S: Senior Reflection- Carolyn Powell
FC: Carolyn Powell AP Literature Wednesday June 1, 2011 | Senior Reflection Project | Senior Reflection Project
1: 1. Thoughts 2. Philosophy 3. "I Wonder" 4. Sentence Completion 5. Personal Collage 6. Personal Song 7. Fictional Character 8. Quotations 9. Biggest Regret 10. Freshman Advice | Table of Contents
2: Thoughts | I am Carolina born and raised, but not a hick. My family is from North Carolina, but I will not stay in North Carolina. There is a world beyond this town, and I long to have my classmates experience life outside of Mount Pleasant. I am a Preacher’s daughter, and forever proud of that. I admire my mother and all that she has done, but I have learned from her mistakes. My father is the best daddy anyone could ask for. He is what I aspire to be as a parent. He walks beside me, not in front or beside of me, in all aspects of my life. He shows me how to do things, not doing them for me. My brother basically rushes through life, with no destination in mind. I love him, but he needs something to live for other than himself. My sister is the biggest challenge in my life. I often cannot stand to be in the same room as her; I love her too, but I hope she mellows out through the years. My family is about as dysfunctional as they get, but whose isn’t?
3: My life’s calling to serve the abandoned, the weary, the sick and the homeless in this world. I want to empower others by teaching them how to stand up and be proud of their independence- who they are. I try daily to love fully, live joyfully, and laugh freely. My faith is the number one thing in my life. I feel like I have been placed on this earth to serve others; there is nothing I love more than helping and improving the lives of others. My life’s dream is to work for a church or a nonprofit organization where I can daily live out that call to serve joyfully. I know a life of service will not be an easy path- it can be a demanding, nerve-racking lifestyle; but a life abundant in moments of love and happiness is woven from experiences that are not always simple. I live to love how Jesus loved. Friendship is an odd topic for me to discuss. I am such an outgoing people, that I enjoy being surrounded by others. However, I did not have solid friendships for the majority of my high school years. Between moving and trying to get ahead in my classes, I never had the time to make best friends. It has had a negative impact on my life. To me, however, my friends are everyone around me. I love everyone and treat them equally. At this point in my life, I am stuck at a cross roads. I look back at my high school years. To be honest, they were rather unpleasant. But, if I had not experienced what I did, I would not be the person I am today. I look forward at my years at Roanoke College and to the future with anxiety and hope. I know, however, I will approach it with a strong faith, southern background and desire to serve.
4: Philosophies | 1.Fun does not have to be dangerous, harmful or destructive; fun is anything that brings a smile to one’s face. 2.The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. 3.Faith is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. (Hebrews 11:1) 4.Ambition is generally a helpful trait. It is the drive to accomplish and reach a goal. However, those too ambitious can sometimes bypass the moments that life are made of. 5.Hate is absolutely useless. Hate is the absence of love and forgiveness. It is hard to overcome, but not impossible. 6.Anger does not fix anything, but almost always is the most caustic of emotions. How our world would be changed if anger was removed as an emotion! 7.Pride, like anger, is an aspect of the human psyche I question. When used in a healthy manner, pride can be a good thing. The feeling a child receives when he or she knows she has made her parents proud is irreplaceable. However, the pain caused by an unsaid apology due to pride can remain forever. 8.Money is the root of all evil. I honestly think that life would be so much easier if we could all just go back to bartering for our goods. 9.Work is not work unless an individual makes the task at hand burdensome.
