The Gang of Five

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The Things They Carried: High School Struggles

Tails_155

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20 October 2007

The Things They Carried - High School Struggles

Foreword: All of the names have been changed to protect the identities of the students, some things of peoples' personal lives are best left unknown.

The students weren't new to the burdens that they carried; they had done this for years and years, sometimes carrying three or four bags a day. Everyone had their essentials, school books, each a ream in size, but each page weighed tenfold on the mind and the spirit. Kit carried advanced work, AP Physics, and Calculus; Spanish 3 and Law. Miles carried biology and anatomy, he wanted to become a molecular biologist. James carried less complicated books, because he feared becoming overwhelmed by advanced classes after experiencing such in ninth grade. Ben never really talked about his classes to memory, but they all knew he tried as hard as he could as well. They all carried necessities, some heavy some light; they all carried pencils, paper, any other "essentials" the teachers requested, on occasion they wondered what was so essential about one thing or another, but in good faith they carried them all the same. They all carried necessities, some of which weren't school necessities, but personal ones: keys, wallets, cell phones, and glasses. Jake always carried just what he needed, Kit never figured out how he had time to reach his locker, and still do other "passing only" activities, five minutes leaves little time to use the restroom when one's locker is across the school from their destination.

They carried symbols of status: Kit had his Eagle certification card, his Order of the Arrow membership card, and on Tuesday evenings his scout regalia, coups, awards, and what he considered honor, all the same, being in the Scouting organization made him a target for unnecessary ridicule from those who saw the organization as a joke, but he still carried on; Miles carried keys to a car, he was always considered the "coolest" of the group, he could drive without limits, none of the others could; Miles, Jake and James all carried paychecks, for they all had jobs. They all carried their pride with them, it took their mind off the stress, because they could think of things other than the unpaid 35 hours a week they endured.

They carried their emotions and memories, their intangible weights. They all carried exhaustion, stress, anxiety, confusion, worry, and loneliness, as anyone knows are the usual feelings of a high schooler. Some of them carried optimism, a thing some, who were at times in too deep, perceived as a waste of energy, and a way to be easily let down. Jake, the kind, and oft-outcast, carried a desire to just finally get the respect of Kit he rightfully deserved; Kit knew this, and was silently guilty whether he would admit it or not he picked on Jake, who would be there for any of his friends in a heartbeat. They all carried feelings, guilt, mistrust, hindsight, and fear, things that kept them on edge, they knew it wasn't healthy, but that it was good, because without these feelings of edginess they would become bad students, because they knew being carefree was a quick way to dig a hole they couldn't escape from.

They carried distractions, with such heavy and negative emotions, who wouldn't? Jake carried story books which weren't class-required material, Kit never understood this, Kit didn't enjoy reading books, he found them too two-dimensional, and when the books weren't, he considered them too wordy. Jake, James, and Ben all carried video games, something that was understood, but also not, Kit and Miles didn't trust the other students enough to bring expensive electronics to school they couldn't keep their eyes on at all times. They carried plans of what is going on after school, what is going on this weekend, plans of what would happen this summer, and plans for the future; it was a wonder that they got any work done. Not all their memories were happy, Miles carried memories of a cruel mother, who even at one point sold his bed without informing him, making his grandmother buy him a new one; memories of an arrogant and selfish sister that ended up forcing him to buy her a new phone for her own actions, Miles was always mistreated by his mother. Miles' father wasn't always the greatest either, on bad days Miles' father would blame his troubles on Miles, or say he wasn't going to make anything of himself, that he was a failure. Kit was always witness to the struggles, his cousin was very important to him and he didn't want to see these troubles take Miles over, Kit and Kit's parents all told Miles if he ever needed to get away he was welcome at their house any time. Kit witnessed arguments between family members as well, Kit's mom and Miles' dad argued all the time, Kit's mother protected Miles' dad on numerous occasions but he believed that she never did anything for him, on few, but enough occasions to count, Kit witnessed his mother in tears over the hateful things Miles' father would say. All of them carried memories of death, Kit knew that James, Ben, Miles and himself had all had pets die, Kit and Miles had lost a great grandfather, and they both vaguely remembered details from their great grandmother who was beaten in a nursing home when they were no older than five or six. All the negatives aside, they strode on, giving up isn't an option, because giving up shows weakness, and weakness is the one thing a high-schooler will hide, pressure made it a necessity.

They all carried victories, some hollow, some large. Kit carried his successful completion of his Eagle Rank in Boy Scouts to highest esteem, he believed it was perhaps his best fait accompli. They didn't often talk about their greatest achievements, leaving for fairly superficial speech at times, they all were good at certain video games, so their victory records were the most often brought up, even if they felt it wasn't truly anything worth talking about, it was good just to talk. Miles carried the position of a club president, which they all respected as a fair honor, as none of the others could boast such, Kit was treasurer for a club, but this certainly couldn't compare to a presidency.

