I’m a high school graduate!

Last night was my high school graduation. While I was at the actual ceremony, I had a headache, nerves about making my salutatorian speech, and the sun in my eyes for most of the evening. I was also hot and sweaty from sitting in the sun, and therefore did not feel the reality of graduating sink in. I felt like I took everything in, as well as I could; I watched closely as all of my classmates graduate, hugged a bunch of teachers, and danced to “Happy”, which they played after the formal ceremony was over and we were all set loose to roam around the football field.

This morning the realization hasn’t fully sunk in yet, but I’m panicing about nothing in particular, so I’m starting to get there. I’m really stressed this morning because there is so much I have to do today. The fact high school is finally over also makes me feel a little depressed…there’s a lot I wish I had done better. My salutatorian speech was okay, but not exceptional or personal at all. Most people did not laugh where I expected them to, and that discouraged me. I did not feel bad about it last night (I was too in the moment of graduation I guess), but now looking back I feel a lot worse about it.

Even though I spent the night with my two best friends in the world, I feel very lonely. Or maybe that’s why I feel lonely? I had the option to go to Project Graduation, essentially a party the school hosted at the Funplex after graduation, but because my two best friends were not going, I chose not to. Either way, not many people reached out to me before, during, or after graduation to talk or share congratulations. I did not anticipate this post becoming miserable, but that’s sort of what happened.

Though I sort of feel like a wreck now, last night was pretty beautiful, even though I had not been hit with the full force of graduating. I feel it’s going to be coming on very soon though…it’s so scary being an adult now. I think once I start making my to-do lists, organizing everything in my life, and completing tasks, I will feel much more at peace.

I’d like to close by sharing the quote I used in my graduation speech.

“When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all…grow up, get a job, get married, get a house, have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger. It’s so much madder. And so much better”

-Elton Pope, Doctor Who

P.S. I know that’s not the whole quote, I cut out the “so much darker” part because I did not want to be more verbose than I already was, and because talking about a “dark world” during graduation seemed a little too weird for me. If you wanna read my whole graduation speech, I’m going to make a page for it.

Busiest Week of My Life

This week I had no time to blog; as much as I feel bad about not posting anything for a long time, there were occasions and to-do’s that I could not ignore.

Monday was my only semi-fee day, though I had an orthodontist appointment right after school. I spent tonight finishing an application for a special first-year “virus hunting” research course at Gettysburg as well as finishing a variety of other assignments I would not have time for later in the week.

Tuesday was a half day in school, but I attended a paint crew meeting after school. Last year I was hired, along with some of my peers, to be a part of our school’s paint crew, which (you might’ve guessed) paint the parking lots, hallways, etc. of all of the schools in the district; I will be doing the same thing again this summer. This meeting took almost three hours, but I can’t complain because we were all getting paid. We have not been told who will be the paint team managers, and I am torn between wanting to make more money by ascending to a leadership position and not wanting to have to assert myself to be in charge of a group.

After this meeting I went home and got ready for a scholarship reception dinner. I won a scholarship through my father’s union, and we were invited to attend a fancy dinner. I had a slight headache by this time, due to high temperatures that, after a cold winter, I am not quite used to yet. The food was good, the conversation, which I managed to interject into a few times, was excellent, and it was absolutely phenomenal to see all these students who had contributed so much to their community.

Wednesday after school was our Science League party. I had previously been very excited to attend, because Science League has been one of my favorite parts of high school over the past two years, and I love everyone in that club. However, we did a competition bowl, and I did not answer a single question though I knew a lot of the answers. Not only that, I was jealous of one of my peers who is incredibly intelligent and began to hate myself and feel very angry. When I came home I essentially gave up on doing anything and succumbed to sadness.

Thursday I was supposed to take a AP Chemistry test, but even if he put a 64 in the grade books (the lowest grade you can get on a test in AP Chem because of a lenient curve), I would still get a 94 overall. When given the option to skip the test, I took it. I was supposed to have an appointment with my therapist but did not have a car to drive, so we had a very short phone conference before I went to my friend’s house so she could paint my nails for prom. After that we sojourned together to Senior Awards night, where I was very happy (not jealous for once) to see everyone winning small monetary prizes for excellence in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and community service. I received $50 as an academic award and $50 for Science League.

And…Friday was my senior prom! Half the fun was preparing for it. We had a half day of school and I went to the salon and got my hair (in the style of Elsa’s coronation from Frozen) and makeup done. We went to my friend’s house and stopped at school to get inexpensive professional pictures taken. We did not participate in Promenade, so we went back to my friend’s house and spent some time eating and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race in our prom dresses.

Then our parents all came over and we took a ton of pictures. My parents drove us to and from prom for fear of reckless and/or drunk drivers. The first hour or so was awkward picture-taking with friends. Two girls from my AP Chem class essentially attacked me when they saw me, telling me I looked beautiful and they hardly recognized me (yanno, because I never wear makeup in school and wear glasses, whereas tonight I was all dolled up and wearing contacts). The one girl actually came up to hug me and told me I could easily be the most beautiful girl there. Not to be conceited by writing about this, but I was very grateful for the compliment, which really helped my self-esteem.

