Don't take this the wrong way. I know that these fields are extremely important, and each of them have a remarkable impact on our daily lives that often goes unnoticed. I know that the United States has a shortage of individuals working in STEM fields, just as they did with nurses in the 80s, so I understand the constant suggestion. I love our generation's push to bring more women into STEM programs, even though in my opinion this harmless suggestion is sometimes presented in the wrong manner (but that's an entirely different post). I don't appreciate, however, the sudden ideology that STEM is more difficult, and only for the best and brightest.
There's a reason why this topic is making my blood boil. There's only one remarkable benefit to living in the state of Georgia: the HOPE Scholarship. Essentially, if a certain GPA is upheld throughout high school and an individual meets the other qualifications, the Georgia Lottery will either pay around 65% percent of tuition or 100% of tuition, depending on how many anxiety attacks one suffered through in high school (I refuse to believe that there isn't a positive correlation). If one takes Advanced Placement classes, most of which are college level and thus more difficult, additional points are added to your GPA. Essentially, your grade is weighted.
Once a student finally travels through the 4 layers of hell, graduates, and attends a public college in the state of Georgia, they must uphold a certain GPA in order to keep their scholarship. If you live in Georgia, you probably already knew all of this.
But what you might not have known is that a bill has recently passed which states that, starting in the year 2017, a student attending a Georgia public college will receive a .5 increase in their final grades of approved STEM courses, granted that the student earns a B or lower.
I have a lot of friends in STEM, so obviously they'd be excited about this. I'm not. Sure, I might be a bit jealous, but regardless, I completely disagree with this decision. High school students gain a GPA increase for taking higher level classes from a wide variety of subjects. These aforementioned courses are college level, so of course they'll be harder. This new bill is only kissing the asses of the pretentious Engineering majors down the hall by implying not only that their majors are better, but also that all of their classes are harder.
I could argue for days about how different fields are more difficult for different people, and how a Math major isn't smarter than a Philosophy major just because one is proficient in utilizing a TI-84. Granted, I'm positive that I couldn't walk into an Organic Chemistry course and earn a grade any higher than a 3, but with the right foundation and interest (and not the desire for money that most first-year STEM majors seem to possess), I'm sure that I could do well. Likewise, I'm sure that many of my peers with pre-med intent would be lost in the upper level philosophy courses, or wouldn't be able write, direct, and produce a coherent feature-length screenplay.
I, for one, am sick of the elitism present in higher education. From the underground hipsters who believe that their individualism puts them on an artistic pedestal to the Mark Zuckerberg pretentious types who, statistically, will never be nearly as successful, I'm sick of it all. Why is it so difficult to understand that different topics are difficult in different ways? There's no field that simply hands people degrees with little to no effort from the students.
If there was, I'd know.
But most importantly, I've stumbled upon a creature so elusive that even the most extroverted of girls could only dream of finding: the skincare connoisseur.
No exaggeration needed: this girl is amazing, and I haven't even gotten to her skin. After late night and mid day Waffle House runs and whispers of the fall of capitalism, I learned that there's more than meets the eye. You'll never believe it: she's pretty AND nice. AND she lives next door.
AND she offered me skincare tips. Game over.
No one except for my parents has ever seen the horrendous beast that was my skin in high school, and even then I was reluctant to reveal myself to them. But it gets better, as my father always said. I probably should have listened, but I'll never admit that.
Regardless of teenage regrets, I come to you now with my skincare routine, fresh from the helpful hints of the skincare connoisseur. Within a month, I've seen an improvement, and I feel like everyone deserves one, even if for a moment.
In the morning, I wash my face with a Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser. It's apparently one of the best drugstore face cleansers on the market, and you definitely won't be hearing any complaints for me. I use the creamy formula because I have oily skin, and it does its job perfectly. My skin feels fresh after using it, which is all I could ever ask for, seeing as how my skin used to feel like tree bark.
After my face is dry, I use a toner. Unfortunately for me, toners cost money that I don't have, so I've been using a simple Witch Hazel to fill the gap. It's worked surprisingly well for me so far- I couldn't believe how much dirt was left on my face. I don't even go outside! After my face is free of the toxins of human interaction and unwashed makeup brushes, I put Tazorac on the dark acne scars from yesteryear. My dermatologist gave this to me and I'm almost out of product, so I've been flying through samples for the past week, and I think that I have enough to get me through the spring. Helpful Hint: I just learned (from my friend/skin connoisseur of course) that Tazorac is photosynthesizing, which could be causing my dark marks to get darker. So if you have any type of lightening cream, she suggested that you use a sunscreen after application with an SPF of at least 30.
Then I just fill in my eyebrows and go to class. You heard me correctly: I test the waves of higher education makeup free. I'm that confident in my skin now, even if it isn't perfect. Yet. I'm trying to be more positive.
At night, I wash my face again with the Neutrogena Cleanser. Twice a week, I use an Olay PRO-X Cleansing Face Brush and work the product into my skin. Though I love the feeling after exfoliating, I can only do it twice a week, as over-exfoliating does more harm than good. Again, I learned this from my neighbor.
Then I use my Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Face Lotion. A month ago, I would have laughed in the face of anyone who recommended a lotion for me. I have naturally oily skin that is, for some reason, only exaggerated when makeup is applied, so I've forced my skin to endure drying products in order to counteract this greasy phenomenon. Now I've learned that my oily skin was caused by my refusal to moisturize. I used to come home at around 2:30 and scare myself when I looked in the mirror and realized that my skin resembled Danny Zuko's hair in Blu-Ray quality. Now, my skin looks normal and fresh, and I feel like a new-age Rizzo.
My skin is far from perfect, but I've definitely taken a couple steps in the right direction. I'm content with my natural look now, and I hope that anyone reading has a chance to feel this way.
Also, I would like to thank everyone involved in this process. Thank you to my lovely neighbor, without whom none of this would be possible. Seriously, I'd be using bar soap if it weren't for her. Thank you Ulta, for your $3.50 off coupons that I shamelessly collect. Thank you Neutrogena, who was there for me when I needed it most. And most of all, thank you skin. Thank you to my oily, sensitive, acne-prone skin. You've dealt with a lot over the past few years.
Here's to you.