Top Ten Tips for Going Back to School

School just started for most kids, including my sister and I. Going back to school is a big change from the relaxing days of summer. It can be a bit stressful, nerve racking, and even exciting. There are many good things that can be learned or used as tips to comfortably move back into school. Here are my top ten tips for going back to school.

10. About a week before school starts, start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. This way, when the first day of school rolls around, you won’t wake up extremely tired. Going to bed at about 9 to 9:30 PM and then waking up at 6:30 AM allows for plenty of rest and then time to get ready for your first day. This is what works best for my sister and I, but go with what works best for you.

9. Get all of your school supplies before school starts or get them as soon as your teachers tell you what you need. Doing this helps you come prepared and makes you feel more comfortable, knowing that you have all of the stuff you need.

8. Don’t be afraid. This applies mostly when going to a new school. I moved to a big, new high school and going in, it was a little overwhelming. I just had to pull myself together and after that everything was okay.

7. Wear something nice on the first day. When I say this, I don’t mean that you should wear a fancy dress or a suit and tie. This just means that you should dress in something that looks cute and is comfortable to wear.

6. Make a new friend or two. Making a few friends can help ease your troubles about school. They might be able to help you around and keep you company. If you’re new to a school this can be super important because making friends can help you feel less lonely.

5. Get to know your teachers. Getting to know your teachers is important so that you aren’t strangers. This will also help you be more comfortable in their classes.

4. Get involved in your school. This could be drama club, sports, NJHS or NHS, student council, and so on. By getting involved, you can stay busy and show your school spirit.

3. Know where your classes all are. This is especially important for the first day. Knowing where your classes are eliminates time where you frantically searching for each class.

2. Create a schedule and calendar for the year. By doing this, you are preparing you and your family for days that you don’t have school, breaks, and school activities. You can plan your days, weeks, months, etc.

1. Be organized! Staying organized can mean a lot of things. It could mean creating a system for your locker, using folders, using your planner, turning your homework/projects in on time, and keeping your backpack clean. You’ll always know where you belongings are and you’ll do better in school by staying organized.

I really hope this tips help you have a good first day of school and also a great school year! You can also find your own ways to be successful in school. Do your best, stay organized, and have fun!

Top Ten Tips for Going Back to School

Why Drawing is Important

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres said, “Drawing is the honesty of art. To draw does not mean simply to reproduce contours: drawing does not consist merely of line. Drawing is also expression, the inner form, the plane and modeling…” Drawing is something that I really enjoy to do. It can be very helpful for school projects but also for other things. Here are a few things that I believe drawing helps people with and why it is important:

  • Expressing feelings/thoughts/ideas: Drawing is a way to get thoughts and ideas out of your head. When you feel a certain way, like angry, sad, hungry, or excited, you can draw the way you feel.

    Why Drawing is Important
    One of my drawings of a sunset or sunrise.
  • Challenging: This is one of those things that can really challenge you to try your hardest. When you learn to work with different perspectives and shadowing and that kind of stuff, drawing can be difficult. You need to push yourself to get to that next level and get better.

    Why Drawing is Important
    An online drawing I did of a unicorn.
  • Development: Drawing is a great way to develop a person’s creative self. It helps them think and it is a wonderful way to create new ideas.

    Why Drawing is Important
    A drawing of a ball I did for Derwent Art Academy.
  • Helpful: Drawing can be helpful for school projects or assignments. It can make the assignment or project more eye-catching and fun to look at.

    Why Drawing is Important
    A roadrunner drawing I did.
  • Fun: I find drawing to be pretty fun. Others might disagree, but once you get good at drawing it can be a lot of fun. You can create pretty cool pieces and it’s always exciting and fun to see what the final product will be, even if it doesn’t turn out all that amazing.

    Why Drawing is Important
    One of my unfinished pieces of Anna and Elsa from Frozen.
  • Relaxing: Just like painting or doing yoga or writing a poem, drawing can be relaxing. If you get yourself in a quiet area with your sketchbook and pencil, drawing can calm you down and get you in a light, relaxed mood.

Drawing is an important thing in our world and it does a bunch of great things for people. It can help express feelings and thoughts, it is challenging, and it can help develop people’s creativity. Drawing is also helpful, fun, and relaxing. You may not be very good at first but practice makes perfect. If you want to get good, you’ll have to work for it. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a sketchbook and pencil and get drawing!

Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!

