Goodbye to an Era

Today, I said goodbye to my school. I’ve been there my whole life, and as of now, I am no longer a student there.

I said goodbye to some friendships. I know that even if I try to hold on and keep going, they will slip out of my grasp.

I said goodbye to wonderful teachers. I’m going to miss them and their classes dreadfully.

I said goodbye to an era. It was hard.

It’s harder to know that my school friends are all boys, and they don’t understand the emotions I’m moving through right now. They don’t understand their role in those emotions.

Today, I met so many people that I’ve only ever known as names on screens. I put faces to classmates. Some I hadn’t interacted with in years. Some I call my friends. However, none of my friends were particularly good to me. They have all let me down, one way or another. As a whole, they’ve each left me with the burden of maintaining our friendship.

Perhaps that was why the most striking moment of my day came from someone I never called friend. Someone I never saw eye to eye with.

I was walking back through the halls after the ceremony. I’d collected my diploma and was passing the line of students still awaiting theirs.

He stretched his hand out to me for a shake. “Congratulations, Lexi,” he said.

I’m sure my face reflected the surprise I felt, but I shook his hand. “Thanks, Matt, you too.”

How is it that those I called friend could feel like anything but friends on this day: our high school graduation? And yet, some people I never took the time to know blew me away.

I can’t help but be sad to wave goodbye to a precious time in my life. My sadness doubles when I realize I have no one to talk to about it. It triples when I remember those I should be able to talk to don’t actually care. I’m finally pushed to tears when I acknowledge those I call friend aren’t really friends after all.

It was a good day. Dear friends and family made the long drive to come watch me wobble across a stage in heels. The ceremony was shorter than I expected, and it was sweet. The speeches were humble and honorable. The video I contributed to was well received. I sat beside two wonderful people. However, the greatest part of my day was being called onto the stage with seven other students to receive specialized department awards; being wrapped up in a hug with my favorite teacher. Finally feeling…justified, in front of my peers.

I am ready for the new era. I’m ready for deep and meaningful friendships. I’m ready for college and trying to be a grown-up.

Deep inside, I will always miss my childhood and my school. But I think that it’s a good sign that I feel ready to fly away.

Build-A-World Workshop

As a published author, I tend to think I know some things about the novel writing process.

As a teenager, I acknowledge that I actually don’t know a whole lot.

One aspect of novel writing that I struggle with, most likely from a lack of experience, is world building. There are countless aspects that go into creating your own world. No matter how much meticulous planning goes into your creation, there is always something being overlooked. I’ve put at least a year into my current project, and I’m still nowhere near complete.

Naturally, then, I would be one of the least qualified people to put together a world-building guide. Right?

Right?

Apparently, as a published author, I have an unnatural amount of self-confidence.

As an almost-graduated senior, I have a strong desire to avoid Physics homework.

Somehow, those two aspects came together to make…Build-A-World Workshop.

It’s far from a comprehensive guide, but I think I did a nice job on it. It features one of my favorite fonts; a magical fairy guide; and some amazing creative commons pictures, including one of a unicorn (man, I’m a nerd). Even though it just asks some basic questions, it should be able to spur more thoughts.

Sometimes, people don’t take into consideration how the economy of a country might have to function. The levels of technology available, whether to scientists or the common man. How people get their food. Occupations and how they’re perceived. Gender roles. Where money comes from. What lies beyond the town, the country, the continent, the planet, the galaxy. The history, both of the characters and of their world. The presence of religion, or lack thereof. What cultural differences exist between people. Rich heritage from different places. The vegetation, types of animals, climate, seasons, terrain, and weather.

Can anyone truly capture the insanity and detail that is world-building? Probably not. But I gave it my best shot!

And then I did my Physics homework.

How to Alienate a Girl

I had low expectations going in, not going to lie. Still, I will never turn down the opportunity to spend time with a friend: especially not in this season of life. Despite my fears and dread, I decided to do this. Although, I wasn’t expecting too much.

I’ve known the guy for years. I’d never met him because of the nature of the cyber-charter school, but I knew him. In sophomore year, we worked very well together on a project. He was fun, engaging, and friendly. I knew all about who he was and what he planned on doing some day.

