Monday, May 9, 2016

I Don't Know What I'm Doing

I'm still at school. So there isn't really anything to say. That's so sad isn't it? That nothing interesting has happened because legitimately all I do is school. I watched the second half of the Cavs game yesterday, that was exciting. I finished that 20 page research paper that I referenced in my last post. It was just as scary and terrifying as I thought it would be but now I can barely remember it because my brain is on to the next assignment.
The worst part about going to a genius school is waking up to realize how hard you can try and how little can come from it. Like the fact I spent practically my entire weekend studying for this chemistry test and I still bombed it. I don't even understand how it's possible because I thought I studied every nook and cranny but then he pulls out some random question and I'm stuck. C-. Done. Yep. That's about how my day went. Then right after that chemistry test I had to take a Spanish quiz and my brain was just like, "yeah, no, I was just traumatized by that chemistry test. no hablo español." So that sucked. And then I went to talk to a faculty member to talk about life and it just made me realize how I legitimately have no friends because I'm always studying and keeping my head down to try and pull up my GPA while also realizing how shitty my GPA is, therefore everything is for nothing.

It's a deep spiral that ends only in a dark place.

I've been in that dark place all year and everyone tells me I should just go home. The truth is I want to, but I can't allow myself to give up such an amazing opportunity as being at Exeter. I also really love class. It's really amazing being in the classroom, but outside the classroom and the workload really gets to you. My ideal school would be Exeter with a public school workload, then I could actually enjoy my extracurriculars instead of them being another burden I have to manage. It doesn't do any good to complain. I'm just being a child. I know. But hopefully I'm not wasting my time. If that turns out to be the case, come save me the day I find out.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Perfection's Insecurities

Time goes by so quickly while I'm at school. I'm not complaining, it's really nice and refreshing. I mean there are some days where I think I'm going to die because of how much work I have to do, but I've always been able to get it done no matter how crazy the circumstances. Like yesterday I had class until 5:00, soccer practice at 5:30-7:00, and music lessons from 8:00-9:15. Then I have to eat dinner and start five classes worth of homework. But guess what, I finished it all! Some how I finished my English homework literally a minute before class started. All it takes is determination I guess. And waking up at 5:00 a.m. to work. My least favorite thing about school is the lack of time I have to create. I want to write but because I'm always working, when I'm not working writing is not always my first thing to go to. That brings me to what I wanted to talk about; in truth it isn't just the time that holds me back, I'm always so afraid to start writing something because I think I won't have time to get it the way I want it, then it will be lost and a waste of time. I set to high standards I'm starting to realize. Like today for instance, I promised to do a poetry reading but I wanted to write something new. I didn't have time to write it all week-- I swear I'm not irresponsible, I legitimately did NOT have ANY time to do ANYTHING except school, I swear-- so I wrote it in twenty minutes before I had to perform it. At first I was disgusted at how much I hated my product because of how little time I spent on it, but I got up there and performed it anyway. For some reason they thought it was good, and looking back over it, tweaking it a little bit, it isn't as bad as I thought. So that is what I need to get over: perfectionism. Because writing something is better than nothing. I need experience, I need words, and although my English teachers are going to beat me to death (especially next year when I take a bajillion English classes) with the expectation of perfection I still need to try and find comfort in the way I write naturally. It will change with their guidance but that happens subconsciously, so write. That was a note to myself. Also study for the ACT. But write, because that is more important. Oh, wait, also practice soccer. And saxophone, geez sports will get you no where. STOPPPPP. This is exactly the type of dialogue that goes around in my head to hinder my writing! Those thoughts are not allowed here.

