Riley Knouse: You don’t have to stick to the status quo

Riley Knouse

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These days I’ve been listening to a lot of slam poetry. It started when one day a friend of mine showed me a video of Sierra DeMulder delivering a poem called, “The Tampon Poem.

The premise of this poem was a reaction to one man who did a poem on how buying tampons for his daughter was terrifying, but he buys them anyways because he loves her. DeMulder called him out for being ridiculous, and had many extreme examples as to why he would be scared buying tampons for his daughter, reminding him that half of the population needs these “cotton missiles.”

After watching this video over and over, I started watching the suggested videos underneath. Before I knew it I was fangirling over the Poet Puff Girls and Joy Young, and was able to recite most of “Rape Jokes” and “Shots Fired.” I was nodding along to a poem called “Collapse the Economy” and quoted it daily, and I couldn’t help watching Sam Lai’s “Atmosphere” and Ben Tolkin’s “Friendship is Magic” over and over again.

The thing I loved most about these is that they made me angry. They shout out all of the injustices that are happening, the ridiculous and inexcusable things some people say, and call us to action.

Sometimes the best way to stay sane is to feel angry or passionate, and not overwhelmed.

If every day was filled  with just wake up, go to school, get home, do homework, sleep and repeat, we would go crazy with boredom. If every day we only focused on getting our school work done, we would become devoid of passion, and would more than likely not have much going for us when we get out of school. If all you do is homework, what happens when there’s no more homework to do?

I know slam poetry may not be everyone’s gig, whether the thought of performing terrifies you or the poetry makes you feel a little uncomfortable (which, quite frankly, it should). There are so many other things to be doing with your time, like art, music, sports, writing, dancing, etc. You don’t even have to limit yourself to one passion, because why shouldn’t you be able to play basketball and make an outstanding creme brulee?

Even though logically we know that there’s so much more to life than school, we’re forgetting what exactly it is the more we go through high school. It’s easy to get caught up in the notion that you should know where you’re going to college when you’re only 14, when you’re a sophomore and the end feels like light years away. When you’re a junior all you can think about are the AP tests, SATs and ACTs, and when you finally become a senior you’re checking your email or mail box every five minutes waiting to hear from your dream school.

If school was all we had, we would all be insane right about now.

Please, use whatever free time you have to do something that truly interests you. Our youth should not be spent solely doing things that bore us (or maybe interest us, depending on what you want to do after high school). It’s just as important to have a life outside of school as it is to put in effort to get good grades.

What do you think?