5 Things I’ve Learned In The First Week of the Remote School Year

Hello everyone!

I started my junior year of high school on August 19 and am sitting down to write this after the first (half) week of school. There’s already been quite a few ups and downs, and this is definitely going to be an interesting year for everyone. I’m going to share five things I’ve learned thus far, so keep on reading if you’re interested in hearing about my remote learning experience.

  1. Patience is key. I know this might seem obvious, but it’s SO necessary that I need to include it anyway. As you might have heard from teachers and other staff, it’s difficult on their end too. We all have to be understanding and adaptable, as that’s what this situation is all about. Expect bumps in the road and that you won’t always be prepared for everything coming our way, but be willing to work past it.
  2. The phone needs to be out of sight. This might not be as much of a self-discipline issue for everyone, but I’ve found that I’m way more focused if my phone is away from my desk. I’m not even tempted to look at it or noticing notifications pop up if I can’t see it on my surface at all. There’s already so many possible distractions on a computer/whatever device you’re distance learning on, so extra devices definitely need to be put away.
  3. Zoom can be awkward, but it gets better if you actually participate. I used to be terrified of Zooms and having to speak before I did my writing program over the summer that was run completely on Zoom. That’s helped me so much in this distance learning already–although it was a completely different experience, getting comfortable with Zoom and being able to interact with people I only knew through the screen has made me more confident to participate in my Zoom classes.
  4. You have to reach out if you want to actually interact with your friends. There’s not a virtual equivalent to lunchtime or just walking from class to class with all your friends. Make sure to check in on your friends and see how their virtual learning is going, and just interact as normally as you possibly can.
  5. This is a very independent journey. Try to make the best of it, as you would with anything else. This will impact everyone differently, and there may be different pros and cons of this experience for different people. It will definitely test us and make us stronger, so try to make the most of that. Challenge yourself, but also know when you need screen time breaks or when things are getting overwhelming. Use this time to figure out what works for you and how you can build your schedule a little differently.

I hope you guys enjoyed these few little tidbits of things I’ve learned so far! I will make sure to do an updated one sometime soon. Although I’m definitely still focused on coming up with new writing content, I think it’s important to include some education related stuff, as it is the beginning of the school year, and this will be a school year no one forgets. Please feel free to leave feedback in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there.



Education Proclamation – Prose

I want to know why our country doesn’t value education. I want to know why schools are underfunded, why children aren’t even educated on the workings of this country, and why younger generations are constantly cut down and called lazy and stupid when most of these kids aren’t given a chance to learn and grow. It’s a broken system.

I want to know why my governor (California– Gavin Newsom) proposed to cut funding for schools by 10% when our state ranks towards the bottom half of all rankings I’ve seen for public schools/education in the country. Schools are already so strapped for money, even in mainly well-off areas like where I live. He’s probably never attended a public school in his life.

I want to know why our government doesn’t prioritize the next generation when they are this country’s future.

I want to know why wealthy people, some of whom have never stepped foot in a public school, have control over the public school system. Not only do they have control, but they don’t even prioritize it or work towards making it better. Budget cuts increases every year, the schools suffer, and the students suffer. It’s a cycle.

It frustrates me that in such a wealthy, technologically advanced country, our education systems are lacking. Our education system is so inadequate compared to European countries and such.

I am lucky enough to go to school in a highly-ranked school district in my state since I commute to school, and I recognize that my school exceeds the state/country standards in many ways. However, I still get fired up about this topic because my education has been such an integral part of my life so far and I want other kids to have the same opportunities nationwide.

If you are eligible to vote, please do when it’s the time to do so. Vote for candidates that understand how important education and our public schools are to communities and to securing a better future for America’s youth. Vote for candidates that plan to serve everyone as best as they can, especially the next generation that is growing up during these scary times.

I hope you enjoyed this piece. It’s definitely more political, but it’s something I’ve been dying to say and needed to formulate into words and throw out into the universe. Stay safe and healthy.


Should You Take An Online AP Class?

Hello everyone!

AP testing is almost over (to anyone who has an AP test tomorrow, best of luck!) for this year, and you probably have already selected your courses you’re taking next year. If your school doesn’t offer a lot of AP classes/a specific AP class you want to take, or your school limits when and how many AP classes you can take, you might be considering taking an AP course online through an accredited provider.

