Category Archives: The Seniors’ Perspective

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,


The Joys of Working in Retail

This post was originally scheduled to be published way back in November, but I never got around to it (or totally forgot about it). The message/content is still relevant though, because I still deal with the same shit whenever I clock in at work. Ah, the joys of working in retail…


Work sucks. Like, a lot.

Ironically, when this post appears on the blog I will have been working for one hour of a four-hour shift. I will probably be at the top step of a ladder, dangerously reaching for some stupid shirt that somebody bought at some point during the day. Eventually, after grabbing several other items, I will take a cart filled with tons of shit out to the sales floor and begin restocking the items.

At some point during the night, I’ll get a page to assist a customer at one of the cash registers. It’s usually a stupid question that I will immediately respond to by saying, “No, I’m afraid we don’t carry that item in our store…” At other times, it’s just a ridiculous question that no teenage-male should ever be expected to know the answer to– even if he happens to work on the apparel side of a major retail store. For example:

Customer (female): “What is the biggest waisted pants you carry in the store?”

Me: “Well, what do you mean by “biggest waisted”? We carry pants in various waist widths, ma’am, and we also have a plus-size department…”

Cashier (also female): “No, she means like pants with the loosest-fit in the waist-area.”

Me: (Thinking: How the hell am I supposed to know that– I’m a dude! I don’t know shit about ladies pants– they never trained me about this stuff!) “Um… Well, I would probably try these pants, they have a special-fit waist… I would also try these pants over here… If you would like to try anything on the fitting rooms are over there.”


Along with awkward questions about women’s clothing that I haven’t the faintest idea of what the answer might be, I also get questions about bedding. I find these customers to be especially stupid– honestly, if you as a middle-aged consumer are confused about whether or not a style of sheet will fit your 17-inch deep mattress, do you really think the 17-year old sales associate will have a clue?

NO! He won’t have a damned clue, but he’ll read the packaging and give you his best guess and a reminder of the awesome return policy.

I believe my most memorable encounter with a customer occurred last weekend. A lady was looking at some stainless steel cookware and asked me to bust open a box so she could see the coloring outside of the packaging. We didn’t have a display out, and I wasn’t really aware of our policy on opening boxes for customers to examine merchandise, but I figured that if I resealed it appropriately, nobody would notice.

So we broke open the box, pulled out a single pot, and discovered that it was, in fact, not the same color on the box. Major disappointment. I quickly put everything back in the box and sealed it back up when the lady asked me to grab her two sets of another cookware set (red, like the original set was supposed to be). She then had me grab a red toaster. And a red coffee pot. And a red can opener. And a red toaster oven. And a red crockpot. And a red blender. And a red food processor. Essentially, if it was red and it was in our small appliances department, she bought it. She was buying all of this kitchen stuff for a friend for Christmas, but the friend was shopping with her and would be back soon. She then asked me to put the items on hold and quickly move the three carts of kitchen appliances out of sight. I hastily moved the few thousand-dollars worth of merchandise back to the hold room, wondering in my head whether or not it was “legal” for me to allow a customer to place this many items on hold. I assumed that because she had said she was coming back the next morning AND that she had left a business card that it really didn’t matter that much.

I also knew that I wasn’t working the next day, and that I really didn’t care whether or not it was against the rules. That’s just another reason why it rocks to only work on the weekend.

– Will


Ironically, I had another customer ask me one of these “ridiculous” questions last weekend. I mean really, would you honestly expect a teenager to know anything about f***ing draperies?!? GAH! People are stupid.

Forgiveness is a process. It doesn’t happen instantly.

