Thank You OVS

I’ve started this draft several times. I’ve written sentences and sentences only to change them, revise them, and, eventually, just completely eradicate them and end where I started: with nothing. Because every time I try to write about this, I can’t formulate the right words to say. Even though I’ve discovered at OVS that one of my biggest passions is writing, I’m speechless when I try to write about what these last four years meant to me.

When I came to OVS for the first time, I was an awkward freshman. I had no friends, no idea what I was doing, and no idea who I was or who I wanted to be.

The four years to follow threw me in for a loop of highs and lows in self development, friendships, and life. Now I have just a couple days until the craziest, most amazing four years of my life come to an end. Every year at this time, I had a strong desire for the days to end as quickly as possible so I could enjoy my summer break. This time, I’m scared for the inevitable last day of school to come. I’m holding on to every last second I can.

I’ve been to three graduations here. Every single one making me sadder than the rest, but there was always happiness in my heart when I’d hug my friends goodbye for the summer, especially because I knew I’d see them again. On May 31st, I’ll hug all my friends, but, when fall rolls around, I won’t see them again on the hill that’s been my second home for the past four years. We’ll all be scattered across the country taking on different cities and pursuing different passions. We won’t see each other at breakfast every morning or at the barn at the end of every day. We’ll see each other through FaceTime calls and at reunions during our holiday breaks. I’m bound to cry at graduation because of it all.

I’m happy we’re all going to colleges we want to go to and I know that these friends are the ones I’ll have for life. But the realization that this is our last week as high schoolers together is still sending a wave of shock over me that I’ve been drowning in the past couple weeks.

I’m horrified for what the future holds, but, at the same time, I feel so ready. Four years ago, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be ready for college and eight years ago I didn’t have any faith that I would even be going to college. Now, I’m excited to walk into the unknown and I have OVS to thank for it all:

For being a school that’s given me the opportunity to branch out and try everything I could ever want to try. I didn’t have to stick to one niche. I got to be a risk-taking athlete, an unfiltered writer, a confident leader, and everything in between.

Photo Credit: ocsaledger.com

The equestrian program for giving me a horse I love more than myself. For giving me a place I’ve made my best friends.

The camping trips where I went running through the Yosemite forests at night time with no flashlight and rode the bull of the raft while river rafting on the Kern trip. For making me push my limits and having them turn out to be the most rewarding moments of my life. For making me realize I love camping even though I hate going days without showering.

For my AP Spanish class making me fall in love with the language all over again and decide to study abroad in Spain instead of France. Law/Gov class that furthered my excitement to move to D.C. to study politics and intern on Capitol Hill. Especially for my journalism class that provided a source of gossip, a place to rant, and an endless supply of snacks, but more importantly, it has given me an outlet to explore writing and inspire me to pursue it in college.

Thank you for everything. For the good, the bad, and everything in between. No words could say it all.

I’m not gonna lie and say this school is perfect. There’s so much I’ve complained about and so many things I would change. But if I’m going to be honest, it was perfect for me. It was the place I needed for the kind of person I was to become who I am today. I had no idea what my purpose was or what my passions were and, while I’m still on a road of self-discovery, OVS put me on the right path.

And for that, I’ll forever be thankful.

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My Favorite Feelings

I’m in a really good mood right now, but there are honestly so many things that makes life feel so much better. So, here’s a few things that never fail to make me happy.

  1. The tiredness after being at the beach in the sun all day
  2. Driving down PCH with the windows down during sunset
  3. The lights turning off at a concert and knowing the show’s about to begin
  4. When the singer stops singing and everyone in the crowd continues belting the lyrics on the top of their lungs
  5. Listening to ocean waves before falling asleep
  6. Having the air conditioning on while sleeping, but being wrapped up in warm blankets
  7. My horse coming up to me
  8. Hugging my favorite celebrities
  9. Having dance parties alone in my room
  10. Waking up and having a good hair day
  11. Wearing a cute outfit and feeling confident in it
  12. Good conversations with friends at dinner
  13. Waking up early and having energy to take on the day
  14. Sitting outside when it’s hot, but a perfect breeze keeps you cool
  15. Hot chocolate after snowboarding all day
  16. Being spontaneous
  17. Being carefree
  18. Blasting 2000’s throwbacks and singing along to them while driving
  19. Reuniting with friends I haven’t seen in a while
  20. Dancing
  21. Singing with my friends without caring about what my voice sounds like
  22. Having motivation to clean my room
  23. Being told my writing is good
  24. Swimming in the ocean for hours
  25. Running
  26. Hanging out at the fair in the summer
  27. Finding out I did better on a test than I thought I would
  28. Jumping into a freezing pool on a hot day
  29. Listening to a song for the first time in years and still knowing all the lyrics
  30. Mastering a verse in a rap song
  31. Wearing oversized sweatshirts
  32. Going to the movies while it’s raining outside
  33. Getting invested in a new book and forgetting about everything else around me while reading it
  34. Being around a camp fire
  35. Opening gifts
  36. Giving a good gift
  37. Having a breakthrough while horseback riding
  38. Writing freely without writer’s block getting in the way
  39. Talking with my friends on the phone for hours, and though I rarely see them in person anymore, still having our friendship be stronger than ever
  40. Loving life for the way it is and currently not wanting to change anything about it
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Little Things

