“I’m thinking of you” is a warm blanket

I had a shitty day today. I guess the stress of my grade leading up to Nov. 1st has gotten to me. Tensions are high and even if I feel good about everything, being in that environment has bled into my mood. Nonetheless, tonight before I got into bed, I sat to reflect about 3 things that sparked joy today — a typical part of my routine. I know, I sound awfully pretentious. But, It’s true! On my list, along with lovely car time with Hazel at Model United Nations and actually understanding my math homework, there was a text I received from my long-distance friend Lauren.
Lauren and I met at camp when we were younger but we really clicked her last summer going there. Since 2019, we’ve only gotten to see each other once or twice a year, and usually for no longer than a meal or two. And while we merely comment on each other’s Be-Reals and have an occasional lengthy call, I feel so connected to Lauren as a true friend. I know that she is constantly rooting for me and that the next time I’m in Los Angeles or she’s in Chicago and we get in the car together, it will feel like no time has passed.
Today, Lauren sent me a song on Spotify and said “I feel like you’d vibe with this song.” Seeing this was a breath of fresh air on a suffocating day. It was almost therapeutic to hear from Lauren and to know that she was thinking of me. We both have a lot going on right now with college applications and extracurricular pursuits and we don’t currently have plans to see each other in the near future. However, it was a nice reminder that someone I adore and admire is thinking of me. A reminder that I have so much love in my life.
Lauren and I have gotten good at the whole digital love language thing, the same way I have with a lot of my friends who are in college or even live one town over. As I get older, my definition of a good friendship changes. We are all so busy, and sometimes it can be daunting and even stressful to pick up the phone and catch up with a friend. “They don’t know anything about the people in this story” or “they wouldn’t understand this school tradition.” But the occasional “this made me think of you” text, random FaceTime, Tik Tok tag, or even voicemail (yeah I still leave voicemails :/) goes a long way in maintaining the friendships worth keeping in your life — the friendships that feel like no time has passed when you are together.
I try to do this as much as possible, and it’s totally organic. I find I am constantly thinking about the people I love. The vulnerable and the challenging part comes with letting them know. But it’s not that hard. And it goes a long way.
So to Lauren, I love you, and I loved the song. And to all my other friends who check in and send me love digitally, I appreciate you. The reminders of your love brighten my days.
Text your friends no matter how long it has been, I promise they will be happy to hear from you. 🙂


Seasonal Allergies

I have really bad seasonal allergies. Every year, to signify the end of summer, to make the brutal transition even worse, my body reacts to the change in temperature with swollen hands and feet and heinous hives all over. Today, I felt that pain. My feet filled with some sort of fluid, making every step intolerable, my hands so immobile that holding a pen meant great pain and bringing my water bottle to my lips was no easy task.

I started with Benadryl and then moved on to the typical steroid my allergist prescribes. I wished the pain away, unsure how I would be able to focus myself and fight through the discomfort to get my schoolwork done for the day, to make it out of bed for some food. But, a small part of me didn’t want this discomfort to end. I guess I didn’t feel ready to feel good again. As I winced when I put pressure on my feet, I couldn’t remember the ease of just walking. The way my feet feel on the ground the other 364 days of the year. It’s kind of like when you have a cold for a few days, and you forget what it’s like to breathe normally, without thinking. The discomfort I was feeling today helped me to recognize the before when my brain wasn’t caught up in my discomfort. This reminded me that tomorrow, or the next day when the meds kick in I’ll be able to hold onto my pencil no problem, I’ll stop feeling itchy everywhere, and I’ll jump on my feet without pain. Hopefully, I’ll remember not to take it for granted

Feeling the pain, most of the time is the only way to acknowledge the before. Sometimes, I want to hold onto the pain because I’m not ready to go back to the me before. After all, things have changed now that I’ve felt the pain. But pain and discomfort are necessary for growth – for not taking the before for granted. For recognizing the value in ourselves, the way we can walk with ease, take care of ourselves, make each other laugh, and learn about the world. Now, I feel ready to go back to before, to feel like myself again.

and it would be nice if my hives went away too.

A Junior Year “Good Student”

Junior Year is hard. I filled up my schedule with rigorous classes and engaging extracurriculars that leave little time to relax. While this is the most rewarding school year I’ve experienced, it’s the toughest too. Junior year is notoriously the year that gets you into college, and these colleges are allegedly on the hunt for “good students”, but with so many extracurricular opportunities and advanced learners, what even is a good student in this day and age?

