My New Job by Beckett Smith

So up until two weeks ago, I worked at Mitchell’s Ice Cream. I’d worked there for just about a year and a half, and I won’t get into the details of how or why I’m no longer employed there. The least that I will say is that it was unexpected, and I have found myself unemployed for the first time since I was sixteen. It’s a weird experience. I went from having somewhere I needed to be pretty much every day, to having absolutely nothing going on. It’s been refreshing for sure, but also uncomfortable and disconcerting. As weird as it is for an eighteen year old to feel this way, hard work is something that’s really important to me. I put a lot of my identity in that value, and to have it disrupted is almost painful.

Thankfully, my unemployment has come to a happy end. A few weeks before my untimely departure from Mitchell’s, I applied for a different job at Holden Forests and Gardens, the parent company for the Holden Arboretum and the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. The position is as a Nursery Assistant, functionally an internship for aspiring biologists. To say that I’m excited for this opportunity is an understatement. Plant and soil science has been a long-standing hyperfixation of mine, and to have the opportunity to develop my professional knowledge is so exciting. This is the first job that I will care about, and my first job in what I hope will become my career.

In four months I will leave for college. For three of those months, I will work for 40 hours every week. Not only am I finally employed again, not only is this my first job that I’ll care about. This is my first full time job. My first ‘adult’ job. I’m so excited. It’s a trial-run for the trial-run of adulthood that college will be and I can’t wait.


Thin Mints by Jakeia Banks Girl Scout Thin Mints Cookies (32 per box ...

I would like to confidently say that Thin Mints are the best Girl Scout cookie ever, hands down, no debate, 100%. Alas, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten any other Girl Scout cookie flavors in my life. But that will not deter me from writing my blog about this magnificent, chocolatey flavor and how it makes me feel.
Okay, the difference between Thin Mints and regular mints is that contrary to the name, Thin Mints do not make your nose tingle. It doesn’t lift up from the roof of your mouth to your nostrils and swirl around your ears. Now, I love regular mints. I use them for when I’m feeling overwhelmed. But thin mints, thin mints, those are fantastic. Sensational. Whenever I eat a thin mint, I feel like I’m the french guy in Ratatouille but instead of being transported to the past, I’m transported to the future.
I can imagine eating Thin Mints in my college dorm, watching Crazy, Stupid, Love just as Jacob and Hanna do the scene from dirty dancing (I love that scene). I can imagine eating Thin Mints after class with my friends, talking about some miscellaneous things we’ve heard and hated. I am excited to eat thin mints after studying for a class I most likely hate.
I can already imagine it now. It’s late October, I’m in Southern California, an official USC Trojan, and I am snuggling up to the life I have dreamt of since I was a child. I’m imagining snow—or maybe just very muggy rain—as I hold a cup of hot cocoa in both of my palms. Maybe I’m watching some sob story of a film, crying my eyes out, trying not to rub my eyes just in case the fairy dust of Thin Mints gets caught in my cornea.
Maybe it’s ten, fifteen years from now, when I’m eating Thin Mints in a luxurious mansion just to remember the good days when I didn’t live in a massive real estate nightmare. I have so many questions for myself then. What will I look like? How will I dress? Oh, do we book the roles we wanted? Do we actually commit to USC? If so, did we meet any really hot people there—because you know what they say about Southern California… (actually, what do they say?)
What makes Thin Mints so perfect, so innocuous, is it’s ability to make you feel as though whatever next step you may take in life is just out of reach. Sure, Oreos and Chips Ahoy are good—but Thin Mints mean something bigger to me. It’s the perfect representation of “What should I do now?” Because whenever I eat a Thin Mint, I dust myself off and suddenly feel like I could do anything I have ever wanted in the history of mankind.
Thin Mints are amazing. They are flavorful, perfectly round, and they are sold by Girl Scouts. I mean, truly the full package.
Now, if you have had thin mints before, let me know in the comments what Thin Mints remind you of. If you’ve never had Thin Mints…. You need to change that. Immediately.


A Confession. by Elle O’Brien

I have to make a confession.

I have committed a heinous crime. 

It is something that I am deeply ashamed of. I would like to apologize to all who knew and trusted me before this admission; I hope that you can accept my deepest regret for the lies I have maintained for the past ten years. 

Allow me to explain.

At approximately 2:35 p.m. local time, my mother and I went to our local Heinen’s grocery store. We ventured through the aisles, picking up ice cream and crackers and deli meats and cookies. We paid for our food, went home, and began putting away the groceries.

