Why Sending Your Daughter To A Private All-Girls High School Is One Of The Best Things You Can Do for Her

I’m so grateful that my parents supported me when I chose to attend my all-girls Catholic high school. This article highlights many of the reasons why I love my alma mater. I’m so thankful for my high school experience.

Thought Catalog

All I Wanna DoAll I Wanna Do

High school can be a very fragile time in your daughter’s life.  She is entering puberty, finding herself, changing her appearance, and learning to become comfortable with her ever-changing body.  Many girls fall symptom to eating disorders, low self-esteem, and require the constant approval of others around them.  Sending your daughter to an all-girls high school doesn’t ensure that she will be safe from all the drama and hardships of being a teenager, but it will most likely empower her to be strong and work through them with poise and grace.

1. Community

Attending an all-girls high school gives your daughter a strong sense of community.  Private all-girls high schools are often very demanding academically.  This pressure to perform academically provides a support group of like-minded individuals who understands what it means to juggle, AP classes, key club, soccer, girl scouts, and the obligations of a…

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Facing the Sophomore Slump

Hi everyone! A few weeks ago, I posted some tips for rising freshman heading off to school in the fall. When you’re going to be a freshman, there are so many things to do before move-in. You buy cute bedding to brighten up your room, create collages and canvases to decorate your walls, and go shopping for new clothes and cleaning supplies. Between endless graduation parties, scheduling orientation, and reading up about your new school, the summer before freshman year is jam-packed.

Now that I’m going to be a sophomore, the summer seems a lot different. First of all, I know what to expect, and while I can’t wait to get back to school, there’s something special about that mix of nervousness and excitement that you get before freshman year. I don’t need to go on a shopping spree for new dorm decor, not that I have the money to do so anyways. Instead, I’m figuring out how I can pay off some of my student loans and save some money to buy shirts that don’t fall apart in the wash. I hear you can sell your plasma for some cash…totally kidding (but I might be that desperate soon). Before I moved into school, I was already counting down the days until I was home for the summer. Now, I just want to go back to school!

I think I’m in a sophomore slump. I’m in a limbo between enjoying being home (and eating my mom’s food instead of the dining hall) and wanting to get back to my school routine ASAP. Since I’ve been home for over a month, I’ve been finding ways to liven up the summer and be somewhat productive.

1. Get a job: I’m lucky enough to be able to go back to the job I had in high school. It’s only part-time and I don’t get too many hours, but I’m making money that will fund my adventures once I get back to school. I like being able to support myself instead of always asking my parents for money. Plus, it gives me something to do. I know it’s hard to find jobs, but there are other things you can do to make money. I use a website called MyPoints.com. You earn points that you can later redeem for giftcards to your favorite stores. To get points, you add the MyPoints icon to your toolbar and click on it whenever you shop online at a store that uses MyPoints. You get a certain amount of points for every dollar you spend. You can also complete surveys, print out coupons, or sign up for email newsletters to get points. Since I shop online anyways, its an easy way to turn my purchases into rewards.

2. Make dorm decorations: I’ve been on a Pinterest kick lately and found some great DIYs for my new dorm. My friends and I are living on campus in a townhouse next year– 10 girls live under one roof! Luckily, it’s three floors, with two common rooms, a kitchen, and three bathrooms. This means a ton of decorating space. I’m going to do a quote canvas, make myself a Lilly Pulitzer letter, and make a new picture collage that includes my new friends (look for these posts in a few weeks). My friends and I want to make a paint chip wall for our common room; it’ll add some color since we can’t paint the walls. We’ve been stocking up on paint chips from Home Depot, pretty sure they’re catching on to us.

 

Isn't this cute?

Isn’t this cute?

3. Apply for scholarships: Paying for college is tough. I just got my financial aid packet and it’s finally dawning on me that I have to pay my loans back…uh oh. A lot of scholarship deadlines have already passed, but there’s still plenty of opportunities over the summer. Check out websites like Fastweb.com, moolahspot.com, and your college’s financial aid page. I finally have time to sit down and write some of these essays (at least my writing will still be sharp when I get back to school!). I am applying for anything and everything– every little bit counts. My parents are also really happy that I’m taking the initiative to pay for my own education, and when Mom is happy, everyone is happy. Plus, it’s an amazing to finally win a scholarship and get that check!

