing to do. He used his learned intelligence to develop something that many people still use to this day. Nobody currently knows what his GPA was at Harvard University, and nobody truly asks. This is because your GPA is not the thing that matters in regard to your intelligence or knowledge. There’s more to one person’s knowledge than just a number.

Another person Kristenson mentions in her article is Tom Cruise. He took a different route than developing a major social media brand, but he, “Didn’t go to college [and] he dropped out of high school at 18,” ( Now he is a well-known actor. This proves that one does not need a college degree to be a successful person. One does not need a high GPA to be who they want to be in this world.

Another person Kristenson mentions, “Maya Angelou, a well-known author, poet, and civil rights activist did not go to college.” This is actually something I had not known previously before, and I remember learning and reading her poetry in high school.

Success can be earned in many different ways. You do not need to have perfect scores to be successful in life. And even then, if you do have a high GPA or high SAT scores, get into the college you want to, and become a billionaire – well, numbers whether academic or valuable, still does not bring one happiness.

Don’t believe me?

If you believed that money buys happiness, then you must believe that billionaires are always happy right? Wrong. There has been a major increase of billionaires committing suicide over the past couple of years. According to Julian Crowley, in his article, 10 Millionaire Businessmen Who Committed Suicide, “Howard Worthington, a self-proclaimed ‘Lord of the Manor’, and millionaire, shot himself with one of his prized shotguns just moments after shooting his lover Julie Rees,” ( He was a, “52-year-old English former businessman, who made his fortune in the steel industry,” ( Unfortunately, being a millionaire did not suffice for him in regard to his happiness. Another person Crowley mentions in his article is John Lawrenson. John Lawrenson, “Was a successful businessman who lived in a $1.8 million mansion. He was healthy, and seemingly happy. [But when his wife] was dying of cancer, [Lawrenson and his wife Caroline] poisoned themselves with a substance bought via [a] mail order from Mexico. [Later] a suicide note was found near their bodies [and confirmed that] Mr. Lawrenson could not bear the thought of living alone and decided to take matter[s] into his own hands,” (

Money does not buy happiness. Maybe it may buy temporary happiness, but it does not immediately take away every internal feeling like, depression, anger, or sadness. Nor does it make anything else in your life insignificant. In regard to Howard Worthington, he was seemingly suffering from depression. Which not only resulted in him taking away his own life but taking his lovers life away with him. In regard to John Lawrenson, having money and being well-off, in an expensive home, was not enough for him when he found out his wife was dying of cancer.

Money does not buy happiness. So, when previous acquaintances of mine or other students I went to school with tried to tell me that their GPA matters to get into a good college to get a good high paying job meant that their life was going to be successful and that they were going to have a perfect life, I don’t believe them.

Life is not linear, not everything is going to be perfect. And even if it seems to be perfect for one person, there is more to a person than what they externally show you.

There is more to life than having a high GPA, high test scores, and a possibly high paying job. There is more to a person in regard to their intelligence and knowledge other than a number on an exam or a score on an SAT or ACT. Schools are not only the cause of unlearning, but they’re the cause of students developing into adults who view the world in such a wrong and incorrect way.


I can take your favorite song and make it mine

spark it up with a lighter and watch it burn

let the lyrics loose

shooting out into the universe

like a gun pointing at a target

ruining someone else’s universe.

I can take a bullet out of someone with love

but I can’t heal their pain and watch them mend

let your thoughts thunder

wither out of your mind to your lips.

like a never-ending soundtrack.

let me be the tape you record on.

I’ll press start and you can just speak.

I can take your favorite candle and make it ours.

yes, that one that smells like him,

even though you wish it didn’t.

spark it up with a lighter and watch it burn

let the song sing

for it’s a sin not to sing happy birthday.

scream it out into the universe

let yourself love yourself.

for if I cannot heal you,

You may heal yourself.

– j.ds

Exploring my College Town: Pretty Little Thing Boutique

When it comes to college, the main goal is to graduate and obtain a degree. But, sometimes, the surrounding city or town is important as well. I am currently starting the beginning of my second year at my college. A senior but, won’t be graduating in the Spring. It gets a little confusing but graduation will come when I’m ready. In the meantime, after accomplishing my homework assignments and studying for exams, I like to explore the little quaint town that is Grove City.

Now it’s definitely difficult to explore the extent that I’d like to as I don’t have a car and nor do I have a license. Yes, I know, 22 and no license? I guess I never really thought I’d need one until the moments I wish I had one. But, thankfully, as quaint and small this town is, most things are within walking distance.

Some of the places I like to explore and go to includes, thrifty threads, salvation army, collage coffee, and pretty little thing boutique. I just recently learned that there was a boutique down the street from my college. It’s a little store filled with many vendors and small businesses that sell a variety of things. Mostly handmade or new items like crystal necklaces or bath bombs or even printed tee shirts and hoodies.

I’ve been to this boutique probably too many times to count. College started about four weeks ago and my money is slightly going down the drain. But, it’s 100% worth it.

Here are some pictures of items I’ve recently purchased from this boutique:

This crystal coaster was made for me by the vendor as a request. I received four of them for $15.

