Get to Know Me: Personal Goals + More

Welcome back everyone!

I’ve been posting on this blog for quite a while now, but I haven’t really revealed that much about myself other than a few bits and pieces in each post. Today I will be revealing some basic and not-so-basic things about me just so you can have an idea of the person behind these posts on the other side of the screen.

  • What inspired me to start blogging: I’ve always been an avid follower of bloggers and YouTubers- I knew I wanted to do one of the two, and blogging was more approachable. More specifically, my Europe trip inspired me because I previously thought my life was too boring to blog about (it kind of is) so that pushed me to actually create content.
  • Biggest short-term goals: get straight As and explore my interests, work on my self-love and self-confidence, improve my leadership skills, work on my writing
  • Biggest long-term goals: get into a good college and hopefully find something I’m passionate about/what actually makes me happy and what I want to do for the rest of my life, become a better leader/someone who can stand up for themselves, just be happy, and be successful/accomplished in whatever field I end up in
  • Favorite subject: Tie between English, Spanish, and History; I’m a humanities girl!
  • Where can you usually find me: I’m going to be that boring person that says school since I’m literally usually there from 7am to 5-6pm, but outside of school: either my bed or Sharky’s.
  • Weird habit: I pick the dry/dead skin off my lips basically 24/7- I know it’s weird, but I’ve been doing it since I was 7. I’m really trying to stop right now, and it’s been about a week since I’ve done it.
  • What do I do in my free time: I don’t even have that much free time but if I do- watch Netflix, hang out with friends/family, write/blog
  • Favorite place I’ve ever been to: US: Washington D.C. on my 8th grade school trip Outside US: Amalfi Coast (Sorrento, Italy) last summer!
  • What do I want to be when I grow up: No clue! Previously have thought lawyer or something in local government, but recently have also thought business or even journalism?? Honestly not sure
  • Where do I live (not specifically): Southern California, closeish to LA area
  • Favorite book I’ve read in school: Brave New World or Tale of Two Cities, honorable mention to The Alchemist (it kinda doesn’t count since we read it in middle school)
  • Favorite book I’ve read outside of school: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (yes, that one specifically)
  • Favorite TV show: Friends or Gossip Girl
  • Favorite movie: High School Musical 2 (only half joking), but seriously- probably Legally Blonde
  • Where do I want to live: I’ve always wanted to live in a city (NYC? Chicago? Boston?), but I’m leaning toward East Coast just since I haven’t really been to that many different places in the US and I’ve lived in California all my life- I want to experience something opposite of what I already have.
  • Where do I want to go to college: I have no idea what I want- I’m torn between an honors college at a state school feel, a well-known/more prestigious state school feel, a liberal-arts smaller college feel, or a prestigious private school (Ivy and other elites) feel. Not saying I can guarantee I’ll be able to get into any of the above, but they all sound so amazing and have their own benefits (yes, I’m a nerd and love the idea of college and higher education/learning). Talking about more specific names, Columbia has always been my dream school, and there are so many other schools I’d be honored to go to. I’m going to Seattle over Thanksgiving break, and my mom and I are visiting the University of Washington while we’re there (they have a really cool honors program and the campus seems beautful!). Basically, I want to go somewhere cold: Pacific Northwest, Midwest (Michigan/Illinois), or anywhere on the East Coast.
  • What motivates me: This is going to sound self-centered, but kind of myself? I honestly don’t know; I have this weird thing where I’ll kind of drag myself through stuff and force myself to keep going. I’m kind of a “the ends justify the means” person. Other motivations are just wanting to impress my parents and my grandma.
  • Something weird about me that a lot of people don’t know: I used to love ketchup so much when I was little that I would eat (drink?) it by itself. Also, if you can’t tell by all of my previous answers in this post, I’m SUPER indecisive.

This was a super silly post but it’s always fun to share some interesting facts. If you actually read all of this, I really appreciate it and I hope it gave you a better perspective on who I am as a person. This blog is only one piece of who I am, so it’s nice to share some of the other pieces with you guys.

-Brooke

When do “college admissions help” websites/blogs start harming you?

