Salutatorian Speech

Just thought I’d share the speech I made almost a month ago [insert gasp here] when I graduated from high school. I decided my theme should be “Time”, since I have had such difficulty with nostalgia, growing up, and preparing for the future. And yes, I did reference Mean Girls and quote Doctor Who.

“Good evening parents, teachers, board of education members, siblings who are wondering why they have to sit out here just for that ten seconds during which their brother or sister get their diploma, and, most importantly, the Class of 2014. Graduation seems to always focus on two things: the past and the future. This fall the Science League participated in the Ocean Science Bowl at Rutgers, and we decided to commemorate this experience by buying a fish for Mr. T’s classroom. We named it Fetch, both because this is a type of wind pattern which causes waves, and because of the movie Mean Girls. So, Class of 2014, you’re welcome, we made fetch happen. All of us, no matter what we have been involved with, have these inside jokes and special experiences with those we are close to. Though I cannot name all of these, because they are your own individual experiences, I really hope these are the things you remember about high school.

As a wonderful friend reminded me while I was writing this speech, graduation is not about perfection; we’ve already passed all our classes and possibly trashed old papers. We’re done. Graduation is about honoring us. Let’s honor our high school adventures and the teachers who have enriched our lives. Sorry Ms. F, there are no Shakespeare quotes in this speech. Let’s celebrate each other. Though I am honored to be your salutatorian, there are so many of you out there who are just as or more qualified to speak to our class. You are experts in political science, chemistry, or theatre. You are incredible dancers and athletes. If you are artistically inclined, I envy you, because five year olds have been disgusted with my drawing skills.

Finally, we look towards the future. Elton Pope, an obscure character in a TV show called Doctor Who, states, “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 than that. It’s so much madder. And so much better.” Some people say our high school years are the best years of our lives, but I challenge you to get better and better each year. As we look forward to our futures, I challenge each of you to depart from the norm and create your own strange, mad, better world.

My final advice to all of you is to take time. Take time to figure yourselves out, to realize what it is you want. Go out, live, take risks, make mistakes, come back to square one, try again. Fail as much as you possibly can. Take time to be open to new ideas, and to love and be loved. Take your time growing up, and don’t forget to be a little immature and rowdy every now and then. Congratulations Class of 2014, and good luck, though I know you will not need it.”

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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.

The Cotton Anniversary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedding_anniversary

It has been over two years since I started this blog in my Internet and Web Page Design class. So, I’m going to do what I did on my one year blogging anniversary (blogiversary?), relating 33 ways I have changed/33 things I have done in the past year.

1. I have engaged in therapy to treat depression and anxiety.

2. I have become, not of my own will, single again.

Wow I kind of started off really depressing. I promise it will not all be that bad!

3. I attended my first All Time Low Concert, which was friggin awesome. I started listening to more alternative/alternative rock music.

4. I won a $2,500 four-year scholarship from my dad’s union.

5. I got my first summer job, which was painting buildings for the town’s school district. Basically our paint crew went to different schools and repainted hallways, rooms, cafeterias, gyms, parking lots, etc. It was a really great job, 40 hours a week, and a little bit over minimum wage. This year if I do it again I’ll be paid even more!

6. I survived AP English. That is a huge accomplishment. Not only that, but I improved my writing skills tremendously.

7. I applied to seven different colleges: I was not accepted to Dartmouth College or Johns Hopkins University (woah big surprise there), but was accepted to the University of Rochester, Gettysburg College, The College of New Jersey, Pittsburgh University, and Arcadia University.

8. We attempted to visit TCNJ but I was having an emotional low and my stomach felt bad (which could have been a side effect of the emotional low), so we ended up driving up there, driving around the campus, and coming home. We also visited Gettysburg where I got a fantastic feeling, and the University of Rochester, where I had thought I would be attending but when I got there the feeling was not right.

9. Ultimately, I decided to accept admission to Gettysburg College, and am extremely pleased with my decision.

10. I “played” soccer on the Varsity squad; in reality I was a benchwarmer, and soccer made me feel inferior and terrible about myself almost every day, so I am quite happy I will not have to deal with that pressure and negativity anymore. It was not the other players who were negative at all-they were all fantastic-it was just my own low self esteem causing itself to sink lower.

11. I received 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and have made it a life goal to visit as many of these places as possible.

