Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I'm not sure I have ever said this about a school year before, but junior year has flown by.

I feel as though only a couple months ago I was getting on a plane to Spain, yet ten months later I am here preparing for finals. Weird.

For my AP English class we don't have a final, but instead we had to complete a final project. For my final project I created a presentation on whether imagination or knowledge is more important to America's society today. I began my presentation with a quote from Albert Einstein, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." Einstein was more than just a physicist. He was also a genius when it came to ethics of education.

Since 2005, American schooling has been using standardized testing as their primary unit of measurement of achievement when we should be using tests such as the Torrance task. Torrance tasks, if you have not yet heard of them, are tests that psychologists have put together in order to measure the creativity of children. Children are given different tasks and riddles and problems to complete, and then are judged/scored on their fluency, originality, flexibility and their elaboration. These 4 factors are supporting the creative process and judging students on what will really benefit them in the future.

I also researched the Problem Based Learning Approach method, where students and instructors alternate roles to promote collaboration and further motivating students to take initiative and learn things for themselves and not for the grade. One way that the PBLA curriculum does this is by using real world problems and global issues to interest their students. Through this curriculum, teachers are allowing students to be creative when it comes to their education.

Education is definitely one of the most important issues in American society today. We would be silly to not pay as much attention as possible to making schooling better.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Hello fellow slicers!

For the past month, I have been working to get the word out about an amazing project for students, founded by Angela Maiers. For more information, please read the post that follows and help me get the word out! It’s a great opportunity to inspire kids to make a difference in this rapidly changing world.

If you like the idea of Choose2Matter, please feel free to tweet this blog post! Our job right now is to get as many participants as possible!

Choose2Matter (the quest to matter)
YOU vs. the world

As kids, we have always been told what to do and how to do it and maybe, if we’re lucky, why it’s important. However, choose2matter is a little bit different. You are in charge. Of everything. You are in charge of what you decide to do and why what you’re doing is important and how you’re making a difference.

We all look at our world and see flaws.  However, it’s what you decide to do to better the world that makes all the difference. Are you choosing to matter? In order to participate in Choose2Matter, all you have to do is choose an issue that you want to fix and figure out a way to fix it. This is called your “quest.” Or, if you already have left your positive footprint on our world, all that’s left to do is to tell us about it!

For example, have you run a lemonade stand for a charity? Tell us!
Have you collected spare change for hurricane victims? We want to know!
Have you always been concerned with America’s growing obesity rate? Do something about it!

Check out our website at http://choose2matter.org/quest2matter-join for more details on what to do and how to do it!
IMPORTANT: submissions must be in by June 7th!
EVEN MORE important: don’t stop doing good things because of a deadline!

Good luck and be sure to matter!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Fools!

Alright, not going to lie. Tuesday came pretty quickly. I thought that I would have tons of stories to share in a whole entire week of going without blogging, but it's been a day. And I am stuck here without much to write.

Actually, just kidding. I do have something.

Yesterday was April fools day! You have to understand that April fools day at my house is honestly better than Easter. Well, that is, only when you're playing pranks on someone else. Unfortunately, I was the main victim this year.

Cecily, my youngest sister, duct taped all of my clothes together and then duct taped all of my hangers to the rack that they hang on and THEN duct taped all of my little drawers full of socks etc. completely shut so it took a good 10 minutes to get everything off. Trust me, it was a lot of duct tape when everything was said and done.

Then, as soon as I got home from school Cecily ran up to me at the door grinning like a madman and offered me a caramel apple. At first I was like, "Score I get a caramel apple." But then, after a closer look at these caramel "apples" I realized that they were not apples, but instead onions. Nice try Cecily.

The last prank that I received I found when preparing to brush my teeth. First, my toothpaste had been dipped in salt so I had to carefully remove every little particle so the mint-salt taste wouldn't make me completely gag. Then, when I had finally completed this difficult process I put the toothpaste on my toothbrush and turned on the water. The faucet, unfortunately for me, had been taped. This is a common trick in my household but I still fell for it. We put clear scotch tape on the faucet so when someone turns on the sink, the water goes straight at them. So then, soaking wet, I finally put the toothbrush in my mouth. It was covered in sunscreen which, I can tell you from personal experience, does NOT in any way taste okay.

And that was pretty much my April fools day! Don't worry; I'll get them all back next year.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

#slice2013 31 of 31

31 of 31! Tomorrow I'm going to be lying in bed thinking to myself "I am forgetting something" and then I will think to myself "I forgot to post today!" But I'll think to myself "April Fools! It's over!" And that's weird.

Anyway, I have had an amazing time participating in this virtual experience. The slice of life has been a great community for me to be a part of and I am extremely thankful for that. I am especially appreciative of the fact that even though I am probably one of the younger slicers participating, I still got amazing feedback and comments.

I would like to especially thank Elsie and Tara for being such faithful commenters throughout this entire process. There has not been a single day where one of them has not commented on my post. They have been loyal to me even during my vent session, which is saying a lot. 

Everyone has been so original throughout this entire thing, and I was really impressed by all the blogs I saw. Participating in this challenge has helped me see things differently because I have been walking through my life looking for things to write about. I has helped me to notice. 

I would like to end this journey with a little blurb that I wrote.

I sit down and begin to draw my tree.
I draw the roots disappearing into the ground.
I draw the trunk, slowly rising up to meet the open air and the strong branches breaking off from its superiority to guide my tree out and into unknown territory.
My tree continues to grow as I have other branches branch off of those and even more branches branch off of those.
Slowly, my tree is beginning to look like a tree.
But then I stop.
I don’t know how to continue.
Or rather, not how to continue, but how to end.
How does a tree end?
Do the branches just stop?
Stop growing, stop continuing, but where? And how?
I look out my window and stare at the tree that I see everyday when I wake up, but have never really looked at until now.
I stare at it and wait for it to give me an answer.
It does.
I can see every detail of the cold brown wood because it is March and the tree is not yet covered by a blanket of green.
At the end of each branch, there is a small bud.
At every end there is a beginning.
Now, I can finish my drawing.

Happy Easter and a huge thank you to Ruth and Stacey for hosting Slice of Life!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

#slice2013 30 of 31

I never realized until today that everyone's last slice was going to be on the day of Easter. Just thought that was kind of funny.

I just got home from a weekend in New York City with my family and my host family who I stayed with during my first semester this year when I went to Spain. It was soo much fun. We walked a lot and ate a lot and had a really good time. Tonight is my time to do my homework and write and do some more homework and then maybe hang out with friends.

Anyways, now I'll talk about my actual slice for today. I'm going to apply for my high school's National Honors Society and the essay I have to write is why I want to be in the NHS. I thought this would be an extremely easy essay to write, but then I realized that I didn't even know what NHS did once you got in it. Once I researched it, however, I discovered that it is basically a group of nerds that gather about once a month and talk about contests to enter, and fun community service opportunities, and how the teaching at our school is beneficial to our learning, and how we can make things better. Basically, it's my idea of a pretty good time.

