IB? IB. by Carrington Hughes

As my junior year comes to a close, I have begun to reflect on the trials and tribulations I went through as a first year IB student. Everyone told me that this would be my hardest year and although I’ve managed the workload relatively well up to this point, I experienced something last week that had never happened to me before.  Last week, I convinced myself that my schoolwork was optional and this led to me completing absolutely 0 assignments. My days consisted of coming home from school and going directly to sleep, completely ignoring the pileup of assignments that I had waiting for me. I had lost all empathy for my future self, who eventually had to attend a plethora of conferences in order to get her grades back in order. During that week of completing no homework, I was at peace for the first time in a long time. However, like all good things, this peace was short lived, after a sophomore asked me one faithful question: “I signed up for IB next year…am I going to regret it?”.  Suddenly, my trauma had all come back and I was thrown into reality as I had to convince this innocent child that IB wasn’t as bad as it seemed. I proceeded to talk about the great community of IB learners at shaker and how well it prepared you for college. Yet, here I am, months away from applying to colleges, and I feel all but prepared. I fear that the sophomore will remember me next year. I fear that they will get to their lowest point in IB and curse me for selling them a dream. But if I must suffer then the next generation must suffer with me. Anyway, moral of the story is to do your homework and take IB <3

My Quirks by Jaimee Martin

By now you’re pretty familiar with my compulsive attachment to my Notes app. I’ve shared a decent chunk of my personality by displaying all words I’ve consumed through my quotes list. You know I love The Fault in Our Stars, Chimamanda Adiche, and Sarah J. Maas, but did you know that I hate driving a car alone? Or that if there are crunchy leaves on the sidewalk I have to step on them?

Of course, I have a note for these pieces of me too – It’s called “my quirks”. It’s similar to my avenue of thinking for collecting others’ words because I’m sentimental. I have to hold onto all of the smallest parts of human experiences and identities, including myself. I feel like I know and appreciate myself each time I add to the list, so I want to share it here too.

Happy reading 🙂

-i make routines/playlists in my head

-i have to close all the doors and drawers in my room before i can go to sleep

-i have to be awake for a couple of hours before i can eat

-i go through obsessive-compulsive seasons where i have to sleep sideways on my bed

-i can’t listen to the finale of hamilton without listening to the whole soundtrack first

-i hate reading paperback books because the sensory aspect freaks me out and i feel like the story isn’t as good

-i love smells and i’m always noticing them, i associate smells with everything

-i love every genre of music

-i love the lyrics just as much if not more than the beat of a song because they feel like what makes the music

-i love when artists reference their old songs

-i love to lip-sync to songs i can see myself singing

-i can’t run an odd amount of miles, they have to be whole miles

-i like to call people more than texting

-the way i see myself in my dreams is different than in real life

-i hate running on treadmills, i feel like i’m going nowhere and running outside is superior

-i like wearing socks and sandals to the beach

-i can end up liking pretty much any artist or album if i listen to it enough

-i have to visualize the whole montage that goes along to a song when i listen or i have to start it over

-i like to pretend i’m the actors in a musical

-i love two songs that have same name or iykyk vibe

-i hate texting happy birthday in group chats, texting on the side is better

-i judge how well someone knows me based on how they spell my name

-i like to binge read books, sometimes i have to finish it in one day or i get anxious

-i only listen to music i know in the car, i don’t like listening to a song for the first time when i’m driving

-when people say good morning to me i say hi on instinct

-i have to listen to a whole album in order a couple of times before i can shuffle it

-when i see a worm dying on the ground i have to save it, it’s a compulsion

-i love predicting what song will be next on the queue and being right

 

The Benefits or Running by Will Welsh

As my senior year track season comes to a close, I feel myself getting antsy. I’m excited, excited to sit back, relax, and reflect on the psycho that ran 10 miles in one day. I am excited to finally have some free time. Some time to hang out with my friends, watch TV (because you really take that for granted), go fishing, and sleep (because when you’re running you never get enough). Perhaps the thing that I’m most excited about is simply not running. Running, especially as a sport, can be a drag. It can get boring, repetitive, and it’s always painful. I am excited to wake up one day in the not too distant future and not be in pain. My hip won’t have a slight tingle, my knee won’t ache, and my calves won’t feel like they were thrown into a trash compactor. 

But, as I reflect on all these looming positives, I think about what I will lose by not running. Although it sucks up time, can be painful, and is certainly repetitive, I will miss the important lessons that running has taught me. Through six years of running, I have learned about the power of grit, teamwork, and dedication. Even if I never slip on a running shoe after the conclusion of the season, which I consider to be an unlikely scenario, these lessons will stick with me. 

