I got my car broken into. Again. I don’t really understand the hype surrounding my car specifically. It’s a pretty basic car and nothing about it screams “HEY! LOOK AT ME! I HAVE 10K SITTING IN THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT!” but hey, there’s really nothing I can do. There was nothing of importance for them to steal it so it was humorous to analyze their horrific attempt at a robbery. All of the work that went into breaking into my car, only to find my car registration, paper towels, and a 5 year old Iphone USB cable that’s quite literally hanging on by a thread. This whole ordeal made me wonder what the criteria was for being a “crime worthy” car. Is it bad that I feel…honored? I think that the universe is trying to tell me that my car is just that cool. You don’t just attempt to rob anyone’s car. You only rob super cool people. Right? well that’s what I am going to tell myself. Anyways, moral of the story is to not be a criminal and to have a really dumb looking car.
Like all successful individuals, I decided to develop a simple yet disciplined morning routine that would promise me a productive day. I was desperate to find something, ANYTHING that would stop me from consistently waking up overwhelmed and exhausted. I spent hours mercilessly searching the web for the steps to add to my routine, copying down the techniques that seemed to be most effective. I found myself frequenting one specific website, that had the alleged routines of various famous individuals. I studied the information carefully, mindfully repeating the phrase “If Obama can do it, so can I” , in an attempt boost my own morale. Soon enough, my routine was created. At the time, everything on my list seemed easy enough, waking up at 5 a.m., making breakfast, going for a walk etc. I had never been so excited to wake up the next day. That was, until, the next day actually came.
I slept peacefully, my body was preparing to continue the pattern of hurriedly waking up at 8 a.m. with tears streaming down my face from the anxiety of not being able to find a parking spot. Everything was balanced. Then, the 5 a.m. alarm went off. The night before, I had downloaded an alarm app by the name of “Alarmy” which would force me to do challenges (i.e. math problems) in order to turn off the alarm. There was no snooze button and no way to turn down the volume. Thinking that I had outsmarted sleepy Carrington once and for all, I went to bed confident that I would wake up early enough to execute my new routine. However, sleepy Carrington did not go down without a fight. As soon as Carrington heard the 5 a.m. alarm, she deleted the app without hesitation, not even attempting to complete the challenge. Carrington then proceeded to wake up at 8:30 a.m., since she hadn’t thought to set up any back up alarms. Needless to say, I haven’t attempted my morning routine since.
A lot of the time, my life feels fairly bleak. It is a never ending routine of school, sports, work, repeat, with weekends as my only respite. When this feeling strikes, often in bed the night before a particularly stressful day, I like to play a game where I think about five things I am looking forward to (no matter how trivial) the following day, the coming week, the coming month, and the next couple of months. This reminds me to feel thankful for everything I have, and to take pleasure in the small things. This is my current list:
- Doing the Wordle and Globle
- Watching Encanto in Spanish
- Hanging out with my friends tonight
- Going to the mall after school
- The final bell signaling that school is out for spring break
- Going to Florida
- Getting tan
- Wearing summer clothes
- Spending time with my friends
- Not having any schoolwork
- Celebrating two of my friends birthdays
- Our first Rugby game
- Perfecting my current piano piece and starting a new one
- Spending more time outside- running, playing soccer with my friends, having picnics
- Seeing my brother and dad again after two weeks
The next few months
- Being a camp counselor
- Going to Maine
- Going on fun summer adventures with my friends
- The Wilds season 2 coming out
- Seeing Lucy Dacus in concert
When people prepare to leave town for a trip, most are typically excited for similar reasons: to see the sights, whether they be historically rich or revolutionarily modern; to see the marvel of nature in a distant place, whether it be a sandy beach or an enticing forest; or, to spend time with their loving family. As for me, I am not excited by trips out of town due to the appeal of witnessing beauty or feeling peace, and I do not even see vacations as a break from studying.
Leaving town, to me, is an opportunity to study the most, but not to study the history of the place I journey to. Spending time in another location is my chance to study the people and occurrences––but the strange ones, rather than the good ones. I do this at the dinner table while eating and pretending not to hear what those around me are saying––at the pool when I pretend to be relaxing, the family next to me having no idea I am studying their every word. Other people’s arguments, overdramatic complaints, and alarming stupidity all bring me more satisfaction than any relaxing song or even an exciting novel could.
One of the most entertaining conflicts I was hooked on while eavesdropping was in Miami a couple of years ago. While walking to dinner, I happened to be behind a woman on the phone traveling the same path. She was infuriated while speaking through earbuds to a Walgreens cashier who she clearly believed had tried to gyp her out of her money. Only when she seemed to storm away from the person she was speaking to and scowl at the person (who I could not see) from across the street did I realize that she was not wearing earbuds, and she was not even on the phone. The person on the other end of the argument did not exist.
