Edge Interns Write Away

At Edge of Yesterday, we love our interns! They are writers, social media geeks, and STEAM lovers. As part of learning good interview techniques, we invite our interns to share some of the more offbeat parts of themselves.

Sydney Johnson is a high school senior from Annapolis, Maryland. She is a member of the Annapolis Teen Writers Club through the Maryland Writers Association. She wants to become a journalist and loves to write poetry.

Hannah Dourgarian is a sophomore from Gaithersburg, Maryland, who loves to read, write, play soccer, and travel. Her favorite place in the world is London, and when she grows up she wants to live there with her fat bulldog, drink tea, and be a writer or psychologist.

Edge of Yesterday (EOY): If you had the choice to go back in time, would you go, or would you stay in the present? Explain your choice.

Sydney: I would go back in time if I had the choice. There are some moments when I was younger that I wish I could experience all over again because it was a time where I was really happy and didn't have any worries over anything.

For example, when I was maybe 6- or 7-years old, I'd have huge masses of energy to go play at the park, ride my bike, take a walk... you get the idea. Growing up, I never really do any of that stuff anymore, which I think is silly and sounds silly, too, because one should always have time to play outside for few minutes or so. Now that I do tons of homework, have a job, and am starting to look at colleges, it seems I never really have that much free time.

If I could go back to that age, I definitely would do it, first, so I could play outside again, but even more, to have that feeling in my chest again like I was ready to conquer the world and go on an exciting adventure.

Hannah: I have always been interested in history, but I am most interested in cultural history. I would love to go to Ancient Egypt and China to meet the pharaohs and emperors and to understand the everyday norms of the people who lived back then. I'd also love to experience how the Mayans lived in the 1500s B.C., and the Incas in Peru in the 1400s. I visited the Mayan ruins in Belize and they were amazing, and seeing Machu Picchu is on my bucket list. I would also like to travel to the 1700s, when American colonists were fighting and protesting against England in an effort to establish their own country; it would be interesting to experience how families went through their daily lives. Not everyone in America was probably planning plots or laws against Britain; what was life like for the ordinary people in America during that time?

I would also like to go back to the 1980s in America. I have always wondered what my parents were like as kids and what my grandparents were like as parents. Not only that, but I'd love to experience their fashion and music firsthand!

Edge of Yesterday (EOY): What is the scariest thing you've ever done?

Sydney: The scariest thing that I have ever done was when I was in elementary school and I had my speech club competition in front of all the classes at the school. I remember my speech coach telling me to recite my speech to myself every single day before the competition and that's exactly what I did. I spent two hours at home yelling at the top of my lungs each word of my speech. I practiced my speech in front of my mom and dad, my sisters, and even my stuffed animals.

By the time the day for the competition came, I knew I was ready. Everyone gathered in the cafeteria to listen to me and three other students give our speeches. It was just mind boggling to me how far I had come! I saw my mom off the stage in the front row smiling so big and so hard, I couldn't help but smile back. I was last in line for saying my speech and once I started I couldn't help but stop talking! It felt like I was having a normal conversation with someone ... only thing is, there were more than 500 someones in the room.

By the time I was done the judges and my speech coach got together and announced that I had earned first place and won the trophy along with a $50 gift card. It was one of the scariest, yet happiest moments of my life. I will never forget that experience.

Hannah: Once upon a time, I was innocently riding in the car with my mom on the way to school. Chitchatting about the weather, I raised a very hot cup of Earl Grey tea my lips just as my mom drove over a speed bump. The tea fell out of my hands. What happened next was almost in slow motion… and the next thing I knew, all I saw was blackness, and all I could hear was myself, screaming like I had never screamed before. I could feel my skin bubbling and blackening and could imagine it smoking… I opened my eyes and nearly passed out again… I WAS smoking!

Tears streaming down my face, my mom raced us home where I ripped off my soaking wet leggings and changed into a random pair of shorts. Then we got into the car and raced again to the Urgent Care five minutes away. I waddled in, experiencing the most agonizing pain of my life. The doctors came in and offered me a popsicle, and I gave them the death stare, still clutching my legs, which had waxy blisters the size of ping pong balls all over them. Every time I tried to walk I could feel them bouncing and jiggling, filled to the brim with "fluids." Terrified the bubbles would pop and not wanting to know what would happen if they did, I stood there in the Urgent Care emergency room, furious that the doctors didn't really seem to know what to do besides offer me a popsicle.

However, my fury soon died away as one of them came out with "Motrin," which was definitely not Motrin… suddenly, I felt like I was floating along peacefully in the clouds… I had no pain, no worries.

The doctor asked my mom if she wanted them to call an ambulance, and she said no, she'd rather drive me herself… WAIT, WHAT?! AN AMBULANCE?! Next thing I knew, we were racing to Children's Hospital. Still very drugged, I don't remember much besides taking pictures of my disgusting blisters and sending them to my dad, who was in London at the time for work.

We got to the hospital ER, and when I sat down in a chair, still very loopy, I felt one of the massive bubbles on the back of my thighs burst. It was the most disgusting, sickening thing I had ever experienced. Bodily fluids soaked not just my legs, but also my shorts; I was soaking wet. Meanwhile, my other blisters swayed and jiggled dangerously. We finally went back into the rooms where doctors rushed in and out and found that all the rooms were like space pods. Nurses came in to clean my blisters and I laid on a table for about an hour as they popped, cleaned, and bandaged my blisters. All opium-ed up four hours later, I limped after my mom as we got into the car and drove to our favorite Mexican restaurant, while my eleven- and nine-year-old sisters ate leftovers back home in Gaithersburg.

Edge of Yesterday (EOY): What animal do you feel represents you the best?

Sydney: I think that I see myself as a mountain lion. They seem like really mellow and abstract cats from afar but, up close, they surprise and fascinate me in the best way possible. Mountain lions are known as territorial animals and I think I probably act territorial when I'm around a group of people because, even though I work well with different groups, I tend to stick with members of my own tribe, period, point, end of story! That might even explain why I was good at being a group leader when I was younger and in elementary school.

Hannah: I believe that an owl best represents me. I love to learn, and owls are often times portrayed as intellectuals. Most people also use the saying "night owl," but to me, I always think of owls as always being awake in the morning because when I used to have swim practice at 4:30 am, I would always hear owls hooting to one another and it always seemed as if it was just me, my parents, and the owls awake!

Edge of Yesterday (EOY): Why do you like to write?

Sydney: I like to write to tell the world my story. To share with people my ideas and my thoughts... to share my voice. Writing is a way for me to escape the present and create my own world whether through fantasy, scientific fiction, historical fiction, or even poetry. Through our writing, we can store up the memories and inner resources we can rely on, and for future generations to use as a guide. Without writing, I would not have known of what inspires me in life, nor have been aware of what truly makes me happy. Writing is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

Hannah: I like to write because it is a fun way to tell stories and explore different places and people. You can make up anything you want or write about anything in whichever mood or tone you want. I have always felt much more comfortable writing stories then telling them.