Honestly, I have absolutely no idea what a “good student” means to me. I’m sure I should be saying that “owning your knowledge” or “following your passions” makes you a good student but I don’t even remotely live by those principles. At the beginning of my junior year, I made a goal to commit to delving deep into the curriculum and not merely getting by, but two months later and here I am, writing this post with hours of homework ahead of me after working on extracurricular projects and ACT all weekend. Don’t get me wrong I do try to go beyond memorization and often ask questions and do further research to expand my knowledge beyond the classroom curriculum. I’m a sucker for a good Crash Course video on yesterday’s EURO topic or a Wikipedia search on today’s author in LANG. I’m certainly engaged in class and strive to display understanding through work and participation. Additionally, my extracurriculars and endeavors mirror my passion for helping others, writing, travel, international relations, politics, and sleep. I’ve been successful in my goal to use everyday experiences and interests to cultivate productive extracurriculars like this blog or my involvement in Coalition Z (A youth-led political organization). These traits are what many would classify as those of a “good student” and I wish they were what I valued most, but I can’t say that with true conviction. These skills might get me credit from my parents, teachers, and peers but in the grand scheme of things, the system that evaluates me as I step towards higher education looks most closely at THEIR definition of a “good student”. Wouldn’t it make sense for me to value that same definition? There’s a correlation between my gpa and ACT score sitting at the top of my resume and my grades page on Schoology always being open on my computer. The higher education system values first and foremost those numbers they see at the top of the page. They do get a small window into what kind of student I am through recommendations and essays, and I’m hopeful that those will paint me in a positive light and give me an extra push through the door. However, I need to be the “good student” that colleges define quantitatively to even open that door. At most schools I hope to matriculate at, there are universally accepted benchmarks to even be considered. What I’m trying to say is that I recognize that a “good student” cares more about what they take away from their education rather than their grade, but I can’t in good conscience fully adopt that “redefined” definition. Until the higher education system changes to accommodate this definition, I’m going to keep believing in and striving to be their idea of a “good student” because that’s what I’ve been taught all my life,  and doesn’t a “good student” put their educators’ advice into practice?

Read with Dyl: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Out of all the books I read at camp this summer, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was definitely my favorite. I came to camp with a bin full of books and a pre-determined order of how I would read them. This book was not in that bin or that order, but because of how much buzz it was getting around camp, I borrowed a friends copy and started reading it immediately. On the first day of getting my hands on a copy, I was already halfway done; I just could not put it down.

I had heard about Taylor Jenkins Reid’s impeccable writing and incredible characters on Tik Tok, but I was not prepared for her true genius. The characters she created felt so real they were almost tangible. I felt like I was watching a movie as the images floated from the pages into my brain. Never have I had so much ease seeing the words I was reading. With each page, I fell more and more in love with Evelyn Hugo and began to feel real life empathy for her.

The book depicts an interview Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo gives to a young writer – Monique Grant. As she tells her life story and recounts her relationship with each of her seven ex-husbands you get to know Evelyn as if you lived her life alongside her. Evelyn is an incredibly complex character whose story is enthralling to follow. In the end, her story is connected to her interviewers in a tragic twist. Its glamour and scandal make it a dazzling piece of fiction. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the definition of a page-turner that will captivate any reader.

Read with Dyl: The Woman Destroyed

I’m spending the summer as a CIT at my favorite place… camp! Although this year, as a counselor, I have technology at my disposal, and like always I have been reading a ton. Reading at camp brings me so much joy and is a great way to get some quiet relaxation time in a cabin full of loud, hormonal, teenage girls. My love for reading blossomed at camp and keeps my brain fresh over the summer. 

The first book I’ve finished this summer is The Woman Destroyed by Simone De Beauvoir. I read about Beauvoir in my AP European History textbook, as her non-fiction work The Second Sex was at the forefront of second wave feminism. The second-wave feminism movement focused on issues of equality and discrimination. It forced people to look into their personal lives and reflect on sexist power structures. The Second Sex confronted human history from a feminist perspective, acknowledging the issue that what it means to be a woman is given by men. Simone De Beauvoir was an engaged feminist who combined philosophical and literary work with political action to create real change for women. The Woman Destroyed, published in 1967 is one of Beauvoir’s many works of fiction.

