My Journey to Here: A Story of Higher Education Part II

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The title explains that this is a story of higher education; but more than that, my journey to get here.  This true tale of my personal and educational history will help you to understand my convictions, beliefs, passions and weaknesses.  I hope it inspires, enlightens or at the very least, amuses you.

Part Two – More Backstory: Getting Sick

The last time I sat down to blog I told you about my education up through high school.  An education fulfilled through homeschooling.  The flexibility that homeschooling provided allowed me to graduate high school at the age of sixteen. I turned seventeen over that summer and by August of 2012 I was all set to go off and live on campus at Mansfield University as a Broadcast Communications major.  But that’s not where this story begins…

In March of 2008 I was playing on two competitive soccer teams and in the midst of trying out for my third.  I simply loved soccer.  Suddenly during try-outs I fell ill.  Apparently continual nights of little or no sleep over an extended period of time can make a twelve year quite sick. Imagine that, sleep is important, my parents were right. I contracted mononucleosis.  Yup, that’s right; the famous kissing disease can also be caused by childhood hyperactivity… who knew?  Fortunately the coach was impressed with the little bit he saw and secured my spot on the team.  Unfortunately, I never made it back.

My recovery was taking an unusually long time and my symptoms were getting worse and seemed to be multiplying.  We then started my tour of doctors in central PA.  After about seven months I was diagnosed with Dysautonomia.  Dysautonomia is a failure  of the autonomic nervous system.  This disorder shares many symptoms with Fibromyalgia.  I would never play soccer again.

For a while after the diagnosis I was in a rather sad state of mind.  I slept a lot.  Most days I slept all day and spent just a few hours awake at night, alone.  I never watched much television before, but after getting sick it was about all I had the energy and motivation to do.  I remember turning on the television one day to the show Happy Days, and I remember it made me laugh and smile for the first time a long time.  I came to love old sitcoms.  My dream became to produce television and bring back the family sitcom.

Once I found my new passion for sitcoms I started to pull myself together and began to cope with the pain I now have to live with.  I turned myself around onto a somewhat normal sleep schedule and started to interact with other human beings again.  What actually became one of my favorite methods of interacting was watching the news with my dad.  It started one night when I sat down on the couch when he was watching The O’Reilly Factor and we started conversing and bonding.  Suddenly politics and history became more than something to bond over, it was another thing I grew passionate about.

When I finally seemed to be in control of my pain and symptoms I started to look for a job.  I had done little jobs along the way, but it was time for a real job.  In the summer of 2012 I became a sanitation worker at a theme park.  Being sixteen and graduated meant that the child labor laws did not apply to me and I was able to work a lot of hours… and I did.

I had to find time in my busy work schedule to complete the FAFSA and get ready for college.  I enjoyed my summer working at that theme park, but I was ready to get out and be on my own.  I was ready for the next chapter in my life: college.

So, in August of 2012 I went off to live on campus at Mansfield University as a Broadcast Communications major, and then, two weeks later, I withdrew and came home.

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My brother and I sporting our Dysautonomia Awareness shirts and my mom in her Colon Cancer Awareness shirt. In this family we fight like champions because losing is not an option!
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My Journey To Here: A Story of Higher Education Part I

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The title explains that this is a story of higher education; but more than that, my journey to get here.  I recently made a change to my path of higher education, and this is the story of why.  This true tale of my personal and educational history will help you to understand my convictions, beliefs, passions and weaknesses.  I hope it inspires, enlightens or at the very least, amuses you.

Part One – Origins: Homeschooling

Education to me has never meant the same thing that it does to many others.  I’ve been homeschooled my whole life and have always taken a different approach to learning.  The term “homeschooler” may have widely accepted synonyms like introvert, nerd, or sheltered popping into your heads, but my word association game would lead me to think of words like adventure, growth, experience, and family.  Needless to say, my education growing up was unique.  I had to meet all the same educational credit requirements as all the other kids, but being homeschooled allowed me to zero in on what interested me most and learn in a way that best suited my learning style.

I did a couple independent studies in high school, teaching me to use the resources I found to make my own curriculum.  This gave me the tools to become the type of researcher capable of gathering the information to satisfy all of my inquiries, and the skill of creative thinking needed to apply it.  My philosophy became “I do not know everything, but I can figure it out.”  I learned a lot from field trips, real world experiences and just asking questions.  That is what education meant to me – it’s what education means to me.  Not learning what is printed in your text books or lectured to you in a class but instead taking the initiative to discover what the world has to offer, coming up with crazy questions and having the understanding and motivation to get the answers.  To me, education is just as much of a verb as learning or running or hula hooping.

Homeschooling brings families together, and gives them a chance to connect in a way that I believe you lose by going to school.  My mom was and always will be the best teacher I ever had.  She got to know me personally and discovered how I learn, and then took the time to find the curriculum that fit me and my learning style the best.  She knows how my brain works better than I do!  That’s love and commitment and a strong connection that you can’t get in public schools.  You can’t get the type of strong values my parents taught me about in any type of public institution.

My mom was my teacher and we had a wonderful connection strengthened by the experience of homeschooling. My dad, however, also played a critical role in crafting my mind and the person I am today.  My dad is goofy.  He asks questions like “if you could be any breed of dog what kind of dog would you be and why?”  I always thought he was so weird… until we started to take him seriously.  Eventually we would start to answer his eccentric inquiries with a real, critically thought out answer and bam! before you knew it we were invested in each other’s answers and learning something new about one another.  I use those questions today to break the ice and discover new strengths with the employees at my work.

Admittedly I have ripped off a few ice breakers and some really bad jokes from my dad, but my parents did raise me to be a fiercely independent thinker.  We agree most of the time, but when we don’t we can respectfully debate until we’re blue in the face.  I find that my relationship with my dad is strengthened by these debates.

