It’s Been a Long(er than usual) Time Coming…. By Matilda Spadoni

I did it! I went to an Era’s Tour show, and boy was it a doozy. I don’t think my show was like any other yet on tour so I thought I’d walk through it as if you are there with me.

5 pm: Arrival! Part of the fun of getting to Nissan Stadium in Nashville is the pedestrian bridge. With thousands of other people, we walk across the bridge. Later in the night, we can see thousands more listening to the set. There is a minimal line to get into the stadium, probably because it was drizzling, but inside was chaos. So. Many. People.

5:30 pm: We follow the nosebleed herd up to our seats. After sitting for a couple of minutes, we decided to escape the rain and explore. That is when the Shelter In Place alarms started to go off. “Lighting is approaching the stadium, please leave the seats and proceed to the closest indoor area.”

In the nosebleeds, there are no indoor areas. Once you exit the tunnel connecting the seats to the rest of the stadium, you are still completely exposed to the elements. To avoid the rain as much as possible, we, and the other people from our section squeeze into the tunnel. There we wait. And wait. Got told to leave the tunnel. Left the tunnel. Realized we are more likely to get soaked by rain. Promptly went back into the tunnel. Sat down. Stood up. Went to the bathroom. Sat down again. Sang some songs. Traded some friendship bracelets. Ventured out into the chaos to spend 50 dollars on two mediocre dinners. Ventured back to the tunnel. Sat, and sat, and sat some more.

8 pm: (original start of Taylor’s set): The rain is so heavy that we can not see the other side of the stadium. We are damp, and every time lighting went off, the entirety of the stadium groaned. Although this experience was kind of terrible, it is also so much fun. The stadium echoes with the songs of sorrowful but hopeful swifties, and Nissan Stadium updates us on Twitter every hour on the hour.

9 pm: Slowly but surely maintenance men start mopping the stage off and testing the lights. I entered the stadium with my phone at 98%, and it was now at 30%. Hopes are high but the lighting is still going off constantly. Announcements echo through the stadium, but every time we stretch to hear what they’re saying, it is the same Stay in Place alert. We sit as close to the wall as we can, as water inches into the tunnel.

(us in the tunnel)

9:45 pm: The rain has subsided and the stadium slowly fills up. The infamous pre-Taylor countdown songs are playing.

10:10 pm: She takes the stage.

We get out of the concert around 1:30 am. Taylor played her entire three and a half hour set. About a third of the way through the show, the lighting started again. The lights from the stadium were so bright, and our screams were so loud, that I think they ignored it. There were moments when I thought she was singing her last song. That they would force her to leave the stage and make us exit the stadium for safety. Later, we found out the worst of the storm was coming straight towards the stadium, but miraculously turned around just as it reached the outskirts of Nashville. After this night, I can confidently say, the five hour wait was worth it.

I have no more blogs (for this year) by Rafael Bonilha Van’t Hof

I come to you today a broken man, hollow and empty, head empty, no thought. For you see I still have to write a blog, and it isn’t coming to me. For like the past week I have been trying to write anything at all for this blog but the words have not been coming to me or very bad. I am in the middle of a flop era and must inform you that I have no blog, it isn’t here. I know that you want a blog but I don’t have it, and here is why:

  1. Bad Brain

Over the last week or so, I have been trying to write a blog, but every time I have started putting anything down, my brain starts yelling at me. It tends to sound like “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH” or “Eeewww” or even “This is nasty and cringe and bad and stupid and I hate it.” If that isn’t happening my brain starts fogging, what I mean is that I lose the ability to come up with any ideas and looking for them leads gives me a headache.  I want to write, but it is hard when my brain is screaming and fogging.

2. It is not 9 to 12 PM

I know this seems like a very stupid and bad excuse for not being able to write but trust me bro, these are the only times I can think good epic smart funny. I swear on a signed copy of the bible that is the time that I get all my best blog ideas and my brain yells at me the least. This is simply the optimal time for this and maybe it makes my writing “interesting” but that is something my editor can figure out (sorry Claire).

3. Video Games

I can absolutely control myself I swear, buuuuut video games just grab me by my brain and prevent me from writing. It is a little hard to write when I am smashing (joy con straps on). If video games didn’t exist this would be much easier. Maybe they should make games illegal, then I can get my blogs done.