Time for a rant/vent post. Apologies beforehand…

Does anyone else see this ever growing problem in society called instant gratification? Only, it’s not just with material possessions. This virus has somehow trickled into our emotional, mental, and relational lives. We don’t think we should wait out the given punishments our actions may merit. Our ability to take consequences and responsibility is dwindling and deteriorating. It’s a difficult thing to process and watch as it unfolds and devours our society. Instead of taking responsibility for our actions and accepting the consequences, we want to be forgiven and have every action looked past NOW. People don’t care if your life was ruined by what they did. They don’t care that you may not particularly want to be their friend again. No, all they want is to instantly be forgiven and their deeds forgotten. So they can do it to you again three weeks later with little to no consequence. Forgive and forget. Forgiving is a wonderful thing, yes, and we should never hesitate to do so. However, the problem arises when forgiveness merits normality. A situation cannot become the same as it was after an injury is inflicted. Your skin will never be the same after a scar has formed. Sure, it doesn’t hurt anymore, and you are able to live life normally, but the skin remains changed. Sometimes situations can be fully mended, but usually it takes time. LOTS of it. I’m afraid we are forgetting this. We are forgetting that time is the best medicine, that time is the only way some things can be rectified. Not everything can happen INSTANTLY. Not everything will go back to normal after you make a huge mistake. And we have to learn to live with that. To accept that. You will grow and become better for it if you allow situations to heal like they are supposed to. A scar that heals too quickly will eventually need to be ripped open again to heal properly. Same with a bone, or a broken relationship. We need to slow down, take a deep breath, and learn to wait.

Okay, rant over. Have a good day!

Yours truly,



I apologize to anyone reading this of my absence in this blog. While life has been very busy and cluttered with activities, there were not a ton of new things to report about. However, now a few things have developed.

First and foremost, I am going to attend the University of Puget Sound this fall.

I received my acceptance Tuesday, and will send my confirmation Monday. While I am very excited, and know in my heart of hearts that this college is the one, I can’t help but be skeptical. My skepticism is in one aspect, and one aspect only. That being, cost. Puget Sound, while wonderful, is a wee bit pricey. In the college savings that I presently have, I will be able to be pay for the next two years. However, after that, I’m not quite so sure.

That being stated, I know that if I don’t go to my favorite college, Puget Sound, I won’t feel all together right. I know that if I don’t get out of Montana, I may never leave. So for the next two years, I have a guaranteed change. We’ll see how it goes from there.

Already my mind is at ease with my decision in general, though. I can visualize things so clearly, that helps me know I made the right choice.

Second, as of this coming Monday, I will begin tech week for POV Teen 2011, which opens Friday. Oofta! This has been a long stretch of writing and rehearsals, but it has been so worth it. I’m excited to carry on with it all the more, and bring POV to life before an audience. I love that I have that sort of opportunity.

Now, for the shameless plug. If any of you have not purchased your tickets for POV, or have no idea when it is, do I have some information for you! If you go to this link:

After you do so, you will discover the number to call to purchase/reserve tickets, and also the individual facebook events per night. So if you want to make sure we know you’re going, respond! The more people the merrier. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Shameless plug: complete.

So really the two main things in my life right now are school and POV Teen. High school hasn’t changed for me really, however the promise of college makes it all the sweeter. Aside from that, I’ve been on a pretty repetitive day to day schedule, which has been significantly busy.

For now, this is all I have to cloud your minds with.  Farewell dear twentyeleven-ers, I will back to blog next week, or sooner, to repent for my lack of blogging.

Love always,



If A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words…

…then an incredibly awkward video should be worth at least a hundred, right? After watching a few Geico commercials that were made in fifteen minutes or less (remember the “sexy grandpa” one?), I felt inspired to make my own video. Enjoy.

Music Monday: Go Radio

Music Monday is a new opinion column that discusses new releases. In this edition, Will discusses Go Radio’s newest album Lucky Street, which is scheduled to be released on March 1st.

Album art for Go Radio's next album.

As a fan of Mayday Parade’s hit-album A Lesson in Romantics, it would seem only natural for me to also love Go Radio, a band created by former MP member Jason Lancaster. Go Radio’s first EP (Do Overs and Second Chances) sounded like an extension of the musical vibes found in Lancaster’s last album with Mayday Parade (in a good way). Do Overs and Second Chances seems to contain all of the right musical elements that Mayday Parade lost with their most recent album, Anywhere But Here. Whether or not Lancaster’s departure from Mayday Parade affected them so negatively that they effectively lost their mojo is debatable, but his ability to bring the same energy to Go Radio is unquestionable.

