Dealing With Deadlines

By Mandi D. (Junior)

As teenagers, I don’t think many of us have missed the first part of the word “deadlines.” Dead is a pretty accurate description for how we often feel after a deadline has passed. In my life, I have met very few people who are good at completing work before the night before a deadline. It can be an article, a homework assignment, or an application, but deadlines are practically synonyms for stress.

Just to refresh our minds, let me explain what a deadline is. A deadline is the date when something is due. What this something is can vary, but it’s often very important to our success. That’s why missing or failing to meet a deadline can be so upsetting.

When we first receive a deadline for a project, we tend to note it in the back of our minds and then completely forget the project until the last moment we have that we can actually complete the project. This makes the projects’ quality suffer, because we’re rushed to finish it in time. This is why having a strategy for meeting deadlines with a quality project and stress-free is such an important thing to have. Here’s a plan for you to meet those deadlines a lot happier.

Step #1: Break up the project into smaller pieces. The pieces depend on the project, but it’s a lot easier to make the project a series of smaller pieces. Example: when dealing with a research paper on a historical figure, break up the research by parts of their life.

Step #2: Make a timeline for the project. This can be like a lot more mini-deadlines, but not as much is as stake if you miss them. Work on making sure that you’ll have enough time to complete each part of the project. Example: continuing from the previous example, expect to have the research and paragraph on their birth completed by September 12th.

Step #3: Schedule a daily/weekly time to work on the project. This depends on your timeline and overall work time, but scheduling a consistent time to work on the project allows you to begin it automatically and complete each piece of the project with consistent quality. Example: daily work at 4:00 PM.

Step #4: Follow your plan. The plan laid out above is completely useless if you don’t actually follow it. Actually follow the steps and you’ll be good.

Hopefully, these steps can help you make your deadlines much better! Try inputting this plan when working on projects and see if it helps you out at all. Good luck!

High School: Romantic Relationships How-To

By Mandi D. (Junior)

What’s one of the hardest things to do as a teenager? Outside of college applications, exams, and choosing what you’re going to do for the rest of your life at age eighteen… Okay, maybe not the hardest thing you’ll ever do as a teen. However, romantic relationships are a large, confusing, complex part of life. Unfortunately, we aren’t given a life’s handbook that includes how to ask someone out, date, and all that fun stuff (Although I should try to write one. Let everyone fail with me). I’m hardly an expert at relationships, but if all else fails, at least you’ll have an interesting experience out of it! Therefore, some steps on how to ask someone out!

Step #1: Decide on a list of qualities you desire in a romantic partner. Obviously, you won’t have the perfect romantic partner, but there are certain qualities that you shouldn’t compromise on. This can be traits (like a sense of humor), an interest (enjoy watching Doctor Who), or something else (like religion or loving dogs). While some things should be nonnegotiable for your standards, other things can be optional. For example: Any boyfriend you have may have to be kind, but not he won’t necessarily enjoy watching Sherlock.

Step #2: Decide on one person you’re actually interested in. Wouldn’t it suck if the person you were dating actually liked another person, as well as you, or only went out with you because they didn’t want to be single? Despite what TV may lead you to believe, love triangles aren’t fun for anyone involved. So just don’t do it.

Step #3: Ask the person out! The only thing left to do is do it. A couple of tips would be: ask the person out alone, make them feel free to say no, accept a no if you get one, and have a rough idea for a date. Don’t put all the effort on them if you’re the one asking!

Step #4: Plan the date! This may come before step three, if you’re doing it by yourself. If you’re doing it with the person you asked out, great! Planning a date can be really difficult, but here are a couple of ideas! You can go to the movies, dinner, a play, the zoo or aquarium, the mall, or a park!

Step #5: Relax, have fun, and go for it! Ta da! You did it. You asked someone out and they (presumably) said yes! Good for you, now all that’s left is to fall in love, get married, and have kids! Kidding! Seriously though, dates are supposed to be fun. Don’t be nervous, what’s the worst thing that could happen? (And no, a bridge will not realistically fall on the restaurant, crushing you into your humiliation.)