I did exactly this with AP Psychology since I didn’t have room for it in my schedule at school; I took a self-paced online course through BYU Independent Study during the summer, and then basically retaught myself everything before the AP test. This path might not work for everyone, so keep on reading if you want my advice on whether it will work for you.

Keep in mind that this is all based off of my personal experience and I am not a teacher or education expert! Make sure to talk to your parents and/or counselor to see if they think online AP classes are a good fit for you.

You SHOULD take an online AP class if:

  • You have the funds. Online AP classes are expensive unless you live in a state like Florida that has a program where you can take them for free (use FLVS!). I live in California and we don’t have a program like that, so I had to make sure my parents were okay paying for a class. BYU Independent Study was the most affordable choice for AP Psychology at least, but it’s overall expensive
  • You’re self-motivated and will get the work done. Don’t pile extra work on yourself if it’s just going to stress you out more and you’re going to procrastinate doing it. You’ll have to hold yourself accountable, and no matter how good the teacher of the online class is, you’ll still end up being your own teacher in a lot of ways.
  • You can get an A (or B) in the class to boost your GPA. These classes are super helpful for bumping up your GPA as long as you get a good grade. Make sure your school will accept the credits and put them on your high school transcript if that’s what your after- my school also has a limit on how many online classes you can take, so make sure to check that out too.
  • You’re genuinely interested in the class (or you need it to graduate). Unless you need to take the class or you really want to take the class, it probably will just be a burden and something you dread doing. I was genuinely interested in psychology and didn’t have room in my schedule sophomore year to take the class at my school, so it was worth it for me to take it (especially because of the GPA boost).

You SHOULD NOT take an online AP class if:

  • You want to take an ‘easier’ version of an AP class. Although some online AP classes can be easier than others or the in-class version, this still isn’t the best attitude to have. Most of the time, you’ll still need to put a decent amount of work in, so make sure you’re willing to.
  • You’re mainly taking it to pass the AP exam and get college credit, not because of interest in the class itself. It might be a waste of money to do this. If you’re motivated enough to take extra AP classes/tests, you’re probably motivated enough to self-study the material and take the test without paying for the class you don’t actually care about. I personally didn’t want to self-study since I actually wanted to take the class and I didn’t think I would be self-disciplined enough or have the resources to self-study, but lots of people do it successfully.
  • You have the opportunity to take the same class at school. Unless there’s a scheduling conflict or another reason you’re not able to take the class at school, I would highly recommend taking the classes in person if your school offers them. You’ll have a lot more support leading up to the AP test, and it will overall usually be a better, more complete learning experience.

Another aspect of online AP classes I would like to address is the timing of taking the class. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend taking an online AP class over summer like I did. Although it was useful to get the course done at my convenience in a short period of time, it was much more difficult for me to reteach myself the material and study for the AP test. Taking an online class during the school year might pile on even more to your normal school workload, but it also might be easier when AP tests come closer. This is something you’ll want to consider when deciding to take an online AP course; it’s important to choose the schedule that works best for you.

Lastly, if you’ve decided you for sure want to take an online AP course, here are some reputable providers:

  • FLVS (free for Florida residents like I mentioned, but available to anyone with a price)
  • Apex
  • BYU Independent Study
  • Virtual High School/VHS
  • Laurel Springs
  • UC Scout
  • Johns Hopkins CTY (I think you have to apply first? they’re also extremely pricey and rigorous but are very highly rated by those who take them!)

I hope this helped out anyone considering the pros and cons of online AP courses in deciding whether they would be a good choice for them. I personally plan on taking AP Art History this next year, as I need an art credit to graduate and I don’t have room in my schedule to take the class at school. We’re all in this together! Please let me know if you have any further questions. Stay safe and healthy.


My Updated Study Plans for Online AP Tests – Euro & Psych

Hello everyone!

What with the rescheduling and completely new format of the AP tests for this year to accommodate quarantine and coronavirus conditions, we’ve all had to reevaluate our study plans. For people taking the APs in class, this is frustrating and seems to undermine your year of hard work. For self-studiers, this is a bad thing and a good thing all at once, as there’s less to study but no one to guide you. Today I’m going to be sharing my study plans for the two AP tests/classes I’m taking this year (AP European History and AP Psychology), so keep on reading if you’re interested.

