Tag Archive: School


Dear Saul,

I’m baaaaaaaaaack. Did ya miss me? You can put down the pitchfork and torches now, I know you’re pissed…

I hope. Wouldn’t be much of a homecoming if I didn’t stay long. But yes, even though school sucks the life outta me (I swear, I have a life), I’ve found the time to do a bit of writing. Even though school sucks the life outta me, I managed to plan out a few things. And even though school sucks and will suck the life outta me (I’m a little sore over this), I managed to make a list of things I wanna update you on:

  • I’ve been working alongside some really amazing bloggers and writers, picking up some skills, and hopefully bringing you guys better content. Some of these folks might make the occasional appearance here, and I’ll be updating the friends section so you can go annoy them for me 🙂
  • I completed The President’s Award! I’m really happy to have completed this, and the blog is one of the ways that gave me the drive to finish it. Thanks for the help.
  • I may-or-may not be working on a fully-fledged novel, which is in very early planning. More to follow…
  • I’ve been working on the first few episodes of The Downcast, a new podcast where sit down with a friend and chat about video games while we wait for one to download. The first episode is already up. Quality is, well, crap, but give us credit, it’s passable crap 😉 I’ve also been working alongside other writers, and maybe, in the future, I may have a writing podcast for you to (maybe) enjoy.
  • I have a fun idea for a series of posts, provided I have willing volunteers. I believe it could be called ‘Writing Tennis’. I’ll essentially have a second person, one person writes the opening paragraph to a story, or post, puts on their blog and the other one follows on, either furthering the plot or idea. They post their response, and the first person will follow on from that. Repeat for hilarity. Any volunteers? 😉
  • I have a maths exam Friday. Bugger.
  • Wait that last one wasn’t really interesting.
  • I should probably stop this.
  • Jesus Christ I can’t make lists.
  • What am I doing.
  • Fiachra.
  • Stahp.

So, yeah, that’s, in a slightly broken sense, what I’ve been up to. I have lots of stuff planned for you, and I can’t wait for you to see it all.

Glad to be back,

Best Wishes,

-Fiachra

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Math

Dear Saul,

Are you any good with geometry? I hope to god you are, I’m gonna need a bit of help. It’s strange, the way life can give you a second chance or two.  It’s even stranger that those second chances can be a little… intimidating. Sure, you’d like a second shot, you wanna get back in the ring, throw at least one more punch. Then the weight of the task at hand can be a little bit of a reality shock. Things might be a little more jarring, a little bit bigger than anticipated, and honestly, it’s okay to feel a little intimidated at first, I’m sure most people would, and I’m no exception.  For instance, lemme give you a little backstory to my school.

I am, currently, shit at maths. Or math, however you wanna pronounce it. I somehow believed in second year that I could handle higher level math pretty well, and… well… the big fat ‘D’ on my Junior Certificate exam speaks volumes as to how that turned out.  So I took a year off, did something called Transition Year, which kinda was a non-exam year meant to prep you for the next major exam, the big one, the one that would decide whether colleges and universities would except you as a paragon of society, a useful, productive human (that’s what it sounds like to me, at least). The Leaving Certificate. I kinda forgot about my troubles in math, until nearing end of the year, I began to wonder if I would remain in higher, or drop down to ordinary, also called lower level.

Welp, I believe I’ve either dodged a bullet, or jumped in front of one, because, on my very first day of fifth year in secondary school (think second last year of high school), I’ve been put into higher level math. Because a second chance can be, and is, a bitch.

This, naturally, filled me with doubt. At this point, my drive to succeed in maths was pretty much gone, I needed to focus on the subjects I could actually pass. This sounds ridiculous, but higher maths at Leaving Cert level is hard. Really hard. And I barely made it past higher maths in third year. Naturally, I was worried, especially given that the new teacher I had was one I had never interacted with, never met in the corridors, and one I might not have felt comfortable being taught by.

This teacher, as it turns out, found me my drive. By inadvertently calling me dead weight.

