Deciding

As colleges acceptances come to a close, I am left with a mere thirty days to decide where I want to spend the next four years.

Based on circumstances I can’t remember, I have narrowed it down to two colleges. One of prestige, and one of comfort.

Now I must decide, do I go to a school the size of a small town with a bumper sticker name, or a smaller school a step up from high school? As I gravitate towards the larger school, another big one comes in to play.

The final college decision letter. What was originally my top choice (though now I’m unsure) will now be competing with my new, other top choice.

There are two outcomes to this situation. Either they reject me and I’m disappointed, though my decision is made easier. Or I am accepted, and I now must choose.

I can’t decide which is harder. Though subconsciously, I know which choice is right.

Image Credit: UCLA Newsroom

Traveling Around

Oh the places we’ll go 

Oh the places we’ll see 

Oh the treasures you’ll bring back to me

We bring a piece of back home

From sea to shining sea

Our domestic adventures

Up the coast to the mysterious monterey bay

To the salt flats of Utah

Whether it’s the Rocky Steps in the old capital of the country

Up down, and all around we’ll go

Back to your old home

Showing us your favorite spots and how the city has changed

Or visiting a family friend

Our journey is nowhere near the end

We go where you take us

We go back home to Rome

To explore Venice

Just a drive from Salzburg

To hear the Sound of Music

The forests in China

The Pandas sitting in peace

The terracotta warriors from an ancient time

The towering buildings from shanghai to New York

Your adventures in the costa rican jungle

To mine in la Sagrada Familia

And exploring the glaciers and black sand of Iceland

No matter where we go we bring a piece back home

Routine

I have conditioned my cat.

Her treats stay in the top drawer of my dresser, along with folded clothes. When I open the drawer, the handle bounces against the wood, making a clanging noise. Each time I hear it, she comes running in anticipation of treats.

Now comes the balance.

I worry to open the drawer for clothes, for fear of her conditioning wearing off. If she does not get treats when she hears the clanging, she may begin to unlearn her conditioned response. She will stop running to me, and I will have lost my leverage.

If I want her to come over, I open the drawer. Though, if I open it for clothes instead of treats, I feel obligated to give her what she wants. I wonder if it’s mean of me to tease her – even if I don’t mean it. She doesn’t know the difference.

I now find her trying to open the drawer herself. One day she will. And that day I will move the bag of treats. And the conditioning process will begin once more.

Trying to get her treats

A Culmination

I present my Capstone this Wednesday. It is a culmination of my experiences in high school, and a chance to share a topic I am passionate about. For my “project,” I fostered kittens. Not only will I share my experience, but I hope to educate others on how to care for animals and why it is a community responsibility.

Fostering is vital to the life of every cat. The Humane Society is filled with kittens, yet nobody considers where those kittens were for the first eight weeks of life. Every kitten was either raised outside by their feral mom, or they were fostered by someone who sacrificed their time to raise a kitten.

Fostering kittens gave me firsthand experience with the issue of finding homes for cats. While I “foster-failed” and ended up keeping one of the kittens, I did not have room in my then five-cat household to keep another. I named her Blue, and we took her to the Humane Society where she was adopted.

I look forward to sharing my experience and enthusiasm with my school, and I hope to inspire others to foster kittens and save lives.

Image Credit: Hannah Shaw

Pressure of Life

Life is hard. Life is not fair. Life has many ups and downs, especially growing up.

Once you reach a certain age, responsibilities pile up and you are expected to become more self-reliant. The teenage years are rough- balancing school, friendships, and family life. Then add the prospects of mental health and relationships.

Mental health is really important and life could take a toll on one’s mental health. Anxiety due to school and other things. Depression or sadness due to life and the tolls that life brings onto someone.

photo credit: Medical News Today

Relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships are really hard to navigate during the teenage years. Finding a connection that works is hard, and is really important to keep one sane.

School is very stressful. Teachers and parents put pressure on students and kids to do well in school, so they can do well in life. Students and kids also put pressure on themselves to get into great colleges.

Life is full of ups and downs, full of scary and fun moments.

The Chimp wants to be a Chemist

Have you ever met someone with an abundance of dreams and ambitions, with a passion to make a change and to make something out of themselves? Someone who wishes, and knows they can live outside of the box and innovate what they think to be a world in need of innovation? The next question, do you know someone who has these ambitions but is not given the means to complete their goals, or they get trapped in the everything-sucking whirlpool of society. So instead they have to sit at a desk, working a normal person job, stewing in their ideas.

