Reflections of a College-Bound Homeschooler

Hey guys!  I am (surprisingly) still alive, and I think I might start a journal series about my transition to college.  Hopefully it will be interesting/ helpful to whoever may happen upon it.  If not… then at least I think it will be helpful to me. 

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There’s a long road ahead…  (Picture mine)

 

Last year, I felt like I was a part of an inhumane social experiment.  For most people, senior year is your last year with all your friends in high school.  For me, it was my first year to be homeschooled full time, making it my first year without my friends in high school.

Now, I did still have friends–good friends– but my friends have a nasty habit of moving to different continents and filling their schedules up, so there wasn’t a ton of interaction.  I spent the vast majority of my waking moments hunched over my laptop in the corner of my room, trying to get through the work to finish the year.

But I made it through.  More than that, I made it into Boston University, which I am told is an accomplishment.  What exactly does this entail?  Well, for one thing, I am going to be surrounded by people.  A LOT of people.  And these people– in general– have a different belief system than the one I grew up with.  To say the very least.

As you can imagine, I feel as if I’m jumping from a freezer to a boiling hot vat.  Okay, that’s an odd metaphor, but you get the idea.  It’s a transition.  For one year, I spent most of my time alone.  Next year, I’m not sure I’ll hardly EVER be alone.  For most of my life, I’ve lived in a very conservative, very religious community.  Next year… that won’t so much be the case.  That may be the biggest change.

Back home, the waters were easier to navigate.  You read the Bible every day and never questioned it… or traditional interpretations of it.  You never swore or used the Lord’s name in vain.  You tried to date “the Godly way” (which usually meant kissing dating good-bye).  You never talked about sexuality, and if you did, you referenced the Bible in every sentence.  Men were men.  Women were women.  There was no in between, no changing.

Basically, there were several unspoken norms and rules you never challenged.  If you did, people still loved you, but there were consequences.  Everyone thought I was a wonderful person.  Because I scarcely challenged the rules.  Out loud.

In my head.  I challenged all of them.  Every last one.

The thing is, I learned the script.  I knew what to say and when, what to believe.  I knew the beliefs that would keep everyone happy with me.  It was easy, and I played along.

Now I’m leaving that world, and I’m discovering something very important.  My old social script is useless.  Of course, I’d guessed that, but I didn’t guess that I wouldn’t have a script at all anymore.  At a place like BU, where there are people from all sorts of religions, beliefs, and backgrounds, there is nothing you can say that will make them all happy.  Maybe some statements will make most of them happy, but not all.

In this situation, I have a few options:

  1. I can stick to the old script, which I never completely liked and most of the people I come across in Boston REALLY won’t like.  Scratch that plan.
  2. I can try  really hard to find a new script at BU.  I think I’ve already discussed why I don’t think this will work.
  3. I can find my own convictions and stick to them no matter who I offend.  I like this plan best, even though it’s the hardest to execute.

So great.  I’m going to construct my own system of morality.  I have one… partially.  See, throughout the process of searching through what I believe, I came across a monumental realization: growing up in the community I did, where morals were all but decided for you, it’s very hard to have convictions of your own.

That’s right.  In a place infused with family values, strong religion, and unity of beliefs, personal convictions become an endangered species.  Not extinct.  Endangered.

Although I love the people I grew up with, sometimes I grew frustrated when they repeated their parents’ political beliefs verbatim when I asked who they would vote for.  Or when they wouldn’t challenge a teacher on something wrong.  Though the truth is, I did it, too.

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Time to fly solo (Picture mine)

Now it’s time to explore new morals, compare and contrast, and decide which beliefs are really mine.  I’ve discovered a world out there where gender is non-binary, people evolved from monkeys, and inclusion is of upmost importance.  I don’t know how much I agree and disagree with this world yet, but I’m going to find out.

I can see your eyes bugging out at the end of this, homeschoolers. 🙂  Wish me luck.