There are some things that you never forget in life, like long road trips, time with family in the mountains, and eating brunch at a restaurant where the pancakes are very big. This past weekend, my family traveled about four hundred miles to Farmington, New Mexico. We spent time with our aunt and uncle and grandpa. From our trip, I learned many things about family and traveling.

  • When you have something as big as a pair of crutches, DON’T FORGET THEM! On Sunday, about ten minutes out of Farmington, my mom got ten texts and several calls from my aunt saying that we forgot my crutches. Haha. That was an exciting beginning of our road trip home. So we found a place to turn around and met my uncle at a Dairy Queen in Aztec (which is a town very close to the state border). I got my crutches back and life was good again. Moral of the story is, before you get ready to go back home, double-check and even triple check to make sure you have everything you brought.Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!
  • When visiting family, it’s always good to go and do something fun together. All seven of us (me, my sister, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, and grandpa) went to Hesperus, Colorado to eat breakfast at the Kennebec Café. Yummy! Later on, we drove up the bumpy La Plata Mountains trail. We all did some exploring and there was a lot of picture-taking. Doing this kind of stuff is really good bonding time and you can get some really great pictures.Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!
  • I’m sick of pancakes. When we went to the Kennebec Café for breakfast, the pancakes were HUGE! They tasted amazing but I think I’m going to take a break from pancakes for a while.

    Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!
    So done with pancakes…
  • When traveling by car over a long distance, keep yourself entertained. It’s truly not that fun to just stare out the window for eight straight hours and you can only take naps so many times. My sister and I learned that staying entertained helps the ride seem shorter most of the time. You can do this by watching movies, playing on an iPad, listening to music, talking, and so on.Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!
  • Any family time is good family time. Getting the chance to make memories and have fun with your family is worth it. Even if you aren’t doing the most exciting thing ever, you are still bonding with your family.

Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!

To wrap things up, we all had so much fun this past weekend and the ride home was safe. As a family we made a bunch of great memories. Happy Birthday Dad and Jan! (Today is their birthday.) I can’t wait to go and visit again! And did I mention the pancakes were huge?!

How to Become a More Competitive Volleyball Player

This past week I attended a competitive camp for volleyball. There were so many great things I learned about being a good competitor. Here are a few of the things I learned:

  • The Four Intangibles of a Good Competitor: Confidence, Competitiveness, Commitment, and Character. Confidence means you believe in your skills and know you are a good athlete. Competitiveness is the ability to fight (with character) and want to win and succeed. Commitment is being dedicated to the sport and taking the time to play. Character is your integrity, kindness, respect, self-control, etc. on the court. These are really important and I know I need to work on my competitiveness and when I become stronger with that I will become a better competitor.
  • Play smart and aggressive. Schwarzinstein! (Albert Einstein and Arnold Schwarzenegger). You have to be able to play smart and have a purpose with each decision and shot, like Albert Einstein. You also have to be able to play aggressive and want the ball and hit it hard, like the terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you play just smart or just aggressive you won’t be as successful, you have to be smart and aggressive.
  • Competitiveness Like a Missile Strike: Purposeful, Powerful, Planned, Precise, and Persistent. When you compete you have to have a plan for each player and team you play. You need to have everyone on the team in with the plan and you have to execute it and finish it. Last club season, if I had used this strategy, my team could have beat teams that we didn’t. If we had focused on a mission or a battle plan, and had scouted the other teams, we could have done better. I really hope I can use this, this season and become more competitive.
  • The Eleven Obstacles that Inhibit Competitiveness were also really interesting to learn about. These include: lack of confidence, lack of commitment/interest, lack of focus/purpose, lack of pride, lack of competitive role models, accepting losing, haven’t fully recovered from an injury, seniority rules, being threatened by the alpha on the team, passive personality, and not being socially accepted to compete. When I ranked them for myself I realized what I could work on to make me a stronger competitor. I plan to correct my weaknesses quickly so they become less of a problem.

Overall, it was a very interesting camp and a great learning experience. Even though I couldn’t play, I took in a lot mentally. A lot of this information was taken from How to Develop Relentless Competitors by Jeff Janssen. It’s a great book and it has a lot of great tips and ideas that you can take with you and use in your game. How to Become a More Competitive Volleyball Player

Setters Have to Have Many Abilities and Qualities

Setters are the coaches on the floor. They lead the team and they touch every second ball on their side. Someone with a position that important has to be a person and player with many abilities and qualities. Here are a few of the abilities and qualities setters should have.

