Summer came and went.

It’s 10:27 pm and I should be trying to sleep or at least reading because I’m supposed to have read three books this summer for AP English IV, and I’ve read one and haven’t even chosen a third and this is all due by next Friday; and sleeping because tomorrow is my boyfriend’s first day of school and he has to get up ridiculously early to attend with his mom the preparation of the senior breakfast/parade/thing. Lucky, we don’t get a parade.

I’ve totally abandoned this blog over the summer, which I sorely regret. There’ve been a lot of things worth documenting and I haven’t done any of it.

I left for Raleigh on the first of July, the day after the boyfriend’s family returned from the Bahamas. That wasn’t originally our choice date, by the way; that ended up happening because the prices were cheaper for airline tickets. We didn’t do a lot the first couple weeks; we played some games, watched some TV, wrestled around a bit and were lectured about college visits and thoughts and such things. Uncharacteristically of our summers, we did very little cooking or crafting. We did some, sure, but not a whole heck of a lot in comparison to the past couple summers.

So what did we do? We took an unofficial tour of North Carolina State University with the boyfriend’s eldest cousin and an official tour of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (not even close to each other in date), we swam quite a bit at the general pool and not much at all on the working-week-long beach trip, we stayed up late hours to discuss history and philosophy and several other things besides.

In the last week, I panicked and decided to make crazy quick craft progress. I made a yellow pig log pillow (it is the best thing ever, perhaps there will be a picture in a later post), a popsicle-shaped phone case (ditto on the picture), and a no-sew iron-on senior-themed canvas bag.

We had an airport fiasco in which my first of two flights was so heavily delayed (and confusedly so – first it was delayed, then on time, then early, then delayed again …) that I was sure to miss my connecting flight in Dulles, and so I stayed another night than originally planned and left much earlier in the morning than I’d have liked. The boyfriend and I were allowed to snuggle together (under different covers!!!) in the same bed that night, and it was the best sleep I had the whole summer.

That was on Thursday night and Friday morning. Now it’s Sunday night, the boyfriend starts school tomorrow and I on Thursday. We’ll be seniors in high school and we’re going to start looking at applying for colleges as soon as September starts. We’re looking to apply to all of our schools early so that we improve our chances of getting in.

It’s been a good couple of months … and of course, they felt too short. But believe it or not, I’m feeling pretty okay about it. Confident, I might even say.

 

… Of course, it remains to be seen how long this feeling will last. Good luck to all the other rising seniors out there, and to all the other high school students and college freshmen too.

Advertisements

Boyfriend’s in the Bahamas.

Which, at least, I know – thanks to awesome websites that track plane statuses. I’m surprised, you know – even in New York, you can snag some free Wi-Fi from unsuspecting patrons of charity but I guess on Paradise Island they have a better grip on what little they can get their hands on. Fair enough, I suppose.

Today, I have:

  • Showered.
  • Watched more than half of the first season of Mad Men on Netflix.
  • Did the mountain of dishes in the sink into the washing machine.
  • Attacked a brownie pan we’ve been nonchalantly ignoring.
  • Cleaned the stove top.
  • Cleaned the toilet. (Not together!)
  • Took out every bag of trash in the house – except for the main one, because I took it out two days ago and it’s not even halfway full.
  • Dragged the trash can up to the curb.
  • Put away some school- and winter-related things in my room (yeah, I’m disorganized and a little behind).
  • Texted “friends” sadly and, you know, got nothing.am.
  • Walked around the house about sixteen times back and forth and around, moping.

Anxiety is a gross, disgusting thing. But I’ve done all that and he’s only left this morning. He doesn’t come back until Sunday; what exactly am I supposed to do with myself? I don’t have a lot of motivation, really – the only reason I did any housework was to keep myself busy and to calm the stomach. Honestly, the mental turmoil and the physical, literal sickness are both pretty bad if I let them steam.

God, at the rate I’m going, I’m almost missing school already. What am I supposed to do with all this time!

How is everyone else’s summer going?

