ASITs, Attention! ASITs, Begin! Junior Missing, Junior Missing!

The buddy system – it’s a common thing among younger children, for safety, you know, for safety. With 240 acres of land and forest and potentially dangerous animals at every corner, campers must walk in groups of two or more at all times. Even Seniors and ASITs have to do it. Counselors are the only ones that don’t need to follow the buddy system, though I think they’re the ones that have the most potential to get injured.

The buddy system is fairly complicated. The ground rule is that you must have a same-gender buddy at all times. You know, so nothing happens. Last year, my female friend and I would have a male friend with us, and that was allowed. This year though, it wasn’t allowed, so the only way we could hang out with our guy friend was if he had another male buddy. It wasn’t a huge deal, really. The only complaints we had were “freedom” complaints, but most of us were too tired to really care.

When Juniors have their Free Time, us ASITs have to sit in an area and make sure that they have their buddies, water bottles, and name tags. We also have to make sure that all the animals aren’t too perturbed (a favorite word of one of my counselors) to be handled, nobody leaves their buddies to go to a different Animal Area, they take with them everything that they brought into the room, and above all that, we have to make sure that everyone’s handling their animal correctly.

My (specialty) favourite room is the Reptile Room, and let me tell you, having 10 juniors with 10 different snakes and lizards out can be a little stressful. Not only do we have to make sure that snakes and lizards are on opposite sides of the room, our Kingsnakes have to be five feet away from any other snakes, we have to make sure none of them touches the ground, snakes aren’t allowed around necks or shoulders, and we have to watch each animal for irritation.

For different Animal Areas, different rules apply, and different amounts of stress follows each area. But the same idea remains: keep the animals safe, keep the Juniors safe, and hope that the Seniors are smart and listen to their Counselors – because Counselors are the ones that work during Senior Free Time.

Beyond Earth Part One

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The year is 2044, the population is over 20 billion, but the world is at peace. All the worlds problems like hunger, disease, and pollution have been solved. It’s a perfect utopia. All the mysteries of the world have been solved – there’s nothing left to discover except what lies beyond Earth. A space program called SEA was created to look beyond. SEA stands for Space Exploration Association. SEA is highly selective, there’s only 100 pilots. Being a SEA pilot is the new celebrity. They’re all over the news and the face of SEA is Zach – a new pilot only 25 years old.

“I am honored to be a SEA pilot. It’s the greatest job in the world. I can’t picture myself in any other job. In a world where everything is known, most fear what lies beyond, but I grow excited. I was born to do this.” says Zach.

“Okay thank you for coming to talk on are show, that’s all for tonight folks.” says the TV host.

It is weird I haven’t even been inside the office building. I passed the test and got the job and already I’m a celebrity. “We are here sir,” says the driver. I get out of the car to look up at a large skyscraper. It’s strange it took them a whole three days to build. Normally it would just take one or two. I get in and a lady from the front desk gives me an ear piece. She then says “It’s also your ID badge and access pass. As you can see, security is pretty low. It is because without your earpiece, you can’t go anywhere besides the lobby,” She pauses slightly “Oh almost forgot your office is in B30” she smiled then walked back to her desk. I went to the elevator and it asked what floor I wanted. I said “B30” then the elevator responded “going down to B30” I found it strange that I was 30 levels underground when it is 350 floors tall.

