Being A Prep For (Several) Weeks

Ciao!  How are things going?  Long time, no see, right?  Definitely right.  Welcome back to my small corner of the Internet which, rather unfortunately, has been without an operator for the past few weeks.  I'm sure that readers of my last post have a substantial idea as to what contributed to my absence, but in case you missed it, I can sum it up rather quickly:  life decided to challenge me by seeing just how much I could fit into my daily schedule and still have ample room for breathing and sleeping.  Life doesn't always play fair, as I learned.
Fast forward to the present, and I can affirm that I'm very happy to be back blogging.  It really allows me to utilize a part of my brain that is neglected by my routine schoolwork. For now, I'm just hoping for the best!
Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past weeks:
This post has thoroughly convinced me that Bavaria is the most beautiful destination in Europe...
The ten habits of super-achievers, according to Forbes--a good article to bookmark!
Let's take a moment to appreciate how stylish these modified rain boots are...
I finally jumped on the "adult coloring book" bandwagon;  surprisingly, I've really enjoyed working in this inspirational quotes book and this super unique book that focuses on famous pieces of artwork.
The best fall finds:  a plaid mini skirt (under $30!), a quilted pullover, and a pretty lace dress...
I've been utilizing my Pinterest board to get into the Halloween spirit, and I've got to admit that these "poison" toffee caramel apples look really cool!
Also, speaking of Halloween, here's one of my favorite Halloween-related posts that I've ever published!

To close out this post, I'm going to share a little reminder that has really helped me over the past few weeks:  "Sometimes we can learn and study and know, and sometimes we have to believe, trust, and hope."

How was your week?


Beaten By Burnout

Picture this:  a girl sits in the middle of her bedroom, various papers and binders lying in formation around her.  Each paper represents yet another task to be fulfilled, another check to be marked in a box.  The papers--or what they represent, rather--frighten the girl;  she hasn't the faintest idea where to begin with the massive piles of things around her and yet she realizes that she must begin in order to make them disappear.  The hour is late, her head aches, and her mind spins in a dozen directions when she says aloud, "Is all of this worth it?"
As you may have guessed, that girl is me, and the description you just read is a little scenario that has played out a few times too many over the past months.  I had been warned that burnout was a real danger, especially to high school and college students, but I hadn't ever considered that I would be experiencing it head-on.
Prep For A Day

It's such a peculiar situation because I've already enjoyed this year infinitely more than I've enjoyed the other two years of high school I have under my belt.  Socially, things have improved astronomically.  I enjoy the classes I'm taking;  they are more challenging, but I prefer them to be that way.  For once I feel as though I'm involved in things that I truly wish to be involved in, and I even feel like I could earn my way to a leadership position in some of those things.  On paper everything sounds perfect, which is part of the reason why this burnout is so infuriating.

When you take a look at the fine print, the situation starts looking less favorable.  Junior year has a reputation as being the most challenging year of high school in the realm of academics.  I don't believe that the curriculum is what strictly earns that reputation;  it's having to balance a tougher course load with standardized testing, extracurricular involvement, college touring, and living, that gives junior year such a harrowing reputation.  My classes aren't overwhelmingly difficult;  however, I'm technically taking more than the maximum amount of classes that my school offers to its students per semester, and four of them are Advanced Placement courses.  I'm the only person in my entire grade who is taking AP Statistics, which is a fact intimidating in itself.  This year I plan to take and finalize my scores for nearly every standardized test that is available to high school students.  I'm also auditioning for a couple of choirs and competing in a health science competition that involve an extensive amount of independent preparation. Add all of that to blogging and other clubs and teams, and I've forged a pretty busy schedule.  Then there's the fact that I have to wake up around five every morning to have enough time to start working on one of my online classes at six-thirty;  that wouldn't be significant if not for the fact that I've ended up with a cluttered sleep schedule.  The list could go on and on perpetually.

For a while I've been feeling like an entirely different person--but not in a positive way. I feel constantly sluggish and easily defeated.  Even when I try to rest on the weekends, I stay fatigued;  it's as though the weight of everything I'm involved in has decided to drop upon my shoulders, and I can't figure out how to shake it off.  Worst and most frustrating of all, motivating myself to do anything productive has become much more of a struggle than it ever should be.  There's a small, whining voice in my head that keeps asking, "Why are you doing this?  What is all of this worth?"
To be completely honest, I don't have a clear, unwavering answer to those questions yet. My parents and I are working together to solve this slump, but I know that it's necessary for me to make major decisions about questions like that in order to really beat this burnout.  I'm confident in my ability to complete everything on my plate (and to complete it well);  although shoveling through it all will not be the most pleasant experience, adversity does build character.  Even more so, difficult times like this teach valuable lessons--experience has always been a notable teacher.

