Advice from a graduating senior

Graduating from high school can be scary. Senior year is tough, especially with the idea looming in the back of everyone’s heads that they’re leaving. The same happened to me. Everyone is so worried about leaving that I feel like sometimes, they miss the things that are right in front of them. 

I started out senior year worried that by the end of it, I wouldn’t feel like I had done enough during high school. So, I set out to do all the senior activities that I wouldn’t have done the previous years. I found my group of friends who wanted to do the activities too and we did them together. That is the best advice I can give to incoming seniors. Do the things that you only get to do senior year.

I became so much closer with my friends who were at all these events. I was able to get more pictures with my friends than I ever have. We got the most out of the events that we knew wouldn’t happen in college. Doing all the “senior” things let me enjoy and relax more. I found I was less worried about homework even when I knew I didn’t have any. Getting to have fun at these events let me focus more on other things because I was more relaxed in general. 

Overall, as a senior who is graduating in a short couple of days, I would say to use the most of your last year with your “high school friends.” Senior year is special in the fact that there are so many events just for your class. It’s one of the last times everyone from all the different friend groups will get together to have fun. So enjoy it and have an amazing senior year, whenever it may be!

-Danielle B.

Book Recommendation: How to Love your Neighbor

This is a book I recently finished by Sophie Sullivan. This book tells the story of two stubborn people who end up living next to each other. Set in Southern California, Grace moves into her family home and begins to work on fixing it up. Her next door neighbor Noah, however, refuses to stop asking for her to sell her home so that he can expand. 

The two end up working together on fixing Noah’s house so that he can fix his self image in the eyes of the rich public he must gain the approval of. A beginning designer herself, Grace and Noah are able to work together to create not one, but two houses they both love.

The story tells one of friendship turned into something more, as well as the hard work that goes into making a house truly feel like a home. With a good mix of humor, love, and friendship, this book was a good and a light read. This is for anyone who loves a good HGTV show mixed in with a little bit of romance. Though it is very much a slow burn book, I didn’t find myself bored by it at all. There’s enough going on outside of solely Grace and Noah’s relationship to keep you occupied.

-Danielle B.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

I recently finished The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood and fell in love. This book brought me out of a reading slump. The story follows Olive who is a Ph.D student. She is trying to convince her best friend that she is over a previous fling. Olive convinces this friend (Ahn) that she is on a date, when in reality she is just working in the lab. When Ahn shows up unexpectedly, Olive kisses the first person she can find in the dark. It happens to be a known professor on campus: Adam.

From there the story takes off and follows Olive and Adam as they begin a fake relationship in order to convince Ahn that Olive is moved on, and Adam’s bosses that he is not a flight risk in order to get funding for his next project. While on this journey, the two begin to bond and grow closer and closer together.

Of course, the journey is not without bumps, as with every romance story, but Hazelwood keeps the readers hooked with a mix of fluff and real world problems as Olive navigates the science world. She is able to explain science to readers simply so that they feel as though they are a Ph.D student with Olive while also focusing on her growing love with Adam.

I would give this book a 5/5. Any book that can take an avid reader out of a slump deserves such a high rating. This book does have a reading age of 14 or above with some content that might not be as acceptable for younger readers. The book is good for anyone who loves a romance, fake dating trope, or even just science. I highly recommend this book!

-Danielle B.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.

Managing Stress

As finals and AP season is fast approaching, it can become an increasingly stressful time for high schoolers. With the school year coming to a close, events are being crammed at the last minute and there isn’t much time for things outside of work. With so much to do, it can be hard to find time to relax and make sure that we as students aren’t getting too stressed out and overworked.

With finals happening at the end of May and AP testing at the beginning, it can be hard during April for students to find time off. Yes, we do get Spring Break, but even that is spent studying for tests that we have when we come back. Some things I do to try and make things easier is always setting a schedule for myself the day before. I try not to put too much on my plate at once, knowing that I will most likely not be able to get it done.

I also work on trying to make sure that I do the work as soon as it is assigned rather than letting it pile up. Typically, teachers give multiple days to do assignments. The issue with that is that they’re easier to put off until the last minute. Doing the assignments the day they are assigned, rather than the day they are due, means that I have more time later on in the day or week to do things that I want to do for myself.

I also try to always create a group of people in each class that I can reach out to if I need help studying for something. Though I sometimes think I understand it, my friend might have a different way at looking at something that makes more sense. This also allows me to be social because I can study and hang out at the same time. 

The next few months can be overwhelming, but if we as students just try to get the work done when we get it and focus on what we can control, it will be less stressful. Having a good school support system is always good, so that you can keep being social while also getting things done for school.

-Danielle B.

Music Recommendation

As a music lover, I am always looking for new music that is similar to what I already know I love. My taste has evolved constantly over the years and it’s been an adventure to try and find artists in which I love all of their songs, and not just certain particular ones. Right now, some of my favorite artists are Lewis Capaldi, Alec Benjamin and Harry Styles. There is one other artist who lies more under the radar that combines all of these styles of artists together.

Coming from Australia, one of my all time favorite musicians, Dean Lewis, has a really interesting combination of upbeat and slower songs for whatever you’re in the mood for. He discusses a lot of topics that he himself went through, mostly centered around heartbreak and starting new things (as much music is nowadays). When I first discovered him, I started with some of his more popular songs. As I began to listen more and more, I discovered how much he was like other artists I already listened to, such as Lewis Capaldi. 

If you’re looking for some new music and we listen to similar musicians, I highly recommend Dean Lewis. His songs all carry something special and are completely different songs to one another. You can have multiple favorites of his because his songs span many different types of the same genre. Some of my favorites include, “For The Last Time,” “Don’t Hold Me,” and “Half A Man.” 

