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Gap year? What’s that?

Over the past three months I’ve probably been asked about a hundred times what I’m up to next year, and although I dread this repeated question as much as the next high school grad, I also delight in the fact that I can give a response most people don’t expect.

“I’m going to Spain!” is usually my initial response, followed by an in depth explanation of why on earth I decided to put off college. A gap year, as some call it, has become more popular in recent years although still rare here in the states. Most people go straight to college from high school.

Students are usually told this is the best way and schools offer little guidance to those who may want to take an alternative route, which made my decision making process all the more difficult. I was surprised at the lack of information and resources offered to students like me, because I had a lot of questions that were difficult to get answers to. Continue Reading

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Decision Time: hard choices and free knickknacks

Isabel Rodriguez-Vega is a senior at Skyline High School in Oakland.

College acceptance and decision time is much more exciting than the application process. Suddenly the tables have turned, and the colleges that you desperately tried to win over are now hoping you will choose them over the others. They start sending an endless amount of letters telling you how great they are and sometimes attempt to woo you with gifts. I’ve actually received a T-shirt and luggage tag from two schools.

But when it really comes down to decision time all this stuff is useless in helping to make your decision. Continue Reading

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Final semester allows for exploration

Well now that it is my last semester of high school I have taken it upon myself to not worry so much about my school work and start exploring things I never got a chance to explore.

High school seems to have flown by and now that its almost over I find myself regretting that I didn’t do more. I was too busy taking AP classes and worrying about getting straight A’s that I couldn’t really explore extra-curricular activities that sparked my interest. Sure, I am involved in clubs and sports and community service, but there is so much more out there.

But now is my chance. Continue Reading

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Another Year, A New Beginning?

This is a sample article from the upcoming edition of the Skyline Oracle. It was written by me, Isabel Rodriguez-Vega, and a fellow classmate, Eugene Lau.

As 2008 quickly ends and a New Year approaches people tend to reflect on the past year. What was accomplished? What challenges were faced? What goals were met? Just how good looking were you? How many rounds of Russian Roulette did you win? Just enough.

What seems to be more important is not what has happened this year, but rather what will change next year. Especially since 2008 was your marathon of wine tasting in Napa Valley. It was worth it in retrospect though, wasn’t it?

A new year is symbolically a new beginning for some, and people usually set new years resolutions that they hope to follow. Yes, it’s a nice thought, but the truth is a new year is no different from a new day. When you wake up on the day after New Years, you are just gonna want to go back to 2008. Responsibility and the sun is a jerk for wanting you to wake up while still groggy and cranky, and you know you want to rewind those hours. Continue Reading

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Too much time in the counseling office

Well I’ve finally started the college application process. It’s something I’ve been preparing for and anticipating for a while now, but the one thing I didn’t anticipate was the fact that I am going to have to rely on others to do their part in order for me to accomplish my goals. This complicates things very much because now problems can arise that are beyond my control.

My main problem comes from the counseling office. I am applying to mostly private colleges and universities, which all require a counselor evaluation. I knew far in advance that I would have to have some evaluations completed by my counselor for college, but I did not expect it to be such a complicated process. After all, this is why the counselors are there, right?

Continue Reading

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Another Year

I would like to briefly respond to Katy’s post, “Summer’s Over,” by saying that overall it has been an OK first three days of school. I might even say it’s been good.

There are negative and positive aspects to the beginning of this year. Something positive: The scheduling crisis isn’t nearly as bad as it was last year. Something negative: It’s still bad. I’ve experienced some problems concerning my schedule, as well as a lot of other students, but I have hope that things will clear up soon.

I know I should be more upset with the current situation or depressed at the fact that summer is over, but I find that I can’t wait to go to school every morning. Continue Reading

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Seeking advice

Hello everyone! While I may not be keeping my mind stimulated by taking summer classes such as some of the other bloggers, I have been doing a lot of traveling, which has stimulated my mind in a completely different way. Traveling really makes one aware of all the endless possibilities the world holds, and during my trip I did a lot of contemplating about my plans for the future, more specifically next year. This is where I could use your advice.

On Monday I returned from a three week long trip to Germany and Spain. I flew over alone and visited family (I am half Spanish). While there, my Spanish family proposed that I spend a year in Spain, in between high school and college. My first thought on this was “No way, I’m going to college directly after high school.” This of course has always been my plan, but my Spanish family thinks it is important that I spend a year in Spain to learn the language (I do not speak fluent Spanish), and the culture. Their proposal was that I live with family or on my own, while taking some courses at the local university. Continue Reading

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Summertime update

I must say, summer has been pretty relaxing compared to the hectic school year. Although I have been catching up on some much needed sleep and “being lazy” time, I have also found ways to keep my mind stimulated, my teachers made sure of that.

For the AP English class I will be taking next year I have a summer assignment to read three books: All The Pretty Horses, Wuthering Heights, and Sula, as well as do some analysis for each book.

College application time is also just around the corner, and its something that I’ve been thinking about a lot this summer. Where do I want to apply? Do I stand a chance?

I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a part of a college prep program this summer, Experience Berkeley, and it has really eased my anxiety. Through this program I went to a three day college workshop at UC Berkeley where I got to stay in the dorms, live like a Berkeley student, and learn about what Berkeley had to offer. Continue Reading

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End of the year frustration

irodriguez2.jpgAfter visiting my counselor today to change my class choices for next year I was reminded of the incompetency of the OUSD. Don’t get me wrong, OUSD has its positive qualities, but these are found in the classrooms, away from the administration. When it comes to bureaucracy, things can get very frustrating.

My counselor informed me that they were not making any class changes until they finished the “master schedule” which will likely not be done until after the end of this school year. This means I will have to go change my classes in the beginning of next year, amid all the confusion of the beginning of the year, and not to mention all those other students like myself who were unable to change their classes.

From the looks of this, it seems as if there may be a repeat of the scheduling crisis we experienced earlier this year. Continue Reading

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Is bullying inevitable?

irodriguez21.jpgAbout a month ago Katy posted a blog about Zachary Cataldo, a first-grader at Piedmont Avenue Elementary who was severely hurt by another student. This brought up the issue of bullying, a topic that my English class has been studying extensively for the past month.

Our assignment was to research the topic, come up with a solution (in this case a code of conduct, which is lacking at Skyline) and then present to various groups throughout the school (parents, teachers, students, faculty).

We presented last Wednesday and Thursday in groups of about 5, and now that I am more knowledgeable on the subject, I thought I’d share.

One thing I learned through this project is that bullying is hard to define and identify. My group presented to teachers and one point we discussed was that although bullying is obviously a problem at Skyline, it is hard to differentiate between bullying and “playing around” specifically in the hallways during passing period. The type of bullying I am speaking about and the type that is most common at Skyline is “sexual bullying” or sexual harassment. Continue Reading