First, I’ll start with AP Euro, the AP class that I actually take at school. Since the test is just composed of a DBQ and nothing else, my teacher has come up with sample DBQ prompts for each week. We don’t really have any other online assignments besides figuring out how we’re going to study for the test, and making sure we keep up with his posted updates about test information/when he ends up grading our practice DBQs. That being said, that means I’m kind of my own to self-study for this test as well. However, we had almost finished all the content for the class, and we already finished through the period that’s being tested a month ago, so I’m thankful for that.


  • The aforementioned practice DBQs. My teacher is posting a huge document of prompts/documents and suggesting we do one to two practices a week, particularly focusing on pacing. He’s kind enough to look over our work and give us extra pointers if we ask for them, but they’re optional and not being graded yet (it’s a long story, but my district isn’t allowing any of the online work we do to be graded yet).
  • Watching the AP review sessions that College Board is putting out. I’m not going to watch the ones that cover topics not on the test since for the most part, my class was ahead and already learned about them, but I’ll watch the ones that review content tested. It’s always good to learn from someone new and hear a different voice on the topic, and the teacher in the video might focus on little details or events that mine didn’t.
  • Reading my review book as a cram of information. I already bought a Princeton Review prep book at the beginning of the school year, and I don’t intend to let it go to waste. I’ve used it as a resource for summing up major events in general a couple times throughout the year when cramming for unit tests, and I think that will still make it helpful in this case as well.
  • Rewriting/organizing some of my notes. I take pride in my Euro notes because they’re very detailed, but they’re not the neatest. Since the test is open-note but also on a major time constraint, I don’t want to have to flip through a bunch of messy, tiny notes where words are shoved in every square inch of the paper. I plan on organizing them by unit, and maybe typing them up so they’re easier to read, and highlighting major events or details.

AP Psych is a bit different because I took the class online over summer, so the information’s a bit fuzzy in my head. I’m kind of glad I don’t have to re-learn every single detail, but it’s still difficult because I know the multiple choice would’ve been easier to study for. I’m lucky enough to have a couple friends who are also taking Psych, so I’m hoping to get some study tips or help from them as well.


  • Watching the College Board AP review sessions. I’ll probably watch all of them, even the ones that are on topics not tested, just because I find psychology interesting and feel like I didn’t learn everything from my online class. My reasoning for doing this is the same as with Euro though, so I won’t explain further.
  • Using my resources. I bought the Barron’s flashcards and a Princeton Review book a few months ago in preparation for self-studying, and just like with Euro, I’m going to make the most of them. I still need to brush up on content, so reading the review book and testing myself with flashcards will still be helpful, even though there’s no multiple choice.
  • Going over FRQs I wrote for the class. Since the FRQ format is still the same, I can look at all the graded FRQs I wrote in my online class over the summer. I know that the two FRQs on the AP test are going to be specific types of questions, so I’ll try and find if any of the questions I did were comparable.
  • Practicing tons of FRQs!! – At this point, that’s really the main thing I should do once I brush up on the actual content of the class. I’ll focus in on the specific types of questions they’re asking and try and find as many sample questions as I can. I’ll probably ask my friends in Psych to look over them if they’re willing.

I hope these study plans help you out if you wanted to know what a fellow student was doing, or if you just wanted to get motivated to start studying now. I know this is a weird change, but hopefully it works out in our favor. I know the shortened test seems to cheapen the value of how hard we’ve worked all year, but at least test days will be shorter and it might be easier to do well on the tests. Above all, we’re all in this together 🙂

P.S. Screw the College Board!


How COVID-19 Is Affecting High Schoolers

Hello everyone!

I know I’m a little late to the game on discussing coronavirus, but if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might know that I pre-write and schedule my posts about a week/week and a half in advance, so that’s why this post is going up now. I am definitely not the most knowledgable person on the subject (although I have been obsessively checking Twitter for news) so I won’t bore you with a bad interpretation of the statistics- if you are looking for news, please read articles from a reputable news source or look at the CDC or WHO’s websites. As you are reading this, I am currently at home, with school out for the week. I just wanted to make a post explaining how different high schools are dealing with this issue differently, and the huge impact it’s having on our education.

