Sunday, August 31, 2003

A response to the response:Ah, Michael. You poor misguided teen

By: Ed

The profits of the school do not come from the successful students that graduate, but rather from the students that come because of the successful students. While some introverts may become successful, they are not normally around people and therefore are not well known by the masses. If they are well known, then they are known as jerks because, as you said earlier, society hates introverts. Colleges need WELL KNOWN, and liked people to persuade prospective students to apply. This, of course, is accomplished using the "you too can become famous" technique pioneered by so many infomercials.

Also Michael, introverts normally do lack essential social skills because they never took the time to learn them. They may not always be shy, but they can be overbearing. Normally an introvert will resort to one of these two extremes since they lack the ability to associate well with others.

My reason for saying most introverts do not succeed is simple; they don't. Only geniuses can afford to be introverts, and that lasts only as long as they are needed by their employer. This explains your Mathematicians and other scientists. The political game is where jobs, money, and most other rewards in life are won and lost. For most companies, being the bosses budy is better than being good at your job. People like this and, contrary to all logic, will prize it higher than a hard worker or smart person.

These truths are harsh, but so is the world. Suck it up and move on.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

In response:

By: Michael Akerman

Ah, Ed. A common misconception.

To say that an introvert "rarely succeeds" is untrue. Introverts are focused on their work. Perhaps they will not be seen in the park feeding the homeless people for the cameras, and they will not become political leaders and actors, but they are society's best scientists, best mathematicians, best business owners (though not neccessarily the best CEOs) and best economic analysts.

And I believe you share the misconception that introverts are shy. On the contrary, most introverts can and will interact if it is pertinent to their area of focus. I personally do not enjoy forced interactions of this kind, but I am more than willing to go through them so I can do what I want in life.

Which brings me to my next point. I agree with you that improving the world is important. Community service should be taken into account by colleges. I will not dispute that fact. However, sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities, which one must participate in to have the best chances of going to the best schools, are meant to create enjoyment. Outside of leadership and community service (which are very important), clubs prove nothing. Leadership and community service can be acquired through different means than clubs (though leadership is still unfair to introverts. This trait is naturally tilted toward extroverts), but colleges still want "sports and other extracurricular activities" on college applications. Thus, introverts are forced to do something we do not enjoy at all so we can get somewhere unrelated to the torturous entry trial.

By my hand,

...I am a leader, and I do participate in community service. Boy Scouts, you know...

Extracurricular activities support

By: Ed

Perhaps some students "pad" there resume with activities requiring little or no participation on there part, but some people actually contribute and make a difference. I know because I am one of them. A college should look for these contributions as part of their admissions process.

From a humanistic point of view, everyone should be trying to better the world in some form anyway. What is wrong with helping clean a park or feed a starving family, especially when you get payment in the form of an admissions letter. It is killing two birds with one stone. Besides that, its a great way to be rewarded for being a good person.

From the colleges point of view; they are a business. This fact seems to elude those rejected as they curse the cold hearted admissions officers. The college is making an investment in their sudents. They want those who will succede to say "I went to this University" and "To be successful like me, go here". Introverts, no matter how smart, rarely succeed. They are, as Michael pointed out so correctly, hated by society. Political leaders, judges, and movie stars are the ones who go to the park and feed the cute ducks for the cameras. They are NOT introverts.

These truths are harsh, but so is the world. Suck it up and move on.

Well, that was creepy...

By: Michael Akerman

Hey Ed, how you doin'? (Heh...)

...folks, the closeness of those posts was not planned :)...

Ed's first post

By: Ed

Howdy. I am Ed. First let me thank Michael A. for letting me post on his blog. I am a Senior at Ragsdale high school like Michael. I am News Editor of the school paper and participate in several other community activities. While the paper does give me a forum to present my beliefs, it has a certain formality that still limits me. Therefore, I will be using this blog to present my more controversial arguments. Feel free to comment on them as you wish, because I won't be offended. If anything, I would prefer some competition.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Finally, some issues:

By: Michael Akerman

Well, it's Thursday. And I have nothing to do at the moment, so I'm going to blog a bit.

To start, issue number 1:


(Link is to the right) Angela, in an effort to refute my blog (at least everything about her) has set up her own. Oddly, she has chosen to refute my arguments before I make them. Oh well, whatever...