But there are also things I observe that lack any drama or fighting. While walking along the beach during this same trip, I saw a mermaid emerge from the waves. However, I realized that she was not a mermaid, but a grown woman wearing a mermaid tail and shell bikini over her drenched clothes, along with a red Ariel wig falling from her head. She did not seem to be having fun as her eyes looked enraged. Though, exciting observations are not limited to this vacation. New York City is one of the greatest places for my studying. In the Empire City, people swarm the streets and restaurants, and some of them I have even seen barking on their walks. One of the most entertaining games I play in New York diners is trying to figure out if the pair of people at the neighboring table is a couple, a best friendship, or relatives. So, in less than a week I will be in California, a place known for some of the most interesting people on the planet. And for the reasons I have explained, I am more prepared than ever.
My little cousin Noah was the light of my life. Both of us being Asian, adopted, and the only children of identical(ish) twins, he was for all intents and purposes my brother. I remember when my aunt and uncle finally returned from Taraz, Kazakhstan; holding him and wondering at his delicate existence in open adoration, I couldn’t help but feel connected and protective. He was so small, yet so strong– stronger than he looked. For he proceeded to prove himself and his resilience through the art of motion: scootering and biking, climbing and ninja-ing, skiing and snowboarding, skateboarding and skim boarding, here-boarding and there-boarding and everywhere flying feats of the superheroic, special kid he was. He was a survivor, our beloved Aldanysh, whom the world loved as much as he loved it. Whom our family loves so, so much. Cleveland, Lewisburg, Rochester, the Finger Lakes, Sarasota, the Outer Banks, St. Peter, Philly—wherever, whenever we came together, he would be the first to hug us hello and the last to hug us goodbye. I imagine him now, arms outstretched, embracing reality with his easy smile and enthusiastic vitality, a joyous “Yay family!” lingering in the silence still. I would follow him to the end of eternity.
I miss the simplicity of when we were young. I mourn the loss of so light a life. Yet my little cousin Noah is, and will continue to be, a warm, glowing memory. Noah, I love you, I love you, I love you.
The other day, I came across a website called receiptify, that will tell you your most listened to songs of all time, or in my case, the two years I have had spotify. All of these songs have meant so much to me, and I love seeing them compiled in a list, evidence of the sheer amount of time I have spent listening to each one. As I reflected on each song, I listened to them, and was reminded again of why they are all so special.
- Night Shift- Lucy Dacus. This is a song I discovered with my sister about a year and a half ago. It became a staple in our night time drives and it still makes me think about when she used to live at home. It is the perfect accompaniment to a good scream-cry.
- Moon Song- Phoebe Bridgers. This song reminds me of driving home at night in the summer. It is perfect for wallowing. One of my favorite memories from this year is hearing this song in concert last fall with my friends. I love the songwriting and how personal it feels.
- Something- the Beatles. This is my favorite Beatles song. I absolutely love the way the guitar sounds and how simple the lyrics are. I listen to this song when I am feeling melancholy and nostalgic.
- America- Simon and Garfunkel. I would probably say this is my favorite song of all time. My dad introduced me to it, and it always reminds me of him, and how it never fails to make him cry. This song makes me want to look out at the ocean on a rainy day and reflect. I think it reflects the best of Simon and Garfunkel. Earnest and poignant lyrics, and stunning harmonies.
- April Come She Will- Simon and Garfunkel. This song feels like walking through the woods on a misty day. It is profoundly beautiful and I wish it were longer than one minute and 49 seconds.
- I Want You- Mitski. This song is often too sad to listen to, even for me, and it is kind of worrying that I listened to it enough times to have it appear on this list. It isn’t even the satisfying sadness that goes along with a good cry; it’s the kind of sadness that stops you in your tracks and makes you stare into space. When I listen to this song, everything just slows down.
- Fade Into You- Mazzy Star- This song puts me in a trance. It is romantic and nostalgic and is the kind of song you slow dance to with someone you love, although maybe I only say this because it was in the school dance scene of Gilmore Girls. Regardless, it’s an amazing song.
- I’ll Be Seeing You- Billie Holiday. This song reminds me of sitting in an old fashioned parlor and looking out the window at the rain, thinking about someone you love. This song seems to go on forever, but simultaneously is also way too short, and the last note leaves an impact long after the song ends.
- Family Business- Kanye West. This is my favorite Kanye song, and one of the only songs that genuinely makes me smile when I sing along. It reminds me of the first warm day in spring. It is just so wholesome and sweet and feels so genuine to me.
- Box of Rain- The Grateful Dead. This is the song that I put after a bad day, because it seems to always put things in perspective. It feels melancholy, while also being overwhelmingly hopeful. It is one of the only songs I never skip past, because it is so comforting.
