…And Breathe: My Life of the Past Two Weeks

What a crazy time it’s been for me. Ever since my last update, I’ve had a huge upheaval in almost every facet of my life. And it’s all been changed again tonight. So, let’s talk about me.

On 23 April, I went to San Francisco for the NSPA/JEA High School Journalism Convention with eight of my closest friends from my high school’s journalism program. Aside from visiting Alcatraz, riding the oh-so-classical San Francisco Streetcar and diving into the joys of seafood for the first time. But the biggest event was the fact that I finally took a photo of myself that wasn’t terrible! Look! J

OMG! It’s not terrible!

This is monumental for me. It was also cold and windy, which sort of put a damper on the proceedings, but we muscled through.

Anyhow, for the competition, all nine of us students had to compete in write-off contests, where we each put our skills to the test. Seven of us wrote things and our head photographer exhibited some of her best work. And as for me, I designed a mock division page. This was my entry.

My critics said that the purple bars should’ve been solid and that the words “student life” should’nt have been slanted. What do you think?

And it won first place! I took home a ranking of “Superior” as well as a medal and certificate.

Yup, yup!

I was pretty jazzed. And on that trip, I finally decided something; I’m not interested in majoring in International Studies. I’m sick and tired of being told what to learn. And I’m going to major in graphic design. Still, I thought that I would be going to Seattle University on a $15,000 merit scholarship. Then I got home, and had to come to terms with a tad bit of exhaustion after a fantastic trip. So I took Monday off and then broke down. I realized that I had a paper due the next day. That was 12 pages long. In a class I hate. And that might keep me from graduating. OH. SHIT.

I totally lost it. I spent about 30 minutes crying and then 30 minutes writing a letter to my parents about how I wanted to skip graduation to go to another high school and take a gap year. Predictably, they only fell for the latter option and HATED the other two. So, no Seattle U in Fall 2013. Why? Well, aside from my pathetic melodrama, we got some… news. Now, on the off chance (read: 0.0001% chance) that my father IS reading this, I’m not going to divulge the truth, but, rather leave it at the fact that my family would be facing some financially rough straits in the near future. Yeah, not so great. Combine that with my half-page of a 12 page paper that I had already lost my mind over and you have the recipe for a pretty sucky day. Well, it got better, mainly because my teacher didn’t even ASK for the assignment so I got a “Get Out of Jail Free” card and was in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Then on Friday, I was going into panic mode again, because, even though the half-page of my assignment (which is on marijuana use at my school, if you were curious) had become two pages, there were 15 PAGES DUE ON MONDAY. I was going crazy. And at that point, I decided that maybe traditional college isn’t for me, if this would be my reality. Maybe I should walk away from my scholarship and security and dedicate myself to the one thing that makes me happy; design. And so I put Seattle U out of my head and request information packets from five art and design schools across the country.

In the span of five days, my whole life’s plan had been decimated and reconstructed from the ground up, all with school and family drama swirling overhead. It was overwhelming, which might have been the cause behind my four hour breakdown session today after realizing that this 15 page paper was almost certainly not going to get done.

It’s pretentious but pretty, right?

Now, since 6th grade, I’ve been in some sort of accelerated program, whether it’s Gifted and Talented or the AP program. Regardless of which one, it’s safe to say that I’ve always been held to a higher standard that the average student. And, as such, I try my hardest to meet that standard with every assignment I take on, whether it’s for a Gen. Ed. Class or the hardest AP English course. So, naturally, I was seeking out “credible” (read: university, news or government affiliated ONLY) sources for this paper that was only 12 percent done in the morning. After two pages, my sources dried up and I fell into frenzy. Search after search, lead after lead, I failed to add on to my pitiful amount of writing. Then, I snapped. I got up from my computer to rest my eyes and stretch my muscles after a four-hour writing session. Annoyance turned to anger and then to depression. My mother, bless her heart, did all she could to try and help, but I was pretty much a lost cause. I curled up in a ball and cried on my bed for about 20 minutes. Then dinner. Starbucks. A grande Caffè Latte with cream and four sugars. And acceptance. I finally came to terms with the fact that this paper wasn’t going to be finished by tonight. And that all my bullshit about standards was holding me back and that I just need to write the damn thing. So, I did. And now, as of writing this, I have five pages of solid writing done, with 18 sources to back up everything I said. And I’m not worried anymore. Because tomorrow, I’m going to tell my teacher about my life of the past week; all the tumult and stress, and hope to the highest heavens that he’ll understand. And if he doesn’t? So? It was worth a shot. And so is this new, shaky, plan. Even if graphic design doesn’t pan out and I’m stuck in a lecture hall with 400 of my bestest buddies learning about economics, it was still worth the shot.

Peace.

-Nick.

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