As I was placing the yogurt in the refrigerator, I suddenly felt a strange feeling wash over me. It was one I hadn’t felt in years. I was craving a slice of salami.

Now, you might be saying, “Elle, what’s so wrong about that?” The problem is that I am vegetarian. 

I tried to resist. I told myself to think about the pigs. I thought of my years of dedication to vegetarianism and the number of sad salads I had eaten at restaurants while the rest of the group happily munched on chicken or steak. I was proud of how well I had upheld this routine, this tradition of mine; Lord knows I can’t stick to a plan very often. I thought of my mother, the other vegetarian in the family, and the years of solidarity we had together. I tried so hard to resist. Yet, I found myself reaching into the meat drawer and taking out the bag of salami. 

Now, if you’re not a frequent salami eater, let me get you acquainted. Salami is just big pepperoni, okay? It’s salty and peppery, and has a little rind on the outside. This rind is what made it so difficult for me to tear away just a little piece of the salami. If I was going to eat some, I could never eat an entire slice. I tore off a bit of the salami and indulged.

The spicy flavor swirled around my mouth. It was so unlike anything in the universe of meat alternatives. I was instantly transported to the days before my vegetarianism–the days back in kindergarten when my typical lunch was a salami sandwich. Why did I ever give this up? What was I thinking? 

Prior to this incident, I had doubts about my vegetarian diet. I knew that college dining would be easier if I could just get a basket of chicken nuggets, instead of having to search for breaded meat alternative. But it wasn’t something I truly considered until now.

That bit of salami was not the last. I ate two whole slices of salami. I am ashamed and shocked that I would make such a decision. But I have no regrets.

I have no current plans to disobey my vegetarian diet again, but the salami crimes of my past will always be a beautiful memory for me. Cats can have a little salami as a treat.

I Guess It’s Time For My Eras Tour Blog!! By Matilda Spadoni

As my first Taylor Swift Eras Tour date is quickly approaching (Less!! Than!! A!! Month!!) I thought I’d follow in Brendan’s blog footsteps and share my dream surprise songs. This tour will be the first time I’ve ever seen Taylor Swift and I cannot begin to explain how excited I am. I’ve been blessed with seeing two Eras Tour shows. One with my friend who was going with her dad but he suggested bringing me instead (Thank you Mr. Ballock), and one with my older sisters. Even though I arguably have the worst seats in the stadium both times, (behind the stage baby!!) I’m still there and that is more than enough for me. Out of the four open surprise song slots I have, here are my top five I’d kill to see.

#1- “Haunted”

Speak Now is currently my “play over and over again until I’m sick of it” album, and Haunted has been on repeat. This song is addicting, and I think I would go feral if she played it. I absolutely love the acoustic version as well, making it a great surprise song contender. This would be less of a “sobbing in my seat” song, and more of a “shed a tear, still able to sing along” song.

#2 – “Back To December”

This song is one of my all time favorites, and I don’t have much more to say about that. It plays so smoothly and beautifully. This one might be a “sobbing in my seat” song.

#3 – “Fifteen”

This song is as Taylor Swift as it gets for me. Although this is a classic, and everyone knows it, I placed a lot of meaning on the song in my pre-fifteen childhood. “Wow, I can’t wait until I turn fifteen. That will be MY year.” Spoiler! It wasn’t. But I still cried listening to “Fifteen” as a new fifteen-year-old. Now even though I look back at the not-that-long-ago experience and realize how corny I was, I think I would sob all over again if I heard “Fifteen” live.

#4- “Getaway Car” (psst… I know this one could potentially be weird acoustically, but possibly cool as well?)

I was fairly surprised when Getaway Car didn’t make it into the permanent setlist. Nonetheless, this song brings tons of sister memories to mind and surprisingly is one of the Taylor songs nearest and dearest to my heart. Whenever my sisters come home from their respective colleges, our soundtrack consists of: “All Too Well” (Ten Minute Version duh), “Getaway Car”, all of the other Taylor Swift songs played slightly fewer times, and maaayyybe another artist. I will be hoping to see this one with my sisters. This song will definitely be a “shed a tear in my seat” and a “holding my sisters’ hands as hard as I can” song.

#5- “You’re On Your Own Kid”

This song has the most “sobbing in my seat” potential out of all of these. For some reason I feel like she won’t perform that many Midnights surprise songs because she already plays so much of the album, but a girl can dream. I hope to hear this one with my best friend next month, before we set off for our crappy camp jobs and “make the friendship bracelets, and take the moment and taste it” all Summer long.

