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October 2019

September 2019

Journal #7

Journal Entry #7

How is school going so far?


      I’ve only spent 11 days at Fenn this year, and things are going quite a lot better than how I first thought. As opposed to last year, I fortunately ended up being proven wrong. Math, instead of the stressful, consuming slog of past years, has ended up being easier than English (no offense) and Windsor Mountain was a critical learning moment instead of a boring chore. 

     The goals I laid out at the start of the year are all well on their way to completion. A group visit to Lincoln-Sudbury is planned for boys interested in going, I’m loving Mr. Romero’s Spanish class and learning more than ever, and I have much less stress in my life than I did last year.

     It’s hard to underestimate the peace, the joy, the sense of freedom, that comes with a lack of stress I haven’t had at school since 5th grade. I go to school in the mornings and can fail at learning banjo while Panha draws instead of frantically completing science homework. When I get home, I can make a cup of tea and leisurely read a book before starting my homework, safe in the knowledge I have the time to do so. My work might be hard or boring, take an hour or five minutes, but I fundamentally understand it. Contrary to what I think many of my classmates believe, good grades haven’t come naturally to me at Fenn. The jury is still out on whether or not that’s due to my own incompetence instead of the actual schoolwork, but whatever the cause, I have better grades in almost all my classes than I did at this point last year, and with less effort. Less stress means less procrastination and more productivity, creating a self-repeating and beneficial cycle.


     My worries about math and my advisory, while founded, have been significantly dispelled; Mr. Barker is much less demanding or exacting than Ms. Youk See or Mr. Sanborn, and I have barely any classes with my fellow Cribb advisory members. Even problems I didn’t foresee at the start of the year, like my pneumonia-cold “one-two punch” preventing me from participating in sports at all until last week and fully until mid-October, have been surprisingly easily solved. But, as Fitz has paraphrased from FDR many times, “a calm sea never a captain makes”. These eleven days, sickness nonwithstanding, have been my calm sea. I may be a sailor, but the real test - the important test - lies in the mist of the future. 

Journal #1

The Year Ahead


What could go wrong?

     My 8th grade year isn’t looking as bad as it did at first glance. However, I’m not exactly what one could call optimistic about it. That might just be my anxiety, though - in 7th grade I had similar feelings and ended up having a great year.

    I’m hoping that many of my long-term goals will be achieved. I’ve always wanted to truly master Spanish, and feel that this year is a very good opportunity to work towards being so. Mr. Romero seems like a really good fit, and frankly, anything would be better than Mrs. Gupta was last year. It was a little bit of a letdown to have her as my teacher - I was primed to learn a lot at the start of last year and wasn’t able to - but at least now I’m well on my way.

     Another goal of mine is connecting with the boys I’ll be going to Lincoln-Sudbury with. I’m friends with some of them, but for the most part I don’t even know who’s going where at the end of this year. I expect that will come in time as eighth grade progresses, though. I’ll just have to wait and see.

     Specifying less concrete goals has always been hard for me. I suppose that I want to be less stressed about school work than I was last year. I really don’t know what being relaxed and happy at school even is, much less how to get there. Apart from the relatively easy to achieve goals that I talked about in the last paragraph, I feel more or less lost. Uncertainty about the future has always been on my mind.

     More so than not, that uncertainty tends to send me into a spiral of self-doubt and anxiety about the future. Starting this year has left me feeling the same. When I learned who my fellow advisees were, I honestly felt shocked and blindsided by the choice. As far as I could tell, they were all friendly while none of them were friendly with me. I had seen most of them in class together, and the only one who I’ve had meaningful contact with was the only person in my advisory last year I didn’t get along with. They’re athletic and have been here since fourth grade; I’m neither.

      Another flashpoint of stress is math. I tend to be at the lower end of the accelerated math spectrum at Fenn, meaning I struggle behind some of my more gifted classmates. I’ve ended up just scraping by with a B minus or C plus, and have been kept going by the inspirational encouragement of my last two advisors and math teachers, Mr. Sanborn and Ms. Youk See. They’ve made a huge difference for me, and the expected lack of support from this year’s teacher, Mr. Barker, worries me.

     In conclusion, I’m not sure how to feel about eighth grade. There are things to be worried about, and things to be excited about. As with everything else in life, I’ll figure it out soon enough.