Then junior year began, and he didn’t treat me very kindly. I don’t mean to be rude, but I honestly didn’t know what was the matter with him. He would constantly poke and jab at me, offering derogatory comments–usually regarding something I was already insecure about. I didn’t know why, but I remembered the guy from sophomore year, so I pushed on. I told my one friend who questioned my pushing that “I don’t give up on friendships”.

Perhaps I should have.

Senior year was a mess. He never tried to talk to me. Never asked about me. Never started a conversation. He would simply answer a question within a week or so of my contacting him. So when I had the opportunity to see him, for the first time, I knew it wasn’t going to be great. But I remembered the guy from sophomore year. He was great. The senior version of him wasn’t as wonderful, but maybe that sophomore kid was still in there, somewhere.

Despite my low expectations, the evening was even worse than I had anticipated. I didn’t think that there was much he could do to make the entire situation even worse for me, but he found a way.

And now, I don’t want to be his friend. I have given up on that friendship. I have no idea where that sophomore boy went, but I miss him. I wish he was still around. And I wish I could have met him before he disappeared.

Cherish your friendships before they change. Sometimes the people you care about will disappear when you aren’t looking. By then, it’s too late to get them back.

Why I’m Not Entirely Hating College Anymore

If you keep up with my blog, you’re well aware of my apprehension towards college and higher education in general. I’ve poured out a lot of my feelings, frustrations, and fears into this blog. However, in the recent month, I’ve been almost warming up to college. Here’s a couple of reasons why.

1) New Experiences.

At first, I didn’t like the idea of new experiences. I’m one of those people who has a great fear of the unknown. However, I’m coming to realize that most of what I’m involved with is going to slip away after this year, and what am I going to spend all my time on? Certainly not Robotics. Definitely not camp. I’ve got to start something new to make up for my lack of busyness.

2) Spiritual Growth.

Complete honesty right now: I’m not in a place in my life where I feel like I’m growing a lot in my faith. There, I said it. My spiritual environment has been really weird this fall; I’ve missed a lot of church because I’ve been serving at camp, and my youth group has all but stopped meeting. Not that youth group was an incredibly spiritually growing environment in the first place, but it was something. I’m ready to be around like-minded people and really grow. (This isn’t to say I can’t use the opportunities God is giving me right now to grow. I don’t believe He’s holding me in some kind of “in-between place” where I can’t grow. I need to make the best of the opportunities He gives me.)

3) New Friends.

This may be the thing I’m most excited for, which is kind of funny to me, but it’s totally true: I’m thrilled to be making new friends. As I look over my life so far, I’ve noticed that a lot of my childhood friends aren’t really my friends any longer. Most people I’ve known for this season of my life will be slipping away sooner rather than later. I’m ready to meet some forever friends, guys! If anyone has read the Christy Miller books, you know the kind of friends I mean. I’m so excited to meet some people who will be a part of my life for the rest of my life. I need best friends, and college will give me a way to get that.

All this said, I’m also kind of concerned about how this is going to play out. I’ve been accepted into two colleges thus far, but I haven’t been earnestly seeking where God wants me to go. I guess we’ll find out where He puts me when He tells me. His timing, not mine.

Also, it feels great to use contractions again. All I’ve been writing lately is formal essays for my AP Language class, and contractions are hugely a no-no. I’ll have to return again soon to revel in my literary freedom.

Whipped Cream and Fried Fish

I’m in the middle of my third week of my senior year. It’s been pretty eventful so far. I have three classes this semester: AP English Language and Composition; Probability and Statistics; and Latin.

On the first day of class, my AP teacher essentially told us we were doomed. It was terrifying, as she recounted the stories of honors students the previous year who had ended the class with a C. C. Such horrors, we wished not to comprehend. I quickly emailed my friends and told them that we were going to become the Fantastic Four – whether they wanted to or not. I am Invisible Girl, and the others distributed their roles as Mr. Fantastic, The Human Torch, and The Thing as needed.

On the second day of class, I was actually working at camp. When I came home, I had a series of emails from my buddies that went something like:

“I don’t want to die.”
“I’m sure she’s exaggerating.”
“But what if she’s not and we all fail?!”

