Words vs. Actions

Time and time again, the phrase “actions speak louder than words” has been brought up and used in many situations. Just the other day, for example, my cousin was apologizing to her brother for breaking his miniature trumpet figurine. However, she refused to help put it back together, saying “I thought saying sorry was enough!” My aunt went on to tell her that her actions would show more sympathy than her words, which essentially means actions are more telling than words.

Have we ever stopped to really think about and evaluate this statement? Do actions honestly speak louder than words themselves? Well, to figure this out, we’ll have to dig a little deeper. To do so, a few example scenarios could bring some clarity to the common phrase. The examples I’ll be looking into are Holden’s actions, from The Catcher in the Rye, versus his words; Gatsby’s actions versus his words, from The Great Gatsby; and lastly, Hester’s actions versus her words, from The Scarlet Letter.

Photo @2011 by Vs Heidelberg Photos [CC BY 2.0]

Photo @2011 by Vs Heidelberg Photos [CC BY 2.0]

To begin with, there were multiple occasions within Holden’s story where his words are nearly hollow, due to the lack of tangible action backing them up. For example, while at Pencey Prep school, he fails four out of his fives classes, essentially barring him from returning for the next semester. Even though he is failing, he still continues to act as if the school and the world around him is nothing but a show put on by the “phonies.” I guess you could say in this situation, Holden was a small dog with a lot of bark but no bite. This happens many times throughout the story, often leading him into situations where he appears nosy and unsophisticated, such as when he persists in asking Luce who he is having an affair with. Well, so far, we’ve found out that people without actions backing their words tend to lack a strong, respectable character.

Moving on, however, in the story of Gatsby and his tragic affair, Gatsby is a mix of both actions and words. He constantly throws lavish parties in hopes that Daisy might take notice and approve of such a wealthy and prosperous man. When Daisy and Gatsby finally do meet, however, Gatsby seems to lack the right words for the situation. Instead, he continually asks Nick Carraway for assistance and tries to use actions to make the situation better. In this scenario, we have a man who can definitely get things done and act, but his actions lack the necessary words to accomplish what he wants. On the other hand, in The Scarlet Letter, the main character Hester constantly has to express herself via both actions and words continuously. Throughout the story, she is fighting a battle against discrimination and for the purity and well-being of her daughter. Not only does she have a strong will to do the demanding things she does, she has an, in my opinion, eloquent way of speaking as well, which aids her self-expression.

Throughout this school year, I’ve learned a lot about expression through words and expression through actions. Although we didn’t specifically talk about these two methods of self-expression on an individual basis, our class discussions contributed to us learning expression via words. The simple act of raising my hand and adding information to a group discussion has been great practice for thinking of the right words at the right time to get my points across. Additionally, the publishing credit opportunities have provided ways for us to express ourselves and our interests via our actions of exploring and discussing outside-the-classroom topics individually.

To put it all together, I think it is safe to say that actions do tend to speak louder than words, especially when it comes down to strong emotions between people. Simply speaking cannot and will not suffice in many emotional situations such as anger, sadness, and joy. However, actions that do not have words are often ambiguous and leave much to be answered. Basically, words are the brain of self-expression, while actions are the muscles of self-expression. Both contribute to one’s expression, although actions by themselves tend to draw more attention than words alone.

– Bryan Clements

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More About Me

I have been a motivated student throughout all of my school years. I strive to achieve while challenging myself at the highest level. After completing middle school with a 4.0 GPA, I began my freshman year in high school with honors and AP classes and have since taken advantage of as many AP classes as possible. Currently, as a junior, I am taking 5 AP classes along with Honors Music with my current rank among my peers being 1 out of 820 students. My current ACT score is 33.

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Photo @ 2005 by dcJohn [ CC by 2.0 ]

My goal has never been to be at the very top of my class academically. It has, however, been my desire to learn as much as I can that has put me there. Although I consider myself to be an intelligent person, I feel that it is my curiosity, love of learning, and the tireless effort I have put into my studies that has brought me this far.

In addition to academics, I have participated in many clubs and have devoted many hours to volunteer service. A passion of mine is music. I have expressed this passion through being an active member in my high school marching band and through participation in Huntington Beach Union High School District Honor Band and Jazz Band.

I seek out new learning opportunities on my own. Growing up, I have had to take this approach. You see, neither of my parents have a college degree. And, although they have been supportive as well as loving parents, they know little of what it takes to get into college or how to succeed there. Being a first generation college student, I have many questions. Most of the answers will probably come with time and experience.