Now that I know what NHS is and what it's about, it's going to be pretty easy to write this essay because I genuinely want to be part of it. What I didn't realize is that NHS is not only about what you do to get into it, but also about what you choose to do when you're accepted and that's the real reason I want to join.

#slice2013 29 of 31

My family and I were in New York this weekend and my hotel did not have internet access last night, and then, as soon as we got up, we left the hotel and I didn't have a chance to post. So this is the post that I wrote at 12:00 last night.

Today my family and I went to New York City.

We went skating in Central Park.

I had an audition so I had to leave while everyone else went biking.

I was pretty glad I missed out on the biking because it sounded pretty tiring.

Then I got back and we had a picnic.

Then we walked some more.

Then we went out to dinner and went to the top of the Rockefeller building and looked out over the entire city. It was absolutely beautiful.

Good night.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

#slice2013 28 of 31

My fifth grade teacher loved writing. Writing was her favorite subject to teach and she put everything into it. I learned from this teacher how important words could be.

"Words can be misinterpreted." You can say one thing, but mean another. You never want your words to cause drama, but instead make sure that they initiate peace. Use your words to help but never to harm.

"Words can change the way you look at something." Don't judge someone by how they appear or their reputation. Wait until you hear what they have to say for themselves before you come to hasty decisions you may make based on other people's words.

"Words can make someone change their mind." Sometimes all it takes is a simple, well-spoken explanation for someone to see your side of the story. Most of the time, it is words, and not fists, that can help you gain respect. If someone understands you, it is more likely that they will like you as well.

"Words can be very, very bad." We should not abuse our power of communication. Words are not meant to be hurtful, but are instead meant to communicate. If we, as humans, didn't need to communicate, then we would have never evolved from monkeys. Make sure that you never abuse your gift of speech.

"Words are powerful."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

#slice2013 27 of 31

My sophomore year History teacher taught me that people remember memorable things.

Her name was Mrs. Campbell and whenever she wanted to tell us something that she found particularly important to our overall knowledge of the topic, she would get up on top of her desk in the front of the classroom and scream it at us. However, this was only one of her many methods of attack. Another commonly used Mrs. Campbell trick was to make up strange songs and dances to go along with important historical happenings.

On my first day of History class sophomore year, the first things Mrs. Campbell said to our class was "I want to be the teacher you remember in 20 years. However, I do not just want you to remember me because I was crazy, I want you to remember me by the things you learned." I can in all honesty say that I will never forget John Locke and Thomas Hobbes because of Mrs. Campbell jumping up on her desk almost once a week and screaming at the top of her lungs, "LOCKE IS KEY."

I don't want to make this lady sound completely insane, however, because her teaching method definitely worked. Our class average was consistently higher than all of the other history classes and my writing skills definitely improved as well due to her multiple surprise in class essays that she almost never graded, but always intensely revised.

Mrs. Campbell, I will remember you in 20 years.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

#slice2013 26 of 31

I had a slight writers block trying to think of what to write for this post, so I decided to make a list of important life/educational lessons I have learned over the years from teachers. This helped me remember lots of little stories that went along with these lessons I learned. I'll only share one today, but possibly expect one tomorrow [foreshadowing].

In fourth grade, a couple of my good friends and I decided to form a little club with the oh-so-original title the "I Hate Math Club." It was just me, Hannah and Abbie because we were the three musketettes who did everything together. Hannah hated math, so Abbie and I therefore did as well. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Bren, was not too amused with our little club, as you might imagine. Usually she let our little antics pass on by, but she was under the firm opinion that this "I Hate Math Club" needed to come to an end. The lesson Mrs. Bren taught us that I will forever keep with me is that "Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's not important. You may dislike math, but try to choose to respect it instead of choosing to hate it."

Of course, Hannah, Abbie and I paid her absolutely no mind and continued with our "I Hate Math" chants until we eventually got sick of it. It wasn't until a couple years later that I realized how valuable Mrs. Bren's lesson really was.

Monday, March 25, 2013

#slice2013 25 of 31

I am extremely scared of my golf coach.

I'm pretty sure that every person who does any sport has that one coach that they're scared of during their lifetime. For me, he is that one coach.

I've lucked out on coaches so far. My three dance instructors that I work with are some of the nicest people I have ever known, so I have never had any reason to be scared of them. Growing up, I played soccer until sixth grade and my dad was my coach. Whenever he tried to make me scared or force me to respect him, I just thought it was hilarious. No, dad, I am not doing fifteen pushups.

However, my golf instructor this year is someone who I legitimately to not want to anger. Unfortunately I already have due to the fact that I forgot to bring in a copy of my physical the first day of practice. He told me that if I didn't bring it the next day I would no longer be able to practice as part of the team. If he had been someone who I felt comfortable and sassy with, I would have responded with something along the lines of "well, that seems a bit extreme, doesn't it?" However, because this particular man is not exactly one to appreciate a bit of sass, I responded with a brisk nod and an affirmative mental note. Trust me, I remembered the forms the next day.

I love golf and a coach's serious, Debby-downer attitude isn't going to take that away from me. Even still, I think anyone who has played a sport can agree with me when I say that the coach is an important part to enjoying the game.

I think I will make it my goal to earn his respect through my love for the game, and with that respect maybe I'll also earn a couple more compliments.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

#slice2013 24 of 31

This morning in my mad rush to get to my dance competition, I spilled some yogurt. Well, I wouldn't say that I just spilled the yogurt. A more accurate description is that I dropped the full container of yogurt and watched in horror as it splattered all over the kitchen table, then rolled off the table and hit the floor. Well, not just the floor. It landed on the kitchen carpet which is nearly impossible to clean.

Just as I was running over to grab a towel while desperately trying to keep my dogs away from the spillage, a car honked in my driveway. My ride was here.

"Cecily!" I screamed, "Please come down here I really need some help!"

"Larkin are you joking me!" She yelled back, "I'm naked!"

"It's an emergency my yogurt exploded and my ride is here!"

So this is a public thank you to my 10 year old sister, Cecily, who came downstairs to the kitchen completely naked other than a sports bra to clean up my mess for me. Cecily, I owe you one.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

#slice2013 23 of 31


I cannot do deadlines. Seriously, though. I hear about a deadline and it goes through one ear and out the other. I am going to make a new March resolution, since New Years has already passed, to make a habit of writing down deadlines because I honestly miss every other one. It's been a miracle that I've remembered to post every day.

I've missed deadlines for school, deadlines for my friends, deadlines for contests and deadlines for summer programs. It's really, really bad. I'm applying to a Columbia summer writing program and my mom and I originally thought the deadline was March 1st. I didn't make it. However, no need to worry, the deadline is actually April 3rd--my mom and I are just illiterate and I am extremely lucky! 

It's not as if I don't care or as if I don't sometimes enjoy doing the work. It's just that I'm extremely talented at forgetting important dates. There's so much I have to remember on a daily basis, and I often hear the words "due in two weeks" and completely relax. 

I suppose I will go start my biology paper that's due on Monday.

