May 6

Final Blog: 10 Lessons Learned

1. The value of sleep

One of the most valuable lessons I think I’ve learned since the beginning of the pandemic has to be the value of sleep and its importance to my well-being. Before quarantine, I was never able to sleep more than six hours before waking up again for the next day of school. I never took the time to take naps or wind down in a way that was not staring at my phone until I had to start homework. Now I can say that naps are an important part of my day.

2. Coffee shops

Before the pandemic I would go to a coffee shop with my dad or by myself at least twice a week to study or finish any assignments I knew were going to take me a long time and require a lot of concentration. Without having a space away from home where I can sit down and really focus, it has been difficult to get myself to complete assignments during the day and not in the middle of the night when I’ve finally forced myself to do them. I now realize how much I enjoyed my nights there and having that time with my dad.

3. Books

During the year of 2020 I had the time to read more than I’ve ever been able to and rediscovered how much I enjoy fully immersing myself in a novel or series. There is a different sense of satisfaction that comes from finishing a book and flipping that final page. It’s like being away and coming back from a nice trip away from home and your worries.

4. Social Media

Before quarantine I was never really one to be consumed by social media besides the occasional Tv show I would binge on Netflix. Now looking back I can say that 2020 was the year social media replaced the social interactions I was missing out on and now it’s time to relearn how to detach from endlessly scrolling my way through Tik Tok.

5. Family Time

Last year more than ever I was able to truly spend an extended amount of time with my family and realize how much I prioritize that especially as I prepare to leave for college in the fall. Before the pandemic we were all on our own schedules and never took enough time just to be present with one another which is something we’ve all learned to do and appreciate.

6. Sister Bond

My sister and I have always been close but quarantine has brought our relationship closer than ever. She has been there for me during this time and always has my back. I’ve learned to appreciate her and am excited as we go off to college together in the fall.

7. Hard work and Determination

This year has presented a new academic challenge for me as I struggled to efficiently manage my time without social outlets. like the coffee shop before. Because of this, I learned that my hard work and determination to finish the year on a positive note has outweighed the negative.

8. Procrastination

During quarantine I’ve developed the bad habit procrastinating and am continuously trying to learning how to break this cycle. Hopefully with the vaccine and things reopening I can achieve this

9. Free Time

Throughout quarantine I’ve picked up a couple hobbies such as baking more, listening to audiobooks, painting, and going to Home Depot to get new plants. With these new hobbies came my realization of how important it is to fill my free time doing things I love and making the time to do them.

10. Socialization

Lastly, I would definitely consider myself both an introvert and an extrovert but over quarantine I’ve realized that I might be more of an extrovert than I thought. I miss hanging out with my friends every day and will definitely take the time to do so and socialize a lot in college.


April 22

The Mountain Valley Pipeline: Why you should care

In honor of Earth Day 2021, I want to address the current issue regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

Just two days ago, more than 60 conservation and environmental groups urged Biden officials to suspend the permits and approvals by the Trump administration for the controversial pipeline, according to the international nonprofit environmental organization NRDC.

The 300-mile long pipeline, proposed in 2014, carries fracked gas from northern West Virginia to southside Virginia.

The MVP has already caused irreparable harm to landscapes and clean water while receiving more than $2 million in penalties for 350+ environmental violations mainly regarding improper erosion and storm water management, according to NRDC.

The effects of improper erosion includes the loss of fertile land and increased pollution and sedimentation in streams and rivers which clogs waterways causing declines in fish and other species. Degraded land also worsens the affects of flooding.

In West Virginia, the pipeline would also result in permanent impacts on about 865 acres of core forest areas which are significant wildlife habitat, according to the region’s grassroots advocate Appalachian Voices.

Moreover, the dangers don’t just end there.

“If completed and operated, the Mountain Valley Pipeline would add nearly 90 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year to the atmosphere—equivalent to the emissions from 23 U.S. coal plants, or more than 19 million passenger vehicles driven every year,” says the NRDC.

In addition, with the detrimental effects that have already taken place the statistics show that the immediate need for MVP’s fracked gas is no where to be seen. The five corporations who have committed to buying the gas may never even need to use it.

MVP has also been called the most expensive proposed pipeline in the United States as over the past 5 years the price tag has skyrocketed from $3.2 billion to $6.5 billion as estimations for the completed project continue to rise.

