Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Senior Sign-Off:

Bear Bash, a.k.a. the annual school lock-in for graduating seniors, was freakin’ amazing. There was always something to do, and there never really was an awkward “well fuck, this is boring as shit”-moment (except for the slideshow— something about seeing pictures of the same people over-and-over again for thirty-minutes straight isn’t exactly “fun”). The hypnotist was hilarious, and seeing people do some crazy shit was awesome.

ANYWAY, getting back to the original point of this post, I wanted to give you a breakdown of the swag I managed to leave with. You basically get prizes for having a pulse at Bear Bash, but you can also make some cash off of the various games they have scattered throughout the gym.

Here’s what I left with:

  • $25 in cash. I probably could have made more if I kept playing “money pong” (it’s beer pong, basically, but instead of someone drinking after you make a shot in the cup, you get a dollar), or if I went up to the blackjack tables though. I can’t really complain though— leaving with an extra twenty-five Washingtons is better then nothing.
  • a $25 gift card to Wal*Mart (everyone who was at Bear Bash got one of these)
  • a $25 gift card to Conoco for gasoline. (I won this from a raffle.)
  • a pair of cheap sunglasses with “Class of 2011” printed on the side

…and that’s it. In reality, that’s a pretty decent haul, but there were people who left with over $40 in cash, and much, much better prizes from the raffles. They raffled off a laptop, two 19” flat-screen TVs, Blu-Ray players, and other awesome stuff. They also had some pretty odd prizes too (seriously, who wants a gift certificate to a floral shop? or a random plant?) that seemed completely out-of-place. I realize that most of these prizes are donated, but maybe the people donating things could choose more relevant prizes (read: electronics, electronics, dorm stuff, electronics).

Awkward prizes aside, it was an awesome night. I had a lot of fun hanging out with my entire class for the last time. And while I’m semi-consumed with a feeling of bitter nostalgia, I’m also excited about what the future holds. College is a much bigger and better place then high school could ever be, and I would gladly skip over my summer to be living in Bozeman right now if I could. But time, like always, passes at it’s own pace, and we must live in the present regardless of our wants.

So let’s enjoy this last summer before the real world hits us, class of 2011. Let’s hang out with our friends who are moving away for one last hurrah. Let’s tear up Billings for everything it’s worth before we leave the city lights behind. And most importantly, let’s leave for college without regrets, because this new beginning is the mark of a clean-slate; your independent life begins now.

Use it well.

– Will

No Regrets.

It’s 5am. The birds are singing morning melodies outside my window. The night is aging and the stars are slowly losing their dark mystery to the morning haze. My mind is at ease and my thoughts are collected and calm. Unusual for me after being at such an amazing party (Bear Bash!) But instead of drowsiness, worry, anxiety, or the countless list of “things Anna MUST do” running through my head, I am filled with peace and a sense of security. Sure, my future is uncertain and a giant leap from my former way of life, and yes, in only two and a half months I will be driving to California, my new home. However, I have no fear. No worries. And strangely? No regrets. I look back on my high school years fondly, with warm memories and even failures that have aided me to be stronger.  If you knew my back story and the things I went through, you might ask “How can you look back and feel so… good?” The truth of the matter is, I think I’ve realized something very important about life. Through these four years if teenage drama, massive piles of homework, hectic schedules, and personal tragedies, I’ve learned that every bad situation is not the end of the world. Every time it seems like I had fallen too far to get back up,  God proved me wrong. He reached out His hand and said, “Let me help you with that.” I look back with a smile on my face. With warmth in my heart. I hit a lot of bumps in the road and accumulated a few bruises, but for every bump, there is joy, for every bruise, there is healing and love. High school has taught me to be my own person, and not to define myself by who hated me or who enjoyed my company. Rather, it taught me to define myself by God and His unending love. High school was a time for everyone to figure out who they were, and that journey continues into college, the work force, or the armed forces. Our lives are all connected and everyone has a story. Everyone has something you don’t know about them. And everyone is on similar journey’s. No, we don’t lead the same lives, but we all struggle, we all hurt, we all dream, and we all love. We aren’t as different as we would like to think.

Despite the many bumps I hit, I don’t regret a single one. Because each bump has a story. Each bruise has a lesson behind it. And if it were not for those specific lessons and stories, my life would not be the same. I would not be on the path I am today. God has a plan for each and every one of us. He isn’t some kid sitting on an anthill holding a magnifying glass (I love that movie…) Rather, He uses those bad situations for good, and He uses them to mold us into people of strong character, integrity, charity, and people of God’s love. God is a huge part of who I am and of my life experience thus far. He has shown me my errors, corrected my perceptions, and taught me how to love. My patience with people has grown exponentially, and my love for myself and for God’s Creations has followed suite.

