Old, Dead Men & AP Government

“If I had only three words to describe my interests in high school, I would probably use these: old, dead men. I know that for many girls my age their three words are more along the lines of young, living boys, and don’t get me wrong, while I’ve had plenty of fun with that variety of male too, my affinity for the initial kind still remains. From Aristotle to C.S. Lewis to Winston Churchill and others, this demographic has captured my heart in a way that I couldn’t have imagined even five years ago. So many of them have, in one way or another, reminded me of the three words that have become my life motto. That is, life is good. “

When I  began writing this speech piece (titled “Three Words”) in January, I couldn’t have imagined the impact that it would have on me just two-and-a-half months later. The more I said ‘life is good’, the more I believed it and the more I believed it, the happier I’ve been. There is an endless amount of potential to be had. Dreams and goals can certainly be achieved with prudence, passion, and patience.  By attempting to kindle hope in others, I have found that I rekindled hope into myself. I knew that I wanted to share that life is good with others, but until recently, I didn’t know how.

If you are active in the National Speech and Debate Association, you know that many of the speakers and debaters are nerds.  serious about academics.  It is no surprise then that roughly half of the AP Government class are also debaters. These people are my dearest friends. The next part requires a bit of background. With our high school being on a 3 trimester schedule, AP Government doesn’t start until the second one and goes to the end of the year. I decided not to do AP and thoroughly enjoyed  my first trimester of regular government. On the first day of the third trimester however, I knew that something needed to change. I was miserable with my classes and the prospects for the next three months seemed dim. I am a firm believer in finding happiness regardless of circumstance, but also in taking control of your life when necessary. With some prodding by friends, I made the decision to ask the teacher to hop into AP halfway through.

It was one of the scariest moments of my life. I’m a pretty shy person when you first get to know me, with a fear of getting my dreams crushed. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for my life to fall apart. I went to school early and with every step up the east staircase my apprehension also increased. His classroom is at the very end of the west hallway. I walked right past the classroom the first time around, I just couldn’t do it. I stood it the corner of the west hall for a moment, breathed, and said a little prayer before going in. The conversation went a little like this:

“Erm…. I was just wondering if- there was anyway to get into your AP Government class…”


In that moment I almost died. All of that internal pain and suffering was almost for nothing. After a little bit of time in the counselor’s office, I was good to go. That first day was surreal, exhilarating. I am learning what I love with people I love. I discovered that I want to go down the path of political speech writing. That is scary to me. While getting guidance from my former government teacher, she advised me to start a blog. At this point in my life, I am not very educated, and I am not very personally or cognitively developed yet. What could I possibly write about?

I thought of how much I have changed since I was twelve, and how much I will change by the time I’m twenty-five. I have a dream. I have a goal that I am working towards. Things change and people change, but change can be (and often is) a good thing. One of the things that can be know in this wild, ever changing world is that life is good. There are ups and downs. We make poor choices. In the preface of “The Great Divorce”,  CS Lewis describes life as a tree, starting at one point then branching outwards. When we get on the wrong path by making bad decisions, there isn’t a way to get to your destination without going back. This is hard, but we can go back no matter what we’ve done. When we know our end goal, we can make staying on the path to success that much clearer. Life contains everything. Politics, friendship, family, economics, pop culture, science, humanities. An overload of information is always available at our fingertips. We will never know it all, but life is universal. So that is the starting point. I’ll begin with what I know; while life certainly isn’t easy, life certainly is good.


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