  • Servant Leadership: Setters have to lead the team by serving them. They are not selfish, but selfless. Everything they do is for the team and not just themselves.
  • Work Ethic: Setters have to be the hardest workers on their team. Getting every second ball requires a lot of work so they have to be willing to work hard.
  • Deception: As a setter, the job is to set up your hitters with a chance to score and win. By being deceptive, a setter can hold the block and create holes in the defense. This creates a better chance for the hitters to score.
  • Creativity: Setters have to be creative with their sets and all that they do so that the defense is always on their toes, guessing where the next set will go. Setters have to have different moves to get to different balls. Like a setter might do a spin move to get to a close, low ball and might use an outside foot stop move to get to a really low ball that might put them off-balance.
  • A Positive Attitude: As the team leader, a setter has to be encouraging and positive with fellow teammates. They have to have an optimistic attitude. This creates a lighter, happier mood on the court and it can keep the team strong and prevent players from getting down.
  • Communication/Vocal Leadership: Setters have to communicate with their teammates. They have to be able to tell their teammates what play they plan to run and what your opponents are doing with the block and such. This could be in a form of hand signals or actual words.
  • Confidence: Confidence is something a setter MUST have. At the higher levels of volleyball, have you ever seen a setter afraid to make a set or a setter who just isn’t proud of their skills? Of course not! Setters have to believe in their skills and know they are great players.

There are many things that make setters the great players. Setters have to be servant leaders, hard-working players, deceptive, creative, positive and encouraging, communicative, and confident. These abilities and qualities are some of the things that make setters stand out. Without these few things, what would a setter be?

Setters Have to Have Many Abilities and Qualities

In the Boot…

About a week ago, I finally went to a sports/foot specializing doctor for my foot. It had been hurting since last fall after I hurt it in dance class. Anyway, the doctor checked out my foot and took some x-rays. After all of the examining, he looked at the x-rays and found a thin fracture on one of my sesamoid bones. (The sesamoid bone is imbedded in the tendons under your big toe.) So the first step in healing the bone was to put my foot in the boot. Dun…dun…dun… Being the athletic, active person I am, it’s been painful and hard to have to sit on the sidelines. But, it has also been a wonderful learning experience. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far from being in a boot.

  • You see a whole new side of the activities/sports you participate in. I’m a dancer and I also play volleyball and tennis so I’ve watched a lot of sports over this past week so far. You learn to see the strategy from off the court and you can see how other players play and how they hit certain shots.
  • Appreciate being healthy. Be as active as possible when you aren’t sick or injured and take advantage of all of your energy and abilities. When you’re healthy there is so much you can do to improve your health and your game!
  • Follow the doctor’s orders. This one is something I already knew when I first had to start wearing my boot but this really emphasized this point. Following what the doctor says will make it more possible for the fracture to heal correctly and fully.
  • Be patient. I’m in this boot for a whole month (which feels like a decade) and I could possibly be out of sports for two-four months but I’ve learned that it’s going to take time and I’ll just have to wait. It’s better to be out for four months than forever.

This experience in the boot has been very different and challenging. It has also really taught me to appreciate being healthy and understand patience. Now I’ll have to wait for my full recovery and I’ll be back out on the courts soon! 🙂

In the Boot...

In the Boot...
My boot 🙂

 

Meeting Governor Hickenlooper

Wednesday, June 25th, I had the opportunity to go to a press conference set up by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade at Ravenbrick, which is a growing smart window company in Denver. The governor was present and announced six new grantees for the advanced industries program, for the state of Colorado. This included aWhere Inc., DH2i, MBio Diagnostics Inc., Prima-Temp, Inc., Ravenbrick LLC, and Reference Technologies, Inc.

After the six companies were presented their grants, Ravenbrick gave a demonstration of how their smart windows work and gave a tour of the factory. The windows are smart because they are created with two panes of glass with a piece of film in between the two. When the temperature gets higher, the windows darken, reducing heat and glare and when the temperature drops, the windows remain clear, letting in heat and light.

After the excitement with the conference and the tour, my sister and I had the chance go and meet Governor Hickenlooper. We talked to him and he was very intelligent, funny, and kind. He asked my sister and I if we were going to be entrepreneurs and we both responded with a yes. He also told a few cute stories about his son Teddy.

It was an exciting day to go to my first press conference, tour a high-tech manufacturer, and meet Governor Hickenlooper. Definitely a day to remember.

Meeting Governor Hickenlooper

 

Setting Goals – Does it Help?