5: 10.Family is one of the great paradoxes of our time. There are most dysfunctional families that I know of than functional ones. Family has the potential to be a person’s greatest advocate, or to be an individual’s greatest challenge. 11.Society can either hinder or propel a group of people into greatness. Specific behaviors encouraged by society are often not behaviors comfortable to individuals. Society could be far greater if it listened to the needs of its people, and centered its form on that. 12.A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. 13.Schools are one of our nations most broken institutions. It’s such a shame because the future of the world lies in the education of the current youth. 14.Religion is not for everyone. This much I know. But I can still hope that the devotion, faith and community found in organized religion will one day attract once again that following that it had. 15.Death is one of the saddest, yet the most liberating aspects of life. What would our lives be if they went on forever? The greatest par of life is the unknown time in which we have to live it. 16.Marriage is unfortunately, an aspect of religion that has become less popular as time progresses. As the world’s views become more liberal and accepting, the need to marry has become less prominent. 17.Education is the single most important aspect in freeing ourselves from ignorance. If we yearn to make a change, we must first educate ourselves in the history of the past and the information of the present. 18.The future holds a great deal of excitement and anxiety for me as I look back at where I have come from and feel excitement for the opportunities, but I also worry about my capability of handling life on my own. 19.Desire, if used in such a way that is morally uplifting, can be a catalyst for change. However, desire can also corrupt any good man when used to yearn after power or money. 20.All dishonesty is, is just a disaster waiting to happen. Unless there is a surprise party planned, honesty is always the best policy.
6: I wonder.... | -I wonder who decides what is “cool” and what is not. -I wonder why each person has the same insecurities and why we don’t do something to remedy it. -I wonder why it is considered a bad quality in the eyes of high school students to be overly intelligent. -I wonder why we do not take action against epidemics facing our world today- poverty, starvation, a failing education system, and an egocentric society. -I wonder what makes it acceptable to care solely about “me”, and not the world around us. -I wonder what will become of our planet in fifty or sixty -years. It cannot support the billions of people that will exist. -I wonder what causes anger. If God created us, he did not create anger. So where did it come from? If evolution is true, what happened along the way that engendered the emotional response that is anger? -I wonder what it will take to change the world. Is it even possible? -I wonder what makes some people bad people and others good. Is it genetics, environment or a combination? -I wonder race, gender, religious affiliation, nationality, language and disability discrimination exist. People are people.
7: Sentence Completion | 1. Some people seem only to want to play in life, and then complain when they reap consequences from their inability to work. 2. People can hurt my feelings most by insulting who I am or making me feel insecure. 3. I get angry when people are judged based on their outer shell. Nothing makes me more absolutely infuriated than discrimination. 4. I feel happiest of all when I am helping others. As simple as it sounds, this is when I am happiest. 5. My major goal in life is to make a difference in this world. I see how much potential there is in the people around me, and I wonder why the world could not be changed if that potential was tapped in to. 6. The greatest crime one man can do toward another is not give him a chance to become what he is capable of becoming. 7. My greatest fear is being alone in life. 8. If I could have one wish, it would be to be given the delusion that the world desires a change, and it is possible to eliminate all the evil and pain in this world, and the skills to change it. 9. My greatest weakness is ice cream. But more seriously, my low self esteem. I would do anything for ice cream. But I cannot do anything when I start to doubt myself, as I often do. 10. My greatest strength is to empathize with and love everyone as they are.
8: Sentence Completion 11. If I could do one thing to improve mankind, it would be to eradicate discrimination. How different would this world be if every person saw every other person as a brother, or sister? It would be radically different. 12. The thing I would most want to be remembered for after leaving high school is being there to hold a hand, have a conversation, or run to get a drink or snack at blood drives. 13. If I could talk to one person from the past it would be Mother Teresa because she served the world the way I want to, and I would love to talk to her to find out from her perspective how to love unconditionally. 14. If I could change one thing about myself, it would be my habit of over analyzing everything. This trait has gotten me into more depressed states than any other skill I have. It almost paralyzes me because I will over analyze a situation, and see what I think it was, rather than what it really was. 15. If I could interview anyone in the world, I would choose Nelson Mandela because the strength he showed in the face of apartheid is an inspiration to me. I want to learn how to be strong in the face of evil.
