February & March 2019: Stressing Out, Opening College Decisions, and Blogging Again… Kinda

So… it’s been a while since I’ve posted!

I didn’t mean to disappear for so long, but between college decisions, school, and work, life has been C-R-A-Z-Y recently. And I mean crazy to the point where I had my February wrap-up all written and ready to go, but never actually got around to posting it. I debated back and forth with myself as to whether I should make a super-late post or just skip it all together… and ultimately decided just to combine it with my March recap and make one big post, which is what you’re reading right now.

In other words, I’m officially back on WordPress, and I’m here to stay for as long as I can. Things have calmed down at school once again β€” Spring Break is about to start, and I’m excited to squeeze in as much blogging as I can during my time off!*

Anyways, on to the wrap-up. I thought that I was going to be able to get a lot of stuff done in February, especially considering the fact that I had a week off from school in the middle of the month for President’s Day break (or Ski Week, as it’s affectionately called). Boy, was I wrong. You’ll see a more detailed breakdown of my progress on my goals later in this post, of course, but I can tell you right now that it’s not looking great.**

Make no mistake, the last two months have been pretty great overall. I wouldn’t say they beat out January β€” I’m starting to pick up a lot more work as I move into the middle of my final semester of high school, and it’s getting to be a bit overwhelming. But I still managed to have fun in between my various commitments. And, most importantly, I’ve been re-discovering my passion for several independent projects that I’ve been neglecting for a while, so I’m really excited to see where those take me in the month ahead!

*Let’s ignore the fact that it seems like I only have time to blog during school breaks… I’m working on getting better at balancing everything, I promise! πŸ™ƒ
**March, of course, went even worse, as you might already have guessed. But it’s okay! I’m gonna fix alllll that in April, just you wait.

Reading

I came into February feeling hopeful about how much I was going to be able to read over Ski Week… and ended up not getting through nearly as many books as I thought I would. (Shocker, I know.) Unfortunately, my boss knew that I had the week off, so he scheduled me for longer and more frequent shifts, which cut into my reading time significantly. That combined with the mountain of homework that I had, my night classes at the local community college, and my family’s impromptu ski trip, made it difficult to set aside time to just relax and read, even though I really wanted to!

Unfortunately, March wasn’t much better. I had a lot of work both inside and outside of school to take care of, and the only way to manage it all was to take a break from reading and blogging for a little bit. So that’s exactly what I did β€” and, as a result, I didn’t read a single book the entire month. Which I regret, but hey, there’s always April to catch up, right?*

*At least, that’s what I keep telling myself… I know, I know, I’m a sorry excuse for a book blogger. But I’ve got some exciting things planned for April, so stay tuned!

Favorite Book

Title: Skyward
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

This was my first foray into the world of Brandon Sanderson’s books, and I’m glad I decided to pick it up! I was a bit iffy about the writing style at first β€” Sanderson is a bit too fond of italicizing things β€” but that soon changed, and by the end I was loving the story and the characters alike. (M-bot is the best.)

My full review is currently in the works. Keep an eye out for it coming sometime soon!

Most Disappointing Book

Title: The Circle
Author: Dave Eggers
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

I chose to read this book with a few of my friends for an English assignment… and I have regrets. I should have listened to the bad reviews all over the Internet: even though the premise is intriguing, the poor pacing, flat characters, and lack of plot completely ruin the story. 😦

Check out my full review here: Intriguing Social Commentary, but a Disappointing Read

Book Haul

While I didn’t get to go to Barnes & Noble nearly as often as I did in January,* I still couldn’t resist making a few impulse buys over the course of the last two months. On my first trip, I picked up Skyward and A Darker Shade of Magic, both of which I’ve heard AMAZING things about.Skyward definitely lived up to my expectations β€” as I mentioned above, it was a great read! I haven’t gotten around to A Darker Shade of Magic yet, but with how much hype there’s been about V.E. Schwab lately, it’s definitely at the top of my TBR.