The Woman Destroyed tells the story of three adult women facing unexpected crises. The first depicts a retired woman still full of life and passion, and her husband, a man who feels his age begins to isolate himself as a result. The challenge for the woman to maintain her spirit while accommodating her husband and encouraging him to continue enjoying life is exhausting. As a young person reading this, it’s incredibly eye-opening and insightful and reminds me to enjoy my life and surround myself with others who want the same. The second story relayed the story of a woman’s internal conflict, as she sorts through her loneliness and bitter attitude. Personally, the second chapter didn’t move me as deeply as the others. The Third, and by far the most incredible story was that of a woman in her forties who finds out her husband is having an affair, then watches her marriage unravel and her husband fall in love with another woman. As she begins to lose herself and question her entire life she falls into a depressive state depicted by Beauvoir raw and organic diction. What is the most fascinating for me as a reader is the clear generational gap. In 1967 when the book was written women could not speak up for themselves in the way they are starting to in the twenty-first century. The woman is not in a position to stop her husbands’ affair or speak up about its effects on her mental health. The man (surprise, surprise) holds all the power. Other small details show the age of the book such as normalizing the use of sleeping pills and other now regulated drugs, outdated leisure activities, and references no longer relevant. 

Simone De Beauvoir’s writing is exceptional. The small details make the larger story sing.  She captures the female brain and emotion in a way that is perfectly accurate and still relevant today. You feel empathy for these women because you are these women, no matter your age or time period. Beauvoir’s insight into the female life inspires you to study yourself and what you want out of your future. The Woman Destroyed is a timeless piece of fiction that I highly recommend. 

Travel with Dyl: NYC

I recently went on a weekend trip to New York to celebrate my Great Grandma’s 90th birthday. It was an incredible trip and I was so happy to spend time with my family. We stayed on the Upper East Side and stayed uptown for most of the trip. The weather was amazing and everyone was out and about. With new CDC guidelines and vaccinations, it was incredibly exciting to see a return to normalcy in the city.


Maison Pickle

Maison Pickle is located on the Upper West Side. You definitely need to come here with a group and an empty stomach. We started with the frosted cinna’nut pull apart bread. It was delicious, but I think if I go back I would try the savory garlic ones. My cousins and I did great ordering with the entrees. We shared the berries n’ cream challah french toast, the fried chicken french toast, and the mac n cheese. We also got two orders of their homemade pickles, which were amazing.

Nobu Fifty Seven

Nobu, is 100% worth the hype in every single city. If you order correctly, the quality and craftsmanship is incredible. We love the yellowtail jalapeño, crispy rice and spicy tuna, rock shrimp, and the sashimi salad. Pictured above is an assortment of sushi and the delicious warm crab hand roll.


Nothing beats a NY bagel. There’s a bagel shop on every few blocks, but we stumbled into Pick-A-Bagel on the Upper East Side for lunch before my brother Jared and I took on The Met. My order is kind of strange – egg, cream cheese, and tomato on an everything bagel, but it is delicious! We ate our bagels on the steps of The Met, Gossip Girl style.


The Met

Jared and I are art nerds, so the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a must visit. We didn’t just stop in, we carved out all of Monday morning before our flight to spend there. As an AP European History student, the European painting section was my favorite. My favorite pieces on display were “The Storm” by Cot, Monet’s “Garden at Sainte-Adresse”, and Lucas Cranach the Elder’s “Judith with the Head of Holofernes”.

Central Park

We lucked out with the weather as it was warm and sunny the entire trip. Right after we got settled in the hotel, Jared and I walked around Central Park for a few hours. People were dancing at the Bethesda Terrace, having picnics by the water, and enjoying the nice weather.

More Fun


I’m a huge SNL fan, so on Friday night when we found ourselves near the Rainbow Room we of course walked over. There was a small group of people gathered outside, waiting for the cast to come out after rehearsal. We ate our ice cream there and I got to meet Michael Che, Melissa Villaseñor, and Alex Moffat!

Van Leeuwen

I had seen Van Leeuwen Ice Cream all over instagram, so I was excited to try it after Nobu. I kept it classic with cookies ‘n cream which was creamy and delicious. My mom got Peanut Butter Brownie Chip, which was AMAZING but super rich.

GG’s 90th!

On Saturday, we spent the day in the suburbs celebrating my Great Grandma’s 90th birthday. We took professional photos, had lunch and cake, and enjoyed one another’s company. While it was only a small group because of COVID it was a day full of love and happiness. I am so thankful to have my GG in my life!