I may be biased, but my friends and I were the most beautiful people there. Both of them looked like absolute goddesses. After eating we all got up to dance for two and a half hours straight; my feet did not hurt until the last half an hour of the prom, a huge accomplishment considering I wore my (albeit comfy) wedges the whole time. It was great dancing with my two best friends as well as a lot of my other friends in school. My friends and I reflected a little, on the ride home, how we were already a bit nostalgic because this was our senior prom, which would never happen again. But it was a fantastic time, and I would not have traded my prom experience for anything.

Now that this memorable week is over, I am both proud I have survived and am looking forward to whatever challenges await this week.

#GottheDot

After much painful and protracted deliberation, I have decided to attend Gettysburg College.

In the end, the University of Rochester was just too far away, in too wintery of a location, and too large. Additionally, I felt a lot better when I went to visit Gettysburg’s campus-it had that special feel about it, like I could imagine myself spending my college years there.  Rochester didn’t give me the feel. Though I will be giving up immense diversity (because let’s be honest, Gettysburg College is mostly a bunch of white kids) and specialization early in my college experience (Rochester had Molecular Genetics as a major and is a research institute), I am quite pleased with my choice.

After doing some research I discovered a variety of Biology and BMB students who are currently studying at great universities for grad school, including at Johns Hopkins University (which is where I would like to  go for grad school). Because Gettysburg is so small (the incoming class last year was about 700 students, I think), I’ll have that small community feel I love. I’ll also form tight relationships with faculty, which will lead to research opportunities. And even though the location is not a lively city like Rochester, it’s a beautiful landscape rich in history only two and a half hours from my hometown, versus the five and half hour drive to Rochester.

Ultimately, college is what you make of it, and I intend to do A LOT. I’m going to major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, with a definite minor in German and possible minors in English, Writing, or Neuroscience. Because there are so many subjects I want to delve into, I’ll probably end up taking five (versus four) classes in at least two, if not more semesters. I plan to study abroad, perform research with faculty, get some internships and experience in there, and do all kinds of college type things!

After making this decision, so much weight has been lifted off of me, and I feel a lot better. I do have moments of doubt, thinking perhaps I made the wrong decision…that’s just my nature at this time in my life. But talking to people from the college (and of course stalking their Facebook pages), I’m really excited to embark on this new chapter of my life.

Here’s to making the last few weeks of high school count and salmon colored pants! (Which reminds me…I gotta get some Gettysburg gear!)

A Lenten Offering

Terrible Religious Joke of the Day: What does Jesus call his pet rock?

Peter.

Inspired by Dauntlessly Cautious’s post, I have decided to give up the dark side of Tumblr as well as the trigger songs that are my go-to when I decline into a depressive state.

I had previously contemplated offering this as my Lenten atonement instead of the stereotypical and quite insipid sacrifice of chocolate or junk food, but hesitated because of the difficulty of this task. It’s quite a scary idea, letting go of this crutch which supports and cripples me during my especially dark hours. However, these triggers, being such a large part of my life (a pitiful sentiment, I know), are an indulgence and therefore an excellent offering to propose.

Furthermore, these forty days and nights of being Tumblr-and-trigger-song-free should assist in relieving my depression. Or at least that’s the theory. I suppose this is a hyperbolic statement, or maybe not, but it will be similar to an addict coming off of their drug or drink. The first few days will be dreadful, but if I am able to propel myself through those first few days, I am hoping it will become easier and eventually the habit will disappear.

Feeling #ForeverAlone on Valentine’s Day?

It could be worse. Your boyfriend could have broken up with you the week of Valentine’s day.

Yeah….

I’m still in a period of mourning-currently I’m in the guilt stage where I’m looking back on what I might have done differently to prevent the break-up, though I suppose it would not have changed much. What are the other stages of breaking up I have gone through so far?

First it was denial, which occurred right after we broke up. Nothing really felt that different at the time, so it was hard to realize I no longer had a boyfriend. In the middle of my stage of denial, I had a night of crying hysterically and thinking how unfair our break-up was because I really love him. I had thought our relationship was perfect, but now I see from his side it wasn’t, and I wonder how long it had been that way.

I continued with my denial until I suppose the end of the next day, because I had gone through a whole school day that had no involved seeing him. Though we agreed to be friends (because we do have a fantastic friendship) I conveyed I needed space for some time in order to get over him.

In order to push through my lingering sense of denial, I listened to some really sad break-up songs (mostly Taylor Swift) so I could get some crying out of the way. They hurt a lot, but I believe they will help me in the long run. Acting like a strong, I-don’t-care-we’re-over type of woman in real life doesn’t help anything; in my opinion, it simply prolongs the pain because one does not confront their emotions and let them wallow and become stronger inside. My friend also shared an excellent Sara Bareilles song with me that was exactly what I needed-a song saying that I was still devastated by the break-up, and would not get over this guy very quickly, but one day I would. At this time I truly entered the  mourning stage.