4. Procrastination

I know this seems silly, but I can just write my blog later, maybe tomorrow, the day after, next month, it will get done… eventually. It will get done, I promise it will get done.

5. End of Year-itis/presenioritis

This has been a very tiring year for me. So much work and so little rest have left me crawling around the school just to get through the day. This is the most tired I have ever been. Also as a member of the oldest class still in the building I can feel the senioritis already setting in. This might seem very ridiculous as I haven’t even started applying to colleges but the thought alone has me drained. I am just getting a little taste of senioritis before it hits, I have a case of presenioritis. The fact that I still have to go to high school next year has me rolling in bed at night, crying sad little baby junior tears.

Given these very reasonable and valid excuses reasons, it is clear that I can’t write another blog this year as I am unable to produce just about anything on account of my attention span being worse than that of a dog and the constant bombardment of stimulus. I really wanted to write a blog, but I just couldn’t. Maybe next year I will be able to write again. So please return to the writing center next year when I have a very good, epic, cool, and maybe even smart blog next year.


My Favorite Skating Programs by Elle O’Brien

As some of you may know, I am a soon-to-be-retired figure skater. But long after my career ends, I will still always watch the sport on TV at any chance I get. The artistry and skill that Olympic-level skaters have are absolutely incredible. Even if you’re not as deep into the skating ~lore~ as I am, I think that anyone can appreciate a beautiful skating program. So, here’s a list of some of my favorite ever programs (in no particular order) WITH LINKS so you can watch them too!!!


1. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue’s ‘21-22 Janet Jackson SP

Hubbell and Donohue in podium position at Gran Premio d'Italia | U.S. Figure Skating

I can’t say enough about this program. Their connection is just spectacular. They truly put the “dance” in ice dance. I still can’t figure out how they do that knee slide backward. Incredible. 

2. Yuna Kim’s ‘09-10 James Bond SP

Double O Section

There’s no need to wonder why this program won gold at the 2010 Olympics. It’s pure perfection. In addition to her jumps and spins (textbook), her artistry is just breathtaking! Why the ISU ever got rid of the spiral sequence, I don’t know. What I do know is that she was absolutely robbed at the 2014 games. 

3. Kaori Sakamoto’s ‘21-22 I am a Woman FS

Japan's Kaori Sakamoto captures Olympic bronze with empowering free skate

First of all, can we appreciate the dress? Second, I’m obsessed with her. This is one of my favorite Olympic performances in any sport; her reaction at the end is pure gold. I love when she mouths the words in the middle. Kaori is proof that you don’t need quadruple jumps to win big. Her technique is just gorgeous. 

4. Alena Kostornaia’s ‘19-20 Twilight FS 

Kostornaia wins second consecutive Grand Prix gold in Sapporo - Golden Skate

This is one of the only Russian skaters I can tolerate. I love Alena. She has gorgeous lines, and I think that this program is perfect for her. She genuinely looks like she’s having so much fun–and, no offense to the Russians, but they almost never look like they’re having fun. Her jumps are actually good too, which is very different from most skaters from the Eteri Tutberidze figure skater farm. 

5. Adam Rippon’s ‘15-16 Beatles FS

Figure skater Adam Rippon wins U.S. championship | The Seattle Times

Unfortunately, (probably due to copyright issues) the only video I could find of this program is very glitchy and has a Russian-speaking commentator, but please enjoy anyway. There was a time when I knew this program from beginning to end and could recreate it for you on the ice. I was, and still am, obsessed. I love a good Adam Rippon program. 

6. Adam Rippon’s ‘17-18 Let Me Think About It SP

The 10 most memorable figure skating routines at the 2018 Olympics, ranked by song - The Washington Post

What did I tell you? Love a good Adam Rippon program. This one is just him personified. So good. 

7. Mariah Bell’s ‘18-19 To Love You More SP

The Comeback of '90s Music - U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone

While not technically an Adam Rippon program, he did choreograph it, so the theme continues. I love this music for her. When the rules switched in 2012 allowing you to skate to music with lyrics, it was truly a game changer. One thing I love about Mariah is that she is smiling the entire time. This program is just pure goodness. 