To finish off, I have no sure-fire way to cure burnout, nor do I have a charming anecdote that sums all of my claims and advice into a lovely paragraph.  I just have the reality of the past few months, but I hope that what I've conveyed through this post is enough to prove to you that you are not alone;  if you are experiencing or have experienced a similar frame of mind, please know that you have at least one fellow sympathizer in the world.  Until either one of us finds a solution for our problem, I have a suggestion for you:  stop worrying about your never ending to-do list, make yourself rest, and take extra time to do the things you truly love.  For now, take comfort in this small piece of wisdom (I know I have):
"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." -- C.S. Lewis


Being A Prep For A Week: 10/2/16 -- 10/8/16

Before we delve into this post, let's not ignore a few important topics.  First, it's October. For those of you living in colder parts of the world, that might mean that you've already pulled out thicker layers of clothing and winter boots;  for those of us in the South, this October has signaled a steady decline in the number of hours of daylight and an onslaught of rain caused by Hurricane Matthew (which I hope you're all well and safe from!).  I did spot a leaf on the ground the other day, so that's evidence of nature's remarkable progress.
Second, this is the first time I've published one of these posts in several weeks.  As you can probably guess, that unfortunate turn of events was caused by the utter insanity of the past few weeks of my life.  This past week in particular started off on a rather sour note, but it ended as wonderfully as could be expected.  It just goes to show you, doesn't it?  Thankfully, I'm currently facing a four-day fall break, so you can bet that I'll be using that free time to get back on track.
Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
I've found it:  the perfect fashion blog.  Blogger Jenny Cipoletti runs a blog that is the perfect blend of lovely travel shots, everyday musings, and classic, feminine fashion.
If you love classics like Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, you will find this Instagram account thoroughly amusing...
This note that an autistic boy received from one of his teachers concerning his grades is absolutely heartwarming;  it'll put a smile on your face...
Lastly, Jackie, the new biographical film about Jackie Kennedy, just released its first trailer.  Needless to say, it looks like a film worth watching.

So amidst all of the conundrum and the calm in today's world, I've tried to remember just one thing:  "And behold, He is making all things new."

How was your week?


The Best Old Movies on Netflix

In a world that is constantly trying to outdo the inventions of today in order to create the new-and-improved future of tomorrow, it's very easy to forget about the past.  I love modern inventions and culture as much as anyone, but I feel that our society has really missed out on the beauty of old, vintage-era things, especially old movies.  There's something about a black and white (or a saturated Technicolor) screen and a glamorous tale combination that just can't be outdone.  If you haven't ever experienced the magic of watching a classic, fifties-esque film, you're missing out on part of a completely unique, unreal reality.  However, if you have indeed missed out on the old film craze, you're certainly in the right place to jump on the bandwagon.
Prep For A Day

Breakfast at Tiffany's:  This movie is a given;  it practically started its own cult after its release.  Audrey Hepburn stars as the glamorous, charming Holly Golightly in a lighthearted romance you won't soon forget.

An Affair to Remember:  Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant have amazing chemistry in this film, and the overall plot is much sweeter than the title might suggest.  The last phrases of dialogue in the movie are enough to put a smile on anyone's face.

Desk Set:  This movie is your chance to experience the wondrous screen personality that is Katharine Hepburn.  The quick wit and dry humor of her character won't disappoint!

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing:  Speaking from personal experience, this film's story gradually grows upon you as the minutes roll by, and when you've finally fallen in love with the romance and intrigue, it's all replaced by tragic musical undertones and images of unopened letters.  It's one to watch if you're feeling in a particularly whimsical and nostalgic mood.

Do Not Disturb:  You've met both Hepburns, but you haven't seen anything until you've met Doris Day.  This film is a delightful comedy that's typical of the fifties era, combining romance, plotting females, and gorgeous outfits.

Three Coins in the Fountain:  If one romance per film just isn't sufficient for your tastes, I've found the perfect picture for you:  this one has three romances that all twine together, and each is as complex (and frustrating) as the last.  Also, if you're a fan of Roman Holiday and/or Italian scenery, you'll enjoy this film.

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison:  Deborah Kerr is virtually unrecognizable in her role as a nun in this film;  it isn't as well-known as some of the others on this list, but its examination of human relationships during hard times (World War II, to be exact) makes it a worthwhile watch.

The Seven Year Itch:  The quintessential image of Marilyn Monroe, white, v-neck dress billowing around her legs, comes directly from this movie.  Likewise, if you want to watch a quintessential Marilyn Monroe feature, this is the film for you.

Cleopatra:  This movie has often been referred to as one of Hollywood's biggest flops; however, don't allow that to keep you from watching the film.  The plot itself is a historical one, as old as time itself, and the cast--well, the cast is out of this world.

To Kill a Mockingbird:  As if the world needed another reason to fall in love with Gregory Peck, here's a film that encompasses one of his most brilliant roles.  His portrayal of Atticus Finch is both heartwarming and unforgettable, as is the rest of the film.

Feeling the urge to jump on the oldies bandwagon yet?  Jokes aside, old movies are some of the best remnants we have of the past:  the true, personable past that is so different from the past we glimpse in the pages of a textbook.  Now all that's left for you to do is sit back, relax, and let the films unfold.

What are some of your favorite old movies?