My First Impressions of CW by Parker Burrows

It’s been about 12 weeks at SOTA, and looking back on it, I’ve realized it’s the most fun I’ve ever had going to a school. I came into this year with so many doubts, and I thought it would be impossible to make friends but I was fortunately proven wrong. Being in the Creative Writing department means I’m just surrounded by intelligent and friendly people at least 2 hours a day.

Plus, I’ve made such a strong connection with each of the freshmen, that it’s absolutely wonderful spending time with them. 7th and 8th grade were difficult years for me, and it was hard for me to enjoy school because of either people in my class or constant assignments. One of the biggest things driving me through 8th grade was the idea of the creative writing department, and the moment I found that I was accepted into the department, I pushed through the rest of the year.

Now that I’m here, I realize that being able to write something every day and having an entire community behind me is extremely therapeutic. Our discussions in creative writing are always filled with mature and thoughtful ideas, which is a drastic change from how lazy our religion discussions were in 8th grade. We are currently studying poetry, and as we have discussions about each poem we read, I always get to see a new side to the poem because of all of the insightful observations each person brings.

Our field trips are amazing. Compared to my two field trips in 8th grade, both of which were plays at Riordan, there have been so many great moments. The MOMA, The De Young, The Exploratorium, the bay, and the list goes on. One of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had was the Kirby Cove field trip. It was an overnight camping trip that began with us freshmen getting dunked in the ocean and improved from there. I walked around the woods, I played midnight soccer with the department, I saw the Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise and I had so many great moments there. Everyone seems to enjoy themselves on these field trips and there’s such an impossibly infectious energy.

I’ve fallen in love with Creative Writing, and it has just been nothing short of an absolutely amazing trip. I am so excited to see how the next four years will play out.

Parker Burrows, Class of 2022

Two Past Lunas by Luna Alcorcha

I can easily remember when I was the ages six, seven, eight, and nine. It is not an unimaginable time ago, yet it seems like I live in an entirely different world than the one I lived in barely a year ago. My memories of my own immaturity and early learning have not been neglected. I still appreciate the simplicity of the Junie B. Jones book series, playdates that my parents had to schedule, eating an ice cream with 65 grams of sugar without having checked the label, and along with the young minimalist lifestyle came an easy and dignifying human decency. When I was six, I never had to intently watch what I said and to an adult, nothing that came out of my mouth seemed offensive because I was a harmless, adorable youngster with quintessential big cheeks and frizzy curls. No longer are my cheeks rotund, but now have morphed inward to create an elongated facial structure. I have to precisely pick my words or face critical consequences if I don’t. Honest words are not seen as cute and entertaining if you’re not under ten; now, candor comments help to create an ill-mannered persona.


It sounds shortsighted, but I haven’t realized or really given myself the time to clearly acknowledge how much I have changed as an individual, until today. This consciousness changing insight came to me at the movie theater when I was left seated alongside two six to eight year old girls who giggled at the scene when the girl and boy kissed. I heard their squealing and whispers, then when I looked over I wanted to laugh at how they both tried so hard to cover one another’s eyes. That is when I was able to recall the emotions I once shared with those girls. I can understand what scared them so much about watching a kiss performed by two actors who get paid for it. I know that whenever I watched any romantic exchange at seven years old, I felt immediately guilty for having witnessed something so “dirty” and “adult”.  So many things that made me excited or riled me up at that age don’t anymore, they just come across as insignificant. I miss the privilege of not overthinking simple interactions and ideas. I find it funny how things that are so present and important now, were not even relevant three years ago when I was giggling with my friend about make-out sessions and filming infomercials with our dogs.


My time and experiences are in high school now. A bedtime is nonexistent when loads of homework must get done. Your grades have much importance, more than in years prior. Still, I am enjoying my time here with its change of pace and I know it will go by  fast. As someone that has so much more to be taught, I wonder if the seniors of Creative Writing look at those of us younger than them and miss these years or if they can see right through us because we are so predictable and egocentric. Thanks to being seated next to two past Lunas, I learned that I need to show compassion to small boys and girls because whether I can remember it or not, I once felt very miniscule next to all these big people.