Before I go more into depth, I just want to say that I am so privileged and blessed to be safe and healthy right now. I am not trying to complain in this post, just inform others on what’s going on in my area with school right now. I hope you are all staying healthy and safe as well. I live in Southern California in a county that has around 10 cases of the virus as I write this, probably more by the time you’re reading it, but we are not in lockdown/quarantine or anything at the moment. However, many private schools around my school district started shutting down last week, at the time that colleges nationwide were beginning to close. There was talk of my school district shutting down, but nothing was set until a sudden announcement on Thursday, March 12th that we would have school the next day (Friday), but school would be out the entire next week.

They were planning to reevaluate during the week off and decide if we would have to remain out of school, and what lesson plans would look like in that case. The most obvious choice would be virtual learning, but in a public school district there are some issues with that since some low-income kids don’t necessarily have access to computers or Internet, and places such as libraries where they could normally gain access are closed in this quarantine/public emergency situation. I’m not exactly sure how they plan to work around it if we have to stay out of school, but I’m assuming we won’t be going back so soon since one week won’t change much about the virus. During this first week of being off, teachers aren’t allowed to give us anything to work on- instead, they’re supposed to be developing their lesson plans for if we have to miss even more school.

Some of my teachers had speculated we’d be out until after our spring break (mid-April) was supposed to end, and my chemistry teacher even said she thought we might be out of class until May 1st. My AP Euro teacher (the only AP class I’m in this year) has no clue what he’s going to do for lesson plans and what will happen with the AP test. I know the March SAT got cancelled in my area, so a lot of juniors were upset about that after months of preparing. As far as AP testing, a lot of my teachers were saying it might get pushed back into summer, and that we might even get days of school extended into our summer break if we miss too much and we aren’t getting sufficient lesson plans.

I’m so confused on how everything is going to work and how there can be so many different predictions/expectations within just my school about what the rest of our semester is going to look like, but it varied a lot. Some of my teachers said they’re consider just cutting our grades off for the semester now and ending it there, some said we might have to extend the semester into summer once the virus dies off, some said we should be fine to do virtual learning, some said AP tests will be cancelled but we won’t get our money back, some said they’ll just be postponed. At this point, there’s no real point in predicting what’s going to happen as the situation is changing too often; my school switched plans 4 times in 48 hours, and now we don’t even know what we’re doing.

I was supposed to have class registration during this week that we’re missing (the juniors/rising seniors already did theirs, but freshmen and sophomores haven’t), and so I’ve missed that as well. That’s kind of a big deal, as junior year schedules are so important. However, other than that, I’m thankful to be a sophomore (for once!) rather than a junior or senior. I can’t imagine the stress of having SAT dates in limbo and so many AP tests in question (at least I only have 2 with 1 in class) as well as not being able to do college tours and not knowing how your second semester junior year grades will finish out. And for seniors, the possibility of all the second semester activities you look forward to for so long is so disappointing, as well as not being able to go to admitted student days for colleges to help pick where you want to go. I wish you juniors and seniors the best of luck; I know it’s stressful, but at least find comfort in that the whole world is dealing with this and colleges/schools/whoever will have to be understanding.

There’s also the fact that even though it’s a “break” from school, this is not fun or exciting! Not only is it boring to be cooped up in the house and discouraged from hanging out with friends, it’s nerve-wracking knowing that new developments related to the virus are constantly being released on the news, and the consequences and closures of public places are only spiraling even more out of control. I have no idea if I’ll be back at school next week, next month, or even longer. I don’t know how I’m supposed to learn and get a good foundation before taking super hard classes junior year, and I don’t even know how I’ll be registering for my junior year!

If anything, at least I have some time to reflect. I’ve been super go-go-go and busy lately, and something like this puts it into perspective what really matters. Remember to stay safe, wash your hands, and be smart in this strange time. I know as young people we’re not in imminent danger, but we do all probably have older relatives who are. Best of luck to any people displaced, quarantined, or affected in any way by this horrible pandemic.


How to Select Your Class Schedule for Next Year

Welcome back everyone!

It’s that time of year again- second semester is flying by, the longing for spring break and eventually summer intensifies, and registration for next year’s classes is upon us. For some of you, it may have even happened already, but for me it’s in the next couple weeks. If you’ve been conflicted and aren’t sure on how to choose your classes for next year, you’re in the right place! Keep on reading to hear my tips. A quick disclaimer beforehand- different things work for different people, so don’t be pressured into taking classes that might not be the best for you. Think of your mental health and don’t bite off more than you can chew, but also make sure that you will still be challenged.