So those are the steps to asking someone out! Not so scary now, is it? Yes? Okay, fair point, but still. They are a teenager, just like you. So, hopefully, you’re a bit more confident now about asking someone out! Anyway, that’s your steps on “How to Ask Someone Out”!

 

Good luck, lovebirds!

High School: How to Plan a Date

By Mandi D. (Junior)

Congratulations, you’ve found yourself crushing on a certain someone! Now, outside of the whole asking them out issue (I believe in you!), you need to plan a date that leaves them wanting a second one. Well, the perfect date is a fantasy. You’re never going to have the perfect date where nothing goes wrong and they end up thinking you’re the most charming, perfect person ever. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have an awesome date!

So, the question is: how do you plan a good date? Well, try using the three W’s: What, Where, and When. You can probably tie a few other things into your date planning strategy, but this at least gets you started. Now that you know what the three W’s are, let’s get into how to use them!

What?

Probably the biggest part of the date is the “what” aspect, or the activities that you will do together. This largely ties into where you will go, but does “what” actually help you decide on “where”? Another thing you will want to ask yourself is what you want out of the experience. If you want to get to know the other person, going to a movie or a play may not be the best plan. If you want to know if you enjoy spending time with them, then going to a movie or play may work for you!

Example “What’s”

  • Walking
  • Watching a movie or television show
  • Eating
  • Talking
  • Dancing
  • Sightseeing
  • Exploring

Where?

Well, I think that this one is largely self-explanatory. The “where” is, of course, where you and your date will go. When choosing a place, make sure that it fits to what you want to do. Also, keep in mind the dress code (official and unsaid) and costs. If your date is a laid back, super chill person, they may not be too interested in a very formal, fancy restaurant.

Example “Where’s”

  • Movie theatre
  • Community theatre
  • Restaurant
  • Zoo
  • Aquarium
  • Park
  • Museum
  • Car (for a drive)
  • Tourist attractions
  • Cities or towns (to explore)

When?

Again, this one is largely self-explanatory. When deciding when to go on your date, make sure to take into account important factors, such as school, jobs, and opening and closing times. Be considerate of the other person and their schedule. In this day and age, we’re all very busy, so this step would be best when making the plans with the other person.

Those are the three main steps to planning a date! The rest is up to you and your date. (AKA, the part where you have fun!) Good luck!

The Climb

Madison C. (Senior)

Life is like climbing a mountain; a never-ending uphill battle. You just take it one step at a time. Sometimes you slip and fall, but you get up, brush yourself off, and keep climbing because the only thing worse than being hurt is being seen as weak.

All this time, you climb alone. You begin to wonder, will it always be this way? But just when you get comfortable in the boots you climb in, a hand reaches out to help you with your next step. It’s warm and kind. Unknown, yet so familiar. Those steps you take no longer seem so steep. The incline becomes a descent. Yet you still hold that warm, familiar hand in case the climb gets rough again. Because as long as you have a strong grasp, nothing bad can happen.

Everything and everyone around you seems to disappear. No hurt, no pain. Not even the rest of that tall mountain you’ve yet to climb is in sight. Just a glimmer of hope, and a view that takes your breath away. Time ceases to exist, and all you’re left with is this nervousness that affects you wholly. The phrase, “Butterflies in your stomach,” seems like the most accurate description you’ve ever heard.

And then you snap back to reality. You realize you have that much farther to climb, and it’s all uphill.

It’s the little moments like that, a brief pause in time, that make every step of the climb worth the pain.

A Conversation from 6,000 Miles Away

By Amanda W. (Senior)

Nowadays, with social media and the internet as a main facet of our daily lives, we are given the ability to connect with people from all over the world. It allows you to discuss a variety of things with a variety of other human beings and enables you to have conversations that never would have been possible in the past.

