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.

Writer’s block – I love potatoes – I heart pinterest

It’s been a while. I’ve been suffering from writer’s block. The main reason is probably because all my creative juices are being sucked up by my college essays. I have a lot of making up to do for all the missing weeks. It will take a long time to make up for lost time and I may not even catch up. I’m thinking that I’ll do daily diaries for the month of December to help get myself back into the rhythm of journaling. I’m excited for it all!

Potatoes are my favorite vegetable. They taste so good that they shouldn’t even be put in the vegetable category. They’re also super versatile. My favorite form of the potato has got to be the fried version. I love me some salty, crispy fries. But lately I’ve been experimenting with other potato-based foods. We have the baked potato, the mashed potato, the sweet potato, the sweet potato fries, and of course, the hash browns! If I could eat one vegetable for the rest of my life, it would be the potato.

I think pinterest is an underrated social media platform. Much like the potato, pinterest is very versatile. But it doesn’t hold the same societal pressures as other more communicative social networks such as instagram or snapchat. At the moment, I’ve been very invested in the health category. I like looking up brief workouts that I can do in my free time. Other long-time favorites are ‘hair and beauty’ and ‘food’. Food especially during the holiday season because I’m always looking for new recipes and desserts to try out for the season.

Essay Fever – Broken Computer – Hoodie Season

Pressure, heavy pressure, coming from above me, my left, my right, below, I’m trapped in a box made out of my own essays and I am running out of air. Deadlines are approaching at fast speeds and I’m losing my creativity flow. My writing is losing juice and although I’m cranking out essays on the daily, I’m concerned for their quality. Luckily, I have a nice English teacher who’s willing to read my essays and give feedback on them. But that can only help so much. Although she can fix all my grammar and punctuation errors, she can’t fix the content. My advice to the juniors out there: Start your essays over the summer.

 

As previously mentioned, I’ve been very stressed about college applications and essays. Recently, life has been twice as hard because my laptop was freaking out on me. My wifi kept turning off randomly on just my computer causing me to have to frequently turn it off and turn it back on. AND THEN, my bottom taskbar froze which basically kept me from going from chrome to word to whatever else. To top it all off, my electricity went out and it was freezing in my home and I wanted to do nothing but curl up in bed and watch movies. I just feel personally targeted at the moment because everything is going so, so wrong.

 

Where I am right now, the weather is awful. It is too cold for me to function properly. There’s a couple of parts that contribute to the awfulness of it all. Firstly, it’s usually about 40 degrees in the morning and 60 degrees in the afternoon. This has my body feeling super confused. And I don’t like it because I feel like I could get sick at any moment. Secondly, what happened to the in between? Did I just sleep through hoodie season or what? One day I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and next thing you know I had to break out the north face and the layers and the sweatpants.

Fall – Routine – You time

People always stress how much they love fall. I don’t love fall. I don’t even like fall. It marks the end of summer. I love summer. I love the warm weather and the shorts. If I have to wear a coat to go outside then I don’t want to go. Overall, fall just makes me feel lethargic. I just want to stay in my warm bed all day. It’s cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon and you just don’t know what to wear anymore. It also marks the beginning of school, another depressing subject. The one upside? Halloween is in October which is a fall month. That is the only thing I like about fall. I like candy and I like costumes. But otherwise, it’s a transitional season to winter whom I also dislike.

 

Establishing a routine is so good for you. Don’t ever let someone tell you that routines are boring or that they’re ruts. Having a productive and effective routine takes a person far in life. Over the summer, I’ve tried to establish a routine, but it was difficult because I didn’t have the necessary pressures that push me to enforce it. Now, with college apps looming over my shoulder, I have tons of pressure. Every day I find myself zipping through homework so I can spend a couple hours on college. I have a lot on my plate, but I don’t even mind because I feel so productive.

 

Being social is an imperative part of life. It’s necessary for normal day-to-day tasks. But it’s also super important to have you time. I love me time. I’m an introvert. I generally find more pleasure in being alone than with others. I do love spending time with friends and family, but not excessively. Being alone offers so much more liberation. You can literally do whatever you want without the opinions or inputs of others and sometimes that’s exactly what a person doesn’t need. I can watch TV. I can sleep. I can be productive and do homework. All without worrying about holding a conversation or even my own appearance. Solitude is the ultimate freedom from judgmental eyes.