Furthermore, education is key to understanding the extent of damage pipelines cause to the environment. It is also necessary to address that this incident is not singular, but that corporations continue to build pipelines across the country at the expense of the land’s natural resources.

In order to take action, it’s pertinent to speak out in any way you can by finding organizations who support this fight and looking at what you can do to help them. This includes signing petitions to urge senators to use their power or giving donations to support protestors in their fight for the cause.


Sign Petition HERE

Donate HERE





April 15

Notable Achievements

Tell us about a time when you surprised yourself to achieve something notable, especially if you first thought you might fail.

If I had to pin point a specific notable achievement of mine specifically in school it would have to be passing my sophomore Honors Chemistry class with a high A throughout both semester I had to take it.

For me sophomore year was by far the most challenging academic year I had ever completed because of this class and my Honors Geometry class.

Chemistry was a completely new subject that I had absolutely  no background in when I took it. It challenged me in a way I had never been academically challenged before and allowed me to prove to myself that if I put in the time and effort I can accomplish what I set out to do.

I had never had to study this hard in my life. I think I spent over 10 hours studying for my chemistry final second semester and the cumulative test I had to take that covered information from the whole year.

Because of this class I have felt prepared for any other academic obstacles that have come my way. This is because I know that if I was able to survive this class and succeed I can truly do anything.

Another notable achievement that I just accomplished was being admitted to UCLA for college this fall.

I feel as though all of the time I have dedicated to school has paid off and am super excited to continue my education surrounded my likeminded and hardworking people.

It was always a goal of mine to attend a top university like UCLA and I finally feel relieved and glad that I chose to challenge myself in every way possible as I entered high school.

Before admissions decisions came out I had not let myself become attached to any particular school for fear of disappointment, yet was still hopeful.

Because of that, I was surprised that I was admitted not because I had not done the work to deserve it but because of the low admissions rate and record breaking number of people that applied this year.

As a second generation college student, it was also really special to share the news with my parents and grandparents and make them proud and show them how their hard work in raising me was paid off in this way.


March 19

Returning to Campus

I’m definitely more concerned than excited to return to campus after spring break. There is still a lot of anxiety attached to going back to campus due to the numbers of coronavirus cases which are still high as well as the ability to transmit the virus to other family members.

Luckily, for me, all of my immediate family members have been fully or partially vaccinated and will be protected if I go back to campus. On the other hand, I’m still hesitant to return when I haven’t received the vaccine myself.

In addition to that, not everyone who will return to campus has been taking the right safety precautions at home and trying to avoid the virus as much as possible which is also something to be concerned about.

From this, my biggest concern would be going back knowing not everyone is vaccinated yet and that the possibility to catch the virus is not impossible.

In addition, we as a society don’t know the long-term effects of coronavirus which makes going back even more daunting. I would also hate to have spent all this time in quarantine trying my best to protect myself and my family members and then catch the virus at school because I’m not vaccinated yet.

I’m already hyperaware of the virus as well and being at school would only amplify my anxiety surrounding staying disinfected after everything I touch and with the people I interact with.

Moreover, I already have a routine at home with my school work and it will definitely be an adjustment going back.

I will also have less time to myself if I go back due to the extra time it will take to drive to school in the morning during traffic and to drive back home after school.

This includes less time to study and relax from the long day.

On the bright side, if I go back I do look forward to seeing my friends again and gaining back some sense of normalcy before I graduate. It will also be nice to have some of my classes in person again, like journalism and Spanish which are more hands-on.

It will also be nice to get some closure before I graduate because I will at least get to spend maybe a week or two on campus if I decide to go back which probably won’t be until the later weeks once I get vaccinated.

I also look forward to the possibility of smaller, contained school activities like senior week and events held in the quad.






February 22

Should people be held responsible by schools and colleges and jobs for things they post online?

In short, yes people should be 100% held accountable for their actions online by prospective schools and in the workplace.

Issues of racism,  antisemitism, and sexism are nothing new to society and as conversations grow immensely in today’s social climate, these instances and hateful behavior toward any group of people has never been okay.

Words and actions have consequences and the invisible line between freedom of speech and hate speech is something that should be crystal clear but is unfortunately not.

Being racist and sexist like one of the students described in the article is not a political opinion. It is just pure ignorance and hate that has no place anywhere in society today or ever.