Friday, March 22, 2013

#slice2013 22 of 31

My mom's new thing is Ted Talks. I'd have to admit though, I really enjoy this latest obsession of hers. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of listening to a Ted Talk, I would definitely recommend it. The last Ted Talk she had us watch was a talk by a lady from Nigeria. She talked about how difficult it is to not judge a group of people as a whole and make assumptions about individuals based on typical stereotypes. This talk struck me even more than any of the others we've seen so far because I realized in horror that I often do just that-judging individuals based on group stereotypes-often without even noticing.

Chimamanda Adichie came from a fairly well-off family in Nigeria. The average, typical, white, middle-class American would make the classic assumption that people from Africa speak a foreign African language, listen to old tribal music, dress in red and orange cloths and pee in holes in the ground. Unfortunately, Chimamanda's roommate at her American college made many of these assumptions when, as Ms. Adichie points out, in reality Chimamanda "listens to Moriah Carey."

Ms. Adichie did not exactly enjoy or understand these assumptions made about herself and her culture, but did not appreciate exactly how easy it was to be pulled into the trap of believing a stereotype until she, herself, made an assumption about Mexicans based on her knowledge of the group as a whole. As the media constantly reminds us, there is an ever increasing number of illegal Mexican immigrants entering the United States. Chimamanda sheepishly admits that she saw a Mexican American and immediately assumed he was illegal. She goes on to talk about how easy it is to do to other people exactly what her roommate had done to her.

Her talk got me thinking not only about how easy it is to fall into believing the common stereotypes, but also how easy it is for the government and the media to manipulate the stereotypes we trust. 

Chimamanda Adichie did not just believe in a typical stereotype, but more specifically a stereotype created and made popular by the government and the media. If the news of the surplus of Mexican immigrants hadn't been in the newspaper and on television every other day, I doubt that the Mexican American population would be looked at in the same way that they are now.

Ms. Adichie's story just goes to show us that we need to be careful of what we choose to believe about people and what evidence we have to support those beliefs. If our only back-up evidence for making assumptions is "everyone knows that" then maybe we should take a second look at why "that" is such a commonly known fact. Maybe there's more to it than what first meets the eye.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

#slice2013 21 of 31

Wow I cannot believe there are only 10 days left. March has felt so long but I do not feel as if I have been blogging for anywhere near 20 days.

My family just recently traded in our Volvo for a Honda CR-V, which I am extremely thankful to have to drive. Anyway, the other day I noticed with a shock that my tank was running on empty. I got home and told my mom and she decided that this was the perfect opportunity for me to learn how to pump my own gas. So this is the story of my gasoline mishap.

"Mom!" I call as I walk into the kitchen. I put my keys into her hand, "My tank is empty. Next time you go somewhere, can you take my car instead of yours?"

She looks at me in the way that only a mother can. "Alright, but you're coming with me."

I groan. "Mom. It's, like, 25 degrees out. Can't you teach me when it at least hits 70?"


Defeated, I walk upstairs.

A half hour later she calls up to me that she's leaving to pick up my sister and I'm going with her. I reluctantly trudge down and we walk out to the garage together. It's freezing. We get to the car and she immediately goes to the driver's side. You're kidding me. Not only is she making me fill up my tank of gas in 25 degree weather, but she's also driving. Hello, I have my license. I don't say anything though and slide into the passenger's.

We go to the gas station first. She pulls in and parks it right next to the nozzle, rolls down her window and hands me a credit card. I take it and give her a dramatic sigh. She smiles.

Once I get around the car, she begins to call directions. "Alright, I just opened the gas tank right here." I stick my head inside the car to see what she's talking about. "Now take the regular nozzle. No! Not diesel! Diesel ruins your car! Yes, that one."

I pick it up and watch as a couple drops of excess gasoline fall from its nozzle. Disgusted, I wipe my hand on my pants.

"Okay, now carry it over to the gas tank and now unscrew the cap on the gas tank. You see it?" I nod and begin to unscrew it. "Alright, good. Now just put the nozzle into the tank and pull up on that metal clamp." I do what she says.

After what seems like an eternity and a half, the tank is full and the machine stops. I remove the nozzle, screw the gas cap back on, close the latch, put the nozzle back on the holder and swipe the card. Mom nods in approval and I happily walk back around the car, blowing warm air on my hands.

I get back into the passenger's seat and stick my hands under my thighs trying to warm them up.

I crinkle my nose. "Ew, mom, it smells really bad."

"Larkin, did you get any gasoline on you?"

"No!" I exclaim, "You watched me the whole time!"

She takes one of my hands out from underneath my nice warm thighs and smells it. Her face is not too pleasant. "You have gasoline on this hand. Don't touch anything." I offer up the other hand just in case and her face is even worse this time around. "Just hold them both in front of you and don't touch anything."

Unfortunately, as I discovered later that night, the gasoline had not just gotten on my hands. Instead, the smell was all over every piece of clothing that was on my body due to my strange need to wipe my hands off on any surface available. My mom's car smelled like gasoline for a solid couple of days. Thanks to this experience, I have officially developed a slight phobia of gasoline pumps.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#slice2013 20 of 31

Sorry to disappoint, but I'm extremely tired and extremely frustrated/stressed about my teachers/school at the moment, so my blog post today will be slightly shorter than my average.

The reason for my frustration: My biology teacher.

The reason why this particular teacher is frustrating me: There are too many reasons to count but I'll list off a couple.

Our latest big assessment was a partner project where one of my friends and I had to create a powerpoint for down syndrome that would be educational and beneficial to the rest of the class. I did 99% of the work (there were supposed to be 20 slides and I did 21 and my partner did 2), which is frustrating in itself. However, it gets worst. This teacher, who shall remain nameless, told me that my partner and I were going to lose a large chunk of points because we did not have 15-second intervals in between slides, but instead we manually clicked the arrow to get from one slide to another. Let me just point out that this (meaning this type of powerpoint presentation) was something everyone else in the class but me had done before. I hadn't due to the fact that I had been in Spain for four months. I described this problem to him in a beautifully crafted email to which he did not respond and then when I asked him about it to his face, he told me he "did not care."

We have a large test on Friday and today was our day of review. He told us yesterday to come to class prepared with questions, so I read the entire chapter in my textbook and took careful notes on topics that confused me that I could ask him about. Of course, no one else in my class came prepared and I was the only student with my hand up when he asked if there were any questions. He reluctantly called on me again and again and then told me after class that I needed to give some of the other students a chance to talk. Hate to break it to you, buddy, but I just saved most of my fellow students' behinds for Friday's test.

His breath smells like unbrushed teeth and coffee which I can tell you quite confidently due to his desire to be face-to-face with you while he's talking.

Thanks for listening to my rant!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

#slice2013 19 of 31

Dear College Administrator,

I hope that you'll be happy to know that my grades are back on the upward climb since I just quit my job after school. I looked at your school's requirements and realized that a higher GPA was definitely more promising for my admission to your school than saying on my transcript that I work three days a week.

Unfortunately, my SAT scores will not be as good as they could have been, but this is not my fault. I blame it all on my mother. The only SAT class that I could've taken to prepare my for the test was on a Thursday night, the night of my ballet class. I wanted to drop my dance class and take the SAT prep, but unfortunately my mother was completely against this decision. So, I regretfully inform you, I will not be getting into this college because my mom convinced me that I value my extracurricular activities more than I value a number I receive on a standardized test.

