People, Work, and the Great Year Ahead.

London Arkwright Scholarships award ceremony

First, let me wish all of you still reading a happy new year! It has indeed been a long time. Over 6 weeks! It has been a busy half term, with every waking moment of mine being occupied by something, such as my recent school production of Julius Caesar, for which I was the assistant lighting director in preparation for my new appointment as chief of lighting; setting up the Greenpower Formula Student 24+ competition at my school! for which we need to build a race car; preparing a series of presentations for the 2014 Arkwright Scholarship applicants, and heading up product development in my Young Enterprise team, for which we design, market and sell a product.

It’s been a busy term, yet my social life has surprisingly not gone completely down the drain. What little I had before still exists. It’s neither growing, nor shrinking, but that’s all alright with me! Who needs “frenemies” anyway? They are a complete waste of time and effort.

Funnily enough, I actually tell people I dislike them to their face in most cases. It’s a useful skill to possess when you need to wade through the “lower third” quickly, but the key thing is, I am open to changing my opinion: one person, I never much liked, before I was placed into a German class with him and had to work with him. I later told him that although I never much liked him and thought he was a self-righteous twerp, I now thought he was a great guy.

Granted, I tend to hold a rather negative view of people in general. “People suck” is my life motto, and it has served me well this far; however, recently I have had to reevaluate this conclusion, following three events. The first is with regards to YE, and I would prefer not to go into that until after the competition has concluded.

Second was my introduction to the A-Level years. I am suddenly in classes with people, with whom I have had little to do with the past three years. This being the case, my evaluation of these people from three years ago was completely incorrect: many of them have grown up in terms of maturity, and are no longer classified in my “lower third”.

Third was my recent holiday with my sister and her friend. I was astounded how much there is to talk about with regards to guys and parties and socialising and gossip and whatnot. They spoke about people “getting with” other people and how scandalous that was and “oh my god” and “no, she didn’t”. First, I cannot stand the phrase “get with”: it sounds so crude and disrespectful. The problem is, all other phrases sound sappy and/or incongruous, so I am open to suggestions about what to call it and perhaps we can disseminate this new, innovative, phrase to the wider population.

In any case, I would have classified my sister and her friend as a “lower third”, but seeing them not pouting on Facebook or taking selfies, and just being silly, I wouldn’t. This raises an interesting dilemma. Potentially, it could be the case that my “thirds” system needs to be reevaluated for more granular relations with people. To get a general overview of a person, it still works perfectly well, but when I engage in a deeper conversation or a longer acquaintance with the person, I need to discard the system.

That’s not to say that my sister and her friend are not twerps. There, the system does not fail, but the definition of the “lower third”, being people that I cannot, will not, and won’t get along with, is incorrect for them.

Overall, I am changing my world view, with respect to people and how people interact with society in general. I am not making it a New Year’s resolution, seeing as those go out the window by no later than the 5th of January (hence why I have not made any and posted this on the 5th), but a challenge to myself. I will still judge people in the typical Weninger fashion, but my conclusions will change. I have noticed myself doing this already ever since my exciting excursion to Stanford this past summer.

More immediate, perhaps, is my impending SAT exam for the US, A-Levels and applications to university over the course of this year. Reminiscing on 2013, I must say, it would probably rank in one of my top three years so far: I won the Toyota STEM Challenge, went to Belgium for BalloonSat, got accepted to Stanford EPGY for the summer, became the head of the Engineering Society at SPS, was awarded an Arkwright scholarship, but most importantly, I met many of new, fascinating, interesting, intelligent and kind people, with whom I would like to stay in contact with for a very, very long time to come.

2013 was a great year. 2014 is going to present lots of challenges, especially with regards to university choices and applications, but as I said in my post just after the start of the academic year, a challenge is always welcome, and faced with full vigour.

2013 was a monumental year, but here is to an even more monumental 2014. Give me your worst.

Celebrating the New Year in the Alps with family and friends
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