My Elementary School Didn’t Teach Religion and I’m Not Going to Kill Anyone


It was two in the morning and I couldn’t sleep. Naturally, I decided to resort to the internet.
Then this pops up on my news feed:
Screen shot 2012-12-19 at 3.42.54 PMMike Huckabee set me off. I couldn’t believe he was saying this. Actually I couldn’t believe he was using a massacre to bring up yet another religious debate. I could understand why people were expressing their opinions on gun control since this was a horrific shooting, but bringing religion into this was taking it a little too far.
And then I got a little more upset, because right under that link, I read a comment that said, “Agreed!!!”
Oh, that pissed me off. I could go off on a rant about what Huckabee said, but I’m not going to because I want to stay neutral and I don’t know anything about his childhood.

My anger at Huckabee’s statement is not necessarily a political one. I’m upset about what Mike Huckabee said because my childhood proves otherwise.
My elementary school never enforced any set of beliefs on its students. There were children who weren’t raised religiously at my school. There were also Christians and Jews at my school, and everybody got along. We were good kids. Despite not being educated in Christianity (I’m just going to assume Huckabee is pushing for that particular religion being taught in schools because, well, he’s Mike Huckabee), everyone I know who went there turned out fine. And do you know why? Because my school taught a certain value heavily.
Peace. For the majority of my academic life, there was some part of the lesson plan that was designed to guide students away from violence and remind them to embrace the many differing facets of the world. There were so many concepts of hate that I had no idea still existed until I got to high school. On my second or third day of freshman year, I heard somebody use the word “beaner” for the first time and thought, “these kids are terrible.” I had no idea racism was still so bad. I had no idea people could disagree on things so heavily.

Since my high school was Catholic, every student had to take multiple religion classes. But did it make a difference on our actions? I don’t really think so. We were still people, and teenagers at that. Who were we to carry on sinless lives? People at my school had sex. I’m sure a baby or two was conceived there. We had parties. My school was known as the druggie school. A girl got raped at my school, and a few years ago, a student was expelled for threatening to bring a gun to school and shoot our principal.

Is it because we were taught about Christianity? No. It’s because we are people. Sin is inevitable. Even the Bible says so. Remember that, Mike Huckabee? These things are going to happen regardless of what the school system teaches. Anyone has the potential for violence, no matter his or her set of beliefs. Activities that fit under the sin category are going to exist no matter what. They always have, and they did in the days before religion was around.
Of course, people also have the potential to be good, and that definitely isn’t limited to what set of beliefs they adhere to or what kinds of things they are taught in school. Just because people aren’t educated in religion doesn’t mean they’re horrible people.
If you don’t believe me, then you should visit a Montessori school and see for yourself.



I never think any big events in my life are going to happen. I didn’t ever see myself graduating from high school or moving to Athens or accomplishing some huge task. I did it last week with Bonnaroo.
I’m currently doing this with Austria, and I’m becoming scared because I just realized that I’m leaving in 18 days. 18 breakfasts. 18 nights where I’ll wake up at odd intervals. 18 (well, probably fewer) showers.

I’m trying to pull together a list of things I need for this trip. Ideas. Plans. A level head. A plug converter. My big bottle of Ibuprofen. It’s hard to find Ibuprofen in Europe, so I’m going to bring a huge bottle and deal it. Just kidding. I’m going to share it, and that’s how I’ll win peoples’ hearts and friendship over there. 

I’m getting nervous because it’s hard for me to imagine what my life is going to be like over there because, well, I’ve never been to Austria. I hardly know any German – I’ve been slacking on studying it. It might get really cold there. I’m going to miss people and there won’t be anything I can do about it. I’ll be a whole ocean and several countries away. Mostly I’m afraid of ending up alone. What if nobody likes me there? I’ve got some bad qualities. 

The one thing I have complete confidence in is the literature class I’ll be taking. I’m great at English and I’m very passionate about words if you can’t tell. I know I can say something impressive and be able to bond with people who get starry-eyed over the same writers, books, and punctuation marks that I do. I think I will make a friend in my literature class. I need to, actually. I can’t be reserved like I normally am since all of this is going to happen over a span of six weeks instead of a semester. I’m got to give myself a crash course in branching out to other people, and that happens to be one of the things I’m worst at.

I just end up fantasizing every time I try to construct a controlled thought about Austria. Instead of thinking about how to make friends, I think about things like how often I’ll be able to eat gelato and how I want to rent a bike and ride it around Innsbruck every day I’m there. It’s funny that I’m thinking this way, because usually I’m very rational. Actually I’m never rational when it comes to thinking, because that’s how anxiety manages to take over me so easily. 

What is good advice for studying abroad? What is a good way to make people like me? Does anybody have any recommendations for where I should go and what I should see in Europe, particularly Vienna and Germany? Or anywhere that’s close to where I’ll be? What kind of food should I try? 
Any advice – or any statement that will calm me down, really – would be much appreciated.  


You’re Going to Have to Fix Your Grammar Problem


Firstly I’m going to have to apologize for how judgmental I am when it comes to other peoples’ grammatical errors.
I’m sure I’m no model. I grew up in Georgia, for God’s sake. I know I’ve made my own mistakes.
I just feel like people – educated people, high school and college graduates, doctors even, you name it – can’t grasp such a simple concept:
“You’re” means “you are.”
“Your” is possessive.
One cannot say “you’re hair always looks beautiful” and expect not to be ridiculed – this is a true story, the evidence is attached to my mother’s fridge. I can upload a picture of it if you truly insist.
Am I a bitch for feeling this way? I just cannot stand – or understand – why it is so hard for people who are in and have graduated from college to distinguish between two words, to realize that they look like complete idiots when they add or neglect that apostrophe and e. Is it all just habit?
Yes, it makes me feel extremely bitter. I feel like I bother people for being so opinionated about grammatical errors. I also feel like people don’t care enough about being correctly understood to fix such a simple mistake.

Even the internet is on my side.

There’s another mistake that really gets to me. For some reason, a great percentage of the people I know (or at least happen to be Facebook friends with – that is, until their repeated errors drive me to delete them) really like to mix up “breathe” and “breath.” I’m talking statements and statuses like, “without you I can barely breath.” When I read something like that, I momentarily have no idea what’s going on until I realize that somebody either neglected or never learned that the verb “breathe” contains an e.
Maybe this might help. I’m not sure whether people who frequently make grammatical errors read my blog, but I might as well give this clarification a try.
The verb “breathe” has that prominent “eee” sound. Do you know what I mean?  It sounds like “brEEEthe.” 
“Breath,” the noun, on the other hand, has more of an “ehh” sound. “Brethhh.” Something like that.
See? It’s easy!

I just want you guys to know that I’m only being so finicky about these misspellings and misconceptions because I know you can all change if you really want to. I’m not saying you have to speak with perfect grammar (well, only if you want me to instantly and completely fall in love with you – See? I’m using cliches. I suck too!), and I’m definitely not asking you to mimic the AP Stylebook because I’m still pissed about the Oxford comma thing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that while these two errors I’ve highlighted are extremely annoying, they’re also very easy to fix. If you can learn to distinguish when to use that e (and the apostrophe in the case of “you’re”), then more people will take you seriously and see you as the mature and smart individual you’re aspiring to be.
You can do it. It’s really easy. Just trust me.