My second trip took place closer to the end of February β€” The Priory of the Orange Tree and Last of Her Name both came out on the same day, and they were some of my most anticipated 2019 releases, so I couldn’t resist buying them. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet, either, but I’m really looking forward to it! Priory is the thickest book I’ve seen in a loooong time, so I’ll need to make sure that I have a bunch of free time before I start it. But I can’t wait β€” I’ve heard countless good reviews around the blogosphere! And the premise of Last of Her Name continues to intrigue me. I’m a sucker for sci-fi, what can I say. πŸ˜€

*My wallet is still suffering from all of my friends having January birthdays, so I had to chill out a little when it came to buying new books for myself! Good thing I still had my gift card from my own birthday…

Blogging

After successfully relaunching my blog in January and receiving a ton of support from the WordPress community,* I was stoked to carry that momentum forward into the months beyond. I meticulously planned out a schedule that would have had me posting 2-3 times a week, and I spent what felt like hours brainstorming ideas for new content. Everything seemed to be going great, and I loved the post ideas that I had come up with… and then life happened.

I found myself struggling to find enough time to post on Bookstagram and Twitter, and it was even harder to maintain my blogging schedule. Instead of posting around 8-9 times per month like I had planned on, I only posted 5 times:

Even though I wish I had been able to stick more closely to my schedule, I’m still really proud of the posts I managed to upload! I spent a lot of time on all of them, and I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. Hopefully I’ll be able to maintain a more consistent posting schedule once things calm down at school again, but for now I’m just going to try to post whenever I can (which is what I’ve been doing anyways, haha).

*Which I can’t thank you guys enough for. Y’all are awesome, and I wouldn’t be blogging if it wasn’t for you. ❀

Top Post

The 5 Most Nerve-Wracking Things About Starting a New Writing Project | Published February 3, 2019.

I’ve been trying to dedicate more time to writing recently, but getting started again has been a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be. This post was inspired by my own doubts that I was having at the beginning of February, when I was trying to get myself motivated enough to rework an old project. Luckily, making this post was just the boost that I needed β€” everyone was super supportive in the comments, and it really helped me get over my writer’s block!

Favorite Post

Intriguing Social Commentary, but a Disappointing Read: The Circle by Dave Eggers | Published February 17, 2019.

I know book reviews tend to be less exciting and less popular than book tags or other types of posts, but I’m too happy with how this one came out to not make it my favorite post of the month. The Circle earned my first bad rating on this blog, clocking in at a whopping 2 stars, and I was slightly nervous about how my less-than-positive review would be received. But I put a lot of thought into everything that I wrote, and I think I made some pretty good points, so I highly recommend checking out my review if you haven’t already!

From the BlogospherE

I didn’t get as much time to blog hop this month as I was hoping, but I still noticed a few posts by my fellow bloggers that I thought were especially interesting:

Life

Like I’ve said way too many times already, the last two months have been insanely hectic, even more so than January was. Even with the temporary respite that Ski Week provided, I still found myself struggling to balance my schoolwork, my blog, my job, and everything else that I have going on. There were definitely a couple highlights, though:

February 15: I got promoted to shift lead at the ice cream store where I work! I was already completing most of the shift lead responsibilities anyways, so it’s nice to finally have the title to match β€” and the raise is nice too, of course. Now I can impulse-buy even more books! πŸ˜€

February 21: My family took advantage of the one day that I had off from work (and all of the rain California has been getting lately) to squeeze in a quick ski trip. There was an insane amount of powder, and we had a blast, even though it was freezing.

My sister and I didn’t fare too well in the deeper powder… but we still had a ton of fun fighting our way down the slopes!

March 14: I presented my work from my summer internship at the Synopsys Science Fair, and it was awesome to have the chance to talk with people about my project again! I even won a prize, but I don’t know what it is yet… I’ll have to wait till the awards ceremony in April to find out.

March 28: My college decisions came out slowly over the course of the whole month, but the 28th was the day I heard from the last of the schools I applied to (one of which was my dream school). I got rejected from one of my top choices and waitlisted at the other, but I also got accepted to a lot of other really good schools, so I’m not disappointed at all!

Random Updates

  • I’ve continued my multivariable calculus class, and it’s kicking my butt. We’ve already taken two tests, and while I’ve done okay on both of them, I don’t feel at all confident about my grasp of the material. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in a lot more study time before the final, because if not, I’m screwed.
  • I spent a few hours over break going through the notes that I’ve been keeping for an old novel project, and I started feeling really excited about the idea again! I think I’ve found the book that I want to write this year, and I’ve already started working on the plot outline, so I’m really excited to see where it takes me.
  • I made plans to visit a bunch of my top colleges over Spring Break. Hopefully being there in person will help me make my decision, because right now I have no clue what school I’m leaning towards.
  • My sister and I decided to revive one of our old projects from 2015 and write a book together as a sort of “throwaway” project so that we can both get back into the groove with writing. The idea that we had for the premise is a little bit wacky, but it should be an entertaining way to practice writing, at least.