You might be thinking, “Why do you need four coasters for your dorm room?”. Well, I probably didn’t but when it comes to being in college, and constantly having to go cups from the cafeterias or cups of iced drinks, they tend to sweat and make your desk or wherever you left them, wet with puddles. I learned this the hard way. I left a iced cup of water near a notebook of mine for a class. To my surprise, the next day, my entire notebook was illegible to read. I write in pen, most times, and the ink just filled the paper like a matte-black painting of nothingness.

So, I decided to buy these coasters. To not only make my life easier, but, to also look at because they’re just so pretty. The vendor I purchased these from can be found on Facebook: The vendor makes a variety of things including very cute Halloween themed sweaters that I am currently trying to find the control to not buy.

Another item I purchased from this boutique was a mason jar cup decorated with a floral design and glitter:

Yep! I’m a coffee-holic. I need my caffeine and to save money, I buy Stok Cold Brew. You know, the cold brew coffee that’s usually out of stock everyday because its extremely popular amongst many. But luckily, I have yet to come across a day where it is sold out at my local rite-aid. I needed a new cup because well, my other one was kind of boring but also, I forgot to wash it, and welll… you know the rest of the story.

This cup was around $9 or so, but it is handmade and honestly extremely unique. Also, I was supporting a small-business and if you know me, I usually like to support small businesses over retail. I don’t recall the name of the vendor, but, if you’re looking for a cup like this one or different styles, be sure to go to this boutique for one.

Another item I purchased from this boutique was this beautiful little closet/jewelry holder. Or, at least that’s what I think it is. Regardless, I had to have it.

This item is too cute! It has little hooks in the inside and glitter decorated on the bottom drawers in the interior.

I purchased this cute little thing for $14 from the vendor: Taryns Upcycles. If you don’t know what upcycling is, it’s basically when an individual finds an item from a thrift store or something like Goodwill and re-purposes it for either a different use or restyles it to make it look more unique.

I ended up using this little upcycled piece for my bracelets and rings to go inside. Here is a picture of what it looks like:

Another item I purchased was this frog ring:

This ring was $5 but it was too cute to pass up.

I didn’t really need this ring if I’m honest. Nor do I really ever wear rings. But, recently I’ve been pretty much all about frogs. Me and my friends also have many frog-jokes or send each other pictures of frog-memes and I thought that this ring was pretty fitting for the semester.

I also resonate with frogs a lot. Frogs represent good luck, or good omens. They symbolize transformation and prosperity and that’s what I hope for this semester. To transform my past grades into better grades and my past studying skills into better studying skills along with using what I’ve learned to achieve success in the end.

Another thing I purchased from this boutique was this floral crystal necklace:

If you know me, I love necklaces. I have a bunch in my dorm currently and I love to purchase jewelry from small businesses or flea markets. This necklace really caught my eye in the boutique and I knew that if I left without it, I’d regret it. So I made the purchase.

If you’re like me, and you know that you’re going to regret not buying something, just buy it, you’ll feel better about it later.

I also purchased a few mini mushroom crystals and a bucket hat gift for my current roommate for her birthday.

This boutique is a must-go-to boutique. If you like original handmade items, purchasing from small businesses, and like unique items, run, don’t walk, and go to the Pretty Little Thing Boutique.

Run by Vickie Eackman, a wonderful and lovely woman (who also sells her own handmade jewelry in the shop as well) this boutique can be found at:

114 South Broad St., Grove City, PA, United States, Pennsylvania

And on Facebook:

The Thoughts of a College Student

Sometimes I wonder what all of the thousands of college students are thinking about at this very moment. Are they wondering about their future careers or worried about an upcoming exam or getting ready to go out with their friends this Friday night. Or maybe someone is going through a breakup, getting an abortion because they can’t manage college and a child, or thinking about committing suicide.

Every second of every day there are millions of thoughts rampaging in a college student. For me, I’m probably the most neutral-non-thinking student there is. Maybe its because of the overwhelming information that’s hit me in the past three weeks or maybe I’m just still adjusting to change.

I recently just switched my major to Communications. And yet, I think I’m probably one of the only students in this major that still have trouble with communicating. I’m a second year student at this college but I’ve been going to college since 2018 and I’m probably going to be the oldest student graduating in my class. Whenever that may be, I still don’t know.

But communicating in person has never really been a talent of mine, per say. I usually have a lot to say but it seems to come more naturally to me when writing it. In person, I get quiet, I stutter, I start to sweat and then I forget which words go with each other. My voice gets all soft and velvety and professors lift their hands to their ears motioning me to speak up.

Or, sometimes, but not most times, I find the courage to speak up. But, it’s usually in classes that are not really what you expect or not really what you think you signed up for. Professors bring up topics about controversial issues and the fear within me to speak diminishes. I think I just like to stick up for what I believe in. But, that’s not always appreciated or reciprocated. The lack of awareness and acceptance of differences of opinions kind of shuts down my capability of speaking. My words are seen as less than and therefore I feel as though there is no reason to speak.

So I write instead. I write about the thoughts of a college student and my emotions that sometimes are too difficult to figure out, and I stick up for what I believe in. Sometimes out-loud or in my head.

