2015 in Review – I’d Say It’s Been An Epic Year

Last year was a year of many changes and many firsts … largely due to one thing – I went to school for the first time (Technically it wasn’t the first time if you count that half year in school in Year 3, but no, I don’t quite count that.) Because I love lists and they make everything orderly and sensible, here are some notable occurences and thoughts of 2015 in 1,2,3. In no particular order … 

  • First day I went to school I was terrified. So frickin terrified. There were PEOPLE … TEENAGERS everywhere. My ultimate fear.
  • I knew nobody and everybody else seemed to know each other.
  • I packed waaay too many things in my bag the first days (two water bottles, super fat lunchbox, all my school supplies, all my textbooks even when I didn’t have that subject that day … why?)
  • I didn’t need quite a few things on the stationery list. Like, what’s up with that giant folder and giant sketchpad we never used?
  • I got lost in the school and was late to all my classes the first few days, inevitably making me stand out and feel extra embarrassed like I wasn’t already. Traumatic. 
  • I experienced a lot of firsts related to school – first spirit day, first prizegiving, first field trip, first time singing the school song and the national anthem, first parent/teacher day …
  • The first girl I made friends with – that ended up not being so great (although it was alright in the end and she was really good about it) … If I could do it again, I’d be a bit less desperate for making friends and more choosy, but I’d also be nicer and much less dramatic. I still feel kinda bad about the stuff I did but … I guess you live and you learn.
  • I’ve learned how to write an essay to a marking scheme, so I can sort of “hack” the system to get good grades. That may or may not be a good thing.
  • When I compare my socialisation skills in Term 1 to now, I feel very accomplished. And I definitely cringe (a lot) at my past self.
  • I realised just how terrible the essays I wrote while I was homeschooled were. Way too preachy and simplistic, with repetitive sentences. I’ve improved a lot now and I’m happy to have better examples of my essay skills than I had before. 
  • I’m so glad I didn’t go straight to uni but went to high school first or I would be really out of my depth …
  • I’m so glad I’m finally finished with ALL math courses! Took my last compulsory one and I’ll never have to take one again.
  • I realized for sure that I want to study something “arts” related (like humanities, performing arts, social sciences, etc.)
  • I got a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Wattpad.  Also, Snapchat, Viber, and Skype. Year of the Social Media. 
  • I started my three newest blogs which I’m pretty happy with so far! Hopefully they will last a long time and I WON’T up and abandon them.
  • I completed one novel, which I do think is my best yet.
  • I set a record score of 14,000 words written in a day (whoop!).
  • I went to the cinema for the first time in years.
  • I watched a ton of movies and some shows (at home and at school – perks of taking media studies!) and caught up on quite a few famous ones – High School Musical, Avengers, Game of Thrones, etc. It was awesome. 
  • I read probably 30+ books.
  • I started a bank account.
  • I bought things for the first time. Will you believe it or not – I’ve never bought things before? I’ve always just taken things other people bought for me.
  • I made a CV and applied for a job for the first time .. had my first job interview (was terrible!)
  • I joined a choir.
  • I joined clubs and committees – and kind of hated it cause I joined all the ones I wasn’t interested in. (Who can fathom why I do the things I do?)
  • I suspected someone had a crush on me (and said person’s friend seemed pretty convinced we were together) and totally freaked out. Avoided said person after that. Was mildly rude to said person. Needless to say, I have a few regrets with regards to behavior towards said person … I never reciprocated feelings but I probably should have freaked out less and, you know, explained stuff in words. Communication and all that. You live and you learn!
  • I started learning French again and advanced significantly using Duolingo compared to two years of studying with textbooks.
  • I started listening to some awesome bands like 5SOS.
  • I completed Grade 3 level theory.
  • I learned how to sing harmonies to songs (sort of).
  • I played tennis and badminton but no netball as I’d been planning to!
  • I volunteered at the school library.
  • I received good grades this year! But not perfect grades by any means, so it pulls me back down to earth.
  • I got a practically new wardrobe from the one early in the year, with clothes that actually fit me and I actually like! 
  • I did take some risks. Sorta. I said hello to people even if they hadn’t said hello to me! I spoke up in class. And I added the majority of my Facebook friends instead of waiting and hoping they’d add me first. That should count for something right?
  • I wrote four new songs that I’m quite satisfied with.
  • I got my learners license.
  • I drank coffee for the first time. 
  • I tried different candies and sodas (ahh, the little things in life …)
  • I became my brother’s English teacher (gonna improve that role this year)
  • I took exams for the first time (five of them – I think I did well … results are out on Jan 13th! Ahhh!)
  • I made a lot of friends (considering I had none before outside my family and online) and I found people I get along with. And I’m super happy to have met such awesome people!

