Last First Week of High School!

Happy Saturday everyone!! Survived the first week of senior year, i.e. the last first week of high school… kind of bittersweet, now that I think about it.

Anyway, this year got off to a wonderful start. I love my classes, love my schedule, and love love love all my teachers (which is a first, lol). My typical school day looks like this:

1- AP Gov

2- AP Psych

3- Multivariable Calculus

4- AP Statistics

LUNCH

5- AP Literature

6- Human Biology

I start my morning off with AP Gov and AP Psych- two humanities classes. Initially I didn’t think I would enjoy AP Gov, simply because I’ve never been a history buff, and politics never interested me. However, after plunging into current events two days ago, I realized that this class isn’t really a “history” class, in the traditional sense. In gov, we’re actually learning things that are relevant to us, things that will help us become more informed citizens. As my teacher said, a major goal of this class is to increase our knowledge capital. This is great because, as I’m taking the steps into adulthood, it’s high time for me to (as shameful as this may sound) start CARING about what’s going on in the world. I think that’s the problem with youth today- we simply don’t care enough about issues going on around us to vote. Anyway, my teacher for gov, who is also the wife of my BC Calc teacher from last year, is wonderful. She is funny, easy-going, smart, and treats me and my peers like young adults.

Moving on to AP Psychology- OMG. I am literally in love with AP Psychology. Psych has always been a topic that’s intrigued me, especially after the injury urged me to become more self-aware and reflective. Every day I walk into D-27 SO PUMPED to learn. I really like my teacher, Ms. Davis, who is a psychology major. While most of my teachers are generally good public speakers, Ms. Davis, in my opinion, is especially eloquent and articulate. While she speaks to the class, I often find myself noting her speaking style, the way she makes direct eye contact with faces in the classroom, the calm way in which she recovers if she naturally stumbles upon words. I guess I should be paying attention to the substance of her lectures, rather than the delivery… haha. Anyway, I’m so incredibly excited for psychology this year!!!

Okay, so first and second period are over. Now onto third and fourth- THE MATH CLASSES! I’m taking two maths this year- multivariable calculus and AP statistics. Why, you may ask? Simply because I love calculus and statistics! And I couldn’t be happier with the way my schedule is arranged, with calc and stats back-to-back. So here’s the deal with multi- it’s the hardest math class at our high school, yet it is not even considered an honors class. Messed up, right? Nonetheless, I am really excited for this year in multi. The class size is quite small- only twenty-something students- which makes it easier to participate and ask questions. My teacher, Mr. Skrable, whom I had two years earlier for AG/Calc, is so passionate, so enthusiastic about math. I love it! While multi is for sure going to be my hardest class, I am really looking forward to the challenge of it.

AP Stats, on the other hand, is one of the easier math classes. The teacher is super sweet with a heavy New York accent, although she is super nitpicky with the way we complete assignments, which is annoying. So far, though, stats is really dry… Definitely not as invigorating as calculus… But it’s only the beginning, so we’ll see!

After third and fourth period is my favorite period of the day: LUNCH!! Haha, just kidding on that one…

Succeeding lunch are fifth and sixth period: AP Lit and Human Bio. Again, very enjoyable classes. I love my AP Lit teacher. Like my government teacher, she treats us like young adults. This class is discussion-based, very representative of college classes, so I will expect lots of discussions, seminars, and oral presentations. While I was initially dismayed at this expectation, my worries were quickly appeased when my teacher expressed her understanding of many students’ inhibition to speak up in class. By stressing that her classroom is a safe, non-judgmental environment, Ms. Nilsen reassured all of us that there was no need to fear voicing our ideas. I’m also super excited about AP Lit because of all the reading we will be doing! I love reading for enjoyment, but it’s always difficult to find time to read with the boatload of other things to do as a high schooler… But AP Lit requires us to read many works of literature, so it’s like built-in reading time for me! We’ll be looking at pieces like Invisible Man by Ellison and Hamlet by Shakespeare. Unfortunately, Pride and Prejudice is not in the curriculum this year, which sucks because I was looking forward to exploring the societal themes of this Jane Austen classic. On the bright side, though, we will be doing lots of poetry in lit, which is a genre of writing I know very little about, but am eager to expose myself to!

I conclude my day with an easy yet interesting class- Human Biology! Finally, a science class to balance out all the humanities and math… Human bio is known to be one of the easier classes, which is part of the reason why I enrolled in it, as opposed to AP Bio. After so many other rigorous courses, it definitely helps to have a class where you can take a breather. I’m REALLY excited for human biology, especially the dissections we will be doing in the near future! We’ll be dissecting frogs, fetal pigs, sheeps’ brain, cows’ eyeball. Fun stuff… Plus, this class is geared towards the career path I want to pursue- medicine.  Fun fact- I volunteered as the class leader during emergency evacuation situations. Sounds like an important title, but it’s really not. I just have to hold up a sign that says our classroom number and lead the class out to the field during emergencies. The important thing here is that I’m stepping outside my comfort zone by taking on a leadership position. Take that, social anxiety!!!

