Piling Up

(Somehow this never posted yesterday…)

It’s amazing how work seems to just pile up sometimes. There was so much I had planned to accomplish today and yet it seems I hardly achieved any of my goals. I made progress which is at least somewhat of a success, but it’s never a great feeling going to bed knowing how much you didn’t get done today means you have to figure out when you’re trying to do it tomorrow…

I’m chaperoning my siblings’ dance retreat this Thursday-Sunday and when I return I’m only home for a day before flying off to Vermont and then all over the north-east for pretty much the rest of summer. It’s crazy how June has practically come and gone already. I don’t know where the time went, but I know the work didn’t go far.

Later this week I will be done with my history class, will have published Trailblazer’s Issue 3, and have posted my 700th blog post if all goes according to plan. Some big milestones are ahead, so hopefully work can stop piling up and I can get my scheduling and goals aligned in a productive way.

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The Book Dilemma

For the past several weeks I had been meaning to go to Barnes and Noble. I haven’t read a book since around the time of spring break and summer is typically when I start reading more.

I was procrastinating, however, because a good book can sometimes be the easiest distractor in the world. You feel like you’re being good because you’re reading, but really there are 50 million other things you should be doing. Or in my case really just one major thing I should be doing: homework for my online history course…

For this course, I take a test about every other week and each test covers about four chapters which are each about 30 pages in my textbook, plus I have around six hours of lecture to watch per week as well. I’m typically a fairly slow reader, therefore, I know that any time I have for reading should really be spent reading my textbook, not a personal reading book.

Today though, we had coupons that were about to expire so I finally went on the search for a new book series to start. I ended up finding two books that start different series that sounded interesting “The Darkest Minds” and “Shadow and Bone.”

(Quick tangent: I find that people are sometimes surprised by the books I read. Due to my love for transformative education and innovation and just general nerdiness, people tend to assume I read all sorts of educational, thought-provoking, non-fiction books. This is false. There are times when I’m still very much just a teenage girl and in fact, most of the books I read are random stereotypical young adult dystopian series. While I do find myself intrigued by a lot of the back cover messages of those educational type books, I can’t get myself hooked on them easily so I often stick with articles or blog posts for that genre of reading.)

So now I’m in a weird limbo period where I have less than a week left of my history class and am now trying very hard to finish strong with reading my textbook when I know the books I really want to read are an arm’s length away.

I have such a love-hate relationship with the feeling of getting sucked into a good book…

One more week then I can explore these new worlds.

First HW Assignment

Last night, in an attempt to get closer to becoming composting toilet experts, we gave our first “homework assignment” for the Paideia class.

We had every individual pick a different composting toilet brand and label all of the different parts and functions of that particular toilet. Additionally, they were asked to create a pros con list for their toilet. This information we then used today as a springboard to discuss what are necessary pieces required in a composting toilet versus where are areas we can brainstorm creative new ideas for.

When I announced the assignment I was expecting detesting remarks about how they were getting homework after not having it so far in the course.

Surprisingly though, no one even questioned the assignment. I couldn’t believe how calm everyone was because honestly, I was nervous about announcing it. Especially since it was a day-of-pivot we made because we thought it would be helpful for the students to more deeply explore different composting toilets currently available after hearing an external expert talk about a few different toilets.

I suppose they also all understood the purpose behind the homework and knew it would be beneficial to their teams and maybe that was why no one was shocked or annoyed with our ask of them. Sure I’ve only known these kids for a week or so now and maybe this is how they always respond, but maybe it just goes to show how when work has a clear and meaningful purpose, it’s less likely to cause tension and complaints.

“Finals” Count Down

With hardly more than a week left of classes, we’ve officially reached that point in the year.

Studying all day, sleeping little at night, and stress levels so high you’d think I’d been in a fight.

It’s the final countdown of my first year in college, and today that hit me hard. My final tests of the semester are all coming up in the next few days and it’s truly exhausting on top of homework, job work, and preparing for summer work.

I hate how this always happens where the schedules of classes line up to where there’s always that one week of the semester that feels like hell broke loose and everything’s happening at once in a crazy tiring mess.

Honestly the last days leading up to finals are often worse than finals themselves. During finals, we get a break from all the other work and we can just focus on the exams themselves, but the days leading up we’re trying to study for finals and take the last tests and still deal with all of the other “normal” stuff.

Plus on top of all that, it’s the make it or break it time for grades. I hate stressing about grades, but considering my scholarship is dependent on my ability to keep above a certain GPA, it’s hard not to. I despise that college grades are so heavily based on just a mere few tests, (especially since I’m not a great test taker) and today involved a lot of freaking out about where my grades are at this point and what I need on my last tests and finals if I hope to get the grades I want.

