Reflections on Freshman Year

I am officially a sophomore now, guys! I finally don't have the freshman stigma surrounding me anymore, which is a relief. :)

So each year of school, I like to do a post covering everything I learned and how it went. I did one large post over each year of middle school and what I learned that was really fun to look back on for me; check that out here.

Freshman year, to be honest, kind of felt like a repeat of eighth grade, and my mental state pretty much stayed the same from then but sometimes even went back to my sixth grade mindset, yikes (read this post to find out why). So I really needed to be conscious about how I thought and, really, I flunked at that. I'm actually working on a blog post right now that talks all about patterns of thinking, because if there's one thing I figured out like seriously only two mornings ago, that would be it. Nevermind the fact that it had been drilled into my head all year. That was when it finally clicked for me. So stay tuned for that; it accidentally ended up being a book, so I have a lot of editing to do on that post.

Anyway, this year went by at rapid speed. Holy heck. I can vividly remember myself in eighth grade being bored to death, waiting for high school, waiting to get more opportunities, etc. I can remember being at a doctor's appointment, and when my mom set a date for the next one, it was sometime in the fall, and we were like, ooh, to think I'll be a freshman then! And now I'm a sophomore haha.

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To be completely honest, for awhile I wondered what I would even put in this post. Because freshman year didn't seem to carry with it any new life lessons since it felt like another repeat of eighth grade. Plus there was something about my mental state that was just lacking this whole year, which may have made me less openminded to learning new lessons. I was so ready to be done, though. Maybe it was because I had such high expectations of it, I don't know. But it did make me more aware of not wishing my life away. I don't want to be somebody who wishes everything away because they think they can't be happy until they're in high school, or college, or married. Because none of that can truly fix your happy state, that's between you and God. But I do have a sense of restlessness in me, and I don't think it's all because of me just choosing not to be happy. Oh, I'm sure that's some of it—the biggest thing I learned this year was how to take control of your thought life again, and I'm writing a blog post about that.

But I do think my personality has a need for deep connections, for meaning and purpose, to help and inspire people, and I just don't think I'm getting any of that right now. I still feel pretty stifled. I have a lot of dreams I get incredibly impatient over, which was probably the most challenging thing of this year. It just felt like it dragged, and I hardly did any writing the whole year, on this blog or on my book, and that's horrible, because they say if you want to be a good writer you should write everyday about anything—just to practice and perfect your craft. And now it's extremely evident how I've hurt myself by not doing so; my writing on my second novel has been so sloppy, I've already rewrote it once. And I don't know why I didn't write at all; I think, honestly, I get so lazy and worn out mentally from school that I just can't put anything into it. Because I'm not super busy; I have plenty of time to write; in fact, that's why I'm hardly involved, is because I want to devote that time to writing. But gosh, it just gets tough.

I would often find myself growing jealous of the juniors and seniors because they were able to start planning for college, sending applications, going on visits, etc., haha. One day when I'm their age I'll probably look back and wish I had these days of doing next to nothing, but who knows, I guess? Even as a kid I've always wanted to grow up faster. I can remember seeing my cousins or older relatives when I was a lot younger up at my grandparents' house, and I remember crying to my grandma because I would get so upset that I couldn't engage in the "big girls" activities—I don't even remember what, exactly, those were, but I know I was upset about something—or just the fact that it seemed like I couldn't fit in with them. Even back then I always hated being thought of as more immature, even though I know I was, haha. I've always been impatient, because even then I would get frustrated that I couldn't DO anything. And I think that's how I felt a lot this year.

My hopes are that now with summer I can somehow find the motivation to get going on my book; in 2014 I managed to get halfway through my first novel, and then I was only eleven years old, so there's no reason why I can't do it now! I'm sure some of it is just my perfectionist way of thinking, too, that everything I write has to sound perfect. But it doesn't—especially not in only a first draft. So I actually have the hopes to complete my second novel this summer; I feel like that's doable, but we'll see!

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The one good thing about this year, though, is that I did make some good connections and have a lot of special people who encouraged me when I thought I couldn't go any farther. For awhile, I would get frustrated because in many ways I thought that sometimes I was doing all of the pursuing and initiating in any relationship I wanted. And I don't mind doing that, but it gets old when many people don't reciprocate it. But I finally got the message that people do care, and I learned to quit being so cynical about that. It also showed me that no matter what, I want to be one of those people, too, who checks in on other people and goes out of their way.