College. For some unexplainable reason, the deadlines are already beginning to loom dangerously over my head. I only have a certain amount of time to increase my scores, finalize my list, write my essays, submit my applications, all the while keeping up with regular coursework. I’ve written two Common Application essays already, both of which I’m very critical of. I wrote one about a hike my brothers and I took, and the other about music and my relationship with my dad. I can’t help but stress about it, day and night, even when I know I’m doing everything I can.
My dad and I just went on our first set of college tours over Presidents’ Day Weekend. We flew into New York to see Barnard, then drove to Middletown, CT to see Wesleyan, then finally drove to New Haven, CT to see Yale. The trip, while it was supposed to be fun, turned into a very stressful experience.
When we toured Barnard, I immediately loved it. It was an academic oasis in the middle of a bustling city, a calm, communal safe-haven on the Upper West Side. The campus was minuscule, only about a city block in size. The campus residences seemed to be similar to an apartment complex, with a single courtyard in the middle. The day was frigid, and my backpack, holding A Tale of Two Cities in it from the plane ride, made my shoulders ache. I didn’t care. I was excited, a happy-go-lucky spirit racing around Morningside Park, falling in inexorable love with Columbia and Barnard. I could see myself studying on the steps of the library, playing lacrosse in the park, reading constantly. It was all I wanted.
Wesleyan didn’t feel as special to me as Barnard had. I enjoyed the campus, surprised by some of the brutalist architecture and strong athletic presence. I was enticed by the film program and loved the idea of a small liberal arts school with a strong major in film production. However, Wesleyan didn’t feel perfect, which is what I was looking for, perfect. I enjoyed the tour, feeling as I walked that Wesleyan was a wonderful place, just not for me.
Yale, of course, was wonderful. My dad lit up as he showed me around the campus, describing his old haunts in exhaustive detail. We went to Yorkside, a pizza joint he had frequented with his college friends. He figured out ways to show me the residence halls and pointed out all of the places he had slept in the library. Yale was gorgeous, a marvel of academia and beautiful architecture. However, by the end of our weekend, my heart was still set on Barnard.
I was told to not start loving a school until I am admitted. I didn’t understand it then, but now I realize that it was solid advice. As my dad and I drove back from New Haven, I could feel my stomach twisting with the beginnings of an anxiety stomachache. I hate anxiety stomachaches. The more I looked at the schools, the more I thought about how much I had loved them, the more stressed I became. The anxiety peaked in waves of nausea that forced me to put my head between my knees. It should not have been as stressful as it was. I know that I will be happy wherever I end up because I am opportunistic and driven. I know that if I have the motivation, I will be able to succeed. That is what I think juniors like me should keep reminding themselves. Where you go does not define you, and you shouldn’t feel forced to “be the best” all of the time. Where you go is not who you will be.
It is so tempting. I am sitting in class, my eyes wandering across my computer screen. I can’t restrain myself. I begin to type, watching the words form in my search bar: Cupcake 2048. The link is purple, showing I have visited the website countless times. I click, anticipation coursing through me. It is instant relief from the ennui of the dragging school day. The bright colors reflect against my face- yellow, purple, pink. The voices around me recede into an unintelligible white noise. I must match the cupcakes. That is my only goal. Pink frosting to pink frosting, then yellow to yellow, and so on. My grid slowly fills as the cupcakes morph into one another, changing color and position within the pink square. Panic sets in. There are too many cupcakes, I can’t match them efficiently enough, the grid is filling, there are barely any spaces left, oh God!
The screen falls dull. Game over. The weight of the loss makes my shoulders shrug at my desk, the high of the game disappearing as quickly as it came. Voices resurface around me. What were they saying? Chemistry… yes, chemistry! Something about collision theory. The smartboard comes back into focus, displaying a Maxwell-Boltzmann curve. I am here now, here in a chemistry classroom, not in a world of sugar and bright colors, a world of strategy and cake. I glance around the room, watching the HL students furiously scribbling diagrams onto their notes. Man, am I glad I’m not in HL Chem!
I could play again. I could try to beat my best score, try to beat the game. Beating the game, that mythical feat that I can only dream of. I had seen people beat the game before, in moments of joyous celebration. I had seen the sweat beading across their foreheads as they clicked, the determination creased in their brows. It was a task that took skill. Not just anyone could beat Cupcake 2048.
I forbid myself from playing again. The game had been a “brain break,” but I must return to studying. Must open Kognity. Must take a Strength Test. Must, must, must. Cupcake 2048 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is my greatest enemy, my greatest distraction. It feeds off of my boredom, grasping at the edges of my thought during the school day. “Anna,” it whispers, “just one more game. Just one more and then you will study, I promise.”
