What is the Hottest Hot?
It is burning skin against leather seats
It is thighs and undersides drenched in sweat
It is heat waves rising above the street.
I’ll leave my pizza in the garage on top of the car, better than an oven.
I can’t remember what it’s like to feel a chill, see my breath, stomp through snow.
Perhaps I’ll be saying the same about summer in the dead of February, but this is the hottest hot.
Michelle: A Chapter of Our Long Distance Relationship
It’s been over a year since I last saw Michelle, despite her being one of my best friends. This might be a problem in a normal friendship, but what M and I have is nothing close to normal.
< Related: This Kid I Know: Michelle >
In the cyber-digital age, when LDRs have gone largely online, the two of us have somehow managed to keep in touch despite not having conversations every day, every week, or even every month. Continue reading
A Playlist For the Bahamas
When I find new music I put them at the top of a huge, ever-growing list and every month or so, I download n new music and name it after some occasion that’s coming up.
Over winter break last year, my family went to the Bahamas, and this is the playlist that I created just before we left. No particular reason why; I didn’t search and find these songs to fit the occasion. These were just the songs that I played over our stay there and everytime I bring the playlist back, I’m reminded of our awesome vacation.
It starts out with blasting music for a sun party, and gradually fades into really chill, really mellow music for late nights in the tropics.
Never Just About A Boy: Sarah Dessen’s The Moon and More
This is part of my Summer Reading 2.0 series
I’ve always been a fan of Sarah Dessen; she puts out a bunch of thick novels dubbed as teenage romance. In my early days of high school I saw them as just that, teenage romance novels. But ever since English teachers started pushing me to dissect literature and find deeper meanings, I’ve started to do that, the practice leaking into my leisure reading. Continue reading
5 More Reasons to Love Summer
Happy first day of summer! June 21st is the Northern Solstice.
You read and loved 7 Reasons Why We Love Summer, so here are 5 additional reasons to love the hottest season of the year.
5. Summer reading
If you’ve got even an ounce of intelligence running through your veins, you’re able to find a curiosity for reading somewhere deep inside of you.
Young people think “summer reading” and envision long lists of books pushed on us by schools, that we don’t really bother with until the week before school starts back up. Even then, many students skip the whole process and head straight for SparkNotes.
But summer reading can and should be something more, something better. We can fill our free time at home visiting another country, another world, another dimension in another person’s body, the hours passing by as if they were minutes. Continue reading
A Sippin’ Sizzurp Summer Playlist
A whirlwind mix of party alone, party together EDM songs, featuring trap, dubstep, chillstep, and really, really incredible remixes. You can’t find this stuff on Spotify…
Quality speakers/headphones recommended.
This playlist eases you in with mellow, psychedelic electronic music and gradually ascends to head-bumping, heavy bass trap and dubstep.
Something About Playlists…
If you clicked on this thinking it would be a sizzling summer playlist, you were wrong.
(but there will probably be one up later next week!)
Does music ever make you feel nostalgic?
In high school, when debate seemed to dominate my life, I would download new music right before every major tournament…there are playlists in my library whose titles share the name of the tournament I was about to attend.
Songs of every genre were clumped together in groups with no collective identity, their only similarity being where and when they just so happened to be relevant.
11 Things to Do the Summer Before You Leave For College
1. Read classic books, and watch classic movies. Become cultured.
2. Let go of petty high school things. Make up with people you fought with, people you isolated, and start college off without something clawing at your past.
3. Clean up your social media. Delete anything that might endanger your opportunities for work opportunities, friend opportunities, etc… Continue reading
11 things debate camp taught me about life
1. Living without my parents degrades my living standards
You never know who you have until they’re gone. I look around my filthy living quarters and miss my parents nagging me about picking up my clothes and not bringing food on my bed. There are empty wrappers everywhere and piles and piles of flow paper. Is it bad that I feel as though a poke would tip me over, as a result of a lack of sleep, exercise, and nourishing food? I crave avocados and fresh produce, and my sleep schedule is massively skewed.
2. I have no self control
There’s such a contrast between how I felt at the beginning of camp (wads of cash and a loaded card) and now (empty wallet and dearth of credit on my card). There was a massive sale towards the middle of camp that totally left me winded; as a result, I have more clothes than is possible to transport back home and I’ve become exponentially stingy about money. My parents probably role their eyes everytime I call home and ask them to put more money on my card. It is tough to be on your own and remember that you have to ration out your resources and allocate them wisely.
3. I can reinvent myself
Although I have been immersed in this community for the entirety of my high school career, I feel that it is much more socially acceptable to “update” yourself every summer. This is because the debate community sees you sporadically throughout the year; a couple times each month or so, and normally everyone’s heads are buried in their computer screen doing research. Here, you present yourself to a group of kids for several weeks straight, and you can come with a freshened up ‘tude.
4. It is possible to get better at something in a very short amount of time
Given that you are also improving during the year, you are also destined to progress if you dedicate 7 weeks of your summer to one activity, and one activity alone. Here, it is hard to envision someone and their skills as being static. Sure, we all improve at different rates, but it is improvement all the same.
5. It is impossible to tire of listening to music, if the music is good
I have spent hours and hours every single day for the past 6 weeks just sitting on my computer, reading files or articles, with really intense music playing in the background; I’m sure that I’ve played some song over 100 times, and yet I have not tired of any song. This is because it’s merely background music. There is certainly an argument to be made that this is not adequate music appreciation, but I honestly am someone who can focus on music and work AT THE SAME TIME. It passes the time and gives me a reason to bop my head and wiggle my legs.