Hello everyone!

I’m only a sophomore in high school, yet I’ve spent many hours sifting through threads on Reddit and College Confidential. I started out with a purpose: to educate myself. I don’t have any older siblings to help me out with decisions like choosing the right classes, finding cool extracurricular opportunities, or anything related to high school and college admissions. These websites really opened my eyes to a world I had never been exposed to…but did I need to be exposed to it?

I’m thankful for the things I have been able to learn from these websites and articles, don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of valuable advice and resources out there that have the potential to really help people who don’t have anyone else to ask. I’ve always dreamed of going to Columbia University- I’m not 100% sure if I will actually be interested in going there as I’ve never visited, but you get the point- I’m interested in high-caliber schools.

I never put too much thought into it; I knew it was near-impossible to get in, but I figured you just had to give it your best shot. I didn’t realize there could be so much strategy and planning- I thought you just worked hard in high school and kind of did whatever, then would apply and see if it ultimately worked out for you. These websites definitely proved that theory of mine wrong. I could see all these incredibly intelligent and talented people talking about the dozens of AP classes they were taking starting from freshman year, their world-class extracurriculars and awards, and their extremely high test scores.

On one hand, I was happy I had found these sites to show me I would have to step it up if I still wanted to go to an elite college, but on the other, I was completely overwhelmed. I felt so inferior with my one AP class (all of my other classes were honors if it was available) and my main extracurricular being my school’s freshman cheer team. How would I ever compete with people like this in the future? I started freaking out, looking for more ways to get involved, and yet I obviously still wasn’t up to par with any of these people.

Now, I had a new “problem”: I was just doing a bunch of random activities that didn’t relate to each other, and I didn’t have leadership roles in any. Just to set the record straight, I wasn’t joining activities just for the sake of my college freak-out- I was doing things I genuinely liked and wanted to do, I just started seeking them out because of the college freakout. Anyways, I’m still kind of struggling with this. I really don’t know what I love, I don’t have a “passion” or special talent I can just follow through with and prove my excellence in. I honestly don’t know what the heck I’m doing.

Then it came to comparing myself to my peers at school. Some people in my school are way more ahead because of taking classes over summer school that I either never thought to do or physically couldn’t do because of scheduling, and have way stronger extracurriculars because they either just have more of a sense of direction or because they got involved in a lot of things starting right in freshman year.

I’ve always done well in my classes and have taken all honors/AP when possible, but I’m still not as ahead as some people. Lots of people took a year of foreign language over summer to get ahead, some people are more ahead in math because they took geometry in middle school or over the summer (I skipped one year in middle school so I’m ahead, but not as ahead as these people who are now 2-3 years ahead), and some people are already in AP science courses because they took honors chemistry over summer, which I’m taking right now in my sophomore year since I was unable to over summer. Because of this, it seems like I have a way less impressive schedule (less APs, therefore a lower possible weighted GPA) and like I’m way less impressive in general compared to these classmates.

I was mad at myself for not being able to get ahead in those classes, I was mad at myself for not diving into activities I was interested in at the beginning of freshman year, and overall, I was mad at myself for not figuring out all of this sooner. I spent my weekends researching ways to find impressive extracurriculars and stand out, and I signed up to take AP Psychology online over summer since that was something I could fit into my summer schedule and I was interested in the subject. However, this didn’t change how I felt. The damage had been done- I was now in a mode of comparing myself to everyone around me and their best achievements.

I’m not going to lie- I still do this. I’ll spend some time scrolling through Reddit or CC once in a while, and I’m usually tempted to click on a “Stats that Got Me Into ____” video on YouTube. Honestly, I feel like I’ve already seen it all at this point; there’s no more damage that can be done, and if anything there’s just more for me to learn. I’m really working to stop comparing myself to these people- I have my own strengths, and focusing too much on the college process as a sophomore will only stress me out and hurt me.

