8

Like this if you’re not lazy

facebook like button

Facebook. The Social Network. The place where you can message friends, like photos and wipe your moral conscience clean daily. Yes, more and more frequently, the admin behind those facebook pages you liked three years ago because you thought they were hilarious but actually now rather regret liking at all, are uploading pictures ranging from the mundane to quite distasteful, all titled ‘Like if…’. An example scenario would be a picture of a BN BN biscuit uploaded with the title, ‘Like if you remember these and are a true nineties kid’. Why is she getting her knickers in a twist when there are biscuits involved? I hear you ask. Well my friends, it’s not just pictures of biscuits that are being uploaded. It has reached the point where I could create a ‘like page’, upload a picture of some toilet roll and say ‘Like if you ever use this’, and get over a hundred likes. Seriously. In the last holiday off college, I was scrolling down my Facebook page and there was a picture of a dog in a thumbprint. The title of the picture was, ‘Like if you can see the dog’. How painfully boring does life have to be for liking a picture of a dog that is so mind-numbingly obviously there to be a fun way to pass the time? Go into Google and type in ‘Adopt a Llama’. You’d be amazed at how time flies as you choose your new companion.

My Facebook friends are not just liking pointless photos. They, and by they I mean girls, are liking photos of mushy, cringey quotes about relationships. If one or two of these photos appeared down my News Feed every so often, I would deal with the cringe and just keep on scrolling. Every so often is not the case. Instead, it’s every single time I log into my Facebook, and the quotes constantly use terrible grammar. ‘Their’ instead of ‘they’re’, ‘you’re’ instead of ‘your’ and vice versa. Now, don’t get me wrong, we all have our nights where we scream the lyrics of ‘Come What May’ to pictures of Ewan McGregor whilst crying into our third tub of Ben and Jerry’s as we accept a future living with 27 cats we’ve knitted matching His and Hers outfits for – or maybe that’s just me – but never, ever stoop down to bad grammar. Even if you do want the perfect relationship the badly constructed quote describes. Buy a dictionary. Maybe the guy at the till will be super cute and nice, will like you back and slip his number into the inside of your dictionary cover all Carley Rae Jepson ‘Call Me Maybe’ style, and boom! no more need for knitting needles and feline friends. Or maybe the guy at the till will be a 45 year old woman who ate all the pies and looks like she wants to hit every human being over the head with the dictionary you’re buying. Maybe. But hey, you never know if you don’t get your booty out into the big wide world and look instead of sitting behind a computer screen and liking a million pictures about what you want from a relationship because an admin page told you to.

My next point is more serious. It is about my least favourite kind of ‘Like if…’ pictures. Pictures that are often titled ‘Like if you have respect’, but are quite frankly disrespectful and upsetting. Babies in incubators with wires coming out of them, disfigured army men, grandparents on their deathbeds. ‘Like if you want them to live’, ‘like if you respect this man’, ‘like if you want terminal illness to not exist’. I would never wish death on any baby, or any human being. I respect any man unless he gives me a strong reason not to. If I could, I would make terminal illnesses non existent. That doesn’t mean that everytime I log onto Facebook I want to see photos of distressing situations where there’s an option of clicking ‘like’ so that I can clear my conscience for the day. ‘Liking’ the photo won’t change the situation captured or make me a better human being. Just like ignoring it doesn’t make me a bad human being like the photo’s caption would suggest. People are suddenly being given the chance to feel as though they’ve done something good by ‘liking’ a picture. Maybe if every ‘like’ resulted in the uploader giving money to a charity directly helping people in a similar situation to the person in the picture, I could understand. But that doesn’t happen.

I would like to finish with the following thought. Generations above us constantly call us ‘the lazy generation’. Prove them wrong. Don’t be.

5

Size Matters

Every once in a while I think to myself, ”That is it. Starting tomorrow, I am going to eat healthily”. Everything starts off well; decent breakfast consisting of a healthy cereal and a leafy-salad sandwich for lunch. Then home time comes along and that means being trapped in a house with a breadbin full of goodies. Two hours later I am surrounded by empty biscuit packets and muffin wrappers telling myself, “I’ll start again tomorrow”. It never happens. Today, two things happened that made me think to write this article. The first was my desire to eat healthily for study leave. Eating a gazillion calories whilst sitting around all day desperately trying to revise pronouns was surely only going to end in a rotund Khadija. The second was the fact that in the space of two days, two people have posted about how being a size 8 does not mean you are too skinny, it depends entirely on your height and size. It got me thinking. What is the right the size? The curvaceous Marilyn Monroe Size 14 that everyone has recently been embracing as the ‘sexy’ size? Or is it the size 10 bikini-clad bodies that are on every single magazine spread, described as ‘hot’?