After being sorted into our classes, each teacher gave their own prep talk for what they would do for the exam. Mine, as it turns out, had the same effect as a Drill Sergeant. That is to say, I’ll learn, whether I hate them or not. But a few of the remarks they made kinda stuck in my head, one of them being ‘I’m looking at the class now, and I can tell you now, there’s some dead weight here’, as well as ‘I can guarantee, by Monday, not all of you will still be in this class’.

Hmm

‘Okay, well, in the first period I’ve had her, she’s referred to the slackers and, looking at my own difficulty in maths, what I can only guess, me, as dead weight holding back others from learning, and she’s hinted at the class being cut down.

Well, it’s on now.’

This was pretty much, as silly as it is, my thought process. I mean, them telling me I should go down to lower is fine, but being kicked out when I’ve already, against the odds, made it into higher? Nuh-uh, nope, no way, it’s on like Donkey Kong, now.

I guess, at that point, something just snapped, a good snap, but a snap nonetheless. At this point, it was no longer about studying for an exam, it was no longer about points, and it was no longer about being dead weight. Now, it was about proof. Proof to myself that I can and will pass, and not just pass, but succeed. I needed to prove to myself that I could beat maths. No more laying back, no more worrying about exams, at this point, the only thing that mattered in maths, was the fact that I would beat it.

And for that, I thank you, drill sergeant maths teacher.  You helped me find my drive. Before this, I was apathetic, I didn’t know how it would go for me, and frankly, I didn’t care. Now, I’ve begun to realise what I’ve missed out on, what I could have done, and dammit I’m pissed. Now, I have a goal, a reason to do something about this. I’m not doing it for exams anymore. I;m doing it for me. Because I’m sure as hell not letting numbers on a page beat me anymore.

The buck, as they say, stops here.

Best wishes, and wish me luck,

Fiachra

 

 

 

Day 23, Thursday: Things you’ve learned that school won’t teach you

School hasn’t taught me a valuable lesson: Writing, otherwise known as the career I’d like in my future. I know, ‘What about English class?’ I hear you cry. Of course that’s gonna help me, but when it comes to actually writing fiction, short stories, etc. it ‘s only gonna help you remember to use ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’. No, the only person who can help with your writing is you. So grab yourself from a parallel universe and get cracking.

…What, you can’t do that? Huh, could’ve sworn…

All weird misconceptions aside, there is really nothing you can learn in school about finding a style of writing that suits you, idea conception, or anything besides the basics of English writing. You may learn a bit about Shakespeare, but apart from reading Romeo and Juliet I learned nothing on on Shakespearean  literature. If you wanna be a writer, I would suggest going out and reading (I kid you not) EVERYTHING. The worst Dan Brown novel you can find, the back of a cereal box, anything you can get your hands on will teach you. A successful writer reads religiously, so go out there, get a mug of coffee, find a warm  fireplace, a large stack of books, and get studying.

-Fiachra

 



Day 17, Friday: A favorite photo of yourself and why.

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This picture was taken on the last day of 3rd year in secondary school, just before exams for the Junior Cert. I was tired, I was anxious, and I needed to take a picture for various things. I didn’t care that it was accidentally in black and white, I didn’t care about me still being in uniform, I was totally apathetic to the whole situation. But it’s still one of my favourite photos purely because of those reasons. My grin is a little too sarcastic, my eyes are a little too gleeful, but I didn’t care. It’s a photo I use quite regularly, and it’s a big ‘screw you’ to anyone who’s ever put stress on me like the exams.

And as well as that, my hair looks really nice.

-Fiachra



 

Day 13, Monday: Issue a public apology.

As a mini apology, sorry to Brook for not understanding Adobe Products even after using them 😉

Dear School(s),

I’m talking about you. I know you don’t like me doing so, but I’ll make sure not to mention any names.