I’m the type of person who fixates on things, so this sudden obsession with college admissions and needing to be a competitive candidate in the future definitely has stuck with me. Sometimes I wish I had never thought to look at those websites and try to keep up with everyone else, but it’s already happened and now I can only be thankful for the knowledge I’ve gained. I’m motivated to keep working hard throughout high school, and hopefully I will get to attend one of my dream schools. Also, I hate being that person who focuses on wanting to attend a prestigious school because I know prestige and rankings aren’t everything, but I’ve always loved learning and dreamed of going to a school with like-minded people who are driven to succeed.

If you’re an underclassman like me, PLEASE don’t go searching for college information and spend all your time on College Confidential and Reddit. It will make you crazy like it did to me. I know it’s hypocritical since I still spend time on those sites, but it’s because they do have some uses- use them sparingly and with specific questions in mind, if at all. I promise you will end up doing fine without them; just work hard, make the most of the opportunities available to you, and do things that you enjoy doing just for the sake of it.

-Brooke

How to Succeed in AP Euro

Welcome back everyone!

Frankly, school has been kicking my butt lately. I’m not sure if any of you can relate, but I have a feeling most of you can. This year I am taking AP European History, and it’s been both a great and a horrible experience at the same time. A quick pro and con list to sum it up:

PROS: I have a great, hilarious teacher, history is one of my favorite subjects, I’m actually doing pretty well in it, there’s no homework

CONS: The pace is super fast which means constant studying and review, no homework means tests matter way more in the gradebook, it’s still a lot of work even though there’s no homework

That being said, I’ve picked up a few tips for this class in the past couple months. If you’re in the same boat as me or are planning on taking AP Euro in the future, keep on reading!

  • Write down the significance of things rather than a lengthier definition – Obviously you still need to know the definition of people/events/etc., but it’s more important that you know the impact they have on the country and other people involved. I would focus more on the “why” of things instead of the “what”.
  • Constantly be adding to your notes/reviewing – I honestly don’t do this as much as I should, but it helps if you ever have the time to. Going back to your notes and adding another detail gets your brain even more familiar with the topic; even just re-wording things so they’re easier to understand can help.
  • Read after the lectures/lessons – I find that my teacher is better at explaining things so that I actually understand them, whereas the book just has more details packed in. If I try to read from the textbook first, I usually don’t really grasp what’s going on. Again, the reading honestly isn’t required (unless your teacher says it is) but if you have the time to do it/are planning on it, I would do it AFTER lectures occur.
  • Reteach the material to yourself – This can be through adding to your notes or reading after a lesson like I already suggested, but what helps me the most is to talk through everything to myself. I find or make a list of the most important topics we talked about in a chapter or unit, and I just explain everything to myself using all the details and facts I know. It makes you more confident that you actually do know what you’re talking about.
  • Use Quizlet – I know I talk about Quizlet in every study help post, but I have a different strategy with Quizlet here. AP Euro is obviously a popular class and all schools teach it a little differently- there are SO many Quizlets for any possible Euro topic, so if you ever need more information on something, look up a Quizlet. Sometimes I do this for my notes or my study guides when I feel like I’m missing information on a certain person.

I honestly love history classes, but I’m not the best at managing my time studying for them. I’ve really tried to work on that this year with Euro, and I hope all of you taking the class are thriving as well! Let me know if you have any questions or any Euro-specific tips you or your teachers utilize.

-Brooke

So, You Want to Be a High School Blogger?

Welcome back everyone!

It’s been a little over four months since I started this blog, and I’m so happy that I did. I always saw creating a blog and beginning to post on it as a daunting task, but I now know that it’s actually quite manageable. If you feel similar to how I used to and have always wanted to start a blog but are a little too scared to take that leap, I highly encourage you to. Keep in mind I am by no means an expert, but I promise it’s easier than you think- just keep reading this guide to learn how you can get started.