Wrapping up the school year.

What a wild ride it’s been this year.

Last year, my guidance counselor told us that junior year was the most important. That’s when, colleges say, you are at your most mature – you are aware of the way high school works and how to act and that you need to be working and not slacking, and you’re not tainted by senioritis yet, et cetera. They get a feel for you.

This year sums me up pretty well, I think. I took Creative Writing, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life, and had three (so far) opportunities to share my writing in front of an audience. I skipped out on history, which was nice. I ran my best mile of my high school career (and can’t we just skip out on gym next year, too?) and I participated in the school newspaper for the entire year. Today, in fact, I earned a promotion for the newspaper for next year, a title I’m ecstatic to have. I also took Sociology this year, which was a fun and interesting course.

I took the AP Psychology and English Language & Composition exams in May, and I felt pretty confident in both of them. I liked all the essays I wrote for English and I very much felt the benefits from all the studying I did for Psychology, which was rewarding.

On the other hand, I’ve had a bit of a battle with depression and anxiety and an (squeamish men skip over the next few words) ovarian cyst, which was really shitty to deal with but eventually went away on its own. Anxiety used to only occur during air-travel time, but it’s been getting worse the past year – although not really bad enough that it deserves treatment, only that it’s been more noticeable that I have such a problem. (Also, if you’d like to read a poem I wrote about airline anxiety, click here!)  Depression has … fluctuated. Nothing unmanageable, though.

I’ve been thinking about colleges, too – and while I was looking at prestigious schools like RIT and USC for awhile, I’ve come to the basic conclusion that there are two places that are good at computer science where I would be happy: University of Texas at Austin and North Carolina State University. Texas, of course, will be my priority; but it would be nice to be in North Carolina for awhile, too.

Speaking of college, another noteworthy thing is that I’ve asked for my letters of recommendation … I have requested three and I might still need another one, because certain computer science things require one from a math or science teacher; which, of course, usually don’t hold me in the highest favors. Darn! The three I’ve asked for are from my AP English Language & Composition teacher, my Creative Writing teacher, and a teacher I had freshman and sophomore year, first for World History and then for Geography & Culture of Latin America and Africa.

Which brings me to – because of my request for letters of recommendation (which according to the schools I want to attend, I might not even need … sigh), I wrote my first resume. It looks pretty awesome, but it’s also fairly brief. It includes the Skyrim mod I made, plus how I taught myself HTML via W3 schools … and a bunch of other odd things.

The summer is quickly approaching, and so are my plans for it. I’m leaving for North Carolina on July 1st and I am counting down the days and making lists of things I want to do. Swim and cook and bake and play games and a million more. As for now, though, I’m  worn out. I apologize for the lack of writing lately and sincerely hope to write more in the summer, just as I did with the birth of this blog.

Pandora + Country

It might be a little dorky or silly to say so but honestly, listening to my country Pandora station has been the highlight of several of my days lately. Here are a few of the best songs.

1.) I Won’t Back Down – Johnny Cash
2.) Sugar Foot Rag – Jerry Reed
3.) Thank God I’m A Country Boy – John Denver
4.) Phantom 309 – Red Sovine
5.) Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford

I wish that I could explain what it is about this stuff that fills my soul up full of happiness and stuff but I’m not sure I can. Maybe it’s got an extra kick because I’m in Yankee territory. Or maybe country music just talks about family and stuff and things that are happy and wonderful and that just resonates extra-deep with me cause that’s all I really want.

I dunno.

Enjoy some nice music. We’ve got a long weekend because of snow tomorrow, huzzah! G’night everybody.

The AP Exam: English Language and Composition

So, after being sick last Thursday and Friday, and all weekend long… I returned to school today and had the chore of my AP English midterm. It consisted of two essays in an 84 minute period: an argumentative and a rhetorical analysis.

