All Posts By:

Hanna Sha

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Politics, TRENDING

    Thoughts on the Democratic 2020 Nominees

    Currently, the Democratic pool of candidates consists of approximately six to eight 

    serious contenders, from various backgrounds and levels of experience. The politicians polling 

    the highest are Joe Biden, former vice president of Barack Obama, and Kamala Harris, a 

    Californian senator. Other possible candidates include Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Yang. While 

    Biden and Harris’ policies attract more support, neither one has gained a clear majority of 

    Democratic votes. With multiple front-runners vying for the nomination, it shows that American 

    Democrats are divided between these politicians. This size will most likely cause the eventual 

    nominee to face more difficulty winning the 2020 general election. 

    Although more contenders provides diversity and choices for Democrats, it also means 

    that each person receives a smaller percentage of votes out of the general population, compared 

    to if the party had only fewer candidates. The Democratic debates this year showcased the wide 

    range of political programs these candidates endorse, as well as their disagreements. The 

    Democrats show more divisiveness, with no single person providing a platform that covers the 

    policies and ideas they want to hear. 

    The current Democratic candidates do demonstrate promising and beneficial ideas, but 

    the Republican Party’s single contender in Donald Trump allows them some guaranteed support 

    and past precedents. Even though many of Trump’s decisions have driven out some of his 

    supporters, his presidency has also cemented the support from other citizens. The GOP needs not 

    worry about choosing a nomination, and can fully focus on promoting Trump’s campaign. For 

    the Democratic Party to nominate a strong contender, they must single out and support one 

    candidate who recognizes most of the U.S. citizens’ best interests when making policies and 

    negotiations. Only then will they obtain the ability to consolidate their party’s votes and truly 

    face off against Donald Trump in 2020.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Holiday, Tips

    3 Ways to be a Good Citizen

    good citizen

    In 21st Century America, numerous problems run rampant. Becoming, or continuing to be, an exemplary citizen is one of the most beneficial choices one can make. Although different times and situations create various types of citizens in their community, there are a few qualities present in every ideal citizen.

    BE PROACTIVE

    First, citizens should be proactive members of a community. This can be achieved through exercising rights like voting in local, state, and national elections.

    Women have been able to vote for a century now, here are some amazing women that fought for that right!

    They are educated about current events, especially in today’s climate. However, knowing about smaller problems within a community and how to lessen those is essential for being involved. Citizens educate themselves about their surroundings and what actions can solve existing problems and prevent future ones.

    DILIGENCE

    Furthermore, diligence must be part of an exemplary citizen. Recognizing and upholding responsibilities is vital to benefit both others and yourself. Citizens have the obligation to act diligently in completing certain tasks. Putting in hard-work achieves beneficial goals in the fields of the environment, education, and social welfare.

    Lastly, tolerance of others acts as an essential trait of a citizen in 21st century America.

    Citizens must understand and appreciate the valid beliefs, ideas, and perspectives of others. Without this trait, conflicts and problems will continue to rise between various communities.

    Because of America’s diversity in background, culture, and nationality, tolerance of different people is essential to being a citizen in any community.

    Put these three qualities to use!

    These three qualities have shown themselves throughout both history and current events to be vital for growth and improvement. They benefit both the individuals and the community that they live in. Citizens that are involved and hard-working will contribute more to their society as a whole. With tolerance, the ideas and solutions they create will be increasingly accepted and implemented. Therefore, these three traits are the essential qualities of a citizen in 21st century America.

    Amazing and engaged citizens are everywhere! Check out our Sheroes to see good citizens in action!

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Health

    Avengers: Endgame and the Gauntlet We Face

    avengers

    It can Happen Anywhere

    Just last week in California, movie-goers may have been exposed to a woman with measles during an Avengers: Endgame showing. This disease has risen at alarming rates recently in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2019, the U.S. had 695 cases of measles in 22 states. These cases are directly linked to lower vaccination rates. People who choose not to vaccinate bring danger to public health and should be educated about the facts of immunization.

    California is trying to fix the vaccination problem in thier own state through legislation. 

    What is a Vaccine?

    Vaccines are a biological technique that prepares your immune system to fight a particular disease by first introducing it to a weakened or similar type of disease. In the past, several false science reports and myths have arisen concocted regarding vaccination. Scientists like Andrew Wakefield have published faulty works about the effects vaccines have, and some public figures have backed up these claims. These false reports mislead people about the truth of vaccines and cause confusion. According to Jane Parry of the World Health Organization, “vaccine anxieties continue to periodically impede this highly effective public health measure. In certain industrialized countries, most notably the USA, public concern has shifted its focus from the diseases vaccination can prevent, to the risks of the vaccines themselves. The Internet has become a significant channel for anti-vaccination views.”

