Lately my teachers have changed their tune (no, I don't mean that they have a theme song) - in other words, they've started talking about the importance of making yourself appear different from other people.
Both my history and math teachers told us that just doing the same thing everyone is doing will not get the colleges interested in us. My history teacher described 85% of the high school I'll probably be going to as "Brown eyes, brown or black hair, between 5'3" and 5'8", 4.0 GPA, not doing any sports - oh, and playing an instrument" (in other words, a lot of Asians D: ) and he said that the colleges don't care if you are identical to everyone else. You'd have to display your uniqueness or they wouldn't want to have you in their school. And my math teacher said that colleges want people who will do great things after they go to college, because then the colleges will become famous. (So I think probably in your application essay, you ought to tell the colleges what you are planning to do in your life, not just what you've already done)
In fact, even my language arts teacher seemed to be aware of this "Don't be like everyone else" movement, because of the quote of the day she picked. The quote was, "The hardest struggle of all is to be something different from what the average man is." This quote was said by Charles M. Schwab, apparently. Well, I'm pretty sure the teachers must be in cahoots. I mean, I've sometimes seen all three seventh grade math teachers in the same room together, doing who knows what (planning the math? The 7th grade math teachers all teach at the same rate, and give the exact same homework).
Well, anyway, I've been studying the holiday spirit lately since it is almost Christmastime. It seems to me that people start setting up their decorations after Thanksgiving, sometimes even earlier. I saw that the classrooms of my history teacher and language arts teacher from last year are already starting to be decorated by Christmas lights. However, some people have rather...strange holiday spirit. My history teacher is a prime example.
Some students (certainly not all) give their teachers presents before winter break starts, as I don't know if we have an official week or day for giving teachers gifts. It's supposedly a way of showing appreciation, or it's out of "obligation", or maybe people think they can bribe the teachers into giving them good grades... But my history teacher says he doesn't want anything. He says that whatever he wants is not something that us students could give him anyway. So he'd rather have us work hard in his class or show him our "charming smiles". He told us to tell that to our parents, even if they don't believe us - and then he said we should say, "So you think my smile isn't charming?!" and the parents will say, "No, no, that's not what I meant at all, dear."
It's the thought that counts, but he said that it doesn't show thought at all if you give him a Starbucks giftcard because he doesn't usually drink coffee (he does eat the breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks, though). I think that my math teacher last year also didn't want Starbucks coffee, but it was a completely different reason - she had some kind of problem with caffeine, maybe an allergy (dunno how to describe it), and she couldn't eat chocolate, otherwise she'd get a migraine headache.
I still have to think about what I should get for the other teachers, though. I think it might be nice to give them something, but I'm not exactly sure what I should buy. Getting them a Target giftcard would be way too typical. But I don't want to get them something that they don't like. And it would be too obvious just to ask them...