9: Personal Collage
10: These are only a few pictures of who I am today. Starting in the top left, that is my grandmother and I. My grandma is everything I want to be when I am sixty. Well, not everything. But she is a fabulous cook, extreme gardener, bee keeper and very involved in her church. I admire her for everything she does, even in her age. Top right is my puppy Sammy. I found him this past December on the side of the road. He is a good example of my irrational thinking. I often think with my heart when it comes to things that tug on my heart strings. Sammy is my baby. He had mange and was starved when I found him. He is doing fabulously, and I adore him. However, my parents do not really care to have three dogs. So, we are searching for a home for him. As saddening as it is to me, I know he will be a blessing to others as he was to me. Middle right is a picture of me with my church. My faith is a huge aspect of my life. I adore church, and Mount Olive Lutheran is probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. | Personal Collage
11: I love the people there, and I have grown so much in my faith while I have been attending Mount Olive Lutheran. Bottom right is a picture of my small group at church youth event I helped. I love being a small group leader- I think it is a wonderful experience and I love hearing the response of my small group to questions about faith. Bottom left is a picture taken in Mr. Seidel’s classroom. These are my friends. They are an eccentric group, but they like me for me and that what I cherish. Also, I have spent a majority of my high school career at MPHS in Mr. Seidels’ room. So I thought that was fitting. Middle left is a picture of my peer helper, Shawn. I owe him more than I think anyone will ever understand. Last year, and this year when I feel worthless and alone, Shawn is the one person who loves me undeniably. He is such a sweet boy, and I will miss him terribly next year. I was taught so much by knowing Shawn. This is a brief, but rather thorough collage of who I am. Family, friends, church and service are what are important to me.
12: He is jealous for me Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory And I realize just how beautiful You are And how great Your affections are for me (Pre-Chorus) And O how He loves us Oh, O how He loves us How He loves us all (Chorus) Yeah He loves us O how He loves us O how He loves us O how He loves (Verse 2) We are His portion and He is our prize Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss And my heart turns violently inside of my chest I don't have time to maintain these regrets When I think about the way | How He Loves
13: Personal Song | “How He Loves” changed my life. I was depressed- clinically depressed. Because few people fully understand depression, I had a hard time letting myself be open about my issues. Junior year was a nightmare for me. Every day was worse than the next. By the summer after that year, my strength to live had been exhausted. I heard “How He Loves” at a church camp, sang by two of my friends, and accompanied by the acoustic guitar. At that moment, I realized that I could not be all that God had made me to be if I was depressed. Living with clinical depression is not living at all; living with depression is existing. I could not love, serve or bring joy to others if I could not live as a child of God myself. This song helped me gain the strength I needed to get the help required so that I could live my life in the way God had intended. While it was a long journey to get that far, and still is a journey to my total recovery, I attribute my first step to my healing to this song. I realized that I belong to a God who loves me more than I will ever be capable to comprehend. The words of this song opened my eyes to the way I had been living- empty, void and alone. I came to the realization that my life did not have to be that way. All it took was asking for help, and being strong enough to trust that God would walk beside me through the entire process.
14: Elle Woods and I have a lot of differences. Pink is not my favorite color, I am not a law student, and I do not have a Chihuahua that I take everywhere. However, there are some characteristics that Reese Witherspoon’s fictional character Elle has that I possess as well. Elle Woods is goal driven, independent, spunky and working towards a bigger future. In the movie, Witherspoon’s character is | working toward a law degree at Harvard. Her goal is, in the beginning, to win back her fraternity boyfriend. But, by the end of the movie, her goal is to do something greater with her life. I am similar because I am focused on my long term goals, and a future that is bright. Also, she does not rely on a man to make her happy. Elle Woods is independent and relies on herself to make the future she wants. Finally, the largest similarity between Elle Woods and I is that she is spunky. Elle always wears pink, carries her pet Chihuahua, and has the personality of a sorority queen. She is unexpectedly good at law practice and does it with her own personal flair. I am like this because I do everything in my life with my own personal touch, and I often do not act like the predictable type in the situation. | Fictional Character
15: Quotations | Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. -Mother Teresa This quote means a lot to me, because it embodies what I wish to do with my life. I want to cure this spiritual and emotional poverty. Mother Teresa is one of the most influential people in my life. I admire her for the strength of her faith; I wish to live my life in the selfless way that Mother Teresa lived hers. The reason I like this particular quote most, out of all hers, is because I think this delineates very well what Mother Teresa stood for in her life, and what she strove to cure. What it means to my life in particular is it helps me relate to the people I feel called to serve. I have felt unloved, unwanted and forgotten- that is just part of my life’s story. Depression, although it has been the worst experience of my life, has provided me with a string that tethers me to all the others in this world who feel unwanted, uncared for or forgotten. While the story of each person I encounter will be different, I can relate to the feeling of isolation, and that is indelible and priceless to me. Also, I interpret this quote to encourage me to live out a life that serves as a reminder to others that there is more poverty in this world than just the kind that exposes itself in the form of starvation or destitution. This quote my Mother Teresa ignites my passion to serve and, hopefully, to make a change in the lives of others.