I switched my major to Communications because, well, English Literature was a bit over-rated. I had completed so many courses for the past five years that are so similar that the information bundled up, intertwined, and boredom struck. I love journalism or blogging or whatever this is but I didn’t think there would be much of any of that in English Literature. I didn’t really want to be a teacher or do anything with rhetoric so I left.

I still don’t really know what I’m doing. So, I guess I fit under the ‘thinking about my career’ thoughts of a college student. I’m 22, almost 23 and it seems as though the world, or at least the education system whether public or private, shames students for not knowing what to do after graduation. Or, they encourage you to print out ten resumes and get it reviewed just for your future employers to ask for a electronic resume. Colleges will make you believe that you’ll land a job right out of graduation. But that’s not logical or true. Unless you have worked similar entry level jobs previously or did internships or made connections but if you didn’t do any of that, the likelihood of a job after graduation is slim.

Even if I knew what I wanted to do, which is along the realms of fashion journalism or investigative journalism or poetry, or pretty much anything that has to do with writing, and I landed a job right after graduation, I still don’t think I’d want to work right after college. I think students and young adults need time to just be. Relax. Focus on their health. Read a book that they’ll actually enjoy and wasn’t assigned to them. See their family. I’m not saying don’t have a job but, I’m just saying don’t do too much all at once.

Life seems like it has to be in a structural pattern. You go to Elementary School, then Middle School, then High-School, then College, then do a Master’s Program or go to Graduate School (which is probably a waste of time unless you want to be a doctor/nurse or scientist), and then get a job. Life is more than just working your way up the food-chain of success. And even if you reach that success after all of the grades, all of the papers, the scores, the gpa’s, the honor roll’s, you can still be left unhappy.

I currently don’t know what I want to do for sure. I’m just being. A being who goes to college, taking courses, learning (sometimes), and trying to pursue something in the end. Not knowing what I’m exactly pursuing, which is totally okay. But when you go to college, people are always in your business. It’s probably the only thing that you can never escape after High School. Remember? Your High School Guidance Counselor? Nagging you your first semester as a Sophomore about which colleges you’ve thought about going to? Yeah, you were probably fifteen or sixteen years old at that time. A fifteen year old shouldn’t be thinking about anything except for the present.

In College, the ‘being in your business’ thing doesn’t just go away. I remember last year my RA asked me if I had went to Career Services yet to discuss what job I’d be looking for after graduation. Obviously I said no because I still did not know what I wanted to do. Suddenly, my RA’s demeanor changed and they were a bit worried and concerned and said I should go so that I’m not lost after college…

I never talked to them again. I did though, do a survey for the Career Services on my campus and filled out all of my interests and later it told me what jobs would suit me. Unfortunately, I am not interested in being a molecular biologist and that was basically one of the suggestions given to me after taking this survey.

It seems as though, when we’re younger, everyone makes college out to seem as this place where you’ll develop and grow and learn about who you are. Instead, you learn about what you’re not. I’m not 100% sure on what I’m doing, not everything’s about me (even though College is supposed to help build your understanding and develop your knowledge in a certain area of study of your choosing), and I’m not like most students.

I don’t have everything planned to the exact moment or date or year in my life. I don’t have a retirement fund even though probably 50% of the college I go to does, I don’t have funds for courses being taught in different countries, I’m also not sporty or else I’d get a offer to be a basketball player at a prestigious college, I’m not 100% sure on my faith like almost 99% of the people at my college. I’m not sure of a lot of things and I’m not able to do a lot of things.

But that’s ok. And if you’re like me, who has basically no idea what they’re doing or don’t go to college and still don’t know what they’re doing, that’s okay. Don’t listen to the people who don’t know you at all. People don’t know how to mind their own business. The only person in charge of your life and in control of your destination is you.

So, that’s pretty much it currently. Those are some of my current thoughts of a current college student. It’s only week three, coming up on week four, and there are so many things in my mind that if I did not write them, my body would collapse. Writing is like a tool for me, like a pen or a pencil in a classroom, it unleashes thousands of thoughts daily and helps me learn more about who I am, what I want, what I need, and what drives me.

So maybe, I’ll go to career services sometime this year and ask them, “What job can I get that allows me to be 100% my true and genuine self while being able to write purely as me?” And you know what they’ll probably say?

Think of…doing something else.”

But I won’t.

All About My Writing – Poetry By JDS

In my room, I have a poem hanging on my wall by an anonymous poet. It says; “Just remember your pen and ink it is your boat that will never sink. If not long ago, you would have drowned without a sound.”

Writing for me is an outlet to express my emotions and thoughts which are sometimes are hard to talk about in person or face to face to somebody that I care about. Poetry is an outlet but it is also a place where one can feel safe and also heard. I remember meeting one of my first friends at my current college, Grove City College. I asked him if he could write a poem and the first thing he said was, “I can’t write poetry.” I disagreed. Poetry is simply just internal thoughts or beliefs or different perspectives. Now, I’m not saying you need to be like Edgar Allen Poe or Wilfred Owen. Everyone has a different style when it comes to poetry.