However, do not worry. If I do not get into your school, my younger sister, Julia, definitely will. She has decided to not take an art class next year--her sophomore year--but instead she is going to take both AP Macro Physics and AP Chemistry to further boost her GPA. Two AP classes as a sophomore may seem like a little much to some people, but Julia can definitely handle it. She has already decided that she can increase her free time to spend on homework next year if she cuts back on her four-day-a-week soccer schedule.

I honestly hope that you welcome her with open arms. She is an amazing student and I have not met a harder worker in my life. It is my goal for the rest of this year to cut back on the extra things that I do outside of school that I cannot put on my transcript, such as writing and painting and drawing, and instead devote that extra time to studying for my classes and the SATs. Thanks to the many informational meetings I have taken time out of my life to attend, I now realize that if I want to get in to a good school, my grades should always come first. I promise I will stop practicing the piano and working on my latest painting so I can spend more time on the SAT practice book I just bought for myself.


Monday, March 18, 2013

#slice2013 18 of 31

Happy (late) Saint Patrick's Day!

Everyone assumes that I'm super Irish due to my red hair, but I'm really only about 8%. However, I can still say I'm Irish!

I have a blog post that I came up with with my mom that I'm excited to write, but due to the fact that there's not much time left in the day today and there is the possibility of a snow day tomorrow, I will save my exciting blog for tomorrow. Stay tuned.

I'm not too upset about a snow day tomorrow. Sure, I am beyond sick of this nasty 30 ° weather and am all too ready for spring, but I love stress-free days when I get to catch up on social and educational work without any extreme pressure.

I have decided to write a spur-of-the-moment poem.

Every once in a while I wish I could change my face.
To be honest it gets pretty boring
When I wake up to the same thing every morning.
The same forehead,
The same small chin,
The same blue eyes,
The same pale skin with
The same brown freckles.

Sometimes I get pretty fed up with my hair.
What if I woke up and it just wasn't there?
What if I dyed it blonde or brown or gray,
What would I look like, what would people say?

Sometimes I just want a small-ish change,
Something not too big, something not too strange,
But something that's different, that I hadn't seen before,
So that looking in the mirror wouldn't be such the bore.

I guess that's the reason for people's dramatic new looks.
It's sort of like how every time my mom cooks
She changes the recipe just slightly each night
So we are always surprised with every first bite.

I wrote this in 10 minutes and will probably go back and revise it more later, but I'M NOT SURE HOW TO END!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

#slice2013 17 of 31

Every other year my chorus and all the other chorus' in my town's district have a districtwide music festival. A lot of people come and it's a pretty big deal, and this year my music teacher asked me to design the front cover of the program.

It was another feel-good moment.

This is what I came up with. She told me it had to do with spring, because the concert is in the middle of April when everyone has one thing in mind: spring. I came up with a chart of all the things that remind me of spring and my favorite idea was the butterfly. Of course, my grandmother pointed out ever so bluntly after I had finished the painting that Monarch butterflies come in the fall. Thanks, LC. I appreciate you telling me that after I finish.

#slice2013 16 of 31

I've been having all sorts of prom drama today so I've decided to do a completely unrelated post and talk about all the things the past few days that have made me happy/improved my self confidence.

I'll make a list.

My sister Julia's birthday is on Tuesday and a lot of the things that she asked for we had to order online. One of the main things that she asked for but she was positive she wouldn't get were L.L.Bean boots. My mom had made plenty of comments along the lines of "those things are ugly" and "when would you ever use those". The other night the UPS man dropped of a box in the middle of our family dinner. My dad got up and went to go see what it was. He picked it up, brought it inside and announced, "Melanie, (my mom) it looks like you have a package from L.L.Bean but it's addressed to Julia." Julia's faced lit up and my dad realized a few seconds too late what he had just done.
My mom just shook her head while everyone else had themselves a good laugh.

I was complaining the other day to my sister how everyone thought I was the ugly sister. I was not having a terrific day and was having a bit of a pity party for myself. However, her answer was completely unexpected. She started yelling at me that no one had ever said that and then told me that a couple of her friends picked out who they thought the top five prettiest people in my grade were and I was on that list. I know this is a bit materialistic, but it really helped me see myself in a different light. I have never thought of myself as a very pretty person, let alone one of the prettiest in my grade.

This one's going to be short and sweet. I do a program called Looking In. Looking In is a program where high school kids create short scenes about modern day life and perform them for other high schoolers. I had a performance the other day and it went really well. So that was my third good thing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

#slice2013 15 of 31

A few days ago I posted my observations for English class. Some people commented and asked what my English teacher was planning to do with those observations and what my next steps would be. Today is your lucky day. I am going to tell you.

Our next step after making observations was to babble about the time that we spent outside. This sounded absolutely crazy to me at first. Babble? Like a crazy person? But when I started I realized how relaxing and soothing babbling is. You're writing about nothing, but something comes of it. I'm going to share with you just a couple pieces of my babble that I think I can integrate into other larger and more meaningful pieces of writing.

If you stare at anything long enough, it begins to look unfamiliar. At first a rock in a stone path just looks like any rock. But then when you stare hard enough you notice the engraved craters and the small chunks that are missing from the otherwise smooth surface. It's as if your eyes have adjusted to being able to view finer details, and everything becomes unclear yet focused.

I stared up at the endless sky. I say endless because I know that that's what it is, but lying there at that moment it didn't seem very endless. The roof of my house and the branches of the trees interrupted its otherwise perfect blue. As I watched, a plane entered my field of vision and flew across my patch of sky right through the middle and left a white trail. My sky had been split.

I'll keep you posted on what Mr. Carter has us do next!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

#slice2013 14 of 31

My principal who has been the principal at my high school for as long as I can remember is retiring at the end of this year. I wish that he could have stayed until the end of my senior year because he is an amazing person, but I guess he figured that he had to pick sometime because he couldn't be there for everyone's senior year and this was the year he picked.

Dr. Breslin sent out a letter to all the parents of all the students at my high school the other night and my mom had all of us read it, including my three younger sisters, my grandparents and my dog since he happened to be sitting right there.

I am extremely thankful that she made me read it. The letter changed the way I view a lot of things that you learn in high school. For a long time I was under the unhappy impression that you spend your entire life preparing for something else. When you're a baby, your parents are preparing you for school. Elementary school prepares you for middle school, middle school prepares you for high school, high school prepares you for college, college prepares you for a job, your job prepares you for retirement and then when you're retired you are subconsciously preparing yourself for death. Dr. Breslin, however, reminded me that this thought process is only the most fundamental stage of preparation. There are so many other valuable things in life to prepare for that are worth your time in the best way possible. Dr. Breslin wrote, "...if we are not careful, school can become a place to accumulate things, such as good grades and an impressive resume, more than a place to learn how to live one's life in a kind, ethical, responsible manner." I do not think that anyone could better say the true meaning of school.