“No!” Please, Cupcake 2048, please just leave me alone. I can’t take it!
I had another idea for this blog, but as I sat down to start typing it I noticed my ‘m’ key was occasionally obscured, its ambiguously sans-serif type blotted out by a discordantly weaving blob. About the same time as I spotted the ant, itself a bit smaller than the average sidewalk-ant but a bit bigger than a peg-leg termite, it spotted me, its tiny antennae warbling in the imperceptible breeze of my dusty basement. Very quickly it resolved to try to bury its head below one of the matte-gray, tilted keycaps, but I grabbed it before it could found an ecosystem among the cooled computer circuitry.
The first ant lobbed into the nearby trashcan, I figured my pest problem was over, but when I looked back at my keyboard none of the white letters were visible, the writhing, segmented mass on top of it revealed only by the flickering light fixture dangling from the popcorn ceiling, which by this point was already starting to get overrun by ants. In a state of shock and with no other course of action popping into my ant-absorbed head, I started grabbing the insects by the fistful, chucking as many as I could into the vat of tepid, detergent-stained that lay a few feet away. My first blunder of many, I had failed to realize that collected ants dissipated when thrown, like beach sand kicked into the wind, and the ones that didn’t make it into the poison-bucket quickly regained their balance and started crawling up my legs.
My initial terror, however, morphed into a sense of almost relaxation as I realized that the ants weren’t biting me, content with fighting each other over crumbs and bits of food lodged in my clothes. My entire body was covered with ants at this point, and I carefully began to trudge myself up the stairs, carrying with me an extra 10-15 pounds of pure insect. They were so densely packed that as I walked the few streets between my house and the nearby lake, anyone who saw me instantly believed that ants had gained sentience, along with the ability to coalesce and, rightfully, ran in fear. When I finally plunged into the shallow pond, the ants that hadn’t caught onto my intentions finally dissolved off of me, and I trudged back to the house soaking and belligerent. After I dried myself off and cleared out the remaining few ants from the basement, I sat back down to write my blog, but by that point I had forgotten my original topic entirely.
We have only witnessed two rounds of playoff basketball, but this year’s NCAA Tournament has already proven to be a classic. Leading into the Sweet Sixteen, last year’s champion has been ousted, with the Baylor Bears losing in the Round of 32, 86-93, in an overtime thriller against North Carolina. Other highly seeded teams have also fallen early. #2 seeded Kentucky was defeated in the first round by #15 seed St. Peter’s. St. Peter’s built on their unexpected momentum and knocked off another Kentucky team, Murray State, in round two. Other bracket busters have included Tennessee’s loss to Michigan in round two, as well as Auburn’s loss to Miami. In both of these games, a #2 seed lost to a #10 or higher seed.
Looking forward to the Sweet Sixteen, we have some intriguing and surprising match ups. I’m going to break down a few of them for you here:
(11) Iowa State v. (10) Miami
This match up pits two Cinderella teams against each other. Most people that made a bracket this year, picked both of these squads to fall in round 1. Instead of a first round exit, these teams knocked off higher seeded opponents in both of their tournament games. Miami is coming off of a dominant performance against #2 seeded Auburn, and Iowa State shut down #3 seeded Wisconsin. Iowa State’s defense has gelled in the tournament and Miami is experienced in close games, but I think the Cyclones will prevail.
Pick: 67-62 Iowa State
(3) Purdue v. (15) St. Peter’s
This game pits David against Goliath. The St. Peter’s Peacocks are an underdog once again. They have a formidable opponent in the high flying Boilermakers. Purdue was ranked AP No. 1 at one point this season and has the scoring ability to back up that ranking. Purdue’s defense is its weak spot. The upstart Peacocks could take advantage of this if they shoot well from the floor. If the Peacocks pull off an upset, it would be the first time in history that a #15 seed has advanced to the Elite Eight. Unfortunately, I think Purdue will coalesce as a unit. Good defense and efficient scoring from the Boilermakers will propel them past the Peacocks.
Pick: 77-70 Purdue
(1) Gonzaga v. (4) Arkansas
This game should be yet another thriller between juggernauts. Arkansas is trying to build off of last year’s success and advance to the Sweet Sixteen yet again, and top-seeded Gonzaga is aiming to cut the nets down in New Orleans. Arkansas is powered by the high scoring J.D. Notae. Even if Notae repeats his round 1, 35-point, performance, it may not be enough to overcome the efficiency and experience of the Bulldogs. Front court star Drew Timme, a junior, has plenty of NCAA tournament experience and has been impressive through two games. While both of these teams are good, the Razorbacks are no match for the Bulldog’s strength and vision.
Pick: 80-70 Gonzaga