The Worst Math Problem Yet

Never in my life would I have thought that a teacher could affect me so deeply. I’m not supposed to care that much, I’m supposed to feel more or less indifferent about my teachers, after all, they’re teachers, not my friends.

But today’s news stabbed me in the chest. I know I only have little less than a semester left at this school anyway, but I really hoped he would be here for that.

See, I hate math. And when I say hate, I mean I absolutely despise it. Ever since I was in fifth grade, I’ve been told that I’m bad at it. That’s not necessarily true; I’m not terrible, I just need some more time than others. None of my teachers ever gave me a chance to figure that out. Until last year, when I realized that I can do math, even if I’m not good at it. It sounds like such a small thing, but it made my days at school so much easier.

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Last week, we had a test in math and our teacher told us to write something nice about him for extra credit. I said that, if it wasn’t for him, I would have never even considered taking an AP math class, never in a million years. But here I am, passing the first semester with an A-. I said that I actually feel sort of confident about doing well on the AP test. But now I don’t know, I’m honestly scared.

Even if our new teacher will be great, amazing, perfect, anyone has ever wanted in a math teacher, it won’t be the same. I won’t be excited going into class anymore. I really shouldn’t be going into this with such expectations and I shouldn’t be so dramatic about this. But I am, that’s how I feel, and it makes me so sad.

It’s weird, this really shouldn’t be so important to me. But it is, I care a lot, maybe too much, but I care a lot.

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that’ll be it

I’m graduating in less than 18 weeks. 18 weeks seem like a long time, but, when I think about all the things I will be doing from now until may 31st, it suddenly isn’t that far away anymore.

I haven’t gotten a single college acceptance yet. I haven’t gotten rejected, either, but that only means that I’m just as far away from knowing where I want to go next year as I was two months ago.

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In a few weeks, I’ll be performing in my last ever musical here. I’ll be going on my last ever ski trip with this school. I’ll be going to my last ever prom, probably without a date. I’ll be playing at my last ever talent show (with no talent, still), and I’ll be going to my last ever OVS graduation, but this time it’s mine.

I’ll be walking down the stairs, sit lined up with my classmates on stage, get my diploma, and then that’s it. That’ll be the end of my past four years that were such an important chapter in my life and that contributed to so much of my personality. That’ll be it.

But, before that happens, there are so many more weekends to spend watching movies in the lounge, many more camp trips to go on and freeze my a** off, many more mental breakdowns over tests and AP’s to endure, horse shows to go on, story deadlines to miss, town trips to spend at Bliss getting frozen yogurt, sunsets to watch from the soccer field, and memories to make.

I won’t lie and say that this school and my life here is perfect. There are many things that I would like to change, but I don’t want to get into that now. Because there are so many more things that I am thankful for. Again, my time here hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been amazing. And in 18 weeks, it’ll be over, that’ll be it. And then, it’s time for another chapter.

 

Inspired

I always go to the movies purely for entertainment. I’ve never gone to a movie where I’ve left inspired about my future.

But after watching On the Basis of Sex on Saturday, I couldn’t wait to be a lawyer.

The movie was based off the life of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She was the top of her class at both Harvard’s and Columbia’s law schools, but she wasn’t allowed to practice law in New York City solely on the basis that she was a woman during this time.

The story followed her through her first case following a male who wanted a care giver tax deduction, but the law stated that only women or widowed men could be care givers.

This case was the spark that started a series of changes in laws contributing to giving women their rights, many cases won by RBG herself.

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Ginsberg went from a lawyer fighting sex-based discrimination against people who wouldn’t listen to being a Supreme Court justice with a 96-3 vote from Congress.

If that’s not inspirational for a young female and aspiring lawyer, then I don’t know what is.

Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I would make up cases and make my family act as the other lawyers and defendants. I went to a mock trial program at UCLA over the summer and most of my daydreams lately have been about excelling in law school.

I’m pretty sure I’m more excited for law school than I am for college.

Watching that movie made me excited for my future, excited to live in NYC, and excited practice law and work on influential cases.

So, thank you RBG. I hope to follow in your footsteps on the path you’ve helped create.

Happy Burnday

Today I am turning 17. Living at boarding school, birthdays are honestly the best. Not only do I get a birthday party and a cake at night, but I also get to spend all day with my friends.

Today has been amazing and I’m so thankful for the people around me that make every birthday so special. But exactly one year ago, my day looked a lot different.

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I had just found out that my dorm had burnt down. I was just packing to leave again, to get away from the smoke. I had none of my own clothes to wear, none of my belongings with me. My then-boyfriend had just ditched me to hang out with his friend on possibly the worst day of my life. My family was trying so hard to make my sweet sixteen as good and peaceful as possible, but there wasn’t much they could do. My life had just been turned upside down.

I can’t believe that was already a year ago. The hills and trees still look burnt, we still live in mobile homes, and the pictures of the fire still make me sick. It seems like yesterday that I was screaming at the orange skies that were burying the sun behind smoke to go away, to go back to normal, to turn back the time and make this all go away. But there was no turning back, there was nothing left to do. Nothing left to do, besides trying to forget about everything for a day. Trying to imagine that we were going on vacation and not evacuating from a wildfire. Trying to imagine that my friend and I were watching Riverdale in the girls lounge, not on my sofa at home with amber alerts going off next to us. Trying to imagine that everything was like it had been 48 hours earlier.