  • Find a provider that works for you – I chose WordPress because it seemed easiest to navigate and I would definitely recommend it, but there’s also lots of options out there. I would honestly choose whatever you’re most familiar with.
  • Start with the “free” plan – There are lots of upgrades you can do if your blog gets more popular and you want your own domain, or you’re using your website as part of a business, but I would just start with the free plan (unless you are using it for a business right off the bat). You don’t need to spend money if you’re just playing around, and you often won’t know how to actually use the features the premium plans have yet.
  • Spend a little time with the site layout – Think about the types of layouts you would want to see. How do you want your posts to be displayed? Do you want little widgets/are there extras that would be useful due to the purpose of your blog? Make sure you have an interesting title and home page.
  • Think about what you want to focus on in your posts – This is something I have trouble with since I write about a little bit of everything, but it does help if you have a niche in mind. Write about whatever interests you, and hopefully you’ll find a niche from there.
  • Create some sort of profile picture or logo – It doesn’t have to be of you if you’re not comfortable sharing yourself/your name as part of your content. I used PicMonkey to create a little logo for myself, and that’s what is currently my “profile picture” on here.
  • Establish some sort of posting schedule/pattern – I pretty much have a post going up everyday, but I write most of them on the weekends and pre-schedule them for the days of the week. You don’t have to post that often, but it’s nice if you start out with a lot of content just to experiment and see who your readers will be.
  • Engage in the blogging community – This is something I’m trying to work on. When people comment on your posts, take the time to reply with something nice. If you notice people liking your posts or following you, go check out their profile and leave some likes or comments. This can help you build an audience, but it’s also just a nice thing to do, and you can make some online friends.

Once you start posting and get into the swing of things, it will feel natural just to keep your blog running. You don’t have to have a super structured purpose for where you want to take it in the beginning, but it’s great if you do. Honestly, I just like having fun with mine and writing about the major components of my life (academics, my activities, family life) because I think a lot of high school students can relate to it. If you have any questions, I’m always here to help- happy blogging!

-Brooke

Summer Activity Ideas

Hello everyone!

Since my last post focused on whether or not it’s too early to start considering what your summer plans will be (there’s definitely plenty of time, but it’s never too early), I figured I would give a short list of all the major ideas for some inspiration. There’s so many options of how you can productively use your time, as with any part of the year.

  • Pre-college program at a college of your choice
  • Gifted student programs such as Johns Hopkins CTY and Duke TIP
  • Taking classes at a local community college
  • Summer classes to get ahead in subjects like foreign language, science, or math
  • Summer job at a local business
  • Internship with a local company
  • Research with a college professor
  • Being a summer camp counselor
  • Doing any form of volunteer work
  • Doing a study abroad program (there are so many forms of these)
  • Competitive programs related to your interests such as TASP, RSI, NSLI-Y
  • Creating your own passion project!

I know this was a short post, but I just wanted to get it out there in case any of you were confused after the post from yesterday. Aside from programs at colleges that are specifically in summer, these are all normal activities you can do during the year as well. All of them can give you valuable experiences and be wonderfully rewarding- IF they are truly geared to your interests. Have a lovely and productive day!

-Brooke

Is it Time to Start Thinking About Summer Plans?

Welcome back everyone!

Winter is approaching, and many summer programs’ application portals are opening up. Is it too early to start thinking about how you want to spend your summer? It honestly depends. I found about the abundance of summer programs last year right after most of the applications were already due, so it’s definitely been on my radar as I don’t want to wait until it’s too late again.

If you have a specific program in mind, particularly a prestigious one that has lots of essays/a long application as part of the process, it’s best to start as early as possible. Lots of application portals open in December, but some even open before then. Application due dates can range anywhere from February to April (give or take), so there’s plenty of time- it’s just better to have an idea of what you want.

If you aren’t planning on attending a formal summer program like a camp or a program or a college, then you should have a lot more time. You can probably get a summer job on pretty short notice as long as there’s restaurants and stores in your town that hire teens. If you’re looking for an internship or to do research, you have a while to actually secure the position, but you’ll want to search for possible mentors/employers/places you could reach out to for these opportunities. I would recommend asking your school counselor as they should have some local info to guide you.

Of course, you don’t have to do any of these things to pursue your interests and have a productive summer! You can create your own project, you can volunteer, you might be traveling with your family, or a combination of these things. Only sign up for programs or look for opportunities that you’re actually interested in, and if you can’t find any, create your own!

-Brooke

Why Failure is Okay (and even good!)

Welcome back everyone!