  1. Make sure you have your core four/five subjects. This is English, history, foreign language, math, and science. If you were ahead in one or more of these subjects and have aged out of the sequence at your school, make sure you have other classes to take, whether electives or doubling up in another subject. You could also take dual enrollment classes at a local community college or through your school if that’s offered, or do a class online if necessary.
  2. Consider the level of classes. Whether it’s CP, Honors, AP, or IB, consider how much of a workload you’re willing to take on. This might depend on what activities you’re involved in, and how you did in this/last year’s classes. If you’re having trouble deciding what level of certain classes to take, ask your counselor and/or parents for advice. If you’re up to take 5+ APs and have your heart set on competitive colleges, go for it! Just keep in mind what that workload will look like.
  3. Make sure you like your electives. There are soooo many options at my school that it’s overwhelming to choose- if you’re in the same boat, make the most of this! If you need/want a GPA boost, choose an honors elective. If you’re into the arts, take an art class. Take advantage of the options available to you- it’ll be fun and feel less like another class full of work.
  4. Check that you’re fulfilling graduation requirements and A-G requirements if you plan to apply to UC schools. Since I live in California, my high school basically makes us fulfill the A-G requirements to graduate, but I know that out-of-staters might not be aware of this. You can easily look them up or ask your counselor, but they might be different than your normal graduation requirements. Either way, make sure your schedule is putting you on track to graduate on time.
  5. If you’re leaning towards a certain career path, check that your classes align with that as much as possible. For example, my school has a really cool cadaver-based advanced anatomy class that you have to apply to get into, so people who are interested in going into the medical field are encouraged to try and get into that class senior year. In general, my class has a lot more STEM/science class options whereas other subjects have a set class you take each year, so people interested in STEM often double up on science classes junior/senior year to take advantage of this. Since I’m not super interested in STEM, I have less options and am not interested in taking all the science classes available, so it all depends.
  6. Have an idea of what you’ll take the year after next, if possible. Is the class schedule you’re choosing for next year going to set you up to take classes you want the year after that? This is a huge thing to think about if you’re going into junior year like me, since not only are your junior year classes super important, but your senior year classes are as well. Therefore, you’re setting a trajectory for the rest of high school.
  7. Consider getting ahead in certain subjects/self-studying/taking online classes if you don’t have room in your schedule for everything you want. There are many different reasons you might consider doing each of these things. If you want to finish your foreign language credit faster, consider taking the last year online. If you want more college credits or your school doesn’t offer a lot of AP classes, consider self-studying for a subject you’re interested in, or taking an AP class online. If you’re looking for a GPA boost or to take an AP class that will be slightly easier, take one of the APs with a reputation of being “easier” online, such as AP Psych or AP Environmental Science.

I hope these tips help you create the perfect class schedule for the upcoming school year. I know it’s intimidating to think about the possible impact of your choices on college and the future in general, but you can always request a schedule change/change your mind. Trust me, I’m definitely freaking out too thinking about how I’m going to be a junior, but it’s also exciting! Also, as soon as you make your class choices, it’s actually a relief since the decision is behind you and you no longer have to worry, as it is what is and we’re moving closer to a new year.


Opinion: STEM Isn’t the Only Pathway to Success

Welcome back everyone!

As a sophomore in high school, I’m at the stage of my life where I’m starting to plan for college, and adults are often asking me about what I want to do in life, where I want to go to school, and what I want to study there. Additionally, it’s the stage of my life where adults asking these questions always tell me I should be gearing towards going into a STEM field, since they want more women in the field, it’s a more secure job outlook, and the pay is usually higher. I am personally not a STEM kind of girl- I do well in my math and science classes at school and enjoy them when I have a good/fun teacher, but I don’t love the subjects themselves and couldn’t really see myself studying them further, especially at the high and intense level you would in college. If you’ve felt similarly, but are constantly being told STEM is the way to go in life, keep on reading to hear my thoughts.

