Category Archives: Dani’s Download

Surviving High School

Hi teens!

Since starting high school, I have begun to think back at my previous ideas of what I thought it would be like to be a high schooler. Before actually being a high schooler, I had these strange ideas about it.  Most of these stereotypical ideas I picked up from TV shows and movies I watched while growing up. Because of my obsession with teen films as a kid, I expected to walk into high school and there be an instant sense of “drama”. I was expecting a school full cliques and I imagined myself not being able to fit into any of them. (Typical movie plot… I know).

I could picture some “mean girl” going out of her way to try and make others feel like they don’t belong, (the plot continues) and I often imagined that her target would be me.

Another shattered “stereotype” was that it would be a scene out of High School Musical. Obviously I didn’t expect students to burst into song at random moments of the day, but I did expect the “Troy” to my “Gabriela” to welcome me into school. (A girl can dream).

Last, but not least, I believed that I wouldn’t really be noticed. I thought making friends would be a challenge, and that the overall experience wouldn’t be all that great. Boy was I wrong! I have not yet experienced any sort of “drama” since starting high school and, honestly, I am quite relieved. The cliques don’t seem to exist, and everyone has been EXTREMELY kind.

Unfortunately, I have not yet found my Troy, but what can you do?

So far, my high school experience has been nothing short of wonderful!

My advice is to be social once you get there. Join clubs, take classes you wouldn’t usually take, and strive to be a good student and person.

Like with most other things in our lives, do not allow your pre-conceived ideas to impact your experience. I’m hoping that my high school years will be some of the best moments of my life.

So far, so good..
-Dani

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

I want you to picture a young girl sitting in the stands at a ballgame. She’s accompanied by her dad, and maybe even her grandfather. You are able to notice the absolute joy on her face as the innings go by, and as she becomes more intrigued with the game itself.
That little girl was me; (and honestly is still me today). The beloved American sport of baseball has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. I used to walk by my grandfather as he sat and observed the game silently from his chair at home. The voices of the sports commentators from the TV often remind me of those little moments I shared with my grandpa.
When I started growing up, my dad made sure to take me to these baseball games to give me a feel for the sport. I began to enjoy it more than any other sport I had watched before. Over the years my love for baseball began to grow, but for different reasons.
Although I found the game incredibly interesting and intriguing, it began to mean a little more to me than before. I no longer was able to attend these games with the frequency that I used to. This time apart from the sport has made my love for it grow increasingly because of what it has come to mean to me.
Now, when I think of baseball, I picture all of the amazing memories I made with my dad in those days at the ballpark. I think about the happiness it brought me and him.
This sport also reminds me so much about the passion my grandfather had for it, and how happy he was to know that I was enjoying it just as much.
Making memories are so important!
Without them, we have nothing to look back on about the times we spent with those who we love.
I’ll be forever thankful for those memories that I hold so close to my heart, and I think that we must make sure to continue to make memories will all those whom we hold dear.
-Dani

Be-YOU-tiful

Be-You-tiful…

Hey Teens!

In this post I’d like to talk to you guys about something that I struggle with on a daily basis.

As im, that many times we’ll choose to do certain things that we think are “cool”. We will see other kids our age acting a certain way, or saying different things. In those moments, we think to ourselves “How can I be like them?”, “Am I cool enough to actually hang out with them?”, and “What can I do for them to like me?”

All of this stems from our desire to fit in. We want to know what our identity really is, and because of this, we end up making some dumb decisions along the way.

Sometimes it’s something really small like making a rude remark, but other times it isn’t that minuscule. You might end up being involved with the wrong group, and not only are they punished if something bad occurs, but you would have to suffer the consequences as well.

Today, when I experience these moments, I try to remind myself that there is no need for validation from another teenager who is trying to figure out who they are too. I try to recall the person I know I am, and I make sure to really analyze every situation that I could possibly put myself in.

My main message here is to make sure that YOU know who YOU are. You must be strong willed, and most of all, you need to stand up for what you know is right and wrong. I also want you to know that you are an AMAZING person, and you don’t have to act like anyone other than yourself! BE YOU.

-Dani

Who Is Your Idol?

When growing up, each of us have these moments where we admire certain people, an idol. We will have these “role models” that usually represent something important for us.

Over the years, these role models always end up changing.

As we grow, we have different interests, and different ideas about who we want to be. These role models almost always begin to become more of a temporary thing once these ideas start to change.

When you think back to your first memories as a little kid, the one person you probably longed to meet was someone like Elmo or Barney. Now, of course, your whole idea about who you want to admire most likely does not involve a puppet, or a singing dinosaur (but to each their own).