The thing with an AP class, especially with this one, is that there’s not a lot of STUFF to learn. You’re really just learning three separate skills. A rhetorical analysis essay prompt asks you to read a passage of writing and dissect it and look at what the author has DONE and why they did it, rather than the message of their words. This is most often (and most easily) done with a speech, but sometimes there’s other weird fictional pieces or memoirs in there. Odd stuff, really. An argumentative essay is really easy if you have any opinions at all: you’re given a controversial issue, and you must determine whether it is X or Y and justify your case with evidence. If you want any kind of a strong essay, you counter yourself and then explain why you’re still right. “Some people might THINK it’s X, but it’s really Y because …” et cetera. And finally, the synthesis essay is basically an argumentative essay on steroids with pre-given sources. You have seven or eight-ish sources, one or more of which is an image of one kind or another (usually useless graphs, in my opinion, that don’t contribute to the actual prompt’s purpose), and you utilize them to form an opinion about the issue.

That’s about it. This class teaches you those skills, and not really a whole lot else. Some vocabulary for rhetorical analyses, but if you’re good at dissection, you don’t really need to know what each tool is called if you can use it properly. (It helps, though. Like if you have an assistant to hand you your tools and would rather have your eyes on whatever you’re dissecting …. but this metaphor’s going too far.) The thing this creates is that this class, much more so than the AP Psychology* class I’m taking, is really a class for the exam. Some people debate the credibility of AP classes because it’s literally “teaching to the test” but the problem with this is that these are college courses that not everyone’s actually going to try in.

What I’m getting at is that AP English is a year-long course and if you keep on doing your work and actually exerting effort … there’s no way not to get upper-half grades on your essays. The problem that everyone faces is time. Time, time, time. There’s never enough time, really. And after I finished my midterm this morning, I sat around and watched as people were scurrying with messy handwriting (and thought about all the sample essays we’d read which I couldn’t read because of the dreadful handwriting) and I wondered why we couldn’t type them. The school can easily revoke Internet access to computers on its network. We are a techie generation, after all, and the future’s computers, regardless of what you’re going into. And the thing is, I don’t know how old y’all are (does anyone even really read this blog? If so, you must be irritated by my parenthetical overuse) or how much bearing that has, or how much or how often you write – but I revise in my head. I don’t plan when I write. I just write. That’s the only writing I can do and the only writing I’ve ever been able to do … and go ask my English teachers, they all think I roll out some pretty great stuff. So, right – the point is, everyone in this class probably has the skills that they need. But they can’t finish their essays because they’re stressed for time and their hands cramp up from handwriting and then they freak out because they don’t have enough time and whatever they’re able to scribble out before time’s up is illegible and THEN where are they?

Boy, I can get on a tangent, eh?

Mostly the reason I’m writing this is because I couldn’t find any good posts about it elsewhere. I think it’s an honest thought worth considering. Wouldn’t be too hard to pull off, I don’t think – a lot of classes take their exams in libraries anyway, where the computers are, at my school at least. Imagine those graders down in Kansas or wherever they are (does it change?) – how much easier would their lives be if they could just read a nice typed paper instead of deciphering the hundreds or maybe even thousand or so different handwritings they have to read?

Do discuss, I’m deeply interested in this possibility.

[[** So, our AP Psychology class. Psychology is a great class to take in high school as an elective because it’s interesting and you can and probably will (directly or indirectly) use it out of class. AP Psych is for those students who think they might wanna go beyond school and become a psychologist … or for those who’re really interested in it. The thing is that the class isn’t really hard. At all. The exam is a joke. We took our midterm back in December because Schleer’s a great teacher who wanted us to relax during our midterms week (as much as possible) and it’s so easy. He makes his tests much like the multiple choice on the midterm/exam, so nothing was really a surprise. And the essay questions…? Not hard at all. So the thing is that you can really use the class outside of class and if you’re any smart, well, that’s what you do.
Also, he acts like the class is so hard, but it’s not. He’s just addressing that so many people are lazy fucks who don’t do any school work. In AP Psych, you do indeed have to do the homework. But if you do, it really pays off.]]

