Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to School: Sophomore Thoughts and Reminiscing

Hi there! If you’re in the States or elsewhere in the world, you might already have been in school for a solid couple weeks now, but where I live in Canada, today is our first day. It’s kind of crazy to me to think about how I’m going to be in grade 10, and even though it’s not that big of a number, it’s still a bit mind-boggling because it’s, well, two digits.

Last year, I went into my freshman year a bit worried and apprehensive, I think, but with a fairly open mind. I didn’t really have a support system of friends that I could just run to at lunch and vent or rant or whatever from the get go because I was the only one from my school going to that certain school. Daunting it was, but I was up for it.

It’s really important for me to always push myself out of my comfort zone and try something new. I did a lot of that this past year and accomplished some things that I’m really proud of, but most of those things didn’t happen in school, but rather outside of it. If you followed my Confidence series, you’ll know that I was a relatively shy, actually, very shy girl in my middle school years and it has always been something that I’ve been labelled with ever since I was pretty young.

I didn’t think much of it before as I thought it was just something that I was, the same way my hair colour was black and my eyes were brown. Then, I realised that it’s also a very big part of how people see me and how I portray myself to others. I think when it comes to being shy and reserved, there are two extreme behaviours that most people associate with that – that I’m either really weak, or just snobby and think of myself too highly to be willing to reach out and have a conversation with someone.

First impressions are tough because you obviously want to make them good and you want to be memorable and you want people to remember your shining qualities instead of your “bad” ones. Before, I’d never been 100% comfortable in my own skin, but at the beginning of freshman year, I was just like I had to be more me and just be more lively and make an effort to interact with people.

It was obviously pretty hard during the first few weeks because everyone already had their own friend groups and were sticking to them like glue and I was just that little fly trying to get in with them. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to fit in or anything, I just wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone.

Thankfully, it worked out in the end I got myself a really nice group of people who understand me for the most part, and the parts that they don’t, they don’t question but just accept. This past year, I was able to make really amazing friends and keep them (woot woot!) so that was already one big thing that I was a bit wary of at the beginning, but it definitely got better and I’m so happy that I didn’t just stay huddled up in a corner on my phone whenever I wasn’t in class.

Thank God I didn’t do that.

This year, I’ve put even more on my plate and I’m really hoping to accomplish them all. Here’s a look at my sophomore to-do list.

1. Run for Student Council This is something that I’ve always wanted to do, but it requires you to talk to a lot of people and know a lot people, as well as be really convincing in your speech and campaign and all that jazz, so I have a lot of work ahead of me. It’s something that I really want to do, so I’m hoping that I won’t chicken out of it like I did in grade 9.

I also want to run for an executive position for Key Club. If you don’t know what it is already, it’s basically a club that works on humanitarian issues and it’s actually found in schools all around the world and there are tons and tons of members. You should definitely think of joining one or starting one at your school if you’re passionate about helping people.

2. Start a FIDM fashion club at school – This is also going to take a lot of metaphorical balls, balls of steel, really, because just saying the words “fashion club” makes me feel incredibly lame, but again, like the last point, it’s something that I really want to do, so I’d better not chicken out and work my butt off to make it happen.

3. Sew and sketch a bit every night (or so) – The time to apply to colleges and universities and all that might seem far away, but it’s really not. Lots of people are telling me, old and young, to just chill and relax and not worry about it because I have loads of time to decide. While it’s not like I disagree, I can’t help but send my mind into a frenzied panic sometimes and worry about if I don’t get the classes that I want in high school, if I don’t take all the prerequisite courses for a certain major, or if I don’t get into the school that I want to which is such a huge, huge worry. It’s a pretty universal one as well.

Wow, I just rambled on about that and didn’t even get to the point, aha. Basically, I need to start working hard on my portfolio for FIT and the other schools I’m applying to and to do so, need to start working on my skills to make sure that that portfolio that I’m handing it will be my best work and that I’ll be crazy proud of it.

4. Try out for a sports team – I’ve never been a sports girl, but I loved playing softball last year and I’ve been meaning to find myself an excuse to try out for the school rugby team, so I might just do that this year. Softball’s a bit more likely than rugby, though, aha.

5. Get a job – It’s kind of tough for me to get a proper job (I tutor on the side) because I’m only 15, but I really, really need the experience and I need to help my parents and save up for school, so that’s another thing that’s one my to-do list.

6. Do more housework – I’d been so busy last year that I didn’t get a chance to help my mom around the house very much which makes me feel incredibly guilty, so I need to make time to do that this year.

7. Immerse myself in culture – While I did a lot last year, I want to be more inspired next year, so I want to just read more fashion history books and biographies as well as watch more movies and documentaries in general. I’ve always been a bit sad that I’m not really a “movie person” so I’m going to try to dedicate a bit of time to immersing myself in some brain food every now and then.

8. Study for the SATs – While I live in Canada and don’t actually have to take the SATs like Americans do, since FIT is in the States and I always want to have that option on hand, I’m going to be taking the SATs and while it’s a long time away, I’m planning to start familiarising myself with the tests this year with a few other of my friends who are planning to take them, too.

9. Get more sleep – Sleep was a major problem for me last year. I was always staying up late blogging and making cards (I have a mini card business) and I’m sad and very annoyed to have to say that I very rarely got eight hours of sleep. Eight hours a night is already very little for a teenager, so it was pretty bad how most of the time, I was living off of seven to seven and half hours of sleep. Even during the summer I’ve been busying myself so much that I’ve barely gotten any sleep.

Basically, my sleep patterns have to change and they will change this year as I’m planning to get a solid eight hours every night. I need to learn to take care of my body and mind better in that sense so I can work more efficiently and just feel more awake.

10. Have at least three 7-piece collections designed by the end of the year – This ties in a bit with #3, but I really need to get my whole fashion design game together if I want to have a future in it. Another thing that will help me with this point that I’m trying out here on Style Generis is having a monthly sketchbook column so I’m basically forcing myself to come up with something decent to show you guys every month to push myself to just draw and design more.

That is pretty much all I wanted to say about this new school year. As you could probably tell, I’ve put a lot on my plate and I’m planning to accomplish it all. Hopefully. Overall, I’m super excited about the next ten months of school and am still a bit nervous, of course, because of the pressure I’d put on myself, but I believe that I can do it. In the end, that’s what’s going to get me through this list. Good faith, lots of planning, and impeccable time management.

To all of you going back to school, I wish you the best of luck. I believe in you and whatever your dreams and goals for the year are. Despite only having completed one year of high school, my advice to you is to make goals and not to be afraid to dream big. If you want something, write it down, make an attack plan, and make it happen. Do everything to the best of your abilities, but know when to take a break and take care of yourself. While I thoroughly enjoyed my freshman year, I didn’t do enough of that and taking care of your body and your mind will be truly beneficial.

Sorry that this ended up being so long, but I hope that I got everything that I wanted to across. Let’s make this year amazing.

What are your goals for this school year? Do you often make goals for things like this? What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with me and my other readers? Leave your comments and share your stories below!

Thank you so much for reading!
- J

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