As you can tell from the title, I’m going to be discussing why failure isn’t a bad thing, and why we all need to learn how to fail properly. However, it’s not going to be one of my normal advice posts. I’m going to be telling you a little anecdote of one of my funniest failures: my eighth grade science fair project. I think part of the reason it’s so funny is because it was part of that awkward cringey middle school time and it was a low-stakes type of thing, but it’s a good story to tell as far as failure goes.

I am definitely not a science-lover, but I’ve still always taken honors science classes. In my eighth grade honors physical science class, each student was required to create a project within the time window of late December to early February, and our class went on a field trip to present them at the county science fair in March. I was (and still am) confused on how to conduct an actual meaningful science experiment, so I just looked up “science fair project ideas for middle schoolers” online and scanned some articles for something that sounded easy.

I chose something about fingerprints (it didn’t really make sense) where I would test the ability of different forms of powder to lift fingerprints off a glass surface. It only took me an hour to do the actual experiment, and then I proceeded by doing my write-up and making my board for the science fair just like everyone else. I was able to kind of seem like I knew what the purpose of my project was, but I had honestly just been playing around with the powders and then writing papers on it for my teacher.

I had to give a presentation on my project to my class in preparation for the actual science fair when we would be talking to judges. I was so nervous for my presentation after seeing other people go and have these really cool projects that everyone was interested in, and I actually almost cried before going up (not even sure why, but I will say I’m not the fondest of public speaking). I got up in front of everyone and pretty much bombed it. Once I had to answer questions on my feet, it was evident I didn’t know what I was talking about.

Everyone just stared blankly at me while my face turned red and I tried to rush through the presentation. I could tell my teacher wasn’t impressed, but I was at least thankful to get it over with. I got the grade back a couple weeks later, and I had gotten a C. Granted, that isn’t a total failure, and I couldn’t have expected too much better, but it still wasn’t great. Most people had gotten As and it wasn’t supposed to be graded too harshly.

The actual science fair rolled around, and it was slightly better since I didn’t really care and it was only random judges that were talking to me one-on-one, not me talking in front of my whole class. None of them really understood why my project was relevant (neither did I) so they would all ask lots of questions to try and get information- information that I didn’t have. Needless to say, I did not receive any awards for my fingerprint powder project; the whole thing was just an irrelevant, mini-failure in a science class I didn’t like. However, the process of crafting that project and not really getting anywhere with it left a big impact on my fragile middle school self.

Clearly, it was another thing that helped me realize I just don’t enjoy the sciences. But it was more than that- it helped me understand how to fail correctly. Since I knew I wasn’t going to do well with the project anyways, I had picked an easy topic that didn’t actually make sense and had no real world application. If I was doing the project today, I would’ve picked an experiment that had some real world use- that’s the point of science experiments. Until that point I had always done well on science-related assignments even though I never understood them and didn’t enjoy them- I would just get by since it was easy middle school science without a real world purpose. This experience was humbling and prepared me for high school- I would have to try harder, even if it was a subject I didn’t like.

I hope this little story gave you a laugh regarding my immature eighth grade self, and got across the typical message: don’t be afraid to fail. It’s good for you since you’ll always learn from it (at least you should), and it pushes you.

-Brooke

1st Quarter Reflections: Sophomore Year

Welcome back everyone!

I mentioned in my last post that the first quarter of the academic year is officially complete at my school, and I’m kind of in awe of that. The holidays are approaching, everyone is beginning to hit their stride and settle into routine, and I have to accept that I’m actually a sophomore.

Now that we’re at this point in the year, I wanted to talk a little bit about where my mind is at and how I’m feeling about school this year so far. I’m actually kind of conflicted on whether I think time is going by quickly or slowly, but either way- here we are! Homecoming and football season have passed, it’s about to be Halloween, the initial beginning of the year has passed. We’re really getting into the thick of the school year…where the work piles on.