As I’m writing this post, I’m feeling super excited for this coming year, especially second semester, when college apps are OVER. Right now things are pretty hectic, since I’m competing in my first ballroom competition, Embassy Ball, in exactly two weeks, which means PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! More on thoughts and feelings regarding Embassy coming soon… I’m also prepping for the SAT Math II subject test in October… Speaking of which, that’s what I’ll be doing the rest of the night after I finish writing this post! And of course, the dreaded college applications. I’m trying hard to stay positive about the whole process, but it’s difficult to not feel stressed and frustrated. Despite starting early in the summer, I still find the supplemental essays- that is, college specific essays- to be torturous. It’s crazy how I can write a thousand word blog post with ease, yet feel completely blocked when it comes to a 200-word statement asking, Why College “X”? But there’s no use in complaining about it, just gotta power through!

I’ve decided to end each post with a quote that I hope you guys will find inspiring and thought-provoking. In the spirit of school and education, I leave you guys with the following wise words:

“It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.”

Albert Einsten

SOCIAL ANXIETY UPDATE :)

Hey guys 🙂 I can’t believe summer vacation is almost over… My school starts in THREE DAYS! Still can’t wrap my head around the fact that this is my last year in high school.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve done an update on my journey of overcoming social anxiety, so here it is!

A little over one year ago, I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder (SAD), which is intense and irrational fear of social situations, including (but not limited to) fear of public speaking, meeting new people, talking on the phone, the list goes on. During that time of my life, I was going through lots of self-esteem issues. As some of you guys may know, the knee injury that took me out of gymnastics bore not only physical, but also emotional and psychological ramifications, which gave rise to my social anxiety.

In the beginning, tackling social anxiety seemed like an utterly impossible task. Everything involving people was a challenge. I was so scared to take the first step… I didn’t think I could fight the battle alone.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to. With the proper emotional support, I was able to take the initial plunge into overcoming social anxiety. I started by setting daily goals for myself: speak up at least once in class; say hi to a teacher in the hallway; call a friend instead of texting him/her. As easy as such tasks seem to me now, I remember the days when they all proved to be challenging. The important lesson here is: every time you do something that scares you, no matter how seemingly trivial it is, AFFIRM IT. Allow yourself to be proud of yourself, because going against your instincts and doing things you fear is the most courageous thing anyone can do.

Going back to my journey- five months ago, I found ballroom dance. I quickly discovered that ballroom was something I enjoyed, something I had potential in. I fell in love with dancing from day one. What many don’t know is how scared I felt during the first few months upon entering the dance world. Every time I walked into the studio, my heart would pound against my chest, my palms would sweat, my muscles would clench up in anticipation. It was the social anxiety, the fear of evaluation, the utter self-consciousness. Ballroom dance was completely unfamiliar territory. Surrounded by beautiful experienced dancers, I, the neophyte, felt insecure while practicing… not sure whether or not I was doing the steps correctly, and most of all, worrying about what others would think. Looking back, I realize that even if you dance like a pig, NOBODY CARES! But it took a lot of time before I came to this realization… Ballroom dance, then, REALLY challenged my social anxiety. I took some social dance classes for the pure sake of challenging the anxiety, as social dance classes/parties force you to meet, interact, and dance with numerous strangers. Through dancing, I’ve met (and am still meeting) many passionate, skilled, and kind people with a myriad of backgrounds and stories. Ballroom dance has really given me a newfound confidence in myself and around people.

Aside from ballroom, I’ve challenged my social anxiety in other ways as well. Over the summer, I took a six week public speaking class at community college. I kid you not when I say that I nearly threw up the morning of the first day of class. Public speaking is by far the most difficult aspect of social anxiety to conquer, for me at least. To say those six weeks were nerve-racking is the understatement of the year. I dreaded class nearly every day, but in retrospect, I’m so glad I powered through it , as the long-term benefits of challenging myself definitely outweighed the transitory discomfort. After twenty-four two-hour long sessions of pure public speaking, I am so happy to say that I’ve emerged a more confident speaker. Don’t get me wrong- I still get nervous with oral presentations or speeches. Of course it takes more than six weeks to conquer an intense, deeply-rooted fear. But I’m glad to say that I’ve made great strides this summer and plan on furthering my progress by challenging myself even more. After all, the main way to continue growing is to keep pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.

