It’s been 365 days since I last posted my farewell. One year since I left for the horrors of TJ. I left the task of running the site to Ilia, trusting he’d take over just fine.
In one year, how many times has Ilia posted?
Ilia, go screw yourself up the ass with a cactus. :-)
What is there to say about freshman year? It was… challenging. Fun. Crappy. Stimulating. Tiresome. Would I do it again? Probably not. If things went my way, I’d be preparing for sophomore year at Chantilly, looking forward to all sorts of technical theater goodness, and you’d actually have things to read.
What have I been doing? I went to a national Japanese convention and won a free mousepad. I submitted a horrible essay that I turned in because I was too lazy to rewrite it at 2 A.M. and got it published. (Coming out in September. Not telling where. If you find it, please don’t read it.) I got into Minecraft (shame on me) and I’ve just started modding it with a friend of mine. I got good enough grades to not get kicked out of the school. Fun times.
I came in expecting quite a, er, college-centric place, for lack of a better word. Where every decision was made with the future in mind. Where the school was seen as a mere stepping stone to the Ivy League or wherever the hell India has its eyes on nowadays. Where the administration hung balloons in a hallway to convince the donors that TJ was an “exciting and spirited” place to be while piling on seminar after seminar of How You Can Get Into Harvard So That We Can Look Good.
Thankfully the administration is great. Supportive of whatever you want to do. Unfortunately, that last paragraph is essentially the hopes and dreams of a good chunk of the student body.
I found myself in a place full of over-eager freshmen, pseudo-enthusiastically pummeling through debate team, MathCounts, science club, rocketry, starting their own crappy “web design firms” and donating enough percentage points of the $2.38 in Adfly revenue to legally call themselves a nonprofit*, whatever the newest STEM thing at Yale is that’s worth jack squat but looks good on a resume. The atmosphere was too rushed, too hectic, too unappreciative- all about the stuff on paper and not enough about enjoying school for what it was. Perhaps it’s too strong of a word, but my class was brainwashed-
[digs out thesaurus]
Yeah, my class was pretty damn proselytized.
Even I was forced to be that way, to a degree; come time for class signups I chose Psychology, a half-year course, and Technical Theater, another half-year course that was new that year. A week later, as my counselor sat with each of my classmates and went over our schedules (her stated purpose was to make sure nobody attempted to drop math, as if that was going to be an issue at TJ) I was informed that I was the only person in the entirety of the school to have chosen that class. 1,863 students at TJ. 1 in Technical Theater. The drama teacher was accomodating; I’d be in the same classroom as the one (1) drama class and given separate material. (Don’t try to hide your jealousy, children.)
My mother was not. Apparently AP computer science will get me into a good school. Whoopee.
Perhaps I was being idealistic- actually, I was being very idealistic, but that wasn’t the environment in which I wanted to be. And it still isn’t. Maybe it’s just Dumb Freshman Syndrome; I hear it gets better with age, but it still sucked. It took me a while to find people who weren’t crazy. Before I did, things were overwhelming. I was stressed. Tired. Blew up a few times. Not my proudest moment. Man am I glad to found a place in TJ that isn’t insane.
Relatively, of course.
Fox. Carter. Thai. Damn. Wade through the crap and you’ll find people that are smart, funny, supportive, just there, there to make you feel good, there to make you feel inferior as hell when you see how damn intelligent they are, screw it, I’m going to stop before this turns into sappy chick-flick smut. Thanks, guys. <3
And yes, the teachers are that good. Well, some of them suck, but when the laws of probability work in your favor, you’ll actually learn something for a change- certainly refreshing. You’ll learn that there actually is some neat-ass stuff out there when you look past the Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning. And learning’s been made fun again. Worthwhile. Finally. You bet your ass I’m ready. Too bad almost nobody else is.
It’s this stuff that you have to hang on to at a place like TJ. Stuff that’ll keep you guys from finding me dead sometime in February. Going into sophomore year, I’m beginning to see how damn valuable things like this are.
I don’t know if I’m looking forward to next year or not. I really don’t deserve to be here. Don’t want to be here. But at the same time, I kinda do.
Send baked goods.
Yeah, send baked goods.
Love and tacos,
*”Starting a web design firm in this job market has got to be the worst idea besides stuffing your mattress with hundreds and lighting it on fire.” – Constantin Waldschmidt
EDIT: Oh, I have a website now. A proper one. Not this. Duh.