Dr. Breslin also made sure to comment on the famous quote "Whoever dies with the most toys wins," to point out that sometimes our society incorrectly judges people on what successes they have gained and "what they accumulate in life than we do the meaning of that person's life."At first I did not understand what he meant by this. However, after thinking about it for a while I think I understand. To find meaning and to have emotion attached to what you love is one of the most important things you can learn or accumulate. In other words, having passion in what you do is the most important thing to remember in order to live a happy, successful life. To be able to die and say that you lived with passion is to be able to say that your life was successful.

Thank you Dr. Breslin for sharing your wisdom with us all. You will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#slice2013 13 of 21

I had my first day of work today. I learned a valuable lesson to go into your first day of work expecting very little.

Unfortunately, I went in to my first day of working at a bakery expecting to have a great time.

My friend who works there has the most adorable shirt with the bakery's name that she has to wear whenever she works. I didn't get a shirt since it was my first day.

Everyone who works there always seem to be busy and having a great time socializing with each other and with customers. The bakery wasn't very busy today.

I was extremely excited to learn how to work the cash register. I didn't work the cash register. Instead, I cleaned the windows and mopped the floors and talked to strange ladies who claimed to know my mother.

The highlight of my workday was the cookie my boss gave me when I left. I had been too scared to ask for anything, so I was extremely grateful when she offered.

The next job I get I'll be sure to limit my expectations.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

#slice2013 12 of 31

Sunday night we had a family over for pizza and while we were all sitting at the dinner table, my mom decides to ask her question of the night: "What is more important, imagination or knowledge?" Somehow one conversation led to the next and we got to the topic of embarrassing throwing up stories.

So this is about little third grade me and my embarrassing throw up story.

We had just gotten back from lunch and Mrs. Peterson was talking about the volcano of Pompei when my stomach started to moan. Alana looked over at me and it moaned again. She laughed. I laughed too but usually when my stomach moans it feels better than this.

Mrs. Peterson had moved on to how the ashes of Pompei covered the entire village when I really began to regret my turkey sandwich with pieces of lettuce that I had just eaten for lunch. I looked at Alana. She looked back at me. "My tummy doesn't feel too good."

She raised her eyebrows. "Raise your hand and ask to go to the nurse!"

I grinned and nodded. I loved the nurse. She was super nice and gave me bandaids whenever I skinned my knee at recess. My mom told me multiple times that I spent too much time in the nurses office, but every time I'd gone it'd been for a serious reason.

I raised my hand. Mrs. Peterson called on Bobby Branson. I raised my hand a little bit higher and began to wave it back and forth. Mrs. Peterson called on Ally Thomas. That's when I knew it was coming. I raised my hand even higher and began to hop up and down in my seat.

"Yes, Larkin?" Mrs. Peterson finally asked but it was too late. I gagged and my stomach upturned itself all over the floor next to my desk. "Larkin! Go to the nurse! You don't have to raise your hand. If you're sick, you go!"

I raced out of the classroom on a beeline for the nurses office or a bathroom, whichever came first. Thanks to Mrs. Peterson I learned the valuable lesson that if you had an emergency, you had better go take care of it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

#slice2013 11 of 31

Yesterday for English my assignment was to sit outside for a half hour and to observe. My teacher's point was that he already gave us at least a half hour of homework a night, so this would just take up that time. Of course, everyone except for the ultra-teacher's pet in the row behind me thought it was crazy. Five minutes of sitting and observing seemed reasonable, but thirty? One student asked exactly what I was thinking: "Have you done this yourself? Because that seems like a bit much." Mr. Carter responded that not only had he done it before, but he tried to do it at least once a week as a type of meditation.

Going home that afternoon, I still thought he was a bit off his rocker, but headed outside to sit for thirty minutes because I am not the type of student who doesn't do their homework. I brought a pencil and notebook out with me, since he'd suggested that we all sit for fifteen minutes just looking and smelling and appreciating and then the second fifteen minutes we could write down all that we notice.

I live in Connecticut, and as anyone who lives anywhere near me knows, the past few days have really started to feel like spring. The snow is melting and birds are coming out and the thermometer reached 65 degrees the other day. So I walk outside to sit and observe pretty happily. The sun is out, there isn't a cloud in the sky, the stone path is a comfortable temperature and I'm already thinking about all the things I could write down for my observations in my head.

However, it wasn't until I lay down and really looked at the sky and the trees around me and listened to the melted snow dripping off the roof that I truly began to notice. What I found is that you can't just write down anything and say you observe it without sounding like a phony. In order to observe, you have to observe.

Here are some things that I noticed:

1. If you stare at something long enough, it begins to look unrecognizable. It's sort of like how if you say someone's name over and over and over it starts to sound choppy and unfamiliar.

2. There are a lot of symmetrical things in nature.

3. I can hear the snow melt. The first time I heard the loud crunch behind me, I sat up and whipped around, sure that someone was trying to sneak up on me. However, after it happened multiple times I realized it was the snow caving in on itself.

4. The leaves on the plant next to me don't look like they're moving, but I know they are because I can see the sunlight sliding back and forth on the crisscrossing lines of spider webs.

5. The snow looks like it is made of tiny beads of water.

6. The wind starts in the outermost branches and then moves inwards until the trunk gently sways.

7. We have a huge puddle on the road at the top of our driveway, so I can tell how fast a car is driving by how loud the splash is.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

#slice2013 10 of 31

I try to never let peer pressure get to me, but sometimes it's harder than it sounds.

(names are changed)

The January wind quickly finds its way into my sweater’s crevices as soon as I step outside and I find myself regretting for the millionth time that night that I hadn’t remembered my coat. Anna follows close behind me as I run out to my car. Quickly unlocking the doors, I run around to the other side and jump in the driver’s seat and start the car. In an effort to become warm, I rub my arms and blow warm air into my hands. Anna has hopped into the passenger’s seat. I’m glad that I got to hang out with her tonight, but I’m a little confused as to why she is still sitting next to me. We already said goodbye back at Starbucks. I wasn’t about to say that though—I haven’t hung out with her in a long time now that we go to different schools.

“Okay,” I say, “The seat warmer is here and if you want you can crank up the heat before you have to start walking back.” I look at Anna and she looks back at me.

I can’t really tell what she’s thinking but she’s staring at me the way she does when she wants something but wants you to offer it so she doesn’t sound obnoxious. To be completely honest, it’s one of the qualities about her I have always struggled with. She never wants to look like she’s begging, but yet it’s very rare when she doesn’t get what she wants.  I remember one time we went to CVS together and Anna “forgot” her wallet. She stared at some blue nail polish for about two minutes and sighed about every ten seconds and commented at least five times about how ‘stupid she was to forget her wallet’ and ‘how cute this nail would look with her new dress’ until I finally offered to buy it for her. She replied with the usual, “Are you sure? You don’t have to! But if you want to, thank you so much! I promise I’ll pay you back!” She didn’t pay me back, but I didn’t expect her to. I knew I was losing my five dollars when I offered.

