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Bad habits make for good art

With more than 350 entries, bay area students certainly appear to have a lot of bad habits. In fact, students cited 30 different habits that they wish they could stop. By far, nail biting was the most common, but others included procrastinating, cracking knuckles, twirling hair and humming. While the habits are bad, the writing and art were wonderful. And if you want to see your best work in this section, see the rules on Page 6E.

_ Nancy Green, Xpressions Editor

Click, click, click: That's the sound of my most dreaded habit _ changing television channels and radio stations. I have had this habit as long as I can remember. I get bored with the songs on the radio and the shows on TV, so my first instinct is to start to click. I drive my father crazy when we go on road trips; I take control of the radio and change the stations repeatedly. I don't even realize that I am doing it until my father tells me to stop and pick one station and leave it there. I just cannot help myself.

Consentina James, 13, eighth grade, Meadowlawn Middle, St. Petersburg

I have $25; I know I should save it,

Oh, but that Lego set, how I do crave it!

Money is burning a hole in my hand,

It's a bad habit my parents can't stand.

Someday I'll save my money in the bank,

But for now, I think I'll buy this Lego tank!

Donovan Foster, 12, sixth grade, Citrus Springs Middle

One of my worst habits is that I always depend on other members of my family to do my chores. The only job I have is dusting, and what do I do? I wait for my sister to do it so I don't have to stop watching my movie or playing my game. Lately I think I have changed and I am helping her and doing what she tells me to. I hope that my sister and the rest of my family are pleased with my efforts to stop being lazy.

Sidorela Gllava, 13, eighth grade, Largo Middle

I have many bad habits, but the worst is pulling gum out of my mouth and putting it back in. I have been doing it for about five years. I can't seem to stop. Gum sometimes falls out of my mouth when I'm pulling it out. I usually catch it and put it back in, but sometimes I accidentally step on it,and it gets stuck to the bottom of my shoe.

Paul Fack, 11, sixth grade, Highland Christian Academy, Clearwater

Whistling is my most dreaded habit. My family and classmates think it is annoying. I think it's fun. I can whistle any song.

Matthew Dixon, 10, fifth grade, Palm Harbor Elementary

From St. Paul Catholic School in St. Petersburg:

Talking online to my friends is by far the worst habit I have. It mainly distracts me when I am doing homework, but it also distracts me when I'm interacting with my family and doing chores around the house. I didn't know how addictive something that simple could be.

Nicole Karlau, 13, eighth grade

One of my worst habits is interrupting people when they are speaking. I do it because when I want to make a point, I HAVE to make a point. When I have an idea and nobody will listen I interrupt so they will get to hear it anyway. My mom also says that I am slow to get out of bed and ready for school, slow to eat my breakfast, slow to get into the car, and slow to go to school. I hear it every morning. I also think out loud, so people think I'm just randomly talking. And I take forever to go to my locker and get to my classes. I think that my worst habit is having so many bad habits.

Katie James, 11, sixth grade

I acquired my bad habit when I was about 7 years old and I have had it ever since. A nosey eavesdropper _ that is what I am. Even though I know I shouldn't be doing this, I just can't help it. I hope I won't still be considered a nosey eavesdropper when I am 70 years old.

Ellie Petrillo, 11, sixth grade

My worst habit is wasting time and procrastinating. Most of my antics are in the morning. After the third shake I finally show signs of consciousness. After about three minutes groaning in bed I get up and lumber over to my shower. I waste about 15 minutes sitting on the floor of my shower doing absolutely nothing. I slop on my clothes and sleep until my neighbors or my mom takes me to school. In total I waste about 20 minutes that could have been used to study for a test, check my homework or have a bite of breakfast.

Howie Acosta, 13, eighth grade

From Stephen Ross's language arts classes at Madeira Beach Middle:

I am not very neat or organized. When it's time to check homework or other papers, I look in my bag and it's a mess of papers, books and folders. Sometimes I can't even walk into my bedroom without stepping on something, and when I try to find something it takes hours.

Olivia Sutton, 12, seventh grade

I talk to myself when doing homework or chores. I even talk to myself in public.

Erin Walters, 13, eighth grade

I bite on my pens. My pens look bad and people don't want to use them because I have chewed on them. I know that if I keep chewing on them one day a pen will explode in my mouth.

Stephanie Hofstetter, 13, seventh grade

From Jennifer Arntz's students at Blanton Elementary in St. Petersburg:

If I stop being shy, I can make a lot of friends and I can help people out by talking with them.

Kwansha Collins, 11, fourth grade

I hate when I call people names. It doesn't feel right and I know they will be hurt. I want to stop, but it just keeps coming out.