Luna Alcorcha, class of 2021

First Impressions by Lauren Ainslie

High School is scary, everyone knows that. My experience was no exception.

It’s the 26th of August, and I’m about ready to wet myself. The school is huge, the hallways make no sense, and I think I spotted someone with tiger face-paint. Welcome to Sota. But the thing that scares me most is my department. Will they be nice? Will they think I suck? Will I somehow manage to trip in the doorway? Millions of questions and scenarios are running through my head, because I have no idea what to expect. I walk in, (managing not to trip) and all of my expectations are shattered.

The room is very grey, which surprised me because I thought it would be full of color. There are black tables arranged in a square surrounding the rug, and they are filled with smiling faces, the faces of the rest of my department. There is a door leading out to a balcony overlooking the field and the wall on my right is entirely covered by whiteboards. A clock that has all the numerals replaced by various birds chimes softly. I nervously sit down. This was the part of Creative Writing I was most curious about, the part where I figure out what we actually do. The only thing I’ve heard from other students is that they think we sit in a dark room all day, write sad, angsty poetry, and hiss at sunlight. So far everything else I had suspected about CW was wrong, so hoped this was too. Thankfully, it was. The windows were open, there was no hissing as far as I could tell, and our summer requirements didn’t specify any sad poetry. My nervousness was starting to wear off, and I’m glad it did, because that moment was the beginning to one of the best months I’ve ever had.

There were writing prompts, poetry assignments, and an endless amount of name games. The first week went by in a blur of excitement, revelations, and frequent field trips. The reality of SotA Creative Writing was better than any fantasy I could have dreamed up. The other freshman in my department are amazing friends, my older writing-buddy showed me the ropes of this school, and my writing has improved immensely in the past five weeks. I can tell that everyone in the department deserves and wants to be there, and that active atmosphere is what makes my creativity blossom. I am so lucky to be involved in such a forgiving and cultivating group of artists. We are a family. If you give the assignments your all and print on time, anything is possible.

High School isn’t that scary anymore.

Lauren Ainslie, class of 2021

Day [5]

I do the “I can’t believe it’s already/only been the first week of school!” thing only ’cause it’s true. Both ways.

It’s already been the first week of school: five whole days passed, memories of it were not a blur and can be willed easily into definition, my relative time has changed.

It’s only been the first week of school: what?? Have I not already been here for five whole days? Whaddaya mean only five days? How many more to go??

Warning! Warning! It’s not a binary! They are not opposites, do not have to exist with or without each other, my feelings of relief and longing are in no way contradictory. Trust me. Please.

I don’t know– it’s been so strange. It’s not like I stopped thinking over the summer or anything, but now I’m back I have to make the conscious effort to flip my brain back on. Maybe it’s more like switching tabs on your choice of internet browser– I’ve got to function through a different scope.

Allow me to pull another cliché and share a word of wisdom. Not my word of wisdom, which either makes it better or worse. It’s the words of my Psych and Human Geo teacher, the ever-wise Ms. Coghlan:


Yes it’s on my wall.

And, for such a simple thought, it’s surprisingly esoteric. Procrastination has always been the norm for me, and there’s always a reason why– I’m in the middle of a page in the middle of a book, I’m knitting a scarf for my father’s birthday, I was just about to cook pasta. It’s never really occurred to me to actually consider my actions in a more objective perspective, where there’s this set amount of time in which I can get things done, I am in that block of time, why not do it?

Why do it? is a loaded question. Why not do it? is a flippant one. I like my attitude flippant, the operational definition of “flippant” being completely positive and not rude in any way.

And do the things you put off because it actually doesn’t make sense not to.

The first week has passed and is settling slowly around me, and I must sleep it off. More next time on senior-ism. Man that’ll be a long post.