The recording of class revealed another bout of depressing doom.

On the third day of class, the Human Torch jumped ship. We are the Fantastic Three, now, but we do have an opening for Spider-Man.

So far, stress has been at every turn. I have so much to juggle, and let’s be honest, I’m a lousy juggler; I can do two at a time, but that’s totally cheating, and the moment you add a third ball in the air, everything comes crashing down.

Best of all, my brain is becoming preoccupied with creative ideas. For example, last night when I went to bed, my brain decided to sing Disney songs until suddenly, I had another idea for another parody. I don’t have time for another parody, but then I couldn’t sleep. Another idea for Robotics suddenly came to me, and my mind was racing a mile a minute. The night before that, I was mentally working on book stuff.

I kind of need my sleep.

I hope to update you in the future with more of my adventures. As for the title, those are inside jokes with The Thing; we are honestly some of the weirdest people I’ve ever known. But I couldn’t think of a more appropriate title.

A General Update on Life as a Teenage Author (Yahoo)

So, that was a fancy title. I’m afraid the following post won’t be anywhere near as fancy, considering it will most likely cover school, Robotics, books, even camp.

First off, I started 11th grade. Yahoo! Actually, not really “yahoo”. This is apparently the last normal year before college and graduating and all that sappy stuff. My classes are exciting, to an extent, I guess. I mean, who doesn’t love math and learning to drive? I don’t. It probably depends on the person.

I ran for President of the Robotics Club I’m in! You guys remember that weird thing I have, with guinea pigs living inside my stomach who like to try and make my life miserable? (If I haven’t covered this before, it’d make a great blog post.) Basically, I practiced my speech and what I wanted to say for three weeks, then got super nervous, sprinkle in my guinea-pigs-of-horror, and yeah. I didn’t get elected. Yahoo.

As I’ve probably been screaming for about a month, I published my newest book, Soar! That was really exciting, and I’m thrilled that it’s finally published. In fact, I’ve been so thrilled that I’ve bombarded my blogs with posts about it; created new Facebook pages (and been that super annoying person who asks their friends to like a random page); and perhaps most dangerous of all, started making little quote pictures, as is the theme image for this post. If you want to see more, you can go to my Alexis Dingeldein Facebook Page and look at the album I have. They’re super cute. And also really time-consuming.

Also, camp? Camp is amazing, camp is fun. I should write a whole blog post about my babysitting experiences at camp, lately. You know what? I think I’ll do that. But not right now. It’s midnight, and I want to sleep.

I’m a teenager, it’s what we do. We sleep from about 2 or 3 AM until after noon, and then we mope about being tired.

So, this was my general update on life as a teenage author. Basically, I’m like all of the other teens. I just happen to have books on Amazon that I look up wayyyy too many times per day. Heh.

Sleep well, everyone!

Yahoo.

Life is Robotics, Robotics is Life

Y’all, I have been so busy that it isn’t even funny.

Recently, I did a presentation at school about book publication, and I joked, “This is my life. Wake up. School. Breathe. Robotics. Sleep. And it cycles.”

As of now, Team 4050 has completed their fourth FRC Build Season. It was quite a challenge, filled with the juggling of members and responsibilities. I led my friends, with their help, through the challenges of scouting without a mentor. Scouting, essentially, is the examination of the FRC Game, and determining how we can figure out two things using math and Microsoft Excel–is the robot doing their portion of the work, and is their portion compatible with our robot. Without scouting, our robotics team couldn’t get far at competition.

I love my robotics club, and everyone in it. However, with only six weeks to design and build our robot, this team can easily take over my life. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

As it is, I’m excited to get my fourth book edited and published. I’ve got a ton of schoolwork this semester–Algebra, Biology, and Modern World Studies. How does life get so busy?

I have all sorts of things I could tell you about, but my time doesn’t seem to allow it.

I wish I could think of a fun story to share with you, but I can’t seem to come up with one.

This is an unusual post. I feel as if there should be a lesson to be learned.

Let’s call this an update. Maybe I can just update people on occasion.

Also, the theme picture is a photo of my Robotics Club!