On the way to my past tennis tournament this Sunday, the topic of coaching tips came up. John Dunning, the volleyball coach at Stanford, has his girls from the team write at least three goals that they want to accomplish by the end of practice. They can be physical, tactical or strategic, mental, nutritional, leadership, and so forth. Both my sister and I found this very interesting and decided to give it a try for the tennis tournament.

I set three goals for myself:

  1. Smartly place my cross court shots. (tactical/strategic goal)
  2. Stay positive and use every point as a learning experience. (mental goal)
  3. Stay hydrated and save energy. (nutritional goal)

I played five matches throughout Saturday and Sunday and there were several things I noticed from setting the goals. I’ll give examples from a few of the matches I played.

Match 1

Goal 1: accomplished

Goal 2: sort of accomplished

Goal 3: accomplished

Conclusion: Goal 2 was partially accomplished but, I wasn’t always in the right mindset during the match. Sometimes I was very focused and positive about the task at hand and other times I was out of it and careful about hitting the ball. My other two goals were met though. From this match I realized that by not meeting all of my goals, I lost the match. I thought there could be a relationship between setting goals and the match results.

Match 3

Goal 1: accomplished

Goal 2: accomplished

Goal 3: accomplished

Conclusion: I accomplished all of my goals for this match. I was relaxed, played smart, and stayed hydrated. By having goals to accomplish, I feel that they helped me win the match.

Match 5

Goal 1: accomplished

Goal 2: accomplished

Goal 3: accomplished

Conclusion: Looking at the results from my third match, you would think, “Oh, she won that last match, right?” Wrong, actually. My last match was a very good one and I played hard; however, my unforced errors or “gimme points” cost me big time. Even though I did meet all of my goals, I did not win the match. This was in contrast with my idea that setting goals can help you win matches.  What it showed is that it is more important to focus on performance than outcome.

So, setting goals for you is a very good thing to do whether it’s tennis, volleyball, soccer, academics, or just life in general! It helps you think about what you can do to get better and keeps you from being so worried about the outcome. From my last match at the tournament, I wasn’t discouraged about the outcome at all. I was focused on the goals I had set for myself and I was pleased that I accomplished them. I felt like I had a successful tournament by setting goals and seeing accomplishments made throughout the weekend. Setting goals can make you more successful in all that you do.

Setting goals improves your serving and your game.
Setting goals improves your serving and your game.

Tennis Tips for Tournaments

This past weekend I participated in a satellite or challenger tennis tournament in Fort Collins, Colorado. There were several tennis tips that I learned from this tournament that I want to share with others.

  1. Stay focused throughout the points and match. You have to stay focused on what you want to accomplish and how you want to execute your shots otherwise your opponent can take advantage of you and win a few points and even a game or two.
  2. Hit the ball in and play smart. You could have the best forehands or the best backhand slice shots in the world but if you can’t hit the ball in or return it back to your opponent then you can’t compete and the match is pretty much lost. And if you only push it down the middle or beat the crud out of the ball every time you go up to the net, then your game won’t be at the level you might want it to be. If you have a selection of shots and place the ball according to how your opponent is playing or how you want to win the point, then you will be much better off.
  3. Stay active if there is a rain delay or a delay of any sort. This weekend, due to the rain we had a four hour rain delay. I found that it was better to stay patient and warm during the delay so that when I got to play, I was ready to go, and I wasn’t stiff on the court. Check the weather often too so you’ll know when you could possibly play next and you’ll be ready for your next match.
  4. Stay positive. It’s important to stay positive while you play so that you stay relaxed and play your best. If you get down on yourself you start to miss more shots, you get upset, your confidence goes down, and your playing level goes down, and then you just end up in this big hole that you dug yourself into. To prevent this, when you miss a ground stroke or a serve or a volley just think to yourself, “I’ll get it in this time,” or, “Here we go, next point.” These kinds of things go through my head and this past weekend, they helped me be successful mentally even if I lost a match.

Welcome to a Few of My Favorite Things!

Welcome to “A Few of My Favorite Things”! I will discuss a few of my favorite things on this blog. This includes tennis, volleyball, dance, photography, modeling, books, art, dogs, and so on. I will post blogs every Sunday, so check back every Sunday for a new blog!

I really look forward to sharing my life experiences, stories, tips, ideas, poems, and much more with you guys.

Thanks so much for taking the time to look at my blog. I hope you find it helpful, inspiring, funny, and enjoyable to read. Enjoy!

Favorite Photos Lightning Project