There are sooo many more songs I adore and would love to see, but I found myself wishing for these the most. Whatever she plays, I cannot wait.

To My Freshman Year By Elliot Rendall

(Pictured above: me, the first day of my freshman year, 2019)

        As this is my final blog post, I struggled to find an idea that felt good enough. As much as I am excited to graduate, there are a lot of things I’ll miss- the writing center being a big one. So, as my parting gift, I will be writing down the things I wish I had learned four years ago.

  • The noodles and rice stand in the cafeteria? Way better than anything else in the cafeteria, and it always has the shortest line. On the topic of the cafeteria- bring your idea. As silly as it may seem, it makes the line a little faster for those behind you.
  • Fashion is a construct. The people who seem the most fashionable and stylish are the ones who wear it with confidence. High school is the time to wear crazy outfits!
  • Just because you’re struggling in a class does not make you a bad student. We all have different learning styles. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fail.
  • Try new things. Things that scare the shit out of you. Things you will never want to do again afterwards. But things that you will never wonder again if you should try them.
  • BE LOUD. Stop toning yourself down to be palatable to your classmates. But unfiltered and truly yourself. Advocate for your voice to be heard, and for you to be respected. Never back down.
  • You’re probably not going to keep your friend group from freshman year. And that is not a bad thing. It is okay to drift apart and change.
  • It’s also okay to have barely any friends. Being alone is underrated. You are the best friend you could ever have.
  • “This too shall pass” – Everything will change in due time. Everything will be okay. Do your best. That is all that matters.

It has been a strange four years. But I could not be happier with my time. I am so proud of the time I shaved my head, or when I auditioned for a play even though I was scared, or when I made a mistake. And then another mistake. And another after that. I have screwed up thousands of times. And I can’t wait to screw up even more next year.

Methods I Am Using to Avoid Senioritis by Sarah Marcus

Like many other writing center interns, I am entering my last month of high school. To me, this is crazy and I am unable to wrap my head around this. However, the part of my brain that wants to complete any schoolwork at all, has completely disappeared. So instead of writing the blog I was planning to write, I decided that I would try to help myself and others by brainstorming ways to get work done during this last month of school.

  1. Timelapse yourself doing work: Time lapses are a method I used  all the time when I was younger, because there is nothing more satisfying than watching a time lapse of somebody writing down aesthetic looking notes. Also, when filming a time lapse I was forced to get off of my phone so I could film the video. When filming this time lapse, I am also not able to find other stupid ways to get distracted by as then it will make my time lapse look bad.
  2. Make a pretend Youtube video about your productivity: Similar to the time lapse idea, it is always easier to be productive when you have an audience (real or fake) that you have to constantly update about your progress. When you don’t want to disappoint someone it can be a good motivator to be productive. When I am not working with someone else, I’ll sometimes pretend that I am in a Youtube video as a way to force myself to continue to have work so that I can update my imaginary viewers.
  3. Make doing work aesthetic: When I think of studying, I think of Rory Gilmore. Gilmore Girls has been a comfort show for me for years, and I always wanted to be Rory Gilmore. While I no longer want to be her, I would like to have her study habits. Sometimes when I need to study I will put on a Rory Gilmore study music playlist, grab a drink, and try to put myself in her mindset.
  4. Making studying a game: While I don’t suggest this method to be used often, the one time I did use it I found it very successful. As a competitive person I used my competitiveness against myself. I chose one night, where I didn’t have anything super important for the next day, and challenged myself to see how much homework I could get done in one night. I drank tons of caffeine and stayed up as long as I could, in a battle to get my work done. I prepared for this by going to sleep early the night before too. While one might say that I could do my homework and go to bed earlier if I spread it out between the days, my senioritis refused to listen to reason. When I challenged myself to get as much work done as possible, I was actually much more productive than I thought I would be. However, this challenge does come with added exhaustion the next day.

My Dream Eras Tour ‘Surprise Songs’ by Brendan Zbanek

Even if you aren’t a huge Taylor Swift fan, everyone knows that she just kicked off her new tour, the Eras Tour. 

Not only does Taylor do a mini set for each of her ten albums, except for her debut self-titled album, every show she performs two songs acoustically, one playing guitar and one playing piano. Each time she sings a surprise song, she will never perform it again on this tour… unless she makes a mistake during that song.