Sanitra Burgess, 11, fourth grade

From fifth-graders at Palm Harbor Elementary:

I squirm in my seat like a rabbit. My mom and dad want me to chill, but it's so hard for me to sit still.

Tyler Spaldi, 10

My most dreaded habit is licking my lips. When I lick my lips, it makes them very dry. That means I have to keep licking them. It makes a red line under my lips, and everyone thinks I have marker on my lips.

Jacob Jarreau, 10

My worst habit is not cleaning my room. My parents always send me to my room to pick it up and I end up playing instead of cleaning and I get in trouble for that. I don't like cleaning my room because it's boring, and I know where all my stuff is. But I do get mad when I don't have any clean clothes to wear.

Nick Longfellow, 10

From Brooke Hartley's journalism class at Dixie Hollins High in St. Petersburg:

I don't like to lose. This habit of mine causes many problems for me. Even though I know that you can't win all the time, I still get really mad when things don't go my way.

Hope Lemieux, 14, ninth grade

I have many bad habits. Sometimes I crack my neck, sometimes I crack my back, and sometimes, no matter how much I try, I cannot stop laughing. But I think my worst habit would be my inability to stop my leg from shaking. It drives me crazy and it drives my family crazy, too. My mom thinks I'm overstressed. My brother has a new reason to pick on me. My dad believes it's a distraction from my biology homework. And nothing hurts more than typing on the computer and feeling your knee bang up against the keyboard. It's a terrible and annoying habit, and I'm almost positive I can do without it. In fact, I would take biting my lip over shaking my leg any day!

Summer Creech, 14, ninth grade

It's black and blue and thin and soft and it's always in my face. Spacing out . . . fingers in my hair. Thinking . . . fingers in my hair. Talking . . . fingers in my hair. I really don't know why I do this with my hair. It is a strange habit, and very annoying.

People look at me like I'm weird, too. I'll be talking and running my fingers through my hair, and they'll be watching my fingers. They give me the strangest looks and talk to me in a different tone. I don't really like that. Maybe it seems like I am ignoring them, talking as absentmindedly as I do at the time. I'm not, though, I'm just annoying myself, and going along with my stupid habit.

Many times when I am trying to stop this habit, I am actually doing it. I'll be talking, thinking, or spacing, and in my head, telling myself not to touch my hair. But when I realize what is going on around me, my fingers are in my hair.

It's black and blue and thin and soft and it's always in my face. Maybe I should cut it off.

Hailey Roeber, 16, 11th grade

From middle school students at St. Paul's School in Clearwater:

My worst habit is pen clicking. Not only is it annoying to the students around me, it also gets me in trouble with teachers. I've been fussed at before for clicking my retractable pens while the teacher is talking or during a test. I just can't seem to break the habit.

Kayla Tasker, 11, sixth grade

My worst habit is disagreeing with people. I always seem to contradict what people say, mostly my family. It drives them nuts. I express my opinion about homework, everyday things, but most of all chores. I have to say what order I think it's best to do chores in or who should do the chore and why. Most of the time it is opposite of what my parents want.

James Lewis, 13, seventh grade

If you asked my family what they disliked most about me, it would be something like, "She talks on the phone more than there are hours in a day." If you were to count up all of the hours that I've talked on the phone you would be in the billions by now. If someone were to ask what was the most common sentence used in my house, it would be, "Bitzi, get off the phone!"

Bitzi Evans, 11, sixth grade

Crack, crunch, pop! There goes my back. I have a really bad habit _ I crack my back nonstop. My friends cringe when they hear it.

Ashley DiMare, 14, eighth grade

I'm a pessimist. The dictionary defines pessimism as the tendency to see only what is gloomy or futile in life. Pessimism is a problem because it doesn't allow you to have as much fun and everyone around you will be annoyed by it. I'm trying to work on this problem by thinking to myself, "If you don't have anything positive to say, don't say anything at all."

Brent Robson, 13, eighth grade.

Oh, to be free of the procrastinator's curse. Since second grade, I have put homework off to the last minute, only to be caught and strictly disciplined, then caught again. It is a never-ending carousel, going miles, but getting nowhere. All my teachers have noticed it, and even the head of lower school has discussed this with me. My middle school language arts teacher stood sadly shaking her head on the third day of school. My father said that very same day, "Here we are, three days into the school year, and you already have missed a major assignment." The other part of my "curse" is that I don't care, and when I try to change, I slip up again! As I said, I'm on a never-ending carousel, and I want off!