How about ‘there is no right size to be’. I ate muesli for breakfast – it tasted like cardboard – and a small chicken salad wrap at lunchtime. By five o clock this evening I was nearly chomping through my revision cards like there was no tomorrow. Mum came home and I was blessed with the option of having a takeaway. Takeaways are a rarity in our house so I jumped at the chance and my god were those noodles good. Today’s health regime went straight out of the window along with any hope of me passing my Philosophy exam tomorrow. Truth is, I could not care less. I would much rather eat a pleasant meal and not be hungry for a while than pick at some chewy beige stuff and be craving anything edible half an hour later. “Khadija, Khadija, you are just trying to make yourself feel better for your lack of willpower!” the good fairy screams in my head. I have never liked my good fairy, in fact I’m sure she’d be far more useful as a doormat. We shouldn’t have to constantly feel guilty for ‘eating that chocolate bar we really shouldn’t have’. But people also shouldn’t feel guilty for being naturally slim. I sometimes wonder whether we have gone so far the other way in saying that being a Marilyn size 14 is more sexy than being a size 8, that anyone who is a size 8 feels like they need to visit McDonalds regularly to keep up.

I’ve seen beautiful and sexy done in pretty much every size going. I’ve walked past girls of many different dress sizes and thought “I wish I had that figure”. So next time you walk past the pastry shop and be good, walk back again and pick out the fattest jam doughnut you can find. You are a person. You do not fit into a box ‘one-size-fits-all’. Leave that to the cats. Cats love to sit in boxes.

Peace out, Dija x

4

I’m not a pigeon. Don’t pigeon hole me.

After reading an article today called ‘I hate indie people’ and since starting college, I can’t help but notice how easy it is to label everybody. We all do it, I’m guilty of it myself. If you listen to obscure bands that aren’t on the radio everyday you’re indie, if you love Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter you’re a geek. That’s not true, of course it’s not. Yet all we seem to do is put labels on people just because of what they’re wearing or the music they listen to and I have to admit, it’s all left me rather confused.

My iTunes library is filled with music that’s never in the Top 40 so I’m indie.

I watch QI, University Challenge and Only Connect so I’m a geek.

I’m an atheist so I’m a pessimist.

I’m young so I must go around rioting and have a low IQ.

I eat what I want and don’t cake up in make-up so I dont look like a model everyday.

That’s what society says.

My iTunes library is filled with music that makes me want to dance, cry and sing from the rooftops. I don’t listen to any of it because I want to rebel against popular music, I listen to it because I like it.

I watch QI, University Challenge and Only Connect because my family watch them and I like spend time with them. I don’t watch these programmes because I’m a ‘mega-brain’, I watch them because they’re witty and intellectual.

I’m an atheist, optimist and open to all beliefs. I don’t think all religious people are crazy delusionals.

I’m young, the only breaking and entering I’ve ever done is into a pack of biscuits.

I eat what I want because I love food and it tastes good. I don’t wear lots of make-up, not because I’m confident in my looks. I’m still insecure but I’m not completely driven by my appearance.

That’s the truth. People aren’t pigeons, so let’s stop trying to put them in a pigeon hole.

6

If you don’t eat your crusts, your hair won’t curl

That’s what my Mum always told me. However, as I grew older my hair grew wilder and indeed curlier without me going anywhere near crusts. Maybe I would have eaten them more if the eight year old me had been told this:

At 16, I still avoid my crusts but shhhh, don’t tell my Mum!

What did your parents tell you to make you do things you didn’t particularly want to do? Leave a comment 🙂

0

Education, education, blarg.

English: Michael Gove speaking at the Conserva...

Delighted to have a week’s work experience at The Independent head quarters in London in June, I’ve been reading the online headlines recently. Imagine how as a current A-level student, the very cockels of my heart warmed at the title, ‘Michael Gove: Get set for new age of exam failure’. Already not much of a Conservative party fan, the education secretary has made my dislike for the party all the more solid. Apparently at A-level, it has been easier to achieve an A grade in recent years and the national average has grown to more than a quarter in the past 27 years. Easy? Two months of hardcore revision going back over nine topics all in depth is easy? What a load of bollocks Mr ‘I-did-my-A-levels-29-years-ago-and-know-bugger-all-about-how-stressful-they-are-nowadays’.

Gove suddenly decided students can all spin plates whilst taking their exam because the average of students gaining As has slowly risen and schools are using vocational qualifications to boost their past rates. As far as the vocational qualifications are concerned, make them count as one qualification instead of four. That problem was solved pretty easily. When it comes to the pass percentage rate, I am stumped. Stumped out of sheer frustration that all this country seems to think about when it comes to education is its statistics. Fair enough our progression rate is slower than other countries in the education department but suddenly making more people fail is certainly not going to help the situtation.

When I was at high school, three times a year we had something called the ‘Jesson Conference’, or as I like to call it the ‘Feel Crap About Your Grades Conference’. During every term we would file into the main hall and listen to the same mind-numbingly boring presentation about Dr Jesson and his statistical system that would predict our final GCSE grades. Then, we would go on to look at our personal grade sheets and work out our ‘potential pass-rates’. So how did Dr Jesson come up with these grade predictions? No, surprisingly he didn’t look into his magical crystal ball of educational wisdom. Instead, he used the point scores from our SATs exams which we took aged eleven to forecast what we would achieve aged sixteen. Where do I start with the flaws in this system?

