Life Updates

If you've read any number of my posts, you may have guessed that I enjoy keeping myself busy (as illustrated by my borderline-excessive use of the word "hectic").  When the second semester of my junior year arrived, a new state of hectic-ness accompanied it--the likes of which I had never experienced before.  As a result, blogging slipped down to the bottom of my hefty priority list and stayed submerged there for six months.  Like I mentioned in this post, I sincerely hope that a six-month break will never again be necessary.
Now, on to the fun part:  answering some unspoken questions about my hiatus and what the future holds for the blog.

Prep For A Day

Tori, where have you been?
Great question!  Quite simply, I've been studying.  Especially during the month of April, my time was monopolized by studying for AP exams.  On the off chance that I wasn't occupied by studying or some other task, I didn't feel up to doing anything more than lounging around.

What are you doing now?
This summer is certainly going to be a busy one (surprise, surprise), but I feel much more optimistic now that I have a definite break from school.  One of the most exciting developments has been my opportunity to do a modified internship at a local veterinary hospital.  I spend several hours there each Tuesday observing procedures and surgeries.  I'm also taking online precalculus as a review for an upcoming AP Calculus class.  To top it all off, I'm studying for a national health science competition that I'll be attending in a week.

What's to come?
College visits, first and foremost.  My parents and I are visiting six colleges this summer, starting with the University of Florida in a couple of weeks.  I'll be sure to share more about all of the colleges as the summer draws to a close.  Not quite as important (but just as exciting), we're heading back to Disney in a week because that is where the aforementioned health science competition takes place.  Besides that, I'm hoping to get a head start on some college and scholarship applications while I'm on break.  As far as the blog goes, I'm hoping to refine the site's design with a little help from Google (as you can see, that process is already beginning)!

Life will always be hectic;  I wouldn't have it any other way.  You know what they say:
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
As in the wise words of Tolkien, I've simply decided to fill my time with as many meaningful things as possible.

What have you been up to?


Junior Lessons

Hello there!  I'm back after taking a much longer break than I'd intended.  I dearly missed writing for this little corner of the Internet and sincerely hope that a six-month absence will never again be necessary.  More on that subject will come at a later time, but for now, let's focus on two of my favorite topics:  school and life lessons.
The American high school experience teaches many things besides the obvious STEM and humanities concepts.  After my completion of each year, I've reflected upon the broader life lessons that were highlighted during my academic experiences.  It took me quite a while to ponder my "Junior Lessons" because my junior year was the most difficult--and most rewarding--year yet.

Prep For A Day

1. Happiness is a choice, not a random event.
Ever heard the mantra, "You must choose your own happiness"?  It sounds idealistic, but it's true.  Each morning, you have to be bold enough to decide whether your day is going to be a happy one;  you cannot sit idly by and wait for happiness to drop in your lap.

2. Time management is the key to productivity.
Whether you are a student or a graduate, this much is true:  learn to manage your time effectively, and you've overcome an obstacle standing in the way of future productivity and success.

3. Work when your mind is clearest and most awake.
Because I am anything but a night owl, I quickly learned that attempting to finish any type of homework or studying after 8:30 PM was a lost cause;  this translated to adjusting my workload so that I could accomplish more during the morning.  Use this principle to reconsider your own study and work habits.

4. Embrace flexibility.
Before my junior year arrived, I had the luxury of being able to allocate ample time for completing assignments and studying for tests.  In other words, I was usually confident that I would be capable of completing each task in a meticulous, sequential manner, only finishing when the final product exceeded all expectations.  As this was certainly not the case during my junior year, I was forced to learn to be more flexible about the way I approached my to-do lists and to accept that completing tasks was ultimately more important than the sequence I took to complete them.

5. What you think is what you are--so think wisely.
Cultivate positive thoughts to become a more positive person.  In the same way, refute negative thoughts to avoid a negative outlook.

6. Learn the difference between what "must" be done and what "could" be done.
Perhaps the most difficult lesson for yours truly, learning to prioritize a to-do list is a vital skill for any time-crunched individual to adopt.  The sooner you differentiate between which tasks absolutely have to be completed and those which do not, the better.

7. Always keep a smile on your face.
Especially if you are surrounded by important teachers and mentors (also known as your tickets to helpful guidance and wonderful letters of recommendation), it's essential that you make an effort to look happy and engaged rather than upset or annoyed.  And if you are surrounded by your peers (especially those you dislike), a smile is the first defense against rumors and rude comments.

8. Don't waste precious time on people who are unwilling to dedicate time to you.
It seems like a simple lesson, but with the double-edged sword of social media (Instagram, I'm talking about you) playing such a large role in our lives, it's very easy to waste hours poring over the photos and comments of people who are unimportant aspects of our real lives.  Dedicate time to the people who matter most--the people who actively inspire and impact your life.

9. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Truly, there is an end to each obstacle and an exit to each tribulation;  best of all, you only need a tiny amount of courage to get there.

10. Know that you are capable of great things.
You'd be really surprised by how much you can accomplish when you set your mind to doing so.

Certainly, my junior year wasn't easy--but its difficult nature enabled me to grow and learn on a greater level.  If you are a rising junior, I wish you the best of luck (and if you are a rising freshman or sophomore, peruse my "Freshman Lessons" and "Sophomore Lessons" posts).

What lessons did you learn over the previous school year?