In good faith, I've added a link to her site on my site. After all, everyone deserves a fair chance to present counter-arguments... even blathering, overreacting people ;).

Issue number 2:

Extracurricular Requirements for Colleges:

One thing in the college admission process confuses me: extracurricular activites.

Most people at school spend Calorie upon Calorie of energy stuffing their applications full of club memberships, club presidencies, sports, service, and other work. Upon asking why colleges care so much, I was told they want to know that you can "manage your time."

The first issue that comes to mind is the very, very small amount of invested time required in most club memberships. Now, club officers are a completely different thing (I'm Senior Patrol Leader for my troop. Leadership takes plenty of time), but many people get their extracurricular college admissions purely through low-input memberships. This is not actually the major issue, though.

The most troubling thing is the weight placed on extracurricular activities. Colleges do not seem to understand psychology very well for institutes of higher learning.

I am an introvert. I hate meeting new people, and I'd much rather be in a group of two or three friends then a large club of people I don't like. Thus, clubs are not enjoyable to me. Every once in a while, a club will cater to my interests enough for me to join, but the vast majority (especially of the more popular clubs) do not present any chance at enjoyment to me.

Society hates introverts. Sometime in the evolution of American society, it was decided that the best person was one who enjoyed yammering on with everyone in the known universe. Introverts, those who prefer a life of quiet contemplation, a few friends of like interests, and deep academic focus, were left by the wayside.

Where did this discrimination start? It has always been there. It stems from the common misconception that "introvert" means "shy." This is incorrect. Introverts are not incapable of social interaction, we simply do not enjoy it.

Many believe that simply because one is introverted, they will not work as well in situations where they must interact with others. Also incorrect. Studies show that introverts are, in fact, much more focused, and generally are more successful in working environments.

So, you see, requiring extracurricular activities is utterly unfair to introverts. The colleges gain little information of any use about someone based on their extracurricular record, but succeed in blocking many great students from attending the best schools. This reminds me of another time in American history, but we had affirmative action to fix that.

Pulling out of socio-psychological issues, I'd like to confront the logical issue. How would people respond if, to get into a professional sports team or interest club, you had to take years of exhaustive academic study? Most would be revolted by this contradiction of needs. Why should anyone be forced to do something completely unrelated to what they want to do? Of course they shouldn't, but colleges require the same. (Note: this brings up many questions about college sports, but I'll get to that later.)

I hope I've made clear the unneccessary nature of extracurricular activities. I guess I'll still troll for application padders until institutions come to their senses, because I care enough about academics to do something I don't enjoy at all to do what I love.

Expect to see more issue-driven posts in the very near future,

...Michael Smith should be joining sometime this weekend, for those who are keeping tabs. His invitation is sent and awaiting response...

Monday, August 25, 2003


By: Michael Akerman

Lesse... I guess that since I've introduced myself, I should introduce my friends.

Philip Burton: The traditional "best friend" (well... not so traditional, but best friend nonetheless). Philip is the section leader of the Mellophone and Saxophone section section (the Phonies) in the Ragsdale marching band. Philip is rather religious, though nowhere near fanatic (and this is skewed, as I'm not religious to any great extent). He's deeply involved in the FCA, and often plays guitar in the meetings. I may admit him as a posting member of the blog eventually, to get his views and such. You can find his blog at

Tyler Hoffman: Tyler was the rich-boy section leader of the Saxophones in my freshman year and sophomore years. He came from Wisconsin, a state in which he now lives again. He was certainly the most well-to-do of all my friends, although my parents never believed he was as rich as he acted. Our friendship was and is reliant on battles of wit (i.e., making fun of each other), which sounds like a bad friendship, but, honestly, it had a strong foundation and was quite enjoyable to be in. He was the social link between my friends and once he left we basically stopped doing stuff.

Ashley Farmer: I met Ashley in my sophomore year when Tyler introduced us. Actually, it turns out I knew her in 7th grade (when she was in sixth grade) from the bus to our neighborhood (Ashley, Tyler and I all lived in the same neighborhood). For several weeks after we met, she was honestly rather mean to me, but only in public (I don't fault her for it. It's a common psychological occurence). Eventually we grew into good friends, and the group of us (Ashley, Tyler, Philip and I) would go to Fuddrucker's (more on that later), bowling, and other social stuff. Ashley is a flute player in the Ragsdale band, section leader of the flutes, and a darn good player.

