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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

A Day in the Life

Kristen Garrett

She’s back! After her critically acclaimed synopsis of the show she co-directed, Kristen has succumbed to the clamoring roar of demand for another article. And what better to write about than the trials and tribulations of this past year?

Let’s start at the beginning then. Now, I don’t want to say that, for most of the seniors, entering school that first fall day was identical to Katniss entering the Hunger Games Arena…but it was. In fact, it was more like Rue entering the Hunger Games: underprepared, too young to be faced with such a serious situation, and whose only defense was to hide as long as possible and hope that no one caught her. This was, in my experience, the college process. A bunch of kids who have no clue what they’re doing are tossed into an arena where they have to fight to the death, slaying each other with questions of, “Did you ED?” and “How many Ivies did you apply to?” Unlike many, I went into this arena thinking I was Katniss: super attractive and confident in my ability to win. Unfortunately, as I progressed, I found that only one of those qualities was true. (And for those who are wondering how I look so good all the time: excessive carbohydrate consumption.) Then, finally, I thought I had found my Peeta: a certain Ivy-league university that everyone said is impossible to get into, but, like everyone else who applies, just, “had a feeling I’d get in.” Turns out the only feeling I should have listened to was the feeling of rising nausea every day I waited to hear back from said university. Finally the day came, only to discover that my Peeta died on me, bleeding out from the leg and camouflaged like a rock.

While the extended catastrophe commonly referred to as applying to college was underway, life went on for Latin School: sports were played (and yes, that’s all I know about the sports aspect of this school), papers were written, theatre productions were put on, and fun was had by sophomores and freshmen (warning underclassmen: It’s all downhill from there). People did things with other people.

It was during this wacky season called fall – seriously guys, how obvious of a name is fall? If we go along that vein, we might as well call summer “Pit Stains” – that new people were added to my friend group. It was unnoticed at first, like that episode of The Office where Andy runs over Dwight, but he doesn’t know at first because Andy’s car is silent under 5 mph. But by the spring, it was solidified. I was hanging out with people I had never even talked to last year. Of course this happens senior year when I have four months left before I leave for college, but there you have it. It was during this period that I discovered, for better or for worse, who I am as a person. And yes, it took 18 years, and yes, who I discovered I am is basically a Furby incarnate: always there, creepily affectionate, and impossible to turn off. But at least now I know!

Then winter came. Pumpkin Spice lattes turned into Gingerbread lattes, trench coats turned into down coats, and running outside turned into running around the track at East Bank like a hamster in a wheel. Latin had something new for us this year: a changed midterm schedule. This was a fantastic change, for me at least. The time I would have spent studying for finals was now set aside for the important things – one of which being playing games with my dog. My dog and I have great camaraderie. We like to play this game called “Ignore Me” where I tell Charlie (and yes, for those wondering, I did name my dog after Charlie Fox) to do something, from coming to me or getting the newspaper from the door. Then Charlie ignores me. It’s a hoot for all parties involved.

Alas, winter break! Ah, winter break. This break was a rough one for me, as all the stress from college decisions caused me to have a complete mental breakdown, so not much to report for that except general sadness and lots of board game playing.

But then we went back to school! And I, for one, couldn’t wait to get back. I was starting to realize how little time I had left at Latin, so I came back with a carpe diem, work hard attitude that lasted a week, and then subsided to my usual, “Just make it to rehearsal” mantra. I was rehearsing for the Drowsy Chaperone at this time, and golly gee whiz, that was a fun show. In all seriousness though, it was a truly amazing experience. It also inspired me to take tap dancing, as an embarrassing number of people know. I took lessons with Julianna Jarik and my sister, Kathryn Garrett. Now pause for a second, and picture Kathryn Garrett tap dancing. Do you have the visual in your head? Good. Now lets just chuckle at that for a second. Ha. Ha ha. Okay. Moving on.

Valentine’s Day then snuck up on us like puma! I love Valentine’s Day. I don’t care that I’m perpetually single; February 14th is basically a non-stop party for me. Plus, who doesn’t love singing valentines? No one, that’s who. I woke up at 6:45 on that day with drool on my pillow and hope in my ever-shrinking heart. Now, I’m not one to dance for no reason to songs that I play in my head (except that’s a complete lie.  I totally am), but walking into school that day was  like that scene in 500 Days of Summer with the parade and the cartoon blue birds resting on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s shoulder.  I. Love. Valentine’s. Day.

