Halfway There

“So we take what comes, and we keep on going,
Leaning on each other’s shoulders
Then we turn around
And see we’ve come so far somehow

We’re halfway there
We’re looking good now
Nothing’s gonna get in the way

We’re halfway there
And looking back now
Never thought that I’d ever say
We’re Halfway there!”

-“Halfway There” by Big Time Rush

When the bell rings a one o’clock today, I will have officially completed my first semester of public high school. I will have made it out, alive, in one piece, all four limbs intact, smiling in my victory.

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I have, at this point in my life, survived midterms. May the scores by with you, I told myself and my fellow exam takers in my head, anyway). Guitar was the hardest ( a completely  written test for an instrument. really?!); Spanish was the easiest. I checked my grades, and I’ve done pretty well so far. I’m quite happy with my grades, actually. Considering my week began with a terrible nightmare concerning the guitar exam, I have done fairly well. I just took my last, and most boring, exam- World Music, a class that sounds fun but is in reality the exact opposite. I now wipe my hands of the exams. No more will I mention them.

The past semester has brought a monumental amount of change into my life. My world has been rocked and shaken, but now, in the end, it’s all come together for good. It is, in fact, good. I’m happy with my life and the way it’s going, and I have only good things to look forward to in the spring semester. Halfway there, halfway to go. It’s all up from here.

“Oooh we’re halfway there, oohh livin on a prayer!”

-Bon Jovi

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Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

I Knew You Were Trouble

“Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble”

-“I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift

Had I written that song for these past few weeks, I would change the line to “Now I’m sitting in a cold hard chair.” Because THAT is how cold these classrooms are. And the mornings have been pretty cold, too, like, 60 degrees (Yes, I know that 90% of the country would be so grateful for 60 degree weather right now, but compared to the usual 80, it is COLD!).

So, trouble… Something I do my best to stay out of. But, as we all know, it has its own way of finding me. Last Tuesday it haunted me all day long. Most of my classes were in trouble. The geometry class freshman finally danced on the teacher’s last nerve. Trouble 1. In English, we had a sub who was supposed to take us to the computer lab after lunch to write our essays. On the way, my class decided to be so loud and boisterous that another teacher came out of her classroom. Trouble 2. Then, the sub decided we weren’t responsible enough to go to the lab and made us go back to the classroom and hand-write our essays. Trouble 3, 4, 5…. (And may I add, I was not the one who deserved any of it AND my essay is quite excell ent, in my opinion). The rest of last week is all a blur.

And then came the weekend. Moving into a new house isn’t the quickest task, so my weekend left me little time to study for the two tests I had today. Honestly, I think I did the best I could on my guitar test. I told myself, Strive for a B. All I want is a B. Barre chords are hard!! The geometry test the next period was, thankfully, rather easy, though looong.

And now I have another meteor hurtling towards my earth: pre-arranged absence forms. I’m going out of town this week for Christmas (can’t wait to see you, Mammy!! :D), and so I have to get the form signed by my parents at home and then ALL my teachers tomorrow morning after taking it to the office to be signed…. Good thing I won’t have to lug around Earl.

But back to speaking of my move, that meant my sister and I rode a new bus this morning. The stop is, thankfully, a lot closer to our house than the previous bus stop was. However, my memory often fails me, and to prevent myself from riding back to my old house this afternoon, I’ve got my bus number written on my hand like one of my mom’s second graders. 🙂 I’m so not missing the bus.

So, yes, I hope the rest of this week goes well, and there is no more trouble than necessary. But I can handle it, right?

And if all else fails: Nine more days til Christmas.

I knew the weeks preceding Christmas break were trouble when they walked in.

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

 

Through the Looking Glass

In my Spanish class, we do these things called “learning logs” at the end of each class. We take a few minutes to make a short “log” of what we learned in class that day, reflecting on what was the most important. I think that Thanksgiving is kind of like this, where we take a day to reflect on all the things we are thankful for and what’s most important to us.

Over Thanksgiving Break, I did a lot of thinking about what’s really important in life. I also started to think about mirrors. There’s a verse in 1 Corinthians 13 that says, “Now we see a dim reflection, as in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face.” When you look out a window, it’s beautiful. What you see is the real thing, created by God. But when you look in a mirror, all you’re seeing is a dim reflection of the true beauty. And, besides, it’s not what’s in the mirror, but what’s on the inside, that really matters, right?

