Dear Diary

December 21, 2011

Ruby makes a discovery, Dylan kicks some ass, Katherine goes for a walk!, Naomi LOVES CHRISTMAS, and Minna has what looks like a spectacular week.

Dylan

This past semester, I made friends with a new girl at school, who’s getting her second degree. Kim* is the opposite of me in a lot of ways, from her habits (pretty OCD) to her dude preferences (makes fun of my long-haired crushes, calls them ladymen) to her outward demeanor (total musical-theater personality). But that’s why she’s so awesome! We initially bonded over mutual creative crises, as neither of us was fully convinced of the art-school program we’d put ourselves in. This frequently led to tearful existential questionings after class.

Kim was spread especially thin last week as we were wrapping up our group projects in our interaction design classes. We would be on Facebook chat until three every morning, sending each other revisions of papers and design concepts, and saying how awesome they were, because sometimes you just need to hear that when you hit the end of the road.

Last Wednesday she came to class especially upset. I thought it was just about finals. But when I asked her what was up, I learned that in the span of one night, she had broken up with her dickwad boyfriend and found out that her aunt, whom she’s close to, has cancer. During the breakup the dickwad sent her cruel messages about sleeping with other women, told her she should change her hair, and said other things that were so revolting I wanted to find him and point my pink mace canister at his face.

We met up before class the next day and she seemed so much better, almost chipper. It was our last class of the semester, which entailed a painfully long critique of everyone’s final projects. A crit is where each group gives a presentation of their work, then stands in front of the class like deer in headlights while their instructors, guest professionals, and fellow students interrogate them about their designs. Critiques can be OK if you like and are ready to defend your work, but when you’re not into what you’re turning in, they’re like a knife to the heart.

Kim’s group presented first, and they received pretty positive feedback, certainly nothing to be unhappy about. For the rest of class, though, I could see from the other side of the room that her mood was plummeting and her nose was getting red from crying. When you have to sit through three hours of people droning on about their work in a critique, it’s easy to get lost in thought, and I’m sure the thoughts she was getting lost in were the sad ones. I wanted to hug her again, but I had to wait until after the crit.

At the end of the critique our instructor, who is known to be a real hard-ass, provided some closing remarks about how much we have improved, what we can still work on as a group, how we were a pleasure to teach…yawn. Then he casually dropped some comment about my friend that went, “Now that she’s out of the room, I can say that I applaud you all for not crying over your critiques.” He said this for laughs. A couple people did laugh, until they realized that she was still in the room.

That made me want to cry…for a second. Then I wanted to punch the shit out of the teacher’s smug face. I didn’t have time to find Kim before she tearfully slid out of the room, but I was steaming. I packed up my backpack slowly as I waited for the room to clear out. I asked the instructor if I could have a minute with him. THEN I CLOCKED HIM IN THE FACE!

Just kidding, I’m not that intense. And I still have to get a grade from this guy. I tried to summon courage through the quiver of my nervous-sad voice, and I told him that Kim wasn’t the type of person to broadcast her problems, but she had just gone through all of that personal stuff in the last two days. I told him that he shouldn’t talk shit about people as soon as they’ve left the room, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY HAVEN’T, and to have some sensitivity about people’s emotional lives outside of the classroom. I told him that you’ll never know anyone’s full story, so you better not act like you do. I told him this straight in the eyes—he’s not even an inch taller than me. It was super uncomfortable. Whatever. I hoped that he would go to sleep hating himself that night.

I’d never called anyone out like that before. Not even when they’ve done bad things to me. I just let the feelings kind of stew inside, and then figure out how to get over them. But I didn’t see this as something Kim had to learn to deal with. I saw it as someone else having to learn that being an asshole isn’t OK.

I don’t think anyone should have to deal with people being total assholes. That’s not, like, a skill we should be required to learn in school. Instead, we should learn how NOT TO BE ASSHOLES OURSELVES. ♦

* This name has been changed.

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30 Comments

  • Juniper December 21st, 2011 7:37 PM

    Dylan. You are my hero! I really admire people that stand up for other people like that.
    I actually gasped outloud when you said you’d clocked him!

  • Marguerite December 21st, 2011 7:57 PM

    -Dylan! Ah I’m so proud of you! I could never do that!
    -I am so bored! Half of my friends are away and I always feel like i shouldn’t do things with my friends of Christmas, I think they would rather be with their families and stuff… so I’ve been spending my time watching the free Christmas special movie channels…
    -I think my favourite song is Hark the Herald Angels Sing, cuz its so powerful and i always think of Eloise at the Plaza when I hear it, and that part of the movie makes me cry

    - oh and this spell check really bothers me cuz they always say i spell favourite and colour wrong! SO WHAT IF IM BRITISH!