I’m still very much sad, but I will survive. Though I might have mixed feelings on why we broke up, I am definitely not mad at him for his timing. I would rather be broken up with prior to Valentine’s Day than to think my relationship is perfectly fine on Valentine’s Day when it’s really not, only to be broken up with a few days later.

Though there are a lot of songs I could relate to my situation, the one that puts me the most at ease is Taylor Swift’s “Sad Beautiful Tragic”. Despite the tragedy of the relationship, it was very beautiful at the same time, and once the pain has passed I will be able to look back on it and reminisce of how wonderful (albeit bumpy) this relationship had been.

Thanks to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along-Block, I no longer say “Everything happens for a reason”. Just, “everything happens”. And you deal with it.

New Year’s Goals

Instead of making a single New Year’s Resolution, I like to make a list of goals for the new year.

1) Read 25 books by the end of the year. That gives me a span of about 2 books a month, but I like the number 25 better than 24 (for some reason).

2) Visit 12 of the places from my book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. I got it for Christmas and the idea of attempting to complete this massive list completely enthralls me. I’ve been to a few already, which is pretty cool.

3) Get a job .

4)  Maintain all A’s.

5) Continue to blog and write regularly.

6) Memorize Hamlet’s To Be or Not To Be soliloquy, both the more popular Folio version and the First Quarto version. I personally don’t like the Second Quarto one, so I’m choosing not to memorize that one.

7) Hold an end-of-school-year and/or end-of-summer camp out with my closest friends in my backyard.

8) Go to Wildwood with my friends over the summer-without parents. My mom already said she might allow this, because we have a family friend who has a house there, but in the quieter area of town. My friends and I are all goody-two-shoes and responsible so this doesn’t worry me too much.

9) Exercise at least 5 times a week.

10) Learn to straighten my hair. Yes, I am a high school senior who does not know how to straighten her hair. I’ve never really cared about it, my hair is naturally pretty straight or I just put it up in a ponytail, and my mom was always willing to do it for me on the rare occasions I wanted to straighten it.

11) Upload all my pictures from my camera and start actually using it. If I only I could find that cord…

So those are the not-so-deep goals for the year, and most of them are quantitative. Now for the most important goal.

12) Be happy.

This includes learning to live with the depression I’ve been dealing with.  It also includes doing what I want to do, not what people expect of me. This means not being afraid to do activities or new things simply because I’m afraid of what other people will think of me. It means I start to learn about what I personally want from life, and work from there.

Happy 2014 everyone!

Then…it hit me

Guys, it’s my senior year!

Notwithstanding how obvious this fact may seem, for the past two months, the severity of what senior year means had not sunk in until yesterday morning.

I woke up around 5am because my mom was yelling upstairs and talking to my sister and I as if we were awake , and I could not fall back asleep. My thoughts began to tumble and twirl, as they normally do whenever one gets a short period of free time to do nothing but think, and my consciousness finally rested on our final soccer meeting of the season that afternoon. We would turn in all of our equipment, vote for some end-of-year awards to be presented at the banquet in December, and the underclassmen would vote for Varsity captains next year and get a packet for off-season workouts.

I began to think about how my last year of high school soccer is truly over, except for this meeting and the aforementioned banquet. I had not previously dwelled on this fact, being too overwhelmed with my struggles to feel competent and like a part of the team, so this revelation was equivalent to a bittersweet slap on the face.

My mind then switched to remind myself that this is my last year in high school period. After this year, I will not live in my house apart for breaks, and will not see my family as often. My high school friends will not surround me 24/7, and the semi-friends and acquaintances in my life will (probably) utterly dissipate. I won’t take any more high school classes, I won’t play high school soccer, and I’ll be living in a completely new place. I’ll make new friends and be introduced to new things. I’ll be taking higher level classes and will be given more choice than ever in which courses I’ll have. I’ll have to start blazing a path for myself in the real world.  It’s such a crazy thought!

Again, it was one of those bittersweet moments. I will absolutely, truly miss this part of my life. Moving on to new things, and letting go of the old, is…pretty scary. However, I refuse to depress myself more because time is passing by so quickly, and I have limited time in high school left. I can only make the next few months the best I can possibly make them, because life is relentless and will not stop. Additionally, college is (supposed to be) awesome, and I am equally excited to pursue higher education and essentially build a new life, hopefully bettering myself in the process.

Lately my depression and anxiety has been hindering my ability to live up my last year as a high school student, but after this mini epiphany, I am determined to enjoy this last year.

As far as my college applications go, I’ve actually managed to squeeze some time in to work on the remaining parts, and now I should have more time to complete them without soccer six days a week. I finally chose the topic for my college essay too. I will be discussing my experience with the New Jersey Scholars program, when, during a group interview, I was humiliated by a Harvard graduate/Princeton professor. I mean, I think that’s pretty unique.

Also, I’m visiting Arcadia University tomorrow! It should be pretty fun-my Aunt went there when it was Beaver college, and she’s going with us, so that should be pretty cute.

Stay tuned-soon I’m going to need people’s opinions on a very important survey!