8. Mirai Nagasu’s ‘17-18 Miss Saigon FS

Mirai Nagasu: “I am impressed with myself, if that makes sense” | Inside Skating

This program, especially when she did it during the Olympic team event, is just breathtaking! I love that she starts out with such strong music, opens with the 3A, and then eases into her more artistic side. She’s one of my favorite skaters ever because she’s got such a great combo of strong technical skills and gorgeous artistry.

9. Nathan Chen’s ‘21-22 La Boheme SP

Winter Olympics: Figure Skater Nathan Chen Stuns in Men's Short Program

When I watched this live, I was so worried for him. If you don’t know, he kind of bombed at the last Olympics. But he won gold this time! And deservedly so. He’s grown so much as a skater. Nathan if you read this I’m free this weekend. 


Okay, I know I said there was no order here, but if one program gets the gold medal it’s this: 

10. Jimmy MacElroy and Chazz Michael Michaels’ Fire and Ice FS

Blades of Glory (2007) - About the Movie | Amblin

No comment needed.

Ode to a High School Life by Jaimee Martin

In my four years of high school, I have learned many skills, and I can definitely say I have grown because of them. You live and you learn; I hope this blog is a legacy to help the future high schoolers of Shaker.

  • If you’re worried a program is too hard or overwhelming for you, it’s better to start it and drop it than not try at all.

I’ve always been a person who pushes myself because I stand by the belief that you’ll never regret having tried something, but you might if you don’t try it. There have been many programs and courses that I have tried that I didn’t like, but participating in them has always proven to be an opportunity.  I took both AP Biology and APUSH not because I was confident I could handle it, but because trying both would give me a better idea of what I like to do, what I’m good at, and the chance to learn new academic knowledge. There was no losing, even though I didn’t excel at Biology, because I still gained everything the opportunity offered me and showed to other people that in the end, I could handle it. It’s fun to surprise yourself with a challenge and a risk, which is why my policy is to always add more to my plate and then if it becomes too much, I always have the power to say that I tried and now the given project is not helping me, but rather holding me back from other opportunities.

  • Don’t let your school counselor tell you what classes you should and shouldn’t take, especially if you are a Black student.

I have heard so many horror stories of students who felt like their whole academic presentation to colleges was inaccurate because their counselor advised them to take classes that did not challenge them enough or propel them toward their post-high school goals. For example, I have a close friend who has always wanted to be a computer science major, but their counselor told them they should take machining and engineering classes rather than AP Statistics because that’s what would look the best to colleges. However, if you know anything about coding, stats is the go to math. I don’t believe that counselors are purposefully trying to hold students back, but I do believe that no one knows who you are and what you love to learn better than you. Being an advocate for your own learning is essential to success and if you want to take a specific class, do not let ‘guidance’ dissuade you. If you want to stop taking a class for a different one, make that happen. You know what works for you and how to push yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you a class is too hard or not right for your future.

  • Get involved with student government or administrative positions early on so that you establish a base for influencing the school community.

I am a big believer in putting in the work to change the policies and practices you disagree with rather than complaining about them to people who are also complacent in the system. If I’m not prioritizing the change I want to see, it’s because I don’t care enough about that change to see it through. Connecting this to my first point, I regret having not taken the opportunity to be a representative in student council. Yes, my plate would definitely have been overloaded early on in high school, but I would have grown into how to be a better politician and learned balancing this social sphere with school much better. It wasn’t until this year that I really became involved with administrators in our district and I should have put in the work to establish political skills and get my ideas for change out there. The worst that can happen is that my vision is not recognized, but there are still so many opportunities that come from being a part of student advisory councils or student government, that the pros outweigh the cons.


The SWC is literally a free, college-level resource at your disposal for any type of writing you’re working on at any stage in the process. Our interns are incredibly friendly because we love what we do so much. We love to write and we will do whatever it takes to make writing enjoyable and exciting for each writing that comes to conference with us. We also are not a place of judgment the way that a teacher or parent may be in your writing. We’re like the grandparents of student writers. We want you to come for 25 -35 minutes and tell us all your worries, then we’ll give you gentle advice, some tea, candy, and maybe even a hug. Then we’ll send you back to your parents and teachers refreshed and wiser. So just stop by. We’ll change your life here at SWC.