Throughout my high school experience, one topic that keeps coming up in my mind is whether it’s better to take it slow and mainly study one subject or if it’s smarter to do what I’m doing, and take a full course load while I still have free education. In my personal opinion, I think it would be more interesting to focus on one subject, but for the sake of college admissions and learning more about the world around me all at once, my schedule is what predominates students today.

Although it’s a bit sad and unfortunate that students are seemingly thrown into this situation, it’s also good life experience, being able to handle everything at once. Doing this type of work now will make stress easier to handle in the future.

-Bryan Clements

Resourcefulness

It has become natural for me to use what I have and go for it. Jumping in and taking chances has become part of my everyday life.

Photo @2014 by Blake Patterson [CC BY 2.0]

Photo @2014 by Blake Patterson [CC BY 2.0]

When I was thirteen, I wanted my own computer. Having no money, I asked myself, “What do I have right now that can make this happen?” I then remembered that my dad had several broken computers. Having worked on computers with him before, I thought, “What if I put the working parts together in the right way to make one functional computer?” My mind raced with anticipation. With great tenacity I began working. Methodically, I put the necessary parts together and soon enough, it was up and running.

Happy with what I had created, I thought about the question I asked myself and the resourcefulness involved. The question, “What do I have right now that can make it happen?” started me thinking. What if I applied this question along with those same characteristics of tenacity and confidence to any endeavor I undertook? I made it a point to have this mindset and apply it daily. When things seemed impossible, I thought of what I had, intellectually or materially, to start things off. As a result, I began reaching more goals. As my accomplishments grew, so did my dreams. Before I knew it, I began picturing myself starting my own company based on a new technology I have yet to develop.

Today, I may not necessarily have the same dreams and aspirations that I once did about possibly starting my own company and what not, but the ideas of taking risks and resourcefulness remain true. In fact, I’d like to think that those traits have helped me a lot in school, usually with projects and critical thinking skills. For example, when I had a few english projects in tenth grade, I not only thought about the task at hand in a critical step-by-step method, but I also thought of the deeper meaning behind the task. Why are we doing this project? When will the skills this is providing me with come in handy? By asking myself these questions, I’ve come a long way in understanding why teachers assign me the things they do.

But out of all the skills required for success, resourcefulness and hard work, the crucial steps between inspiration and success, are what matter most.

 

-Bryan Clements

Is College Worth the Effort?

On my last blog, I vented quite a bit about the competitiveness of college admissions for the University of California system. This week, I would like to take the subject of college in a bit of a different direction. The question, “Is a college education really worth the time, money and effort?”

All of my life I have been told that I need to study hard to get into a good college so that I can have a career that I can support myself with. It has been hammered into my head so long and I never questioned it. Year after year I toil, AP and Honors classes since I was a freshman. I even got a head start on Spanish and math in middle school, taking high school geometry and Spanish I. Now I am taking college classes in high school to get ahead in college.

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Photo @ 2010 by Sean MacEntee [CC by 2.0]

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Class Qualities: Curiosity

Curiosity. What makes someone curious? Well, there are actually many factors that contribute to one’s curiosity. First let’s start with what curiosity actually is. Curiosity is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning. Curiosity can also represent a thirst for knowledge when discussing the emotional background it has. Now let’s get to some of the factors that can cause and or contribute to curiosity. A lot of what curiosity is derived from is just a simple, innate, basic emotion that comes from wanting something. When we want something or want to know something, we become relatively curious. Continue reading

Class Qualities: Collaboration

Collaboration has always been a big part of my life and it’s one of my favorite things to do at school also. I’ve been a part of many sporting activities and performing arts and being good at collaborating is a key to success in any group activity. The publishing house project is an example of where collaboration. Let’s look at the individual jobs of each member, shall we. Continue reading

Class Qualities: Assiduousness

I’m going to be completely honest here, working in these publishing house groups aren’t the easiest thing. There is so much to do sometimes and the publishing house is the last thing on your mind. Creating blog posts, making essays, revising essays, having mini group discussions everyday can get pretty tedious. I try to be as assiduous as possible when it comes to times like these because this is a great quality to have. Now this is probably one of the newer qualities I’m trying to apprehend, so sometimes it doesn’t always work out; although I have noticed that everyday is getting a bit easier to complete. Continue reading