I’m in transition year now, the mystical ‘fourth year’ of secondary school that many schools choose to skip. But you didn’t, so hear I am, writing a blog because I’m able to due to the relaxation of finishing every project that I’ve been handed. It’s given me some time to think about how the current school system works.

So I’ve decided to make my apology this: I’m sorry for not thinking outside of the box, even though I’m not supposed to, and I’m sorry I can’t help

Yep, even I didn’t fully understand that sentence.

What I mean to say is, although you very bravely put on a smile and tell your students to think autonomously and have a mindful independent thought process (I’ve had a whole discussion with teachers on questioning the ‘system’ in T.Y!), you can’t really allow us to do that, and as students, we kinda already know this. Because right after transition year comes fifth year, start of the senior cycle, and the exam years. If we think autonomously, then we’ll never be able to learn what the book tells us to learn!

I’m being a little harsh, but let’s face it: you are, for all intents and purposes, a business. You have workers who either want to do well and really help, or who just do it for the money. You’ll want good results come exam year because, well, who wouldn’t? It makes your establishment look good. What’s bad for a business however, is that one person who Just refuses to follow the others. Someone who takes the ‘outside the box’ part too far. These are the people who really don’t think exams have any teaching value. They may be so apathetic that they pass with minimal scores, which won’t help your image one bit. The lesson you know have to teach here ‘We say you should think for yourselves, and what they tell you’. Again, bit harsh, but here’s the kicker: It’s not your fault. You are being forced into giving us these exams. You are forced to pull us into this exam mindset that takes over every aspect of our minds for a year and a half. You are forced to watch as we go out into our new careers with this mindset still with us. It’s a rubbish system, but neither of us can do much.

So, from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry we’ve been forced into this situation by the education system. Sorry I couldn’t do more about it. Sorry you can’t do more about it.
-Fiachra



Inspiration

Dear Saul,

You can’t say that you’ve run out of ideas. You can never say you’ve run out of ideas. At least if you consider yourself to be on the unfortunate trail that is writer’s block. But if you can see it, you can get a sliver of inspiration from it. Maybe not the ancient Greek idea of inspiration, where you work yourself into a creative fervor enough to make the gods take a quick peek to make sure you’re alright, but enough to come up with something new.

As a writer, artist, musician, filmmaker, as a content creator, you can get inspiration from pretty much anything, but I take a lot of it from (surprisingly) school, and its subjects. At last, the education system produces something of value.

I’m kidding.

I think.

The reason I take inspiration from school is for 2 reasons:

1) The experiences you have at school, whether good or bad, will stay with you forever. You never forget your best mate, your worst enemy, your most hated bully. You remember the fun teachers, the arseholes, the ones that looked like a – insert animal here –. And above all, if you went to a school with really bad food, you will NEVER forget it. I’m sure Mark Twain wrote under the inspiration of his high school’s greasy taco Tuesdays.

But whether or not you liked school is irrelevant. You can draw upon these memories, the emotion of it all in the blink of an eye. in two, you can recall even the tiniest details. If you can’t, those abstract fragments are just as useful. This translates especially well with music or writing, two mediums which require the listener/reader to easily access the feelings of the creator to get an overall sound image in their head.

Heh, music, sound image. Geddit? No? Okay so…

2) While maybe not entirely to do with school, the subjects there may pique your interest. You may decide you really enjoy science classes, and browse around YouTube, to find this:

As you can see, someone’s written a story about this, but the possibilities of a starship Earth-terprise is endless. And that’s just one scientific concept in one school subject. They ma not teach this stuff directly, but if you dig for it, then he gold starts to shine.

And school is just one thing to take inspiration from. With even the tiniest bit of skill, you can take Michelangelo’s David from the ruins of a demolition site.

So don’t complain about no ideas, and get to writing, chief.

Warm wishes,

-Fiachra

P.S: No April’s fools for ye all. It’s the Joker’s day off don’t you know. There’s 364 perfectly good days out there. I’ve got time. Muahahahahahahahaaaaa…

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