This is a snippet of the poem that he wrote and for someone who says that they can’t write poems, it was fairly good;

Ash and smoke twist and turn

everlasting circles above the peaks

cultures clash callously

skies heavily and lost souls yearn.

The way ain’t clear

to a gentle place where souls go

~ Ethan Pierson

I believe everyone can write poetry and be a poet. Sometimes it takes more than just a simple thought and perhaps it may take hours to write something that has meaning. For others it might take a split second and a few minutes to be consumed by one’s thoughts and write a poem.

Watching him write was interesting and profound. I remember asking my current boyfriend if he could write a poem and again he said, “I can’t write poetry.” But unlike my friend, he didn’t even attempt to try. This is a major difference. This goes for poetry or swimming or major life challenges or changes. You can’t succeed in anything until you try and try and try until you come to the conclusion that what you did, what you’ve made, what skill you trudged through, made a difference and made you more successful.

There are forces within us that say “No, you can’t do it, you’ll never be good enough.” And sometimes those voices take ahold and power of our goals, our beliefs, our confidence, and shatters our way of life. For me, writing poetry has been just that. People saying I wasn’t good enough, publishers not accepting my work, students laughing at me because they don’t understand what I’ve written when presenting in class settings, and people being upset because I had written about them.

There are always people that will try and shut you down for whatever hobby or passion that you desire to have and achieve and work on and gain but the only person that matters in your life, for your career, for your passions and drives and desires is the voice inside of your own head. What are you saying to yourself? And what you say to yourself – matters. How you overcome situations that are difficult and challenging – matters. Do you write it out in a journal? Do you go to a local park and play basketball? Do you go on motorcycle rides for the adrenaline? Or do you punch walls? Do you do drugs? Do you conceal your feelings with alcohol? Do you follow your friends in everything they do? Do you listen to music? Do you have your own individuality and push through your issues and obstacles in a positive and healthy way? Or is it negative?

There are so many things that can get in the way of our passions and interests that could lead to our careers and our futures and most of those things are internal blockages. Feelings that cause us to have so much fear that doing anything else except for reaching our goals, something that will make us feel an ounce of happiness, even if it is short lived is better than trying to push away those negative thoughts.

For some people, suicide is the answer. For some people, living but not truly living is the answer. For me, I think I’m just so realistic and consumed with every emotion that exists in this world that my poetry sometimes scares me because my feelings, my thoughts, the things I wish to say but do not are revealed in my writing. And sometimes, going back to read them after years passed I feel a bit upset at myself for even feeling those things that I had felt. Granted, I wrote a lot when I was young like middle school – high school my poems were, you know, depressing. But, not to be that stereotypical highschooler who hates school and doesn’t want to do homework, I wasn’t like that. I was more afraid of things not changing for me. For the bullying to never end for the looks I got for being skinny to never stop for people who hurt my heart to continue hurting it later or hurting others or hurting themselves because even though I was hurt and pained and despised I always felt bad for the perpetrator because there had to have been a reason they acted the way they did.

But now, everytime someone hurts me I feel guilty because perhaps they’re just going through something I don’t know about and they don’t mean it. Which isn’t a bad thing to think but it isn’t healthy to assume especially when you’re constantly being bullied or hurt or used or whatever. We’ve all experienced some kind of bullying and if you haven’t, then you’re lying. Nobody is 100% kind in this world and because of that, I write. I write about the evils of this world, I write about the pain that I felt, the pain that I’m feeling, the stuff I wish to say but cannot because when you’re realistic and honest and truthful, sometimes people get upset.

Not everyone can handle someone who is realistic and honest.

Which is okay but perhaps they’re not ready to live an honest life. Perhaps they’re afraid, or unsure of what their purpose is. I am a big thinker when it comes to the world, my relationships, my friendships, my family, literally everything I have something to think about or say or write about. There is not one dull moment in my mind where I am not thinking about something. There are people that I have met who say, “I’m not always thinking about something. Sometimes my mind is just blank.” Those people scare me. How can you not think? Desire? Wish? Admire? Sometimes I’ll be in the passenger seat of a car and look out the window and think about the way the flowers are blooming or a sign that says something intriguing or being interested in the girls outfit walking down the sidewalk and thinking about how she might’ve come up with that outfit this morning.

There is never a dull moment in my mind. There are always thoughts.

Some of these thoughts and ideas and beliefs and pain and emotions are written as poems and never shared. Some of them are. Most of them usually are but as I grow older I wonder if my writing is worthy to be read. Should I share a poem knowing the person who it is about will get upset? Should I worry about their emotions over mine? Should I ignore my worries and share what is in my heart and my mind? These questions and more constantly rage in my head every time I think about posting a poem onto:

which is another one of my blogs where I post my poems.

Yet I do it anyways. I post them. Because the thing I fear the most is fearing fear itself. I do not want to be afraid to try new things or challenge myself or share my work.

So if you’re not afraid of challenging yourself or achieving your goals, maybe you can do the same. Make a blog, write about your passions. Do the job you’ve always wanted to do and take the steps to get there. Whatever it is, do not be afraid.