So close to a break…

Starting Up Again

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Way back when in freshman year…

Today was my last first day of a high school semester and I already feel like we’ve jumped right back into things. I’ve already been planning events, attending meetings, and doing homework; not much has changed, and yet things feel somehow different knowing it’s almost over- not yet though and there is still so much to do!

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to take off right where you left off when you are around the right group of people.

Best of Both Worlds

Days until the first day of school: four. Days until senior bootcamp: three. Level of craziness happening in my head right now: threw the roof.

I feel as if I have so much to do still before school starts. I only got back into Atlanta on Tuesday and I’ve been busy every second of the day. This week I’m finally taking my in car driving lessons; most people that know me know this is a big deal because I’m always hitchhiking rides with friends since I just hadn’t really taken the time to learn how to drive within my two years of having a permit…

Meanwhile, I’ve also been helping move stuff in my sister’s room (including setting up an IKEA loft bed), coaching camp, going through old school supplies and preparing new ones, trying to finish editing the article I’ve written for an e-magazine, working on finishing at least one of my 3 college essay drafts (I only need 1 but I can’t decide on an approach I like best), finishing up summer math (2 topics to go!), finishing up my AP Latin summer reading, and going to both of my siblings orientations since one is at camp and the other needs an adult figure. So basically there’s a lot to be done in the next 3-4 days.

However, at the same time I am excited for parts of school to begin. I am super excited that my study hall finally is the same time as band so I can actually practice with the high school band some without missing a core class! I also can’t wait for theater to start especially after talking to my director today and learning more about our awesome set and one act play competition plans. (Plus my next show makes me the record holder for most high school shows with a total of 12!) With knowing my schedule it also means that I already know which classes I’ll have with some of my friends and there are some that we’re just all really excited for because we know that when we’re in class together it’s always a good class. Innovation Diploma will also be welcoming our 3rd cohort, the Gates Cohort, starting Tuesday and I’m deeply curious as to what the future holds for us there. And as much as I am not thrilled with ending senior year, there will definitely be a lot of fun senior moments in the future which I’m also excited for!

I love how in the summer I have the freedom to travel and create my own schedule, but I also love how the school year has so many opportunities due to resources and the benefits of collaboration. If only there was a way to have the best of both worlds, because that would be wall shattering, mind blowing, and game changing in the most awesome way!

Flexible Schedules

images-1.jpgWow it was a crazy weekend of late nights. I saw West Side Story Friday night and then right after drove to a friends lake house where we arrived at 1am. Then the following night one of the parents stepped on a copper head snake, got bitten, and had to go to the hospital where he spent the night. Then the following night the power went out and we had no battery operated fans, but we couldn’t get the car out of the garage so we called a friend to do a late night run to Walmart in PJs. And then last night we just watched a family movie and afterwards I fell asleep reading.

Long story short, I haven’t blogged in a while. I realized today how it’s surprisingly a lot easier to blog during the school year. I remember after school started during my original 100 day challenge, one of my teachers had said that he expected me to be writing less after school started because I would have less time, but I actually wrote more. I believe this was for a number of reasons. At school there are constantly people you are having intellectual conversations, despite if it is by  choice or not. Plus you often find things that bug you which are some of the easiest to blog about. And furthermore, over the summer you stay up later with friends and family because you don’t have school in the morning to worry about so you can actually sleep in!

However, summer isn’t only about staying up late, playing with friends and family, and sleeping in. In fact I like to say summer is when I can finally work on all of the things I don’t typically have time for during the school year. Currently I’m working on 4 different project teams, have almost finished my 4th book, have made over a dozen gymnastics songs and routines for next year, have practiced an entire new music book of songs on flute/piccolo, have coached at fuse16, have coached summer camp, have/will have several conversations with schools around the country and Grant Lichtman about the future of education, and to top it all off I have intensely researched over 20 different colleges and will be touring some later this summer while visiting family in the north east.

Summer doesn’t just mean fun time, but it also can mean fun work time. And this isn’t like a teacher trying to be clever and trying to make homework sound better, because this work is often self assigned.

It’s amazing what we can get done with a more flexible schedule.

I Want Off the Train

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What happened to the drive? -The motivation?

Why have I stopped without hesitation?

What happened to my spirit? -The one pulling me to the sky.

It seems my wings have been broken. It seems I can not fly.

I haven’t blogged in several days. Far more than I’d like to admit.

The funny thing is that I’ve been thinking about procrastination. How our minds need creative breaks; time to divert in order to later commit. Time to relax before rebooting. Time to explore the nonsense for inspiration.