4. Keep in touch with friends: My friends and I have kept our group message going even though we’re not all at school. It’s an easy way to know what’s going on in each others’ lives and count down the days until move-in. We’re also reliving some of our crazier memories. Staying connected to my college friends makes me feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel– I’ll be back on campus soon! That being said, it’s also important to reach out to my home friends. I’m making more of an effort to connect with them. Instead of waiting for them to contact me, I’ve been texting them to make plans. Hanging out with my friends makes the summer feel like it is flying by!

5. Go to the gym: It might not be my favorite thing to do, but I always feel better once I get a good workout in. The endorphins always make me feel better, and I always feel strong and confident when I leave the gym. I think it’s important to take care of your body so I try to go a few times a week. It’s better than eating everything in my kitchen when I get bored.

6. Relax!: You just spent an entire semester at school working hard to get good grades. You deserve a break! I’m sleeping in, watching a ton of Netflix, and I’m currently obsessed with the World Cup (Go USA!!!). I’m taking these three months to recharge and destress. I have time to read that book I got for Easter, paint my nails, and try new hairstyles. It’s important to take a break. I’m cherishing this downtime before school starts back up because I know that I’ll be crazy busy once I get back.

These are just some of the ways I’m making the best of this summer. How are you spending your summer?

Monday’s Favorite: Orange Is the New Black

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Hi everyone! Hope you are enjoying the summer and had a good Father’s Day. I’ve been loving the warm weather and have been using my downtime as a chance to do some serious Netflix binge-watching.

For those of you who have a Netflix account, you probably know Orange is the New Black came out with Season 2 last Friday. A quick summary of OITNB: the show centers around Piper Chapman, a wealthy New Yorker who has landed herself in Litchfield Prison because of a crime she committed ten years ago. Piper helped her girlfriend transport drug money (It was only one time!!). The plot follows Piper as she acclimates to prison and navigates the intricate relationships between all of the inmates. We also get to know a large supporting cast of prisoners and the circumstances of their imprisonment through a mix of current scenes and flashbacks.If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend you start now.

SPOILERS AHEAD*** Don’t read if you haven’t finished Season 2

Season 2 is just as exciting, shocking, and jaw-dropping as the first thirteen episodes. Jenji Kohan, the show’s creator, outdid herself.

Some of my favorite parts:

1. Where is Chapman? Season 1 ended with Piper beating the crap out of Pensatucky. All of the viewers questions– Is Pensatucky dead? What happens to Piper?– are left unanswered in the first episode of Season 2. We see Piper being transported out of SHU, loaded onto a bus, and boarding an airplane as she desperately tries to ascertain where she is going. She sees the Chicago skyline and realizes she is going to a jail there. Chapman is virtually ignored until she sees Alex in the prison– she had no idea where she was going or why she was there until she finds a familiar face. Kohan shows viewers how prisoners are treated as “less than”. Piper is treated like dirt and her rights are ignored. She is transported without an explanation and has no way to protect herself. Kohan makes a point about how vulnerable the prisoners really are. Later in the season, the Litchfield inmates are subjected to unsafe conditions when their showers start spewing sewage. This is another instance where the women are unprotected and have no way to advocate for themselves. Kohan really lets OITNB fans see how badly the inmates are treated– like they are less than human.

2. Piper’s Perjury: When Piper is in court to testify against the drug lord, she sees Alex before she is called to the stand. Alex urges Piper to lie and say she didn’t know the man; she says he is dangerous and will retaliate. Initially, Piper tells Alex that she will tell the truth no matter the consequences. However, Piper lies on the stand and says she never met the drug lord in an attempt to protect both Alex and herself. When Alex testifies, she tells the truth about the drug lord and is let out of jail. Piper chooses to lie under oath: another crime. Piper demonstrates that she doesn’t trust the system to imprison the drug lord. I think it’s interesting Piper chooses to do the wrong thing instead of the right thing– she keeps making bad decisions. Kohan is showing viewers that Chapman is responsible for her current predicament; she chose to do the wrong thing with Alex, and she chose to do the wrong thing in trial. It is her own fault.