16: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -Martin Luther King, Jr. This quote reminds me to live in such a way that love and light are what the world sees when they look at me. As Dr. King says, fighting darkness with darkness or hate with hate only creates more of an issue. In order to create a world filled with light and love, the darkness and hate must be driven out by lives that are illuminated by love and light. This quote encourages me to live in such a way that I am one of those lives that daily drives out darkness with light and hate with love. The author of this quote also influences me. Martin Luther King Jr. was a peaceful man; his nonviolent approach to the inequality of the treatment of African Americans is an inspiration to me. In my wildest of dreams, I dream of changing the world in such a way that Martin Luther King Junior did. And in my wildest dreams, I know that I must treat hatred and darkness in the way that Dr. King did- not fighting fire with fire, but eradicating the evils in the world with their opposing forces. To me, this quote is an inspiration to live my life in such a way that drives out darkness and hate, as well as encouraging others to live in such a way as well.
17: An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind. -Mohandas Gandhi Gandhi, a predecessor to Martin Luther King Junior, showed the world how to live in a peaceful manner while still taking action against injustices. In my personal life, I use Mohandas Gandhi’s quote quite often to speak to revenge. I do not believe that revenge is helpful to anyone; as spoken well by Gandhi, if each person took “an eye” for every “eye” taken from them, the entire world would be “blind”. This quote is one that I strive to live my life by. I strongly believe that revenge should not be taken. I think revenge is a pointless action used solely to make an angry, hurt or irrational individual feel better. It does nothing but continue the cycle of blindness. What this quote means to me is that if each person were to seek revenge for the actions carry out against them, it would only cause more pain and grief in this world. Eventually, the entire world would end up hurt. This quote encourages me to stop revenge in its tracks when I am able. There are other options to solving a problem than seeking revenge. Life is not fair, and seeking revenge does not create any more justice for anyone.
18: There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. -Nelson Mandela This quote by Nelson Mandela is most likely my favorite quote of all time. Yesterday, Jason said to me, “Carolyn, you want to do a lot of things in your life.” And Mrs. Grelecki, I sure do. Passion is the number one thing I want my life to embody. I have a passion to live life to its fullest. But, I do not want to live my life for only me. I want to make a difference to others. Just as Nelson Mandela said, playing small does not serve the world in a way that makes a difference to anyone. To me, this quote means that I have a responsibility to live the life that I am capable of living. I have no shortage of passion in my life, and so I must utilize it to live my life to its capacity. I also feel called to help others realize their potential. To me, igniting the passion and potential in others is one of the most rewarding experiences in this life. I think this quote by Nelson Mandela hit the nail on the head when it comes to what I want my future to hold. I want to live passionately and in such a way that encourages and kindles the fire of potential in others. Living fully does not mean living extravagantly to me; it means living out your vocation in such a way that glorifies God and points to Him.
