Starting Off Senior Year with a Bang

With the beginning of my senior year of high school came a million and one events and tasks that I suddenly needed to attend to. Over the course of a month, I vacationed in Watsonville, renewed my driver's permit, spent a night with my friends in the woods, participated in more standardized testing, resurrected two clubs, ran for Senior Class Vice president, and was interviewed by Collen's Foundation. On top of all of that, I've also been working on my college applications. I mean, I'm not complaining -- I genuinely love being busy. Especially when I'm busy with such big things.

The decision to make the drive over to Watsonville was a very, very last-minute one. We really only went to finally have a chance to relax before school started up again, and so that my siblings and I could learn how to swim. Watsonville is within a comfortable driving distance of both Monterey and Santa Cruz, but since it's still a pretty small town, finding a reasonably-priced hotel was easy. Even though we booked a room two days before our arrival, we still managed to find a hotel with an indoor swimming pool. We spent hours in that pool. Did we learn how to swim? Maybe not, but their hot tub was amazing. We had a long walk down Cannery Row and a short visit to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk while we were there. I somehow managed to snag two free rides on the "Typhoon", where I spent quite a bit of time six stories above the Boardwalk. While sitting upside-down. My sister and I also speed-walked through the "Fright Walk" (running was not allowed), which was surprisingly very, very long and well-made for a six-dollar attraction. I walked with my hands in my pockets (maybe if I pretended to be calm, I wouldn't get scared), but my sister practically clung to the back of my shirt. We went through so fast, we bumped into a couple who went in a few minutes before us. We stared at each other for a few seconds before I called out a bright, "Hi!". They paused for another second and screamed. After realizing that we were also simple paying customers, they let us go ahead of them.


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The "Typhoon", right before I get launched.


My last first day of high school came a few days later. It was nice to see my friends again, but the entire day was pretty uneventful. Our school's annual camping trip began two weeks after. We drove with parent volunteers for over an hour before we reached our campsite: Little Basin State Park. We spent the first day participating in various activities, including volleyball, hiking, ultimate frisbee, and yoga. I, of course, did none of the above. My friends and I stayed in the camp's dining area and painted. I carefully crafted a hyper-realistic recreation of my first meeting with my mentor using only printer paper and eight different Crayola watercolors. After chatting with my friends and playing games with my class, we set up our tents in separate campsites located deeper in the woods. It felt like it took half an hour just to find our campsite. For dinner, we ate street tacos and had a live DJ. I'm not sure how my school managed to afford a DJ, let alone convince him to camp with us in the woods, but I wasn't complaining.


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My hyper-realistic watercolor masterpiece.


We ended the night with my favorite part of the trip: the talent show. This year, I danced on stage with my class to the "baby shark" song. I also brought a light-up shark fin for my teacher to wear. We watched other students dance, sing, and recite poetry until the sky was pitch black, and the only light we could see came from the fairy lights threaded across the stage. I think about half of the senior class cried that night, whether it be over their significant other or the closing of their last talent show. The next day, we participated in our school's version of the Olympics, and, for the first time, my class won. I'm not really sure what happened to our medal, but it's probably floating around somewhere.

Apparently the universe didn't think that I needed a break, because I had to take my SAT Subject Tests the next day. Then, a few days later, I was scheduled to represent my clubs during club day. Every year, every club on campus sets up posters and fliers for an hour in an attempt to win over new members. For me, that meant calling meetings and hurriedly putting together two poster boards advertising my clubs. This year, I'm serving as the president of both Acts of Random Kindness (ARK) and Interact (short for International Action). It's definitely...an experience. I guess I didn't think that I had enough on my plate, because I also signed up to run for a seat on the Student Council. I ran for Junior Class President last year, but I lost with only half as many votes as my competitor. I am a sucker for getting involved, and the main job of the vice president is to plan school dances, so why not? I can't dance, but I like having fun.


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The first ARK meeting of the year.


This past week has been dedicated solely to electives, which means that I get to spend the entire school week in the same two classrooms. I've been placed in "Intro to Programming" and "Intro to Robotics". I don't consider myself at intro level in either subjects, and I've been making sure that my teachers know that. Both are fairly relaxed, so they don't mind if I quickly finish the coursework then duck into a corner to work on college applications. To me, writing is fun. I like being able to watch the paragraphs grow as I write down what I'm thinking, but writing during my elective classes means writing for seven straight hours about why I want to be an engineer or what I'm doing to give back to my community. I'm just glad that I get to write about myself, because I always have a lot to say. But you already knew that.