The Family & Children Of God

Understanding the Mind of David “Moses” Berg

Believing in a God and being religiously inclined to pray or give prayer has been around for decades. Trusting in a God to keep you safe from harm is something all people, even those who are atheists, do once in their lives. During a horrible event, a death, or a near death experience, we all have had one moment were we looked to God for help.

This is what David “Moses” Berg did for his ‘family.’ To find faith in Christ to bring everyone together. But in terms of going to church, bringing everyone together means unifying as one in prayer against any stigma, regardless of any ones sins. Berg does the complete opposite. Instead, he unifies people through the action of enforcing sins.

We can learn more about what he does in his Christian cult through Stephanie Buck, in her article;The hippie Christian cult that encouraged sex with children is still around todayThis is one ‘Family’ you don’t want to be a part

She states that, the founder of the ‘family,’ David Berg, “perverted teens for Christ into his own international religious cult, exploiting young people to accomplish it.”

In a February 1971, Berg writes a letter entitled “A Shepherd-Time Story,” where he goes on to describe his “happy folds”.

Buck quotes that these “happy folds” are when, “COG members protected little lambs who “laugh and sing and dance and play and fuck and bear lots of little lambs! And the shepherds like it!”

In public, COG was a Christian group praising the name of God. In private, its purpose was to run a child sex ring.

Buck also writes about Berg’s own daughter, Deborah, who describes her father’s actions in a 1984 exposé, claiming that he, “Attempted to have sex with her several times, and engaged in a continuous sexual relationship with his other daughter, Faith.”

This was not the beginning of what Berg called “sexual sharing.” Starting in the late 1970s, Berg preached to all of his followers and their children, “God created boys and girls able to have children by about 12 years of age.”

Within another letter, there were disgusting photos pictured. One of a mother orally copulating a little boy. Another of an adult woman and a toddler laying naked in bed with her hand suggestively near his penis. The caption underneath the photos read, “Well, they told us to go to bed!”

“The free expression of sexuality, including fornication, adultery, lesbianism (though not male homosexuality), and incest were not just permitted but encouraged,” writes Richard Kyle in The Religious Fringe: A History of Alternate Religions in America (1993).

Also In 1993, TV host Larry King asked former member Ricky Dupuy how he knew such policies existed in the COG. Dupuy replied, “Because I was ordered in the group to have sex with a 10-year-old by the leadership of the group.”“Did you?” King asked.“Yes. It was to get me in so deep that I would be afraid to ever come out and speak against the group.”

In 1977, Berg issued another edict, “Female members should have sex with men in order to convert them.” In a maneuver he dubbed “flirty fishing.”

Even if women were married, Berg called on them to sacrifice their bodies in the name of God.

In Berg’s own 1979 annual report, he stated that his FFers (flirty fishers) had “witnessed to over a quarter of a million souls, loved over 25,000 of them, and won about 19,000 to the Lord.”

By 1981, hundreds of “Jesus Babies” had been born as a result of flirty fishing. Eventually, the cult had to be stopped due to AIDS-related concerns.

Buck states that, “By 1977, COG had established more than 130 communities around the world. In 1983, the group reported more than 10,000 full-time members living in 1,642 homes. The Children of God was officially renamed “The Family.””

Years later, the cult attempted to distance itself from Berg’s pedophilic dogma, especially after his death in 1994. It wanted to be seen as a legitimate international religious sect, and issued charters that allowed for personal careers and independence from the residential family unit. The Family engaged in goodwill marketing campaigns. A group of children even sang for Barbara Bush at the White House during the 1992 Christmas season.

But controversy resurfaced in the 1990s and 2000s as more and more Family members defected. Specifically, original members had given birth to a second generation, children who were raised in communal, religious environments — and in some cases, households of sexual criminality. Such isolation meant these children knew nothing outside that existence. Even celebrities like Joaquin Phoenix and Rose McGowan were part of the cult.

“At the time, I didn’t think of it as abuse,” said Peter Frouman, who left in 1987. “I had no concept that normal people didn’t do this sort of thing. I thought it was perfectly normal for parents to have sex with their children, and children to have sex with each other and with adults.”

“Sex wasn’t the only thing stolen from them. It wasn’t even the biggest thing,” James La Matterly, a member in the early 1970s, told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2005. “Their spirituality was stolen. God was stolen from them.”

According to Blake Butler, in his article;The Bizarre and Terrifying Propaganda Art of the Children of GodThe Children of God movement was founded in 1968 in Huntington Beach, California, by former pastor David Brandt Berg,…

“The Children of God still exists today under the moniker Family International, but the Children of God movement was originally founded in 1968 in Huntington Beach, California, by the former pastor David Brandt Berg, known to his followers as Moses David, Mo, King David, Dad, and Grandpa.”

Butler goes on to say that this communist cult was, “Founded around banding together to proselytize the word of Jesus in the streets.”

The group maintained an “old world” idea of Christianity, which, at least in Berg’s view, centered largely around sex. By the time the organization changed its name to the Family of Love in 1978, Berg had introduced a process called “flirty fishing,” which involved the women of the group recruiting new members by fucking them.

In 1993, more than 70 percent of the group’s 10,000 members were under the age of 18, operating under a strict and insane set of guidelines laid out by Berg and his wife, Karen Zerby.