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yom HaShoah, Israel’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, begins on the evening of April 7th. A day where we mourn the six million lives lost, and pledge to never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust. As a descendent of Holocaust survivors, it is my duty to stand up and ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten and never repeated. Since I was in 8th grade, I’ve been a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Teen Committee. In the past few years, we have planned multiple events and programs to educate Illinois teens about the Holocaust and genocide prevention as a whole. Due to COVID-19 limitations, this year we will be hosting an April online fundraiser as well as an exciting virtual event. The Zoom event will take place on Sunday, April 18th from 1-2 pm CST, if you are interested in attending please email me at theyoungadultcontact@gmail.com – all are welcome. The money raised in our fundraiser goes directly to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. Visiting this museum with my classmates on our 8th grade trip to Washington DC was incredibly eyeopening and impactful, as it surely is for the millions of visitors each year. If you want to contribute to our fundraiser and help me reach my goal please visit https://give.ushmm.org/fundraiser/3177270

Blogging With A Purpose

You might have noticed something new when visiting theyoungadult today, Ads! I have decided to monetize my blog to create tangible change in my community and the world. 100% of all money made on theyoungadult will be donated to organizations that I am a part of and feel passionate about. I’m so excited to help others by doing something I love. All earnings on this post will be donated to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum through our April fundraiser. If you cannot donate directly, please share this post with others to create revenue and spread the importance of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Travel with Dyl: Palm Beach

I’ve been in Boca Raton, Florida for the last few months and have gone to Palm Beach more than I would have ever thought. It’s the perfect place to walk around, shop and eat. The dressed-up atmosphere instantly makes you feel like you are on vacation. Here are some of my favorite things in Palm Beach.


Pizza Al Fresco

Pizza Al Fresco is situated in a courtyard of an alleyway off Worth Avenue. It’s like a little Italian paradise. The outdoor seating is great for both lunch and dinner. For lunch, I like to share a pizza and get a Panzanella salad. For dinner, it’s pizza and lots of amazing homemade pasta!

Sant Ambroeus

Sant Ambroeus is in the Royal Poinciana Plaza and has tons of outdoor seating. A hot spot from New York, it has a delicious burger and chicken sandwich, and the fluffiest pancakes. I like to grab their famous iced cappuccino to-go, to carry with me while I shop.

Lola 41

Lola 41 is the restaurant in the new Palm Beach White Elephant hotel. It’s my favorite kind of restaurant, one where you can have a little of everything. We shared all the food family style, enjoying lobster fried rice, mac and cheese, poke “Nachos”, and the most delicious sushi. While it was a little too crowded for COVID, tasting the food makes it obvious as to why this is a new hot spot.


Trevini wins the best Italian food in Palm Beach according to my G-pa. He is right, the food here is amazing. My mom and I shared eggplant parmesan and an eggplant ravioli dish with pesto and marinara. Yum!


The Royal Poinciana Plaza

This outdoor mall is a great place to go if you are looking to shop for popular brands. This mall houses both Sant Ambroeus and Celis which are both included in this post. I love looking into LoveShackFancy and Alice and Olivia for fashion inspiration and have so much fun in Stoney Clover looking at their fun patches. If you are looking for even more high end, this mall has the Palm Beach Hermes and YSL.

Worth Avenue

Worth Avenue is a famous attraction of Palm Beach. It’s more for window shopping and walking around but you can often find cute boutiques in the alleyways. One day when walking along Worth Avenue I stumbled into Raptis Rare Books and was fascinated by all of the first editions and classic books on display. If you are into history or literature – this place is a must-see. Additionally, as an art lover, I love exploring the plethora of high-end galleries along the busy street. Worth Avenue has something for everybody if you look for it.

More Fun


In Royal Poinciana Plaza, Celis is the perfect place for a quick bite or snack. Pictured here with my Sant Ambroeus drinks is their acai bowl, and as you can assume by the thick layer of peanut butter, it is to die for. Celis also has delicious sandwiches, toasts, smoothies, and juices. My favorite juice is orange, carrot, lemon, and apple – sometimes with a dash of turmeric.

Restoration Hardware

Shopping and Eating are two of my favorite things! On the way up to the RH rooftop, you can browse the furniture and design and then as you reach the top of the stairs it opens up to a gorgeous dining area. The food is incredible and I recommend the fries and the avocado toast.

Fear of Missing Out

FOMO or fear of missing out has become a new reality for me this winter. In pre-pandemic times if I went away for the weekend with my family or out to dinner on a Saturday night I wasn’t too upset about missing plans with my friends as I saw them all week and knew that I would see them soon after.

