BOOKS LATELY

A favorite blogger of mine described books as "long-term companions," and I couldn't agree more with that sentiment.  One of the more troubling results of the burnout I experienced throughout my junior and senior years of high school was my apathy towards reading.  As someone who has always labeled herself a "book lover," this apathy was very disconcerting to me.

Since graduating from high school, I've gained the time--and the desire--necessary to delve back into books.  I even started a Goodreads account, which inspired me to write this post about books I'm currently enjoying and books that are on my "to-read" list.  If you have any specific book recommendations for me, make sure to leave me a comment or send me a message!

Without further ado, here are some of the books I've been reading over the summer:

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The Picture of Dorian Gray
I always try to purchase at least one "classic" novel on my trips to the bookstore;  after all, certain works are considered as "classic" for a reason!  That being said, some of the novels published in previous centuries can be quite difficult to read and comprehend--some of them, but not this one.  Oscar Wilde's writing is delightfully easy to follow, and in this work he crafts a compelling story about one man's ultimate corruption.

MY COLLEGE DECISION AND MORE UPDATES

Ciao!  It seems like I haven't discussed my life happenings on the blog in at least six months.  Before I delve into that, I need to address the first portion of this post's title.

I told you that I recently graduated high school, but I have yet to talk about my college decision or any of my acceptances--mainly because May 1 (National Decision Day) fell right before a lovely onslaught of AP exams and study sessions.  To sum my experience up quickly, I applied to nine colleges and a few scholarship programs, and after many, many discussions and deliberations, I finally made a decision.

I am excited to announce that I am now part of the Class of 2022 at the University of Florida in Gainesville!  Go Gators!


I really couldn't be happier about my decision.  I've always loved visiting UF's campus, and I'm thrilled to be spending four years in one of my favorite states at a top-ten public university.

SENIOR LESSONS

Well, it has been far, far too long since I have written and published a blog post!  I'll be sure to update you on a few major events that have occurred since we last spoke, but for now I would like to focus on one of my favorite types of posts to write and read.

Since my freshman year, I have been writing these "lesson" posts to teach upcoming high school students about what I have learned during each year of high school.  Now that I am a graduated senior (thank goodness), I would like to share a little about my experiences during senior year and what I took away from my last year in high school.  Without further ado:

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1. Give yourself permission to rest.
Senior year can be very stressful, and it's easy to allow yourself to become overwhelmed and overworked.  However, you will be ten times more productive and alert if you give yourself time to relax each day--trust me, it works!

2. Realize the importance of what you are doing.
If you are a college-bound senior, you will quickly learn that most colleges ask for a senior class schedule and a mid-year grade report during the application process;  in fact, many universities highly value these items as tools to evaluate applicants.  Keep this in mind when you are registering for your classes and throughout the first semester of your senior year.

A STUDENT'S GUIDE TO ORGANIZATION AND TIME MANAGEMENT

When I was attending a college admissions panel a few months ago, the speaker revealed the two major reasons that high-achieving high school students are no longer high-achieving once they reach college:  poor lifestyle choices and ineffective time management.  The second category really piqued my interest because, as we all know, time management skills are not easily mastered.

To be frank, sometimes I still struggle with making the most of the time that has been allotted to me.  I know that time management in college will be much more comprehensive than it is for me now, but I'm hoping that sticking to my tried-and-true organizational system will put me on the right track.

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1. Find Your System:  Do you love technology and built-in notifications?  Google Calendar and other apps might be your best options for time scheduling.  If you prefer writing your schedule, try using a planner and/or desktop calendar.  If you're utterly indecisive (like yours truly), try your hand at a system that incorporates both technological and written timekeeping.  I put important events (like appointments and meetings) and deadlines (usually college-related) on my Google Calendar because I love being able to set customized notifications for them;  I use a paper planner to keep track of my day-to-day school assignments and smaller tasks.

TEN CLASSIC HOLIDAY FILMS

Hello, hello!  It's wonderful to see you again!  Yours truly is on winter break and finally has a bit of time to relax--and write blog posts, of course.  All of the newfound time I have on my hands has reminded me of one of my favorite holiday traditions:  watching movies with my family, surrounded by glowing Christmas decorations and too many holiday sweets.

In recent years, there have been some solid holiday film releases and remakes, but none of them quite defeat the classic films released during the past century.  If you share this nostalgic opinion, or if you're simply in the mood for a timeless holiday movie, check out the films below (some of my absolute favorites):
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1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Would any holiday film list be complete without this classic of classics?  If you'd like to watch a Christmas movie with lovely acting and a heartwarming message, start here!

2. The Bishop's Wife (1947)
One of my middle school teachers played The Bishop's Wife in class a few days before winter break, and I remember thinking then that it was one of the most romantic films I had ever seen.  You can't go wrong with this classic (or Cary Grant, for that matter)!

FEAR

Note:  Before I get into this post, I wanted to explain my lack of activity on this corner of the web.  Like so many high school seniors before me, I am immersed in stacks of college applications and senior year homework.  Of course, these will always be my first priority, but when I have extra time on my hands this semester, I'll try to hop on over!

Ever-constant, ever-changing:  fear is an integral component of the human experience.  Fear can be frustrating because of its dynamic nature;  it doesn't always appear in the form of a demonic poltergeist. For many of us, it comes as an inevitable phone call or the first day of a new job;  it's an important presentation deadline or the "submit" button on a college application website.

I've known fear that was light but distracting, and I've known fear so paralyzing that it hindered my ability to speak.  Neither type is particularly endearing--but no matter its form, fear can always be overcome.

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You see, fear has a very negative connotation in most of our minds.  I'm sure that glancing at the previous paragraphs is enough to give you a clear picture of the feelings that fear evokes in me.  Part of the dilemma, however, is this distinct way that we characterize fear.  Ultimately, we overcome fear by embracing it, and it's rather difficult to embrace something you hold in an unfavorable light.

A BIT OF INSPIRATION

Hello, hello!  The month of August has been accompanied by a flurry of back-to-school activities and adjustment periods--I'm sure that some of you understand exactly what I'm talking about!  Even though I only just finished up my first full week of the school year, my mind and body seem to believe that I've been attending class for at least two months:  a hectic two months, at that.  All that being said, nothing helps me overcome stress like a healthy dose of verbal inspiration;  hopefully, the following quotes will alleviate your worries--just as they did mine!

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"The world won't care about your self-esteem.  The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself." -- Bill Gates

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." -- Anne Frank

"Do more than belong:  participate.  Do more than care:  help.  Do more than believe:  practice.  Do more than be fair:  be kind.  Do more than forgive:  forget.  Do more than dream:  work." -- William Arthur Ward