29 July

#BlinkBlog Author Round-Up: Back To School

It’s hard to believe the summer will be over soon! As we prepare for the “back to school” months, we asked some of our Blink authors to share their advice and favorite memories. Read their answers below!

What back to school advice do you have for Blink readers? 

Annie Sullivan: Study hard! Be kind to everyone, especially new students. Find time to read for fun outside of your homework. I know it’s hard to find that time, but it’s worth it!

Christina June: Make small, attainable goals and reward yourself for sticking to them!

Kimberly Gabriel: As a middle school teacher, I should probably have a really good answer for this, and I don’t! I love teaching, but I spend June, July, and the first half of August deliberately not thinking about school. Ask me again in September, and I bet I will have something incredibly wise and inspiring to say.

Lauren Mansy: A great piece of advice that I was given as a student is to try new hobbies. Some of my best school experiences came from trying extra curricular activities that I didn’t think I would enjoy and ended up really loving. Though getting involved in something new can be intimidating, the feeling that you get when you accomplish something you didn’t think was possible makes it all worth it!

Laurie Boyle Crompton: Try to set small goals of organizing portions of your room during the summer. Maybe the closet one day and under the bed another. This way once school starts back up everything is neat and easy to find. Summer is a great time to weed out and simplify. I suggest this because I developed some very messy habits when I was in high school that continue to haunt me today. When you realize you’re spending most of your day looking for things buried under piles of other things, it’s time to look at why you’re holding on to so much stuff! Or maybe that’s just me. ☺

McCall Hoyle: Read, read, read. Reading for pleasure is the single greatest indicator of academic success. The more time you spend with your nose in a book–any book–the more likely you are to make good grades, even in science and math. And I’m not talking about books your parents or teachers tell you to read. I’m talking about the books that you want to read. There’s also all sorts of research to show that reading makes us more empathetic human beings and wait for it… reading for pleasure reduces stress. Why aren’t we all reading more every day? 

Stephanie Morrill: I’m a mom, so my default is, “Get more sleep.” Good sleep habits solve lots of problems!

What was your favorite school subject growing up? 

Annie Sullivan: I loved my literature class. We got stars for every book we read, and you can imagine that I went off the chart with the number of stars that I had!

Christina June: French, choir and theatre.  At one point I aspired to be a French teacher.

Kimberly Gabriel: Math!! Incredibly ironic, I know. But I hated language arts with a passion when I was younger. Now I’m a writer, a literacy teacher, and someone who reads every chance she gets. 

Lauren Mansy: English was definitely my favorite subject — shocker, right? 🙂

Laurie Boyle Crompton: English composition, where a shy and quiet girl like me, got to read her essays aloud to the class and make everybody laugh. That class was a game-changer. 

McCall Hoyle: Always language arts and social studies. I love traveling to new places and meeting new people in my head. Language arts and social studies allowed me to explore uncharted territory and use my imagination. A book could take me anywhere, and social studies gave me new characters and settings to investigate. 

Stephanie Morrill: English, of course! Followed by history, though I wasn’t great at it. So many dates to remember!

Any special or funny memories from when you were in high school?

Annie Sullivan: Hmm…I probably have far too many to count. I had a great group of friends, and we had tons of inside jokes. But I think some of my favorite memories are just hanging out with my friends before/between class, going on retreats, and making silly videos with my friends (I once played Princess Peach in one of those videos…). 

Christina June: Everything?  Unlike the majority of YA writers I know, I had an awesome high school experience.  I had great friends, supportive teachers, and special experiences all four years. My favorite memories, though, are performing with the choir and in drama club productions.  The people I met there are still some of my best friends today.

Kimberly Gabriel: Most of my funny memories involve either something illegal or a near-death experience, which makes me sound so much more rebellious than I actually was. I like to think of myself as a conservative rebel in high school. My friends and I had elaborate TP wars with each other and my “near-death experiences” involved somewhat innocent activities like roller-blading at midnight and hiking off the trail. I had six best friends, and regardless of what we were doing, it likely involved us laughing hysterically at ourselves.

Lauren Mansy: Some of my most special high school memories are from when I was involved in a theater program. I loved learning the behind-the-scenes process of what it takes to put a show on stage, and I’ll forever cherish those friendships!

Laurie Boyle Crompton: My best friend and I shared a locker our senior year and as I mentioned above, I’ve always been a bit ‘organizationally challenged.’ Actually, who am I kidding, my senior year in high school I was a total slob! My bedroom had multiple dirty dishes under the bed, including old cereal bowls with milk turned to yogurt, and my car was filled with food wrappers. So, my side of our shared locker was NOT. NEAT. My leftover lunches piled up over time and by spring it was a bit of a problem. One day I sat down beside my friend in class, opened up my textbook and a fruit fly flew out. The two of us looked at each other and looked at the bug as it hovered around my face. Finally, I leaned forward and whispered to the fruit fly, “Go home.” My friend and I broke into hysterics that lasted for the rest of class. And that was the day I finally stayed after school to clean out our locker.

McCall Hoyle: There are way too many funny and embarrassing high school memories to list here. One of the best memories was meeting my husband the summer before my senior year at a pasture-party in rural North Carolina. We didn’t have cell phones or social media, so we had to improvise when it came to socializing. 

Stephanie Morrill: My freshman year of high school, I switched from public school to an all girls Catholic school where I knew nobody. The first day of school, I got dressed in my uniform (gray pleated skirt, white polo, and blue sweater vest with the school logo on it) and we drove to school. BUT NONE OF THE OTHER GIRLS HAD ON THEIR UNIFORMS. I later learned because our school didn’t have air conditioning, and because it’s hot in Kansas City in August, they let girls wear regular clothes until Labor Day. Not sure where that was in the “What To Know About Your First Day of School” literature, but we missed it!

For some reason, only my dad drove home to get me a change of clothes so that I could get changed in the back of the van. (None of us were thinking logically, obviously, because why didn’t I just go home to get changed? It would’ve taken the same amount of time.) My dad just grabbed a pair of shorts from my drawer, thinking “white polo shirts go with everything.” They were these sea green corduroy shorts with frayed hems that I didn’t really like but I’d been talked into because they were on a clearance rack, and now I had to wear them to the first day of high school with my uniform polo. 

It’s funny now … but I was so miserable walking into school that day!