Nothing particularly interesting has occurred recently. School is fun. Eight more weeks! That is actually so little time. Two weeks have flown by like two days. I'm still somewhat terrified about my 20 page history paper I have to write this term, but it is going to come and go soon enough. I'm stuck in my Exeter rut so I'm going to watch a movie and try to get my mind outside of this place for a little bit. Also, any suggestions for what I should write my Common App essay about? Let me know. I have no clue.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Catching Up Pt. 1

School is kind of busy. Okay, really busy and I apologize for not taking the time to keep up on this whole blog thing. It probably would benefit me anyway if I did because putting things on the page or screen or whatever this is brings me a peace that I'm not all bottled up. At least there is some place that, even if nobody is reading this, I have openly disclosed my life. So let's get started

I lie. A lot. It used to be one of the things I struggled with the most growing up and in elementary school and all. When somebody asked me if I watched the Cowboys game on Monday morning, of course I had. Do you know how to play Pokemon? Duhhh. You've been to Australia? Yeah, last year. I just did it without thinking, I wasn't being malicious but there was and is a part of me that just feels the need to know and have done everything. To be clear, I was 7 when this kind of lying occurred but it still comes and goes. Particularly when I'm put somewhere new aka when I moved to Ohio aka starting school at Phillips Exeter. So I haven't really opened up to people at my new school and I definitely have embellished stories or facets of my life. I hate it. I hate it so much and I don't even understand why I do it. I try so hard but in the moment of a conversation when someone asks have you ever smoked weed, sure yeah I have. OF COURSE I HAVENT SMOKED WEED I HAVE A BLOG AND I PLAY SAXOPHONE FOR FUN. But in the moment, my brain makes the compulsive decision to say yes. Now that I think about it, maybe this isn't a lying problem more so a "yes" problem. Nope, it's a lying problem. When I was in ninth grade my swim coaches and I were talking about school and I told them that I was taking courses from Northwestern. That part was true, I took three online courses from Northwestern. But I also told them that sometimes I go up to Northwestern on the weekends to do labs for my biology class. Totally made up. I want to punch myself for writing this but it's all true, so here you go. 

I've been pretty good about it at Exeter, I really don't go ham on the whole lying thing, but sometimes rediculous things come out of my mouth and I need Adam Sandler, bless his soul, to come and use his remote to click me back 20 seconds. So what else have I embellished at Exeter? You are going to think I'm a horrible person for this one. Please kill me in my sleep, I deserve it. Okay, so mirrors distract me. My roommate hung a normal wall mirror in our room right to the left of my desk. It distracted me so much, I second guessed everything I wore before going out the door. It made me feel inadequate and that I needed to be working out more because I was getting fat. It was just really bad. So when I came back from thanksgiving break I punched the mirror. It didn't shatter thankfully. And I woke up and realized how stupid I was being and instead undid the wall Velcro and took it off the wall. Here's the bad part. When my roommate asked me why I took it down, I told her that it was because I'd previously had an eating disorder. Yes, the mirror was causing body image issues undeniably but I've never had an eating disorder, which is a really serious thing to tell someone. I'm an idiot, wow, it is really hard to share this. 