When I walked in, it was really different from the rest of the building. High security, entirely cement, but very open, and the furniture was very basic. I assumed that it was so you can’t hide bugs or steal information. I walk up to the group of 24 pilots that are all sitting around a conference table, and at the head was a very intelligent and powerful looking man. The man said: “Okay lets begin. None of you will know me because I don’t exist. But for simplicity you can call me X.” At this point I began to sense something much bigger was going on. X continued: “Unlike the other 75 pilots this group has been selected to work on the more delicate matter. This means that every thing in this room can never leave this room. There is a major problem and our head scientist, Z, will tell you what is going on.” Z then said: “Okay so there’s a problem and we have 5 years to fix it. Your job as pilots is to fly to other galaxies and collect data. The problem is that the moon has been rotating around the earth at an inconsistent speed decreasing by 15% on random date. There are no coincidences from when it happens. But if we can’t fix the problem in five years, the earth will be covered in half ice and the other half fire. Your mission is to find a moon with non-livable and livable planets and collect the data so we can try to find a solution, or at least find out why.” X then said: “Okay go to floor 350 and get ready to take off. Each of you will have a partner which you will be assigned once you get up there.” This will be the first time in human history that they leave the galaxy. But the people wont know because of the secrecy of the mission.

The Great Adventures of Tim Part 2

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About four weeks had gone by since Tim had been trapped in the 2D world. He thinks he had been dreaming. Until he was walking to class and he suddenly  appeared in a semi trashed apartment with a man wearing a black and red outfit. Tim asked this Mysterious man where he was. The man replied “Hollywood.” Tim was confused, thinking how did he end up in Hollywood. The man interrupted his thoughts and said “My name is Deadpool, owned by 20th Century Fox, and I am a video game and comic book character. I am fully aware I am trapped inside in this game.” Tim was in shock and he asked the Deadpool “we are in a video game?” Deadpool said “yes.” Tim asked: “How do we get out?” Deadpool paused for a minute, then said “I don’t know, I have never tried. I like being the star of a game. Its pretty awesome.” Pausing for a minute, “But there’s these minion things I’m supposed do to beat the game but I tend to just kill people for fun rather than go do the mission. I’m sure if you do them you will get out.”

Tim was on his way to his first mission when he suddenly woke up. He was back in his dorm room and it was two days before the Deadpool indecent. He was really confused. He decided to do some research on Deadpool. He researched his game, how he was aware he was in the game and what other game characters know there in a game. That was when he came across a batman game. The batman game had a villain named Fear. Fears power was that he could find people’s deepest fears and exploit them. In the game, this villain figured out batman was controlled by someone whose biggest fear was losing unsaved progress. He decided that it was all crazy, that games are just games and he was simply dreaming. So he got dressed and went to breakfast. At breakfast he noticed some people did not have cups, but they still would make movements to drink like they had cups. He immediately thought that it was a joke. After breakfast, while he was walking back to his room, he saw two cars drive through each other. There wasn’t a scratch on either car and they just kept going. Tim say to his friend “Dididid you see that?” Everything turned black, and there was no sound no light. Just blackness.

EXPLANATION: This is for those who are totally lost in what just happened. Part one is where Tim gets trapped in a Mario like game, but he did not realize its the worlds famous Mario because the game was a spin-off. Tim is not a normal person he is in fact a character from his own game. This is implying that all of us are trapped in a game. The system that the game is on has corrupt files so when the user switched games Tim would enter that game. Deadpool and fear are game characters that are like Tim. They realize what they thought was reality was in fact just a game. The story is written from the perspective of the computers monitor and the blackness was because the computer crashed. Before the computer crashed things where missing because the corruption had destroyed it. The black screen was because there was nothing for the monitor to display after the computer crashed.


No Chill

Although I knew California was hot, by choosing to go to school here I didn’t think I signed up for a 75 degree November.

Already insanely hot during the summer months, I was looking forward to it cooling down leading up to the holidays. Oh, how wrong I was.

As of right now, the high for this week is 77 degrees. In November! I don’t mind this weather, it’s actually very nice. But, it’s comforting in a spring sense. Not for leading into Thanksgiving!

At home, the high for this week is a warm 50 degrees and raining. Although I’m sure it’s miserable to live in 24/7, it sounds wonderful to spend at least a day in!

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I love shorts as much as the next person, but coming from the cold weather, I look forward to the temperature where it’s appropriate to wear sweaters.

When it’s cold out, mother nature creates a true wintery feeling, which is amazing to spend time in.