So this is where I’m headed with this: In our world, we often spend too much time looking in the mirror and not enough enjoying the view outside the window. We do everything we can to try to make what we see in the mirror beautiful, yet it could never compare to real beauty. It’s just a reflection. I’m guilty of spending too much time chasing reflections, trying to find what’s “real,” yet I’ve learned that imitations never satisfy. I decided to stop looking in the mirror, turn around, and look for more windows. I have so much more to be thankful for than I’ve realized.

After my very thought-filled Thanksgiving Break, I’ve returned to the harsh reality of quantum numbers and Barre chords and rhombuses and all the other wonderful things being a high school junior entails. But it’s still something to be thankful for, right?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to finish up some geometry and then study for my SAT… It’s still something you’ll be thankful you learned one day, Kristen!

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

Not Afraid To Fall

I accidentally wished my bus driver a happy Thanksgivingukkah.

That really happened.

This is why I’ve been asked twice if I’m Jewish.

I’m not.

I’m just…. culturally aware?

So, yeah, it’s been quite the day, as you can tell. Guess what I did in school????!!!

Squat.

First period, we had a party in Spanish class because we’d just finished a unit about food. It was nice; I didn’t have to think. Next was geometry. I’m usually prepared for class, but today of all days, I’d left my workbook at home. Panic seized my heart. But good fortune had my back. The 98% freshman and sophomores class had planned a “surprise party” and brought food. The teacher magically agreed to an impromptu party rather than the seventy problems she was about to assign. I breathed a sigh of relief. I got up to get food, sacrificing my leftover polvorones from Spanish to the party spread. The rest of the class decided that the oldest students would go first, so, as the only juniors, my sister and I were at the front of the line. I ate well this morning.

My morning at school was so much better than my morning before. It was fine, actually, until I walked out of the house. I was just heading down the driveway, bag of cookies in hand, when I slipped on some mud and the opening of”Sweeter Than Fiction” popped into my head: “Hit the ground, hit the ground, hit the ground, oh oh/ Only sound, only sound that you hear is ‘No’/You never saw it coming/Slipped when you started running/And now you’ve come undone and I, I, I, I/Seen you fall, seen you crawl on your knees, eh eh….” Because that’s what I did. I slipped and fell on my knees (But no worries! I made a quick move that enabled me to save the cookies!).

The afternoon went blessedly quickly. We had a sub in chemistry and were left to our devices to work independently. I finished my assignment relatively easily, but I needed to google a few terms. I used my assigned laptop to finish, but then I was left with empty time. So, naturally, I passed it in the most logical way: I fanfictioned 🙂 I’m almost done with the story now.

During my last period interning, I filed. I had like 20 folders spread out in the back of the classroom and a huge stack of papers in front of me. Now, you must understand, as someone who’s philosophy is “Life’s too short to be organized,” sorting and organizing isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. But I spiced up the menial task with some T.Swizzle (thank you, earbuds!). It wasn’t that bad, actually.

I spent the last few minutes of the day in a media center chair, chipping away at Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver. It’s not as good as The Raven Boys, but her writing style is just so… how I wish I could write!

Finally, the day was over. After locating our bus (it was at the end of the line today and no one had bothered to announce it), my sister and I were on our way home.

And now it’s Fall Break (or as we called it, “Thanksgivingukkah Break”)! And it’s already as beautiful as they say school vacation is. Heffron Drive put out a new song, so my day’s been made!! It’s the little things in life, I guess 🙂

Happy Fall Break/Thanksgivingukkah!

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

Just Another Manic Monday

Guess what?! I can read!

Yeah. I already knew that, too. I was called to the office multiple times last week. One of them was because the results of the reading test I had to take (after two weeks of “tutoring”) had come in. I got a five, the highest level. I passed a reading test. Who would’ve guessed?

Last Monday I was called to the office to be notified of the authorization of my pre-excused absence for that Tuesday. I think they mispronounce my name 80% of the time over the intercom. That is, unless there is a “Christian” somewhere in my school with the same last name and schedule… Anyways, the absence was to attend a Veteran’s Day luncheon with my dad. And it couldn’t have come at a more convenient time! I got out of taking the ASVAB test (yet another standardized test!). I didn’t have that much work to make up, either.