This past week I had a meltdown. Like full on blew my brains out meltdown. Finals week at Phillips Exeter means that schedules are kind of jacked up and so on Wednesday I didn't have any finals to take- all I had to do was study. So naturally, I decided to take Adderall that I'd been given. I've never used it before, ever, and I do not have ADD so I was preparing myself for a day of weird shit. Well I got more than I could handle. All of a sudden time moved unbearably slow. I sat down to work and get so much done in so little time that it felt like the day would never end. I wasn't hungry, side effect. My body was shaking, side effect. In general it felt weird, side effect. I went through the whole day pretty normally especially since I didn't have classes. I started feeling normal again in the evening, the drug is only supposed to last about 12 hours so by 11:00 I thought it was out of my system. Wrong. So so so painfully wrong. To put into context the following events I must give a little more context. This year I applied to study abroad in Ecuador next winter, it was and is something I really wanted to do. I'm tired of explaining to people how badly I wanted to go so I'm just not. Realize, though, that I would have done anything to get into this program. As you can probably guess, I was not accepted to the program. Rough blow to a kid already struggling to fit in at Exeter. My esteem dropped about 10 points. Okay, that's the first thing still fresh in my mind during this night, here's the second. So, Exeter has an award that they give out every year, I think it's called Honoring Early Educators Award, where Exonians can nominate a teacher they've had in the past whom they believe has done an outstanding job and deserves to be recognized. Obviously I nominated my previous English teacher because I find him to be the greatest teacher I've ever had. Yes, he teacher English, the touchy feely subject of school, but I'm a writer so it was just natural that we got along, it has nothing to do with the content of the class. I wanted to recognize him because of all that he has done for all of his students. On the list of people he has influenced I'm definitely not at the top or even close because he genuinely cares about all of his students including the ones that need a lot more attention and motivation than me. I've done all I can do to tell him how much he means to me and I was hoping this award, this stupid award, would just be something that I could share with him; brighten someone's day you know, because he deserves it. I submitted my nomination (I spent a ridiculous amount of time working on it, this was a freaking masterpiece all eloquent and shit). A couple days later, after the nominations were due, it came up in conversation with one of my housemates. She hadn't realized that this was a thing (despite an email about it being sent to the entire school) so she emailed the principal asking for an extension and to submit a nomination. I didn't know she did this, she didn't tell me, why would she? Anyway she whipped up something and submitted it. You're following me right? So her teacher got selected and mine didn't. Her teacher gets to come to Exeter, receive the award and a stipend for his classroom. Her teacher was also an English teacher. She let me read what she submitted about her teacher. I do not care how petty it is of me to say this (you will see, this event catalyzed my meltdown), he should not have won. There is just no freaking way. In her description of him she said "He's just really awesome." I spent so much time writing my nomination, and I was and am crushed to say the least. I know it's so petty of me, so so petty, but I just cared way too much. I wanted a win, after Ecuador and all. After having the worst year of school ever. I needed a win.

So back to that day when I took the Adderall, it was 11:45ish and my housemate was in our room working, we were actually having a great conversation and fun for the first time in weeks. The nomination just happened to come up and she told me her teacher had been selected. She told me she had assumed mine had too, which is why she didn't tell me. I'm just going to say it right now, that was bullshit and a lie, she knew I would have told her- my teacher means the world to me, she also knows that. I tried to contain it. I did contain it, for a while. Soon she and my roommate went to bed but I couldn't sleep. I called my mom, 1:30 in the morning, hyperventilating, sobbing. I was crushed, emaciated, obliterated. Why this way? Why now, when I have two more finals and it's late at night and I told her about the whole thing. If I hadn't told her, my teacher would have won, I know it, I'm positive, there is no other way. This is the spiral my mind descended into. I lost my brains. I talked on the phone for a while and tried to sleep. By 3:00 am I couldn't take it any more. My head hurt so bad I couldn't sleep, I kept whispering to myself "okay, okay, okay, it's okay, okay, okay." I cracked. I called campus safety and started one of the lowest 24 hours of my life. I went to the health center and told them I had a wicked headache and was having suicidal thoughts. I had to talk to a nurse, then a shrink. I slept for three hours and then had to talk to the shrink in person. He called my parents. And so did the Dean of Health and Wellness. And now I'm officially being watched and will start a "long term wellness plan." That Adderall fucked with my brain. I just lost it. Normally I wouldn't loose it, but at that day under those circumstances my whole life just crushed me.

I'm hesitant to publish this because whenever I tell the truth, something like this, people think they can fix it or that I'm just forgetting something. Am I forgetting about God and His plan? No, I was praying to Him the entire time during my meltdown and He was by my side the whole time. I was not and have not been mad at Him, none of this is His fault, if anything He was carrying me through it all when I could no longer walk. Am I forgetting how fortunate I am? Please stop there, do not make me go on about how fortunate I am. I know, I really do. I really really do. I'm spoiled. I've been given everything. I know, just stop judging me for it because it's not like I'm in control of my families socioeconomic standing. I don't know, I just feel like I can't tell this to anyone in person but I want it to be available for everyone to know. It doesn't make sense but I just don't want to hide, so here.

My head hurts from thinking about how much my head hurt. Let's catch up some more later.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Birthday Musings

I'm stupid for writing this because it's currently 12:39 A.M. and I have a full day tomorrow but sometimes you just can't sleep without digitally imprinting something that we call a page but is really not a page because its a screen... see, I'm already off track.

