What I Learned In High School // Part One: The Underclassmen Years

Towards the end of senior year, my mini-school community has this habit of splitting everyone up into the various grade levels in order to prep for the following year, and as a senior, I received an exit survey and a packet featuring fifteen different tips to remember as graduation approached. It was hard not to cringe, since the sheets of paper contained rote echoed reminders drained into our heads the entire year, and quite frankly, it was very saccharine.

On the same note, I've always wanted to write a "What I've Learned" post, high school edition, and I thought this would be a great time to do it because it plays homage to one of my favorite middle grade childhood series by Meg Cabot. It links back to everything happening in my experience these past four years while also being more grounded to avoid romanticizing this time period when confronted about it later on. This post can also act as an advisory for those who are entering high school, although know your experience may be vastly different from mine and your choices help define what kind of experience you receive.

1. High school isn’t as heavy-ladled as portrayed in books and movies… but it’s still there. You know what I’m talking about—the stereotypical hierarchy, the unnecessary drama, backstabbing, full-out swearing, people displaying too much PDA against the lockers, alongside more things I’ll remain unmentioned since it will prompt some uncomfortableness by some readers, mostly underage things. THEY EXIST. To not acknowledge they exist would be incredibly and dumbly naïve. Do carry a grain of salt when I say this; I’d always hear about such things in the background and never as a headlining player in conversations with my own circle of friends (we've all had our encounters with things but try to evade them), so I may be a bit naïve as to the severity or extent. If I had to use a movie analogy, it would be less Mean Girls and more Fan Girl, the movie with Kiernan Shipka.

2. Plan a party with old friends. Even if you don’t see them as often, make time to still see them.

3. ALWAYS AVOID locker blobs near the bathrooms and the water fountains. The people making the blobs will learn next year when they become those trying to push past through.

4. Don't hesitate to rebel. Even in the small ways.

2. Yes, sometimes you will be those people eating lunch on bottom of the floor—but you’ll move to the top, eventually. (By top, meaning sometimes going off campus for lunch and snagging a table.) I never explicitly stated this on the blog, but during my freshman year, my high school was undergoing major construction, meaning a nonexistent lunch room and a library two storage rooms big. Considering most of the tables in the commons were taken, my friend group and I resorted to sitting on the floor some days. Post-freshman year, my friends and I were able to nag tables easier, though we never resorted to sitting in the lunch room.

4. Dumb things will slip out of your mouth. View Exhibits A through C on my freshman year Life Stories: Broken Crayon (a Monologue), Musketeer Noodle Dancing, and Sugar Farts. This doesn’t really grow out while progressing into the upper classes, but if you’re lucky, you should have friends who will respond to you in the same strange vernacular. Sometimes, these dumb things will get you in some awkward situations involving teachers and therefore must explain yourself.

6. Make a separate email for school and college stuff—don’t mix your personal and school emails together, unless you want to sort through over 1600 emails and narrow it down to 400.

7. Only you have the power to let something another has said offend or provoke you. Not everyone is going to like you— and believe me, I’ve given up with that ship a long time ago— but some people can be downright jerks or insert any other negatively connotative word here, and just ignore them. In the end, it’s their loss and their energy being wasted.

8. Costco is the best place to run into people! Both literally and figuratively, of course.

1. Sometimes, misunderstandings will occur between you and your friends and they may ignore or unexpectedly lash back at you with swear words. A long night of messaging both of our mutual friends and talking to each other the following morning can make it up. Just talk it out.

3. Seeing teachers dab for an eighties dance off is INSANE. No other comments.

4. Thank your mentors. Nothing lasts forever. While it is sad that they must part ways to engage in another stage of their life, please take the time to tell them how much you appreciate them. They are the love, light, and support.

5. If you can make a yurt or a fort for history class, DO IT. You won't regret it.

6. Please, don't overuse the word "beautiful."

7. There will be a moment when you realize freshman are freshman and you were once them. It never hit me as hard as others, but explaining it ruins the entire purpose. For those who possess personal experience with this encounter, you know EXACTLY what this means. No need to explain.

8. Team sports are more fun than individual. I did track and field my freshman year, but the rational behind my decision to switch over revolves around a sense of disconnect on the team. This was something I also faced in softball since I joined late, but it wore off by the end of the season and it was just more fun, gnawing on fruit snacks and hogging the heater while sitting in thirty degree weather.

What have you learned in your underclassmen years of high school? Are you ready for round two? Also, my new blog is now live! You can check it out here:


Ups & Downs Is Coming to An End. And... // BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

Hello, friends.

I can't begin to fathom the reality of this announcement, which has been in the making since the beginning of senior year. But as May approaches and the future grows tangible, I feel like this is the only way to break down the news, towards the end. To first answer your questions, then address each individually:

Yes, this blog is coming to an end, but no, I am NOT ceasing blogging.

Ups and Downs espoused as the brainchild of my love of writing and the need to express myself as a young seventh grader inspired by her NaNoWriMo friends to begin to embark on this journey, and over the five years I've grown to know this blog I learned so much-- about myself, about my writing, and most importantly, the world. I wrote of my love for books, recalled frustration over romance portrayals in books (why, YA dystopia birthed in the 2013 era) and espoused all the times sneaking off and exploring old abandoned theaters and church sites, because that's the person I was as I grew from elementary to high school. And I still am this person.

I do want to recognize that yes, a major chapter of my life is beginning to close.

A lot of reflecting and the art group I've been a part of this past year has made me realize what I want to go with blogging. I want to stop hiding away my online persona, while also refining what it is that I do and why I wanted to do it. Blank spaces are the most exciting places, holding opportunities which only the mind can see, and from all of this plus many more decisions—

Births the emergence of a self-hosted blog known as Story-Eyed.

This blog is going to be similar to what I post now—you will hear some of my adventures and thoughts, but there's going to be a shift towards more writing and college advice centered posts. Some new series and snippets into my writing, as well as many collaboratives I cannot wait to share.
And you will see this launch on May 16th! For now, though, I'll be posting on this blog until graduation.

Until then, I'm planning on doing a potential blog tour (if you want to take part, please leave a comment below) but until then!