 

 

 

So… I actually did NaPoWriMo

Hello followers!  Because I’ve been deadly quiet all month long, you’ve probably thought I wasn’t  doing NaPoWriMo.  Or thought  I was never going to write again.  Or thought I was dead.  Okay, probably none of you thought about me that much.  That said, after NaPo, I think I might have a handful of decent poetry to share with you.  If you  like them enough, maybe I’ll post more.  Enjoy!

Traumatic Stress

She closes her eyes

His hands on her again

She opens her eyes

Everyone still a predator

 

He closes his eyes

The guns sounding again

He opens his eyes

War still surrounds him

 

She closes her eyes

Her child dies again

She opens her eyes

Death still permeates

 

He closes his eyes

Blood pours out again

He opens his eyes

The wound still there

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Source: Google Images

 

Seven Out of One Hundred

Seven out of one hundred

Recieve a crown

Ninety three out of one hundred

Get knocked down

Seven out of one hundred

Respected for life

Ninety three out of one hundred

Only get strife

Seven out of one hundred

West and whitest

Ninety three out of one hundred

Best and brightest

Seven out of one hundred

Join the club

Ninety three out of one hundred

Ones they snub

Source: Unsplash.com

 

If You Stayed

I’ve looked at the world through this telescope, and it looks beautiful and bright.  Will it still look that way when I get there?

Yes, of course dear.  Your world will always look beautiful and bright.

I’ve gotten closer to the world now, and I can see some places that don’t glimmer.  Will I be able to make them shine again?

Yes, of course dear.  Your world will always shine.

I’ve reached the world now.  The sun was shining for a while, but now there are clouds.  Will the sun come back again?

Yes, of course dear.  Your sun will always come back.

The sun hasn’t come back at all.  Nothing shines and it’s dark and cold.  Will I ever feel warm again?

I’m sorry, dear.  But you’ll feel warm again soon enough.

The plants have all withered, leaving me hungry.  I’ve never felt so empty.  Will I ever feel full again?

I’m sorry, dear.  But you’ll feel full again in due time.

The world is ice, the world is cold, the world is storm.  I wish I withered with the plants.  Will I ever wish otherwise?

I’m sorry dear.  But please don’t go; you’ll be happy one day.

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  I couldn’t make it because I kept hoping and you kept promising, but none of your promises came true.  So I figured nothing ever would.

I miss you every day dear.  So does the sun, which came back.  So do the plants, which grew back.  I think you’d be happy now, if you had stayed.  If…    

Source: Unsplash.com

  

What to do with a New Year?

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The New Year is coming!  Yes, I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I decided to tell you anyway.  So it’s time to do some serious reflecting and ask the inevitable, all-important question: Was it a good year?

Well, it depends on what you mean by good.

Last year, at about this time, I wrote this cute little letter to 2015.  I asked a few interesting questions, like:

“I suppose I’ll change, too.  A year from now, will I even be able to recognize the person writing this letter?  Or will I be mostly the same person?”

I do recognize myself, more or less.  Truthfully, I almost feel bad for the girl who wrote this letter.  She had no idea what she was getting into, starting a new year.  Though she didn’t really have a choice, did she?

“Next New Year’s Eve, will I look upon you [2015] as one of the best or worst times of my life?  Or somewhere in between?”

Ah, back to the “good year” question.  Now that it’s New Year’s Eve, I think it’s only appropriate that I answer my younger self.

If you define a good year as one full of fun and lacking sorrow, then 2015 was my worst year yet.  May as well be honest.  Yes, there were fun times, but I only showed you the best.  Though if you define a good year as one full of learning and growth, then 2015 was probably my best year yet.  So it’s all relative.

And as for the New Year?  I’m bracing myself for the worst yet preparing for the best.  Because regardless of what happens, I’m determined to make this the best year so far, in terms of both happiness and development.  In the time being, good riddance 2015, and welcome 2016.