Although this chapter of my life is over, a new one has begun. I plan to take the lessons I learned in high school and apply them to my future goals. I dream, I imagine, I create. I strive to succeed, and strive to live every day like it could be the last I’ll ever have. One very important lesson I learned from high school is that you never know when another curveball might come. You never really know when your life could be turned upside-down. So instead of defining yourself by what you do (sports, music, activities, academics), define yourself by who you are (loving, kind, generous, strong, honest, etc.) Don’t waste your time trying to be somebody else or please someone else. Don’t try so hard to “fit in” if the mold you are attempting to fill will harm you and compromise who you are as a person. Look ahead to the future, but don’t wish your life away waiting for the next step on the “ladder to success”. Live in the moment, and make every second count. Living in the moment does not mean try to party and live recklessly, but it means to live your life fully. To fulfill yourself and others. To love, to laugh, to learn. To truly live. Pour into others. Create long-lasting, strong relationships built on firm ties that are not shrouded in lies, petty envy or deceit.  It is NEVER too late to mend a broken relationship, or to apologize for a wrong that happened years ago. It is never too late to forgive or be forgiven. It is never too late to love those who did not treat you well. And it is NEVER too late to say yes or no.

Life is a journey. Take it one step at a time. Keep your goals in mind, but remember that today only happens once. Strive to live your life to the fullest. Remember to live, laugh, and love. But most of all, keep positive and try to live life with no regrets.

Signing out, listening to the bird sing me to sleep,

I am yours truly,

Anna

Sometimes I wonder…

You know, I may never see most of you after high school. I may never know what you become, if you thrive or just survive. If you succeed or fail. If you marry or stay single. I wonder how your lives will be shaped. I’m curious how you’ll all grow, who you’ll become and what you will do. I wonder what each of us will contribute to the world and somehow become Generation J (Justice) or just flop like so many people think we will. I pray we prove everyone wrong. I pray that this generation has something to contribute. Something to offer and something to explore, expand upon, and change. Life doesn’t end nor does it completely change after we graduate. College or whatever you see next in your life is not something to be partied away or squandered. The next leg in all of our journey’s is not going to be easy. We have a responsibility to this world and to ourselves to make our lives matter. To make a mark on this earth before we depart. How will we leave that mark? Will it be no more than a carbon footprint doomed to eat away at our planet? Will it be nothing but a money trail that will soon disappear as our offspring consume it for themselves? Or will it be something more? What are we going to leave behind? Will it be worth it? I just have been puzzling and puzzling. I want my life to matter. However, I see kids who really could care less. All they want to do is survive and maybe make a lot of money one day. They give up hope and would rather coast on by and die a small speck on the universe than make their life count. I urge every one of you to be determined, be responsible, and defy the low expectations put down on us. We are more than capable of drastic, life-altering change and improvement.

Just something to chew on.

Yours truly,

Anna

The Prospect of Time

As the final days of my senior year pass by, I pause for a moment.

I am going to be in school for another seven or eight years.

In that time, I hope to learn as much as I humanly can to, well, leave my mark on the world. I know it sounds excessively idealistic, and that I’m sort of “talking big”, but I know I have never said anything more true in my life. Living in mediocrity and having any association with commonplace character, actions, and dreams is something I wish to dodge with all my might.

My fixed and assured belief is that all the inhabitants of the world (eh, we can go ahead and say the universe) have a definite purpose. Truly, a purpose that does not affect the history and future of mankind is plain, dreary, and unfortunate. In a different light, look at our life spans–so short, so fragile, and utterly mortal. And yet…If one gives a bit of themselves into the equation of the common welfare of humanity, immortality is very much possible. I’m not going to sit here and say “WHY YES, I am going to be Dr. King Jr. or invent the light-bulb”, but that I have thought long and hard about what I am here for. It’s not for myself.

My future education and career choices will prove to be one of the most difficult tasks I might ever face. I’m not exactly certain what I will specifically spend my days painstakingly making my life’s meaning, but I have an idea. My life will mean something, and I’m not going to simply be living in a cubicle (think the office). =) I’ve thought about the fact I haven’t made it into a dramatically high ranking school in the nation. Would you like my opinion? I will pay less, and law school offers an excellent graduate education. Done and done.

Furthermore, I am not too certain I will stay in the great state of Montana after college. Because my counselor has even suggested it, I have seriously considered studying “abroad” elsewhere–likely domestically in a larger city–yes, people actually can in the same country. I just feel as though if I cannot find enough opportunity solely with my current choice, I will find others. Whatever it takes, I intend to become someone significant: regardless of how much work, tirelessness, pain, and time, I will win. I have a feeling if one offers their entire being to something, only good can ensue.