My transition to Exeter has not been all rainbows and sunshine. It has been terribly difficult. For those of you who read my blog I'm not sure if I've said it this blatantly before but you have definitely picked up on it. I struggled to find my place- am still not there- but most of all could not reconcile why I am here. Life back home was good, and life here seemed like not the right life for me. Maybe my lack of friends or ability to find adults to talk to. Maybe my soccer dreams being destroyed before my eyes as my body deteriorates from studying instead of running. Maybe my musicianship rotting away. At least that's what I felt was going on. I always find the negative, a common teenage dilemma, but I mean, I really found every negative point of view possible. After today things have definitely changed. It's almost like God made me tortuously get through half of the year before he said, "I told you so."

Another one of my problems is that I'm a people pleaser. Although it is so so so so so so terribly selfish of me to say, I enjoy it when other people encourage my work. At Exeter I just felt like my work was only degrading, my life, my friends, my body. I just didn't feel like me, nobody was telling me that I was doing fine. I constantly felt farther and farther behind. No matter how hard I worked, there is always something I'm not doing well enough.

Yesterday was my birthday. A day that everyone has and is really not special because... everyone has one. But it's a little special. Come on, admit it, when someone walks up and says "happy birthday" it has to feel a little good. For me, today, it was something I needed. Being new on campus I feel invisible, but today I got a chance to see how blatantly visible I really am. People all around campus said hi to me and happy birthday that I didn't even think knew me. The best part of the day came at the end. Every time there is a birthday in the dorm we have a cake and some ice cream, sing, and have a mini-celebration. Usually these promptly end and everyone goes back to studying. We all sign a card and give it to the birthday girl and the evening had a fun peak in it. Tonight was different because after I seemed to think it was all over my friends handed me cards and small gifts. I was not by any means expecting any kind of gift from any of them, this was not the usual custom, by no means obligatory. Enamored, I could not believe that they went out of their way for me. I'm so horrible at receiving gifts because on the inside I'm crying but on the outside it probably just looks bad. After we went to our rooms and I opened the cards I received everything that I've needed over the past few months. These girls whom I have just met this year truly believe in me. They told me that I am determined and that they know I will succeed. That they are impressed by me. Okay, so it's my birthday so they have to say this, right? But they didn't even give cards to previous housemates.... I don't deserve this.

It all just made me feel so ungrateful, that I'm the one that will blow off going to Winter Formal with the dorm because I'm tired. So what- I'm tired right now but I'm still writing this. I need to be more social, I just didn't think that anybody really cared. I'm just too damn selfish to understand what it means to really be there for others. And they have been here for me the whole time but I chose to ignore them. Why am I so ignorant. I don't hate Phillips Exeter. I love it. I love where I am and where I'm going to be. Everywhere has its rough patches and the ones I face are certainly different from the ones I face back home, but the are not worse. My life is on a completely different track. The day I received my acceptance letter one of my teachers told me this. They told me that all of a sudden the trajectory of my life completely changed. They were right. It has in every way possible. The million dollar question is, was it worth it? Until today I've been rattling with this question. Crying about it. Abusing myself over it. Concerned I might need a counselor to tell me what I'm doing wrong- how can I be asking myself this question, isn't Exeter all that I've ever wanted? No, but it's what I needed. Today I realized this. Today I've made up my mind because the people at Exeter really do care and so do I. They are passionate friends that I will know for the rest of my life and I am not going to go home to a life I consider easy, what's the fun in that. I am going to be me, Emma Dyer, the crazy girl who seems to do everything. I assure you this is only legend, I do not do everything- far from it, but one thing I can do is be an Exonian. And boy, am I proud to be one.

I do not deserve these fantastic gifts, thank you so so incredibly much for everyone who wished me a happy birthday. As simple as it is, I came to a great necessary realization today and you (guided by my Lord) have helped me discover it.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I've Never Been Told to Run Faster

This past week I have been fortunate enough to participate in the Disney Soccer Showcase in Orlando, Florida with my new club soccer team. It was... interesting.