I’ve started to realize it’s the little things I change about my day that make me feel so much better.

I’ve started studying outside during my free blocks. Even when I’m not doing work, I just sit outside on my phone instead of inside my dimly lit, stuffy dorm room. It feels so much better having both the sun and light breeze against my skin, keeping me warm and cool at the same time. It’s more refreshing, though I’m not doing anything more than sitting outside.

I’ve started getting up early again. I get up around six a.m. now and, despite sleeping less hours, I feel more awake than when I’d sleep in until 7:40. I get up and force myself to go running because even if I’m tired in the moment, I feel wide awake for the rest of the day. I have time to go to breakfast, less time to rush to get ready for classes, and more time to hang out with friends in the morning. I’m no longer starving by the third class of the day or falling asleep by the fourth.

It’s a good feeling finally being motivated to do the small things that make drastic changes to how my days turn out for me and I’m appreciating every day so much more because of it.

Photo Credit: Lifehacker.com

Growing Up and Avocados

I’ve always walked a fine line of being perfectly healthy and utterly unhealthy.

I never drink soda, energy drinks, or coffee. I don’t like donuts because they’re too sweet for me.

However, I do have impulses to eat any and all food in front of me without any self control to stop, especially when it comes to binge-worthy snacks like chips or cookies, though I rarely buy them on my own. I always got excited for random road trips where we stop at McDonalds for McFlurries or fries. I never liked vegetables as a kid. I liked the basic ones like corn and carrots, sometimes peas or green beans, but I would be repulsed at the sight of an avocado back in the day.

But, lately, something has changed.

My family always said it’d happen eventually, that I’d eventually start liking the vegetables. I’d always say no to them when we’re out at restaurants and laughed at them for thinking I’d change. Vegetables were disgusting, weren’t they?

But the last several times I’ve had fast food, I’ve felt sick to my stomach and just thinking about having it makes me sick. I bought snacks today, but just a couple bites made me put them back in the drawer and I’ve had no desire to bring them out like I usually do. I’ve said no thank you to ordering desserts at restaurants and haven’t had anything else to drink this week except water and half a strawberry lemonade.

Photo Credit: delish.com

Then, there’s the vegetables. Brussel sprouts have become one of my top favorite vegetables and I get excited for them when they’re at restaurants. Whenever I go home and my uncle asks me what I want for dinner, I get more excited about asparagus than anything else and lately I’ve had a strong craving for guacamole, something I used to cringe at the thought of.

I guess it’s weird. I didn’t imagine the day I’d like avocados – or any other vegetable for that matter – would ever come, but it did. It might just be my taste buds changing, but I guess it’s just a part of growing up.

Wanderlust

I want to study abroad.

I don’t mean in the literal sense of going with a program affiliated with my college. Not for a set period of time with a specific set of courses.

I want to get on a plane and leave. Travel to beautiful destinations around the world I decide to go to right before I get there. I want to study the ancient artwork in museums and the architecture of the untouched, historical buildings. I want to go to small concert venues and listen to local music, but also try all the food the country has to offer without being a picky eater.

I want to meet the people who live there and leave being friends with them or at least leave knowing a part of their story even if I never see them again.

There’s a feeling called sonder: a sudden realization that each passerby has a life as vivid as your own with their own experiences, quirks, and interests. I don’t want to know they have them; I want to live them.

I want to be a tourist in the streets someone has grown up in their whole life, but, soon, find myself a local even only for a couple nights. I want to go to a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant that I may never return to, but is someone’s favorite place to go every night. I’ll learn a few words in every language of the countries I visit, a language that might be someone’s only language that I now have a very small understanding of.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

When I went to Prague and Vienna over spring break, my favorite part was the free time in the cities. Though we were always in the tourist areas, I sometimes caught a glimpse of what life was like for the people who actually lived there every time I walked into an ice cream shop or passed someone on the streets heading to work.