20 of the Family’s foundational ideas (paraphrased):

  1. God loves sex, because sex is love
  2. Satan hates sex, because sex is beautiful
  3. Incest is OK, because there’s no better place for a young man to learn about doing it than from his own mother.
  4. Eleven-year-olds are capable of becoming pregnant, so why shouldn’t they be having sex?
  5. Fucking your grandpa is awesome.
  6. Everybody is married to everybody else.
  7. Children should have at least an eighth-grade education, provided by their parents, and if the children want more education, it is “up to the parents to see if the Home can comply.”
  8. Pictures of naked congregation members, referred to as “nudie-cuties,” make good bookmarks for the Bible.
  9. It is OK to lie to nonbelievers in order to protect God’s work.
  10. Men should not be gay, but it is hot when women are gay.
  11. Masturbation is having sex with Jesus. When a man is having sex with Jesus, he is no longer a man, but Jesus’s wife, so it’s not actually male-on-male anymore, and therefore OK because not gay.
  12. When you are having sex with Jesus, he likes you to talk dirty. Pamphlets were created containing suggested “Love Words” to whisper to get Jesus hot
  13. It’s not very Christian-like to say words like “dong” or “cunt,” but if you do, it’s cool, because through the instruction of the Lord they are clean. Just, like, don’t go around saying it all the time or anything.
  14. The prophecies of Jesus are called “golden seeds,” and one good way to receive them is to suck on Jesus’s “golden rod” (or another man’s rod if you are a chick and can’t find Jesus’s).
  15. Jesus was supposed to return in 1993. When he did not return in 1993, it was because he wanted to give the Family more time to grow.
  16. Rape provides a female the opportunity to witness to their rapist, and anyway she should have offered it freely, because providing free sex is a good way to convert people to the Family.
  17. “Keys of the Kingdom” are powerful words you can use for extra effect while praying. These keys also power UFOs and can turn into swords to fight demons.
  18. God allowed 9/11 to happen to “America the Whore” because the towers represent the ignorance of the fat, lazy, and rich.
  19. Hitler was on the right track, but didn’t actually do enough, because Jews are subhuman demons. Also, the Holocaust didn’t actually happen.
  20. Heaven is actually a “space city” that exists within a pyramid measuring 1,500 miles long, wide, and tall, and this pyramid either is traveling through space to reach Earth or is hidden inside the moon.

It has become clear that Berg and his wife enacted a horrible Christ loving group. Misusing the trust of their own followers and brainwashing them to believe that what they were doing was okay. Despite going against all of what God believes in. In their minds, they were doing what God had wanted them to do. But in the mind of David “Moses” Berg, he was using his sick battered brain to dismiss the truth, and psychologically destroy all of his followers with lies.

Sedated Society — How Antidepressants Affect Our Mind & Body

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In a sedated society, anti-depressants can first effect our mind due to a brain activity that comes into result when withdrawals strike. This activity is called a brain zap and Jessica Lindsay reviews what it is, and how it infects the minds of those who have them physically and psychologically.

In Lindsay’s article,

She express that a brain zap, “[Is] a hard phenomenon to describe, but essentially a brain zap feels like a little electric shock. It can be triggered by noises or sudden movement, or just happen randomly. It’s akin to someone sticking a wet finger in your ear, a spider crawling up the back of your neck, or a sudden flash of lightening. Although they don’t hurt and only last for a couple of seconds, they can be distressing and give you that feeling of being woken up in the middle of the night and having to readjust to where and who you are.”

There’s no definite reason as to why these brain zaps occur, but it’s thought to happen because of, “[The] amino acid[s] that work as a neurotransmitter in your brain[.][These amino acids are called] Gamma-aminobutyric acid [also known as GABA].

According to Healthline, Lindsay writes, “When GABA attaches to a protein in your brain known as a GABA receptor, it produces a calming effect. This can help with feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear.”

Also according to Healthline, “Low levels of GABA have been linked to seizures, and the theory goes that, as SSRIs increase levels of GABA, by discontinuing use and lowering levels once again, these zaps take place.”

These zaps occur when a user suddenly comes off of an anti-depressant. Each SSRI has different side effects when it comes to withdrawals yet the list is mind-boggling.

The symptoms include;

  • dizziness
  • vertigo
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea/vomiting
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • diarrhea
  • chills
  • shock-like sensations (brain zaps)
  • paresthesia (burning, prickly, or skin crawling sensations)
  • visual disturbances
  • impaired concentration
  • vivid dreams
  • depersonalization (a detached, out-of-body experience)


  • suicidal thoughts

Antidepressants not only have mean side effects when coming off of them, but they also affect much more than your mentality and physicality, but can also affect your future health.

Taking antidepressants can also have a significant effect on pregnant women.

According to Kristen Fischer, in her article;

“A new study [in the BMJ Open journal] finds that pregnant women taking certain types of antidepressants were anywhere from 15 to 52 percent higher risk for developing gestational diabetes. The study joins a growing body of evidence linking [certain] forms of antidepressants [to an] increased risk for gestational diabetes.”