Tristan Armil, 11, sixth grade

I love to fidget. Whenever I get my hands on something, I like to see what I can do with it. I like to mold things or take them apart. If I don't have anything to take apart or mold, I usually end up twiddling my thumbs or playing with my fingers.

Zach Delasin, 12, seventh grade

A bad habit I would like to get rid of is that sometimes I don't pay attention in class. I daydream when the teacher is explaining to the class about the homework assignment and then I don't get enough information about the assignments. Once this habit got me in trouble; the teacher was talking about a test that was really important for me and I was goofing off. I didn't study for it, because I didn't know about it, and then I got a bad grade on the test. My dad was not happy at all. The consequence for this was that I lost my TV time.

Carlos Barbour, 11, sixth grade

I have a bad habit of slouching. My mom always lectures me on my posture, because she knows it affects the way people think about you.

Sage Pickren, 12, seventh grade

I have the habit of humming _ as hard as I try to think of something else, I always end up humming again. I usually don't notice when I start to hum, but everyone else around me does. My habit is annoying to most people, but it helps me concentrate when I'm trying to study.

Chelsea Angelocci, 12, seventh grade

I repeat myself, sometimes even three or four times! The worst part is, I don't even realize it. I just keep repeating. In class when I repeat myself I give the excuse that I'm trying to emphasize my point. Sometimes teachers and classmates believe me, but usually they don't.

Christie Nowels, 12, seventh grade

My worst habit of all is taking ice from the tray and putting it back empty or with only one cube left.

Josh Fanelli, 11, sixth grade

My most dreadful habit is fighting with my younger sister. We can even start a fight about nothing. She always seems to be in my way, in my stuff, in my room or bothering me. The fights can carry on for like five minutes before she stomps away. Mom says we could fight about anything, even the weather. If I said it was cold, she would definitely say it was warm. I guess fighting is just part of having a younger sister. Even though we don't agree on anything, we always seem to end the day with a hug and ideas for tomorrow's fights.

Daniel Schwartz, 11, sixth grade

One of my worst bad habits is my favorite one. I doodle and graffiti on EVERYTHING. Give me a Sharpie and I'm in doodle heaven. They aren't doodles of flowers or rainbows. They're lines and shapes all mixed together that create a cool design. I graffiti on my shoes, my binders, homework, school notes, my closet wall, my backpack, CD cases, myself. You name it; I've drawn on it. It's just a way I customize my things. It's a gift and a curse. A bad habit and an art form.

Sadie Finkel, 13, eighth grade

From creative writing students at Blake High School in Tampa:

"Ooh, dang, look at his muscles!" I exclaim, while walking down an aisle at Wal-Mart. The guy I am speaking of turns to me with an incredulous and flattered smile. I slap my hand to my mouth and try to pretend that the red in my cheeks is the result of a disaster in makeup: "Mom, don't you think I put on too much blush?" But it's too late to hide that I am the culprit of the loud-mouthed comment.

Carey Savary, 16, 10th grade

Every night when the lights go out and the TV makes no noise, the "What-Ifs" appear. They dance and sing across my mind like a malignant disease. They infect my thoughts and start a chorus line of paranoia, and hard as I try I can't find a cure. Sweat trickles down my face and my mind feels like it's going to explode when the "What-Ifs" invade with worry and woe.

Amanda Jordan, 15, 10th grade

Potato after chip

Tears running away from my eyes.

A scoop of strawberry ice cream here

A peanut butter cup there.

A fall into my dreams of food.

My pain

Not gone

Just tucked behind a

Jelly Belly.

Caitlin Ehas, 14, ninth grade

Some people doze off during class or read when they are supposed to be paying attention. Me, I draw all the time. That is my worst habit.

Emily Barnash, 12, seventh grade, St. Paul Catholic School, St. Petersburg

My worst habit is not putting my clothes in the hamper.

Emily DiVito, 11, sixth grade, St. Paul Catholic School, St. Petersburg

I bite my fingernails. They bleed so much, I am afraid to show them to anyone. I mostly stuff my hands in my pockets and just ignore the burden, but I want to stop so badly. I drew this picture to show people how I feel and suffer.

Jackson Crawford, 12, seventh grade, St. Paul Catholic School, St. Petersburg

ROMAN BOUVARD, 12, seventh grade, Walden School, Gulfport

HOLLY FOX, 14, eighth grade, Riviera Middle, St. Petersburg

COLBY PROCTOR, 9, fourth grade, First Baptist Christian School, Pinellas Park

KOURTNEY MILLEN, 9, fourth grade, First Baptist Christian School, Pinellas Park

Tessa Russell, 9, fourth grade, First Baptist Christian School, Pinellas Park

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