6. Senior year is the peak
Compared to years past, I definitely exude the most confidence this year. It’s a bittersweet realization that this is my last year as a student. From now on, I can only be a counselor. No more rules, room check, or confines. But at the same time, no more guidance and no more intense drills or drive to debate. There’s something about being the kid that makes you feel instantly less worry free than ever before.
7. People really can look up to you
There are people here…that I don’t know but they somehow know me. It’s weird because I was the same way last year and the year before; I would know of people that probably didn’t know I existed. It’s a compelling concept to fathom, and it’s one of the perks of seniority. You are considered the top of camp; it’s intriguing to realize every year that not only are you better than you were the year before, but that a great majority of your most fierce competition has graduated.
8. Authority figures are not always rigid
I will no longer consider adults and teenagers complete opposites. I will no longer assign people to arbitrary sides of an Iron Curtain or cower in their presence or refuse to socialize with them because of their age. Here, there are no teachers, only guiders and leaders. Here, we don’t have homework and we don’t use grades as motivation to work. Here, we have naturally ambitious kids who want to have success during the year and use that as their only inspiration to work hard. Authority figures here are few and far between; once you let this rigid idea go, friendships are easy to construct.
9. If you find something you love, you can basically do it yer-round
Here’s my annual debate schedule, in a nutshell: school starts in August and prep starts. The first major tournaments take place at the beginning of September, and essentially do not stop until March or April. Of course, there’s a few weeks of break for the winter holidays, but we typically spend the break updating old files or brainstorming ideas, so there’s not really a “break.” Come May, it’s time for exams and debate sort of pauses until June, when summer camps begin for the next year’s topic. I so much prefer the rest of the year to the May season because a) exams are stressful b) I don’t debate. If you might imagine someone like me to tire of doing one activity so rigorously and so frequently, you imagined wrong.
10. Adjusting to college campuses is going to be tough
Hey, I’m Catherine. I’m geographically incompetent to the point that I don’t think I could drive from my house to my school, that I’ve been going to for 6 years now. It has taken me years and years of wandering this campus to find out where things are, and even now, I still get mixed up frequently. All college campuses are difficult to navigate and overwhelmingly confusing upon first glance, and now I know that I’ll be the one that suffers most. Don’t ever hand me a map; that just adds to the stress.
11. You can go back to a place and have it change everytime
Looking at pictures is completely different from actually being here on this campus. In 2011 (my first year at summer camp), this place was just a place. I was a stranger in a weird town, filled with mysterious restaurants and stores. I’d never heard of Potbelly’s or 7-Eleven prior to my first year here. I struggled to find my way around the campus. Come summer of 2012, I am starting to feel like I am in town visiting family; I’ve been here before and the building structures look familiar, but I’m still finding it hard to navigate the streets properly. By now, I’ve established hangout spots and coffee stores that have become all mine. Well…now we’re in the summer of 2013, and I feel like this place has actually become my home. I know every inch of the place, every brick and weathered stone, the closing time for every store, and all of the secret sales. I’m still wandering down streets and finding new ice cream shops and pizza stores, but I feel more welcome here than I ever have. I’ve settled into a comfortable groove, finally, after 18 total and 7 consecutive weeks.
Accepting the inevitable
For the readers that weren’t aware, I am seventeen. I’ve got a younger sister that is going on fifteen, and I just realized that yesterday.
I’ve been away from her for almost a month; I haven’t seen or heard her voice in weeks. I’ve been out of state at summer camp, and she has also been.
Since the end of junior year, I’ve been continuously pre-occupied with the struggle of college and summer activities and what not, and I haven’t had nearly as much time as I’d like to reflect on our relationship. Sure, I saw her at dinner every night and still spent time with her during the day, but a transformation never seemed evident.
So when I logged onto Facebook yesterday and saw that she had posted a summer album filled with photos depicting her summer camp experience, I was taken back.
Who is this girl? She looks so much more sophisticated and older than I’ve ever seen her; it almost seems inappropriate to refer to her as a ‘girl’. I feel as though the term ‘young lady’ would do her more justice. Her baby-ish features have almost disappeared, replaced with a slim bone structure. It may seem like I’m stretching the truth, but the fact that my sister is going to high school in a matter of months scares me.
As inevitable as it is, it’s hard to accept, even though she spent 3 weeks on her own at some summer camp.
I continue to click through her Facebook album. She’s tan, she’s hanging out with lots of males (in contrast, she’s normally had mainly female friends in the past), she looks genuinely happy…she’s growing up.
She hasn’t grown up, she’s just in the process of a winding, confusing period of her life. I can sense that she will struggle to find herself in the midst of so many societal pressures. I know that I did, and that I still am.
The transition from middle school to high school is almost an official gesture towards the oncoming wave of puberty, change, and self-discovery that will be countered with peer pressure and drama. She most likely won’t see these changes coming; at least, I didn’t. However, now that I look back at the last three years, I see a completely different person than who I was at the beginning of ninth grade.
It seems like just yesterday I was gushing to my friend about how excited I was to finally be in high school. It’s as if I had just been discussing with my cousin the woes of her college apps, and yet today she is about to start her second year of college.
To see a drastic change in my sister’s appearance and composure is unsettling.