Coming home

I was so excited to come home from university for the holidays that I forgot to think about what it would be like when I got here. I was so focused on the idea of eating home cooked meals and sleeping in an actually comfortable bed and seeing my friends and family that I forgot that coming back after four months might be a little weird.

For starters, I think that my cats took a day or two to remember who I was, which was sad. They used to mob me whenever I walked through the door after school. There was other little stuff too, like the way my cereals are missing from the pantry and replaced with strange granola mixes that I assume belong to my dad’s new girlfriend. My car barely started because it had gone undriven for so long, and driving itself felt really strange after spending all semester travelling in buses and on foot.

Visiting my high school was the weirdest experience. I went with a bunch of friends, and we all agreed that we felt distinctly like we shouldn’t have come. The students all looked so young and the school felt so small. Our old teachers seemed mostly surprised and weirded out that we had come.

That being said, I had a nice time talking to my English teacher, who now tells me she is studying to get her PhD so that she can become a university prof. She says that her new AP class is not as good as ours was; she misses the noise and how I would always argue with her. English was a big part of my high school experience; I had the same teacher for three years and almost all of my friends were in that class. It was certainly a rowdy class. We had some intense debates about everything from Shakespeare to dystopias.

Ms. R: Kay they agree with everything I say! I keep trying to provoke them to argue but they don’t even react. One time I told them I thought we should drug everyone the way they do in Brave New World, and they wrote it down.

Kay: What? No one had a problem with that? Plus, I don’t think any of us ever took notes in your class.

Ms. R: Exactly!!

So that was nice. Also, seeing my friends was wonderful. I thought we would have nothing to talk about because we’re all doing different things this year and we haven’t seen each other in four months, but if anything we have more to talk about. I love hearing about everyone’s respective university experiences. I have a bunch of friends in engineering at Queen’s University, and from what I understand it’s basically a cult. They have these purple jackets and they get badges for them by doing stupid stunts like drinking their height in beer and jumping into freezing Lake Ontario in the middle of the winter. They have some great stories to tell.

I think it’s hard for the friends who stayed at home for university. It’s really different than residence, where there’s always a party going on and it’s really easy to meet people. I feel bad talking about it too much with people like Jan because she gets this wistful look on her face and I worry that I’m making her wish she had gone away this year. She says it’s been hard to meet new friends when she’s only at school a few hours a day.

It was nice seeing everyone, but it also made me realize that an era of my life is over. It’s hitting me now what presumably we were supposed to realize at graduation, that high school is really over and there’s no going back. Sure, I intend to stay close with some of my high school friends, but it will never be the same as it was. Never again will I drive the half hour to school in the city every morning. Never again will we hang out in the hallways by our lockers, or in the journalism room. Never again will we have all be doing the same things in the same place. Will we even have anything to talk about years from now?

I’ve always liked  new things, but giving up the old things is hard. I wish that having all of the new friends and experiences at university didn’t mean giving up getting to see my high school friends all the time. I guess it’s part of growing up though.

I think that the most important thing I’ve realized this week is the importance of home. I get what all of those Christmas songs are about now and why Christmas traditions are so important. It was so wonderful to just be at home with my family and putting up the Christmas tree and drinking hot chocolate. My first day at home Pal and I spent the whole day baking Christmas cookies. We were determined to make them exactly like our mom did for years. All those years I remember being annoyed that she made us help, but now I’m glad that she left us a tradition to share.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope yours is full of friends and family and food and laughter. Most of all, I hope you get to be home for the holidays, because it is the best feeling in the world.

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Things I wish I could tell my high school self

1) Nobody thinks you’re stupid for asking questions. You look even stupider if you don’t. Especially in grade 10 math, when you don’t know how to do trig and everyone else does. It’s not your fault that your junior high didn’t teach it. Just get your teacher to help you get caught up, it’ll honestly take like ten minutes.

2) Nerd out. Seriously, don’t ever worry about “looking like a nerd.” You are a nerd, embrace it. To be honest, you were never hiding it very well anyway. Also, you’ll end up meeting a ton of nerdy friends who will love you for your love of Shakespeare and physics jokes and Doctor Who, so don’t even stress about it.

3) You’re all in the same boat. You are not the only high school student with tough stuff going on at home, or the only one unsure about their future. You’re certainly not the only one feeling lonely. Just get some balls and talk to people instead of sitting by yourself and pretending to look at something interesting on your phone. They’re probably hoping someone will come introduce themselves because they’re too shy to do it. Most of the friends I made in Grade 11 I wish I had gotten to know in Grade 10. We could have had a lot more time together and they probably would have helped me get through some of the tough times, like my mom’s death.

4) Your alcohol tolerance is not as high as you think it is. So for the love of god do not try to keep pace with Nob and and Jo at that one party. You will take too many shots and you and Nob will both puke and Jo will have to carry you to the car because Jo is a tank and vodka is like water to him. Puke is hard to wash out of your hair btw.

5) Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. Okay, yes, you’re good at soccer and writing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try other things. Maybe I would have also like martial arts, or debate club. I guess I was eager to stick to what I knew because I was confident in that. I wish I could tell my Grade 10 self that it’s okay to be a beginner at things. No one expects you to be an expert right away. And more than that, you don’t have to do things just because you’re good at them. It’s okay to do something you suck at if you’re enjoying yourself.

6) You don’t have to plan your whole future out when you apply for university. I mean, you can, but it’s kind of a waste of your time, because it’s going to change right away anyway, because a) university is different than anything you could have ever imagined, and b) You will change and so will your goals. In January, I was 100% sure I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. Now here I am with two university journalism classes under my belt, realizing that I’m pretty sure that’s not what I want to do with my life. My favourite class so far is philosophy; I did not expect that. All I’ve figured out is that I have absolutely nothing figured out. I used to have my whole life planned out, and now I don’t even know what I’m going to do a year from now.

On failure, and greatness

I don’t usually do this, but today the post is an excerpt from my personal journal. I wrote it at the beginning of July, about a week after I went to Lis’ grad in town. Their principal gave this great speech that really hit me hard. It has been banging around in my head all summer, so I’d thought I’d share some of those thoughts.

I usually hate cliches, but when I heard that speech, this cliche stuck with me:

“We are not afraid of failure. We are afraid of greatness.”

At what point did I start holding myself back? At what point did I start letting the pitch go by? At what point did I stop using big words, or telling people the best way to do things, just because I wanted to fit in?

Maybe it was in second grade, when my classmates made fun of me for reading novels when they were still sounding out words in picture books. Or maybe it was in seventh, when I won that speech competition in front of the whole school, and the older kids mocked me for it in the hallways for weeks afterwards.

All I know is that by ninth grade, when my English teacher wanted me to voice my opinions in class, I didn’t even know how to anymore because I had spent ten years of schooling learning to make myself smaller than I was so that I would belong. I spent so much time learning to blend in, and now I’m eighteen years old and wondering why I can’t seem to get myself to stick out from that same crowd. Go figure. In the last few months I’ve been so frustrated because I felt like no one was recognizing my accomplishments, and now I feel so stupid. Of course no one cared; I wasn’t even trying.

It’s taken me a while, but I think I get it now. I am smart and capable, and I meant to do big things. I can’t limit myself just so that everyone will like me. My friends have often told me that I’m a little too nice, and maybe they’re right. Sometimes I care more about people liking me than I do about getting the job done.

The thing is, even when you know you’re good at something, you’re supposed to hide it and cover it up; they want you to pretend you’re not special. It’s ridiculous of course, because the things that make us different are what make us great. I know how to make tough decisions, and organize people towards a common goal. I’m good at speaking in front of large groups, as well as connecting with people one on one. Most of all, I have vision and ambition and I’m so full of idealism and hope, in spite of all of the bad things. I am made to lead, and I think that scares me a little. Failing is easy; when you’re at rock bottom you have no where to go but up. It wasn’t until I heard that speech that I realized that it is actually the idea of achieving greatness that terrifies me. I think I’m afraid that I really am as good as I think I am. The problem is that if I truly let myself believe that, then I open up this whole new terrifying world of possibilities, possibilities like crossing continents and breaking down barriers and influencing millions of minds. Possibilities like altering history; changing the world, even.

So yeah. I guess I’m scared.

There’s another quote that has always stuck in my head, a favourite of Lis’s:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

I never really got that quote, until now. You see, it’s not enough for someone to be smart or gifted. In order to change the world, or at least make an impact, you need to believe without a doubt that what you are aiming to do is possible. More than that, you need to believe that it is important and meaningful and right. You can’t do the impossible until you believe that you are capable of it. That’s not conceit, that’s faith.

The goodbyes are starting

Dee leaves tomorrow for her year long exchange in Mexico. When I said goodbye to her today, there was another of those shit-just-got-real moments because I realized that not only will I not see Dee for a whole year, but this is also just the first of many goodbyes that I’ll have to go through in the next few weeks.

I’ve been friends with Dee for only two years, but it’s been an intense two years. I spend so much time at her house that I know where everything is and I help myself to whatever I need, clothes or food or whatever. Her parents told me months back to stop ringing the doorbell for goodness sakes and just walk in. They’ve even joked that maybe I ought to take over the guest bedroom. As it is, I have my own side of her bed.

I don’t really know how our friendship started; we met in grade 11 english I think, but we didn’t become friends until sometime that November when we decided to skip english together and ended up sitting in my car eating Halloween candy and talking about boys. Since then we’ve had a lot of classes together, as well as track meets and camping trips and shopping excursions. She has taught me to ski better and I’ve taught her how to shop for bras that actually fit. We’re both super competitive, so we push each other when we work out together, whether it’s running or yoga or hiking. We even got to the point where we would spend our spare running errands together like going to the bank or buying toothbrushes or whatever.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I guess I just wanted to explain how much Dee has been apart of my life. I’ve seen her almost every day for the last year for sure. And now all of a sudden *poof* she’s gone. Does that strike anyone else as strange? You go through these periods of your life where nothing changes, and then all of a sudden you do something like graduate high school and all of a sudden everything changes.