    • Naomi December 22nd, 2011 2:58 PM

      favourite and colour FOREVER! we had the english language first!!

  • fizzingwhizbees December 21st, 2011 8:11 PM

    Ruby, YOU GET ME. I have always been that kid in the English class who the students don’t talk to but the teacher thinks is the coolest person ever. I suspect it’s because I’m the type of odd girl most nerdy male teachers would have liked to date in high school, and I understand their jokes. Or maybe it’s just because I’m a good student. Either way, I feel your pain.

    • Narnie December 22nd, 2011 1:08 AM

      Totally agree. Damn, if I’d known about places like Simon’s Rock here in Australia (although I don’t know if we have any) I’d have been sold.
      The other shit thing about being a person who’s interested in learning and is really self-directed, is that school subjects are so boring!!!! I just want to get to uni so bad.

  • mistycakes December 21st, 2011 9:27 PM

    i went to boarding school in the town next to simons rock… it is a great place. interesting people and, more importantly in my opinion, a pretty interesting community in the surrounds (great barrington, hudson, etc) good music and strange people… how can you go wrong? if anything, you will have fantastic stories. good luck!

  • Brit December 21st, 2011 10:04 PM

    Katherine, that first paragraph pretty much sums up my life. And so does the rest of the diary entry. Please get out of my head.

  • cherrycola27 December 21st, 2011 11:24 PM

    Ruby, I totally feel the same way! Always have. Teachers and parents have always loved me while kids mostly keep their distance. I’m an “adult” now, but it’s still pretty much the same. I don’t really mind too much, though. I don’t really care for people my age, either! I’ve just never identified with them, for the most part. I have very few friends, it’s hard to find people who are, I don’t know, similar to me? I just care about different things, so it’s hard.

  • missblack December 22nd, 2011 1:07 AM

    Haha, Ruby, I love this.

    Mostly because I think this Graham person is awesome, because a teacher who plays the uke and listens to NMH must be….awesome.

    Also Simon’s Rock is supposed to be for like GENIUSES ( I know this because I totally wanted to go there back when I still cared about school, before I hit eleventh-twelfth grade and now I’m all like, OMG I just want to drop out and get my GED) so, good luck.

    Little&Trivial

  • fayasi December 22nd, 2011 5:07 AM

    Ruby : If I said I couldn’t thoroughly contemplate where you were “coming from” it would be a blatant lie. I am a 13 year old Canadian girl living in Greece, where the educational system appears to show no interest towards gifted students and accelerated classes are a homeschoolesque rarity. As a direct result, maths is easy, physics is even easier, essays are generic and the people you’re surrounded with and expected to feel zeal and zest for are but doppelgangers of leading characters in cheap, prepubescent-targeted American productions. I have my “friends” but they treat me more like an acquaintance – especially after coming to revelations about my lack of inclination to talking about boys. I am moving to Canada in the Summer and hopefully I’ll try for UTS (University of Toronto Schools) – even though its application process and deadlines means I won’t be able to attend directly after moving there, but only a year after.

  • Arwen December 22nd, 2011 9:53 AM

    Oh Ruby, I’m sorry! I know how you feel!
    I’m in 8th grade and I’m homeschooled………what does that tell you? Don’t worry, things will get better, the best adult people were always the shunned kids at school. Have you considered homeschooling?

    P.S. I love, love, love Radiohead!!

    Please watch this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wtvjy3EiVCM&feature=player_embedded

    • Ellie January 11th, 2012 4:25 PM

      Hurrah, homeschooling! *is also homeschooled* *and in eighth grade*

  • WitchesRave December 22nd, 2011 11:46 AM

    Ruby: Loved your post, your teacher reminds me of Bill, the teacher of the main character in the book The Perks of being a Wallfower..You should read it, it’s amazing and i guarantee anyone who reads it relates to it…

  • Marguerite December 22nd, 2011 12:28 PM

    Wow @mistycakes near great Harrington and Hudson! Where exactly were you? Cuz like Ive spent like all my 13 summers in that area! (hehe I’ve never had a small world feeling…)

  • Maddy December 22nd, 2011 2:30 PM

    Dylan-I wish you had punched him! Such a jerk. My mom is a college art professor (GD) so I know about critiques, reviews, etc

    RUBY!!! I find school easy, too. Not easy, per se, but I wish that classes were harder and not more work or less instruction, as seems to be the case with honors and AP classes. Just more stimulating and challenging. I also recently found out about Simon’s Rock!!! It sounds perfect for me, as well. I’m currently in 10th grade though, and I feel like I’m stuck in my school. I always begged (correction: beg) my mom to let me go to a private school, but money is an issue. I live in the same state as Simon’s Rock, so maybe I could visit once, but I doubt I’ll ever be able to do it.