On an off note, I’d say this was a good year in terms of blogging.  (Here are my stats.)  I’d like to thank each of my readers, who bear with me even though I’ve been less than faithful to this blog as of lately.  Here’s my excuse: 5,099 words of college admissions essays.  And counting.

I’d particularly like to thank my top commenters: rachelizabeth, M3L6H, 10vwb, Victoria Night Sky, and Rachel R.  They are all amazing!

J12: Being a Flower Girl, Romanian Weddings, and Other Wedding Related-Thoughts

This week’s journal topics was weddings.  Turns out I have more to say on the subject than I expected!

Random fact about me: I have never attended an American wedding, unless if movies count.  However, I have attended several Romanian weddings, the exact number of which I cannot remember.  And no, my mom didn’t remember either.  I asked.

My first several weddings I attended as a flower girl.  It just so happened that while I was around flower girl age, many people who work with my parents were getting married, so I was a very popular choice.  I also got to be a ring bearer once.  There is very little that I remember about these weddings, but I do know that since they were hosted by evangelical Christians, they were rather different than traditional Romanian weddings.

This summer I got the opportunity to attend my cousin’s wedding, which, unlike the weddings of my parents’ colleagues, was a traditional Romanian Orthodox wedding.  Honestly, I wasn’t terribly excited when I first heard about this plan.  Although there is a legal and religious ceremony during the day, the most important part of Romanian weddings is the all-nighter party that takes place afterwards.  This is always accompanied by food, dancing, and of course a live band.

As it is, I find it difficult to be social for a whole hour, let alone a whole night, I have two left feet, and I (no offense) get very tired of the bands.  However the wedding actually turned out to be a pleasant experience.  There was an enjoyable atmosphere and I enjoyed experiencing this part of Romanian culture.  I even ended up liking the dances, although I’m sure I stepped on a few toes.  And I wasn’t at all disappointed that a DJ replaced the regular band.  By the time I left, I had developed a greater appreciation of weddings, especially of Romanian weddings.

Not from the wedding I went to, but this is what a Romanian wedding dance looks like.

One Romanian wedding tradition I really like is called the stealing of the bride.  At some point during the party, the bride is “stolen” by the groomsmen, who will hide her somewhere.  When the groom realizes the bride is gone, he will work out a “price” with the groomsmen to buy her back—usually some form of alcohol and a declaration of love.

As for my own wedding, I have no idea what will happen, but I hope to include elements from both American and Romanian traditions.  And perhaps traditions of other cultures that will influence me.  We’ll see.

J9—The Parking Lot Adventure

For this week’s journal we had to rewrite an event from our life from another person’s perspective.  I decided to write about one of my amusing escapades from the perspective of my little brother, Andrew, because this is one of his favorite stories to tell.  (And mine too.)  My writing style in this assignment was different than normal because I was trying to catch my brother’s voice.  Feel free to comment!

Before the funniest thing in the world happened, I was just really tired.  Aunt Susan, Sarah and I had been walking around all day, and then we spent forever in the parking lot looking for our car.  That happened a lot on our trip.  Aunt Susan could never remember where we put the car.

Anyway, when she finally did figure out where it was, she left us to wait for her so we didn’t have to walk anymore.  As soon as she pulled up, I got in my seat, fastened my seatbelt, and then the car started.  Everything felt normal; except it wasn’t.  Because Sarah wasn’t in the car.

When I looked up I saw the car door was still open and Sarah was running—actually running—after the car.  I couldn’t help it.  I laughed and laughed until I started to cry.  “Aunt Susan!” Sarah yelled, running as fast as she could to keep up with the car.

Aunt Susan didn’t notice anything, which made everything so much funnier.  Even Sarah started to laugh, but she was running so hard she was kind of out of breath.  I tried to tell Aunt Susan what was going on, I really did.  Just I was laughing so hard I couldn’t hardly say anything.