-Danielle B.

College Stress: Tips While You Wait for Decisions

Applying to colleges is stressful. But what many don’t tell you is that waiting to hear back, and then having to pick a college, is even worse. I was lucky enough to hear back from my dream school in December. But many of my friends don’t have that same luxury. Though we all finished our applications around the same time, many of them have to wait until March to hear back from all their schools. After that, they then have to go through the process of which school you want to go to.

On top of the stress of the waiting game to hear back from schools, you’ll have people at every corner telling you whether or not you should go to this school or that. Everyone around you is lobbying for their favorite. Parents, of course, usually want their kids to stay close by. Relatives are hoping you’ll be near them. It can be hard to block out the people around you and figure out what you truly want for yourself.

When you have more than one top school, it can be hard to find the one for you. I always recommend that my friends visit the schools they are most interested in. That way, they can get a feel of the campus as well as some of the people they will be surrounded with for the next four years of their lives. On top of that, make sure you do really good research on the living situations, meals, and transport on campus.

I found that the two most important things when I was picking a school were extracurricular activities and job opportunities. I wanted to make sure that I had fun on campus and would have things to do outside of just going to school and the occasional football game. Perhaps even more important than that was that I would be able to get job experience while on campus, whether it be internships or even just making connections with people in my industry. 

So even though college can be stressful, hopefully you have some tips to help you pick the right school and relax a little while you wait for colleges to return their decisions. 

-Danielle B.

Expanding Our Musical Tastes

Recently I went to a very different kind of concert. My sister is in college and took an Early Music class that required her to play different types of recorders. While at this concert, it got me thinking about expanding my music taste and trying new things when I am listening to music. Often, I find myself listening to the same couple of songs over and over again. I find that even though I get bored of the music I’m listening to, I can never actually take the time to find new songs. Going to this concert made me realize that there are so many different types of music that, though I might not listen to all the time, could be interesting every once in a while. 

A lot of music streaming services offer radios that are designed based on the music we already listen to. Often, they have pre created playlists that feature one type of song. Using these, I have seen myself learning about songs that I would never have any other way. These premade playlists are also great for the holiday season when they have all our favorites in one place. With these, we can learn about artists that are just starting out, as well as ones that might not always be deemed “popular.” 

As we head into the holiday season and the stress of school and gift giving, take the time to find some new music. I have always found that music is a great way to destress. Listening to my music always helps me relax and focus on the tasks at hand. So however you listen to your music, try out some new things with your listening habits. 

-Danielle B.

Free Periods in School

Class schedules can be something that make or break how good someone’s year can be. If they have a list of really hard classes all in a row, they can get really stressed out. On the other hand however, if someone has classes that are of no challenge to them, they could often find themselves getting bored. 

I’ve found something out my senior year with my schedule. When I entered this year, I was originally in 7 classes and 4 of those were APs. I decided that math wasn’t the class for me, and bumped down to just 6 classes total, 4 APs. This was the first year that I have ever had a free period. Now that I’ve realized just how useful those can be, I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner.

With my free period, I am able to get homework done as well as hang out with friends and help my favorite teachers. Not only that, but when I’m done with my work, I can take naps. Now while that isn’t the best use of time, those naps are always helpful in keeping me awake when I have practice. 

My free period this year has made me happier overall. Now that I can get most of my work done in school, after practice I have much more time to relax when I get home. I highly recommend if you can take a free period, do it. It is much better for both mental health and overall stress. With a slightly less packed schedule and more free time after school, I am able to connect more with friends and family as well as catch up on much needed sleep. 

School schedules often cause stress that really shouldn’t be there. So the next time you have to plan a schedule, try to squeeze in a free period so that you also have time to catch up on sleep, with friends, and just overall try to improve stress levels.

-Danielle B. 

Books For School vs. For Fun

Having just finished my first book for my senior English class, it got me thinking about why people have such a hard time reading books they are required to for classes. As an avid reader, I always find it a struggle to get my school reading done, even though I like the act of reading. I think the real issue I have with it is that I feel that it takes my time away from my personal reading. It also creates for less room about what impact the book had. 

When I am reading for school, it is usually a book that I don’t get to pick and everyone else in my class is reading as well. It feels like there is less room for discussion because all the students feel like they are supposed to have the same opinions. When reading books for fun, there is more room for people to share their thoughts on the book. Not everyone reads or interprets the same way, however when reading school books, everyone feels like they have to be the same. 

With school books, I also feel like I have less time for my personal reading which causes me to feel less inspired to read. I do believe that reading both for school and for fun can be something that is beneficial. Though it might be hard to read when it is not something we can do for fun, there is still a lot that can be learned from the reading we do in school. It might not be the most enjoyable use of our time, but it is something that we can discuss and learn from.

-Danielle B.

De-stressing without our phones

As we continue into the school year, things are becoming more and more stressful, we start looking for new ways to take breaks. However, most often that becomes using our phones and going on social media. While this is okay to use, it is not something that should be our first and only resort. With so many other things to do nowadays, we should start spending less time on our phones to take breaks and more time doing other things such as reading.

I have recently started my senior year and with a free period, I find myself often with nothing to do once I get all my homework done. When I am stuck at school, I think that the only thing I can really use is my phone but that is not the case. I often forget that we have other things we can do such as reading. I know that often we think that reading for school is enough, but it is important to take time to read things that interest us personally rather than just for class.

So as we start to learn again, make sure that we are all taking the time we need to not only get everything done, but do things to destress that isn’t just going on our phone every time we get bored or want to procrastinate. So the next time you need a break, try going for a book rather than a phone. 

-Danielle B.