However, after listening to a few of singles from Go Radio’s next album Lucky Street (coming soon on March 1st), I feel that Lancaster is trying to lead the band away from his Mayday roots. Lancaster’s vocals seem weak, and the strong, emotion-charged choruses one would expect from this album seem non-existent; his voice still sounds good though, just not very powerful. The singles “Any Other Heart” and “The Truth Is” come off as a major disappointment in comparison to songs from Do Overs and Second Chances, and suggest that the band is moving in a different direction.

I’m hoping that the rest of Lucky Street is less of a disappointment then it’s first two singles, or else I probably won’t buy it. While I can appreciate a band’s decision to move in a different direction and embrace new styles, it seems as if Go Radio is messing with an already perfect recipe. In an attempt to establish their own trademark sounds, they may be ruining what led them to success in the first place.

What do you think Mayday Parade/Go Radio fans? Let us know your opinion in the comment box below (even if you don’t like either band).

Waiting For My Real Life to Begin

Well, although my past weeks have been filled with various activities, rehearsals, appointments, homework assignments, and cups of coffee, I’ll choose to focus on the activity of this weekend: Prom.

In nearly every high school movie you see, Prom is overdone, and dreamed up to be some grand ball, there are sweet live bands, and lovely decorations, and true love everywhere.

My Prom was much more normal, and much better.

I typically am not one to choose to elaborate on a high school dance, or give much note to it besides being a nice way to spend a Saturday night. However, this one in particular holds a certain significance. It is the final one. This is the final time that I will put on a nice dress for the purpose of a school dance. This is the final time that I have to listen to classroom drama about who is taking who, and who has what dress. I am so relieved.

That being said, I had a blast. My way of spending this evening was perfect. I took a great friend, my fellow elitist, Spencer Sheehan, and it was a great time. I loved my dress, loved my group, and couldn’t have enjoyed myself more.  I had all my friends at my house taking pictures, and having dinner. It was simple, and lovely. As we arrived at the dance it was easy to fall in and find those I enjoy most, and just dance to the bad music that is on nearly every high school dance playlist.

In the words of Spencer, “Where is the techno?” Indeed. The techno was no where to be found, but in spite of that it was enjoyable.

I find that after this “Senior Prom Night” I am all the more ready to move on and get my footing in some place new. To be honest, if I was told I could go to the college of my choice right now, I would pack my bags, say my good byes, and depart.

My eagerness to leave is not due to my dislike for Billings (or at least not entirely), or my restlessness. It is that in my heart of hearts, I know I am ready. I can think of it, imagine it (good and bad scenarios) and feel ok. I will find my way, and I am so ready to do that.

So while I did dance and sing my heart out to Ke$ha Saturday night, I know that I’d much rather be in my dorm, doing homework, dreaming of studying history for the rest of my life.

There is a song I’ve been listening to lately, by Colin Hay, and it’s called “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin,” and while I know I’ve been living my real life this whole time, I know that what is ahead for me will be so much more. Below is an awesome version of it that premiered in one of my favorite shows, Scrubs.

So Senior Prom, the ultimate cliche, but the catalyst to an immense sense of nostalgia, and to the beginning of something entirely strange and wonderful.

Cheers darlings,


This is called “Ashlynn slowly being driven mad by college apps.”

I apologize for basically dropping off the face of the earth for the past couple…months…or so. Speech, Netflix, college applications, finals, Netflix, stressing out about college applications, work, and Netflix have all utterly consumed my life, to the point where I just feel burnt out all the time (well…I guess I can’t put Netflix in that category. But due to its mind-invading, soul-sucking nature, I’ve found myself glued to my TV screen watching entire seasons of Dexter and Arrested Development and haven’t found the willpower to pry my eyes away just yet).

As any high school senior will tell you, the college application process sucks. Completely. You think of college as something distant, something that only exists in the far off world of “young adulthood,” that magical place where you actually have to buy your own groceries and shampoo, don’t have to tell anyone where you are at four in the morning, and can choose to spend entire days attached to your laptop watching Netflix without people bothering you to unload the dishwasher. You trick yourself into thinking you have more time than you actually have before you have to start the application process and decide your future (yikes). Then before you know it, it’s the Thursday before your applications are due, and you have a speech meet on Friday and Saturday, Saturday being the deadline, and you basically have to get your entire list of applications completed and sent in by midnight Thursday night, as well as all of their supplemental essays and requirements, while still getting enough sleep to function the next day, or you’re completely screwed.