Now, a year later, I know that nothing is really still the same. We don’t live in the same rooms anymore, we don’t have the same buildings anymore. I know that, and I’m finally beginning to accept that. I know that there is nothing left but to move on.

Applying or Buying?

I spent $410 last week. No, I didn’t go shopping. No, I didn’t buy all my Christmas presents at once. No, I didn’t have to pay for medical bills.

Photo Credit:  theroarpost.com

I spent $410 on college apps within only a week.

I understand that having to pay some amount of money, to make sure that the people applying to schools actually mean it, and that it takes work to read through my applications and make their decisions. But, why should I have to pay $180 to send my AP scores to the colleges that I might not even get in to?

Personally, I have been able to spend that money on my applications. I didn’t like it, obviously, but I was fine. But, there are enough people in this country that don’t have those $410 to gamble with.

We all know that many families aren’t able to send their children to college because of the insane tuitions. But now, imagine not even being able to apply to the school of your dreams because it is too expensive. I know some people can get fee waivers, but even the fact that this is necessary freaks me out a bit.

I see the reasoning behind all the costs. I see why it would be necessary. I just want to point out how flawed all this is, if you think about it.

One Year

One year ago I remember clearly.

I had my guitar on my shoulder, leaving the warm dorms to trek across the chilly campus to my weekly music lesson, but the air was different than usual.

Everyone was huddled outside, talking as they saw smoke in the distance and hues of red burning in the sky that felt so distant at that moment.

“Are you really going to your lesson right now? There’s a fire,” my friend asked me.

Of course I would go to my lesson. It was my favorite part of Monday nights. Plus, the fire was nowhere near us, nothing would happen, and nothing would change.

Oh, how I was wrong.

Everything changed.

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Yet, so many things stayed the same.

One year later, I’m getting ready to go to my Monday night guitar lesson.

I have a new guitar, but it means so much more now. I appreciate it more now.

I’m still in a dorm room, wondering what I’ll be getting for secret snowflake tomorrow.

But I’m in a new dorm room, with a new roommate, on a new part of campus.

I don’t have the same clothes I had a year ago. The same photos, yearbooks, or blankets.

But, I have the photos I’ve taken since then.

My stuffed animal and All Time Low pillow I saved from the fire.

I still have the memories of the fire.

The ones that haunt me.

The ones that bring me to tears thinking about what I lost, what my friends lost, and what the whole school lost.

But, the memories remind me of how I became a stronger person since.

How my friends became stronger.

How the school became stronger.

How the county’s stronger.

More united.

More appreciated.

I still remember the day I returned from Christmas break and stepped on to campus and moved into the new dorms.

Being welcomed by overwhelming support, welcome back goodie bags, and hugs from my friends.

Seeing my horse for the first time since the fire and knowing he was safe and healthy. That all the other horses were safe.

The fire was so destructive, so horrible, but so many things came out of it that I’m more thankful now for than ever.

It’s been one year and I’m still sensitive to the scent of smoke and fire, to the sound of news about other California fires on the TV.

But, one year later, the mountains are a little greener.

My home is still stronger than ever.

And that’s the most beautiful thing of all.

This Blog was an English Assignment.

“At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house.”  (Thoreau) Write a description of your “home” or your many “homes.”  You may write about the home you have or the home you dream of having in your future.

Photo Credit: afterorangecounty.com

I’ve lived in one house for my entire life, nestled in between two mountain peaks that form the Ojai valley. There are only seven houses on my street, but it was an entire world to explore for my neighbors and me when we were five. We used to walk down to the end of the street and admire the sunset illuminating the overgrown grass and painted white fences. Home, to me, is the smell of the pepper trees that lined the end of the road, forming a green and red arch, as if to welcome me to the end of the cul-de-sac. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days, when time passed so much slower, when it felt like summer all year long.

For as long as I can remember, the ocean is where I find peace. I can’t exactly describe why, but Solimar Beach is a magical place. Home, to me, is poking my toe in the center of a sea anemone, giggling as it squirts water back at me, as its turquoise and bright green tentacles stick to my skin. Home is my dad lifting me up onto his shoulders, then scouring the tidepools, searching for different creatures. As we wade further out into the shallow water, he teaches me about the tides, then we stop for a while to watch the sun sink below the horizon. Solimar is the place I will always want to return to for the rest of my life.

I like to think that, someday, I will make a home everywhere. I’ll sit on the balcony of my tiny apartment in Madrid or Barcelona, peering through my neighbors’ laundry, hung up to dry on clothes lines, down at the bustling city below. I’ll enjoy the morning sun as I sip coffee with condensed milk – a flavor that I despise now, but I think, someday, I’ll come to enjoy. I will smile, knowing that I’m there alone. I’m not sure how long I will be there for, probably not more than a year. After that, I’ll move on to somewhere new. I’ll live in a rainy forest along the Oregon coast, then I’ll go work at a school in Argentina or Chile. I’ll work on a ranch in Mexico, outside of a small fishing town. I don’t really care where I go; I just want to see the world.

It is true that home is where the heart is, but my heart is everywhere, I think. Growing up in a tiny town has made me appreciate the things that are routine. I love the fact that I could probably draw a map of my hometown purely from memory. It’s incredibly comforting to know a place so well that it becomes a part of you. But it has also instilled in me a desire to leave what is comfortable, to explore and to experience every place, culture, and way of life that is different from mine. A home is a place where you can come back to time and time again, and know that you belong, where you would go to without any hesitation. I’m lucky to have places like these.