Huzzah for scattered thoughts!

School Pride

This week is School Pride week at my place of education–and who knows, maybe several other places of education are also holding a school pride week. To celebrate, they announced that students may enter a photo contest showing their school pride. The photos would be posted to Facebook, and the most likes by the end of the week would win an iPad mini.

I’m also currently losing the contest badly. I can’t compete with pets that some people so craftily included (I kid, I kid). And as much as I will say that I’m a mean high schooler who will willingly crush small children’s dreams, I’m not so sure I care about the contest anymore.

In an attempt to rally voters, I’ve tried to make my case. Why people should “vote” for my photo. And I’ve realized how much my school has done for me in so many aspects.

When I was really, really little, I met a family that became my best friends for several years. They had five kids, and as an only child, their house was amazing to me. I probably wouldn’t have run into them anywhere else, and would have lost that fun friendship that I still hold today.

When I got a little bit older, maybe fifth grade, I met my next best friend. We did everything together until she moved across the country three years later. She was actually a really close neighbor, but I wouldn’t have ever gone poking at the doors to find her. School made that happen.

In seventh grade, I joined a club in a group called SOAR. It was headed up by one of my favorite teachers, and they told us about this really cool thing: National Novel Writing Month. I quickly came up with a story idea, and with the support of SOAR, wrote my first novel.

Even in eighth grade, after SOAR had been dismantled, I wrote another novel in a month. The flexibility that my school has always provided me helped me with that. Even without SOAR, my school was still pushing me forward.

Ninth grade was a good year. I made a buddy-like pact with two guys. One of them had been in SOAR, too, and the other one was a guy from my Robotics Team, but I wouldn’t have ever been friends with him without school. They were my go-to people for help with Math, and we always worked together in English class. Even though the group of three Chess-Keteers might get split up in the future, it was so valuable in my freshmen year.

And now, this year, my tenth grade year, one I’m still experiencing. My school still has Writer’s Nook, a huge help with my writing. There’s nothing like reading a piece that your characters say with all the emotion you can muster and your peers giving you a burst of applause.

I’m so grateful to my school, and I can’t really say “thank you” enough for all the experiences you’ve given me through SOAR, outings, and with some of the amazing teachers I’ve had.

I know that probably wasn’t as cool as a dog with a pencil in his mouth ready to get some learn on. But it’s the truth. And I’m glad I said it.

Sweaty Toothed Mad Man

My father is the pastor of the small church that we’ve attended since before I was born. He tends to find kingdom principles in pretty much everything, and it’s how I’ve been raised. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to looked at things that don’t particularly have a God stamp on them and say, “Oh, yeah. There’s God in that.”

One example of this is my English class. It’s a pretty awesome class; we hardly ever learn about things like grammar or vocabulary. You’ll never log in to English and hear the teacher say, “Ready to dissect some sentences for an hour and a half?” I guess that makes sense–it is a Literature class.

That being said, the class studies a lot of works by various authors, looking at the philosophical aspects and opening the writings up to interpretation. I mean, what do you expect? God has nearly entirely been disconnected from school.

Anyway, we have this really cool quote from a dude named Emerson (also known as a sweaty toothed mad man), and it states, “Envy is ignorance…imitation is suicide.”

Isn’t that a cool quote? After a bit of dissection, you can practically hear a pop star singing, “Follow your heart” in the background. Maybe a couple of fireworks here and there. Because the quote is saying to be yourself. Don’t envy other people! Admire yourself. Don’t imitate other people! That’s cutting off what makes you you.

Now, to bring my awesome dad into this, who can even find kingdom principles in a football game–he’s raised me to see these principles. Maybe he’s not even trying to do so, but he is. And so when I see this quote, I see God.

Don’t envy other people. Why do you want to be what others are? God has a fantastic plan for your life. That’s right, a plan for you. You, right there. The one reading this. Why would you want to imitate others and give up on what God has for you? Why ignore his plan? Why sacrifice yourself and who He made you to be, all because someone else’s grass looked a little bit greener?

This quote by the sweaty toothed mad man could be shown in Jeremiah 29:11.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Add God into the equation. He’s going to be there, anyway.