I’m not going to be including statistics or “evidence” to support my points because I don’t really have a hard claim- I just want to offer my two cents. First of all, don’t feel pressured into doing what other people tell you is best. They may have your best interests at heart, but they probably don’t know you as well as you know yourself, and you’ll know whether a certain path is right for you or not. It’s more important to do something you’re passionate about- you’ll most likely perform better in your college classes, be more driven in the field, and therefore get a higher-level position and make more money. If this is in the STEM field, great! If not, it doesn’t mean you can’t make just as much or more money/be as successful or even more successful (note that I’m not saying money = success, I’m just using these as two separate examples).

Another thing I’ve noticed from articles I’ve read or portrayals of STEM workplaces in the media is that women are often treated very unfairly at these companies. It is still a relatively male-dominated field and men at these tech-startups tend to feel superior to their women co-workers when they should be treating each other as equals. A lot of big STEM companies that come with the big salaries people are attracted to are also super stressful environments where there’s often a lot of competition- this environment isn’t for everyone. Yes, STEM is a very broad generalization of fields/topics of study/etc. and there are many industries and workplaces besides tech startups or companies that are under the STEM umbrella, but I feel like tech is the one that’s buzzing the most since technology is constantly updating and is proving to be one of the biggest parts of our future.

There are still plenty of jobs outside of the STEM umbrella, and there will be something related to your interest. Definitely be cautious about job prospects (ex. being an artist may not be the most steady job), but don’t force yourself into a field for the salary or the prestige- it probably won’t get you very far. I still don’t really know what I want to do, but I know that it most likely won’t be in a STEM field. Another thing that one of my older friends told me which I think could be a good idea if you’re nervous about job prospects and kind of on the fence about STEM is major in whatever you’re actually passionate about (i.e. something not in STEM in this case) and minor in something quantitative like programming, statistics, etc. I know this wouldn’t work for everyone, but it’s something to think about if you’re choosing a major and debating.

Think of this: there’s always going to be people at the top of a field. No matter what field it is, there’s a way to work yourself up and eventually have a higher-level position and make more money. If you love your job, you’ll be better at it- you’ll move up those ranks higher and end up making just as much money, if not more, than you would’ve made at a “more prestigious” entry-level job. Also, money and prestige aren’t everything! If you’re happy with your job and you’re able to pay for everything you physically need to live, who’s to say you need to go chasing prestige? It all depends on what your priorities are and how you want to live your life.

Lastly, remember that it’s okay to not even know what pathway you want to be on. I’m only a sophomore in high school, so of course I don’t know what I want to be- I know, I’m a little unqualified to be giving advice. However, I know that I’ve had countless amounts of adults lecture me on this topic and my mom has always reassured me that it’s more important to do what I love, so I figured I would spread that positive outlook. Let me know what you think!


A Love Letter to My Elementary School & Teachers

Welcome back everyone!

It was about time that I made my last “love letter to my ___ teachers” (for now). In case you’re new to my blog, I’ve also written posts similar to this one towards my middle school and current high school teachers, so I recommend checking those out if you haven’t already. My blog has a lot of content relating to my schooling experiences and my love for learning (I mean, the title is “My High School Adventures”), so it’s natural for me to pay tribute to the people who have gotten me this far. In elementary school, high schoolers seemed so old, yet here I am, still shocked how fast time has gone.

For a little background, I switched schools going into fifth grade; I had been commuting to a highly-ranked school about 30 minutes away, when I lived near a perfectly good school. I had a rough fourth-grade year with my teacher leaving halfway through the school year, and it was time for a change. It put me on a completely path, and I would not have gone to the wonderful middle school or high school that I’m at now if I hadn’t made that change.

If I could address all of my wonderful elementary school teachers in one letter, I would say this:

Thank you so much for introducing me to new things and pushing me to be better, even as a young child. A special thank you to those who allowed me to pursue the things I loved, by moving me up in reading level and letting me read “the big kid books.” Even though I was EXTREMELY shy and quiet, I definitely appreciated everything you did for me. I honestly wasn’t that good of a kid- I wasn’t a troublemaker because I was so intimidated by you guys, but I know I didn’t have the best habits. Thank you so much for reprimanding me and correcting my ways. It seemed harsh at the time, but it helped me so much in the long run and I understand why you did what you did.

