The choice was clear as Mark Twain's quote, "Don't let schooling interfere with your education," popped into my mind. But there was one problem -- how would I tell people I was taking a year off school without seeming absolutely crazy?
Though at times it may not feel like it, we're not as isolated as we imagine. Reading about characters who confront and overcome similar predicaments and hurdles reminds us that there's always a way through and that we can all survive, and actually enjoy, our teenage years.
Imagine if Twitter was around during the Civil Rights Era. Think about the greatness of hashtags such as #ihavedream or #selmatomontgomery Hashtags don't sound too unnecessary anymore, do they?
A friend points out my cute shirt and follows up with the question, "Where'd you get it?" Half of the time it's an honest question but for the other half it's a continued assessment of whether she should really deem it "cute" dependent upon the brand.
The problem with the body positivity movement is not Jennifer Lawrence. It is in fact very impressive to me that a "conventionally beautiful woman" cares about the effect that an unhealthy appearance could have on her young audience.
With November approaching, students all across the world will be applying to colleges. I wanted to share a personal experience that I had this past summer to help with the "but where do I apply?"
"Cool" isn't doing what your friends are doing. "Cool" is being confident in where you stand. Never apologize for liking what you like. In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, "Haters gonna hate, hate, hate." So you do you, dude.
I realized I didn't just improve my skills as a gymnast. After today, I grew as a person. Because on days like these, if you can push yourself one step further, that's when you get immeasurably stronger.
For quiet students, another school year calls for the oh-so-familiar report card comments on participation and the series of unfortunate classroom events they've come to know all too well.
My mother has handled me screaming and crying in diapers, screaming and crying as a crazy kid, screaming and crying as a moody teenager, screaming and crying through cancer. She has stuck with me through it all.
Let's just respect all people for just being who they are and for living or having lived. Let's just respect people and lead happier, more fulfilled lives that aren't marred by the exhausting practice of judging everyone we see.
If I can leave you with a challenge, it would be to stop. And think. Think "Am I paying attention to things that really matter?" Doesn't have to be always. But, every once in a while, are you stopping to smell the proverbial roses and do, support, or create things that really matter?
People don't think rich, famous, funny people can suffer from depression. But they can. I know from experience that sometimes the ones who seem like they have the most going for them can be holding on by the slimmest threads.
So are there any words of wisdom or comfort that I can offer to my fellow members of the class of 2015? I can only share with you the advice that I give to myself and do my best to follow.
To the teens reading this who typically categorize vegetables as "gross," "uneatable" and "Ew, a healthy food?" I get it. Let's be honest here: veggies have a pretty terrible rep.
I hope this new song inspires you to start or continue whatever it is and make a change in this world, one dance step at a time. Don't bother with the haters. They're missing out on the fun.