I’ve been on the procrastination train for several days. Away from blogging that is. But not by choice. No, not by choice at all.

Late nights till 12:30am at least. Performing, coaching, studying all day. The hour to blog just seems to get away.

But more than just blogging; yes, much more than just that. When no one is looking I’ve not been myself.

That passion for my work– especially in ID. It just isn’t there, at least not that I can see.

I go home not feeling driven. I’ve been leaving the work for at school. Not even my Gold Award has seemed to move.

I know it’s a problem. I think that’s quite clear. But where’s the opportunity? Where’s the road back? The procrastination train can’t be a one way track.

It goes round and round, on it’s long windy track, but to quote Miley Cyrus, “we always find our way back home.”

Don’t we?

I mean the train of thought in Shark Boy and Lava Girl may make us think differently- considering it never travels quite clearly- but even that train with all it’s twisting and turning hasn’t yet left the planet, so there’s that for a fact.

Why is it that sometimes we can be so excited about something, but then as time goes on it just seems uninviting? I just don’t understand. I have no comprehension. I mean even right now I’d like to be watching the High School Musical 10 year reunion, but instead I’m caught not near a TV and thus this blog is finally happening.

How do I get re-excited about my projects? How does it become something I just can’t put down? Like a good book that makes you ignore everyone for the purpose of finishing in a day?

I know I need to work when no one is watching, but instead I wander and wonder. And is that so bad? Maybe not all the time. I’ve enjoyed time with friends, family, and searching online. Buying a piccolo, coaching at a meet, performing a show all about feet. Watching new shows and choreographing new dance, even going to a basketball game- would you believe it?

I’ve been doing these things, and it’s been quite fun. But my work lately hasn’t been giving me this same thrill.

This train is fun to ride, but at some point the train comes back right? Back to the stop of productivity? Back to a time when you fell motivated to fly?

But how do we get back there? I’d like to try. But creating motivation really is like trying to fly: it’s nearly impossible on demand.

So I’ve looked to  old blog posts that tell me to “jump in,” but that advice doesn’t help when I’m in but can’t swim.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have been productive on some level. I have a role as Curriculum Manager for my current venture and have looked at many objectives, essential questions, and emails lately. Even learned about vinyl cutting and laser printing.

But I know I’m not in it. Not 100%. Because when I go home it’s not on my mind. I don’t feel the drive. I don’t keep working even when I have time. Instead I just wander along on my path not knowing where I’ll be going next.

I hope I find it again. The engagement in all that I’m working on and in. I want to want to work when I’m out of site of peering eyes. When it’s just me and my computer with my tiring eyes. I love the feeling of being excited, working non stop because I’m having fun. I know this can’t happen all the time, but I’ve been in this rut and am ready to escape.

I’m ready to get off of the train if only I could figure out how.

 

 

Focusing Time

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With about 10 days until exams start things are getting crazier by the day. On top of finals studying I’ve been working on putting together my portfolio and MoVe Talk for AP Lang next Thursday, working on my iVenture for a pitch Friday, working on finishing up our product design before the end of 1st semester for my CoVenture,  working on getting off book for our current theater production that preforms a week after break, working on coaching routines for a gymnastics meet this weekend, working on studying for the SAT Saturday, and then of course good old homework, tests, and quizzes that we’ve been given as that last grade before finals.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to blog a bit differently for the next few days because I want to blog, but I simply do not have the time to do long winded observational posts. Instead I’m going to have my daily posts be in shorter forms: haiku, quote, 5 sentence max, maybe even a 6 word memoir. I will also keep a running lists for if there are longer things I’d like to talk about, but don’t have time to write, then that way I can always come back to them later.

For today here is my haiku:

What is your focus?

Next, know the type of problem,

Then, how might you solve?

Hello October

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Today I really felt like school was back. The reason being because I had one of my first days this school year where I had a ton of different things to do and people to talk to during my “free time”.

The funny thing is that this feeling made me a little exited actually. Being busy makes me feel productive and helpful which I enjoy. Sometimes it’s just a pain to have so much to do and so little time, but this was different because it was the first time.

October in general is a busy month for me. We have our drama performance and competition, a band concert, auditions for the winter play and spring musical, people start touring MVPS, I’m going to Ohio this weekend to tour Case Western and visit my grandparents, the Council on Innovation happens, I’m helping facilitate a few other things, we have a design challenge coming to an “end”, Halloween, pre-Halloween laser tag in our costumes with Girl Scouts, and this isn’t even including school work…

October is just a lot of fun. A lot of work, but a lot of fun. So many great things are in the works and I can’t wait for every one of them!