I look around the car quickly, to see if I’m missing something. “Ohhh,” I say, “You want some gum? You could have just asked. I have plenty.” I always have a pack of gum sitting in my console, a fact that all my friends know and love to take advantage of. It could easily be the reason for this look.
“Um, sure,” Anna says, taking a piece and shoving the whole thing in her mouth. It was a big piece. She could have offered me half. “But…could we go now? The car can warm up while we drive. I really have to be back by 11 or else Liz is going to kill me.” Liz is Anna’s house mom.
I look at the clock. 10:40. It only takes ten minutes at the most to walk from here back to campus. Has she forgotten that I went to the same school only two years ago and came down to Starbucks at least once a week?

“Anna. That’s completely illegal. I don’t know if I told you, but I got my license a week ago.” That was a lie. I knew I had told her but I just wanted to remind her of exactly how crazy she was being.
She still stares at me in that expectant way.

“I can’t do that.”

She doesn’t look away and now pouts her lips.

“Anna! What if I get pulled over or I pop my tire again!” (I had popped my tire the second day I got my license; the story had been one of our icebreakers before we really started talking like usual.)
She sighs super-dramatically. “Courtney, please! It’s, like, a thirty-second ride. Your tire is not going to pop.” She rolls her eyes for an added effect. “Please do not make me walk outside. It’s, like, five degrees.” 

Anna has a knack for exaggerating. It is not thirty seconds back to campus by car, but instead four minutes. And it was not five degrees outside, but instead 35. I didn’t tell her that.

I look at her and then look down at my feet. I imagined for a second what it would be like to drive her back. She would probably blast the music and eat my sourpatch kids and chew my gum and I would go under thirty miles per hour and my tire probably wouldn’t pop and nothing would probably go wrong. So why couldn’t I just take her? It really wouldn’t be that big of a deal, right?

But it was illegal.

But what if she got really mad at me for saying no? She’s one of my best friends at the private school. Did I really want to risk our entire friendship by being a wimp and not breaking a stupid law?
But it wasn’t stupid. I remember those videos they showed us in driver’s ed class. People die. Kids die.
But I wouldn’t be one of those kids. It was less than two miles back to campus. Nothing could go wrong in two miles.

Except maybe we would both die or maybe my tire would pop and I would get pulled over and then I would get my license suspended for a year and then I wouldn’t be able to drive Anna before we graduated.

But that wouldn’t happen. I am a good driver and I wouldn’t let Anna blast the music and it would be a one-time thing—just this once and only because it’s so cold out and I can’t let her walk all the way back alone when she came all this way just to see me.

She’s still looking at me expectantly. I look back down at my boots again.

But I can’t say yes. I can’t imagine what my mom would say if I got caught. She would probably never look me straight in the eye again. I know at this point I’m being a little bit dramatic, but she would be mad.

“Anna, I really can’t.” I’m still looking at my feet.

“Please! Just this once. I promise next time I’ll get a ride.”

This is harder than I thought it would be. She does have a good point. Nothing could go wrong if it was just this once.

“Well, I mean, if it’s only this once…”

“Yes! So you’ll do it?”

“Well,” I stop and blow on my hands again, trying to make the silence slightly less suspenseful.

“Well,” I say again, “Anna, you know that you’re one of my really good friends and I’m not doing this to try to make you mad, but it’s illegal. I really can’t do it. If I did it, I would probably feel super guilty and then I would probably tell my mom because for some reason I have to tell her everything that I do wrong and then she would probably get really mad at me and ask me why I did it and I’m just not sure I have a great answer to that.” I inhaled deeply and snuck a quick glance to see her reaction. Not happy. 

Back to the boots.

“You could tell her that you did it because I am an amazing friend!” Anna smiles.

I try to make the corners of my mouth turn up, but I’m afraid it looks more like a grimace. Sort of like the look that the doctor gives you when he’s about to tell you your wrist is broken. “Anna, it’s illegal. I’m not going to drive you.” I look up and we make eye contact. She doesn’t look away but neither do I. My decision has been made and I am sticking to it.

“Fine,” she says, opening the door, “I just didn’t think that you were one of those people.”

I roll my eyes as she slams the door. As I watch her walk away, I shake my head and smile a little bit. I’m willing to pay five dollars for a friendship, but for the time being I think I’d prefer to stay legal.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

#slice2013 9 of 31

I had the SATs this morning from 8 until 12:30. That is a long test. My brain is pretty much fried.

No, but it actually is. I just told my mom to stop acting so superficial when I actually meant to say superior.

Even though there are many arguments against the SAT saying that it's bias or it's much easier for rich kids who pay for test practice, I pose the question of what else are we going to do? We can't always trust the grades schools turn in to colleges, but we can always trust a number on a standardized test. How else can we fairly measure and compare the intelligence of one kid from one town to another kid from a different town?

If you have an easy solution to any of these questions, please let me know.

I am not saying I approve or like standardized testing. I hated CMTs, I hated CAPTs, and now I have moved on to hating the SATs and ACTs. All that I am saying is that there are a lot of people out there who talk too much about the problems of standardized testing and don't offer out enough reasonable solutions.

Please let me know if you have a good, justifiable substitution for standardized tests because I know that I, for one, would love to hear it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

#slice2013 8 of 31

The other day we had a "dance bonding party." We have one once a month, and basically it's just a good time to hang out with my dance friends and eat a lot of good food. Good dancers are good cooks.

Anyways, last bonding party we decided to all write down our most embarrassing story and fold it up and then read them aloud and guess whose belonged to who. I put in three because I was having a really difficult time deciding, but that's not what my story today is about. My story today is the embarrassing moment of one of my good friends.

I repeat. It was not my story. NOT my story. Also the names are changed, per usual.

"One, two, three!" Holding hands, Meg and I sprint towards the ocean. I have never been able to go into the ocean slowly. Plunging all at once has always been my way to go. I hold my breath as my toes hit the water, and then my knees, and all of a sudden Meg squeezes my hand tighter and we both duck into a wave, submerging ourselves completely. I'm surprised at how warm it is and stay under a couple extra seconds, then we both come up, giggling and preparing for the next wave.

"Em," Meg squeezes my arm, "Did you see the lifeguard? I'm pretty sure he's watching us but I don't want to look again." I don't get the chance to turn around before another wave comes, sending me and Meg under once again.

We emerge, sputtering and giggling and I slyly turn around to sneak a peek. He is gorgeous. Even from where I'm standing in the water, I can see his perfect bone structure. And sure enough, he's staring straight at us and grins and waves when he sees me looking. I wave back and smile in an attempt to be flirtatious. He laughs and points at something behind me. I assume he's talking about Meg and quickly turn around to see if she had seen our little miming conversation. Before I can completely turn myself around, the wave is on top of me. I feel my forehead hit the rough sandy bottom which had felt so soft on the shore. I open my eyes for a second, a huge mistake, and feel the sting of the salty water and grains of sand. I can't tell which way is up and which way is down and reach out my hands in an attempt to feel something solid. I manage to grasp a handful of sand and regain my bearings enough to push off the ocean's bottom.