The thing about Elmo and Barney was that they were pretty amazing examples to follow. They represented kindness, joy, and how to show your love and friendship towards other people. If you sit and think about who your role models are today, what do they really represent?

Most of the time, we follow the examples of well known celebrities who really shouldn’t be influencing the lives of younger people. Pretty much everything they represent only has the ability to affect a child in a negative way. They encourage certain ideas that someone growing up and discovering who they are should not be following.

Taking all of this into consideration, we need to realize who the people we admire are, and whether they actually have wise words to say. People, and young teens in particular, should question who they consider their “idols”. “How have you changed as a person after beginning to follow the example of your idol?” “Is this going to affect you positively or negatively?”

And finally, “Is your idol the kind of person you want to become?”

-Dani

Those Hurtful Little Comments

Those little comments..they truly do hurt.

Bullying is something that presents itself in every child’s life at one point or another. Sometimes it’s the unfortunate event of being bullied by someone, or it’s the event in which you have the option of bullying another person. The question becomes, “What is bullying?” and “How does it present itself?”.

One automatically imagines the scene of this big kid picking on a helpless little boy by the lockers at school. Although this unfortunately can be the case, it can occur in many different ways, in many different environments, and to many different people.

One might experience the effects of bullying in public settings as they’re trying to do something they enjoy. Others might experience it online with the increase use of social media platforms to communicate with one another.

When it comes to who the person actually saying those hateful comments is, you never know. Teens often think that the people closest to them could never say rude comments, or put them down.

Sadly, those teens are mistaken. Even though it is a sad thought, the people that we call our close friends can surprise us and show us their true character when they start to make certain negative comments over time. The comments said by those who you trust most, are the comments that are likely to stick with you and the ones that are likely to shape who you are as an individual. People might think that those “little jokes” mean nothing, but little do they know that a person can be genuinely hurt on the inside. My advice is just to be an all around kind person.

Be mindful of the things you are saying to the people around you, and know that those words have the power to really affect others.

~Dani

A Lazy Generation

One of the things we often hear being used as an adjective to describe Millenials and Generation Z members, such as myself, is the term lazy. We hear it all too often from just about every generation before us.

Although this claim might have some truth to it, it is not entirely correct.

We are often depicted as kids who rarely leave their homes, or kids that simply don’t have the drive to pursue their dreams. Today it’s not uncommon to have kids linger at home well into their twenties while they try to “find themselves.”  In fact, many of us are actually trying really hard to accomplish our goals and make those dreams come true. The reality is there are many distractions in our lives that previous generations never had to deal with.

Sadly, sometimes these distractions prevent us from being the best version of ourselves. This time spent doing things with less relevance, has created the misperception that we are a “lazy” generation.

As I have previously mentioned, I believe that social media and technology at our disposal on a constant basis can be very beneficial but it can also be one of the major distractions to our productivity. It can cause us to lose sight of our important responsibilities and our goals for the future. I know that I often lose track of time when I scroll through Instagram. This problem occurs for many other kids my age. My parents often point out the hours I’m potentially wasting on these social media platforms rather than focusing on schoolwork or other projects. I don’t think it has anything to do with how lazy we are, or anything to do with our work ethic.

I am certain that generations before had plenty of other distractions in their day. Maybe it was playing stickball on the street or hanging out to listen to music. Regardless, I do think that we can do better, and, that if social media wasn’t so darned entertaining, it would be easier for us to stay focused. As a result, we wouldn’t be considered such “slackers”.

As a challenge for the teens out there reading this right now, I suggest you turn off your phones, log out of your social media accounts, and go focus on your goals. Although it might seem like a difficult task, we need to prove to those around us—and to ourselves— that we are so much more than a “lazy generation”.

-Dani

What Makes Your Identity..You?

The term “identity” has become our most recent topic of discussion at school. What shapes your identity? What makes you, you?

Of course, when I started thinking about it, I thought this is one heck of a topic question to pose to teens who are just starting their high school years. Once you start growing up and meeting new people, you begin to question who you truly are as a person.

How you would introduce yourself to others.

What do you like?

What do you dislike?

Do you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?

What makes you… well YOU?

Although it seems like a simple concept, this whole “identity” thing is pretty hard to figure out.

It’s especially hard for us teens when we want to be liked and welcomed by other people. Sometimes we struggle when it comes to being true to ourselves because we don’t know how others are going to perceive it. Take me for example; I am a young girl who has grown up in the U.S., but comes from a family of very proud “Latinos”. Thankfully I live in an area with lots of kids like me, but others aren’t as fortunate. I know that there are kids who don’t feel like they could fit in with the pure “Latin” crowd, but they also don’t really fit in with the “all-American” crowd. This idea of fitting in is something I guess we will all encounter throughout our life.

