How to Cope with Shattered Dreams? (Just Another College Rejection Post)

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(Me, at UC Berkeley during spring break in April 2013 for a college visit)

 

The first time I stepped onto the campus of UC Berkeley in Northern California, I was 9 years old and in the fourth grade.  It was during a visit to Napa, California to see my mom’s best friend.  She took us on a tour of the campus on the way to a Chocolate Factory nearby, called Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker.  I still remember all of it clearly, as if it happened yesterday.

From the very first moment I arrived at Cal, something in my heart told me that this is the place I want to attend in the future.  I was stunned, mesmerized, and fell completely in love with everything about that school.  I remember standing in front of that very same administration building (as in the picture above) and announcing to the world in my childish voice “This is where I’ll be registering when I attend UC Berkeley!!!!!!” My mom and her friend chuckled amusingly at my declaration, and remarked that I have a tendency to pursue a goal with obstinate determination.  Since then, UC Berkeley became my official “dream school”, almost an obsession.  It was the dream school I told people when I graduated from elementary school, middle school, and throughout high school.  I googled statistics of students who got admitted to Cal on College Confidential endlessly.  I did all the research I could possibly do to make sure I got in.  Of course, it has occurred to me throughout the years the possibility of rejection, but I usually dismissed the thought quickly and hoped for the best.  After my visit last spring break, it only confirmed and increased my desire to attend that school. When people ask me why I want to go to UC Berkeley, I just smile stupidly and say that the school is simply perfect.  To some, Berkeley is just a prestigious school in California.  To me, it was much much more.  It was the vision of my future.

On Thursday, March 27th of 2014, I received my rejection letter.  My mom had the camera out, filming, and captured my reaction on her phone.  My dad was sitting next to me, just as nervous.

“Dear Valerie,

Thank you for applying to UC Berkeley. After careful consideration of your credentials, I am sorry to inform you that UC Berkeley is unable to offer you admission for the Fall 2014.”  

Crash.  I could literally hear the sound of my dream shattering into a million pieces, then thrown at my face. Just like that, a simple automated message on their admissions portal, the dream that I have fomented over the course of 9 years dissipated into thin air.  My English teacher gave an interesting analogy in class.  He said getting rejected from your dream school, is like having a huge crush on a boy at school, finally working up the courage to confess your feelings, then getting turned down.  The rejection happens in a matter of seconds, but the feeling had existed for years.  For the past few days, I have been feeling very lost and frustrated.  Even though a year from now, I will probably think back to this time with scorn and amusement, as of right now, I can’t imagine myself going to any other university for the next four years.  I know people usually end these kinds of posts saying they have moved on, found peace, learned life lessons from the experience.  But I think that sometimes it’s okay to be sad about a loss, and to express your true feelings.  

I didn’t mean for this to be a desperate, whiny kind of post.  I just wanted to get my thoughts and feelings out there, in order to help myself move on.  Right now, I have no idea what college to attend although I know that I have gotten acceptances to wonderful universities.  To all of the people who have gotten accepted to Cal or any first choice school, I sincerely offer my congratulations and happiness. It must be the best feeling in the world to get accepted to your top choice university, it’s a moment I wish I could’ve had the privilege to enjoy, and I wish you the best. I hope you all will love this school as much as I have, and enjoy the best time of your lives.  To those who have also gotten rejected from your first choice, trust me, I feel your pain and am currently squatting in the same boat.  To whomever reads this blog post, please comment and share your story or advice if you’ve been through a similar situation, anything will help :)!

I’m just going to throw in some (nostalgic) pictures of the time when I could still afford to hope

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Defeating Senioritis: Musings of a High School Senior

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“…for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose–a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

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After finishing Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I’ve had time to ponder some of the themes and moral lessons I’ve learned from the novel.  Yes, it is true that Victor Frankenstein pushed the boundaries of science and selfishly created a creature in order to achieve scientific glory.  But I have to give him credit for his stunning dedication and amazing work ethic throughout the entire process.  His academic achievement at Ingolstadt is laudatory, and his eagerness to learn and pursue his passions is exemplary.  While I was reading the novel, I was impressed and awed by his intellectual vitality and curiosity.  His behavior made me pause and reflect on my performance at school.  I’m well into my senior year of high school, and the infamous ‘senioritis’  is starting to kick in and show some inevitable symptoms.  However, after reading Frankenstein I’ve determined to beat the deadly senioritis and finish my senior year strong.  I will adopt Victor Frankenstein’s intellectual spirit as my own, and pursue my studies with increased vigor and motivation.

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-Valerie

Be Inspirational

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If you are are a musician, you know how fun it can be to perform. The adrenaline is running through your veins and you know the audience is there to see you. This is an amazing sensation and it can be what you live and breathe for. However, if you are playing something that isn’t very difficult or that you play a lot, it may get a bit boring. As a result, you may not perform at your best with your full, conscious effort every time.

This is something you should try to avoid. Keep in mind that at every performance, someone will be there that will never see you perform again. That means this is your chance to leave a positive, lasting impression upon him or her. Your performance on one particular day will form someone’s opinion of you, so keep up your effort and give each performance everything you’ve got.