Fischer also expresses that 1 in 10 pregnant women who have depression not only have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes but this risk can put, “Infants at risk for being overweight [and the woman carrying at risk of a] prolonged labor.”

The children of mothers who have gestational diabetes are also vulnerable to, “Obesity or diabetes [while their mothers] may be more likely to have type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease.”

Antidepressants are also known for affecting metabolism rates and influence serotonin levels which can affect glucose digestion.

Dr. Bérard states that, “Although biological plausibility is not well understood, we know that antidepressants are associated with weight gain… mostly SSRIs and SNRIs, the most used antidepressants… and that weight gain is associated with insulin resistance and glucose metabolism dysregulation — all risk factors for diabetes.”

And some data suggests that, “changes to a receptor targeted by antidepressants can lead to insulin resistance, added Dr. Jodie Katon, a research assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

Not only are antidepressants causing women to develop gestational diabetes, antidepressants are also causing teenagers to do more harm than good.

According to Shelley Jofre in her article;

Teenage antidepressants ‘doing more harm than good’

A girl by the name of Amiee Folan from Glasgow Scotland expressed that, “[She] had a troubled childhood and was diagnosed as bipolar when she was 12 [and] at the age of 16, when she was staying at a children’s unit in Scotstounhill, she went to see her [general practitioner] and was prescribed antidepressants that had a devastating effect — within a week she had attempted suicide.”

Folan also expressed that the doctors warned that, “The drugs could make her feel ‘low’ for a few days.”

The doctors forgoe to mention that Folan would, “Get to the point where [she] was hearing voices and seeing people who were not there.” Folan was also having, “Night terrors and [there were] voices in her head telling her to hurt herself and her partner[.] [These were] symptoms she had never experienced before.”

Folan believes that antidepressants should not be prescribed to anyone under the age of 18 due to her experiences on the drug. In Folan’s experience, the consumption of antidepressants affected her mind in ways that many individuals are not aware of. Those who determine they may need to take antidepressants are often misguided by their doctors in terms of fully understanding the side effects.

There are many doctors and article writers on social media trying to persuade individuals who are considering taking antidepressants that antidepressants has many ‘myths’ and misconceptions. Yet these myths, misconceptions, and symptoms differ for each individual who decides to take antidepressants. Not one statement fits like a glove for each person. Antidepressants may or may not affect pregnant women or teenagers the same way, yet each person who does take antidepressants are susceptible to every symptom and side effect. Despite these symptoms and side effects being labeled as myths and or misconceptions.

Based off of individual experience and statistical information, our society is becoming sedated, and antidepressants are beginning to take control of our minds and bodies.

How can we, as a whole, change our sedated society to a revitalized society?

Gender X

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Imagine going to the hospital and having a baby. Maybe you’re too young to have a baby at your age. Maybe you’re reading this and your just a teenager. But imagine having a baby that is born in New York. When your baby is born, if you didn’t want to know earlier, the first thing that makes you anxious is knowing the baby’s gender. You want to know if your baby is a boy a girl and all of the names you thought of beforehand keep racing your mind.

Now imagine the doctor giving you your baby girl or baby boy. Say it’s a girl. And you want to name her Gwendolyn. A name that not many people have used before, but to you, it’s special and unique. But wait. The doctor hands you the birth certificate and asks you to choose the gender of your baby.

Wait what 

Yes you read that right. Instead of the doctor simply choosing that the baby is a girl, now in states like New York, Vermont, and Washington State, you can decide whether or not your baby girl Gwendolyn is in fact a girl or X.

Wait but what does ‘X’ even mean? 

Well, according to society now and the push for inclusivity, society has demanded more choices to make sure that no, the child isn’t instantly referred to a male or female, but instead, the child can later on decide their gender for themselves.

Baby X, according to NBC News , is a term used to, “encompass a gender that is not exclusively male or female, including, but not limited to, intersex, agender, amalgender, androgynous, bigender, demigender, female-to-male, gender fluid, genderqueer, male-to-female, non binary, pan gender, third sex, transgender, transsexual, two spirit, and unspecified.”

Are you following? Because I’m not.

Who in their right mind thinks that a baby will survive their childhood being taught that they can be whatever they want to be. Imagine looking at your newborn child and called it baby X or, might as well call the baby “it,” since it doesn’t have a gender. How is your child supposed to go to preschool and introduce themselves if they don’t even have a gender/ How will they make friends if the child doesn’t even know what they are. Go ahead and imagine yourself holding your baby child and telling your child that they can decide what they want to be. Imagine telling your five year old child when they turn five that they can wish for anything they want. What if they’re wishing that they knew if they were a boy or a girl instead of the parents hoping that maybe they’d decide to be two spirited whatever that means.

A baby shouldn’t have to decide what gender they are nor should they have to decide when they grow up. Children need guidance and they need to have leaders in their lives. Kids aren’t supposed to make their own decisions. Maybe, when they’re older, and they decide that they are bisexual or gay then that’s okay. But why have the option of choosing your child as the gender of “X?” When you don’t even know what they want. They can’t even voice out what they want because they’re a newborn baby. So why is it okay to make that decision for the child when they don’t even know what they want yet?