3. Morello’s Backstory: I love seeing what the inmates were like before they ended up at Litchfield. This season, I really liked Morello’s backstory. Morello is one of my favorite characters; I love her sass, her optimism, and her over-the-top accent. She seems so fun and happy that I was wondering what she did to end up in jail. While we don’t know whether she was imprisoned because of her mail fraud scam or her obsession with Christopher, it didn’t really matter. Morello– who I thought was the most “with-it” inmate– turned out to be a stalker. I truly believed she was planning a wedding with Christopher, but instead, she was delusional and he only went on a single date with her. She even went so far as to break into Christopher and his fiancé’s house, stealing the prison van in the process. My heart hurt for Morello when we saw Christopher testify against her in court but I was heartbroken when I saw Christopher berate her in prison. Morello was humiliated in front of Nicky and the other inmates. I’m not sure how to feel about Morello now. Everything I that I thought I knew about her was actually her fantasies; I’m not sure what to believe. Kohan is a master at creating nuanced and complicated characters, and Morello is no exception. I’m excited to see what unfolds in Season 3

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4. Poussey: Poussey has been my favorite character this season. Her smile is infectious and her commitment to avoiding corruption is admirable. Even when all of her friends join Vee in her illegal cigarette (and later heroin) selling scheme, Poussey refuses to yield to the pressure. Poussey gets attacked by Warren, threatened by Vee, and ignored by Taystee, but she stays true to herself. She will not join the corruption ring no matter what she loses. I think Poussey is the hero of this season. She is so strong in her convictions, and her decision to do the right thing is admirable. She’s not afraid to stand up to Vee and fight back. She also doesn’t hold a grudge; Taystee and her other friends abandon her, but she allows them back into her life once they realize that Vee is bad news. She’s also really funny  and I love her and Taystee’s scenes together. I hope we learn about Poussey’s crime that landed her in Litchfield– it is mentioned she dealt pot, but I want a flashback that shows what happened. She’s also a hilarious character and I’m so glad she was featured more prominently this season.

These are only some of my highlights from OITNB Season 2. I’m in awe of Jenji Kohan and how conflicted she makes me (and other viewers) feel while they watch the show. She portrays the inmates as real people: they have good and bad qualities, and I’m torn as to how I feel about them. She is also incredible at creating cliffhangers and is the master of twists and turns. I never know what’s going to happen to the prisoners, and that’s part of the incredible journey that is OITNB. I don’t know how I’m going to wait another year for Season 3.

Have you all seen the new season? What did you think about it?

Undelivered: Day 5 Challenge

Hi everyone! Today is a deviation from my typical posts, but I really enjoyed the Writing 101 prompt and decided to try my hand at it. Here’s the prompt and my attempt at the Day 5 challenge.

Prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter. Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.


 

Walking down a path in the still summer twilight, I stumble upon an unopened ivory envelope in the grass. Though it is early evening and the sun has just started to set, I’m the only person on the hiking trail. The envelope is sealed with a light pink sticker shaped like a starfish and is addressed to Avielle, written sloppily in cursive. Curious about what the envelope contains (and hoping it will help me find the owner), I break the seal and unfold the thin piece of paper inside.

Avie—for you, always for you. Time to wow the world. 

afraid. lonely. excited. anxious.

the future.

will things ever be The Same?

no.

They change– inevitably.

the earth will turn and wars will be fought and the leaves will fall and the sun will rise and this life will surprise you in beautiful and terrible ways you haven’t imagined.

so say goodbye to your Past,

because tomorrow is your future. ready or

not

surprise!

Go fly, Avie. I’ll be here waiting in the nest when you come back.”