Some of the songs I would do anything to hear have sadly already been played, but here are my top five songs left that I NEED to hear! Disclaimer: I will be extremely happy no matter what songs I hear, and even though I would love to hear these five, I would go so hard to any song!

“Sparks Fly” from “Speak Now” 

Sadly, Taylor only plays one song, “Enchanted,” from that album, and it is by far the most nostalgic album to me. The Speak Now Tour was my first concert ever, at the ripe age of 6 with my mom in 2011. This song opened that tour, and I still clearly remember her coming up from under the stage in that gold, sparkly dress, so I would immediately start sobbing if I heard it come on.

“You Are in Love” from “1989” 

I love, love, love the 1989 album, and every person I meet agrees that I give off 1989 vibes the most. This song is just super dreamy and beautiful, and to hear it live seems like it would be an out of body experience. Especially on the echo-y part in the chorus. I need to hear this song.

“Paris” from “Midnights” 

This song is just so fun, and I am already imagining hearing her play it without the production and just a guitar. It just sounds like an incredible song to dance and sing my heart out to, and I would love to hear it.

“Cornelia Street” from “Lover”

New York City is my favorite place of all time, and every time I end up there for whatever reason, I make it a big deal to visit her old apartment on Cornelia St. that inspired this song! The song is so emotional, and I live for the live version from her Lover Paris concert where she played the song acoustically. 

And last but certainly not least, “Picture to Burn” from “Taylor Swift”

I would love to hear a song from her debut album so, so, so much! I have heard a few from the two times I have seen her before on the Speak Now Tour and the Reputation Stadium Tour, but this album is just so special and nostalgic to me, and to every Swiftie everywhere! And this song is hilarious and such a banger, especially if she plays the original version (iykyk [winky face emoji])

Everything I’m Going to Do to Make This Summer Fantastic by Meg Hahnenberg



As a senior with approximately 20 days left of school, summer is one of the next big things to look forward to. My workload is becoming lighter, the days are becoming longer, and the overall temperature is becoming warmer. To be quite honest, I don’t think I have ever been so excited for a summer before. I won’t have any school work to do, and I get to spend this last summer at home doing whatever I want with my friends and family. I’m a little afraid that my expectations are way too high for this summer, and that is why I have come up with a list of things I have to do this summer in order to ensure I have at least a little bit of fun. Without any further ado, here are some of the things that I am planning on doing in order to make the most of summer 2023.

  1. Spending time with friends – It breaks my heart to think that some of the faces I’ve seen everyday for, well, the last two years I might never seen again. So this summer, I intend to spend as much time as I can with all of my friends from high school.
  2. Spending time with family – I’m leaving my sister behind next year, and I owe it to her to make sure she has an awesome summer too. (OK, I promise only these first two were sad, now onto the fun stuff!)
  3. Reading – I’ve always enjoyed reading and these past couple of months, with the lighter workload, I’ve had the opportunity to read a lot more! If you have any book recommendations, I would love to hear them!
  4. Picking Strawberries – I don’t think I have picked strawberries since I was eight, which is such a shame, because strawberries are my favorite fruit! Fresh strawberries taste so good. I also really want to go blueberry picking but strawberry picking takes first priority!
  5. Baking – Using my freshly picked berries, I hope to bake all kinds of pies and cakes. I used to bake a lot and I honestly find it so relaxing to just pipe frosting on cupcakes for hours.
  6. French Horn – Over two years ago I stopped playing the french horn. I had started playing the french horn immediately after 4th grade and LOVED it. I miss searching for the perfect solo piece, mastering note after note, and affixing my embouchure to play in impossibly high keys.
  7. Painting – This isn’t really something that I ever stopped doing, but rather something that I stopped enjoying so much. With all the pressure I felt in art class, I didn’t quite have the same artistic inspiration that I’ve had in the past. Hopefully, with all of the freedom that comes with summer, I will be able to paint whatever I want, whenever I want!
  8. Roller blading – I’ve always liked roller blading, and I think its time for another go. I also want to go biking a lot this summer!
  9. Packing for college – Unlike my older sister, I plan to start my packing BEFORE the night before I leave for college.
  10. Enjoying boredom – I haven’t been bored in sooo long. With all the work I always feel I have to do, I never have a chance to become bored. This summer I want to kick back, relax, and revel in the consuming, numb irritation of boredom.

This is my current bucket list, and I would love more ideas, so let me know if you have any fun summer activities that I should add to it!

My Biggest Fears Pt. 2 by Jaimee Martin

I had so much fun compiling this list of ‘my biggest fears’ in the original part of this blog that I’ve decided to make a part two. Guaranteed to be just as authentic and relatable as the last one or 100% of your money back!