At this point I'm used to being the new kid. It's fine, all is well, I know get over yourself, Emma. But I just can't. I want to play soccer in college and the year that it matters the most I have to start all over on a new team. I'm already screwed because I'm not on the top team- I guest play at big tournaments like Disney and practice with them, but my actual team is not them, everything got messed up because I didn't get to come out for real tryouts since I was working at Sky Ranch. And so yeah, now I'm stuck in limbo. Soccer limbo. I want to get better and the girls on this team are so so so good. I want to be as good as them, I'm trying so hard to get better but I just can't given my schedule. It's impossible and I can't get better without sacrificing school. At this point, that's what I'm going to do. I know, this is sacrilegious for me, Emma Dyer, to say, but I just don't like school. I already made it to Exeter and I know that isn't going to carry me into any school I want, but I'd rather have a chance to play soccer in college than worry about getting a couple more A's. So if it means I have to dick every assembly, fine. If it means going through hell, then fine.

I love soccer so much and I just dream about being able to be as good as collegiate athletes or peers who play ECNL. I want to dedicate as much of myself as I can to it because it's something I love. This weekend was hard. Being the new kid makes it easy for everyone to blame you for the smallest mistakes. If I was the one to make a bad touch then it must be my fault we lost the whole damn game. Even though they may have made a more detrimental mistake two minutes earlier.

During my game today I was played a decent ball down to the corner. It was on the ground but not perfect, especially since it was far more in the path of the defender than me. One of my teammates yelled, "Come on, you have to be faster than that." Normally I'm the one yelling this. It made me realize how far behind I really am. How can I want to play soccer in college when I'm not the fastest one out there? If I don't have the best foot skills? If my touch is off? I can't, that's the answer.

So starting when I get back to school I solemnly swear to start a new lifestyle. Call it some cliché New Year's Resolution, but I'm going to dedicate myself to my body. Going to bed earlier, waking up earlier to work out. Regaining good eating habits. Going to as many soccer practices as possible. Heck, maybe I'll even give up music because that sure isn't getting me anywhere and I'd rather be running than blowing into a saxophone for an hour. But most of all- time management. I've gotten used to the Exeter lifestyle and now I'm ready to make my own. I want to be the strongest and fastest one on the field but the only way that is going to happen is through a heck of a lot of work. I never want to be told to run faster ever again.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Musings

It is a strange feeling when you are able to actually notice change. Today is Christmas Eve, and until recently the routine seemed so constant or regular unlike now when it is so different from the times I remember as a younger child. How could I be so oblivious to how drastic things have changed? Why did they change in the first place?

I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I lived (and still live) with my brother, mother, and father. In Texas I also had family, my mom's sister's family, which consisted of my uncle, aunt, and two male cousins who are eighteen and sixteen years older than me. My grandmother and grandfather (from my mom's side) also lived in Texas and I saw them a good amount as well. I never saw any family from my dad's side; he has two brothers and a sister but I do not know who they are other than being able to recognize their names in conversation. My mother also has two other brothers whom I saw a good amount and continue to see every once in a while, but they didn't live in Texas so it was (and is) an annual to biannual to maybe every five years visitation schedule. The point is that the only extended family I spent a lot of time with was my aunt's family. And Christmas was always our big holiday.

Every year for as long as I could remember Christmas Eve was at their house in Arlington where we would come and have our Christmas Eve dinner, hang out with family, and then go to church. After church we would come back and watch Christmas Vacation- the one with Chevy Chase- and my uncle would put on his matching Clark Griswold flannel as we watched. Then once the festivities had ended we would pack up the car and drive back across town to my house in Dallas where my parents would let us open one small present before we went to bed. The next morning we would wake up bright and early, but not too early because usually my parents gave us a time that we had to wait until we could get up. The Santa gifts would be lying out and our stockings were full. We would revel in our new gifts but we did not open any of the ones under the Christmas tree, those we had to wait for. We waited until my aunt, uncle, and cousins would all get to our house with all the presents that were under their tree. We would put them all under our tree and then eat brunch. After, we sorted all the gifts into piles for their designated receiver. Of course we then opened all of the gifts and after it was all over we cleaned up, had conversation, played with new toys, ate dinner, and after a long day everyone went home. It was all so routine. No questions, no surprises, that's just how Christmas was and always is going to be. It didn't last as long as I'd hoped.