We are defined not just by our cultures but also our likes and dislikes. Incredibly, sometimes we’re even defined by those around us. Think about those movie cliches where the football player has a secret passion for theater, but he feels as though he doesn’t fit in either group. It might seem cheesy, but incidents like those occur all the time.

Finding out your identity can definitely be a difficult task, but once you start figuring it out, you gotta be proud of what makes you… well YOU!

-Dani

Here I Go Again

Here I go again….All of my life there has been one day that always manages to give me a feeling of pure fright. This day has always prevented me from sleeping the night before. I often times lay in bed and think of a million different scenarios of things that will go completely wrong.

This day is known to the world as none other than… the first day of school.

Yeah, I’m sure you were expecting me to be referring to a much more terrifying day, but I’d say this one is pretty nerve racking. For a kid, this day means the beginning of a school year with lots of exams, assignments, and projects. That’s pretty stressful in the mind of a child! Now, not only am I getting prepared for another difficult school year, but I also have the concern of making all new friends in my new school. What if I don’t really fit in? This stress-packed day is coming up very soon for me once again, and I find it fascinating how I happen to feel the same thing every year.

Even in years when I knew all my classmates and little changed. Deep down I know that the year always ends up becoming so much fun, and I end up enjoying it. Somehow my mind still manages to overthink it and it brings me back to the way I felt walking into my first day as an elementary school student. These few days before school come around and I feel as though I hear Foreigner singing the phrase “Here I Go Again”. Deep down I know everything is going to be ok, but somehow I convince myself that something might go wrong. This is something that I have been working on fixing for a while, and I know many of my close friends are feeling the same. When I start school in a couple of days, I hope to overcome my overthinking, and my goal is to not hear any rock bands singing classic songs in my mind. (;

-Dani

The Sides Of Social Media

Social media is something that has taken the world by storm. I’d say that most high school students have at least one form of social media. Whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook, it seems to be the one thing that is constantly on our minds.

The question asked by many parents is whether this is something positive for their children or not. Unfortunately, there is no definite answer. What I do know, is that there are many pros, and certainly some cons. I’ll start off by stating that I know that I use social media as a way of contacting my friends. We have the ability to share pictures and have typed conversations over these social media apps. Without it, we feel like there’s no other way to share important moments with those close to us. You know, it’s not like we are surrounded by telephones where we can speak to them directly…;).

Truthfully, though, social media also makes us feel like active participants of others’ lives. I often use these platforms to contact family members that live outside the country. I can text them, like their posts, and watch their daily stories. Not only can social media allow us to share the happy moments in our lives, but it also lets us share events going on in real time, like tragedies, natural disasters, etc. Although those were all positive sides to social media, I want to state the very obvious fact; that we are obsessed with it!!!

Social media is usually the first thing we check when we wake up, and the last thing we look at before going to bed. We always have this constant urge to check what those around us are up to. This definitely takes up time that we could be using for more important things like family time, and academics. I’d say that a huge issue with social media, is the unrealistic lifestyles being publicized by pretty much everyone that uses it. You rarely ever see posts about the difficulties in life, but rather posts about how people are “living the life”. This makes us long for things that would only exist in a perfect world. It could be in terms of wealth, looks, and even happiness. I often ask myself why these celebrity “influencers” are trying to “influence” us. In the end, we live in a world that is surrounded by social platforms and for us teens, it is something we are used to. The truth is, it all depends on how you choose to use it. Like everything else in life, moderation is likely the key.

-Dani 

You’re Not In This Alone

I have attended the same school all of my life. I have known the same faculty and students since I was two years of age. In a couple weeks, a big change will occur in my life. I will no longer be attending the school that I have always considered home.

I have been experiencing a rush of different feelings since my time at school has ended. There have been days of pure excitement for what’s to come, but there have also been days of uncontrollable nervousness. I think about having to become accustomed to new teachers in a completely new setting.

Thankfully, I have a group of friends—that are practically family at this point—that will be making this transition with me. In a way, we all act as a support system for one another in this time of change. When I speak to them, I notice that each and every one of them is going through the same feelings as me.

This gives me a sense of comfort to know that I have an amazing group of people that understand my feelings, and although similar to their own, they do their best to make me feel better. To be honest, I don’t know if I would be able to do it without them. I’ve noticed how much I value the relationships I’ve made throughout these past few years. This made me look back at other big events in my life, and I realized that the same group of people have always been there supporting me. They are the people that I know I can always confide in.

Just as I know that I am not alone when it comes to events going on in my life, I want others to know that they aren’t alone in theirs. Someone is experiencing the same joy, sadness, and difficulties as you. Whatever obstacle you face, know that you aren’t alone, and that you are going to make it through!

-Dani