Honestly, I don’t know how you do it. Dealing with twenty to forty needy, crazy little kids everyday and trying to teach them multiple things while doing it is more challenging than I can imagine. I look back on the version of myself you had to deal with and cringe. Thank you for taking on such an important role in molding kids during a formative time in their lives, and doing your best to make it fun. We may not have realized how fun it actually was until moving on to the harder parts of our schooling, but I appreciate it so much now.

Thank you for encouraging us to make new friends. I miss that feeling of actually getting to know each person in your class and having a little family by the end of the year- sure, it’s not always the happiest family, but that sense of community taught me a lot about what friends I wanted to seek in middle school and high school. Thank you for giving me the building blocks and life lessons that I’m still building off of today. I’ve only realized it recently, but a lot of the things I’ve learned I actually started learning from you. Thank you for being kind, encouraging, and overall welcoming spirits that made me more comfortable with getting close to my teachers as the years went on.

Thank you for being people that would check up on me and notice when I needed a motivation boost. Thank you for teaching me how to write!! As silly as it sounds, I actually do think the writing I did in elementary school set me up on the path to do well in writing in middle school, which put me on the path to do well in writing now. Thank you for being you, and well, thank you for teaching me. I know a lot of time has gone by already- you’ve had many, many more classes with new faces and mine has probably disappeared from your memory, but I will remember the years I spent in each of your classes.

Remember to thank your teachers and tell them how much you appreciate them. I hope you have been lucky enough to have at least some teachers you love or have enjoyed learning from- those are the ones that deserve a world of praise 🙂


Sophomore Year – 1st Semester Reflection

Welcome back everyone!

First semester of this school year is officially over, meaning I am halfway done with my sophomore year. I think it’s always nice to have some self-reflection, especially documented in some way so you can look back on it again in the future. I decided I would post it on here because it may help some of you guys out or inspire you to do some self-reflection of your own. It sure has been a crazy past few months, and summer feels like it was eons ago.

I came into sophomore year trying to not have expectations, but I definitely had a few. I didn’t think it would be that much harder than freshman year (wrong-ish), I thought it would be a lot better than freshman year (true-ish), and I thought I would feel soooo much older since I wasn’t a freshman anymore (COMPLETELY wrong). Don’t worry, I’ll explain the reality of all these expectations. It hasn’t exactly been harder than freshman year, but it’s been a lot more work. I have a lot more homework, tests are more frequent, and there’s just more information being covered so it tends to move faster. Once I adapted my schedule and work habits, I was doing fine again- that being said, I’m always stressed and always have been.

I thought this year would be so much better than the last- that I would find my place within the school, spend more time with friends, get more involved and start up all these new activities, etc. In a way all these things happened and I definitely made a lot more progress with my goals than I did in freshman year due to being a bit more comfortable with myself, but I still left a lot to be desired. I’ve definitely been (and still am) overscheduled because of my ridiculous cheer schedule, so cheer prevented me from having free time to get everything done as well as doing other activities during a lot of this semester. Once cheer season is over (mid-February), I’ll have a lot more free time and I can re-evaluate my commitments from there.

Lastly, I definitely don’t feel older than I did last year. I think part of it is because I’m young for my grade so a lot of my friends are currently getting their licenses while I’m just starting driver’s ed right now to get my permit, so I have a lot less freedom than most people in my grade. The freshmen this year seem just as old (or older than) as me- probably because a lot of them are. I can’t believe I’m going to be driving soon, but I also can since a lot of my friends already have their licenses and cars and jobs that they drive themselves too; it’s weird how different their lifestyle at the moment is from mine.

Going back to my academic performance, I’m very proud of how I did this semester. I was able to end with straight As in my classes again, and I definitely put in the work to get them. I didn’t accomplish as much in the extracurricular department this semester, but I have been spreading myself a little thin mainly because of cheer, and I’ve gotten off to a good start of trying new things with Youth and Government. I hope to branch out and get involved in more things this semester, but it will probably end up happening next year since most things can’t really be joined mid-year (depends on the opportunity).

I improved my writing a lot this semester, which is another thing I’m really proud of. I think it’s just because of getting in more practice and constantly brainstorming- I’ve found my creative juices have really been flowing lately. That’s why it’s been frustrating to barely have any free time; I have so many ideas and I want to execute them as soon as possible. I’ve written a lot of poetry and read a lot more poetry. I hadn’t read that much poetry before, and I’m so happy I decided to try and read some of the classics/well-known poets’ work.