    When I first heard about it, maybe 2-3 weeks ago, I casually brought it up in front of my mom. She didn’t jump on it. I’m also in love with languages and science and math. Really into math and science—wish I could do the math team, and I took organic chemistry for fun over the summer (just an intro :D ).

    Anyways, Ruby, good luck with everything. I always want to talk with people as into, I guess academia as I am. I hope you get challenged and maybe I’ll meet you at Simon’s Rock. :)

  • Lonesomecowboy December 22nd, 2011 4:19 PM

    Ruby, I had a friend in high school go to Simon’s Rock and really really love it–I say you should do it. A school with 400 people may sound kind of overwhelmingly small, but I go to Bennington College in Vermont which has only 700 students and I really love it. Its a pretty self-selecting bunch of people who choose to go to a small, rigorous, liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere (even more so a small, rigorous, liberal art school for pre-college age students). My guess is that most everyone there will be very passionate about what they do and will have a pretty good sense of self. Good Luck!!

  • timsukulele December 22nd, 2011 4:49 PM

    Yo, Ruby! As a high school senior who had (and still has) that same experience of getting on better with older people than with my peers, I can say Bard’s program might be great for you. I’m off to Bard in the fall, and their philosophies are pretty much everything you’re about– be excited about learning, don’t be an asshole, you’re not just a number, etc. Another thing to look at would be Bard’s Early College in manhattan and queens, if you’re worried about being isolated from society. It’s still public, but Bard has a great program and philosophy and you should totally check it out!

  • blue December 22nd, 2011 5:16 PM

    naomi, baggies all the way, seriously!!

  • Hedwig December 22nd, 2011 11:21 PM

    daysdaysdays

  • Minna December 23rd, 2011 4:24 AM

    That’s meant to be me on holidays. I’m really livin it up.

    • Anaheed December 23rd, 2011 4:29 AM

      I am thrilled to hear this.

      • Dylan December 23rd, 2011 4:40 AM

        Just layin in bed naked, Olympia style. That’s how I spend the holidays too.

  • julalondon December 23rd, 2011 4:28 AM

    Dylan, normally i wait ’til i read all of the diarys but today i really have to comment NOW after i read yours, you are great!!

  • VictoryBelle December 23rd, 2011 8:16 PM

    Dylan, Kickass! Well Done! A lecturer of mine did something similar once but he scared me too much to call him out, I’m very proud of you and give your matey lots of hugs

  • garrison December 24th, 2011 11:15 AM

    Ruby, I don’t know you, but just by reading your posts I think you would love Simon’s Rock! My friend Sarah, who I met at an academic camp, is graduating from Simon’s Rock this year and she loves it. There are cute boys there and you get to write essays about Fight Club! I could give her your email if you want her to talk to you about it.

  • Mickey December 26th, 2011 11:42 PM

    Oh my God, Ruby. Thank you for posting that link to Simon’s Rock. I am totally applying to the young writer’s workshop!! You are awesome! ALSO I GOT WHITE DOCS FOR CHRISTMAS TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Narita December 30th, 2011 1:16 PM

    Ruby I don’t get why people don’t like you, I mean, you’re awesome as far I know you. But I know the problem you’re dealing with. People never liked me either and the fact that I switched schools more often than most people in my area visit a dentist always made me the ‘new kid’, and after I lost that title it became the ‘weird kid’. In the Netherlands you’ve got Primary School and Middle School, that’s it, there’s not really something like High School, but Middle School lasts for 4/5/6 years. I started at the education for ‘smart kids’, which lasts 6 years, and decided in less that 3 months that I couldn’t deal with all the bullying for 5 more years and dropped down to the 4-yr education. It’s way too easy for me and people hate me here only more, so now I’m in a special school for high-risk dropouts, you stay here for like half a year and if you want to, you can do your school on high speed. Normally, if you’re from the 4-year-education and you want to do the 5-year too, you’ll do both in 6 year. Right now, it seems like I’ll do the 5-year in 4 year. I’m the only ninth grader here (all the other ones are younger) and I feel all smart and old and like I don’t belong here. I hope Simon’s Rock is an option for you and that you’ll enjoy it there!

  • MissKnowItAll January 5th, 2012 8:52 PM

    Ruby
    If you ever move to New York, apply to QHSSYC.
    Best High School Ever!!!!

  • Ellie January 11th, 2012 4:26 PM

    Ruby, I’m the same way. Most kids my age don’t accept me very openly, and I wouldn’t really consider them “friends” of mine, but adults or college kids get along with me way, way better.
    Oh, and FLAMING LIPS. YOUR TEACHER. IS MY FAVORITE.