A new type of FOMO I am experiencing is in relation to COVID. My family and I have been strict about who we see and our COVID-safety protocols and I believe that this is a responsible thing to do. On the other hand, I see people who are a little more relaxed having sleepovers or gathering in larger groups and while I know this is not recommended, I have a FOMO that isn’t necessarily about me longing to be there, but more that I want to do that too, because it looks fun and I want to pretend that life is “normal” again. This mostly comes from social media as I see celebrities or people I’m not as close with living more loosely. We don’t get to see the direct consequences of their actions on social media but we can look to the case count on the news to see the harsh reality more broadly. It’s hard because when you see so many people going about their lives, it normalizes it and you crave those same experiences. As much as I want to go out and have a good time, I have to remember that in my strictness I have been preserving the health of myself and my loved ones, something I don’t want to risk.

On a more personal note, I have been in Florida for a few months now and plan to stay here for the remainder of the winter. Although I know I’m so lucky to be here in a COVID safe environment and that this weather and atmosphere is better for me, I have been experiencing a lot of FOMO when I see my friends together on social media. I have fun in different ways here with my family and recognize my privilege to even be having this issue. I don’t think this FOMO comes from the fact that we are in different states as I am happy here, it’s really because my friend group became my whole world once we were able to safely see friends again over the summer and into the fall. We didn’t all split up for camp like usual and we couldn’t really hang out with other groups and see other friends as we could with our central friend group. Almost every time we would hang out everyone was there as no one was out of town or had other fun things to do. I don’t get to see my friends at school everyday anymore and if I do it’s just in tiny boxes on a screen. I am no longer seeing these people that were my only social exposure and I have trouble coping with that.

In my experiencing fear of missing out I have learned a few good ways to combat both COVID FOMO and Friend FOMO. I remember that I can’t have it all, safety and big fun or Florida and my friends. So I chose to be present and thankful for my safety and situation. I turn my phone off and don’t continue looking at the upsetting social media posts, limiting my exposure. I try to remember that the grass isn’t always greener and people often seem happier on social media then in real life. After all this I do something that matters to me, like watching a movie, going for a walk, or baking a treat, which usually puts me in a better mood. Most importantly, I seek out real social connections, mostly with my mom in person but I also make an effort to call friends and catch up. This clears my head and makes me feel fortunate for my environment and the people who stay a large part of my life no matter the distance.

FOMO is a subconscious reality as we can’t see the people and do the fun things we want without risking our health in a COVID world. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I encourage everyone to choose others health over their own enjoyment until we get there.

Setting Ourselves Up for Success in Second Semester

I’m so excited to be getting advice from the founder of Rainbow EDU Consulting, Cindy Chanin. Rainbow EDU Consulting & Tutoring, founded in 2005, approaches education holistically by finding students passions to cultivate a thirst for learning. Unlike the standardized, one-size-fits-all school system, Rainbow’s approach to socialization, learning style, personal interests, and formal education processes work to reinforce one another. This organic approach not only helps students achieve higher levels of academic success but also increases their sense of purpose in life and strengthens their self-esteem. Cindy is a fantastic mentor for students and focuses on creating an appreciation for education by connecting what a student is learning to their passions and future aspirations. She has a stellar record in helping students reach their goals and always gives an encouraging and insightful point of view. She has helped students gain admission to top colleges and has served as an admissions officer for Yale and USC where she earned her degrees. I am fortunate to have attended her Rainbow EDU panels over the summer where I got to hear from her and other important figures in the world of education and college admissions. Her guidance has helped set me up for success and I am thrilled to be able to share her advice with my audience.

For students whose grades are struggling in a remote setting…

Cindy eased my worries when she expressed that colleges know that grades in this setting are no longer a clear representation of a student. With some schools in person and others online, everyone is receiving a very different learning experience. Schools that pride themselves on their rigor and won’t loosen their curriculum and schools that have been more accommodating during the pandemic are not comparable. Colleges will be more focused on narratives rather than extracurriculars or grades, looking for how you helped your family, community and yourself during the pandemic, a more universal experience.

What students should do with all their time at home…

As someone who has had a lot of trouble seeking out projects that feel important in a pandemic setting, I was inspired by Cindy’s encouragement to delve into my narrative, doing something that excites me and sets me apart. In using this unusual time to learn more about ourselves in a meaningful way, we can develop new skill sets or create amazing things to be passionate about – like making an Etsy, starting an initiative, or learning code.