Dealing with Teachers – Senior Stresses – Halloween

We all know that one teacher that just always says the wrong thing and pushes the most irritable buttons. In an ideal world, students would be able to pick their educators and fire those they deem unworthy. Unfortunately in this universe, all we can do is deal with them. I’ll admit, being a teacher, especially a new teacher is very stressful. You try to follow protocol down to the needlepoint and you’re not sure if you care about your relationship with your students yet. I get it. Being a new teacher is like entering adolescence all over again. Some people transition more smoothly than others. Along the way, you’ll find a lot of rough patches. Although I understand how tough it is to be in their position, I’m still not likely to cut them a break. In the real world, expectations are put down for people. Each one is unique and there’s no promise of a warming period. You don’t have time to “break-in” the new position first or dip your toe in. The real world is a full on- head first dive. As a student, I have expectations placed upon me. No one is out here cutting me any breaks. My advice to people and teachers (who are people), is to just ride the wave rather than fight back. Experience and adaptation comes with time.

 

October is looming over me and casting its scary shadow for what seems to me to be the first time of my 17 years. Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love how festive it is with a hint of scare. Come this year, it’s officially appropriately labeled the scariest month of the year because it’s time for me to start crunching out college applications. I don’t know if I’ll be okay. I don’t know if my teachers will care even the least that I’m going to be hair-pulling stressed this month. I just hope, for my own sake, that I can be proactive for the next 35 days.

 

I love Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday of all time. It’s strange because I don’t really celebrate it as tradition would have it. As a yungin, I went trick-o-treating and I wore costumes and it was a good time. Now, teenagers throw Halloween parties and go to haunted houses and ride hay-rides. I love it. I love the scare and the thrill but I also love the cute costumes. Oh, and of course I love the candy and the horror movies. In a way, Halloween is just like Christmas to me. You spend the holiday with your friends and family. It’s festive, in its own scary fashion. And you get lots of treats in the shape of candy corn and pumpkins. I’m not a big fan of fall but I do love Halloween.

Library – Feels – Should Have, Could Have

 

I love the library. One, it’s a very productive environment that enforces a strong work ethic. Two, it’s generally peaceful. Three, it’s got tons of books that you can read, FOR FREE! And bring home, FOR FREE! I like reading. If I had more free time, I would read more. Currently, I have a very good hold system going on with my local library that lets me seek out the books I want and place them on hold for future readings. I find that this makes me want to read more as I know that I have a limited time before I have to return the book. Overall, my library is one of my favorite and most frequented places right now.

 

The month of September has been very tough for me. I’ve experienced a lot of different emotions and life is not slowing down for me. Right now, I’d say I’m content. I’m content with the progress I’ve made, my relationships, and my feelings. If I could just ride this wave of bliss for a couple more months, I’d be very thankful.

 

I got some test scores back recently and I’m conflicted with them. I regret not giving myself more time to look into the test and to study and now it’s too late to retake them. The score did not hit my target, sorely I was off by one point. However, as I’m applying for colleges, I’m still proud of the work I’ve done. I’m grateful for all the things I do have to show which is why I’m satisfied even though in the back of my mind, I know I could’ve done better.

Running is fun – Physics is fun – French is fun

Running is fun. That sentence, those words, have never come out of my mouth before and I highly doubt they will any time in the future. Some people adore running. They act like they hate it. They act like it exhausts them. But in reality, nothing is more gratifying. I am not one of those people. When I say, running is not my cup of tea, I mean it. But I’m the type of person that likes to turn something they hate to do into something they can bare, sometimes even enjoy. I have broken up and made up with running many times. What I’ve found to be the most helpful is joining a group or a team that will push you to keep going even when you desperately want to quit. The first steps are always the hardest. However, once you push past that first mile, it gets much easier. All in all, run because you can, not because you have to. More importantly, do it for your health, physical and mental.

 

I believe that physics is one of my most gratifying classes. I’ve been taking it for a week. Having previously taken calculus, the first week of physics is naturally a breeze. But that’s not what makes it feel gratifying. It’s the homework. My physics assignments are posted online and the problems are done online. More importantly, I can check the answers as I do them. Of course a wrong answer brings a giant red X which brings sadness. But a correct answer brings a giant green check mark which brings excitement and wacky dance moves. Right now, I can handle physics alright. But I won’t be letting my guard down anytime soon because I expect it to be much harder in the future.

 

My senior year in high school and I’ve found myself in the class of a new French teacher. My old French teacher had decided to retire my junior year. I wasn’t sure I felt about this change until I truly connected to this new teacher. In the short time I’ve known her, I’ve already felt more appreciated, my efforts more acknowledged, than previously. I’m in my prime for French. This is the best I’ve ever been and nothing frees a person like finally breaking through the language barrier. I still have a long way to go. The idea of taking the AP French exam is scary. Listening and speaking are not my strengths. Writing (conjugations) aren’t either. What I do have however is determination and a strong work-ethic which I am ready to invest into my French class.