One of the main things I’ve been thinking about lately is that at the moment, I’m not planning on doing cheer next year, meaning that right now I’m going through my last few months of doing a school sport and being on the cheer team. Cheer has been a huge part of my life both inside and outside of school since the beginning of eighth grade, and it’s weird to think that right now I’m experiencing some of my “lasts” in the sport- last homecoming as a cheerleader, last football game as a cheerleader, last rally as a cheerleader, etc. I feel like the weirdest part is all of these things are events I’ll still be attending, I’ll just be on the other side of the fence.

Even though I know that stopping cheer after this year is probably the best decision for me since it will alleviate some stress and free up some time in my busy schedule for other activities I enjoy more, I’m still reluctant to leave it. All of the other activities I’m currently doing I either started at some point in freshman year or later, whereas cheer I’ve been doing since the beginning of eighth grade, as I stated. It feels strange and sad to let go of the activity I’ve been doing the longest (and it makes me feel like a quitter/like I’m not committed to anything), but I have to shake those thoughts and remember it really is the right thing to do, at least for me.

Speaking of making the right decisions and alleviating stress, I’ve really been struggling with time management and finding a balance. I give lots of productivity tips on this blog and I talk about the importance of finding a balance, but this year my balance has been constantly teetering. Some weeks are insanely busy and I have no time to socialize, but others are super laid-back and I’ve been able to spend my whole weekend with friends. Some of it is bad planning on my end, but some of it is just how it is with the school events and my strict cheer schedule; it’s hard to figure out my individual schedule when I don’t actually have that much control over it.

School has definitely been a lot harder academically as well this year. I spend a lot more time doing homework, and even though I’m still doing well in my classes, I’m not excelling at the level I was last year. I just don’t have hours to put into studying anymore, and it doesn’t help that the content of my classes this year overall is harder. I’ve done my best to stay organized and I’ve gotten better at using the amount of time that I do have to study as effectively as possible, but it’s another issue with balance.

The last thing I want to add about these past ten weeks or so is that I’ve realized that everyone has their unique struggles. I know, I know- that’s a cliché that everyone says/knows. But guess what? It’s true. The reason I’m mentioning it here is because there’s been someone I’ve looked up to for a while- she just seemed like the perfect student and perfect at everything else she did. I’ve recently discovered that although yes, there are always going to be people that are smarter/prettier/funnier/more well-liked than you are, everyone really is going through their own self-comparisons and other issues. Remember that next time you catch yourself making comparisons, and have a wonderfully productive day!

-Brooke

Youth and Government Day in My Life: Mini Conference!

Welcome back everyone!

This year I have joined my local Youth and Government delegation, and last weekend we had our first official event. All of the members from our delegation and two other local ones met at our YMCA and camped out on the field in tents. If you’re unfamiliar with Youth and Government, it’s a high school program through the YMCA that models the California state legislature and court system. I look forward to the weekly meetings and everyone has been so welcoming, so I thought I would share a little bit about this event.

I arrived at the YMCA at 2:00 pm with my sleeping bag, camping chair, bag of snacks, and duffle bag in tow. I didn’t bring a tent since one of my friends was bringing one for four of us to share, which was good because I don’t even think I own a tent- my family’s not very outdoorsy. We got a chance to talk to the people from other delegations, listen to some officer speeches as practice for the actual conferences, and do some speed debates (my favorite topic: M&Ms vs. Skittles) as icebreakers, and then we walked up to the nearby hiking trails and picked up trash as a mini service project.

By this time it was around 4:00, and it was time to set up our tents. My tent group struggled at first, but thanks to two of the members being Girl Scouts and one of our wonderful advisers helping out, we succeeded in putting it up. We all brought a wonderful assortment of snacks; I had a pound bag of Sour Patch Watermelon, two bags of Boom Chicka Pop, and a bag of gummy bears, plus all the candy, cookies, and chips everyone else brought. Even though it was pretty early, we started breaking in the snacks since everyone was already hungry.

It was time for slightly more formal debates, so we got numbered off into groups and did debates that had two pro and two con speakers. I thought the topics were really interesting since they related to actual bills/legal issues. We did three to five debates and then the officers from each delegation got together to teach us some cheers that we can use to show spirit at conferences in Fresno and Sacramento. After all of these little things, it was dinnertime! There was a little buffet of hot dogs, salad, and chips- the perfect barbeque.