I am dismayed that Avielle did not open the poem– she deserves to know that her poet is encouraging her to spread her wings and change her future. She, just like the majority of us, would be reassured that she is always able to return home, no matter how far she flies from the nest. I fold up the paper and reseal the ivory envelope, carefully replacing the pink starfish. I place it on a tree stump halfway down the hilly path, hoping that Avielle will eventually come back for what she left behind.

My Break From Soccer; Writing 101 Day 4

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m participating in the Writing 101 challenge—I’m excited to push myself to write more, generate more content for my blog, and be with a community of WordPress users. I would totally recommend it for anyone who gets writers block or is new to blogging and wants to get more involved. Today’s exercise is to write about losing something that used to be in your life and isn’t anymore.

I have been playing soccer since I was seven years old. I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t heading off to a game, practicing my passing skills in the backyard, or watching a game on ESPN.

Killin' it on the field and with my hairstyle...the pigtails were a hit.

Killin’ it on the field at age 8…the pigtails were a hit.

My last game was my senior year of high school—we lost in the semifinals of the state tournament. Soccer was a huge part of my life. I met some of my very best friends by playing on the same team as them; being a part of a team gave me a sense of belonging from elementary school through high school. I loved the camaraderie and looked up to each of my coaches. Sports gave me the chance to let out my competitive side, set goals for myself, and work with my team to achieve those goals. Besides that, soccer was a family affair. My parents, grandparents, and brother came to all of my games and carted me around to all my practices. We all stayed for overnight tournaments, and the parents of my teammates became my second families. Playing my last game was heartbreaking to me. I knew I would not be playing competitively in college, and thinking about playing intramurals without my teammates or family to cheer me on didn’t sound fun.

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Last game of senior year…no more pigtails!

After spending a year away from the sport, I realize how much I miss it. Seeing my former teammates play on their new teams, and watching my high school team play, made me wish I was back on the field. There’s truly nothing like the feeling of winning, of working your hardest and meeting your goals. I didn’t realize how much I loved soccer until it was no longer in my life. Thankfully, I can play again. I am going to sign myself up for intramurals in the fall and make some new friends who love to play as much as I do. I’m grateful that I learned my lesson by taking a year off from soccer and that I am able to return to the game. It is true—absence makes the heart grow fonder. This experience has made me appreciate my family and friends even more. I don’t want to lose them and regret anything; I’m determined to strengthen my relationships before it is too late. A negative experience has transformed into a positive situation, and I am grateful that I only lost the sport for a year instead of losing someone or something I love forever.

The Summer Before College…Tips for Seniors

I can’t believe that I finished my freshman year of college already! Last summer (and the first few weeks of school), I had no idea how I would possibly get through move-in day. I was scared to move away from my family, worried that my friends from home would move on without me, and grossed out by the idea of sharing a bathroom with the 60 other girls on my floor. Looking back on it, I wish I just relaxed during the summer and stopped stressing out over things that I couldn’t control anyways. That being said, my high school just graduated this weekend. Congrats to the Class of 2014! Their graduation got me thinking about how I felt the summer before college and how I wish I spent my summer. Here are some tips for you high school seniors already stressing about the year ahead.