Trudging Along

However enjoyable Ojai Valley School is, by the time a break rolls around, I am more than ready for some time off. The longest stretch is from the start of school to Thanksgiving break, and with that break in a week, I’ve almost made it through.

At the beginning of the year, I’m filled with motivation, and I’m sure that I’ll make it through the year easily. However, at this time of the year, I’m dragging along, barely getting my work done.

It’s not just me though, which is why a break is much-needed. Teachers have been piling on the work lately, so students are overwhelmed, and aren’t doing as well. Luckily, if we make it through this last week, we will have reached the reward.

Although Thanksgiving break is only a week, it will be rejuvenating. I’m grateful that I get to go home and see my friends, as well as sleep in my own bed. Short and sweet, and I’m looking forward to it.

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ASITs, attention! ASITs, begin! Watch the children, watch the children!

During my first session as an ASIT, which was two weeks long, the Juniors from Tennessee fell in love with me. Or rather, with my tail.

They were aged six to seven and were very, very tiny. I’m rather small myself, so it’s always a strange experience being in close proximity with people smaller and shorter than me.

The first few days were chaotic, as both species (the children and my ASIT buddy and I) had to adapt to each other. Once the children discovered that I had a furry, gray wolf tail, they went crazy chasing me around the cabin while the other ASIT’s sat and chatted with the counselors.

There were 16 little girls and 4 counselors in the cabin, but there was maybe four or five of them that really got attached to me. One in particular, Lucy, that always insisted on holding my hand or hugging me whenever we saw each other during the day.

In all my 17 years, I’ve never had such an experience with children before. The strange innocence they have, the unintended ignorance, and the pure annoyingness they have from time to time. In the weeks I was an ASIT, I’m pretty sure I erased dozens of children’s fears of snakes and arachnids. I had to make sure kids didn’t run on the pothole-ridden field, teach them the safe way to hold a snake, and to make sure nobody turns a turtle upside down.

While my group of Tennessee girls left and new girls came, my job as an ASIT stayed the same. Watch the children, watch the children.

What is a future, and where can I get one?

No but seriously – I’m very much lost when it comes to my future. Today, my mom asked me to come watch something in her room. Given the last thing she showed me was a video of a baby otter learning to swim, I was willing to submit. Instead, she showed me an ABC feature on college admissions.

My entire life has been geared towards my future, and more importantly, college. My parents sent me to a specific preschool because it had a high matriculation to the special elementary school I attended, which had an even higher matriculation to the prestigious middle and high school I then went to. This high school is world-renowned for its spectacular college matriculation – the reason my mother was so intent on me attending. I was so absorbed with college from a young age that I didn’t even think of what comes afterwards.

Now at a different kind of school, I am faced with a shocking change of attitude. Where I am now, college is not the main focus. It is mentioned occasionally during meetings, but the announcements are geared towards seniors, seldom juniors, and almost never sophomores or freshmen. Although I know this is the norm through most schools, I can’t help but feel lost, and even insecure.

When I went to my old school, all of the focus on college was basically done for me. College was a given – everyone thought about it all the time. It was such a recitation that I didn’t even really think about it. But here, I have to independently think about my own future without anyone prompting me. That’s the strange part that I am not used to, and it’s where the trepidation comes in.

Before now, I never thought about what I want to go to college for, and what I want to do after. It’s such a classic teenage cliché – “Where am I going, what am I doing?” I’ve never really thought about it until now, and I’m really at a loss. I have no idea what I want to do when I’m older – be a writer maybe, but of course, that’s a tough choice. Whenever I say this when people ask, they laugh in my face. I guess I don’t really know where I’m going.

All these new concerns have arisen now because someone very close to me is going through the college process, and is feeling a bit of what I’m feeling – second guessing their given goals and really thinking about the future. I want to get a head start on these decisions, so I’m not as stressed out later. But that is a curse as well as a blessing, because I am feeling the senior stress now as a sophomore.

