About a year and a half ago I got a brand new mountain bike. I was like a little kid, getting all excited to ride around with it. The town my school is in is like a mountain bike paradise. There are many amazing trails for every level of skill. I started with some easy trails and each week I would go a little harder and harder. I could feel my muscles and stamina building up more and more. When the pandemic started, I was out on my bike every single day. It was my way of getting my energy out. I just hated sitting at my computer all day doing school work and I needed some way to release my built-up stress. Mountain-biking really helped me with that, and I had a blast every time I was on the trail.
During summer I left my bike in America while I went back to Germany. I came back to the U.S end of January and hadn’t biked at all since I left the U.S. I got my bike but being at boarding school made it hard for me to go biking. in mid-April, our outdoor-ed teacher announced several new overnight camping trips that were going out throughout April and May, one of those being a mountain bike trip. I was excited but on the other hand hesitant. I wasn’t on this list yet but I was able to sign up for it. I was hesitant because I was just so out of shape and hadn’t been biking in almost a whole year. I decided not to sign up because my anxiety just took a hold of me. I was really sad and still contemplating if I should just go. The day before the trip the outdoor-ed teacher came up to me and asked if I wanted to join on the trip as I had my bike in my room.
I decided to just get over my fear and said yes. I was nervous that I would be the one slowing them down the whole time and that I would always be the last. The next day we left campus and made our way to the campground. It was absolutely beautiful. In the afternoon we took our bikes and biked down to a waterhole. It was all downhill and it was absolutely amazing, I felt happy and just free. We swam for a while, ate dinner, and then it was time to return to the campground. I had biked that exact trail before and knew that the way back was an absolute pain because it was all uphill. There was one van driving back to the campground, but three of us had to bike back. I decided I would just push through it and bike the way back.
The last time I had biked that road up I had to stop about 6 times to take a break because I was so exhausted. We started biking up the road and I felt good. We kept going and going uphill and I was very surprised that I wasn’t exhausted at all. I just kept pushing and pushing and then we made it to the top and I had a wave of happiness come over me. I was so happy because I improved so much from the last time I biked up that hill. It was an awesome trip and I am excited to keep mountain biking.
Stocks make no sense to me, and I do not want them explained to me. I just know they control the economy around the world and are used as a pastime for rich people and teenage boys.
Bats. They make no sense to me, like I know they are animals, but they confuse me. Just the thought of bats sleeping upside down is a no-no for me.
Homophobia, how can one hate someone for loving someone. Love is Love, do not hate on someone for being themselves and loving someone.
Racism, why the heck does racism exist? Like seriously is it so hard to be a decent person to someone no matter their race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and religion?
Dress codes, they are stupid and only invented for girls. Girls get dress coded because their skirts are too short or their stomach is showing. Guys don’t get dress coded because dress codes were created to sexualize girls.
Five more weeks. Only five more weeks and one of the biggest chapters of my life will come to an end. I came to America 3 years ago, planning on only staying for half a year. And now here I am, three years later. These have been the best three years of my life. I will miss this place more than I can explain. All the memories and people. It is hard leaving it behind. But I know that I will always be connected to this place and to the people. I know I will return, and I have made friendships for life here.
Even though I am very sad to leave, I am also excited to see what the future will hold. I have so many plans and trips coming up that I can hardly wait for. I am taking a gap year in which I will be in a different country every month doing my wildlife photography. I am going on a 1-month backpacking trip in Montana and I have so many more plans, and then college. I couldn’t be happier with my college decision. I will be attending Montana State University. The location is absolutely beautiful, they have amazing programs, and their outdoor program is everything I was looking for in a college. The Yellowstone ecosystem is just 30 minutes away from campus and there are awesome ski resorts nearby.
I am incredibly sad to leave Highschool but I will never forget the people and memories I have made here. Thank you for the best three years of my life.
With the slow re-entrance to in-person classes, I have found that several digital aspects still remain part of my daily routine. While I used to carry a large pencil case with an assortment of options, I now have only one pencil that I keep in a little fuzzy pouch. Paper handouts are a rare commodity these days, and I find my handwriting degrading by the day.
I have left behind the use of binders – something which I have practiced and perfected since the second grade. The amount of papers I use now simply does not fill enough space to justify the use of a large cardboard structure that fills my backpack. I now carry a simple folder, one I have been saving for years.
My inability to write as aesthetically as I did in previous years may hinder me in life, but at least I can type efficiently.
I know that I will never retire my pencil, however, as there will always be a need to write.
Now that spring has begun and the air is faintly smelling of orange blossom filling the valley air in the brisk mornings, I can tell my time here is coming to an end. The morning and afternoons driving up and down the weaving road into the campus atop the hill. There are so many fond memories that will last more than a life time.
But now I am counting the weeks left in this beautiful place that I have spent the last four years of my life. In one way, this place is kind of all I have ever known, but it has made me want to branch out and go explore. I have learned so much academically, but also as a person.
I’ve learned what to expect from people and how to protect myself and control emotions, I’ve learned how to make true life long connections with people but most importantly I began to learn who I am.
All of these small simple lessons have been learned simply from waking up and going to school every morning and giving it all I could every day.
So now I have realized I have limited time left, and that is in fact scary, but it is leading me to a new adventure.
Do you know this feeling, when your heart drops and it feels like someone just dug a knife through it. That feeling that shivers down your spine and makes the hair on your arms crawl up. You’re pumped with adrenaline. Your heart is beating out your chest. And then, just silence. You don’t know what you feel anymore, it’s too much. Tears start rolling down your face. Your breath gets faster and faster.
Thinking about it, emotions are a fascinating and scary thing. One moment they make you feel like you are on top of the world, the next they crush you down to the floor. But I am not saying that that’s a bad thing. They help us learn, they help us communicate with other people without using words. People can connect, solely through their emotions. It helps us understand each other more.
For the longest time, I tried to suppress my emotions. I feel weak showing my flaws and I don’t want people to see me cry. It is still something I am struggling with to this day. But I have found ways to deal with it by myself. Running, singing, playing tennis, are all things that help me burn off stress. But camping is probably the thing that has helped me most throughout my life.
When I am outside camping with friends, I just forget all my worries for a while. Everything is ok and I just feel free and relaxed. Its like I’m in a completely different state of mind, like bad things can’t even get close to me. And at night when I look up at the stars, I just feel thankful for the life I have. How lucky I am to have such great friends and memories of traveling around the planet. How supportive my family is, and how excited I am for my future.
Feelings are a important part of who we are as a person. They define us. And we shouldn’t be ashamed of them. even though I still struggle, I know there are people out there who care for me and who support me in anything I do.
It is strange the way that we associate music with memories.
It is like a strong perfume that is impossible to disassociate with an era.
There are songs I cannot listen to because I was sad during the month it was in my playlist, or even because I feel that I have moved on from that time period. I now listen to a song knowing that one day, likely very soon, I will have grown out of this small era and will associate the song with the general mood of the month.
Small things in life change rapidly, including the clothes you choose, the breakfast you eat, your daily routine, the people you talk to, and the music you hear. Listening to music from a different era of mine often makes me feel uncomfortable, even if it was a good era, simply because I am not there anymore. It reminds me that times have changed, even if it is month to month.
Sometimes I regret listening to the same four songs day after day on my drive to school because I know what I am building. It will be a memory for my future self to listen to and reflect.
The automatic association of music and memories is hard to shake. They are not implicit memories, it is the general tone of the era that went unrecognized until you hear the songs and realize the moment has passed.
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.