My lungs finally find the air and I cough gratefully, rubbing my eyes. Shoot. The lifeguard. He had definitely seen the entire thing. I quickly glance behind me to make sure another unexpected wave wasn't approaching, then look up to his chair and waved my arms.

"I'm okay!" I call, smiling. Meg comes over and gives me a hug, then quickly pulls back with an expression of horror.

"Em." She says.


"Your bathing suit."

I look down in horror to see that my the triangles that are supposed to cover your boobs had completely shifted and I was currently flashing the entire beach. Including the hot lifeguard. I quickly turn around so my back is facing his chair.

"Meg." I say under my breath as I duck my shoulders under the water and work to fix my bikini. She raises her eyebrows. "Just tell me if the lifeguard is still looking."

I watch as she quickly looks back to shore. "We just made some awkward eye contact and he is looking way too happy after having just sat in that chair for two hours straight," She reports.

I groan and we both duck our heads as another wave goes crashing past. Two things are for certain. The first is that I am never wearing this bathing suit again. The second is that this was definitely the most embarrassing moment of my seventeen years thus far.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

#slice2013 7 of 31

Today wasn't one of my better days in the history book, so even though I have plenty of stories I could share, I decided to slice a poem instead.

I wrote this about a week ago and am considering entering it in some contests. I titled it "I Wonder." Please let me know what you think!

I wonder a lot

I wonder a lot about change.
What is change?
Change is moving, and losing, and growing, and letting go.
Change can be right or wrong or yes or no.
Everyone grows up
But can everyone change?
Can anyone really let go of the morals and instincts and passions,
That led them to today?
Can anyone really let go; let their past all fall away?

I wonder a lot about trust.
Trust is the true affirmation of care,
The knowledge that someone will always be there.
But were people ever meant to hold the weight of two people’s hopes and dreams?
Aren’t the beliefs and aspirations and secrets of one person enough to manage?
Do we overestimate trust?
To care about another life as much as your own is never a must,
But a choice.
Is trust a must?
Or a choice?

I wonder what the world would be like if Pandora’s box was never opened.
I wonder what this place we call home will look like in two hundred years.
I wonder why people act mean to feel better.

I wonder about technology’s impacts, about the importance of college, about the motives of human beings.

I wonder why Google doesn’t have all my answers. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

#slice2013 6 of 31

Day six of the slice of life challenge.

As some of you may remember from your high school days, sports have always been a big deal. For a lot of high schools, football is the main sport, while for others it's baseball. At my high school, the two main sports that get the most hype are soccer and basketball.

Last night was the varsity boy's basketball game that either got them into the finals or was the end of their seniors. So, basically, it was a pretty big deal and everyone who was anyone came to watch.

Abby and I sprint into the gym. We're two minutes late and Abby is freaking out about the possibility of the game being completely sold out. She's freaked out quite a few times tonight. First she forgot it was a black out game and couldn't find a shirt, then she realized her parents were going out to dinner and she didn't have a ride, and then when my dad and I finally got to her house to pick her up it was 6:50 with a fifteen minute car ride to the high school. My dad drove slightly over the speed limit, and I brought her an extra black tee.

While running to the booth, we peek into the gym. The game hasn't started; they're doing the thing at the beginning where all the players run out onto the court and you yell and scream for your team. It looks pretty crowded, though. I didn't think it would be this packed since it's not home, but it is an important game and our high school basketball team has some pretty die-hard fans.

"Excuse me!" Abby pants. We're both winded and looking pretty good in our all-black ensembles. "Are you still selling tickets?"

"Of course!" The lady at the booth says, smiling.

"Great, I'll take two."

"Thanks, Ab," I say, "I'll pay you back when we get in there."

The ticket lady stamps our hands and we run into the gym. There are absolutely no places to stand on the bleachers so we head up to stand on the stairs behind my friends Katie and Brianna, between the wall and a pack of seniors. It's the worst place to stand since you can't see anything that's going on, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Abby looks at me. "I hope you know that we are not staying here after half time."

I laugh. "Yeah, I know."

We don't see much of the players for the first half since Katie's head is right in my line of vision, but I have a perfect view of the scoreboard. By halftime, the teams are tied 32-32 and judging by the equal amount of screaming from both sides, it's been a pretty good game.

The whistle blows and kids start pouring off the bleachers from all directions. Abby and I get down and stand at the bottom, scanning our options. We decide to go over and stand on the stairs on the right side so we have a perfect view of the court. As we're making our way up, my friend John screams down, "Larkin, thank god you're here! I hope you know you're going crowd surfing!" I raise my eyebrows at him and laugh. John is always looking for crowd surfing volunteers since the last time he did it the coach threatened to suspend him if he ever "tried that funny business again."

It's a lot cooler on this side next to the parents' bleachers than it was on the other side next to the wall and Abby and I can see everything. We stay pretty solid throughout the second half, but so do our rivals. The game ends and we're tied: 49 to 49. The crowd is off the walls. John convinced some poor gullible freshman to try out crowd surfing. It lasted for about two seconds before the coach noticed and popped a couple blood vessels in his forehead.

The first two overtimes come and go, both teams just playing keep away. A couple of the star players try for a shot, but everyone is too scared to turn over the ball to take too many shots. The score remains 49-49.

The first minute of the third overtime, the other team scores. The other side of the gym erupts, sure they've won. But there are still three minutes left. Our coach calls a fifteen minute time out as the two groups of fans scream at each other across the court. Abby leans over and whispers to me, "Hey, I'll get your shirt back to you another time. I'm kind of sweating." I burst out laughing, but know exactly how she feels. My own shirt isn't wanting to unstick itself from my back. John screams at me from two rows down, "Larkin stop laughing! This is serious!" Abby grins back and holds up her middle finger. I quickly smack her hand down. If the coach had seen that, she would have been kicked out quicker than she could say "we won."

The infinite fifteen seconds finally end and the game is back on. Two minutes go by and no one scores. Abby is pulling out her hair. Another twenty seconds and the ref calls a foul on one of our players. Our fans immediately start screaming, letting the ref know just how bad that call was. Their player misses the first but makes the second. The game is over unless someone makes a three pointer in the last forty seconds.

Ten seconds left and the other team has possession.

Eight seconds and one of their players makes a bad pass, our team regaining control.

Five seconds and Conor Hayes sprints down the court and stops right at the three point line, making a beautiful shot right before a rival player slams into him knocking him to the ground. The ref blows his whistle to call a foul on the other team just as the ball hits the rim and falls through the net. I start screaming, but can't even hear myself over everyone else. The fans have gone mad. Abby jumps on top of me and we both start jumping up and down with the rest of the fans on the bleachers. The steps shake dangerously underneath me, but no one seems to care. Conor has tied the game, but it isn't over yet.

Somehow, everyone manages to grow quiet as Conor lines up on the free throw line. We are watching his every move. He bounces the ball twice, rolls it around on his hand. Bounces it one more time and takes a deep breath. He closes his eyes for a split second and then shoots. The orange-brown blur arcs through the air towards the net. Time slows down as the ball swooshes through the welcoming net and the silence is lifted. People who I have never met before start hugging me and all I can hear is the deafening roar of "CONOR." Before I know it I am being pushed from all directions down the stairs towards the court. I grab Abby's wrist and we sprint down together, pushed and pulled by the swarm of kids.