I think that last week, my teachers all got together and decided to plan to give tests all at the same time. I had two difficult English tests, a geometry test, AND an unannounced chemistry test. It was not a good week to be Kristen. I have two more tests this week, too. Seriously, it has been so stressful. I had a hard time sleeping due to nightmares all weekend. That generally happens when I’m stressed. And then I stay awake trying to figure out what they meant, and that just makes it worse…. Yeah, not fun!

But today was much better. I didn’t want to wake up, though, because it forced me out of a dreamworld where I was not only going to a Heffron Drive concert every night for a week, but I was friends with the band and wandered between the front row and backstage at my leisure. It was much preferable to a Monday with chemistry class any day! At least I didn’t have any of those tests today. It was actually a relatively easy day. We had a really cool demonstration in chemistry where the teacher burned different elements in the Bunsen burner, and they gave off different colored flames, like fireworks. And we’ll get to try it for ourselves in the spring for our lab final (identifying elements in unmarked testubes). Yay…

     Hey, my favorite part of today: it’s almost TUESDAY NOVEMBER 19!! That, my friends, is the day I have been counting down to for over two months: the release of the book Staying Strong by Demi Lovato. I’m excited; can you tell? 🙂 I’m the person who tends to get really excited over things like CD or book releases. What can I say? I like to make countdowns.

But speaking of books, I fell in love and then had my heart broken last week. I read this completely amazing book called The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater over that weekend. The author’s exquisite writing style pulled me in, and her unique storyline and memorable characters kept me there. I was literally hanging on to every word until the final page. So, I got myself through the weekend by promising myself I’d go and get the sequel from the school library on Monday. I got through the day and to the library- no sequel. Feeling let down, I Christmas-listed both the books.

Now I’m reading a rather odd book about a girl who’s half dragon. I still have a good chunk of it left. Homework’s done, so I better get to reading. A hot cup of peppermint tea is calling my name…

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

Hard Day’s Night

Imagine this: one otherwise typical Wednesday morning, you awake from a horrific dream concerning a bus ride gone terribly wrong with the feeling that your brain has swelled inside your very head, and then the next day, after the headache has finally subsided, your stomach decides to feel as if it is eating itself inside out. That, my friends, was the reality of my week.

So, yes, pain and school are not the most enjoyable combination. “Kristen, why didn’t you just stay home, for goodness’ sake?!” This is called “stubbornness” or “determination” or, more accurately, “I don’t really know why but I hate staying home when I’m sick so I rarely do because I’d rather just tough it out then miss.” Proving to myself I can take it? The world may never truly know…

Anyways, I am fine now, thank you. Mostly, I am just glad it is Friday. It’s not been the best past two weeks. In the same fourteen days, I have not felt well as aforementioned, not done as well as I hoped on a certain few quizzes, struggled through learning to play notes on my guitar,  found out my friend is switching schools,  dragged  my heavy guitar all the way across campus when called to the office at the end of the day,  AND had to listen to Bieber in World Music. None of those have been very happy things.

Yet, I have learned in life not to let the bad stuff always drag me down. “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” after all. The good things in life still outnumber the bad by a long shot: honor roll, getting to skip class and watch a movie because of honor roll, feeling better, the rap we wrote at my Wednesday Bible study, the pep rally today that included a powder puff cheerleaders routine with a reference to the infamous Kanye West/Taylor Swift VMA incident of 2009 (“Yo Taylor, Imma let you finish, but Beyonce’ had the best video of all time!”), the INCREDIBLE writing style the author of the book I’m reading has… The list could go on and on.

So, yes, even after the most “hard day’s night,” in the end, it’s all good. Especially when it’s Friday.

“Yo reader, I’m happy for you and all, and Imma let you finish, but Friday is the best day of the week of ALL TIME!”

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

A Little Different

“If you’re lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.”

-Taylor Swift

I tend to dance to the beat of a different drum when it comes to life, mostly in subtle ways. I’m okay with feeling different from the people around me, whether it’s my Vans versus their Keds, my paying attention in class versus their sleeping, or the words I say versus theirs. Differences are one of the main things I have noticed since my switch to public school.

One of those “differences” led to a bit of frustration today. I was trying to find an article for chemistry class. Simple, right? Well, if you’re looking for any old article, it is. I, however, had to go through, like, five articles (that I accidentally printed before reading) before I found one that did not support evolutionary beliefs. Thankfully, I was able to find an article that didn’t counter my faith before the bell. Protecting what are the most important things to you can be difficult, especially when someone is waving a water bottle in your face and telling you just how badly they need to visit the bathroom while you’re trying to do it (and I don’t even really know him).

