Fear Shakespeare – 2017 – October

Every year we read Shakespeare. Every year, it’s a dreaded activity. I don’t think I’ve ever read an actual Shakespearean play cover to cover. There’s not enough time and I don’t have enough motivation. I generally opt for Sparknote’s No Fear Shakespeare which is honestly a lifesaver 100% of the time. However, recently I’ve begun to feel a little guilty about my little cheat sheet. When I take the time to analyze a passage from Shakespeare, I realize it’s completely doable. Simultaneously, I begin to understand why Shakespeare is such a hyped-up playwright. There’s depth, there’s rhythm, and the plays continue to have applicable themes to modern society. I may not enjoy reading Shakespeare the majority of the time, but I’ve learned to appreciate his writing.

2017 is just about a week away and I’m more excited for this upcoming year than I have been for any past years. First of all, I’m ready to create a new, 2017 category for TJJJ which means that we have reached out anniversary. I’m celebrating in spirit. Beyond that, there’s also the fact that I’m graduating this year. It’s a little bittersweet. I’ve had some wonderful experiences and memories and some not so great times, but I’m satisfied with my high school journey. And I am so so excited for what college has in store for me. To reflect upon 2016, I’m sad to say that it’s been one of the worst years of my life. Without going into depth, I’m just hoping and willing 2017 to go much better. As I am half a year away from graduating, I feel sentimental, but ecstatic for my next adventures.

According to my calendar to-do lists, I am still in October. Yes, I am 2 months (nearly 3) behind schedule. Everyday I slack a little more, and I fall a little more behind. As the school year is nearly half way complete, I’m constantly finding new things to add to my agenda. In an attempt to be organized, I often find myself writing to-do lists more than I’m actually doing them. If I could do one thing, this winter break, it would be to finish all the things on my Winter Break To-Do list.

One Week – Busy Bee – Anxious

There is 5 school days, and 6 regular days until winter break. I am eagerly awaiting its arrival while jittering in my seat because I have to quite a lot to accomplish by the end of this week. A common double-edged sword. I’m both eagerly awaiting its arrival and dreading the upcoming days up to it. And when it finally does arrive, I’m sure it’s going to pass by in a blink of an eye.

College season is unfortunately still looming and the forecast calls for rejections and disappointments. Sadly, I’m still in the midst of applying because I’m a last-minute renowned procrastinator. I’ve had a 2 week hiatus from my previous application and I’m definitely feeling more rejuvenated.

My heart tingles when I think about college applications. As I click on the box that says that my status has been updated, I feel small nerves, tiny tingles, but not the world-racking feeling I thought I would feel. For some reason, I have greater anxiety finding out my test scores than I do about finding out about my life for the next 4 years. It’s December. My last notification is in April. The time to make a decision is in May. Oh why is the collegiate fairy so cruel to us aspiring, doe-eyed teenagers.

Coffee Break French – Adult – Drives

I’ve been taking French class since I was in 7th grade. I’ve dedicated many years, stressful nights, and difficult days to this language. While it was a struggle to try to do the homework, it was an even greater struggle not being able to communicate effectively with my teacher. That class made me feel incredibly incompetent and frustrated. I think language is the most difficult subject to learn because you simply can’t understand what the teacher is saying. It’s especially difficult when teachers insist on an English-free classroom. How exactly are students supposed to learn a language when they have no words to match against it? Anyways, through my initial struggles with the French language, I decided that I needed to put it extra effort and greater dedication to the class than any other. As a result, I spent a lot of time with online French translators and dictionaries and I’m always looking to find more affordable Rosetta Stone-esque options. There are many apps out there that help people learn new languages. But since I’ve been advancing a lot more in recent years, I’m able to pinpoint where my weaknesses are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not strong in any aspect of the language. But there are certain ones that are extra difficult for me to get down. I think the most challenging thing currently is understanding spoken French. For me, I can understand my teacher about 85% of the time which is pretty good in my book. But when I listen to podcasts and radio stations, I’m completely lost. I just feel like they talk too fast and too slang for me to really understand what’s being said. So now, I’m practicing with podcasts. Listening like everything else improves with practice. Currently, I’m listening to the Coffee break podcast and I’m really enjoying it.

I’m an adult! Not by law, but I’m practically there. These stresses I’m feeling, they are not adolescent stresses, they’re grown-up, big man problems. However, I have to say: playing the part of adult without the label relieves me of a lot of pressure. To be honest, I’m not ready for the title. I don’t particularly care for it because the more adult I become, the closer I am to not being a teen anymore and the closer I am to being thirty. Yikes.

Driving is a wonderful feeling. When it’s warm outside and the window’s down and the smell of fresh cut grass invades your senses: that’s the best time of the year in my opinion. A lot of people say that once you drive for a certain time, you’ll get sick of it. I hope that never happens because driving has become a therapeutic release for me, similar to hot showers. Unfortunately, I don’t have many opportunities nor funds to explore new roads and routes. I basically drive the same road every day but I still look forward to it. After all, it’s not so much about the destination as it is about the journey. And my journey is rocking. I think in the car is one of the only times I get a chance to just listen to music and jam out. And let me just say: nothing makes you feel more like an adult than being on the road on your own where you are responsible for your actions no matter your age. A little scary but also satisfying.

Science Sux – Wrap Up – Three Weeks

I like to think that I can conquer any subject, topic, or course that high school can throw at me. Though it’s been difficult, I’ve managed to maintain a respectable grade in most of my classes, science being one of them. But what I’ve come to realize is that I have been jamming information into my brain, and crash memorizing information without actually retaining or “learning.” I had to come to this realization the hard way, and by myself. After taking an end-of-the-year exam, it was clear that I had only memorized information in depth when I needed it. By the time I’m supposed to regurgitate a year-long worth of topics, I find myself stuck and incapable. Take this as a lesson from me: don’t try to do last-minute crunching because it only leads to self-deception of what you’ve really retained in the long-term.

The first quarter of senior year has passed. This has been a really tough year for most of our class. With personal struggles, college applications, and vigorous classes, it’s no wonder that senioritis is such a prominent and common term. Now that we are approaching December, I’m happy to say that a large burden has been lifted off my chest. The majority of my apps have been submitted save for one. Now, we play the waiting game. The dreaded yet anticipated college acceptance notification is just a little ways away. It’s time for the home stretch and I’m eager to not let senioritis get the best of me by staying optimistic, energetic, and prepped.

We are approximately three weeks away from winter break. I am itching for it. I want snow and 2 hour delays and closings. I want to sleep for hours on end and then wake up and stay in my warm, comforting blankets. The 4-day Thanksgiving break gave me a taste of freedom and now I’m addicted. Without a doubt, these last three weeks will be torture: filled with tests, quizzes, and busy work.