On the popular social media app Instagram, I post about my favorite television shows, books, and other interests. Recently, a series of comments on one of my posts led me to have a conversation with a girl my age who lives in Israel. Initially, we discussed pets and dogs and she mentioned the fact that this summer they were enlisting. Curious, and at the time assuming they were also American, I asked them what branch they were planning on enlisting in. She answered that it was the army, but in her country, everyone had to enlist after they graduated high school. Intrigued, we continued to talk and I learned that in Israel they have to serve for at least two years and will take whatever position they are instructed to take.

Living in America, it is at times difficult to understand the issues in other countries, especially those in the Middle East, and so my curiosity continued to peak. What was it actually like there? Were the videos and stories in the media accurate? Did she even want to serve in the army?

She answered that she did not want to serve, given her own pacifist nature, but, “felt a responsibility for her country”. She explained that their country is “practically in constant war” and that all of the other people her age serve and protect their country, even if they do not want to, so that’s why she feels an obligation to serve as well.

Hearing all of this filled me with an admiration towards her strength in a situation that I, as a privileged person in a western country, cannot even begin to imagine. I have the freedom to choose what I do after high school, while she will be forced to do whatever her country orders her to do for the next two years, if not longer.

After reading her thoughts and views, I still wanted to know more. This was a chance for me to understand more and learn from someone who many of my fellow Americans would, unfortunately, be prejudiced against. I asked how her situation was and she explained to me that it was not ideal there. She stated, “There’s a lot of terrorism and the wars I’ve been in caused me to have PTSD and paranoia. Also, the religious people are kind of taking over some stuff, so there’s no gay marriage, which, as someone who is homosexual, I am not happy about.”

My response took a few minutes to even begin to form. I felt so powerless and my heart went out to this girl. A girl, who shared the same interests as me and had the same favorite fictional characters as me, was in such a terrible situation. When we think about the people living in war-ridden countries, I think it is very easy to put them in this one cookie cutter shape. We imagine them as the sad, hopeless people which we see on Save the Children advertisements or as terrorists, when in reality they are funny, interesting, normal people who happen to have been placed in awful circumstances.

When I wrote back to her, I apologized for her situation and the fact that she should not have to go through what she is dealing with. I sincerely stated that no words could make up for what is happening, especially since she is not allowed to marry someone she loves, a right which we have only recently gained ourselves, here in America. My heart went out to her and yet I did not apologize out of pity. I apologized because life dealt her an unfair hand. I apologized because I had spent the last two days feeling sad and down about my life when I have it so much easier than she does.

Of course, my problems are still problems, but hearing the weight of hers in comparison was truly a wake-up call.

After having such a deep discussion, we went on to talk about what gender equality was like in Israel and she said that women are supposedly equal to men in her country, but there are still issues with things like equal pay. “In many Arabic countries,” she said, “the government is cruel to its people and women are treated horribly, but here we’re pretty democratic.” I was relieved to hear that, and we soon moved on from that topic to lighthearted jokes and other more casual things. It was hard to believe that she was simply a normal teenage girl, just like me, but the more we talked, the more awestruck I felt.

In life, we do not know the stories of the people we see in the grocery stores or pass by on the highway. We do not know what they have been through. Or are going through. This girl has over 11,200 followers on Instagram and yet I doubt that most of them know what her situation is. They are not aware that her country is a war zone and that she has been surrounded by terrorism and power-hungry people. I was not aware in the nearly two years that I have followed her account and it has truly made me rethink my own impressions of people.

I think there are a multitude of things to take away from this story. The first one is that we cannot dehumanize the people who are in Middle Eastern countries like Israel. They are struggling over there too and those who are refugees from that area of the world cannot and should not be treated like they are less than human.

Second, we should not be so quick to assume or judge others. As a simple example, when someone at the check-out line in Target is rude or unfriendly, we shouldn’t judge them or make assumptions about them as we do not know what they are going through. At best, all we can do is smile politely, be understanding, and hope that their day gets better.