Happy reading! :    )

32 "Outer Banks" Season 2 Jokes That Even Kooks Would Find ...

-potato roots

-accidentally oversleeping all of my ib exams

-highway driving in the snow

-ugly crying at graduation

-being forced to dance before i’m warmed up

-figuring out that i really do have superpowers

-tazing myself in an endless cycle like in the movies

-getting a bunch of cavities and having all of my teeth pulled out

-accidentally cutting my finger off when i’m cutting paper strips

-falling asleep in such an awkward position that i can’t get up when i’m awake

-becoming enlightened to some incredible secret that i can’t tell anyone about otherwise the government will kill me

-blah blah blahbitty blah

-getting electrocuted by an outlet because i plugged it in wrong

-getting pantsed

-getting road raged by a scary person

-outer banks never coming to a finale

-getting a nuclear bomb dropped near my home or school

-the food at prom

-meeting a joe goldberg irl and they’re so good that i really can’t tell

-getting hit by a large piece of space junk and no one understanding and leaving me on the street

-getting carjacked

-fire ants

-that toys actually are sentient

Opening Nightmare by El Szalay





Unless you’ve been living under a rock or have not interacted with me whatsoever in the past month, you already know that Shaker’s production of The Spongebob Musical opened and closed this past weekend. All three performances were phenomenal and I am so unbelievably proud of the cast, crew, pit, and everyone involved in bringing this show to life. Not to mention, this show is officially the highest selling show in recent Shaker theatre history, with two of the three performances ending with only 30(ish) tickets left unsold. I am thrilled that my first and last high school musical broke this record. But, if I’m being completely honest, I was terrified for this show up until opening night. Considering that I hadn’t done a musical since middle school and that Spongebob is a surprising difficult show to put on, it’s perfectly normal that I panicked about it. In fact, I had multiple nightmares about something going wrong on stage. Most of them were realistic, like tripping during a big dance break or my costume ripping on stage, but I had quite possibly the weirdest nightmare of my life right before tech week.

To set the scene, this dream took place on opening night. We had all taken our places for the beginning of the show and the opening number starts when the cast collectively realized that our set had been torn down and replaced. If you remember what the set for last year’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac looked like, that’s basically what our new set looked like, except it was blue and on the wrong part of the stage. No one told us about the change, but as we say in theatre, the show must go on. We tried to continue through Bikini Bottom Day like everything was normal, but missed nearly all of our entrances because our blocking didn’t work with the new set.

I have an entrance from the audience at one point during the opening number. After making my way through Stage 3 to get to the back of the house, I enter the room during Mr. Krabs, Plankton, and Karen’s verse. But for some reason, Mr. Krabs wasn’t on stage. Instead, they were sitting in the audience with a microphone to sing their lines. There was a spotlight on them, so I assume this was somewhat intentional. The thing is, their microphone was breaking up so badly that you couldn’t hear what they were saying. As I move down the aisle to make my entrance, our director cuts us off and asks to speak with the cast. Yes, in front of a paying audience.

We all go backstage to talk to our director, and it was at that point I realized I was dreaming, because our actual backstage space looks way different than what I saw in my dream. There was a door that took us out to a parking lot. However, this parking lot wasn’t in Shaker. I can only assume it was in Akron (you’ll see why I say that). The whole cast was crying over how horribly the show was going as our director asked us why our show was going so poorly despite how good our runs were earlier that week. I don’t remember what else he said in this tangent, but it ended with him saying “and now I have to call the police.” The whole cast started crying even more, because our performance was god awful, but it most definitely wasn’t illegal! Our director seemed confused and said “no, I don’t mean on you guys, I mean on those guys.”

We all turn to look at what he was talking about and were greeted with a bright orange bus heading down the street towards the Akron airport. There were a few people on it, but there were two people in large penguin costumes similar to the Duolingo owl costumes, but penguins. The real kicker was the fact that the bus was driving down the street without one of its back tires. The entire cast instantly stops crying and forgets about our terrible performance as we all tell our director that he should most definitely call the police. As he explains the situation to the police, someone in the cast looks off into the distance and says “oh, and that building’s on fire.” We all turn around and there’s a massive skyscraper in the distance and, sure enough, it was on fire.

And then I woke up.

And for what it’s worth, our set was in place on opening night. And we only had a few minor technical difficulties. And there weren’t any fires or penguin costumes.