19: Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs are people who are alive. -Howard Thurman I believe that this quote by Howard Thurman fits quite well with the quote by Nelson Mandela. Both speak of the importance of passion, and coming alive. What this quote means to me is that there are too many people in this world that do jobs and live lives that do not bring them joy. To me, Howard Thurman is saying that the needs in this world would be solved if only each person would do what they were passionate about. Hunger would be solved by those who loved to cook and give. Micro loans could be organized by the computer whizzes and the accountants. To me, Howard Thurman is saying that if each person were to do what make them come alive, the problems could be solved because each person would fall into a place in which they fit. I also believe that he is saying that there is almost like a spiritual epidemic of a dead society. Thurman suggests that in a world of dead individuals, people that are alive are the most necessary to the revitalization of our world. Although Thurman’s quote proposes focusing on the self to recognize what makes it come alive, he also makes known that an individual has a greater impact on the world as a whole when he or she comes alive.
20: Biggest Regret I can’t believe I seriously just did that. What was I thinking, wasting the valuable time I had at Providence? I told myself from the beginning that I would do something that scared me every day I was at Providence. What did I have to lose? I will most likely never see these people again. The freedom to be who I am and fully live life will never have a perfect set up like this again. There are few places in which there is no reason NOT to live with no regrets. But, I have missed my opportunity there. Now, I will move to Mount Pleasant and live with the regret of not doing one thing that scared me each day I had left here in Charlotte. I remember a few months ago, find out that I would be moving. I remember feeling the excitement mixed with nervousness of moving. I had never moved before. But, here I am. I can’t believe we’re leaving this house. I grew up here. I wonder if it’s normal to be sad about leaving the place that feels like home. I know I can come back, but it will never be my home..
21: I suppose that is what I really regret- not living fully the time I had left in my “home”. I fear that I will move to Mount Pleasant and feel like I belong neither here nor there. I think that was what I was trying to capture. I sense of belonging in Charlotte. Regret is one of the worst emotions to start a new school with. I just wish I had talked with more people, attended more sports events or joined more clubs. I had a large amount of opportunities to get involved and do new things, right at my fingertips. I regret not taking them when I had nothing to lose. And now here I am, leaving this house and on the way to Mount Pleasant. To start a new life, make new friends and become a new person. What will being a pastor’s daughter be like? Or being an outsider? I fear that I missed my chance to fully live as a teenager. Maybe Mount Pleasant will yield something beneficial. I hope it does; I do not want to be regretting this missed opportunity for the rest of my life.
22: Dear freshman, High school is not as scary as you think, and in the grand scheme of things, there are a lot of things more important than your four years here. At this school, there is a wealth of information to be learned, and it is not only to be found in books. There are so many opportunities to learn about yourself, your community and the world that can be found in this nine-hundred-and-fifty student building. First off, NEVER change who you are for someone else. The people that you will see day in and day out for the next four years are only a small, small representation of the world around you. There are over six BILLION people in this world, each with a story to tell and lessons to teach. Although it may seem at first difficult to find people you relate with here, have hope that there is a place for you in the greater world. | Freshman Advice
23: Secondly, I strongly suggest getting to know the faculty. When I moved here in the middle of my sophomore year, the faculty at Mount Pleasant High was the single most influential group of people that made me feel included and comfortable here. The faculty here has a strong desire to help whenever a student needs something. Responsibility as a student goes a long way in the quality of your relationship with the advisors here at Mount Pleasant. Participate. That is the most important key to making friends. When you join clubs, sports teams or fine art activities, you find people that enjoy activities that you do as well. The quality of friendship that can form from the basis of similar predilections is a higher quality than friendships that form based on cliques. There are at least 20 different groups to get involved in here at Mount Pleasant. AWSUM, Interact, Bible and Multicultural clubs, Junior ROTC, marching band and theater productions are just some of the activities offered here to students. There is no reason not to get involved. All in all, know there is a bigger world outside of this place. And, always respect the faculty. There are so many opportunities here, so take them. Do not be afraid to be yourself. Most of all, have fun. Sincerely, Carolyn Powell