This had me thinking, though, about the way Christians are supposed to be visibly different form the rest of the world. A fellow Christian in my Spanish class was once explaining to another student that he brings his Bible in his backpack everyday simply because he can. Hearing that made me think, “And why shouldn’t we?” So, I have started carrying my Bible in my backpack because I can. It’s just one of the ways I can remind myself that we are to be “in this world and not of it”.

I think that “different” is something we should actually strive to be. I try to do this by working with integrity, not just giving up or copying someone else’s answers (which I actually see people doing way too often!). I pray before I eat. I dress in a way that is respectable. I follow the rules.  It’s simple, and I wonder why more people my age don’t try. I find” staying away from what is evil and clinging to what is good” to be freeing, actually. 

So, I say that being “different” is a good thing. Why would I change for anyone?

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

Quite the Character

     I feel like a character.

     I began reading a new book yesterday. Ten Miles Past Normal isn’t a very interesting or even a very well-written book (how it got on the ‘best teen reads’ list, I have no clue). However, the aspect that made me read it so intently was the parallels between the life of the main character Janie and my own life. Like me on A days, she had B lunch, while all of her friends were in A lunch. We both spend that time in the library. She was learning to play the bass, kind of like I’m learning to play the guitar (main difference- she was good at it, I am not). She, too, is quiet and socially awkward. So, Janie is a typical book character. I am like Janie. Conclusion- I am a character.

     This is far from the first time I have compared myself or my life to a character. Maybe it comes from an unaverage amount of reading, or maybe it comes from contemplating the idea of being like a character too much, but, still I could compile an entire list of the characters I feel I resemble. And so I will.

     First up, in English class, I am (though I try with all my might not to be!) Harry Potter‘s Hermione Granger. Like Hermione, I know most of the answers in my English class. Granted, I don’t bounce up and down when I raise my hand like she did, but I still feel like that irritating know-it-all at times! Seriously, I’m the kid who when the teacher says, “You all did terribly on this test, except we had one perfect score,” is that one perfect score (really, there was a Twizzler stapled to my test and everything!). But I wouldn’t mind mirroring Hermione’s finer qualities, though. Her intelligence, mixed with courage, carried her far in life and helped win the battles against the evil Voldemort. I hope that I can use intelligence and bravery to one day help the world.  We have that messy hair thing in common, though, too.

     Next is Brick from the ABC sitcom The Middle. He’s a little boy with a big appetite for reading. While I was reading today, I laughed to myself, picturing Brick holding up his “just a second” finger when someone bothers his reading time. Maybe I’ll have to pull that trick next time I’m bothered in the library 🙂

     Finally, I am Quinn from Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101. She had little nerdy glasses, much like my own. I see her sometimes when I look into the mirror. Also like Quinn, I’m just a little off-beat. But thankfully, I’m not running around all the time trying to “invent” banana-apple trees or “Loganator” robots. Hey, maybe I should try!

     So, yes, basically, in my life that plays out like a movie, I am quite a character. I have my quirks, I have my flaws, but I’ll also have my happy ending. I can’t wait to see how the entire story plays out, because it will end up sweet than fiction, right?  🙂

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

     

Sweeter Than Fiction

“There you’ll stand, ten feet tall,

I’ll say I knew it all along.

Your eyes are wider than distance,

This life is sweeter than fiction.”

– “Sweeter Than Fiction” by Taylor Swift

     I may have noted before the deep affinity I have for reading. So, you can imagine how the thought of life being considered “sweeter than fiction” would appeal to me. It’s a phrase that’s been on my mind since yesterday morning when I downloaded the new Taylor Swift song by the same name (And let me tell you, it was quite a good way to start off my week 🙂 ). One of my favorite lines says, “Now in this perfect weather, it’s like we don’t remember the rain we thought would last forever and ever.” I smile when I hear that line, because I love the realization that the “rain” doesn’t last forever, and life is always brighter after the storm. That’s when the rainbows come out, right?