Michael Smith: Michael (other Michael) is the best student of history and politics I've ever met. He, Edwin Snyder, Philip Burton and I all held deep discussions on many issues over lunch freshman year. Our most important decision we made was that time does not exist in any non-abstract sense (perhaps more on that later). Mr. Smith (we're going to Washington, D.C. this year for A.P. Government. Coincidence? I think so!) will probably also be permitted to be a poster, mostly to refute my blogs. His political views sometimes differ from mine... a bit...

Adam Wenner: The closest thing I have to a hard-core gaming friend. He is knowledgeable about computers, but he's not as dedicated as me. He's the only person I'm friends with who has Dungeon Seige.

Steven Sweeney: Now off to college, Steven was another gamer, though not to the same extent as Adam. He is outstanding as a Scout (he got 53 merit badges. That's too many). He's another person who is my friend by cross-mockery. He was in the Pit my junior year of marching band, but played sax in concert band.

Edwin Snyder: Heh... Edwin... Ed is a lawyer in Teen Court. He (like me) is a Republican. Unlike me, he is a Catholic, though he's not orthodox (we had a long discussion once on whether there are any orthodox Catholics). I'll probably make him a member of the blog as well. That rounds out the three people whose views I value most in discussions.

The Calculus III Class:

While everyone in this group is a friend of mine, in the sense that I know them and talk to them and enjoy their company, I don't quite count them as friend-friends.

Jonathan Brentnell: No. 1 in GPA in the class, and attainer of a perfect 1600 on the SAT. Jonathan is very smart, though he cares too little about academics and too much about social life in my opinion. He works as a lifeguard at the community pool.

Adam Gerken: Everybody in Calc. III thinks I hate him. I don't really. More on that later. He joined late, and doesn't really have very much academic initiative. He joined, in fact, to get away from girls who annoyed him. He is, however, good with numbers. He, too, works at the pool. Also, he played trumpet in band freshman year.

Angela Vandegrift: Interesting case study. Definitely more on her later. She's the smartest girl in our class (the Senior class, not necessarily Calc. III), but she makes some bad choices.

Kelli Carroll: Kelli Carrell (that's a nickname, right there) is the youngest in the Calculus III class, but that's largely because of block scheduling. That's not to say she's not immensely smart, by the way. Her mom runs the math program (don't ask me her title) at G-Tech, where we take the class.

Philip Burton: In a Calculus III respect, he's a bit of a strange fit. He is not as mathematically adept as the rest of the class, but he has far more determination (maybe not the right word...) then anyone else, save perhaps Kelli. He's in the class because he wants to, not so much for getting into college.

I believe that's it for now. I may add some more profiles to the blog later, but right now, I'm signing off.

~Michael, the way, I used to play Alto Sax, but time constraints prevented me this year...

Thursday, August 21, 2003

The first post: Me, and me alone.

By: Michael Akerman

Ah, the infamous first post. Well, how to start?

My name is Michael (as everyone's name is now), and I harvest my reserves of knowledge at Ragsdale High School. It has occured to me that, although I contemplate deeply on many varied subjects (honestly, I'm not just embiggening myself (Thanks to G. W. for that one), I do think a lot), I have no outlet for these contemplations. As an introvert, I do not enjoy talking to crowds, and my school does not have a discussion club of any kind. Besides, people generally tend to get emotional before I can finish my thought, and they do not allow me to state my reasoning.

Blogging seems to be the perfect solution. I can organize my thoughts fully before presenting them to the masses, and people will read only my full thoughts, rather than exploding at me mid-sentence.

Before I blog off (Wow. I wonder how often that pun has been used...), a few more tidbits. I play DragonRealms (Great game. Don't come if you're not serious.), and I am a Moon Mage in said game. Mayhaps you can figure out who I am...

At any rate, I hope to keep a relatively candid blog of my thoughts on this site in perpetuity.

'Til I post again,

...why think, when you can blog? ...