I'm not really sure what happened after that. Somehow I ended up in the middle of the court one second, and then the next second I was being jostled out of the gymnasium towards the parking lot.

One thing's for certain; Conor Hayes will forever remember that game.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

#sliceoflife 5 of 31

Day Five of the #sliceoflife challenge.

So far, as my mom jokingly pointed out, I have looked like a fairly depressed teenager on here, which is definitely not who I am. I have another slightly deep story to share, but I will save it for another time. For now, I will try to balance out my stories about bullying and scary life decisions with some humorous ones. This one that I am about to write actually happened the very first day I drove myself to school.

The day that I got my license was one of the best days of my life. I drove myself to dance that very night and could not stop smiling. At all. Not for a second. My happiness was also prolonged by the fact that I got my license the first week of February vacation. Pretty much the best day ever.

That feeling of complete and overwhelming joy and freedom carried over for the entire week. As I pull into the student parking lot at my high school next Monday morning, I'm still feeling pretty good. I've gotten more comfortable behind the wheel during my week off and am more than a little excited to show off my hand-me-down 7-seater Volvo to all of my friends.

I see my friend Tara sitting in her car right in the spot she said she'd be in--the second row next to the second island. By island, I'm guessing you realize that I don't mean a sunny patch of sand. Our school's parking lot has a few randomly placed islands for plants and things when the snow actually decides to melt. They're cute, but sort of pointless. Of all things to decorate, why choose a parking lot?

Tara motions for me to park in the empty space directly in front of her, right alongside the island's curb. I carefully pull up as close the curb as I dare and begin to pull in to the spot. I feel my tire graze the granite, but keep going until I am comfortably sitting across from Tara's Honda. I smile to myself, pretty proud at my first ever school parking job. That is, until I see Tara's face.

"Don't worry about it!" I call out, turning the car off. "That little scratch was already there!" My mom had hit a rock a couple years ago, giving the front right of the car a small dent and a couple scratches.

Tara just shakes her head.

"What, then?" I call. I hope she can hear me because I don't feel like turning the car back on and opening the window. Plus it's cold. She shakes her head again and smiles a sort of disbelieving, scared smile. She yells something to me, but I can't hear her. "What?" I shout.

She walks over to my window and motions for me to roll down my window. I roll my eyes and open the door, and she just looks at me, her eyes huge. I raise my eyebrows. "You just popped your tire."

I freeze for half a second, and then laugh. "No, I didn't."

"Yes, you did."

"No, I didn't. Tara that isn't funny."

"Fine. Come look if you don't believe me." I reluctantly get out of the safety of my warm car and follow her to look at my front right tire. I gasp. It wasn't really fair for her to call it a tire. The thing was completely flat. Parallel to the ground. Smushed.

"Oh my god." I fall to my knees to examine it more carefully. The sharp granite curb I had grazed so lightly had cut straight through the rubber. There's a gash about five inches long. I am no expert on popped tires, but this one looks pretty popped. "I am sooo dead."

"That's more of the reaction I was looking for." Tara laughs and helps me up. "Call your dad, do you have Triple A?"

It's all I can do to force myself to nod. Words just don't seem to be coming.

"Larkin, relax," Tara smiles. "You have Triple A, your tire will get fixed, and you will laugh about this in a couple days."

I force a small smile. "Okay, but you have to promise me that we will keep this as secret as possible. No one needs to know that I sliced my tire my first day driving to school."

Tara shakes her head, laughing, as I walk back to my car to call my dad. "I promise."

Monday, March 4, 2013

#sliceoflife 4 of 31

Today is day four of the #sliceoflife challenge, and my second day. So far, I am loving this challenge because it is forcing me to make time in my day to write. My mom has always told me that I definitely have 20 minutes a day to sit down and write but I never believed her. However, now that I have people besides her that expect me to do just that, I am finding that I do, in fact, have that time available. Maybe when March is over I'll spend this 20 minutes a day doing SAT work.
I want to write my post today about high school bullies, after seeing another slicer write a blog about bullies in middle school. I have accepted that bullies exist no matter how old you are, but what I still struggle with to this day is how to deal with them.

(Again, names are changed)

I walk into the library and look around for a table. Usually I sit with my friend Sara this period, but I can't find her. On a normal day, I would have just texted her, but unfortunately I left my phone in my car this morning and my high school has this weird rule that you can't go out to your car during the school day. I mean, I guess it makes sense safety-wise, but what could a kid go get out of their car that they couldn't sneak into school at the beginning of the day?
I see my friend Beca sitting at a table, but she's sitting with Gabby. I quickly walk to an empty table, hoping they don't see me. Unfortunately the gods did not hear my silent prayer.
"Liv, can you come over?" Gabby calls, "I didn't hear what the English homework was." She doesn't turn around to look at me, just assumes that I will happily prance over to wait on her. I do.
When I get to her table, I sit down in the only empty chair and begin to pull out my planner.
"Sorry, but Ely is coming in like two seconds so you'll have to move."
I give her a nasty look that she completely misses, immersed in her phone. Beca, however, notices.
"Don't worry about it Liv, I'm sure he can just pull up a chair." I smile in response, silently thanking her.
Gabby rolls her eyes. I quickly peek over her shoulder to see what she is so interested in that she couldn't even say hello. Twitter. Obviously. Why talk to the people sitting right next to you when you can cyber-talk with everyone else?
"Gab, do you want to know the homework? Because I really have to go study."
She finally looks up and laughs. Kind of weird, because I'm pretty sure my goal for that statement was not humor. "Geez, Liv, you need to relax. Seriously. Stop complaining about how you need to study. We all know you have a 98 GPA, there's no need to brag about it." Beca's boyfriend, Jack, who I've only met once, snickers and I feel my face going red. Before I can think of a clever response, Gabby grabs my English notebook and starts rifling through it, messing up my neatly organized papers.
"Here, I've got it." I take it back and pull out the assignment. I hate when people copy me, but Gabby knew what she was doing on this one. She asked me what the homework was, then when I was comfortably sitting down she made fun of how smart I am and then goes to copy my assignment. She knows that if I say no now, I'll look like an even bigger dork than I already do. Pure, cunning, manipulative genius.
I hand her the paper and get up to leave as Ely walks in.
"Liv, where you going? You know you can sit here, right?" Beca looks up at me.
"No, it's fine, don't worry I'm not leaving because you guys have cooties," I laugh awkwardly. "It's just that I have two tests today that I really have to study for."
"Okay," Beca says, laughing too, "Have fun."
"Oh, trust me, I will," I say and finally turn away and start walking towards the beckoning empty table. As I sit down and take out my history notes, I promise myself that I will never let Gabby get to me again. Next time, I will stand up for myself and tell Gabby that she can find another person to bother. Even as I think it, I know that it's a total lie. Gabby has friends and those friends have friends and if I want to remained well-liked, I know that standing up to Gabby is not in my best interest.