This world is so big. There’s so many countries to explore and I don’t know if I’ll even get close to covering half of it, but it’s also so small. It’s a ten hour plane ride across the Atlantic and a simple text message to talk to someone across the globe. It’s both incredible and horrifying, but I can’t wait to explore it all.

Better in the End

I’ll admit, I over dramatize┬ásituations in the moment without thinking that the universe is working in ways I don’t understand. It’s one of my many flaws. I, also, realize that maybe the situations I’m crying about will be the ones I’m thankful for looking back at them.

Just two weeks ago, I had a different idea of where I wanted to go to college. When I found out I was waitlisted, I had a breakdown just thinking about it. Yesterday, I committed to a university on the other side of the country, a school completely different from the one I wanted to go to and, in some ways, better.

Last year, this university wasn’t even on my radar. When I was asked back in September if I wanted to consider applying to schools in Washington D.C., I laughed. I never even considered D.C., but I applied anyways, just for fun.

Photo Credit: toursofwashingtondc.com

And, by applying, I mean put the application in my Common Application account and completely forget about it. The questions were thought provoking and daunting and my top choice was a school that was supposed to be a safety school. So, I missed the deadline, and I didn’t care.

But, the universe does work in mysterious ways, because the following day, I got an email from the school saying they extended my deadline. Now, I wanted to apply.

It was funny, because right after I applied it quickly became one of my top choices, but I ignored it. I didn’t think I would get in. I didn’t want one of my top schools to be one I didn’t have a chance to get into.

I never thought I would get in. I already got denied and waitlisted from schools with easier acceptance rates and I was getting myself excited about other schools just in case the ones I actually wanted to go to denied me.

Then, last Thursday, I got an email saying decisions would be released at 2:00 pm. The next ten minutes were agonizing; ready to face another rejection letter and accept that I’d go to a school I only really wanted to go to for all the wrong reasons. Then, I opened the portal and clicked the decision. The first words I read were “Congratulations.” Congratulations for being denied? It had to be a mistake, but it wasn’t. I was accepted, I was so happy, and now I’m going to a school on the other side of the country, ready to take on new challenges, a new school, and a new city.

Two weeks ago I was devastated and when my family said something better would come my way, I didn’t believe them. But, they were right for what I want in life, to be immersed into a world of politics, journalism, and law. To have great internship opportunities, explore amazing cities, and study abroad. I couldn’t have ended up in a school better for me.

Those hours of crying were worth it, because if they were hours spent happy, my next four years would be completely different from how they’re going to turn out. I don’t know what will happen. Worst case scenario: I transfer. Best case scenario: I absolutely love the school and spend the next four years there, but one thing’s for sure now: things really do turn out better in the end.

Prom Season

It’s that time of year again where high schoolers across the country spend hundreds of dollars to prepare for one amazing night that defines their high school experience: prom.

Admittedly, I’ve been desensitized to the excitement of prom. This year is my sixth year attending prom, an occasion usually reserved as the most magical night for seniors, and some lucky juniors, across the country. For me, it’s always been just another, slightly more, glamorous dance.

But this year is my senior prom, so I’m putting more effort into it and I’ll admit, I’m also more excited for it than usual.

I bought my dress back in February. I love my dress, a long rose gold sequined dress that brushed the floor, two slits going to the middle of my leg. It fits the disco theme this year and I’m happy though it wasn’t at all what I was going for. I love my accessories just as much. Glittery silver heels, a matching clutch, rhinestone earrings, and bracelets.

Surprisingly, my dress and accessories were the least expensive and I still have much more money to spend just to prepare for this night.

Tomorrow, I’m getting my nails done. I already emailed the artist the nail art I want to do. I’m getting gel nails for the first time. ┬áThen, I’m getting my eyebrows done, threaded and tinted, something I never tried before. Prom is giving me new opportunities to try new things. I’m also getting my eyelashes permed, something I’m horrified of trying, but I hope works out as well as all the reviews and blogs I’ve read about it online.

Photo Credit: tgsmediaevents.co.uk

Prom is only two weeks away and that’s it. I’m done. I won’t be going to another prom again, but I’ll have the memories from the photos to remember it by. But, once prom ends, I’ll get on spring break, then count down the days to May 1st when I have to choose where I’ll go next year, then May 31st: the day I graduate.

It’s so scary how high school is suddenly coming to an end. That, next year, all my friends from high school will be spread across the country, maybe even different continents. I don’t know what’ll happen then, but I’m finally, truly excited for prom. Excited to dress up glamorously with all my friends one last time and dance until the last minute for one more memory to make.