Thus, I am currently taking semi-private acting lessons with a wonderful coach (see post entitled “First Day of Acting!!”). I strongly believe that acting will further boost my confidence around people. I’ve heard stories of painfully shy people taking up acting and emerging completely different people- confident, grounded, and even borderline arrogant. I observe the drama kids at my school. As far as outward appearances are concerned, most of them exude confidence around people. I long to have this confidence around people. I want to be able to let go of my self-judgement, forget about what other people think of me, feel completely comfortable Just. Being. Me. And I believe that if I stick with acting, I will be able to take large strides towards becoming the confident woman I aspire to be.

If acting is not enough, I have SO many resources to continue to challenge myself. I’m considering joining mock trial or debate this year at school. If time allows, I may look into Toastmasters, which is a global organization dedicated to helping people become better public speakers.

One year ago, I could not have imagined going up to a stranger and initiating conversation. One year ago, the mere thought of speaking in public was enough to make the panic set in. One year ago, I was so afraid of everyone and everything. I am proud to say that, through hard work, commitment, and a bit of courage, I have come out of this bad place and transformed myself. I still have a long way to go on the road to overcoming social anxiety, but I’ve gotten through the hardest part- the initial plunge.

I conclude this lengthy post with my favorite quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Whatever you fear, whatever is hindering you from reaching your greatest potential as a person- fight it. Fight it. If I can fight my social anxiety, I have full faith that everyone can fight their fears.

Wow, I just realized that what was supposed to be a little social anxiety update just became… a tirade. But I do hope it was an inspiring little tirade, at least to one person 🙂

Again, I am so grateful to all of you guys for reading. Your continual support means so much to me… Lots and lots of gratitude and love!! (*blows kisses through the computer screen).

Until next time,

Belicia

Ambushed In Maui

Today I had a strange experience in Maui. I was standing outside a public restroom with my two brothers and dad, waiting for my mom to finish up. Suddenly, a random lady whom I’ve never seen in my life runs up to me, screaming vulgar words and hitting me on the head repeatedly. I was in complete shock, since nothing like this happened to me IN MY LIFE- let alone in Maui. The worst part is, this woman had a daughter no older than three years old, watching. My only explanation for why this lady would Continue reading

SENIOR YEAR IS COMING!

Hey everyone! I’m currently on a week-long vacation with the fam in Maui!! While it’s great to get away from everything in paradise, I couldn’t resist the urge to post something!! Today’s topic: SENIOR YEAR!!

I cannot believe school starts in one week on the 18th! SENIOR YEAR! I kid you not- It literally feels like yesterday when I was a timid freshman stepping foot on a foreign campus that now feels like home.

This year is definitely going to be a doozy: 4 APs, college applications, shadowing Dr. Nwynn, tutoring, teaching flute, ballroom dance competitions… I’m really stretching myself thin this year… Reminds me of my past years as a competitive gymnast, juggling school with training and competing. Regardless, I’m actually looking forward to this challenge! It’s not going to be easy, but hey- easy is boring. Challenges afford personal growth and make you mentally/emotionally stronger!

I will continue to update you guys regarding how senior year goes, both academically and extracurricularly!!

Until then, look forward to upcoming posts on: 1) Maui vacation and 2) Back to school tips!!

XOXO,
Belicia

P.S. Anyone get the GG reference?

WHEN YOU TELL YOUR CRUSH YOUR TRUE FEELINGS…

Hey guys. So it’s 12:38 in the morning, but something just happened that prompted me to write this.

I told you guys earlier that I liked an unavailable guy. Well, this unavailable guy just so happens to be a really good friend of mine. We talk on the phone, facetime, snapchat, and text each other a lot, and I feel like I can tell him anything. What he didn’t know was that for a while now, I’ve had feelings for him.

That all changed tonight. We were talking on the phone for at least an hour, when he told me about something that happened between him and this other girl he likes. He spared no details while discussing the intimate interaction….

The whole time he was telling me this, I was just like, okay… This is really awkward since he’s telling me about his flirtations with another girl, while oblivious to the fact that I like him. Eventually I was just like, okay screw it. I’m just gonna tell him how I actually feel about him, just because we were on that touchy subject anyway.

So I told him. It wasn’t awkward. He just kinda squeezed it out of me in his understanding voice. As predicted, he doesn’t reciprocate these feelings of attraction, since he likes another girl… But we agreed to still be friends, and I will get over it. I have been getting over him, actually. I knew it wouldn’t work out between us, and I never suspected he liked me back. I thought I had gotten over him completely, until he started telling me about his feelings for another girl, and the emotions it stirred within me.

Okay, I feel a lot better after writing this entry. Writing is so cathartic… it takes the edge off of painful emotions and brings you clarity.

I’m really glad my “ex-crush” and I can still be the friends we were… Hopefully.

Goodnight,

Belicia