In addition, your performance may inspire a listener to be a musician as well. If you look bored and lackadaisical, you will not be very inspirational to anyone. Giving an exciting performance and giving it your all, getting into it and loving every moment of what you are doing, may be just the push someone needs to decide that he or she will be a musician. To hold back would be to deprive some listeners of that future.

This same idea can apply to any other pursuit, whether it be sports or dentistry. If you put in your all and get into what you’re doing, you will leave a good impression and inspire others to pursue the same path.

-Jonathan

Conquer Test Anxiety! The Magic of Music

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You know that feeling.  Your heart starts to pump faster.  Beads of sweat form on the palms of your hands.  You are experiencing something called test anxiety.  examination stress

If you have ever been a student, you are well-acquainted with this phenomenon.  A major exam is taking place next period, but for some odd reason you can’t seem to remember any of the material you studied last night for three hours.  Could it just be a major brain fart? It’s more likely that you are too nervous, and the panic is clouding your memory and affecting your tranquility.

There is no need to fear.  It is always a good idea to step into a classroom with confidence and courage before a test in order to maintain a calm state of mind.  However, it is understandable if achieving this state of mind is a challenge.  That’s why Classical Music is here to help! It has been scientifically proven that listening to classical music while studying or taking a test improves memory and performance.  It’s called the ‘Mozart Effect’.  Personally, I know that listening to classical music while taking a test works wonders on my nerves.  My AP Economics teacher would play classical every time we take the essay portion of our tests.  I truly thank her for doing this simple act of kindness, because the music helped me achieve an A in the class.  I also find that listening to classical music while studying helps me focus and concentrate; thereby allowing me to retain most of the information.

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So the next time you are stressing out for an upcoming exam, stop for a second, breathe, and tune in to classical music.  You will be amazed at the results!

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-Valerie

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My Jazz Band!

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My Jazz Band!

This is a recording of my jazz band, called Operation Jazz, playing “Moondance” by Van Morrison. I just wanted to share it with you so that you readers might be inspired. We just started this band a couple months ago and look what we can do! This is for any aspiring musicians out there: Don’t be afraid to start up your own group. At the very least you will have fun!

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Compliments Week

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Compliments Week

Check out my blog for a project I’m working on called Compliments Week, part of the IdeaFM Movement. This project is a week long event during which students at FVHS will write anonymous compliments to each other on provided slips of paper. At the end of the week, the compliments are collected and made into a paper chain that will hang in their classroom for everyone to read and enjoy. The goal of the Compliments Week Project is to combat negativity and bullying that takes place at school or at home, and to spread compassion through a simple act of kindness. Please follow this blog for updates and progress of the project and spread the word, Thank you!

Also ‘like’ the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/complimentsweek

addtext_com_MjIzNjMwMTM2NTg-Valerie

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Animals Love Music Too!

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It is well known that music is enjoyed and appreciated by people all around the world. But did you know that animals love music too? I just had to share this viral Youtube video, now approaching 11 million views, of an adorable Golden Retriever who is visibly affected by his owner’s guitar playing. Once the guitar stops, the dog’s grin vanishes and he stops nodding his head to the beat. Once the guitar starts again, he moves with the groove and smiles blissfully. Music has the power to not only reach out to different cultures, but to different species as well. Enjoy!

-Valerie

The Scene-Setter Called Music

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What are the images that come into your mind when you listen to music? When listening to a slow, plodding piece written in a minor key, you may think of a funeral or a graveyard. When listening to a fast, furious flurry of instruments, you may see a busy city. Reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet, I realized that it can also go in the opposite direction.

As I read through the scenes of the play, I found myself thinking of music that matched the mood. I also noticed that particular literary strategies evoked different music. One of the most striking examples of this is Hamlet’s famous “to be or not to be” soliloquy. When I read a soliloquy, I imagine a solo violin playing high and with lots of emotion, creating a solemn atmosphere. The scene in which Hamlet first meets the ghost of his father suggests a quiet, dissonant musical accompaniment. And the final scene of the play in which several people are killed makes me imagine music with a lot of low, tuba notes and trilling violins and woodwinds to create tension and suspense.

I personally find it amazing that the mere vibrations of air molecules can be detected by our brains and interpreted in such emotional ways. Enjoy to the fullest this amazing gift we humans have.

-Jonathan

Ophelia’s Song in Hamlet

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Singing appears a handful of times in Shakespeare’s renowned play, Hamlet.  The role of singing and songs in Hamlet is crucial to the affect on tone and mood.  Therefore, Shakespeare uses it sparingly and only when it is absolutely necessary to the message of the scene.  For example, after the death of Polonius, Ophelia loses her wits and begins to sing as a means of communication.  Her haunting, heart-wrenching songs create a dreamy and mysterious atmosphere which sharply contrasts with the vengeance-driven scenes of Hamlet.  Although from the surface she appears to be a pitiful lunatic, the lyrics of her songs contain a deeper message to the audience and characters.

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-Valerie