Due to running’s painful and boring nature, one needs to have a strong mind in order to achieve success. Running 5 miles over hills and through sleet will teach you that giving up and complaining achieve nothing. They only dampen your drive and cause you to get home 30 minutes later, cold and defeated. In order to overcome challenges in running, you need a constant supply of perseverance. You need to have a reserve of strength on standby. Running teaches you to grit your teeth and press on, an important skill in life. You will need to do this during exam week, job interviews, and important presentations. 

Apart from grit, running has taught me a great deal about teamwork. Although running is not perceived as a team sport. I have realized that I always run better with other people. Seeing my friends running beside me, pushing themselves to the limit, I realize that I am capable of doing the same. When I run by myself, I cut myself some slack and don’t work up to my full potential. When others are involved, I feel inclined to match their energy and always end up with a better workout. The benefit of teamwork in running and in life is that it keeps you honest and forces each individual to work up to their full potential in order to benefit the team. Learning the value of teamwork can help you utilize the skills and potential of others in school and in the work force and can assist you in offering your contributions. 

The last lesson that running has taught me goes along with grit. Through six years of attending practices and meets, I have recognized that one does not improve without attending the greatest number of practices they possibly can. I attended winter practices in the snow and drove to optional Sunday workouts in order to improve. Due to this dedication, my times dropped every year and always fell during the season. Seeing my improvement, I have learned that dedication to something will always help you improve at it. I will take this with me after the conclusion of the season.

To all those leaving running, and to those experimenting with it, it is just like life. It’s tough and can get boring. It demands the best from you day in and day out. It forces you to learn about yourself and test your limitations. Sitting on my couch this summer, I’ll remember everything that running has taught me, and knowing myself, I’ll slip on some shoes and jog outside. 

A Long and Fictional Story by Kian Baker

For my final blog of my senior year, I have decided to post one of the 10-page narratives I wrote for my creative writing class at Tri-C. I couldn’t decide between two storylines. They both begin with the same car crash, but the one I have linked follows the main character, Stephen, and his grieving process. I chose to not use this for my final because the theme is very loose. I tried to display my personal belief that you never really “move on” when the people close to you pass away, their memories are still continuations of their lives in our minds. Grief is a really sensitive subject and writing about it was extremely difficult. A majority of the emotions experienced when someone dies are indescribable. For me, I usually keep those emotions inside, attempting to detach myself from death, so I wrote a character that reflects what I know about my own experience. I would also like to mention that this was for a college class, so there is profanity (which I have blacked out) and mention of illegal drug use. I used these things to display coping mechanisms, so they should not feel out of place in the story. It is a very long read, so enjoy!

Click here for the PDF

Letter to Bed by Lizzy

Dear Bed,

Thank you so much for being there for me at every hour of the day and night. I appreciate you providing a soft, cushiony, platform for me to jump on and collapse onto after a long, tiring day. I thank you for being so enticing that while I’m doing work on my desk, I feel unexplainable compulsions to journey over to my bed and lie down, effectively distracting me from the mountains of stuff I have to accomplish.

I really appreciate that every time I lie on you to take a break, it turns into an hour nap because my eyes just automatically drift off into the abyss. I seriously thank you for giving me thick blankets that keep me warm and cozy, hugging my balled-up body, because I am a very cold person.

I also really like that you’re so accessible, just flashing your puppy eyes at me every time I walk past my room, producing an aura of attractiveness that resemble the irresistible Greek Sirens, and similarly, often ending in my demise.

And lastly, thank you for being there when I need a good cry of breakdown. Sometimes I do enjoy feeling sad with my face in the pillows while I contemplate life and stress.

 

With love,

Your Parasite

 

*not my bed, but looks equally comfy*

 

 

 

Road Trip Through the South by Sonali Khatri

When I went to Florida during spring break, I was not prepared for the culture shock that awaited me. My family decided to drive instead of flying and so we were able to immerse ourselves in all the Southern landmarks. 

 

I was born in Georgia, and my parents and grandparents raised us there for a couple of years. I remember when we were getting gas in West Virginia, my grandma let out an excited “piggly wiggly!!!!!” I thought at first it was just another one of her funny sayings but as I followed her pointed finger my eyes feasted upon a huge grocery store topped with a brilliant red sign of a smiling pig in a paper hat. 