Telling a student what they are going to get at the end of year eleven from their results five years before is absolutely ridiculous. Not only are they doing far more specific subjects to a far higher level which they may either struggle with, five years is plenty of time for things to affect someone. A family bereavement or the splitting of parents and speaking from personal experience, a loss of interest in certain subjects. Of course I had motivation to do well but if the focus isn’t there, a subject is much harder to grab by the balls. Take physics as an example. Probably my least favourite subject and every time my teacher began to talk, it was like somebody had shoved cotton wool in my ears and put me in a state of daydream. At GCSE level I managed to gain 14 A*-Cs, something I felt quite proud of but according to Jesson I failed massively. My Jesson stats were a white wash of A*s. The idea that I was capable of getting straight A*s should have been a real kick and something to motivate me, right? Wrong. I sat and cried after my first Jesson conference feeling totally deflated at the fact that I was supposed to get a set of results which I would never achieve. I wasn’t the only one feeling like giving up on the hopes of college and university and preparing to wave hello to a life of stacking shelves. A whole bunch of my friends – whom I would like to add at this point walked away on results day with miles more than the college entry requirements of 5 Cs – had been predicted no higher than Cs and Ds. One of my friends was even predicted an array of just Ds and Es. She’s now at college and loving it having gained results far beyond what she was predicted. Telling someone that they are going to get a certain grade because of how they performed when they were eleven is demeaning, upsetting and ludicrous. I do not know one person who has a good word to say about Jesson conference, teachers and students alike. So why is it still in place? The government is obssessed with the statistics of education and this pressure has spread to schools.

There are two key element to the education system which are being completely ignored. Firstly, the people who translate what exam boards are looking for straight to the students. Teachers are constantly glossed over. The ‘Jesson Conference’ is a perfect example. ‘Oh I know’ somebody said, ‘let’s not ask the teachers first to come up with grades for their student to aim for. Instead we’ll make predictions from outdated information and make the student feel like a piece of dog poop on the heel of someone’s shoe. Yes, that’ll be much more accurate than asking the people who experience first hand the work and abilities of the student’. Only after the Jesson Conference could a teacher agree a predicted grade with students. Why? It baffles me.

The second ignored factor is the students’ feelings. Yes, shockingly we do have those little things called feelings despite all being labelled as ‘hard, rioting thugs’ these days. I have already talked about how it feels to be squished by predicted grades that may as well be guessed by a cat doing a head stand and now, it is the turn of exam stress. Recently I took January exams in Psychology and Philosophy. I was so stressed I cried the night before each exam and felt completely overwhelmed by the idea of failing my first AS Level exams. As an A grade student I felt like I couldn’t keep all the information in my brain no matter how detailed or lengthly my revision was. Still waiting for the results I have yet to see how I performed. The January exams were the most stressful period of my life to date and that was just two exams. I look forward to the summer exam period which consists of 5 exams not including potential resits with total dread. Some of my friends who did not strike lucky with having January exams have as many as 9 exams in summer. For some, it is too many. People I know with good grades and motivation have dropped out of college, unable to cope with the workload and stress. Forgive me, but when someone comes along in the middle of this and says that our exams need to be made harder, I struggle to understand let alone agree.

So Mr Gove, unless you are planning to undergo the experience of sitting A-levels as they are today before deciding that they are too easy, you are about as useful to education as a McDonalds cheeseburger is to someone on the Atkins diet. The jar of nutella in my cupboard appears to have better ideas about education.

4

Don’t mention the S word…

Langton, North Yorkshire. Become a fan on face...

They say take a Dictionary to read to keep from going crazy in the North Pole. I need one after it snows in Huddersfield and make the mistake of logging on to Facebook...

On February 4th 2012, it snowed in Huddersfield. It also snowed on Facebook. Every other status mentioned the S word either to slag it off or praise it for finally arriving. Facebook really is the idyllic place for a person who is the epitome of lazy. Gone are the days where you have to switch on the tv or radio for the weather forecast. You don’t have to go and open the curtains anymore to see what the weather outside your house is doing. Oh no. Six hundred people will do it for you on Facebook whilst having a rant about how much they hate the snow. Funny that, last year when they had a day off school, they couldn’t have been happier to be sledging.

As if my News Feed isn’t filled with enough complaining, there are statuses moaning about people writing statuses to do with snow. I am always tempted to leave a comment of congratulation – “Well done. You just wrote a status about snow too.” Why when it snows do we become obssessed and feel the need to post about it? Sure, a couple of statuses are fine but for some reason, people don’t seem to have realised yet that writing the status “It’s snowing!” will be matched by at least forty others. If I wanted my Facebook to be taken over by a subject which I can experience for myself without every other Facebook friend giving me a second-by-second account, I would personally pay Simon Cowell to air a new series of The X Factor imminently.

Every year the white, cold blanket falls and I want to deactivate my Facebook account and cry into my sledge until the weather returns to the usual British story of grey skies. It is times like this when I most appreciate those individuals on Facebook who write statuses completely irrelevant to the generic weather report.

Holy cheesecake, I’ve just looked out of the window and its snowing! I must abandon this article and write a status informing all of my Facebook friends immediately! Maybe I’ll even upload a picture with the caption “It’s snowing”. How about no.