This blog has grown a lot this semester. I know it’s still relatively small, but I found that I’ve gotten a lot more likes and views from new viewers lately, so my posts are slowly trickling out to more people. I appreciate all of you so much for sticking with me through my adventures and my inability to pick one topic to blog about. As always, I’m open to suggestions since I love to cover different points of discussion, so please let me know if there’s something you would like to see me post about on here.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about my personal growth and relationships with people. I’ve made an effort to be friendlier and kinder to people who I cross paths with, and I think it’s paid off a lot. I’ve made lots of new friends in classes and Youth and Government among other things in my life. As far as myself, I struggled with my self-esteem since I didn’t have as much self-care time for myself and I was constantly over-scheduled and overwhelmed, but I think towards the end of the semester I was balancing things a lot better. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m working on balancing school with my social life more evenly now.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about how the past few months have been going for me in all the main aspects of life. I would love to hear about how your semester has been- we’re all in this together. Here’s to a new semester and a fresh start!


How to Find & Apply To Summer Programs

Welcome back everyone!

If you’re been reading my blog for a while, you’d know that I’ve been trying to figure out my summer plans and apply for some summer programs related to things I’m interested in. I’m mainly focused on finding a cool program for creative writing (let me know if you want a list because I’ve found sooo many from searching), but there’s tons of programs for pretty much every interest and extracurricular out there. It’s pretty overwhelming, which is why I’m still having indecisive troubles figuring out which ones to ultimately apply to. If you’re interested in finding out more about how to seek these programs out and apply, keep on reading.

  • Figure out what you would want to pursue at a program – What are you most interested at the moment? A program is only worth it if you know you’ll really enjoy it, learn from it, and get a lot out of it. If you have a main hobby (a sport, art/music, etc.) or a favorite subject, think about taking that to the next level by going to a summer program where you can spend a week or a few weeks really diving into that interest.
  • Do detailed research and compile a master list – I would start by just looking up “summer program for high schoolers” and your topic of interest. There are detailed lists on websites like College Confidential and the Applying to College thread on Reddit, if you want a wider range of topics to start out looking at. Don’t be sucked in by super expensive pre-college programs- it’s probably not worth it unless you’re genuinely interested and have the (significant amount of) money to spare. Cheaper/free programs are better in most cases, and you will come across them with more research- lesser known/smaller local programs are great too if they fit your interest!
  • Filter out programs by price, location, length, age eligibility, etc. – This is the most important step. Depending on how long you want to be gone, how much money you’re willing to spend, and what grade you’re in, it can narrow down a lot of possibilities. I would form a list of criteria before you start thinking about actually applying anywhere- it will make it a lot easier to narrow it down to only a few programs of interest.
  • Do more detailed research to see what the best fit would be – Once you’ve narrowed it down, now see what actually sounds the most fun and best for you. If there’s impressive advisers/staff/teachers/etc. or it’s in a location you’d like to visit, those are pluses! It’s kind of like a mini-college search- sift through to find what actually sounds most fun to you.
  • Work on essays/questionnaires over time – I think it’s important to start early since you don’t want to stress yourself out over an application for a program that’s supposed to be fun. The bulk of most applications besides a transcript and recommendations is probably essays or other supplements, so start these in advance.
  • Ask a teacher related to the subject or one you know best for a recommendation – Most programs will require recommendations, so make sure you’re prepared to ask for one in advance. If the program is geared towards a specific academic subject, try to ask a teacher in that subject or field. If it doesn’t really matter, I would just ask any teacher/mentor that knows you really well.
  • Hope for the best! – A summer program is definitely not a make or break of having a good summer or a productive activity. It can be a nice way to get out of your comfort zone, but there are plenty more local things you can do that are just as impressive and exciting. That being said, if you apply, I hope you get in!

I hope this gave you a little more insight on what goes into finding the right summer program for you. I’ve done a lot of research on this so if you need any pointers on where to look or what programs might go with your interest, let me know! I’d be happy to point you in the right direction if I can. Also, I am by no means an expert on this- it’s just something I’ve been interested in myself. I’m hoping to attend a writing program this summer, but I have no clue if it will end up working out. Of course, I’ll keep you posted 🙂