Article of the Month

In keeping with the tradition that January’s wrap-up kicked off, I wanted to share another interesting astrophysics article that I stumbled across in mid-Feburary. Called “A Different Kind of Theory of Everything,” the article discusses the current roadblocks that scientists are facing as they search for a way to unite the worlds of quantum mechanics and classical gravity, as well as what the next steps going forward might be. It’s not necessarily conclusive (as in, it doesn’t really give any concrete answers β€” though nothing in science ever really does), but I still thought it was a great read!

Find the article here: https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/a-different-kind-of-theory-of-everything.

February Goals Recap

  • Read at least 5 books. ❌ As I said earlier, I’m still having trouble finding time to read in between all of my other commitments, so I only got through two out of the five books that I wanted to read.
  • Choose a writing project to pursue for the year and get a big chunk of planning done. βœ”οΈ I’m really liking the old project that I’ve been revisiting, and I’ve started putting together more detailed notes for it. I’m excited to see what it’ll develop into as I continue working on it.
  • Write at least one short story. βŒβœ”οΈ I brainstormed an idea for a short story and wrote a detailed outline, but I only got only about halfway through the first rough draft before the end of the month. At least I made some progress, though!
  • Catch up on blog posts. ❌ So… I was supposed to be keeping myself to a strict posting schedule this month, but I definitely failed at doing that. I’m starting to figure out my post-writing routine, though (I need at least one full day to write/revise a post before I make it, I’ve realized!), so I’m hoping to get back on track soon.
  • Finish learning Python. ❌ I didn’t even log into the course this month. 😦
  • Get more sleep (at least 6 hours a night). βŒβœ”οΈ I slept pretty well over break, but the rest of the month was much less successful.

Anticipated Releases

As always, there are a lot of really interesting books coming out this month that I’m excited for! I haven’t had the chance to read any of these yet, but I’ve heard amazing things about them all over WordPress, especially The Devouring Gray and The Princess and the Fangirl. I can’t wait to get my hands on them β€” their premises are really intriguing. I especially love the concept behind Sky Without Stars. A Les Mis retelling, but made sci-fi? Sign me up!

Upcoming Events

April 7: The awards ceremony for the science fair that I presented at March is being held on this day, and I’m really excited to see what my project won! There’s a lot of different awards given out at the fair, so mine could be pretty much anything… I’ll have to wait and see.

April 8-12: I have a week off from school for Spring Break, and I couldn’t be happier! I’m going to try to spend a lot of time working on my WIP, getting back into blogging (for real this time), and catching up on homework. I’ll also be visiting several of my top-choice schools towards the end of the week, which I’m looking forward to!

April 27: I’m participating in a coding challenge sponsored by Lockheed Martin along with some of my friends from school. If we win, we might be able to compete at a national level!

April Goals

  • Read at least 3 books. Maybe if I lower my standards even further, I’ll be able to actually achieve my reading goal? That’s the hope, at least.
  • Finish the planning and outlining for my WIP. I’ve been tossing around the idea of joining the ongoing session of Camp NaNoWriMo, but I want to make sure that I have a solid outline first!
  • Actually start getting more sleep. No, but seriously. I need this.
  • Finish writing that short story that I started in February. I’m really not liking how the first draft is turning out, so I’ll probably scrap it and start over, but I want to have it finished by the end of April.
  • Pick a college. I have absolutely no clue where I want to go to college, but I need to decide by the end of this month!

How was your February and/or March? What was the most exciting thing that happened to you? Got any big plans for April?

16 comments

  1. Ahhh seems you were really busy and I absolutely relate because Feb and March were like that for me too! And thank you so much for featuring my post 😊
    I don’t know if you’ve been on my blog recently but I’ve converted that sort of posts into a meme now so you can be tuned in for more hilarious content and even participate πŸ’•