When I was twelve, we moved to Columbus, Ohio. My aunt was furious at my mother for "leaving" her. I'm not really sure what she wanted though, it wasn't anybody's fault that my dad lost his job and found a better one in a place that isn't a short drive across the city away. The first Christmas we went back to Texas. I got to visit friends and family as if time had not passed. But it was still different because when I woke up on Christmas morning I wasn't at my house in Dallas, I was on a blowup bed in my aunt's kitchen. The day was still fine and I love getting to see my cousins but it still had the sting of lemon juice in fresh cut as I was constantly reminded that Texas was not my home. The next Christmas we didn't go back. Nor the next Christmas. Last Christmas we did. And it was worse. Things were too far removed. I didn't have any friends left to go visit- they'd all moved on. My cousin is married and had a baby on the way. My other cousin came only for a few hours with his girlfriend. The tradition was no more. Christmas had changed.

It continues to change. I had never missed Christmas Eve church service in my life. It was ritual, sacrilegious not to go. Three years ago we went to my cousins house in Illinois for Christmas. We didn't go to church. I didn't understand. What do you mean we aren't going to church. It's Christmas Eve?! Like the only two times of year that are explicitly mandatory are definitely Easter and Christmas. We went to church nearly every Sunday but we aren't going on Christmas Eve?!!!!! I was very confused. I like to call this year the "gateway year." It's when my parents stopped trying. They didn't take us to church any more. Nor did they go to church. I still don't understand how a mother and father who so adamantly forced their children every single Sunday to go to church, were our Sunday school leaders, friends with our pastor- how could they just stop? Everything I'd ever learned was that difficult times are the epitome of times when Christ is needed in our life yet they seemed to flee from Him as soon as it became difficult to "fit in socially." They didn't even try. They just stopped. So now they don't go to church, my brother is an atheist, and it's all my fault because I didn't take up my Christian responsibilities to make them come back to church and now it's too late because I don't even freakn' live in Ohio anymore.

I went to church today. They didn't. Guilt twisted like a cleaver inside my gut as I stepped through the doors into the church building without my family and instead with my friend. It's my fault. It's all my fault. Why am I not a better Christian and follower of God. I don't deserve His grace if I can't even take up the courage to make my own family come to church with me. I guess when you get down to it, that's what has been bothering me. Not the change in how Christmas is celebrated, but the permanent changes of my life that Christmas magnifies. Knowing that I will never go to Christmas Eve service with my whole family and wake up the next morning with presents and family, it's bothersome but that's something everyone goes through. It's the permanence of such an important and regressive change that makes me hate this time of year.

I could just be a spiteful teenager wishing for the easy life when, in comparison to what the future holds, I know my life is so stinkin' easy, but I still feel entitled to be upset with myself and how much I just suck at life in general. Which is once again a very teenagery thought, but I don't care because at this point in time in regard to my religious duties as a Christian, yes I suck. I want my Christmas back. I think this is an okay and rational feeling, but I also realize that it is time for me to get over it. I haven't yet. But I'm in the process. And this Christmas was a good start.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Reminiscing and Remembering

I never elaborated on how going back to my old high school went. For starters, I did what I said I was going to do- I sucked up my ego and walked right in. My backpack held a few books for protection and my car keys dangled out of my pocket; time had been placed on pause and resumed without missing a second. I walked into my physics teacher's classroom and sat down with my friends, casually saying hello and continuing conversation with my new classmates. He played it cool, as though my presence was normal, until he finally caved in and told me that I was missed in his AP Physics class that I was rostered on at the beginning of the year and that he missed watching my ruthless tackles out on the soccer field.