Not that this has ever happened to me. Ahem.

But it’s not just the actual process that sucks; the waiting period after you’ve finally gotten them into the admissions people is brutal. Colleges like to equip you with a method of checking the  “status” of your application. Basically this means you get to make sure the college has received everything it need to receive in order to accept or reject you. This method, instead of relieving stress, generally causes even more stress to boil up, because, surprise, surprise, all colleges don’t receive your information at the same time, and they aren’t all very good at updating your “status-checking account” very promptly, so you end up not knowing whether or not everything in each application is going to make it to every school, and you start totally freaking out and obsessively checking the websites every hour or so waiting for them to show that they have received all of your applicaiton materials so that you’ll be able to go to college and get a degree and a job and support yourself so that you don’t have to go sell yourself on the corner of Montana Avenue, or work any number of minimum-wage retail jobs.

 And I apologize for that sentence, but it was necessary to convey the terror I’m currently experiencing.

And the worst part about the whole thing is that, after going through all of that stressful mental anguish, you possibly won’t even be able to go to the college of your choice because your parents aren’t independently wealthy and might not be able to finance a private liberal arts education, which will either force you to take out a plethora of student loans that your degree in English Literature will not be able to pay off, or go to the significantly cheaper state school that you have made your high-school priority to avoid.

Blech. I’m just going to be glad when I have this all figured out and can breathe again.

Thank God I have Netflix to soothe my college woes. Muahaha.

I need an intervention.

So, I felt obliged to post something since I haven’t in a very long time, and though this was probably boring as hell to read, at least it was something.

Good night, and good luck,


P.S., Yes, I stole that line from a newscaster from the 1950s.


Its interesting to look back and see what my plans for college were seven-months ago. I felt pretty confident about going to Missoula at the time– it seemed like the best place I could go in-state; it had my major (I was seriously considering journalism at the time), the perfect distance away from home, and a “new-place-to-explore” atmosphere. I shared these plans with my friends and family, and even began to buy a few things for my dorm. It seemed like my path was set, and that the only thing between me and my future was senior year.

Fast-forward to today: I’m planning on going to college in Bozeman and majoring in Biochemisty.

Why the sudden change? There are multiple reasons: 1. I decided that journalism was no longer a feasible career choice. 2. Missoula is a very odd town… 3. I don’t like being around mass populations of people who don’t shower regularly, play disc-based games obsessively, and play acoustic guitars in awkward circles.

Those are just a few reasons, but I’m sure you get the picture. 😉

Basically, Bozeman is just better (and they have a really sweet-looking dorm building that I’m hoping to get a single room in).

I’m looking forward to the months ahead. With all of the college activity,  it seems weird to think of myself as a high school senior. It reminds me of something a former English teacher once said while discussing why she enjoyed teaching Sophomores the most. “Freshman are wild– they’re too ‘new’ and still trying to figure out who they are. Juniors are looking forward to being the kings of the school next year, and seniors are mentally lost in the months ahead.” Looking back on my high school career, I find myself agreeing with her. If there is any “normal” version of the high school student, it will probably found in the sophomore class, where the students are too young to be lost in what’s ahead and too old to be excessively awkward.

I’m also a bit sad to let West go. I remember walking through the halls of West on my first day of Senior year, thinking of all the people I was excited to see. When I realized that some of these people were gone (they were former seniors who graduated last Spring), I was pretty depressed. It’s almost as if seniors “fall off the grid” after graduation; they are no longer apart of the enclosed high school community. They are now a full-time member of the “real” world. I realize now that in a couple of months I will join them. I will abandon my younger friends at West and officially enter the “real” world.

I will be one of the “missing” people next year.

“Anyway, I kept standing next to that crazy cannon, looking down at the game and freezing my ass off. Only, I wasn’t watching the game too much. What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.”

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

How will you say good-bye to high school?

– Will