I can masterfully edit a college essay so it fits exactly what a classic admissions officer is looking for, I can recite the top 10 schools in the world, and I can rattle off expected SAT scores and the times and number of questions in every section of the test. What I can’t do, however, is figure out what I want. And that’s something that I really should know by now. Maybe the constant college preparation hasn’t aided me, it has just brainwashed me. I can help everyone else think about college and prepare, but I can’t help myself.


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Although trust is a common trait, it’s a highly valued one. Whether it’s trusting yourself to someone, or telling a secret to a friend, it’s important that the recipient honors the trust.

Betrayal is common – more so than should be socially acceptable. Rumors are always being spread, sometimes for attention, and sometimes for fun. If one doesn’t feel good about themself, they’ll spread rumors or tell lies to put someone down, and therefore feel better, or higher up.

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On the other hand, if someone is bored, they might feel inclined to start spreading rumors, or just gossip, simply for the sake of entertainment. Others might feed off of drama, and continue to spread rumors, and as a result, fake, hurtful information is being spread around.

None of this is beneficial, and dishonesty only ends poorly. If information is trusted in one’s hands, the secret should be kept, and neither rumors or lies should be started or spread.

The Great Adventures of Tim Part 1

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Tim is a student at a small school. He is known by all his teachers and classmates and he is a very responsible student. His life was very normal and things always seem to work out just fine. Until, one day, during his math class he asked to use the restroom. When he went to the restroom he got sucked down the toilet and popped out in a 2D world.

Immediately after entering this 2D world, a giant Ape took a princess. The princess said “Save me time. You’re my only hope.” The ape ran off. Tim was confused and didn’t know what to do, so he went forward. It was his only choice ,considering the world was 2D.

He jumped from brick platform to brick platform until he reached a wall with a door. He entered the door and a new setting appeared. Now there was not only brick platforms but there were coins and angry muffins walking around. The angry muffins chased him, so he instinctively ran, collecting as many coins as he could. He ran through about 5 doors before he reached a merchant. The merchant had what appeared to be an apple hat. Tim was unsure if it was a hat or an actual part of him, so he just didn’t ask. The Merchant sold apples, but these were not just any apples. They had the ability to make whoever eats it large or shoot fireballs.

Tim Bought one of each apple and when he went to pay he pulled out coins and a star he found. The merchant instantly said “HIDE THAT STAR!” Tim asked why and the merchant continued: “The star has the ability to make you invincible. Its your only hope to defeat the ape.” Tim put it away, then asked how the merchant knew about his mission. The merchant was unsure, he just did.

Tim moved on to the next door. Through this door was a bunch of slanted platforms. At the top of these platforms was the ape. He was holding a bunch of barrels, and then he heard the princess scream for help. Tim rushed up the platforms as fast as he could as the ape began to throw barrels. Tim jumped and jumped over the barrels until he reached the top. The ape said in a very confident voice “Do you think you can beat me?” Tim reached in his back pack and ate all the apples and the star. Tim became an invisible fire shooting giant and attacked the ape, winning the fight in seconds. He saved the princess and was talking to her when he suddenly appeared back in the restroom. Only three minutes had passed since he left the math room. He went back and sat down at his desk still confused about what happened.

Tiny Wins

“The more your praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey

Yes, I just quoted Oprah.

But maybe, just maybe she has the right idea about this topic.

I like to call these daily praises and celebrations “tiny wins.”

These tiny wins can really be anything, but I think it is ever so important that we at least acknowledge them.

It could be, as big as passing your license test the first time, or as small as learning all the lyrics to that new song you love. But these happy moments in life must not be wasted.

Everyday may not be great, but there is something great in everyday.

I know it is so easy to talk about all the annoyances in your life – but when we’re old and grey are all of these minuscule inconveniences going to matter?

Looking back on my life on want to celebrate my tiny, and huge wins with an enormous grin on my face.
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We live in a generation where so much is shared; so let’s start sharing our wins instead of our losses.