I know someone like this, I live with someone like this. Although it makes for interesting conversation, these kind of people feel like they did not get to reach their full potential. And as time ticks away so does their opportunity to make something great out of themselves. This leaves them feeling angry, feeling like the world is pinned against them, and quite helpless all at the same time. But these people have responsibilities. And even though they feel all these feelings they have to repress them so that they can provide, in my case, for their family. The product is an incomplete and unsatisfied person.


I have been affected by this incompleteness because they have, unintentionally, pushed their need for greatness onto me. All the opportunities they did not take, they require I take. In hopes to save me from a “normal life”. All the ideas they have that have never taken off, they expect me to make them into a reality.

Well, that’s my experience!

image found on shutterstock

A Page of Four Years

February has brought about the time to create senior pages. I have spent time scrolling through my camera roll, searching for the perfect photos that can encapsulate four years of high school into a single 8″x10″ page.

I found photos of my friends. Photos of projects I had done in art class. Photos I had taken for AP World History projects. Sifting through hundreds of memories to find the most valuable moments has proven to be more difficult than I had thought. I have narrowed it down to about forty photographs, which, if I were to use them all, would be about a centimeter wide each.

While small on paper, many memories still remain as vivid as the day I experienced them. I remember carving pumpkins at my freshman Halloween dance. Is that memory less valuable than the time I hung my art in an exhibit? Do I feature friends, experiences, or accomplishments? What photograph will take up the most space?

As I sift through the photos, I imagine what words will be written on a page. I could write a classic senior quote, a thank you to those who helped me through school, or simply my name in a basic font.

I know my senior page will encapsulate my high school experience as I remember it. I just need to find what moment will serve as the biggest picture.

Yearbook
Image Credit: Josten’s Memory Book

My Turtle Koa

For Christmas my grandma gave me a turtle. Her name is Koa, and she came with a little bead bracelet and a card to track her movements in the wide ocean. I scanned her code, and my phone displayed a map of where she was released.

Her journey began on the coast of Florida as her rescuers released her into the wild. I could see she had already swam miles up the coast of the United States. She had passed Georgia territory and was nearing North Carolina.

Her little fins took her across half of the country, and halfway back. When I had previously thought about sea creatures, I had always imagined they’d stay in one area that they called home. My experience with Koa, however, has showed me that she is a true explorer of the ocean with no limits or boundaries.

I am grateful to have a connection to a living part of the ocean that I can check in on each day.

Image Credit: Shane Meyers

A white Christmas

Finally. After 4 months of not seeing my family, I will soon be home again. In one week I will be on a plane on my way back to Germany and I can’t even put in words how excited I am. I came to the boarding school in the U.S when I was 15. Now, this is my third year going here but every year I don’t see my family for 4 months at a time. I always fly home over Christmas break and the first feeling of stepping out of the airport in Germany is so refreshing. The cold air, the snow, and there they are. My mother, my brother, and our dog. Every year, it is the greatest feeling there is. We drive home and I see our house shining bright with Christmas lights. I open the door and I am greeted by a huge Christmas tree in the living room.

The feeling of finally being home is not comparable to anything else. I step into our garden and play in the snow with our dog. We run around and I go to the lake to see if it has frozen yet. We live close to beautiful mountains, so everyday I walk up with our dog and just sit and watch the beautiful view while it starts snowing. The next day I meet up with my best friend and we go to the famous German Christmas markets in our city. Hot chocolate, waffles, crepe, everything you could imagine for Christmas is right there. All the little shop huts are decorated with lights and snow on top of them. Christmas in Germany is incredibly special to me, and not comparable to anything else.

A beautiful Christmas market in Germany

https://www.wanderlust.co.uk/content/top-8-german-christmas-markets/

Flowers

Like most people, I’ve received several vases of flowers for several occasions. I watch them blossom and wilt as the joy from the event fades, or I regain my health from an illness.

When I am sick, the decision to throw the flowers away is symbolic of moving on. I have recovered, and the flowers have given me their beauty and life when I was physically weak. After I regain my strength, I can appreciate the era of the beautiful flowers, then feed them to my tortoise to let him have the last of the gift.

It can feel sad watching them wilt, but when I put it into perspective, they have served their purpose and it is time for me to move on. They brought me happiness when I needed it, and with each day they grew weaker, I grew stronger.

Tossing out flowers from events can seem more sad, because it was a good moment, and the wilting of the flowers symbolizes the moment’s transition from an experience to a memory. Once the vase is empty, however, it leaves room for new opportunities. Another great experience will come, and the vase will be filled once again.

Image Credit: Deluxe Blooms