I’ve been back at school for almost a month now, but the semester hasn’t really kicked into gear until this week. And one of my teachers said something with regard to her class, and it really resonated with me. She said that, twice a year, each student gets a chance to reinvent themselves. The grades don’t carry over. The longest non-summer vacation time has just taken place. It’s a clean slate.
Well, as clean as any slate can be for a high school student.
But I am determined to clean mine as much as is possible.
I let things slide a little last semester. Okay, a lot. I overloaded, and it was bad.
Since then, I’ve cleared a little space in my schedule, and I’ve reorganized. I’m working ahead, and I have an hour or two more almost every day that I didn’t have last semester. More than that, I know what it is to be in the place I was in at the end of last semester, and I am determined not to end up there again. So I’m cleaning up my act.
I was efficient before. I had to be, because I knew that if I was not efficient, I would crash and burn within seconds, and then that would spiral into more crashes and burns further down the road.
I learned from that. I shut down social media much more readily now. I sit down to work, and I work, until everything is finished. I’ve built up strong relationships with all of my teachers, to the point where I can ask for an extension if necessary, or where I feel comfortable asking if I can modify an assignment here or there. The point is, I’ve gotten really good at doing nine or ten hours of work in fewer than five or seven hours.
But now, I make sure that I also have time to read a book or two every day or two. I put on a TV show a couple of times a week. I don’t rush through eating dinner with my mom and dad. I don’t find myself frantically doing homework in the car, for fear that it won’t get done otherwise. I have time to write during the day, and I’ve finally picked up speed on a long-term project again—I was in a bit of a slump while working on edits for Touchstones, my book (more information on that later—there will be an official “THIS BOOK IS PUBLISHED” post), and then in another slump right after NaNo, when I ran out of steam on my revisions.
I’m in a much better place, and I have a little bit of room to breathe.
Of course, I know that my breathing space is a bit limited, and I know that it will diminish in a week or so, when Touchstones is finally, officially published, and also when track season starts.
I also know that even if I’m in a better place now than I was a month ago, I’m still probably overloaded, and I don’t have any guarantee that I won’t end up in the exact same downward spiral at the end of this semester.
But I can do my best, and last semester, I didn’t even have the spare time to do that.
I’m not trying to say “new semester, new me.” I’m not a different person.
I’m actually trying to say “new semester, old me.” Because really, I haven’t been me for a while. I spent so much time being stressed out and freaking out that I had to work to smile. And that isn’t me. I refuse to let it be. So I’m going to use this semester, and any time I might have gained back, to reintroduce myself to the world.
Let’s start here.
Hi, I’m Maxxe. Nice to meet you. How are you?
Oh, it is good to be me again.