  1. Breathe: I know that it feels like everything is happening at warp speed and you need to cram everything into the next three months. Inhale. Exhale. Good! You have 3 months before you leave…and then you move into college and have midsemester break about a month and a half later. You’re not leaving your friends or your hometown forever! Yes, it’s a big change, but you’ll be back soon enough.
  2. Read something: Maybe this is just because I’m going to school to be an English teacher, but all of my classes started off with, “So, what interesting books did you read this summer?” (OK, this is definitely because I’m an English major). Still, no matter what major you are, read! It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s “smart” enough. Read something you enjoy, and maybe you’ll learn something new. If not, at least you can impress your professors by having an answer on the first day of class.
  3. Start buying dorm supplies early and often: I pestered my mother all summer to go shopping for dorm things with me, but of course, we never went until the week before I left. We spent so much money in one week alone on things that I settled for because there wasn’t much left. Start stocking up now! Get cleaning supplies whenever they’re on sale, get your bedspread before they’re all picked over, and buy school supplies sooner rather than later. You’ll be happy you did when you’re not running around buying things the night before you leave.
  4. Spend time with friends: Don’t blow off your high school friends because you’re busy getting ready for college. When you all go off to your different schools, you’re bound to change. Your friendships will also evolve. This is the last summer you have before everything is different—cherish it. (Side note: you will change. Your friends will change. Your relationships will be different when you come home. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just a part of growing up. Embrace it!)
  5. Spend time with family: Most people opt to hang out with friends or go shopping or do anything but hang out with the family before they leave for school. Be nice to your parents, take your siblings out for ice cream, and enjoy it! Your family is going to miss you a lot, and they’re as stressed out as you are. Their baby is going off to college! Make it easier on everyone and hang out at home with the fam.
  6. Craft: There’s nothing worse than arriving to your new dorm room and seeing white cinderblock walls. You’ll feel so much more comfortable when you hang up pictures and canvases. Making dorm decorations will keep you busy over the summer, get you excited about move-in, and will make you feel 1000 times more at home once you’re all settled into your dorm.
  7. Learn how to microwave popcorn/Easy Mac: I know what you’re thinking: Seriously, a microwave. How stupid do you think I am? But seriously, eight fire alarms into the year, I wish everyone had learned how to use a microwave before they moved in. Please don’t be that girl who burns her popcorn at 2 a.m. because she accidently set the timer for 10 minutes instead of 1. You will regret it– trust me.

Hopefully these tips are useful to you all. Next week, I’ll do another post about what to expect during your freshman year. Congratulations on graduating—have an awesome summer, and get excited for the year to come!!!

PS. This post was the first of a month long challenge. I’m participating in Writing101, so stay tuned for a lot more posts from me (:

Rainy Day Blues

The Northeast is in for some pretty terrible weather for the next few days. Try telling Mother Nature that it’s summer– it was only about 60 degrees today and poured for hours. Certainly not beach weather! Instead of letting the weather get me down, I look forward to rainy days for a few reasons:

1. Cute rain gear! Rainy days give me the opportunity to flaunt my bright blue rain jacket and favorite mini-umbrella. I love my North Face jacket; while it was pricy, it is well-made and has lasted me for awhile. I also have a pair of Hunter boots that I splurged on using my summer paychecks. They’re very sturdy and I’ve used them as snow boots too. Instead of bumming it on a rainy day, I like to pick out colorful (and appropriate) clothes to brighten up the day!

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2. Reading a good book: There’s nothing better than spending a rainy day curled up on the couch with my favorite book and a hot cup of tea. Today, I finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette. The book is written from the perspective of Bee, Bernadette’s daughter who is trying to piece together her mother’s sudden disappearance. It isn’t a typical novel– it strings together emails, phone messages, and other tidbits that help Bee understand and track down her mother. The book is laugh-out-loud funny, and I totally recommend it. Bonus: it takes place in Seattle, the ultimate rainy-day city.

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3. Naps: Pretty self-explanatory…who doesn’t love a little siesta? Rainy days are usually accompanied by cooler temperatures, which make it easier to fall asleep. The clouds make it darker, and the sound of rain splashing on the pavement and against the windows is great background noise. I love snuggling under the covers and taking a power-nap to energize me for the rest of the day– be careful not to sleep for too long, though, or you’ll just end up feeling drowsier. Image

 

4. Rainbows: They don’t always appear, but when they do, they sure are special. Looking for rainbows is my equivalent of looking for a four leaf clover; when you finally see one, the search was worth it. Even if there isn’t a rainbow, everything looks prettier the day after it rains. Colors are brighter, flowers are bigger, and the sunshine is brighter.

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The rain isn’t so bad. There’s plenty of things to look forward to, even if it’s just the next nice day. What about you all? Do you guys love anything about rainy days?