The fact that mocking the death of George Floyd’s brutal murder is still protected as “free speech” by public universities is a testament to the larger issues at hand surrounding the laws issued and preserved by this government.

Another one of the stories in the article that threw me was Liberty Woodley’s Instagram post where she blatantly stated that she was racist and there was little she would or could do about it.

As universities, these schools should automatically revoke any acceptances from people like this because while college can be a place to learn and grow at what cost will it be to students of color who already face discrimination elsewhere.

With all of these situations, I truly just don’t understand the need the condemn, judge, or discriminate against people based off of race, religion, culture, gender, identity, etc…

Does it really bother people so badly to let others live the way they please if it’s no harm to anyone else?

As for the situation with Gina Carano, I again shake my head in unsurprising disbelief. Politically and socially tone-deaf is the only way to describe the situation here.

For her to also go on social media and repeat the past president’s remarks about the election being stolen speaks volumes on its own.

Ultimately here it’s up to the employer to hold these people accountable however they can even if that means being fired. Unfortunately, most of these instances are probably to save face for brand purposes and avoid the backlash of social media rather than their own morals.

Overall social media and online influences still have a lot to offer when used in the right ways to spread positive ideas for change and overall positivity, but instances like these also make us hyperaware of the other detrimental and dangerous side to it all.

Everyone has the ability to have a voice on these platforms and it should be clear to employers and universities when that is used in the appropriate ways.




February 10

Growing up in the 21st Century

As a young person growing up today, David Brooks’ understanding of the ideas of my generation holds true in correspondence to the students he interviewed.

With social media platforms at the center of this generation’s attention, the rapid information we are able to receive from every direction and perspective makes it difficult to trust those in positions of power around us.

We’ve seen it all at this point and the distrust we have about those who lead and have led this country is something that can’t be unlearned.

Just from the 18 years I’ve been alive, I’ve already seen our leaders prioritize access to guns over the safety of children in schools. I’ve seen an unqualified businessman take the most important role in our government and demean every minority group possible for his own personal agenda.

I’ve experienced a worldwide pandemic that our leaders have failed to take control of and protect us from in an efficient and timely manner.

I’ve witnessed the deepest depths of racial injustice on live television that still plagues this country at its core.

After hearing someone state that the US is a company not a country, the heavy truth of those words weigh on me like a ton of bricks.

It’s hard to pinpoint an institution I have faith in at this point because it certainly is not the US government. Here we are seen as a number rather than people where the prospects of money outweigh any of our basic needs like access to free healthcare.

While this new administration does provide a new sense of relief and calm, these deep-rooted issues are still there and upheld by those in office who have the ability and power to prevent change.

One quote from the article that stood out to me the most was from a Harvard student and explained how the utopia our parents and their generation strived for has built the foundation for the dystopia of our age.

Our values and ideas have already evolved past the point of our parents’ which I think is true for every generation as society continues to progress more and more, so while I don’t have faith in most of our leaders today the hope still lies in what our generation and those like AOC have to offer.

In regards to the idea of it being harder to grow up now than before, I would have to disagree. These issues once again have been there, but now I think our generation has more access to the right tools and information to combat these problems effectively.

I feel as though we are more aware as young adults than ever before due to how easy it is to access information and when it is used in the right way the benefits are endless.

There are obviously consequences and bad aspects to things like social media which sometimes is out of our control, but I still think of it as more of a positive than negative.









January 17

What Movies Do You Watch, or Reference, Over and Over?

With the arrival of Disney+ and its extensive catalog of movies and tv shows, the ability to re-live the nostalgia from all of my favorite childhood films has become easily accessible with the simple click of a button.

The movies I gravitate towards watching over and over again usually have a certain comforting feeling or emotion tied to my memories of watching them.

For example, I love watching High School Musical films with my sister Helene because I can vividly remember being four-years-old and waiting with her for the second movie to air on Disney Channel. I can picture my living room at the time and remember jumping up and down in front of the Tv while my mom stood next to me and the colorful, pool party themed count down shone from the screen.

Another group of films I love rewatching during Halloween are the Halloweentown movies. I loved watching them at my grandparent’s house on the days my grandpa would pick me up from school. To preface, my grandma’s favorite holiday is Halloween, and every year she decorates her whole house and yard very elaborately. In her neighborhood, her house is the one everyone stops at to trick-or-treat and take pictures.