For overwhelmed students to deal with the stressors of school at home all day…

1. Acknowledge the stress – Cindy is an education expert who works with all different kinds of kids and sees the overwhelming feeling brought onto students with the pandemic. Recognizing and validating that the stress we are experiencing is normal and reasonable – as nothing going on in our lives is normal – is the first step to relieving it.

2. Avoid monotony – In a normal school day, we get up in between classes and move around giving our brain a change of scenery and time to relax. Try to simulate the school day at home, either switching from room to room in your house or getting a family workspace rotation going so everyone gets the benefits of variety. What is most important is separating your areas of relaxation from your areas of work and learning. Cindy’s message – Don’t do school from bed. You deserve your relaxation space to be just that, and your brain is already acclimated to that being a place to relax. If working in your bedroom is your best option, sit up at a desk or create a partition in your room to separate work from play.

3. Take time to make time – I often find myself wondering where all the time in my day went and feel overwhelmed and stuck to my screen. When this happens, I push off my workouts, reading time, or relaxing plan for that day to get my work done. Cindy has helped me look at it from a better perspective. By taking away the things that clear my mind and help me relax, I’m not helping my productivity but rather hurting it. Even if I make the time to stretch for 10 minutes or step outside for a bit, I am clearing my brain in a way that allows for productivity and release of stress.

For students who feel a loss of connection with their teachers…

It can seem daunting to reach out to teachers that you’ve only seen on screen. Cindy recommends that you pick a teacher who seems cool and interesting to you, reach out via email and ask to meet during office hours, or ask them how they are doing in this time, share an epiphany you’ve had in their class or during the pandemic. Teachers are adjusting to these changes as well and showing that you care and want to create a teacher-student connection by frequently reaching out, asking questions, and valuing their advice helps them get to know you.

Recently, a teacher let me out of class early on an especially busy day. Because of this, I was able to fit a 20-minute yoga class into my day which surely saved me from a mid-day crying fit or TikTok binge. To show my gratitude, I emailed the teacher to thank her for letting us out and the impact it had on my day. She was incredibly appreciative of my reaching out to thank her and I could tell that I had made her day better by reassuring her that her caring nature was coming through the screen.

For students to get more out of their education and learning…

Make your learning interesting to you. Call a friend and talk about something you found fun in class, engage and teach your parents what you are learning at the dinner table, or connect your curriculum to your everyday life and things happening on the news. School is about learning and growing your brain and identity no matter how menial a subject may seem. Your grades are important but not as important as learning the information to set you up for a bright future. By making your learning relevant to you, you become more interested and inclined to learn further or delve into smaller facets with independent research.

For students struggling to create a balanced class schedule…

Picking your classes should not be determined by what you think others would like to see but rather finding the schedule that best fits you. When deciding on a class, ask yourself why are you taking it? How is it valuable to you? How does it fit into your narrative? Does it play into your strengths? Are you interested in it? A brutal workload doesn’t serve anyone, but in navigating your choices class by class you can decide if the time you might gain from taking a baseline class rather than an honors or AP course would be productive and meaningful to you. Also, you need to shape your schedule based on your school, if the AP politics teacher is known to be horrendous, you can look at other options like taking it at a community college or advocating for an independent study. At the end of the day, colleges do want to see that you can handle the rigor and work hard in school, but you need to weigh the possibility of a lower overall GPA of baseline classes with potentially having the extra time to start new endeavors that diversify you and powerfully shape your narrative.

For students who want to perform better in the second semester…

Cindy reminded me that at this point in the year, we know our teachers and can anticipate their patterns and act accordingly. Setting yourself up for success begins with reflecting on what worked in the first semester and what did not. Even just creating a list of little things that you can adjust will make a big difference. Be proactive this semester. Don’t wait for things to happen to you or for things to change. Seek out shifts and be the change you want to see in your education. Shift your mindset to make virtual learning and COVID into something that’s happening for you not happening to you – so that you can accept it and work through it. Make time to celebrate the little wins in your life, whatever that looks like to you: getting balloons, having a dance party, or sharing your accomplishment with friends and family. Most importantly, be grateful for what you have now – as it will attract more things to be grateful for in this uncertain and challenging time. Treat this as an adventure… the first semester has given you the tools and a sense of familiarity to now work towards a positive change in your education.