Annnd I’m pretty sure I forgot something … All in all, 2015 went really well though. I could have done some things differently – and better – but you have to make mistakes to learn. (As cliched as that maxim is, it’s true.) I learned so much (and honestly I learned many of these from school – things I would not otherwise have learned. I think you can tell I LOVE school and am really grateful for the opportunity to go there, even if it does mean I have an embarrassing moment practically every day!). I’m still the same person I was before, when it all comes down to it but (I hope) I’m more confident. And this year I hope to be a little bit braver … kinder … friendlier …

And I’m definitely going to keep a list of my 2016 adventures. It’ll be awesome to look back on it and see again how far I’ve come and how much more there is in store. 

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Grades? Ouch

Worthless. Useless. Stupid. 

I can’t stop the voices in my head. I don’t know where it happened but somewhere along the way my self worth got tied up with my grades. I know it’s nonsensical but I feel the misery fall over me anyway. 

Maybe it’s because I used to have the impression that schoolwork was all around easy, so now that my grades are slipping, I’m mad at myself because this is not supposed to be hard. And I know what that must mean … I am stupid.

Maybe it’s because I’m not pretty and I suck at sports. So … schoolwork. Grades. I decided I’d be the “nerd” – the “smart one”. Maybe not so much in those words, but that became my niche. It was something I was good at … something to be proud of.

Maybe it’s because I have a fierce sense of independence and want a scholarship badly so that my parents don’t have to pay for me. And that means …. grades, grades, grades.

Maybe it’s because I used to have better grades and everyone expects them from me because I’m smart. So now that maybe I’m not quite so smart anymore … something must be wrong. I can’t simply be a normal person intellectually who happened to do well in some assignments. 
It must be that I’ve been lazy.

And it’s rather true. I haven’t studied half as much as I could have. If I’d studied more, would I have gotten better grades? Maybe. Probably. 

Shouldn’t I just study harder then? That’s the answer, isn’t it … study so hard that I HAVE to achieve full marks and I escape that debilitating sense of failure?

There are some people who just don’t seem to care about grades. There are some people … I can’t imagine them going home and staring at textbooks miserably because they thought I should have studied more. I am a useless person. I wish that I could be like those people. 

Good grades are … good, I suppose. They can show you are a hard worker. They typically show you have skills such as critical thinking and a good memory. And, they lead the way to university, which can lead to higher paying jobs and an intellectually stimulating and informative experience. 

But …. it’s so frickin hard to aim for good grades. Heck, it’s hard to get good grades for the majority of people. But then, to get good grades you typically have to study. And to find motivation to study, you need to have big dreams. 

Big dreams like … “I want good grades.”

But big dreams are like a weight around your neck. The sheer pressure of it all can break you. Big dreams … they can crush you.

You can’t control grades … not entirely. And if you don’t achieve the grade you were aiming for, or if you don’t get full marks, or whatever – you’re not a failure. 

But you still feel like one. I know I do. 

In an ideal world, we would judge our performances and ourselves solely on whether we did the best we could … or we did better than we did before. But that can’t be quantified. 

Some people are ok with grades. Some people even thrive on them. But they can be dangerous. There’s the good about grades, and the bad … and then there’s the ugly.