Because of this, this time of year is very memorable for me and her decorations mixed with Monstober on the Disney channel when I was younger was an impressionable visual that I like to re-live by watching those movies.

The last film I love to constantly rewatch is The Greatest Showman. Besides the fantastic content, plot, and music the movie offers, I once again have very sentimental memories attached to when I first watched it in theatres with my dad and when my mom got me the vinyl of the soundtrack for my 16th birthday.

I think the most important aspect as to why films such as these have endured over time and are still relatively popular comes down to its appeal to the audience at the time, whether or not fan-based communities have gained traction online, as well as the people involved in the film and how the audience connects to them outside of a specific production or on social media.

For example, had High School Musical not become so popular with its audience at the time of its release, my generation that has grown up with the films would not continuously be posting about it on current social media apps. This source of media has heavily aided films such as this one to maintain their widespread popularity especially with its easy access on Disney+ because we are reminded of how much we loved the movies when we were younger due to the reposting of certain clips, quotes, or songs we may have forgotten about.

As for the people involved in the movies, there is a direct connection between High School Musical and The Greatest Showman because of Zac Efron. While I’m not his biggest fan, his films were a major part of my childhood and I am still very inclined to watch anything he has been in just because of that. I also liked watching Zendaya in Shake it Up on Disney Channel as well and she is also in The Greatest Showman and currently, an actor whose films and Tv shows I’ve consistently loved.


November 7

Political Opinions

Politics has always been a sore topic for discussion bound to arise conflict between those around us, yet as Donald Trump’s political involvement had ensued over the past five years this area has become more of a ticking time bomb anxiously waiting to incite division.

As I’ve aged and begun to not only recognize but experience the tension in this society, it has been a tough pill to swallow as I reflect back to the adults and teachers from middle school and junior high. Their conservative beliefs always existed, yet they were not relevant to the adolescent perspective of my youth, or so I ignorantly believed.

This harsh realization was like slowly ripping off a bandaid as I walked the streets most familiar to me and drove through other cities I had been in countless times and saw Trump sign after Trump sign.

These instances are imperative to my so-called “political awakening” as I’ve begun to form my own opinions that drastically differ from the rhetoric I was taught in catholic school.

I’m thankful that I have parents who share my more liberal beliefs because from them I have learned to speak out about what I believe is just and not stand for anything less than that.

In addition, when it comes to prioritizing politics in relationships the thought and concept is something I’ve been forced to confront and consider during these times. Politics is tricky, yet I will never understand nor agree with a leader that supports policies that enable the obstruction of basic human rights, the fight to end climate change or the health and safety of the millions of people in this country.

Because of this current presidential situation, I will never willingly surround myself with people who support him or the core values he condones, to put it blatantly. Moreover, we can have differing views about many things, but racism and human rights are not an option and never will be especially when religion is used as a deflective umbrella to forgive this behavior.

I also think it’s important to note people’s views are constantly changing and progressing which I respect immensely. Those who choose to turn a blind eye and refuse new ideas and different perspectives from their own are more specifically what I would not willingly choose to be around.

Moreover, my family and I frequently discuss political beliefs and politics altogether. I don’t see the point in shying away from political issues because they are uncomfortable, but I rather enjoy the conversations I am able to have with my older sister, my parents, and even my peers around me.

I’ve gained a lot of insight and perspective this way and found that it’s better to know and educate myself on what can often be the ugly truth than to hide behind what seems like blissful ignorance. We can’t fix things in this world if we just ignore what keeps repeatedly coming into view and slapping people from all walks of life in the face.

Furthermore, when looking towards future long-term relationships I believe it is important to share core beliefs and values with a partner or detrimental issues are bound to arise. Once again, I don’t believe you should only surround yourself with people who share the exact same political views as you because that can impair your own progress. I like perspective and differing views for my own development, but the fundamental values are key.



October 18

Social Media

My first experiences and memories on social media are pretty blurry, but I do remember a few key points that particularly stand out. For instance, I think I was around nine or ten when I first was introduced to certain apps like Instagram and KiK, which was this messaging service everyone used to use before we all got phones.

I played club soccer around this time, so I was always with my teammates and was in turn seeing them use these apps and posting random and funny pictures to their pages on Instagram.