Stress and Gaming: Two Brief Rants

Homework can be a useful tool for reviewing and mastering material. It can also be a powerful tool of torture when everyone expects you to complete everything in such a short amount of time that you have little to no relaxation time left over. Furthermore, headaches are terrible and migraines are worse.

Because it’s 10 pm and I need to go to bed soon … That’s all I’m really gonna say about  school. Today was a bad day, and after I did as much as necessary for school tomorrow, I spent a lot of the afternoon and evening on World of Warcraft.

If y’all are anywhere near as nerdy as me, or nerdy to any extent about computer games, you probably know that World of Warcraft’s long-awaited expansion Mists of Pandaria was released yesterday. And if you’ve ever played WoW or any MMO right after the release of brand new content, you know that it’s crazily crowded and usually a pain to get anything done because everyone’s competing to get the loot off of X amount of mobs. Et cetera.

IN ANY EVENT, Blizzard has these cross-realm zones and a lot of people don’t like them. At the same time, it’s day two of a new expansion … and everyone’s down-talking Blizzard and calling them stupid, et cetera. It’s like, hm — if you don’t like Blizzard, you don’t have to play the damn game! Some of us enjoy WoW and love the game we play and that is why we play! I’m not sure why I’m writing about this … the person who set me off was talking in Westfall General a few hours ago and I had a lot more mojo to rant about then, and now I’m just kind of mildly angry.

The point is Blizzard works really hard to provide for their fanbase and if you don’t like what they’re doing … take it to the forums, IF you can do so in a civil manner. Moderators actually frequent the forums and respond to player threads all of the time. They’re always looking for feedback … constructive feedback. Too many assholes and morons just say “Lol FUCK U BLIZZ u sux”  …. no, Blizzard’s not going to give you a response that way.

First day of junior year & a little more ranting.

Today was my first day of junior year, as the title suggests. My class lineup (for A days) is as follows:

  • AP Psychology
  • Algebra II
  • Creative Writing
  • Chemistry

Psychology was all right, mostly because I knew the teacher ahead of time and he’s a pretty funny guy. There are only two people in the class who I know at all and neither of them are really friendly to me. The rest are mostly seniors.

Algebra went okay. I have two friends in there from the couple years I’ve been locked away in Connecticut. I don’t know the teacher very well but she seems nice, and we have another student teacher this year just like freshman year and Algebra I. Unlike the freshman student teacher, though, this lady seems very reserved and meek.  I don’t know how helpful she’ll actually be to the class or if she’s open enough to be a teacher.

Creative writing was a wonderful course and I’m already so glad I took it. The teacher is an absolute delight and wickedly funny. Plus the fact we’ll be writing so much is just a great, great thing all by itself. Unfortunately, probably half of this class is full of kids who are seniors and only in the class for the credit. That’s worrisome to me, but I doubt it’ll affect me very much in this kind of class.

And finally chemistry, which I’m a little apprehensive about because the sciences have given me some trouble in the past years. I’m still in all accelerated courses (excluding the AP Psych and English which I have tomorrow) so it’s not a LOT of trouble, but I’m still worried mildly about it. The teacher seems nice, however, so that’s always a plus. She seems slightly reserved as well but has a chipper sense of humor.

I’m a little worried about tomorrow still, because there are four more new classes. (Rather, three – one is a study hall for the first semester and I’ll probably be resuming my job in the library during that time. Still, though, there’s a new library media specialist this year and that’s unfortunate.) But at least we have a three day weekend, so it’s kind of easing into the school year.

Now … for a little rant. You all know my mother from the previous post. She was a little less ridiculous and angry and shit tonight (rather, much less angry) but she still cares more about her Twitter personality and friends in other countries than her daughter. Granted I have been away for two months, but I still feel like she’s being a shit mom and it really sucks to feel like I don’t matter.

Oh well. Anyway, I’m going to relax for awhile before bed. Last night I had a hard time going to sleep (not falling asleep until a while after midnight) but fortunately I don’t think that’ll be a problem tonight.