Nostalgia or Lack Thereof

Today I took the ACT for the last time. That stupid, four hours of torture "have your brain fall into a puddle on the floor" test. Yep, it's the American College Test if I remember the acronym correctly. And it's my ticket to get into well...nothing really.

True, I needed to take the ACT to get into Carroll or North Central (who accepted me this week and told me I would recieve $16,000 on admission). But now I'm in, I've got the scholarship from the college and I'm ready for whatever comes next.

But, being the unhappy perfectionist that I am, I decided to take the ACT one more time. I was trying to improve on my score of 28. Part of it's a sibling rivalry in which my sister got a 30 and I want to best her. Part of it is just me.

So I went into Pleasant Valley High School (oh I could rant about them and their elitist school and uninspiring learning environment but I won't) to take the ACT one last time.

And I came out feeling pretty good. My pacing was much better and I didn't feel like "WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?" like I sometimes do on standarized tests. And now, I have the happy announcement to make that I shall never have to take another standardized test in high school or college - until I take the GRE.

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I've never been a fan of tightropes - even balance beams. I've always felt that I'm going to fall. It's a fear of mine - falling.

So imagine putting someone in a few high stress positions and then making her walk across that balance beam of life. Yeah, it doesn't work too well.

While I have already decided that I'm going to go to Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin (Go Pioneers!), the college process has become slightly stressful for me. I had, earlier this weekend, one fellowship application, one full-ride scholarship application and one honors program application. Then when I decided I didn't want to go anywhere but Carroll I realized I then needed to fill out my Intent to Enroll form.

Now, at about dinner time on Sunday I have my fellowship application in the mail, my honors program application just needs to be printed out and my full-tution scholarship needs some finishing. So while I have it under control, I still feel slightly stressed.

I'm stressed because there is a huge pressure on me to get as much money as possible for college despite the $13,000 I earned from being in the top ten percent of my class and being a leader. This pressure isn't just in the form of scholarship applications and keeping my grades up, but on improving my ACT score (I've got a 28 right now) and gettinga 4 on my AP Spanish test this May. Improving my ACT score won't help much for scholarship purposes for Carroll but apparently it will help with other things. It's like National Honor Society - pointless to the college who has already accepted me.

This year History Day has started stressing me out early. The theme this year, "Innovation and Impact in History" is an extremely difficult theme and my topic, "Jane Austen," while fun to learn about, has not provided many views on how she was innovative. I know once I email some professors from different universities I will have a better idea but again, that requires that I email them.

Because of the stress of school, college, History Day and other things I have decided to take a break from writing - my true love. It's painful to think that I am going to have to restrain myself from going full-out on writing whatever I'm working on so that I have time for less-fun endevours. I know however, that saving my imagination for NaNoWriMo should be beneficial.

So we'll see how the next two or three weeks goes. I'm going to be on this tightrope/balance beam for awhile and I need to learn how to balance. Let's hope there's a net below when I end up falling - because eventually I will fall - if not now, sometime.

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Thick Skin Club

It takes a certain type of person to write, I think. It takes someone with extremely thick skin. That's something I don't have. Enter in Mr. Williams, my fearless, brilliant college Humanities (official name: Humanities of the Early World) teacher. He's by far, the best teacher I have ever had in high school and actually, ever. I respect his opinion probably more than I should. It's an idea he brought up in class before.

But enough about the wonderful English teacher, there's something more important. We're going back to thick skin. I have been getting okay grades on my analysis of different pieces we've read in Humanities. That was, until we did our most recent essay answers. (He doesn't believe in the five paragraph essay.) I almost failed those essays. I was hurt, I was angry and if I hadn't really extremely focused, I would have been crying in class seeing the grade.

You see, I trust Mr. Williams opinion but I thought I had wrote a better test than the grade he had given me. I hate to have people be overly critical of my writing – even my analysis of something or a non-creative paper – because I take it as an attack on myself. It seems weird but part of it has to do with the fact that I consider myself a writer – writing is who I am. So when someone criticizes my writing my brain immediately puts up walls and says “You're being criticized.” Not my writing...

I want to work on my skin and toughening it up because college can be brutal. I know I'll have professors who absolutely hate my writing style and will give me a bad grade just because of that. (Or so I've heard.) I know that I will get rejection letter after rejection letter when I submit my novel, Build You Wings. And I need a way to just brush all of that out.

In case anyone was wondering, I did end up talking to Mr. Williams about how I could improve my writing so that I will never get a grade like that again. And now that I am armed with tips, my skin just needs some roughing – that's the only way it's going to get thicker.

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Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night

First off, credit to The Black Eyed Peas for their song.

After rushing home from Emma Young Park in Clinton where we had a cross country meet (covered in mud) I took a short nap and started to get ready. Half an hour earlier than I expected, my date showed up - with his mom. Two things I definitely wasn't expecting. I hadn't gotten my purse together yet so in the process I had forgotten my ID and grabbed mismatched socks for when we were suppose to go bowling. Both didn't matter though since my parents were working the dance and we ended up not going bowling.

After an interesting dinner with 8 girls and my date at Applebees we went to a friend's house to play Buzzword, Wii Tennis and Wii Bowling. It was a bundle of laughs and it was just great - I loved it. I didn't even think about the fact that this was my senior homecoming and I'm not going to have one of these again.

At the dance I found out just what awkward can be. My date doesn't do clubbing dance - the basis of our school dances. I love clubbing dancing since prom last year so I didn't know what to do. I wanted to dance but I didn't want to make him feel like an idiot just standing there while I danced with my girlfriends.

Thankfully a guy I know from the school newspaper came and helped get my date to dance and then it was all fun from there.

Arriving at home around 11:30 at night I promptly dropped into bed. But this morning the aftereffects of not drinking enough water and it being my last homecoming were apparent. I felt sad that I wouldn't have another Homecoming week - especially since this week wasn't all that great due to the weather and us losing our game. I had a headache but that's slowly going away due to my drinking more liquids.

It's going to be a night I'm going to remember for awhile and I've learned a few lessons - dance even if you don't think you want to or know how to - make sure you're one hundred percent comfortable with who you are and who your date is and lastly... just have fun! High school isn't the best time of your life but it certainly can be close up there.

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