Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Initial Descent

Mako Shark
My last six weeks of high school have begun.

Spring Break wasn't enough of a break for me, since Thursday through Saturday I was at the Silicon Valley Regionals for the FIRST Robotics Challenge, or FRC. The rest of the month likewise refuses a normal schedule, since this week standardized testing for the middleclassmen is rupturing the schedule, while the next two weeks after that I'll be gone for admitted students' weekends. And then there's Prom (a good friend said yes to me yesterday, so hurrah!).

Then AP testing...and then, essentially, I am free. One last summer, and then college starts and I'm thrown back into the never-ending cycle of work, only for higher stakes now.

With my entire future distracting me, it's no wonder that my creative work has fallen by the wayside. But I can't let that happen: I need to fight against the senioritis I feel encroaching, and make sure that I continue to write, to create.

I find it more difficult to concentrate when I have loose ends hanging, so one of my priorities is to get all my ducks in a row. But I'll need to learn how to work in the midst of chaos, so, since I didn't get a chance to conduct system maintenance during Spring Break, here is a plan to carry me through the next month.

In every organization in which I take part, prepare for the transition to the next generation. Robotics: heavy recruiting must happen, and in programming we're making resources lists for the new kids. Band: I want the Teal Knight to have an awesome staff, so I'm going to make sure that certain people run for band staff, and if any of the assistant drum major candidates take the initiative and ask me for help, then I'll help. Volunteer club: since I'm going to be gone a lot this month, it'll force the underclassmen to take on more leadership roles.

Study for AP tests by reading notes and following in-class study programs. The only AP test I'm taking this year that will get me any credit is AP Chem; in fact, I'm considering getting a refund on the gov test since that was a semester ago. I still do want to take the stats and econ tests, because I have finals to study for in those classes anyway and--look, see how high school conditions us?--taking tests for which I've prepared is a good feeling.

Attend PFW and Admit Weekend with an aim to drinking in everything about the schools' cultures and opportunities. I know I can't pick wrong, necessarily--that is, no matter which school I go to, I'll be able to do what I want in the future if I work hard and take the opportunities that come. So I need to pay attention to my gut and, though I try to minimize my subjective tendencies, how I feel on campus.

Keep my grades up. I've come too far to screw up now.

Write Ubermadchen, following the timeline I created. Finally, finally I am at the point where I can get down to the business of writing, and though I've already gotten stuck a few times (domestic scenes don't seem to be my forte) I am still exploring this world, and I never thought this would be easy anyway. I just have to keep on finding ways to make the story interesting and engaging and something I enjoy doing.

Write indulgence pieces. Principally, the black dragon story I discussed last month, though I could also see myself going back to the pure fantasy world of GW.

Read. Fiction, nonfiction, everything. That's one of my perennial "could be doing better" items: reading more. I need to stop getting distracted by friends' Tumblrs, because that kind of ooh-shiny mental state isn't good for my creative work. Aim to read at least two books a week--it's not as though I have a ton of homework to take up my time anymore.

I know I get irritable and irrational when I am unable to create, so I must get better at carving out time to sink into my personal creative projects, for the sake of my mental health. It's easy to float along the surface of things, but it's better for me if I challenge myself. So deep I must go, deep into the dark waters of the mind, wandering those varied landscapes grotesque and fascinating.

High school is going to end in less than two months, but, if I'm lucky, my creative practice is going to last the rest of my life. I need to take care of it.

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