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.
I usually end up doing them in the evening much later than I should. I tell myself I’m being strategical and avoiding the heat, but if that was true I would run in the morning (that RARELY happens). In reality, my procrastination and dread for long runs are the reason why my long runs happen in the evening.
Yesterday though, my run was pleasant. I never thought I’d say these words, but it was almost enjoyable.
Around 7:55 I told myself, “Bella, get up, you’re running.” I grabbed my headphones, running watch, a headlamp, and started to run.
It was cool weather.
My music was good.
It was dark to the point where I could see my shoes and three feet ahead of me, but nothing else.
I had no light to see my watch screen, so I just ran. I didn’t constantly check to see my mileage or pace, or how much time I had left: I simply just ran.
And then there were the shadows.
What I’m going to say next will sound like some philosophical bs but while I was running it totally made sense, if you’re a runner, you know that the mind starts to lose sanity after about five miles.
The newly set sun and distant street lights served as an invitation for three shadows to join me. One ran about four feet behind me, one right by my side, and one ran far in front of me.
I stared at the three shadows for a good twenty minuets because, like I said, running is a tedious thing that causes a bit of insanity, and I started to think.
I thought about my progress with running, the struggles I’ve faced with it, where I am, and where I want to be.
The shadow behind me represented where I started: my first time running without someone forcing me to do it, the first time I competed in a race, and all of the first steps I took in my running journey.
The middle shadow right next to me represented where I am now: I am not in as great of shape as I was at my peak, but I’m in better shape that when I started. I am working to improve my skills.
The shadow in front of me represents where I want to be: my goals, the times I want to achieve, races I want to compete in, and mental toughness that I want to acquire with my running.
On my evening long run, in my philosophical state, I stared ahead and placed one foot in front of the other, in a rhythmical pattern, as I chased down my running goals and the shadow that ran ahead of me.
I promise to love my mother, my father, my sister, my brother
I promise I will represent my filipino nonnie and my black grandfather
as I walk down the street with my hair as
big and curly as ever.
I swear to be as spiritual as my grandmother,
And to not let the stress overcome me.
I vow to teach my sister everything I had to learn alone.
I promise to heal those around me with love and joy.
I pledge to never bleach my hair.
I vow to not express through harshness but through
I will never forget my heritage
I will remember where I came from and be
I will come home,
wherever home may be
I will always listen to soul and jazz music that comes from
the heart of New York,
or the deep south.
This is set of rules, guidelines, and obligations that will set a path for me in my near and far future. I may break or might not keep these promises but I will try. These promises and statements will shape me and prepare me for the unknown.
This is my last year in high school where my grades need to be A’s, where my extra curricular activities matter. This is my last year where cramming in PSAT prep will benefit me, and the last year where SAT prep is a dreaded ritual.
After this year, the hours on hours of work, sleepless nights, cramming for texts, student leadership applications, struggles I faced, fun memories I had, volunteer activities, extra curriculars, and sports achievements will all be put on to a single document… The last three years of my life will be put on a document; an application.
By the end of this year I’m supposed to have a general idea of my life plan, my career, and my identity.
By the end of the year I’m supposed to have perfect SAT scores, ACT scores, and 5’s on AP tests.
By the end of the year I’m supposed to be a person who will stand out amongst millions of other applicants.
This is my last year to become who colleges want me to be while still trying to stay true to the person I want to be.
In less than 365 days, I will need a paper explaining who I am, what I want to do, what I stand for, what sets me apart, and why I belong at the college receiving the paper. All of who I am, all of why I’m special, and all of why I belong in 650 words.
A transcript and 650 words which will determine my future, career and where I will be for the next four to eight years.
A lot to think about… a lot to do, a lot at stake. Welcome to junior year.
I’m really confused about how my life is going to go in the future. I know what I want to, I’m just not sure how I’m going to do it.
My plan was to go either UCSB, Stanford, USC, or a college in Australia to study Marine Biology and/ or Environmental Science. I would then go to law school and become an environmental lawyer. At college, I would swim and play water polo.
Well, now I’m really in to running. I love triathlons too. I know I’m going to play sports in college, but which ones?
Recently I’ve been thinking about become a humane officer. It pains me to know that so many animals are suffering and abused. I want to dedicate my life to stopping the cruelty that takes place everyday. I want to do this, but there are some issues.
A humane officer makes 32,000 dollars annually. I don’t have millions of dollars in family money, I don’t have a billion dollars in my bank account, and I want to stay in California. I’m afraid 32,000 dollars would not be enough to have a home, a car, and eventually kids.
So, my plan is now to stick with being an environmental lawyer. I still really want to be a humane officer though…
Again, on the topic of money, I realized that I’m not going to have enough money to go to any of the colleges I want to go to. I could go to junior college. It would save a lot of money and I can save up for my next two years at a university.
I also want to take a gap year and go to the Peace Corps…
Will I go straight to a four year school? I wonder where I’m going to live after college? What college am I going to go to? What law school will I go to? Will I still want to be a lawyer, or will my opinions change? What sports will I play? Will I have a boyfriend? Will I get married? Am I going to have kids? When will I retire? Will I become a humane officer?
I don’t know, honestly. But maybe in thirty years, I’ll come back to this post and reflect on everything I did or didn’t do.
This one word scares me more than any other word in the English language, but also makes me more excited than any other word. It makes me excited about what can happen, but also leaves me scared and like I am in a dark abyss.
The future is such a simple word, but it means so much more than anyone could ever explain.
Everything in my life right now is setting up my future. I have applied to college and committed to the best school for me, yet I still feel like I have no clue what my future actually holds. I know where I am going to be living and what I am going to be studying, but that’s all.
I do not know what friends I am going to have out there, where I am going to work, and the hardest one for me is that I do not know what I am going to do with my boyfriend. I don’t want to hold him back, but I also don’t want to let him go. We both want to live in the same state once we graduate college so I don’t know if I say bye if it will actually be bye and not see you later.
I am so excited to meet everyone and make new friends. I can’t wait to see how everyone will help me grow into the woman I am going to become. I can’t wait to find myself and learn how to be an adult. I am so excited to settle down, have my own family, live in my own house, and be in the only one in charge of my family.
I have the big things planned for my future, but the little things are still unknown and those are the things I really want to know. My future is such a blur and I am so scared to see what happens, but I am also so excited to watch it all unfold in front of my eyes.
It’s that time of the year again! High school seniors all over the country are in the midst of getting their long-awaited college acceptances and those dreaded denials, getting excited about their future and freaking out about tuitions. The only difference is that, this year, I am one of them.
I remember when I was a sophomore and I watched my roommate, a senior at the time, go through all that stress and she said something along the lines of “believe me, all this will sneak up on you sooner than you’d think.” I thought to myself: that’s what they always say, I’ll have time. Two years are a long time. But, hell, I was wrong!
Now it’s that time of the year and now I am the one pathetically refreshing my email and checking my mail box, hoping to be admitted into at least a safe school. I’ve gotten into two schools so far, but neither of them are my top choice. I don’t even have a top choice anymore, to be honest. I have no idea what country I even want to be in, let alone what school I want to spend my next four years at!
No matter what choice, I’ll be fine (probably). Nevertheless, wish me luck!
but, we both know deep down that we will most likely never be fully okay.
i ask myself all the time… what could i have done better?
how could i have helped you, made you see what i saw in you?
you sat on the edge for a while, staring over the ledge at the busy freeway. i stood starring at you from below, sobbing.
in your mind, there was nothing to live for, nothing worth living for.
live for me, i thought. live for me. please live for me.
it’s selfish, but i needed you, in all honesty, i still do.
i loved you then, i love you now.
you didn’t jump because you knew that if you did, it wouldn’t kill you. you’d survive the fall and, when you woke up, you’d be sent to a place far worse than the center we were at.
i lived with you for two months in a residential treatment center for eating disorders until we were both discharged.
we suffered together, we cried together, but we laughed together too.
we’d talk in spanish complaining about the staff, we’d talk about boys, we’d talk about all the things we’d do once we got out of center for discovery (the treatment center we were at), and all things we would do together.
at the center, all sharp objects, from knives to pen caps, are locked in a cabinet which only the staff has a key too.
i remember that one night in our room. i heard a noise coming from your side of the room.
the staff who watches us at night had fallen asleep and someone had forgotten to lock away a pen cap.
you lay in bed, a broken pen cap in your hand, and blood on your wrists.
i ran to you and tried to take away the cap. you pushed me away, i lunged at you again and took it.
i grabbed your arms and forced them around me. you sobbed, begging for the cap. i could almost hear you internally begging to me, “end this please, end me please.”
you kept on saying please in between sobs. over and over again: “please.”
“shhh,” i whispered crying. “shhh”.
you were seventeen at the time, i was thirteen.
i was a ninety-pound, anorexic, thirteen-year-old girl living in a metal hospital.
you were a bulimic, suicidal, seventeen-year-old girl living in a mental hospital.
i held you for what felt like hours, i hugged you until you stopped crying.
i don’t see you much anymore, we talk sometimes though.
you were sent back to the center twice because you relapsed.
you seem better now though, you seem happy now, but i worry a lot.
you’re nineteen. if you go back to your old ways, you’re parents can’t legally force you back to the center, you’re an adult.
if you wanted to, you can find a bigger ledge, one that could end it all.
i can’t protect you anymore, i’m not there to grab the pen cap.
you are happy now, but we both know how fast things can change.
i hope you stay happy forever. please stay happy forever.
if you are ever sad, please tell me.
thirteen years old in a treatment center, fifteen years old in my room writing this, twenty years old wherever i’ll be then, no matter what age or what place, i will always be here to hold you.
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.
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.