    Hope your next couple of months are better in terms of reading and blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t been on WordPress in AGES but don’t worry, I’m slowly but surely getting around to catching up on everyone’s blogs and I wouldn’t miss yours for the world πŸ˜€ I loved that post and I can’t wait to see more like it! Hopefully April is less busy for you as well, and hopefully I can channel some of your productivity and keep on blogging even through the busy-ness. Thank you for your kind words! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww thanks, Alex! Yeah blog hopping can be a task, I’ve been trying to catch up with the blog posts of past 3 months πŸ˜› April will be busy but in the best way possible with blogging events and reading! Here’s to hoping for a productive April for both of us ❀️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Skyward was my first Sanderson book too! I’m planning on starting Mistborn sometime this year too. I didn’t like The Circle either. I got Priory for my birthday and I’m starting that in a few days! I’m super excited for The Princess and the Fangirl!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, I’m guessing you liked it then if you’re planning on reading more of his books! I’ve heard really good things about Mistborn, and the covers are absolutely gorgeous (for the editions that are blue-and-white, at least) so I’m excited to check it out as well. And I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in hating The Circle, haha. I hope you enjoy Priory! πŸ˜€

      Like

  3. i absolutely loved this post omg partly cause of the structure and how it all flowed alongside the almost youtuber-esque storytime hahah but also because this is the most relatable thing ever!
    just as i got into the hang of blogging, life and uni went crazy and i accidentally took a hiatus?
    i feel you on that girl
    hopefully the following months will be better for you and terms of blogging and balancing life ✨
    ummm i’m excited for april cause game of thrones, avengers endgame, and hopefully i can FINALLY get back into reading and blogging πŸ€žπŸ½πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhh thank you so much, I’m glad you liked it! I spent a lot of time planning the structure of my monthly wrap-ups before I posted my first one so that means a lot πŸ˜€

      I hope April goes better for you as well and that you’re finally able to spend some time reading and blogging again! Accidental hiatuses are becoming like my trademark, which isn’t the best thing ever πŸ˜… so I feel you wayyyy too much on that one. Hopefully school calms down for both of us soon! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you had a great February and March (but I’m a little upset that your boss gave you longer shifts, though)! And actually, I’m writing my Wrap Up right now and I’m pretty sure I didn’t read any books in March, ether! Oh well. I’m excited for your Skyward review! 😊

    I also started social medias around January, and it’s a lot of work! Don’t feel too bad if it’s hard to keep up with it, especially when school is still going on. I’m personally hoping to get a lot of blogging done in the summer, because that’s when I’ll have the most time! πŸ˜‚

    As for school, I wish you lots of luck when choosing the best one for you! And I’m already impressed that you’re taking calculus! I’m currently taking my last math class EVER and it’s not even as complicated as calc!

    Good luck with everything you have going on this month, Alex! You can do it! πŸ’•

    Like

  5. We’re glad to have you back, Alex! I relate to having some slow reading months lately πŸ™„.

    I’ve never read the Circle but I did see the movie (because Emma Watson, honestly). I know the book is supposed to be better but maybe that’s not the car there, especially based on all the Circle reviews. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy that read.

    I wish you luck on college decisions! It took me a long time to make that decision myself, so I totally feel you. Good luck balancing your school and blogging schedule, that’s definitely one of the hardest parts of blogging ❀️

    Like

  6. Aww… life can get super busy and sometimes reading and blogging can be hard to keep up with and you definitely had some very busy months!! And you are doing great anyway!! I’m glad you enjoyed your first Brandon Sanderson book— I have heard many good things about him and have been meaning to try out his books!!
    And best of luck with your writing– I love that you are writing with your sister– I am doing that too!!
    I have never been skiing but it looks fun (and cold) and I am glad you had a nice time!! And well done on winning a prize at the science fair— very impressive. Best of luck with deciding your college!! ❀ I hope you have a great April!! And I hope you get more sleep!!

    Like

  7. Hey Alex!!
    Wow sounds like a super hectic month for you with school and work. That’s awesome what you ended up accomplishing though. I really loved the ADSOM series and hope that you will enjoy it as well.
    Good luck with your college visits! Hope that you will find the college of your dreams πŸ™‚
    Have you decided about Camp Nano!? Thank you for linking to my post ❀ Have a wonderful April!

    Like

  8. Okay, I love how you formatted your wrap up! I love that you include more than just books, encapsulating your general life at the moment. Maybe I’ll have to start doing that too!

    Like

  9. What did your project win Alex??? And oof, I didn’t read anything in Feb and read one book in March. So I feel ya on that, if you’re struggling with your schedule maybe try approaching as a loose schedule? So instead of thinking you have post 2-3 times a week try and post at least once a week and anything over that is a bonus? Juggling everything is super hard tho, but you’ll figure it out eventually Alex! And thank you so much for sharing my post! ❀

    Like

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