My friends and I all went into another tent that had a lot of other people from our delegation in it. We ate more snacks, listened to music, laughed a lot, and were just hanging out. The returning members told us newbies more about what to expect at actual conferences, and it was nice that they were so open to questions. It was now pretty dark, and soon our advisers came to all of our tents to tell us it was time for delegation bonding. We walked up the steep hill to a little rec room, and we did our bonding- I can’t exactly say what it was, but it was a really amazing experience.

Once bonding was over, we had free time to go to the bathroom, get ready for bed, and hang out in our friends’ tents until we actually went to sleep. This time, everyone came in our tent since we had all the good snacks. We were honestly delirious and having the funniest time until the advisers made everyone leave around midnight. My tentmates and I changed into pj’s, got comfy, and went to bed. Our tent was actually a fairly good temperature, but it was super windy outside so none of us got the best sleep.

We woke up around 7:00 am and (almost embarrassingly) immediately started snacking again. My tentmates and I ate almost a whole box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. We didn’t actually have to get up and out of our tents until 7:30, so we stayed in our sleeping bags until then. Soon enough, our advisers came to tell us to start disassembling our tents and getting our stuff packed up. I’m proud to say we packed up pretty quickly and efficiently. We then got a breakfast of bagels and cream cheese with fruit, and did some more debating- this time a more informal style.

9:00 am rolled around, and it was time to get picked up. I’m so thankful for the advisers and everyone who put time into planning the conference and providing the opportunity for us to bond. It was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience and I’m now even more excited for our first conference in Fresno coming up in a few weeks!

-Brooke

Sophomore Year FAQ

Hello everyone!

I am now officially one quarter done with my sophomore year. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but time is flying by. I figured I would answer some common questions I hear or questions that I would’ve liked to ask before entering this year. If you’re a curious freshman or a sophomore just wanting to see someone else’s perspective, keep on reading.

  • Is it a lot harder than freshman year? Unexpectedly, yes. I thought freshman year was hard in the moment, but academics-wise it was a lot easier. I was swamped with work from the first week of school this year. That being said, freshman year has its own challenges with the adjustment to high school and everything that comes with that, so I guess it kind of evens out.
  • Do you really start to hate freshmen as soon as you’re not one anymore? Kind of. The whole joke/thing about hating freshmen isn’t really a major thing as I’ve mentioned before, but it’s definitely there. You begin to realize how much you’ve matured since being a freshman and how annoying you were last year when you see the incoming class, but it’s not like you automatically hate all of them. I’ve actually met a few really kind and amazing freshmen!
  • Is it easier to get leadership positions/get involved? Definitely!! I think it’s more natural since you’re more familiar with all the activities and options available at your school. I’m kind of shy and not a natural leader in general so I haven’t really experienced this benefits of this, but I know a lot of people in my grade have been able to start clubs this year or initiate change in some other ways, which is pretty cool.
  • Have you maintained a relationship with your freshman year teachers? I have, but not with all of them. My geometry teacher is currently on maternity leave, and I was never a big fan of my science teacher. That being said, I try and visit my English teacher often because I absolutely adored her and miss her class a lot, I have the same Spanish teacher as I did last year, and I tutor in the history center at my school which is run by my old AP Human Geo teacher so I still talk to him when I’m there. I really loved the majority of my teachers last year and I honestly do miss their classes, so it’s important to me to go catch up with them once in a while.
  • Do sophomores have more school spirit? Some do, but honestly not the majority at my school. I was hoping we would since as freshmen everyone is clueless and doesn’t know whether it’s “uncool” to participate in spirit stuff, but I think it depends on the spirit “culture” at your school in general; our rival school is known to be amazingly spirited throughout all grades so the legacy always carries over, but our school is kind of known for being a bit lame with that stuff. Don’t get me wrong, the seniors are super spirited, but you still won’t catch the sophomores being even close to winning the spirit competitions.

These are just a few common questions I often pondered before the start of this year, so hopefully it can help some of you out there. Fellow sophomores- let me know if you agree or disagree with any of this and go class of 2022!

-Brooke