 

My sister, Seema, had been raving about Buc-cee’s weeks before the trip. She refused to make it all the way home without walking through the doors of one of those ginormous convenience stores. She passionately explained that it was known for its:

  1. Large, sparkling clean bathrooms
  2. Beaver nuggets: corn puffs covered in caramel
  3. Plethora of food choices
  4. Gas pumps that stretch as far as the eye can see
  5. Cult following

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So in Jacksonville when we were running out of gas we stopped at one. When we walked in it was packed to the brim. I instantly became overwhelmed as people pushed and shoved around me to get their food and beaver memorabilia. It was insane. Time functioned differently inside those walls. What was supposed to be a quick in and out situation became an hour-long excursion. 

On the way to Florida, we stopped at a couple of outlet malls against my will. The only reason for these detours was because my brother forgot his suitcase. Of all things. We arrived at our halfway point in Charlotte, North Carolina … 515 miles away, and he had the audacity to ask “what did you guys do with my suitcase?” So in Savannah, we stopped at an outlet so he could go to Banana Republic. He liked his purchases so much that he wanted to stop on the way back too … as if once wasn’t enough.

On the bright side, while he was shopping we were able to try the Southern delicacy “Zaxby’s”.

 

Although some experiences were better than others, I was happy that during my trip I was able to get back to my Southern “roots”. I don’t know if I’d do some of them again but at least I can cross a couple of things off of the road trip bucket list.

Ode to Gordon by Mia Compton-Engle

 

In honor of senior spirit week’s Marsupial Monday, I dedicate this blog post to Gordon the Gray Shark, my very own bashful buddy whom I have taken to carrying around in my (backpack) pouch, even when unprompted. What can I say?—he’s my lucky charm. This 5” softie has all the physical characteristics of his fuller-sized counterpart—sleek gray skin with a round white belly, three fins (in the north, west, and east cardinal directions as per the image above), wide black eyes which are more like bottomless pits of emotional depth, a smiley smile with a carnivorous killer’s teeth (never fret, dear reader—the dude is a self-conscious vegan, bless his soul), silly gills, and most importantly, brilliant blue goggles for the brilliant blue brine. That’s right; my guy Gordo is sensitive to salt water! Better salvage those shining stars, eh? And as a responsible plushie parent, it is my moral obligation to protect his health and well-being first and foremost. Hence this oh-so fashion forward safety measure. We aren’t deep sea diving here, people; Gordon and I prefer to splish-splash in the shallow end.

But let’s submerge into more intimacy. According to the Squishmallows Wiki fandom, I need not fear (for) Gordon, as he is “one of the friendliest Squishmallows around (enthusiastic exclamation point)!” My beloved “loves helping others so much that one day he wants to start his own nonprofit.” Profound or what. How freaking adorable (and admirable) is that! Evidently, I have much to learn from the little fella. For now, though, I am content to be helped by his cuteness overload. Especially this Marsupial Monday. Whoot whoot!

* It should be noted that this occurred only once, during an especially challenging school day. I have not surrendered myself wholly to inanimate object separation anxiety… yet. 

Revitalizing Your Garden by Will Welsh

Spring is the time of year that leaves are beginning to unfurl and bright colored daffodils start to peek out from under the bare branches of bushes and push up from the recently frozen soil. The new splash of green and beautiful flowers serve as reminders that winter is in the past and warm summer weather is on the horizon. In the spring, many gardens are hot spots of early season color. They sport yellow daffodils, red and pink tulips, and purple crocuses. But then again, many gardens remain brown and bare, only to bloom when summer sets in. 

If you are an avid gardener looking to add early season color, I have a few age-old remedies for you. Perhaps the most recognizable sign of spring is the tulip. These flowers, a Dutch, specialty are some of the first bloomers and come in a dazzling array of colors from white to purple. Tulips start from bulbs, not seeds, and they must be planted the previous fall to ensure they will bloom in the spring. Another classic flower is the daffodil. They bloom soon after the last frost and sport bright yellow and yellow-white color varieties. Daffodils are also very well acclimated to Northeast Ohio’s climate and have begun to grow wild. While this is not great for biodiversity, it foreshadows their success in your garden. To ensure a productive spring, daffodils must also be planted the previous season in mid to late fall. My third and final recommendation is hyacinth. These are fragrant bright blue and purple flowers that have a droopy, flowing appearance. They add some color variation to spring gardens and bloom for longer than most other early season flowers. As a plus, they are also resistant to deer and other herbivorous animals. Hyacinths must also be planted in the fall, six to eight weeks before the first frost, so early fall is the best bet. 