12. I have gotten addicted to gaming videos on YouTube, and regularly follow everyone in Smosh Games. I have also begun watching Achievement Hunter, including Red vs. Blue. I am currently about to start the fifth season.

13. I have also become obsessed with vlogs, some of them including WatchUsLiveandStuff and MostlyMelanie, to the point where during my day I narrate my life as if I am doing a vlog. I have been considering how I would feel vlogging versus blogging. Should I try it? I do not know if I have the right presentation skills or technology, but maybe I can upgrade my camera before college and try it.

14. I survived 18 years on this planet. That also means I upgraded my license and can drive more than one person at a time.

15. For the NHS induction ceremony this year, the teacher I nominated to speak at the ceremony, my AP English teacher, was chosen. Subsequently, I was given the opportunity to write an introduction for her and speak at the ceremony, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside because she is such an important mentor for me.

16. I lost my Mommom (my dad’s mom), which has been a complicated and very sad experience.

17. My ex and I came this close to winning our last Science League competition. We were only 8 points, or two questions, behind the dominant school at these competitions, and our two schools had essentially slaughtered everyone else. It was a fantastic way to end one of my favorite extracurricular activities.

18. I felt lonely, unmotivated, hateful, sad and a conglomeration of other negative emotions. I have essentially become a pessimist, which is a bit ironic or funny or whatever because I used to be the most optimistic person I knew.

19. I became a lab tech for my Chemistry teacher. Though most of the work she has given us has been menial, and the fact people always ask my ex for assistance makes me jealous still, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and how chill it is to hang out with the two Chemistry teachers during my SRE and lunch.

20. I saw Frozen, which was really personal for me because of the depression and anxiety Elsa experiences. We also blame Disney for promoting Frozen so much they decided to control the weather and make it the snowiest winter we’ve had in years.

21. Other than on this blog and my sister blog on Tumblr, I still do not share my writing pieces with other people. However, I have given my best friends and my ex (well, when we were together) permission to view my blog.

22. I took German IV (finally), and am so excited to pursue German as a minor in college.

23. I came this close to passing a 2100 on my SATs, but I think a 2090 excellent. Yeah this part of the list is pretty arrogant, but considering how low my self-esteem is, I hope you all will forgive it. Even though it is a worthless number that in no way gauges how smart you really are.

24. I did not attend the senior trip because my two friends did not go; I was not as upset as I thought I would be. I will get to Disney World…eventually.

25. I have decided, for the moment, I want to major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology while minoring in German; I could possibly add a minor in Neuroscience or English.

26. I have been expanding my comfort zone as far as food goes. Previously I have been a picky eater, but I have been trying new foods whenever I get the chance, worrying most of my family to the point that they will put a hand to my forehead to see if I am feverish.

27. I unfortunately engaged in self-harm, though I have been cut-free for months now. I think that deserves a =).

28. I tried to start learning for the knowledge instead of the grade, and to ingrain information in my mind for long-term learning rather than the short-term, forget-about-it-after-the-test thing I have been doing for most of my academic life. AP Chemistry made this sentiment a lot harder.

29. I attended Black and Gold Night, in which the entire high school is separated by last name and the Black and Gold teams duke it out, first in study hall activities like Pictionary and Wii Bowling, and then on Black and Gold Night, where they have a lot of spirit and athletic competitions. And, for the first time in YEARS, Gold Team (my team) won.

30. We successfully pranked my AP English teacher on April Fool’s Day and made her believe none of us had done our homework. It was one of the most amusing events I have ever witnessed.

31. I started watching Attack on Titan. I am not sure if I am in love with it yet (I have only seen the first three episodes), but I really want to find it subbed instead of dubbed, which is all I can seem to find. I abhor dubbed; it feels weird watching anime without the emotion of the original voice actors. Plus dramatic statements in English just sound awkward to me.

32. I ate at Panera for the first time ever, and have discovered their magical macaroni and cheese. Seriously, the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had. The macaroni, which I think is just spaghetti shells, is soft and the cheese is so gooey, a small cup of that with a piece of bread is enough dinner for me (but then again, I like eating multiple small meals).

33. Though my friends circle has, I suppose, shrunk a little, I still have the best friends in the world and love them dearly. For example, I was emotionally distraught this morning and just laid around the house all day. After telling them what was wrong, they came home over my house for a quick visit to hug me and tell me I’m perfect. They are the reason I have the energy to finish this blog (and hopefully complete other tasks throughout the day).