      I think that I’ve seen a lot more rainbows this year. Not just because it rains more in this region of the country, but because I’m so happy. If you had asked me back in August, I would have only been able to tell you that I was terrified about starting all over again (again!) at a brand-new school. But now, I’m happy to say I know I made the right choice. 🙂

     Today is the last day of the nine weeks, meaning grades will come out and I have survived my first quarter of public high school! <insert applause here> Wow….

     So, what can I say? It’s good. Other than being pre-distracted by the fact that my favorite band Heffron Drive is FINALLY going on an American tour and tickets are on sale and really really wanting to go (to the point where I accidentally threw papers at my geometry teacher! 🙂 ), I’m doing well. When my sister and I received our quarter grades of 100 in geometry yesterday, several of our classmates chorused astonishment, like we had done the impossible (just mentioning, we had Algebra II last year, which I think is making geometry easier since we went over the basics, and our Algebra I class was really good about the constructions and graphing!!). I’ve finished reading my library book, and so I’ll get a new one sometime tomorrow (ahh, the things that excite us nerds!). And, to top it all off, I actually did well on my guitar proficiency today!

     Speaking of guitar class, have I mentioned before that I’m basically the resident pick-dealer? Whenever someone needs to borrow a pick, they come to me, for I own a plethora of guitar picks for some odd reason. So, like usual, I’d lent out a few today, and I had one non-decorative pick left. Well, I lost it. And, right as I realized that I had lost it, the teacher asks the class, “Does anyone have a pick I can borrow?” All eyes turned to me. My name was said. I hesitantly selected what I hoped would be the least strange pick to lend him, choosing a Taylor Swift pick with the RED album cover art on it. (Hey, it was either that or one of my Big Time Rush two, and nobody touches my Kendall Schmidt pick! 🙂 ). I brought it up to him, apologizing for the kind of pick it was. He only thanked me. And then, literally right after he returned my Taylor pick, I found the Fender one I’d lost. That’s the trouble with Swifties…

  

     So, in a nutshell, as these first nine weeks wind down,  I am “happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way” (another T. Swift quote, from “22”). But, yeah, it’s good. I think I like where I’m at in life, and where I’m headed. It can only go up from here. And one day…

“There you’ll stand, next to me,

All at once, the rest is history.

Your eyes, wider than distance,

This life is sweeter than fiction!”

– “Sweeter Than Fiction” by Taylor Swift

    And with a life sweeter than fiction, any lemons it throws my way will be turned into some pretty tasty lemonade 🙂

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

 

 

Who You Are

     Over the past week, I have been asked if I was a twin, telepathic, and Jewish. Only one of these, of course, is true for me (As for the other two, it was a twin-telephatic joke, and I was the only person in my Spanish class who knew the word for “bar mitzvah”.). Things like that have got me thinking- “who are you, really?” 

      To some, such as the security guards in the cafeteria, I am the girl who brings a jar of Nutella everyday for lunch. To others, I’m the person who spends way too much time in the library (what can I say? I have a very bad book habit 🙂 ). In my guitar class, I’m the girl who loves Taylor Swift and always has an extra pick you can borrow. I’ve been, “WOAH! Are you twins?!” quite a lot this year. In English class, I have to try not to be Hermione Granger ( if you don’t get it- a literary figure who “knew it all” and was constantly raising her hand to answer every question the teacher asked).

     There are things I strive to be, like a straight-A student and finished with all the standardized tests they make me take. There are also things I don’t want to be, like late for class or the bus, or hacked on Twitter, like yesterday 😛 Then, there are the things I’d like to be, like a  National Merit scholar, that probably won’t happen. For now, I’m just glad to be done with the PSATs for, like, ever!

     During my time in the library today, I decided to get a head start on something interesting- a contest to win a Kindle Fire tablet, which would do wonders for my book habit! All I have to do is read ten of the sixteen “teen read” books and take the AR tests on them, by spring. Ten books in six or seven months? Easy! So, I chose my first book today. The Latte Rebellion is a story about identity and standing up for who you are. I’m barely into it yet, but I have a feeling it is going to be good 🙂

     High school is generally where you do a lot of “discovering who you are.” You try new things, meet different people, decide what you want to do with your life… I’m far from having it all figured out, but, so far, I think I like what I’m finding. 

     I believe that staying true to who you are is one of the most important things you can do. 

“I am a flamingo in a flock of pigeons”

     -Confessions of A Teenage Drama Queen

     I don’t know about you, but I’d rather stay the flamingo than try to be a pigeon any day.

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen