Make The Most of Your Vacations

     

eiffel tower during daytime

     For months in my AP Euro class this year, we talked about Versailles. For those who don’t know, Versailles was a residence created by Divine Right Absolutist Louis XIV when he ruled France in the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s basically a palace outside of Paris that was created to restrict the nobility’s power by making them come to him instead of the other way around. It’s gorgeous. It’s one of the many places I was lucky enough to go to this past summer on my trip to Europe with my family.

     Let me start by saying this was not my best summer. My love life was all over the place, I spent hours all day doing SAT prep and summer work, and I was just overall miserable. When my family told me we were going to Europe, I was excited but apprehensive because I HATE being away from home. Nevertheless, I boarded the plane that mid-July night wanting to give this trip a chance. I loved the Netherlands and Belgium because we adventured around with my dad’s friend’s family. However, they didn’t come to France with us. My parents and I were left alone exploring all of France, a “problem” that many people would love to face. I, on the other hand, didn’t love this problem. I felt frustrated that my three years of French couldn’t help me figure out this brand new city. My parents were thrilled and loved the sense of adventure, but all I wanted to do was curl up in our tiny hotel room and cry. I blame this on my ungrateful teenage mindset. All I wanted was to go home and pet my best friend’s dog, hang out with the guy I was flirting with, sleep in my own bed, catch up on Netflix-basically just resume my regular teenage activity. I just wanted home! I didn’t bother to read up on the history of any of the places we visited. We only really learned vocabulary and grammar in French class, so the history of these landmarks was pretty hazy to me. I dragged myself through all the museums, taking all the artsy pictures I could, occasionally stopping to read about the painting I was looking at. I was in the historic Louvre, and all I wanted to do was go home! Now, looking back, I’m so ashamed.

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You Don’t Have to be “Smart” to be Smart

   

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Think of the smartest, most intellectual person you know. Is he or she a physics expert? Does he or she know every war in American history? Can he or she carry out a conversation about any book you name?


That scientifically gifted, history-loving, well-read person is what I used to think of as “smart.” Grades aside, I used to think that true intelligence was marked by a natural curiosity and talent for all things “scholar
ly.”

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Don’t let FOMO win

     The other night I found myself feeling so upset about the fact that I couldn’t find anyone go to a local carnival with me. Everyone I asked was either busy, had already gone, or was studying for AP exams (which I probably should be doing more of). Even though my last two carnival experiences were rather crappy (the first time I was so sick and just in the worst mindset, and the second time my phone almost broke and my friend and I almost died of nausea), I still love the carnival. From the scary rides and greasy food, to the Ferris Wheel and bright lights, the carnival aesthetic is so exciting. All I wanted was to experience all of it with good company and without getting sick.

     The thing is, I didn’t even know the carnival was in town until I saw a girl from school post a picture of herself in front of those bright lights. The other thing is, I was so happy until I saw that picture. The other, other thing is, I was ready to buckle down and study for AP’s the whole weekend, and I honestly wasn’t too mad about it, until I saw that picture. The other, other, other thing is, I really love carnivals, but I didn’t want to force someone who I’m barely friends with to come with me simply out of FOMO (fear of missing out). If I had never seen that picture, I would’ve been completely content with the way my weekend was going. But alas, FOMO struck.

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Happy Birthday, Shakti

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     I’ve tried to write and edit this post so many times. For some reason, every draft I’ve written has sounded like a typical seventh grade Instagram birthday shoutout, and Shakti (also known as the person who proofreads all my posts) deserves much more than that on her 17th birthday. The truth is that I could go on and on about all the memories we’ve made such as singing along to music at the top of our lungs every car and bus ride we’ve been on together, Facetiming for hours every night, making music videos in my basement, spending every middle and high school formal together, and so many more. I could go on and on about how excited I am to room with her in Disney next year, graduate side by side, and go on our road trip next summer. I could go on and on about all our inside jokes from  “Guess the body part!” to “GO OFF SHAKTI”. However, no one will understand a post like that because 99% of our memories, future plans, and inside jokes are SO weird. So let’s stray from the “seventh-grade-birthday-shoutout” theme and get to the part that I want the world to read.
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Home Doesn’t Have To Be Only One Place

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     While I am far from being a travel blogger, I do want to share the memories I made and lessons I learned as my family and I traveled through North Carolina this spring break. Ever since my trip to South Carolina in fifth grade, I have been obsessed with the south. I recall how nice our cab driver was, how soothing the sunshine felt, how endearing the country music sounded, and how at home I felt for the duration of that trip. Since then, I have made some new friends from the South, and their stories of life “back home” intrigued me and made me consider going to the South for college. A few months ago I began looking at schools in North Carolina specifically. Why North Carolina? I really don’t know. Something about the state sounded right to me, even though I had never been there. My parents were not thrilled when I told them I was considering going to school that far away, but they still agreed to take me to North Carolina to let me see for myself if this is where I wanted to be. So we booked our hotel, made the college tour appointments, and packed our bags.

Every expectation I had of this state was surpassed. I really mean it.

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Stop Putting a Timeline on Grief

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In our fast paced world, we try to convince ourselves that we need to be perfect in handling our grief. We’re supposed to be sad for a couple of days and then rapidly bounce back into our happy, energetic selves. This is beyond wrong. There is no specific timeline for grief. Whether it’s a death, job loss, breakup, or medical problem, no two people will heal in the same amount of time. By putting this unrealistic timeline on ourselves, we stop ourselves from fully feeling the pain that will only help us grow in the end. We rush the healing process, which only prevents us from accepting the pain in a healthy way.  We turn ourselves into happy-go-lucky machines that are more robot than human.

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Study Tips to Improve Your Work Ethic

Studying. Ugh. President’s Day weekend is over, and spring break is a loooong month away. Needless to say, my motivation is definitely not at its peak. Lately I’ve really been trying to find anything and everything to motivate me to get my work done and done WELL. Here are some of my go-to’s to doing homework and studying effectively. I can’t promise your grades will rise dramatically, but I can promise you will feel a difference in your work ethic:

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