AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL EXPECTATIONS

I start my junior year in the US on Monday, and surprisingly, i am cool as a cucumber (cut to Monday morning though, and i’ll be whimpering in my room). Me and my friends back in Bombay used to be so envious of the high school traditions they have here – prom, punch bowls, school games, spirit week, cheerleaders?! All we had was farewells with strict dress codes, jalebi’s, and “cheering” 8th graders who just wanted to be house captain next year #desiproblems. But, who am i kidding, we loved it 🙂

Now I get to see the real deal. So here are some American high school expectations I have. WARNING: they may or may not be heavily influenced by High School Musical.

  1. Prom/Homecoming

Possibly the first thing that comes into most peoples’ minds when they think American High School. Im expecting Prom King and Queen posters plastered all over the school, girls picking dresses a month before prom actually happens, all the sappy stuff they show in the movies. Do teenage girls seriously wear the puffy bride-like dresses to prom? I don’t know, but i’m expecting it. Somebody better spike the punch bowl too. If it happened in Glee it probably happens irl, right?

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2. School games

This one is probably my highest held expectation. My school has a gorgeous football field, with a big arch over the entrance that says “Vikings Stadium” (speaking of which, every school in the US’s mascot seems to be the Vikings or the Wildcats – c’mon schools, you can be more original). Taylor Swifts “You Belong With Me” video set the bar high on this one – im talking bands, cheerleaders,  the entire school on the bleachers! The Quarterback and the Cheer captain have to be a school power couple too, its not American High School without that.

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3. Gunk for lunch in the cafeteria

Im just gonna leave this picture here.

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4. Extremely passionate people

Coming from an incredibly academically driven school in India, im used to having most of my classmates into liberal arts, engineering, medicine. I didn’t mean to go all brown stereotype on you, I have aspiring musicians, cricketers, psychologists, and actresses too, but our school forced us to be focused on academia as well. Here, I’m expecting the “theatre kids,” “band geeks” “basketball jocks,” “skater dudes,” “cheer girls,” and everything in between.  Multiple categories of personality types! And each will have their own lunch table of course.

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5. Lockers

I know I’m not the only one on this – me and my girls have sat down and fantasized about having nice lockers all in a row. Having your best friends locker next to you, decorating your lockers, it being the place you go to between classes – ooh ooh and slipping notes into other peoples lockers! Our desi-style 10kg backpacks full of textbooks gave us back problems, so high school lockers better be as cool as we think they are.

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I’ll find out on Monday how realistic my expectations are. Until then, lets hope i don’t drop my lunch all over myself on my first day of school! Wish me luck! 🙂

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SADNESS IS OKAY

Disney released a new Pixar movie Inside Out, and I have never been more moved by a movie. Seriously. The movie revolves around characters of 5 primary emotions in a young girl Riley’s mind (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust) and how they control her brain to make her feel the way she does. Ultimately, moral of the movie was that it’s okay to embrace your sadness.

I walked out of that movie confused as heck.

I identified myself as the character of Joy in the movie – always trying her best to keep Riley happy, and trying to keep Sadness away from Riley’s emotion control –, which is exactly what I do. But when the movie conveyed what it did, I was left wondering why I used up so much of my mental energy doing so. Maybe it is okay to be sad sometimes?

So over the past week I embraced any sadness I felt. Moving usually brings sadness with it, so I embraced it instead of hitting it with a baseball bat. You might wonder what I mean by embracing it – I spoke to my parents about how I felt, I allowed myself to be comforted, I listened to a sad playlist on Spotify and ate some ice cream. It felt AWESOME.

After I went through the whole cycle of feeling upset I actually felt better! Acknowledging those feelings instead of smushing them away got rid of so much tension – tension I didn’t even know I had – and in turn made it so much easier to look at the silver lining. My silver lining is being able to study journalism this semester at school. What’s yours?

What is important though, is to make sure you get out of the cycle. Dealing with your feelings of sadness does not mean getting stuck in them, or you’ll end up being sad forever.

Here are few ways to snap out of the cycle (or to celebrate getting out of it).

  • That ice cream shop you’ve always wanted to check out? Go try it. Yes, now. Or bake some kickass cookies and then eat them.

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  • Is it a bright summer day outside? Go ride a bike. Or go running. Or go swimming!

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  • Watch your favorite sitcom, or one of those movies are so-bad-that-they’re-good.

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So if you’re feeling sad right now, just embrace it – the most learning comes out of sadness anyway.

A similar idea from one of my favourite YouTubers humblethepoet: check it out here!

BEING AN OPTIMIST SUCKS

I’m interning at this awesome start-up called HubbNow, and I’m having a great time. I started blogging for the startup and that’s actually what got me to start this blog – its pretty fun! And my boss is great. I was slowly getting used to the sadness from moving away from my boyfriend and friends, so overall, I was actually feeling pretty okay. Now in this “okay” state of mine, a gift from the universe came – my internship was going to fly me to Bombay to work, where I could visit my friends for 2 weeks.

Let me explain. So the whole HubbNow team will be in the Bombay office because of the launch of the product, so they were going to fly me down too. For reference, when my boss told me I could come, this is what my face looked like:

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I WAS SO HAPPY. I was sending texts to my friends in Mumbai like “TAKE THIS AS A LIFE LESSON THE UNIVERSE ALWAYS REWARDS YOU FOR HARD WORK AND NOW I GET TO COME HOME FOR 2 WEEKS.” Yes I know, I’m a real interesting friend to have. I was on top of the world for like 4 hours, waiting for my boss to call my parents and figure out logistics etc. But then a couple complications came up, and I was brought down to earth because there were still things that could go wrong.

But I’m a full time optimist. So I was still extremely happy and excited.

One by one, all those complications were solved – I got a TB test I needed to get we rescheduled things so I’d have those 2 weeks free… it was all good, and my optimism stayed put as usual.

But then as my parents correctly so pointed out, I’m just an intern, they don’t really have an urgency to fly me down to Bombay, so they may decide to not. But my optimism kept telling me that they still might. Bad move, optimism.

So over the past 4 days, I’ve played out scenarios of how I’ll surprise my friends and boyfriend, what presents I’ll take home for them, what I’ll wear to the Mumbai office etc. It had been 4 days, and I hadn’t heard back from my boss yet, so I was slowly realizing that I might not actually go. This morning, I got the email saying I’m not going. Which brings me to my point – being an optimist kind of sucks.

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My optimism had put me at an all time high, I was ridiculously happy. But because of that, the disappointment and dejection I felt when I found out was also MASSIVE. I always knew that being an optimist comes along with disappointments, but I have never fully realized it until now, because this is one of the worst situations I’ve been in – alone in California away from all my friends and my boyfriend. So if you’re an optimist, know the following things:

  • You’re going to have some disappointments, because outcomes aren’t always great.
  • You’re going to have to be a full time optimist and make the best out of disappointments too if you want to be happy.
  • There will be times when being an optimist is the hardest things ever and it will suck (like it is for me right now) and you may even hope that you never were an optimist.
  • But, in the long run, optimism is a great mindset to have. I do think every optimist should have a realist in their life (or a dash of realism in their personality) to keep them on earth though. Shoutout to the realist in my life, you know who you are 😉

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As for me, I’m still feeling low. I’m just hoping my feelings will sort themselves out. Not feeling up to the whole optimist thing, but I have to make myself be if I’m going to be happy.

Yashvi Tibrewal