These three flowers are not an exhaustive list of spring color possibilities, only a sample size. Although these three plants are some of the most popular varieties, they may not fit your space or you may want to experiment with native flora. Whatever direction you take, good luck, and I hope your garden space looks like a Van Gogh painting next spring!

Bright, Sunny, and Angry by Evan Barragate

 

The sun was shining this weekend for what felt like the first time in years, and it warmed me up so much that I felt as if I had skipped three months and cast myself in mid-July; it was horrible. This may make it seem like I am insane, begging for attention, or filled with hatred, and while all of these are accurate ways to describe myself in general, none of them have influenced my paradoxical claim regarding the weather.

I resent the beautiful sunshine and humidity because they only exist to force people to do things that they do not want to do and to give people an excuse to avoid doing what they have to do––apart from the more scientific explanations for the existence of the sun and heat. With this, I mean that a sunny day brings the greater expectation that I ought to immerse myself in it throughout my entire day in ways that I typically would not have. The tasks that I am expected to do in the sun are often out of my way and not enjoyable. Why should I suddenly spend half an hour getting to a store just so I can walk there in the sun when I could drive there in five minutes? Why is it less unproductive for me to do nothing while melting in the hot sun when I could be doing nothing in my air-conditioned home? These are things I will never be able to comprehend. I also see the lovely weather as something that occurs only to prevent me from completing the tasks that I have to do––or making it torturous when I do them. I view it as impossible to do any work while it is warm outside or the sun is shining, and I laugh when others suggest that life in California, Florida, or anywhere with good weather would be ideal. I would freeze to death before walking into work wearing a sweaty, sticky suit in 85-degree weather in pants and a jacket when all I want to wear is shorts and a T-shirt.

But these are not the only reasons for my bitterness toward warm air and clear skies. When I am in a foul mood, the last thing I want is a bright, yellow sun telling me to cheer up; it feels like a slap in the face. As an obnoxiously selfish person, I do not want to see kids running around in the yard, birds chirping, people enjoying the sunny day on the front porch, and busy lemonade stands when I am upset. 

If the rain were to pour on my head after having a horrible day, I would not think of it as an ironic twist that makes me want to tear my hair out, unlike most. I would see this as something that can bring me a sigh of relief––because then, everyone else gets hosed down by the start of a bad day, and I am not alone. Yes, I know that this may make me seem like a life-hating pessimist, but I view it as something that makes me enjoy life in different ways. I find it idiotic and immature to rely on the temperature outside, the state of the sky and clouds, and whether or not you can see a giant, fiery ball of death from outer space to determine your mood.

Lost Pants: Updated by Anna Welsh

As so of you may remember, I wrote a very, very sad blog post months ago about two pairs of pants I had lost. The first were a pair of thrifted blue jeans, and the second a pair of heathered gray Boston University sweatpants. Now, don’t get your hopes up. Neither of my precious garments have been located. Trust me, the search has continued long after I published that blog post. However, this weekend, I saw my sweatpants.

A girl was walking down Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, toward Kenmore square. I saw her from afar. She was clearly a Boston University student, which I gathered from her very close proximity to the BU campus, her backpack, and… Boston University sweatpants. Seeing them, those glorious pants, sent a wave of emotion through me. I could barely prevent myself from collapsing on the steps of the Citibank in tears. The girl walked past me, paying me no mind. How could she know she was wearing the pants that I had searched for high and low, through treacherous closets and dangerous laundry chutes. There they were, my sweet, sweet sweatpants.

I knew that the sweatpants she wore were not my exact pair. They were a carbon-copy, sold in bulk at the Boston University bookstore across campus. I saw other colors too; students alike wearing red, white, and black versions of the same pants. It was my own personal Hell, a taunting that I could hardly bear. I was Eve, trapped in a sea of contemptuous temptation. They all had exactly what I wanted.

The Boston University Bookstore is a trek from where I first saw the pants. It’s about a mile down Commonwealth, a mile of treacherous terrain and dangers such as college students on rollerblades and the occasional piece of gum flattened on the sidewalk. I never made it. I was deterred by the intimidating students, their raised brow toward me guiding my mom around with visitor pamphlets. More importantly, the sushi place on the way was a little too tempting to pass up.

I have been seriously considering purchasing the sweatpants again. I visited the BU Bookstore website last night, but was unable to justify spending that much money on a pair of sweatpants. However, now that I have visited BU and realized that I really love it, maybe I will have to represent the school again. We will see…