Look, I’ve got to buckle down and accept the truth: THIS IS MY LAST YEAR AT DEBATE CAMP.
No more morning lectures, no more afternoon research sessions, and no more waking up at 5AM to go to what might be the biggest sale of the year.
As a senior, it’s a madly saddening thought to accept; the weeks sort of just pass one by one. On the first Monday, your lab leaders say something like:
We’re going to prepare you so well over the course of seven weeks!
Today, they might say something like:
Don’t worry, we’ve still got six weeks left to solidify that skill!
I approached this inevitability like a countdown and all I felt was doom and nostalgia.
When people ask about my summer plans, I am ready to see the mixed emotions on their face when I say I’m going to debate camp for seven weeks. First comes judgment, then comes pity, then comes fascination when I describe to them that I spend 8+ hours every day in a classroom by my own will. To the average outsider, that’s probably what this seems like, but I come back to my dorm positively enlightened by the genius of my lab leaders; they have made me change the way I approach the activity and have expanded my perspective on the game of debate.
So, as a rising senior, when you’re forced to consider the future, where your debating in college is not necessarily guaranteed, it’s a bittersweet train of thought. On one hand, you’ve had such a wonderful and experienced debate career, but on the other, you’re watching it slowly make its final cycle around your senior year. This is the last camp experience of your life.
College kids don’t really go to camp. Even if they did, they wouldn’t be under the supervision of RA’s and lab leaders. While the transition to college might be something to look forward to (much more freedom), there’s something particularly attractive about being a high schooler in this sort of situation. There are certain obvious perks to still being a kid, even if you are right at the peak.
Combining the freedom of summer and the mental state of mind of a high school student provides you with a unique opportunity to balance immaturity with maturity; add in the role of a debater, and you’re left with a senior summer experience that no other kids in the country will get.
This summer is…the beginning of the end, but it could just as well be the beginning of what is merely a transition to a better portion of my life. I am not only potentially ending my debate career, but also just my high school career. It’s a bittersweet good-bye to a lifestyle that I shall soon retire to the back of my mind, only to be relived through stories and photo albums.
The Aging Epidemic
Stick out your tongue;
you’ve got a bad case of growing up.
The doctor said it wouldn’t be lethal,
but it’d be chronic.
Your childhood will be no more,
but instead will come back in flashes of nostalgia
in the midst of your pedantic new lifestyle.
A Period of Idealistic Innocence: Howl’s Moving Castle
I could listen to this music for the rest of my life and never tire of it.
As an Asian, many people would probably assume that I watch anime or read manga.
anime: a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes
manga: a Japanese comic book or graphic novel
In fact, I had never watched anime until about two years ago (I am almost seventeen right now) when one of my white friends suggested it to me. Manga? I’ve read one manga (Death Note) and I never even finished it. It was extremely interesting, however.
In regards to anime, I found Studio Ghibli films to be the most popular ones out there, so I started watching some of the originals:
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
My Neighbor Totoro
Castle in the Sky
Whisper of the Heart
Perhaps you have heard of some of these?
These films are comparable to Disney films, except that the method of magic incorporation is extremely different. They’re still, however, delightful.
It’s pretty strange to acknowledge that I technically did not watch these in my actual childhood. I watched them in my adolescence, over the course of a month or so. Needless to say, this month was very happy and light for me.
My favorite anime film is Howl’s Moving Castle. When I heard that Josh Hutcherson had voiced one character in the Disney remake, I decided to watch the “Americanized” version instead.
While the story line was magical, the portion that I am choosing to write about is the music.
In one scene, Sophie (the main character, a girl that has been cursed into being an old woman) and Howl (rebellious wizard) start flying over the ruckus of the town square. Sophie is terrified and overwhelmed by the whole sensation. During the whole scene, a beautiful theme that is playing swells and eventually reaches an apex.
It’s not necessarily my favorite scene.
But the theme? Oh yes, in fact, my favorite lyric-less piece ever. It has made its way onto the list of my “All Time Favorites”.
When I listen to it, I am transported to that time two years ago when I saw life through a very optimistic and childlike lens, each day filled with naive hope.
This is not to suggest that idealistic innocence is the best mentality to embrace a time like this (with college finally becoming relevant to my life), but it’s a wonderful distraction – nay, a fantastic pastime – that I long for.
Just listen to it.
Inspired by the Daily Prompt
This Kid I Know: Rachel
How do I even begin to describe her? My roommate at debate camp for two years, who first introduced me to a substantial amount of music that I listen to today. I’m so glad to have met you, because my life would be half as fun if you weren’t in it.
Welcome To My Closet
Imagine walking into a small room. A light switch on your left is flipped, and your eyes are bombarded with colors of every shade!