Soon after I got a KiK myself and it was a fun way to talk to some of my closest friends at the time outside of practice since most of us went to different schools.

In addition, I wasn’t particularly intrigued by Instagram. I hated taking pictures when I was little and nothing changed when social media became more popular. It was more interesting for me to simultaneously scroll through Instagram with my friends on their accounts than to have my own.

It wasn’t until eighth grade that I got my own accounts for Instagram and Snapchat and even now I wouldn’t say I’m particularly addicted to them.

One app that was a gamechanger for me though was YouTube. I will admittedly say that I am fully addicted and can sit and watch videos all day.

There is just an endless spew of content coming from every facet of my interests that has honestly helped me learn a lot about myself and what I truly care about and understand.

For example, there is this whole community of people on YouTube who love to read as much as I do and today most of the books I read come from recommendation videos, hauls, or Goodreads.

I also love watching Ted Talks and music videos, live performances, and interviews with my favorite artists and actors.

Moreover, as I’ve gotten older I can say that I’ve personally had positive experiences with social media as a whole and have realized that it’s an awesome platform to raise awareness for important issues and share your interests with others when used in the proper way.

I was also always very aware of the dangers online especially with a father in law enforcement who never sugar-coated the severity of incidents that occur with young kids especially young girls on these apps. I was fortunate enough to enter the age of social media with this information and to have parents that trusted my judgment and didn’t feel the need to hover.

On another note, I do believe that social media has the power to exacerbate and target the insecurities of a large majority of people online. To these people, I would say focus and turn your attention to the parts of social media that bring you the most joy, whether that be music, makeup, or a sports team.

It’s also easy to focus on the appearance of these new social media stars and celebrities, but I always remember that the content on these apps is not reality most of the time. I also try to follow accounts that share the same mindset and a lot of the same genuine passions as myself, which overall makes experiences on social media a lot better.








October 2

Online Paranoia and Conspiracies

Ba-dump-ba-dump. My mom’s heartbeat sped up in complete and utter panic as she rummaged through her black purse searching hastily for her iPhone. As she looked at my face the dread was clear. It wasn’t anywhere to be seen or heard.

Immediately she called the store we had just been in to check the lost and found. Nothing.

Finally, she hurried to call her cell phone provider to secure and shut down her phone’s applications for fear it was possibly stolen or out in the open for someone to simply access.

Despite passcodes and other security measures, it’s a scary thought that today one device like this holds an uncanny amount of easily accessible personal information once these things are potentially surpassed.

The worst of the worst comes to mind when something like this happens and it’s hard not to fear the consequences of the world wide web where information like this has the possibility to circulate.

In addition, today more than ever anything and everything you can think of can be found on the internet. With this fact comes a sense of insecurity and paranoia surrounding the web as a whole especially as we learn to navigate through the copious amounts of truths and falsities presented.

In this way, I believe that the internet has made people generously more concerned and paranoid in situations such as this one.

Due to this lack of control, I feel as though individuals search for a way to take the power back from the internet by creating concepts and ideas of their own to develop online for others to see and interact with.

In other words, they form various conspiracies across all genres, some of which include aspects of cybersecurity.

Furthermore, though the internet has the possibility to pose dangerous threats it is an outlet to connect with others in a seemingly addictive way. Online communities are often formed and we’ve seen how easy it is for individuals to be easily consumed and infatuated with the ideas and conspiracies introduced for the first time.

Depending on the topic, conspiracies can act as a tool to fill the gaps in particular situations that otherwise would have not made sense. As humans, I think that some part of us strives for things to make sense whether that be for our own personal fantasies or for those with scientific mindsets that revolve around answers.

History is often portrayed from a particular point of view as well and situations pertaining to prominent figures are largely analyzed and theorized by the public.

Conspiracies have become a major part of pop culture and of the everyday rhetoric, especially in politics today.

Moreover, I have never particularly fully believed in any conspiracies that I can think of, but there is definitely a handful out there that I think propose interesting ideas about certain topics.

For example, the conspiracy surrounding the truth about Marilyn Monroe’s death, or the conspiracy regarding the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

In addition, I am definitely more inclined towards and interested in historical conspiracies especially these as I’ve been able to study the Lincoln conspiracy in one of my history classes and I also enjoy watching the conspiracy specials on TV regarding certain celebrities like Marilyn Monroe.