My education and the crafting of my mind went way beyond some desk during dedicated school hours.  [I apologize in advanced for the cliché I’m about to use, but] that’s the beauty of homeschooling: the world is your classroom.

“The Audits are Coming! The Audits are Coming!”

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“The Audits are Coming! The Audits are Coming!” An Ode to the Obama Administration and His Friends.

Lurking in the shadows,

Lurking in the light,

Watching you both day and night.

Peering in the windows,

Seeing in your soul,

In your wallet you will find a great big gaping hole.

They’re coming after you

and they’re coming after me,

If you don’t believe me just you wait and see.

If you defend the Constitution,

If you believe the Bill of Rights,

Than you will be droned by the end of night.

Don’t say that God is good,

Don’t say that God is great,

And your taxes better not be late.

Frolic in the meadows

or sail the seven seas,

But never ever think “there’s no one watching me.”

‘Cause they know when you are sleeping,

and they know when you’re awake,

they know if you’ve been bad or good so COMPLY for goodness sake!

Menace to Society

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I broke the rules,

I prayed in school,

I’m a real menace to society.

 

I pledge allegiance to the flag,

“USA” printed on my tags,

I’m a real menace to society.

 

I’m not ashamed,

I won’t be tamed,

I’m a real menace to society.

 

I stand for liberty, truth and light,

All I want are my God-given rights.

I’m a real menace to society.

 

I go to church every Sunday,

Watch Fox & Friends every Monday,

I’m a real menace to society.

 

I work hard and do my best,

To be the best of the rest.

I’m a real menace to society.

 

All I want is to be free,

In this land of liberty.

I’m a real menace to society.

 

A.L. Talarowski

Circa 12/6/11

Youth Unemployment

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I’d like to give you my simple plan for solving youth unemployment thus ensuring a stable future for employment.

 

1.) Reinstate apprenticeships.  How does an unpaid position solve this problem?  At 13, 14 years old, you don’t need to be making money.  You can, though, start to learn how to do a job you enjoy, and how to do it well.  Who wants to hire a 16 year who can’t do anything?  Who wants to hire a 16 year old with no work experience or work ethic?  Apprenticeships will help solve this by teaching skills to future workers and getting their feet wet in the work force, teaching them proper workplace behavior and respect.

 

2.) Lower minimum wage.  At fifteen, sixteen year old need to start managing money and saving up, but they don’t need to keep up with the cost of living when their parents are paying their bills.  Who wants to pay lazy teenagers, with no work ethic, and no experience $7.25 an hour?

 

3.) Reform or lift regulations.  Kids can’t work during school, and can’t work all hours of the night. Have any questions?  No?  Good.  The regulations are ridiculous.  Who wants to a hire a lazy and disrespectful teenager with no work ethic, no experience, who they have to pay $7.25 an hour and can only work so many hours (already working around school and extra-curricular activities) and who has to take a break every few hours?!

 

4.) No income tax under the age of majority.  If you want to lower minimum wage – or create a “youth wage” – that’s great, but get rid of the income tax.  When we’re old enough to vote; when we’re old enough to die for our country; when we’re old enough to be tried as an adult, we’ll pay income tax.

 

By doing this you:

1.) Empower, teach and inspire the youth.

2.) Ensure the future of the workforce.

3.) Help grow the economy.

4.) Promote the American Dream.

A.L. Talarowski

Circa 9/22/11

Freedom, Freeloaders, and the American Dream

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Freedom, Freeloaders, and the American Dream: I’m watching our basic freedoms being taken away, the government sneaking up where it doesn’t belong, and a very young but established country go south.  If you’re not seeing that, friend, not even strong set bifocals’ll help with your blindness.

 

I’m not going to sit here and gripe in my usual ways about the dangers of a controlling, central government like Hitler’s taking over our country; but how we are losing something much more important.  I always thought there was a certain amount of dignity to “The American Dream” –for people who traveled here to live it, and for those already here.  We have freedoms that other countries don’t, an equality of all men and women that allows us to work our way up the ladder.  The harder we worked, the further up we got.  Such a dream, such an accomplishment brings us to humility, and later a sense of pride and pleasure.  Truly a beautiful sentiment, anyway… but when the government starts making it their responsibility to do ANYTHING other than protect us, we’re stripped of our freedoms.  When the government is in control, we’re stripped or our independence.  When the government makes it easy for people to freeload, and mooch off the government, why wouldn’t they?!  It’s a wonder why nobody has any work ethic today.  The government is diminishing any sense of dignity there was to The American Dream.

 

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it.  We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and every one of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” ~James Madison

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” ~The Declaration of Independence

 

 

Preparations, Teachings, and Education: The future I see for our country is dim, grim, and downright horrifying.  I can tell you, the leaders of my generation are probably not going to have the answers.  Why would we?  What are you doing to teach kids how to be leaders?  What kind of indoctrination are they being exposed to?

 

I honestly shudder to think what kids in public school learn – or don’t learn.  In my school I get to really dive into what I’m interested in, and share it with my family.  In my school I spend too much time telling jokes, but we have a lot of fun.  In my school I set standards and have dreams; and I try hard to accomplish them.  In my school I get to form my own opinions and thoughts, then debate and argue them until I’m blue in the face. In my school, I have gained the feeling that I will be able to leave here and conquer anything I set my mind to.  I’ve really enjoyed my school.   Not many of my friends seem to get that at their schools.  Home schooling gave me so many great opportunities I never would have had otherwise.

“I am much afraid that schools will prove to be great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining The Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth.  I advise no one to place his child where The Scriptures do not reign paramount.  Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with The Word of God must become corrupt.” ~Martin Luther

 

A.L. Talarowski

Circa 4/18/11