Then—this is the best part—a car behind us honked, probably trying to let Aunt Susan know what was going on.  But Aunt Susan still didn’t see anything, so she started to drive even faster.  Sarah couldn’t even keep up with the car anymore.  It was awesome.  Though I guess Aunt Susan finally realized what was going on, because she slowed down and let Sarah in.  So we didn’t get to leave her in the parking lot.  Oh, well.  But the whole thing was still just so hilarious that I literally laughed the whole way home.

“I can’t believe you almost left me in the parking lot,” Sarah said, laughing her head off.

“It’s strange,” Aunt Susan said.  “I checked to see if your brother was in the car but not you.  He’s usually the one I have trouble with.”

“I haven’t laughed so hard in years,” I told them.

By now Aunt Susan laughed too.  “Silly turkey!  You’re only eight.”  (Seriously, I don’t know what her deal is with calling me a turkey.)

“I can’t wait to hear what our parents say about this,” Sarah said.

“Umm… let’s not do that tonight,” Aunt Susan said.

“Why not?” I challenged.

“Because well… they’re very tired right now, and it probably wouldn’t be so funny to them.  Especially not to your mom.”

“Okay,” I said quietly.  “But I’ll tell them first thing in the morning.”

Well, this wasn’t exactly how it went, but you get the idea.

J8: Reflections—Eight Weeks So Far

It seems I have completed eight weeks (one half a semester) of my Creative Writing class at TPS.  For this week’s journal, I’ve written some reflections on the class so far.

I was amazed to find out half a semester of creative writing has gone by.  I’m not sure if I should be excited about the accomplishment or panic because one semester is already halfway gone.  It’s hard to pick favorite assignment, since I really enjoyed them all.  I’ve never had a class where I looked forward to doing homework so much.

For a Journal, I would probably choose J5 because I enjoyed recounting this quirky adventure from my past.  For Creative Writing, CW6 is probably my favorite because through doing it I learned I like writing poetry.  Honestly, I was really surprised it didn’t turn out to be horrible.  As far as my least favorite assignment… well, I’d rather not mention those.  I’ll say my Brer Rabbit story.  While it was fun, I don’t feel it suited my style very well.

And of course, I have also really enjoyed getting to know my incredibly talented classmates and reading their amazing work.  I’ve had so much fun getting to know you and reading your writing.  So here are some shout outs:

Anne: Although I haven’t been able to read too much of your writing, I’ve enjoyed what little I have.  I love the way you’re able to honestly express yourself, especially in J2.

James:  You definitely have a way with words!  I especially enjoyed J4 because of your honesty and vulnerability.

Jessica: I love reading your reflection and creativity.  One of my favorites was CW7 because it was so clever.

Julie: You show a lot of creativity in your writing.  CW5 stands out to me for your use of humor and LOTR references.

Kasey: Your poetry is amazing!  I really admire your vulnerability and the way you draw in your readers.  I loved reading your CW6.

Kayla: You’re a really good story teller.  I really enjoyed reading CW8 because you made the story feel very real.

Luke: I love your insight and sense of humor.  J6 is one of my favorites because it is so expressive and funny.

Mara:  I love how much personality your writing shows.  You did a really good job with CW7; it has a lot of spunk to it.

Rachel K: Your writing is very insightful.  I especially like CW7 because it drew me in immediately and kept me captivated until the end.

Rachel R: I love your creativity!  I really enjoyed CW6 because I love Narnia and you did an excellent job retelling the story.

Sam: Your writing is very honest and creative.  I really love CW7 because it is so unique and clever.

Tabitha: I love reading your insightfulness and creativity!  With CW7 you did a good job of taking the message from the original story and showing how it is relevant in our time.

Valari: Your writing shows a lot of personality and creativity.  I especially enjoyed reading J7 because of your use of humor.

And last, but certainly not least is Ms. Gaines: Thank you for being such a great teacher and for giving such wonderful input!  You always give encouraging praise and helpful yet not critical suggestions.

I can’t wait for the next ¾ of the year!!!

A cool picture of a reflection. Because in this post I happen to be reflecting.