I reminisce of you, Winthrop. You have watered me.

I reminisce of you, Winthrop. You have watered me.

I realize now that every step that I took on that campus was for a very distinctive purpose.
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Thank you.

I sit here in my room on a Wenesday afternoon, and I do what I have done many times before; I reminisce of you, Winthrop. You have watered me. The sovereign God of my life has used you to bring me closer to himself, and for that reason, I must honor the experience that I've had with you. I realize now that every step that I took on that campus was for a very distinctive purpose. From the moment that I was dropped off on August 19th, 2016, to the point of my departure on December 12th, 2016, everything that took place there was used in preparation for the future. And so I show my gratitude, not only to you, Winthrop, but to the many souls that reside within you and make up your body. They are the ones that bring about your natural beauty.

If I had to pick out one thing that I've learned from you, I would naturally have to mention the variety of different faces that represent you. The commonality of the diversity present on this campus is the reason why an ordinary conversation between a Russian and Australian native has such a deeper meaning than it's face value. This commonality is the essence of the makeup of a university. Union is the oil that is required to keep the engine of the human race going. Despite of the inconsistencies of man from our natural faults, we must make authentic love the basis to positively affect our individual spheres of influence. Love is the key. This vital lesson is one that I've learned from the very soul of Winthrop, and it is one thing that I must carry into my everyday affairs.

So I must say again to you, Winthrop, Thank you. For every facet that makes you who you are, is the reason why my time with you will never go unappreciated.

Peace and Love,

Marlon.

Cover Image Credit: dp3architects.com

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An Open Letter To My High School Self

"How did you go from being one of the best, to being such a complete fucking joke?"
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Hey, you. Yes, you. The person that could work 4 pm to 10 pm schedules six days a week, yet be up for school at 6 am five days a week? The person that could consistently have just shy of $1,000 on any given day? That person who could get his bills paid without assistance? You were the model employee. What happened to him?

Yet, despite all that, you could consistently get As and Bs throughout your high school life, and met deadlines no matter what happened. You got damn near great attendance throughout your junior and senior years of high school. You never, ever allowed yourself to make excuses whenever there would be a hurdle you needed to climb to achieve maximum excellence in your high school life. You never settled for anything less than a 3.0 in any subject. You were the model student. What happened to him?

Between 7th grade and late 2013, you were looked up to as the model student, son, and employee. Then, something changed in you. What was it?

Granted, you got fired from your first job at the turn of the new year in 2014, but you seemed to bounce back from that very smoothly a few weeks later and continued the excellence that carried you all those years. Things looked to be smooth sailing in your life.

Until that fateful day in March 2014, when you found out that your father, the hero in your life, tragically passed from us due to a heart attack. It rocked you, and you forgot who you were for a few months. Yet, you still powered through, and still attended work not too long after his death. You still had that solid excellency throughout your life, but we saw some cracks show through you.

Then, you started to show up late for work. Started to dabble in shit you should not have been involved in with no knowledge. Your attitude towards work, life, friends, and family noticeably started to change. That was the extent of the cracks that proved to be warning signs that something was going amiss.

The further extent of those cracks began getting bigger and bigger when you attended school after taking the 2013-14 academic year off. Your first semester proved to be mediocre at best. Okay, it’s been a year. Work off the rust, you’ll return stronger than ever.

You bounced back with a bang in the Winter of 2015 when your semester GPA matched your high school GPAs. Life was still looking great, but those cracks never seemed to be sealed, as was evident in the late summer-fall of 2015. Your financial life started to slowly take a shit, as some late payments on bills started to become more prevalent. You started to miss due dates on the regular. During the fall of 2015, you started to sink further and further.

During the fall of 2015, you decided to switch up what was working, and never got a grade above a 3.0. You decided to take evening classes, which would prove to be a bad idea due to the aforementioned grade point average. Maybe a fluke?

Winter of 2016 was a mixed bag. At the start of the year, you idiotically quit your job, leaving you unemployed for three months of the year. During that stretch, some signs that you were taking more involvement in your school life by joining The Odyssey Online. It was met by being a hit; you even got the most views for a week on a particular article. On your 22nd birthday, no less.

Then, your inability to get shit done within the deadlines caught up with you, badly there.

Summer 2016 proved to be a hell summer, financially and, especially socially, with the divisiveness with the election. It’s okay, shake it off, and have an impressive fall of 2016.

You did indeed have an impressive fall of 2016, getting above a 3.5 in two of your three classes. Even with the hostility during the 2016 election, with you yourself on the receiving end of some negative comments during and after the night of 11/8/2016, you still powered through and got your financial life and academic life still in order.

Then, the winter of 2017 hit, and so did your academic life. You, again, idiotically took evening classes even though you knew what would happen, considering you did the same thing two years prior. You were not so lucky this time, as you barely scraped by with a 2.0.

As you’re approaching the final few semesters of your collegiate career, one question I still have for you, Travis. What the fuck happened to you? What happened to that model student, employee, family member, and an overall person that was there from 2007-13? What happened from going from that to the lazy fuck-up that you are now? I know you’re still in shock about your father passing, and that would have an understandably negative impact on somebody, but still. You’re better than that, Travis.

At least I thought you were.

Signed, junior and senior year of high school Travis

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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My Experience with Catholic School

Sex Education in Private Catholic Schools
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From pre-k to my senior year of high school I had attended catholic school. It was fairly common where I’m from in Connecticut to attend private school rather than a public school, even if you were not Catholic whatsoever. The schools, especially in the early 2000’s, were not the best. Because of this, my parents opted for me to attend a private school. I’m thankful that I was sent there because at the other schools, the environment was rough. However there are some things about catholic school that I personally take issue with.

Sex Education was a huge issue and still is. In many ways even calling it sex education is a joke. I remember our first lessons began in fifth grade. This class was called “family life”. Together we were taught about the sacrament of marriage and how having a child specifically in a marriage is a gift from God. For the actual anatomy of the female and male body, we were not actually separated based on gender. In sixth grade, all lessons besides the ones on marriage, we were separated. The boys would be brought to the nurse’s office by our priest where they had their own lesson. The lessons were incredibly basic and was not really sex ed. My school, like many schools did and still do, took the abstinence approach. As girls, we were taught that our virginity was very special and only for our future husbands. Virginity, in simple terms, was vaginal penetration, though it was never even directly stated, teachers just implied at it. If we were to lose our virginity before that, it was a grave sin. Our bodies were tainted, or at least that is what we were taught. I really do not know what the boys were told in their sessions, but I’m sure the purity aspect was not pushed on them as much as it was on the girls.

As I stated before, what we learned was basic. We were taught things like how to label the vagina, but not know the usage of each anatomical part like how periods occurred and what to do, and the basic anatomy of a penis. In high school, it did not get much better. We were being taught the same material along with information on STD’s, how to do a self-check for breast cancer, and drugs and alcohol were tied in. I did not learn anything that I did not already know. Much of my sexual education came from Google. Until I was fifteen, I didn’t even know what lesbians did sexually until a girl in theatre explained it to me.

My main point of this article is that this is a serious problem. Abstinence-only education does not work very well. A research article on Vice states that it does not only fail when kids have sex but also leads to unintended pregnancies as well as the spread of std’s. Those who try to maintain abstinence tend to not use condoms during sex or use any kind of contraceptives. I also would argue that the lessons are rather discriminatory. Only learning about heterosexuality truly limits what you know. Though one person may not be gay, understanding and having acceptance is a good skill for the people you may meet. Overall, I think this type of education does nothing but confuse adolescents and leave them to their own devices.

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