Well, that is probably the longest list I have written in awhile, so thank you if you actually read through all of it! Happy two years, Just Me and My Thoughts, and here’s to another year of blogging awesomeness!

Nerds, Snow, and Drugs

The end of this semester has been pretty busy. Though I don’t have to take any finals, I’ve had the FAFSA and CSS profile and a final college application to complete; however, it feels awesome to be done applying, and now my parents just have to update the FAFSA and CSS when we finally get our actual taxes done.

This last week has also been crazy stressful due to the Shore Bowl. My school’s Science League entered this year, and we practiced a lot this week in preparation. The event, which was on Saturday at Rutgers, was a buttload of fun and pretty interesting.

The adventure started off as any true adventure should, with a major setback or conflict. In our case, our adviser did not show up on time. He had accidentally overslept and his wake up call had not come to wake him up, which resulted in about an hour and a half of waiting on the school bus, worrying our butts off, before arriving at the Shore Bowl very late.

Our A team missed their first match, but they later thanked our adviser for being late because the team they would have gone up against turned out to be the winning team and slaughtered the competition. I was on the B team, which I attribute to the fact our adviser tried to split us up by strengths, and the only other AP Chem kid is my genius boyfriend who definitely should have been on the A team. I did mind quite a bit, but it didn’t matter in the end because both teams lost all of their matches. =D

It was fun to see that I actually knew some things. I let my little sister, who was the alternative for our team,  punch me in the face (not really) because she had a right answer and the rest of the team (mostly me) thought she was wrong. We ended up getting 0 points for that round. We had a ton of fun together though, and it was one of those rare days in which I was truly happy.

Plus I got a snazzy shirt, two awesome pins, and a Rutgers bag out of it. Considering all of the other schools were academies, two of which specialized in oceanographic studies, we did pretty good.

Flash forward to today, and it’s snowing AGAIN. I’ve accepted the fact I will never get out of high school (really they’ll just take off from our spring vacation). Not that I cared because I wouldn’t have had to go in anyway, but this means I can’t go to my friends house today.

Finally, I’ve been thinking about the prospect of antidepressants a lot more lately. Nowadays I literally hate everything and everyone, and I can only see all of the bad in the universe. To me, the world is a terrible place and nothing seems to change that image. Furthermore, this view of the world decreases my motivation, because, honestly, what’s the point? There is so much in the world I will never be able to experience-I only have a small sliver of time in the vastness of the universe and will only be able to witness things from my limited point of view.

Then I hate myself for being so negative and am certain I need to isolate myself from my friends because I”m sure my negative nature is bringing them all down. I can’t stand to be around my family anymore, and often need to hide away from them because my anxiety level skyrockets around them. I’ve started to believe I am truly a bad person, and have spent a lot of time doing absolutely nothing productive.

When I make a mistake, it ruins the whole day. I was supposed to fill out a scholarship from which I was sure I would get some money, but because I emailed the wrong person about my recommendation, I started to hyperventilate and cry and hate myself. The rest of the night I locked myself in my bedroom and cried and triggered myself with Tumblr and sad songs. The pain of sadness is so familiar that, when given the chance, I seek it out rather than try to fight it. The time I had put into that scholarship, as well as the time my teacher had spent writing the recommendation, had been wasted.

The worst part about all of this is that I see how much I’m completely wasting my life being sad and unproductive, and that depresses me even more. My mom is really against antidepressants-I think they scare her-but my therapist has promised small doses.

So why haven’t I considered antidepressants an option until now? I’m not scared of side effects or getting addicted. I really just don’t like the idea of messing with my mind. Because depression is a disease of the mind, I feel like it’s almost a part of me;  depression, to an extent, is who I am. By using antidepressants I will be suppressing or at least regulating an immense portion of my being. I’m not sure if this is making any sense or going anywhere, but that’s how I feel.

I’ve begun to accept the idea of antidepressants being like any other medicine which helps to cure a disease.  Sometime before my next appointment I have to bring the subject up to my parents (or at least my mom). I’ve discussed it already with my friends, and two of them support my decision. The third is a bit frightened by antidepressants, but states if they can help me then it’s okay.