This year mainly consisted of required courses unfortunately, but next year I get a little bit more freedom to choose courses in my areas of passion. This year, though, I got to take a college course! I didn't know I was able to do that as a freshman, but I was able to take an online course that I really liked. It was over current problems in our world and was a sociology course, so I definitely enjoyed it. I felt like everything I learned was transferable to all of my other classes, and I was thankful to have the opportunity to take it. I already got to see my schedule for next year, too, and I was thankful I got all of the classes I signed up for to fit into my schedule. Sophomore year has a lot of required classes, too (physics being one of them...banging my head against a wall already). But I got the electives I wanted, and I'm thrilled for them. I'm taking two online college courses again—one each semester—over philosophy and ethics. I think I will like philosophy; it seems like a deep subject that would be aligned with my personality. And I'm almost positive I will like ethics; I blog about morality all of the time haha. And then I'm taking a creative writing class (yay!) and Advanced Placement Psychology (can't wait!!!). I've never taken a psychology class in my life yet have somehow already decided that I think I would like to major in it one day hahaha, but my cousin has taken some psychology classes, and I remember from what she told me being fascinated by it. And as my obsession with people keeps growing, I think it'll be a good class for me to take haha. I'm looking forward to all of those things, so hopefully they will turn out good.

The other interesting thing that happened that I wasn't entirely sure how to think about? I got glasses. Don't even get me started on my eyes. Over the last couple years, I have been so worried about them as it feels like funky crap keeps going on in them, and I've been worried I'm going blind or have some brain disease on way more than one occasion. I sincerely feel bad for my eye doctor, because I kept making lists of things wrong with them and keep calling even though I've been told I'm fine. But at my last appointment, my focusing wasn't as good. It wasn't horrible, but they thought by me getting glasses just to have when I do work or am on the computer could help ease the strain. So I got them. I was pretty picky about which style I was going to get because believe me, I was less than thrilled, and I had no idea that big name designers made glasses! I probably sounded like such a snob rattling off all their names—Jimmy Choo had gorgeous sparkly frames that were expensive to say the least haha—but I honestly had no idea that they made them, so that made me feel a little bit better, ha. I actually did not pick out mine until the very end; I was indecisive about some simple black pair I believe, and then the lady helping us came out with this pair that wasn't on the wall, and I guess it was love at first sight because I knew I wanted them.

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I would write more in depth about how I've learned to control my thinking again—which was the major takeaway from this year—but seriously, I have a lengthy post already in the works covering that, so stay tuned. I would say that freshman year for me was one of those years you just have to get through. It was one of those years where you do a lot of waiting (my favorite years haha...NOT), and so for me I just had to endure it and get through it. And I'm thankful God helped me through! It actually did go by fast for a year that dragged, so I'm glad. But of course I want to be thankful for each day and do the best of my ability to work on my dreams for God's glory. My first few days of summer, I have literally done nothing. I have been so lazy. Last night was the first time I took a shower since the end of school that was on Friday. ;)

I've been doing a bit of journaling, though, and put together a list of the things I want to do this summer and that I need to get done, so hopefully I can start being productive.

And if I had to give advice over freshman year? It would echo a lot of my middle school advice that you can read here: don't give in to peer pressure and stay true to who you are (being as quiet as I am, you wouldn't believe some of the conversations I overhear in my classes of things kids are already getting into...so it's very important to stick to your convictions). It's one of those years where everyone wants to establish themselves, and there's a lot of drama around that. But seriously, know that that crap means nothing. Focus instead on your academics (which begin to count this year and don't SLACK OFF like I heard some kids do just because it's freshman year—do your best and do the right thing anyway!). Focus on developing your passions and what you want to do with your life for the glory of God. I've had a blast doing that, and it's just those reminders that, once again, the petty crap—prom, cliques, to name a few—is just that, petty crap that no one will care about in ten years. So don't let that be your fixation.

Also, it brought me back to my sixth grade year that you can read more on here, where I just have to remember to trust in God's plan and not get sucked into the worldly expectations of society. It's tempting to do, but it's not worth it. And unfortunately, it basically took me all year to figure that out. But hopefully this summer I can get a fresh mindset and be better prepared mentally for tenth grade.

As far as my summer goals go, I'm hoping to write everyday about something and to begin working on some short stories, too, to keep my writing diverse and interesting. I also am going to go jet skiing at Okoboji this summer, which I can't wait for, but hope I don't kill myself while driving it. :D What are all of your plans for the summer?

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