Skirts and tank tops hang on the left, next to a hanging organizer that holds Nike shorts, hats that I never wear (because I hate wearing hats), and tank tops that I’ve grown tired of, all of which are shoved carelessly into random pockets. I know that I’ll regret this unorganized decision later when I’m scrambling on a deadline to find something to wear. There’s an ugly orchestra uniform hanging, cleverly hidden behind a rack of bags, most of which I never use. Of these bags, there are two dollar tote bags of The Great Gatsby and Of Mice and Men that I bought from Barnes and Nobles, old Vera Bradley bags, and the only bag I actually use, a bright pink one cross body bag from who-knows-where that my mom presented to me a couple months back. On the floor, there’s a little dresser that holds towels, pillowcases, and bedsheets.
Look directly ahead, and you’ll notice that there are lots of similar looking jeans of all different sizes that have accumulated from 8th grade. Skimming your eyes from left to right, you’ll notice that these pants gradually get more and more patterned. Polka dots, hounds tooth, and BAM – flashes of red, first bright like ROY G BIV and then darker, of oxblood color. Then, you’ll see dresses that are probably too short to actually be dresses, that I’ll probably just wear over jeans, and with a cardigan. Notice that there’s little variety to my dresses; I just really like sleeveless scoop necked stuff. Then, you’ll see jackets of all sorts. Northface, Abercrombie, and Urban Outfitters, galore! If you happen to peek into my closet on a Sunday night, you might see a rack of clothes that I’ve picked out for the week, as I like to do this.
Glance right, and you’ll see a big row of sweaters and shirts of all sorts of colors, all sorts of styles. Buttoned, graphic, tee shirts, you name it, it will probably be in my closet, somewhere. And there shall be fancy-schmancy dresses that I’ve worn maybe once, either from big events like 9th grade PDC or just from poor fashion choices that haunt me from freshman year.
Look up and to your right, and you’ll see a stack of random blankets that I’ve accumulated over the years. A pink and purple flowery one that I got as a birthday present in third grade is one of my favorites. I don’t even remember who gave it to me, and my mom tells me its really bad quality, but it has such a comfy and familiar feel, sort of like my Kenya t-shirt.
On the ground sits a big blue suitcase that I use for debate travel, a mini fan that I took to debate camp. There’s a container full of belts and scarves that I seldom wear; I stick to 1 basic belt and scarf. My summer clothes sit neglected in a storage box, filled to the brim with light, wispy fabric and bright, airy colors destined to be worn in the summer. There’s a white box that sits innocently on the floor. Lift the lid, and you will find stacks and stacks of paper (“flows”) that I have accumulated over the years from debate camp, debate tournaments, and practice debates at school. I like to peak in there once in a while and note how much my handwriting has improved. My shorthand writing has gotten much more efficient, and there’s more ink on the paper, as I have gradually become less dependent on my dear computer.
Ultimately, the best thing in my closet would be my boxes. No, not your ordinary box that holds clothes of some sort like I previously mentioned, but rather, the box of nostalgia.
These shoe boxes are full of scraps of paper and mementos from years past. I peek into them as I write this post, and this is what I see:
- 5$ straw glasses
- A badge from Dragoncon
- Receipts from my favorite restaurants
- Friendship bracelets, long worn and broken
- Photo booth pictures
- Tags from my favorite clothes
- Those super strong wristbands that you wear when you go ice skating
- Plane tickets
- Maps of college campuses
- Room keys from camp
- A deflated beach ball from who knows where
- Movie ticket stubs
- My old, ripped up Iphone case
- Chopsticks from one of my favorite sushi restaurants
- Letters from when I actually wrote to my family when I went away to summer camp in third grade
- My journal from 1st and 2nd grade
- Tokens from arcades
- My first college letter for when I truly thought Texas Christian University was offering me a scholarship
- Notes that I wrote to my friends from 7th-9th grade
That’s right, I’ve kept all of these random items. Why not just throw these things away? They are just useless clutter that take up space in your closet.
Well, I guess you could say I’m a bit of a sentimental freak. I keep almost anything that I encounter. In the drawers of my desk, I have stored old, used up pens, pencil nubs, candy wrappers, spanish vocabulary notecards from 7th grade, and every receipt EVER since 9th grade. I keep all my old disgusting nail polishes and broken earphones, every metal bottle cap I find on the street or in the dumpsters (just kidding about that last part). I don’t know why, but I just do.
My closet is kind of special. It is a defining, physical aspect of my life that shapes who I am. Each bag of old clothes ready for Goodwill demonstrates the person I used to be, contrasted with who I have evolved into today.
Guest Post: My Backyard
My backyard is a place I haven’t set foot in for months and months, simply because I never have a reason to go there. After all, homework rarely requires grass or trees or dirt. I guess that says something pretty sad about me as a person and the way I’m currently living my life. That said, my backyard is one of my favorite places in the house.
Everyone should write.
I really think they should. For yourself or for an audience, it really doesn’t matter.
When you write for yourself, there’s no need to hold back. No fear of other people reading your thoughts, shocked when they discover your true nature. Let your personality come out. Your writing should reflect who you are when no one is really around; what you really think of someone, something, or somewhere. And in privacy, you should have the right to write about anything and everything. What did you think of your day? Was it better than yesterday? Why is that? How do you feel? Are you happy? Why or why not? Is it a temporary factor or something chronic? Continue reading