This is my opinion on this new change in New York, Vermont and Washington State. Don’t like it? I apologize that you’re easily offended. But this is my blog and this is where I let my freedom of speech thrive.

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The Jonestown Massacre Podcast

“Just take me. Just take me and just lay me down next to my grandmamma.” And she went up to that Kool-Aid, to that death barrel and she just, I mean — didn’t hesitate, just took it and drunk it and then told me to hold her, to take her, and I did. And she died in my arms.” ~ Hue fortson 

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A few weeks ago, in Design Studio, we were told to research a topic that we were interested in. This topic that we had chosen would later become written into a script and then produced into a podcast. But why a podcast you may ask? We were told to do a podcast so that it would’ve been different from anything else we had ever done. What was the point of this project? The point of this project was that it could be different from a class presentation, or speech, whereas through audio nobody can see who you are.

After researching a few historical topics like the murder of John F. Kennedy and other historical topics, I ended up choosing the Jonestown Massacre. But what was the Jonestown Massacre? 

In my podcast, I first introduce Jim Jones. The religious leader of the whole massacre itself. I then talk about his psychological mindset, his physical condition and behavior before everything first started.

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I go into talking about the people who had found out about him, outsiders, investigators, and journalists. In my podcast, I illustrated what happened to them, and then talked about what happened on the day of the massacre.

When you think of a massacre, the first thing that you probably think of is the Boston Massacre, because it’s known. But the Jonestown Massacre is different. It’s a piece of history that not many people know, a history that seems to go untold.

In my podcast, I give the Jonestown Massacre the recognition it deserves. Listen to it here:

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After producing my podcast, I had realized that it’s harder than it seems. Many people seem to think that since nobody is watching you recite the script, it’s easier. Although, that’s not the case. For the first couple tries of recording different sections, I began to stumble and stutter over my words. Later causing me to laugh at myself. Something that my dad also does as he makes his own podcasts as well. Although, after trying and again and again I gradually became better at my speech and things started sounding like a real professional podcast. I am proud of my work and I hope that others are as interested in my topic as I am.



Presentation Of Learning (POL)

What is a Presentation of Learning? 

That’s the same exact question I thought to myself Sophomore year in Innovation Lab. Sure, I understood that it was a presentation of some sort but what would I say? What is the prompt? what are we supposed to talk about?

In this year’s Presentation of learning, I had planned what I had wanted to say. The Greenwich High School has a document called the: Vision of the Graduate.


And this vision is how Mr. Winters and all of our teachers hope that we can achieve and later become. The document listed many different capacities, some which stated, “pursue their passions, interests, and curiosities”, or one that says, “pose and pursue substantive questions.” Those capacities were the ones I had ended up talking about. Everyone created their own prompt, wrote their own personalized speech to present in front of their teachers. Not one was as similar as other students.

Each student had to choose four of the capacities in the vision of the graduate to write about, in an essay format. For this, my essay ended up being six pages. But for the presentation, we only had to choose two capacities. And the ones that I had mentioned earlier were the ones I had chosen.

Back to what we were supposed to talk about…. the answer is, that each presentation and subject was different. Sure, we had to include both STEM and Humanities into our presentation but each individual had a very individualistic take on their presentation. Maybe we all had similar nervous reactions like playing with your hair a lot (which I did a lot!) or walking back and forth (which I also did). But, we all talked about different things that had made sense to us.

In my presentation, when I had talked about the capacity, pursue their passions, interests, and curiosities, I talked about volunteering and how that has become such a big influence on me. I began volunteering my freshman year. I was once a camper at the Camp Simmons day camp in Greenwich and I really really enjoyed being there. So, I went to the camp director and asked to become a volunteer when I could no longer be a camper. As I was a volunteer I learned more about leadership and responsibility. But at the same time, I learned about different personalities, cultures, and a lot of different aged kids and how they are as an individual. As I learned about these kids, I took the skills that I had gained and used the knowledge of different cultures and personalities and used my strength of that skill in an everyday classroom. The leadership side of things helped me with public speaking and letting my voice be heard. Through that experience and many other volunteering experiences (Camp Simmons volunteering sophomore year, cos cob summer school volunteering, Camp Hazen Leadership Program, and babysitting) I learned about myself but also learned about other people.

In the second capacity, pose and pursue substantive questions, I also talked about public speaking. Although in this case, interviewing others, and talking to other people about academic research and things that I am curious about. This year, for the National History Day Project I found the confidence to go out and interview a woman by the name of Camille E. Broderick. She is the Greenwich Scouting Board Member and knew a ton of facts and information on my project topic, Ernest Thompson Seton. I prepared a few questions and went to the Scout Reservation in Greenwich to Interview her. Not only have I interviewed her but I had also gone to the Greenwich Historical Society and talked to the Archivist Christopher Shields about Ernest as well.

Throughout being in Innovation Lab I’ve completed and succeeded many of the different capacities on the Vision of the Graduate. I’ve learned how to reach towards my interests, become academically knowledgeable, let my voice be heard and my curiosities be asked. After the success of my presentation, all I hope is that I keep achieving different goals of mine and to keep growing personally and academically.