Finally, we have to listen. This goes for those with different political opinions, religions, or people who live thousands of miles away. When you listen, you are opening your mind to someone else’s viewpoint and you are giving yourself the ability to learn from them. I have obtained so much knowledge from others with this attitude and it truly goes along with the idea that there is plenty to learn, especially from your fellow men and women.

This is quite a long article and if you made it this far then you definitely deserve some sort of medal. But this experience was one so eye-opening and meaningful to me that I could not help but write about it and hope that perhaps some of you were touched by it too.

Since not everyone can have a moving conversation with someone about these sorts of issues, if this type of topic interests you, then I highly recommend the book I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I read it a few summers ago and given all of the topics and news stories regarding America and the Middle East or even the judgment placed right here in the states over certain religions, it was a fantastic read and is something I encourage everyone to be absorbed in and draw their own thoughts from.

Truth- “We can’t fight for our country because we’re too busy fighting in it.”

By Celena H. (Senior)

How is destroying property a “Civil March”? How is bashing another gender “Equality”? You want to preach love but you only show hate. Being angry, because nobody wants to take the blame in what’s happening around the world– when we are the problem. This is what lack of love and respect gets you, let’s be the generation that changes that.

No gender, Race, Religion, Party, or Candidate is what is singly wrong with this country; it’s all of us. All citizens of The U.S. should be grateful and thankful for what they do have. We want to sit here and hate one another because we simply have no respect for each other’s lifestyles. Who is the government, to say who you could and could not marry? Or that those marriages aren’t, “Traditional Values”. They are simple, gateways for a few men and woman to be able to tell you that you simply can’t marry the person you love. The same “Traditional Values” were used when you couldn’t marry a different race also. In retrospect, I do also understand why the same, “Traditional Values” are there. It was a simple rule, you didn’t go out of your race, class, religious beliefs, gender, or anything like that. Humans hate change, any human being can tell you that. No matter who you are. Sure you can want change for when it benefits you, but when it doesn’t, do you like it? Maybe, but at first, I’m sure you were just as scared as many people were when President Trump won the Election.

“My body, my choice.” Yes it is, it is your choice. And that choice, can affect your life. So choose wisely.

The government shouldn’t tell you whether or not you can do something. However, I also don’t believe the government should be paying for your choice (the one they don’t support). Because the government also pays for things that protect you, unless you were raped, or the fetus is the product of incest. That is a woman’s right, but, that is no reason to disrespect men, or women who don’t believe the same things you do. That isn’t right, you’re just showing more hate than what is already on this blue planet.

Blaming one belief when it was just one person is what seems to be America’s favorite thing to do. So I will just say this: one religion isn’t to blame. One area isn’t to blame. One Gender isn’t to blame. America seems to have trouble with these things. Do you know whom is to blame? That ONE person. Or that ONE group. No one likes being in a class, because we are all individualized. No one is exactly the same. Why do we bash other religions and act like ours is simply perfect? It isn’t. Every religion has their problems and that’s just how it is.

“Get over it. It’s over. Trump Won.” He did, yes. Like I said, change is scary. When you don’t know what’s to come, that can just be a very fearful thing. Destroying people’s property or screaming how he hates women and such isn’t going to do anything. We need to conjure up what respect we do have for our people and the government of this country and try to unite.

The world needs love and respect. It’s just like a marriage. If you just stop trying, your marriage will fail. But, if you do too much, you’re likely to be taken advantage of. We are this one country in this one big world.

 

We can’t fight for our country because we’re too busy fighting in it.

 

So all I ask is that when you see someone that maybe you don’t agree with fully; listen to them, respect their opinion, and don’t hate them. We don’t have to love or even like each other’s opinions. But, we do need to start respecting one another, and that extends to their opinions as well.

Well, unless you like the feelings that no matter what you do, no one will ever hear you out.

We cannot blame Planned Parenthood, President Obama, President Trump, The Government, or anyone else for how this country has ended up. Because this, what’s happening? – This is our faults. Every single one of us. Remember that.