Throughout the school year, I complained about how terrible my classes are and how I wished I was at home instead, but I owe this year some form of a "thank you" because of how much it's taught me without me knowing. As the end of the year continues to draw closer, I'm starting to feel that heavy weight in my heart when I realize that the people I've met in my classes may never have a class with me again, and the people I don't want to see may be in every one of my classes next year. It's a bittersweet feeling to end this semester, especially considering how worried I am by change in both my classes and peers.
My form of a "thank you" to a tough year that helped me grow as a person and student is a summary of what I've learned in the past nine months, from the start to the end (not academics wise, of course).
The 2016-17 year began in August 2016, and I was a shorter, more naive girl than I am now. I had not joined the Odyssey then, and some of my friendships were tough to hold onto, regardless of how much I convinced myself that it would get better. August 2016 was the month of new beginnings, a transition into a new life that I'll be having for some more time. I realized soon into the first day of school that I had the same schedule as one of my peers (save for only one class), and I found it helpful to have someone else with the same schedule. I would rate August as a six out of ten.
September came sooner than I had expected, and I was not having fun. To summarize the month, the friendships I was struggling to hold onto were hanging on by a string, and I was devastated just imagining what life would be like without the people who were hurting me most. I wrote an article on it already, but it felt amazing in January when I finally let them go. September on the scale was a four.
October and November were my favorite part of last year because of all of the breaks from school and celebrations. I joined the Odyssey in early November, and I wrote for the Milton community until three weeks ago. My most successful article from the Milton community was about feminism, and I decided to write a second article about it in late April to "celebrate" its success, surprisingly receiving much more attention. Together, the two months would be rated as a nine.
December was the calm after the storm in terms of schoolwork from first semester, but my bridges with certain people were starting to burn. I take full credit for cutting ties with those people, but I just could not see myself benefiting from knowing such hurtful people. December taught me to be patient and calm, because I was lacking both so far. A seven out of ten would be a good rating because of the mix of emotions that was overwhelming me.
By January, my tipping point had reached, and I told myself how naive I was to think that people would change who they were to make one friendship work. I finally gave up trying on what wouldn't work and distanced myself. I felt strong and empowered, and I don't know if it was a coincidence that I had done this for myself in a month that symbolizes change and resolutions. I could not be happier with my decision, and I even wrote about it. School returned, and my classes suddenly seemed easier. I felt the pressure go away from my head and stopped overthinking certain aspects of my life that were meant to change so long ago. I regret not doing so earlier in the year, but January taught me that patience pays off in the end. I'd rate January as a solid eight.
February and March passed like a blur, so I don't remember much except for the fact that I kept seeing myself crossing off another day on the calendar too fast without doing much to help the world. Everyone around me was doing something with their lives, and there I was, sitting in the back of the room with a calendar stuck to my brain, checking off every moment that I wasn't doing as much as my friends. I started to doubt myself and what I was capable of, and maybe, it was the part of me scared of change that prevented me from expanding my horizons. As time went on, though, March comforted me as I began to accept that I had the Odyssey and other talents on my side, and this month, along with April, brought some of my favorite articles, solely because I believed in myself. February was a good five, and March became a seven.
April was the worst month. The stress of schoolwork nipped at the hours on the clock, and I was unmotivated to do anything. I became increasingly nonchalant about my grades, even though I tried to try. I have to thank people for telling me, "Oh, stop worrying. You'll be fine. Look at your grades!", but after hearing it the first few times, it sounded like mockery. It sounded like they were just saying it because they didn't want to hear me complain. I had no reason to, I have to admit, but I was upset with myself for not wanting to do anything. I couldn't bring myself to look at another definition on my fill-in-the-blank notes, feeling my head hurt and my anger rise. I was just frustrated with my demeanor, in turn making my attitude to others extremely cold and rude. April told me to calm down, something I'm especially not used to. I agree with those telling me to "chill," but it's gotten me this far. It was a stressful time, so April was overall a five out of ten.
Finally, May brought the two toughest weeks of the year. I trained myself to start working hard once again, increasing my motivation to do well with effort. In the end, I feel like I ended the year on a strong note, earning some encouragement from others that I was starting to consider genuine. May was a pretty normal month, giving it a seven. Was it a great year? I'd say it was okay, full of lessons, but full of bumps, too. I learned how to grow up and stop being hung on friendships that weren't meant to be while understanding that I had to stop putting so much pressure on myself.
I can only hope that I can relax this summer, and 2017-18 will hopefully bring better memories.