That was my first class, the normalcy of it all encompassed me in comfort. I then moved on to my English teacher's classroom. I had dinner with him, his wife, and my friend the previous night, so he was aware of my apprehensions. I sat in the back of the classroom next to one of my best friends; my teacher didn't say anything about my presence and when I participated in what the class was doing he made sure not to draw any additional attention. A normal day. I had forgotten how much I loved sitting in his classroom, listening to the rambling yet articulate lectures and discussions. During third period I visited my Spanish teacher who had a free period. I adequately distracted her and we talked the entire period. I then went back to my English teacher's room to say hello to more of my friends who now have him as a teacher, again reliving the vitality of his teaching. And that was it. I left during lunch. I came back after school to say hello to teachers and of course my English teacher wanted to know how my day had gone. He always forgets that I am only a junior because I took his class a year earlier than normal, which means he also forgets that I am friends with nearly all of his students. He was surprised to see me chatting with so many students considering last year I was not very social, which was only because my classmates were not in my grade. What I'm getting to is that the day was amazing. I realized that despite how much I used to hate the humdrum routine of public school it is infinitely more comforting than the unpredictable life I currently live. You never miss something until it's gone- the cliché phrase dominates most of my life and always has.

I didn't want to go back to New Hampshire after fall break. I cried the night I came home because I couldn't believe home was still there and I cried the night before I left because I still think it will disappear.

I was upset by seeing how easy a life I could have continued to live. Excelling at every facet of my life, graduating top of the class, having a great soccer team, music teachers, and time to be me. And I didn't want to go back to what has now become my reality. Struggling to keep my nose above the rising waters and being pulled to the bottom by work and work and more work. The change in pace of life was and is so drastic that sometimes I can't even recognize the world I used to live in- it does not seem possible that it could exist. I hated Exeter with so much passion that I contemplated finding a way to get a flight back home or getting expelled. I missed my real friends of which I seemed to have none at school. I missed my teachers who have been a greater support system than anyone else in my life. At Exeter we get new teachers every ten weeks, they don't get a chance to really know me and I to know them. I missed my car and the freedom to explore; going to poetry night downtown on Wednesdays or taking a weekend trip to go to the Cavaliers game. Or driving myself to soccer practice without total reliance on someone else. I am very self conscious about being reliant- I hate it. I missed it all.

But I went back. On the bus back to Exeter my friends informed me that "comments" were up. Comments are individual reviews written by your teacher about the student's performance during the preceding term; I read mine and was happily surprised. The whole term I thought I was incomparably worse of a student than the kids that had been doing this for the past two years but the comments told me the exact opposite. It was a necessary start to my two weeks of what I thought were going to be hell. But in reality the past two weeks really did show a turning point. Maybe it was just such a short duration of school that my mind could make it through, but a lot happened. I am now an editor for the newspaper. I started playing club hockey and met some cool people and teachers. I have a new English teacher who is making me once again eager to write instead of afraid of criticism. I have the same chemistry teacher who seems to think I'm a decent student and I really like his class, along with the fact that I don't have to get a new teacher in a class that is my most difficult subject. The arts journal that I am an editor of came out in physical copies- there is just something about being able to hold your work that makes it that much more special. My grades are improving drastically. Soccer has been fine and recruiting is picking up but my high school coach took initiative and had a meeting with me, so we are now on the same page. Music has been continuing to be fine and my teacher continues to tell me that I am getting better every week. As sappy and horrible as it sounds, I needed reassurance as to why I was attending Exeter. During the Fall Term I just didn't feel like I wanted to have to fit into a place where I seemed to be failing instead of return home where I was thriving. I wanted the easy way out for the first time in my life.

I told my roommate about my musings of not wanting to go back to Exeter senior year and she told me that she wasn't sure why I decided to come to Exeter in the first place when it seemed like I had everything I wanted back home.

I thought about that for a long time. I still think about it. But I know that I'm still going to Exeter next year. Next year will be easier. I get to choose all of my classes, soccer recruiting will be over, I will have college applications done, and soon it will be senior spring and the process of uncertainty will repeat itself in the new chapter of life entitled "college."

Although this year has been and will continue to be difficult I am starting to feel more comfortable around Exeter. Because my fellow Exonians are the only ones who know how I feel. There is no one at home who understands why I left and also knows what it's like to be a student at the country's most prestigious prep school, but they do. So after a couple weeks of going through school actually knowing what the heck I'm doing, I feel better. I feel ready for the next year and a half. I feel ready to take on the separation and let go of what I thought was home, because home changes every day.