One of Joseph Cornell's wonderful boxes.

Hey, Rookies! Welcome to March. Do you have your PHYSICAL ACTIVITY HATS, GOING OUTSIDE SHOES, and DOING THINGS TAPE MUSTACHES all ready and set for this month of EXPLORATION? I do! For March brings spring fever, and with the third quarter of school really dragging along, I am ITCHING to get moving on things—on LIFE. I just spent the past three months holed up in bed on Netflix, debating every night whether to rewatch Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure or Bratz Kidz: Sleep-Over Adventure. Now that I feel educated on adventures, I just want to go out and have my own, you know?

We’ll save the rest of this issue for college and careers and outer space and the deep sea, though. Right now, school doesn’t end for months, and the ideas of the outside world and life after youth feel so abstract. At this moment I would like to deem spring fever as the time to explore the surroundings you’ve got. When you feel physically isolated from the rest of the world, you have to make your own.

There’s something to be said for nights spent alone in your room listening to music and sulking; for Friday afternoons that somehow pass both too quickly and too slowly, when you and your friends walk around the whole time waiting for a new street to appear where you’re sick of seeing the same ones you’ve passed every morning on your way to school. ’Cause you might go home for dinner and realize that you guys didn’t do anything, but you talked for a long time and found yourself relating to people in a way you hadn’t for a long time. You might start watching a movie alone at home at night because you feel distant or lost, and realize by the end that you’ve found a little piece of yourself in the characters, and feel connected to the world for a brief moment.

There’s something magical going on when your own world might be the only one you know, and you hold on to the things that you love extra hard, the bands and movies and books and friends. Hating everything (euphemism for “hormones”) kind of makes every emotion and experience more intense, and it means you’ll identify with a band or movie or book or friend in an especially strong way that I am told there’s not enough time for it once you’re an adult.

If you want a change of scenery but know that summer camp won’t start for months, you have to create it yourself. Take different routes to and from school; if you walk through alleyways (DURING THE DAY ONLY PLEASE AND ONLY WIDE, SUNNY ONES AND OH MAYBE WITH A FRIEND), houses you’re used to start to look different and telephone lines become interesting and new dimensions seem to appear. Seek out places that don’t look like your own town. If you walk along the patch of grass by the highway, you might be able to convince yourself you’re anywhere else, or in a place you’ve created far from neighborhood you know.

Try to keep a diary. Keeping up with it is easier and less daunting when you remember that not everything has to be super-good writing or incredibly profound—just try and keep an unedited stream-of-consciousness going throughout it. No formatting necessary, just throw everything in there, wrappers and clippings and napkins and notes.

A more convenient way to collect clippings, photos from magazines, and other random things you enjoy, might be to start a Tumblr. Just don’t get sucked into spending all your time on it—you gotta DO something with the inspiration you accumulate, or else you’ll feel all groggy and lazy again. If you’re sick of how you dress, keep an eye out for clothes that remind you of the images that have caught your eye and your heart, and you’ll create your own style by feeling like you’ve internalized and made part of yourself all the things you really love through these clothes that hold personal references and memories.

Absorb everything and go through phases of different interests and identities and come back to yourself with whatever stayed in your mind all along. It’s scary and exciting and through this next month it might feel necessary. Then, once the time comes for the final frontier, you’ll have an especially unique way of taking it all in.

To quote the dog from Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure: supposedly cute head tilt to the side.