They all carried views, some weren't talked about, but they all talked politics in some amount. James could never form a solid opinion of his views, which always made Kit laugh, he couldn't understand how someone couldn't read their own morals. While his online "compass" read fairly neutral, Kit knew Miles to be fairly conservative by the things he said. Ben didn't often carry a view, or at least he wouldn't speak it. Kit was fairly liberal, which he expected but he couldn't understand liberals who held malice to conservatives without reason. Jake was perhaps the most centrist of them all, though his views were sometimes confusing. They all argued opinions, but respected their peers for at least thinking about politics. They all carried views.

They all had different opinions of faith, Kit carried fairly personal spirituality, quite unique from the rest. Miles could be seen as an atheist, not without reason, the others could understand if he asked "Where has God been for me?" and he could easily see the lack of a reply as confirmation to his church of divine neglect. The others were all Christian, to what degree Miles and Kit did not know, though they figured James was the most religious of the three, as he had actually started a conversation on religion, unlike the rest. Kit was, to his family a Methodist, as that was the church his family went to since he was young, he wasn't very active after his Youth Group leader left, he was very sad to see her leave, it was only salt in the wound that when she left the leadership was changed entirely, removing him from the position of vice president of the Youth Group, without even consulting him. They all carried faith, or a desire to have it.

They all carried struggles. They all carried burdens. They all carried trust. They all carried laws. They all carried opinions. They all carried pain. They all carried joy. They all carried diversity. They all carried unity. They all carried guilt. They all carried relief. They all carried knowledge, of things past, and things to come. They all had enemies, but most importantly, they all carried friendships that would pull them through the hard times, and be there to celebrate the good times.

take note, this was kind of hard to write, because all things said are true, if not softened for the public to read

Tell me what you think, I put a lot of time into this, but as always, I want honesty, not a hollow "nice" if there's something worth criticizing...

ALSO... these names aren't all me this time, they're just the same names (I have all these names from my RP group... so they were significant at another time - now they're mainly placeholders for real peoples' names I don't want to release)


Manny Cav

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Quote from: Tails_155,Nov 15 2007 on  04:20 PM
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The students weren't new to the burdens that they carried, they had done this for years and years....
I see you do this a lot in your work. This is called a comma splice. You shouldn't join two independent clauses with a comma like this. Good ways to correct a sentence like this:
  • Remove the comma and make the two clauses separate sentences.
  • Exchange the comma for a semicolon
  • Add a coordinating conjunction after the comma.
Also, could you not make your work into a large quote next time? It makes it a little harder to read.


landbeforetimelover

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The text included many excellent descriptive words, words that showed the reader what was going on and allowed the reader to experience what the included person/persons in question had experienced.  I couldn't have done better.  Spend much time reading thesauruses? :lol Anyways, the only thing I found unsatisfactory was the quote thing.  If you notice, the quote text is smaller than the regular text and much harder to read.  It's also in a much harsher color to the eyes.  Very unconfortable to read.  In the middle of reading the text, I had to copy and paste the whole thing into a word document because my eyes hurt so much from trying to read that text of the quotes.  Quotes are meant for small parts of text that you are quoting, not a long paper with many paragraphs.  That's what they were optimized for.  Other than the annoyance of having to put the text into a word document, it was very well written.  It does not in many ways describe my experiences that I am going through in high school right now, but I was able to easily see the characters point of view and make connections from the text not from my personal life (which is what most people do in their style of writing), but from the text itself.  It was written in the format of a sunday paper, but it was different because it was not simply a collection of facts put into writing, but a writing of passion and from a supurb writer as well.  It is clear that you have strong emotions surrounding the content of the paper, and that is what matters.  If you do have no emotions about the text, then you have a rare gift because you filled it with passion...the passion that seems like it's coming from an esteemed individual with a distinct opinion driven by personal experience and emotion.  If you have actual emotions about these things included in the paper, then great job.  If you have no emotions about the contents, go looking for a job as a writer. B)


There were several text errors, but that's what editors are for! :D


Tails_155

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heh... I am awful at comma splicing and run-ons :p

there is indeed emotion in this, I poured more or less my heart and soul into this paper :p it is all true as said below the thing...

I quote it because I, on the other hand, have trouble reading text in large blocks with a color change in the background even as faint as it currently is... but it's fine for short posts to me XD kinda the opposite

I showed this to my English teacher and when she read it she found a much more out-sticking error, the second or third "they" was a "he" for some reason XD

there- size fixed :p I really prefer a solid background for large posts