After that came, Project Week! I went to Spain, which was only one of the amazing options in a particularly stacked group of projects this year. I went with no close friends, and came out of it with a handful of mortal enemies. JK LOLZ. Just one mortal enemy, but, more importantly, some great friends across all grade levels. And I know my experience is the norm for Project Week, not the exception, so seriously: keep Project Week. It’s the bomb diggity.

And now it’s fourth quarter. My final two weeks of high school, my final 4 months of living in Chicago. Soon I will be living in Los Angeles, studying Theatre and Communications to try and become a who-even-knows-what. It’s been a pretty great year, with occasional turbulence and speed bumps, and now it’s winding down. Senioritis has fully hit me. Even writing this article, that I did volunteer to write, was a struggle, but I don’t have much time left at this place I’ve been at for 13 years, so I figured I at least owed it two pages of Cambria 12 point font.

Before I sign off (and I’m not on the internet right now, so by sign off I just mean stop typing), I’d like to leave you with some tried and true tips to get you through this crazy thing called high school.

  1. There will inevitably be a point when you have an overwhelming urge to grab your best friend and drive to the Wisconsin border blasting Taylor Swift and lamenting/crying about how the person you like is dating someone else. Embrace this desire.

  2. You absolutely can eat your feelings.

  3. What you want and who you are will change. Be okay with that.

  4. Prom is not worth the prama that follows it. But there will always be prama regardless.

  5. Be upfront about everything. From telling someone you like them to admitting you thoroughly enjoy Shake It Up, just say it. You won’t regret it. Or, if you’re like me, you might, but then you leave for Spring Break and when you get back, voila! Everything’s fine. For a day. But then you say something that crosses another line and you start all over again. Which reminds me-

  6. Cross every line.

  7. Do not be ashamed of how often you have to use the bathroom. This just means that you keep yourself ultra-hydrated! Charlotte Collins would be proud.

  8. Every once in awhile you will find a friend who will be willing to drive you and your romantic interest around Chicago so you can flirt without having to worry about hitting a pedestrian. Hang on to this friend.

  9. Studying is always better with music. I recommend the Harry Potter scores, or piano instrumentals of Taylor Swift songs. Or Ed Sheeran. Actually scratch the first two things. Only Ed Sheeran. All the time. Never turn him off. He is proof that gingers have souls. I am in love with him.

  10. Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, do what makes you happy. If you don’t want to go to that party, don’t. Or if you do, have fun. If you want to wear maxi-skirts every day, go for it. If you decide to try speaking in only French for a week, vous le faites! You only have one life, and you don’t have to wait until you’re in college to start being assertive in going after what you want. I don’t care if people call you selfish, or abrasive, or weird; I guarantee you you’ll wind up happier than they are. And the more you accept yourself, the more other people will feel okay with accepting themselves.


So that’s it lovelies. That’s all the advice mama bird can manage to regurgitate into your little mouths. The rest is up to you. So take your little wings and jump out of the nest. It’s time. And only, like, 1 in 3 of you will die. And who needs those failures anyway?



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  • C

    ccollinsMay 20, 2013 at 11:16 am


  • S

    scohen3May 17, 2013 at 11:35 am

    This is great! I LOVE SHAKE IT UP TOO.

  • M

    Mary JaneMay 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Sorry, I had trouble reading this article- distracted by your attractiveness. Help me to attain it! CARBS NEED CARBS!! But seriously, this was highly amusing. And somewhat terrifying.

  • C

    cboykinsMay 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    this is fantastic, i have never read anything that is more you. i cant wait to use this advice and i hope i can follow all of it in my next year. i’ll miss you 🙂
    p.s Those hunger game analogies could not have been better or more perfectly expressed.

  • I

    ispearMay 16, 2013 at 8:19 am

    This is hilarious but also such good advice. I think a lot of these insights apply well beyond high school, actually. Also, I have no shame about my ultra-hydration and its consequences.

  • A

    aorensteMay 15, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I loved this

  • K

    kgarrettMay 15, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks ames. We played the same game tonight. It was fun

  • S

    sheilbroMay 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    This is perfection in every way shape and form.

  • A

    abalmuthMay 15, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I like the part about your dog