It wasn’t exactly a tearful goodbye because neither Dee nor I are really the emotional type. It went something along the lines of, “I’ll miss you, have an amazing time, you’re going to love it blah blah blah” and then we hugged and then as I was walking out the door we both called to each other at the same time:

Kay: Don’t get pregnant!

Dee: Don’t get alcohol poisoning!

That is what friends are for, right?

Uh oh Kay is talking about boys again

It occurs to me that I’m an adult now and maybe I ought to start saying “men” instead of boys, but I don’t really feel like a grown up yet, so I’m sticking with boys for now okay?

I like Nob. I have always liked Nob, from the day I met him and he gave me this crazy grin and said something sarcastic that I don’t remember. I liked him in grade 10 english when he joked around a lot, but it turned out he really cared about the subject and he is a really good writer actually. Then in sports med I liked how he sat in front of me and we would have these intense political debates when we were supposed to be taping ankles. And I even liked being in math with him three years in a row, even though his favourite thing to do was tease me and stick paper clips in my hair when I wasn’t looking.

The problem is that we already tried the dating thing once. In grade 11 we went on a couple dates, coffee and skating a such, and it was fun, but he just seemed so nervous and awkward. I didn’t want dating to be awkward, so I went out with Patt instead, and then he dated some other girl from english class who I’m pretty sure wasn’t smart enough to get his jokes. I think he was mad at me for a while for rejecting him, but the truth is that we have too much fun together to stay away from each other. We tease each other about that stuff now.

The problem is that in grade 11 I had my reasons for not dating him. I just don’t know if they still apply. I was scared that he was too sensitive and awkward and inexperienced for me and that I would just find it frustrating and it would ruin our friendship. He’s different now though. I think. He’s more confident I guess.

It’s like, I feel this incredible pull towards him, but I don’t exactly know what that means. I just like being near him. I like talking to him and just absorbing the energy between us. I can practically hear it crackling when we get close.

It’s not like, love though. I mean, I think if it was love I would just know, you know? I wouldn’t be sitting in bed with my laptop right now questioning it on my blog…right?

Right?

I will almost certainly see him this fall. His university is within spitting distance of mine and Lyd goes there too, so I will definitely be visiting. And we’re going to a screening of Serenity with Drew next week, and laser tagging tomorrow.

It’s enough just to hang out with him. I don’t need anything else. Probably. Ugh I just don’t know.

Here’s a post I wrote about Nob back in grade 10. It’s funny to read what I thought about him back then. It’s different, but the same.

Welcome to the class

Helloooo!

I only recently read this post from back in March by Mrs. Roberson, who is an awesome blogger and probably also an awesome teacher. She’s a really big advocate for teens and she also gives some good advice.

Anyway, in the post she basically says that she would love to have an English class with all of the teen bloggers she follows. I mean seriously, what an awesome idea! The hitch in the plan is that we’re all in different grades on different parts of the planet of course.

BUT I still really like this idea, so this is my plan: we are going to have our own little class in the interwebs. Even if you’ve graduated or you’re not even a teenager anymore, you are STILL invited! Here is how we’re going to do it:

1) Make an account on the Better Blogger Network. It’s a really cool little site.

2) Go to GROUPS and join Mrs. Roberson’s Class.

3) Start a discussion about favourite authors, college majors, or essay topics. Post book reviews. Share links to your latest posts. Let’s not only talk but also support each other as young bloggers!

I think that there’s a lot of teen bloggers out there and we could make a really cool community if we worked at it a little. Here is who I am inviting to the group, but please please please invite all of your teen blogger and young adult blogger friends!

The anonymous teenage girlanotherteenagegirlblogAwkward, American, and AngstyBawkTalkBlackBirdSpeaksCackles.From.A.Mad.DuckCiara-Marie!Dear Teen of GraceDefeating DragonsdefineemilyElixir of MemoriesGeneration Challenge\henadoesstuffInsatiable Before DeathThe Little ThingsLittle Sweet and SourLove, Hate, LifeMy Momentary VowMy Never Never LandNever StationaryThe problem with societySuper Opinion8tedSydneyJoToThe Quiet VoiceTeenage Dream…Teenage EnthusiasmTell me, when will my life begin?The Turn of the Earth;Wondering, Fearing, Doubting misssamanthajill thought orchard itsjustjaco thoughtsofthesummit 33degrees wackadoodle tearlilly geeklygirl Nickerson

Some of you I have already invited, but you know, take the second invite as a compliment! Can’t wait to see you guys on BBN!