    Many parents have bought into these lies, and have stopped vaccinating themselves and their children. According to The Washington Post, “The percentage of young American children who did not receive vaccinations has nearly quadrupled since 2001” (Sun). These anti-vaxxers believe the faulty reports, which leads to harmful effects. The unvaccinated people pose a great health danger to themselves and their community. The CDC states that 2019 has “the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000”. If you are unvaccinated, you have a double risk of getting the virus or spreading it to others.

    In order to solve this problem, we must first try to analyze the anti-vaxxers’ perspective.

    When we know their perspective, they will be more open to education. They do have some warranted fear against vaccines because immunization is not perfect-but nothing can be. There have been mistakes and problems made before, but the benefits of this medical technique overwhelmingly outweigh the risk. Your likelihood of immunity from the certain disease is remarkably raised, and this is supported by science. According to the World Health Organization, “More than 2.5 million deaths a year are prevented in all age groups owing to vaccination against four diseases– diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTP) and measles” (Parry).

    To stop the anti-vax movement, it is necessary that we teach them about the importance and safety of vaccines, as well as debunk harmful myths. To do this, we can teach courses in health classes, increase awareness, and make sure to check the validity and credibility of scientific claims and reports on vaccines.

    Although we are already receiving quite a bit of awareness at the moment, considering the number of measles cases that the U.S. has had recently. This includes that report last week about the first ever case of measles in Alabama, in an unvaccinated infant. So, everyone that is able to do so must vaccinate to ensure the safety of the general public. Immunization truly is one of science’s greatest advances. Protecting Herd Immunity protects the health of everyone in the “herd”.

    How We Can Protect the Herd

    While some argue that vaccines cause other diseases, like autism, the sources of these “issues” have already been proven wrong. Andrew Wakefield’s work on the supposed effects of vaccines are unreliable, along with other reports of vaccines causing diseases. There may be a few valid reasons why one could not take vaccines. But for those that can, must.

    The main root of the problem of the anti-vax movement comes from miscommunication, false reports, and lack of education. To solve this problem, we must look through their perspective, prove those claims wrong, and educate anti-vaxxers about the facts of vaccines. It’s true that the idea of injecting a dead virus into your blood system may seem daunting. But, you must remember and understand that this medical technique can save your life, along with the lives of those around you. Moral of the story: If you want to stay healthy when watching one of the greatest superhero movies of all time, make sure to educate and vaccinate yourself!

  • Depression

    Understanding Depression and How to Overcome

    Understanding Depression and How To Overcome

    Understanding Depression and How to Overcome

    Today’s society often overlooks mental health, the main component of everyday life. Being mentally healthy is often taken for granted. There are many mental illnesses affecting millions of people, and depression is a major type. Depression acts as a prison, holding one’s mind hostage with its chains. Although depression has various causes and harmful effects, many effective coping mechanisms exist.

    Depression stems from many causes. First, genetics and hereditary factors often play a role in the causes of depression. People with immediate family members suffering from major depression are three times more likely to have the disorder themselves. Also, major life changes can cause depression, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or a miscarriage. Chronic medical problems or loss of a job can also result in a form of depression.

    In the article “Causes of Major Depression,” Stubbeman states that “Childhood trauma can cause an individual to be depressed for a prolonged period of time. Examples of such traumas are severe illness; isolation; physical, sexual, or mental abuse; witnessing a traumatic event; and neglect. The exact causes of depression remain uncertain, but the effects are clear.”

    The effects of depression range from mild to severe.

    For example, many physical symptoms accompany depression. Headaches, back pain, and muscle aches are all fairly common. Chest pain and digestive problems can also occur. Other physical symptoms of depression include exhaustion, fatigue, and sleeping difficulties. Furthermore, depression affects people mentally and emotionally. Persistent, sad or anxious feelings of hopelessness exist as part of depression. Pessimism and irritability remain common.

    Those affected by depression lose interest in activities they once found enjoyable. Thoughts of death and/or suicide plague them. However, not all people with depression have every symptom. In “Depression: A Family Matter”, Hana Marano writes that “Depression is not just a medical matter. It’s a family one, too.” The behaviors and mood of a depressed person affect the whole family. Constant irritability causes conflicts and derails family dynamics. Negative thought patterns become a prism of pessimism for everyone. This withdrawal literally disrupts relationships and breeds wholesale feelings of rejection. These damaging effects can have lasting impacts on a person’s life.

    Fortunately, there are numerous coping mechanisms available for those affected by depression.

    First, learning about depression and its condition can be motivating and empowering. Also, paying attention to trigger symptoms helps. Avoid recreational drugs and alcohol, as they will generally worsen symptoms. Lastly, taking care of one’s physical and mental well-being by eating healthy, staying physically active, and getting plenty of sleep. By following numerous guidelines and suggestions, those harmed by depression can eventually overcome it. Additionally, if affected with depression, one can use medication to relieve the symptoms.

    Numerous types of medicine and antidepressants exist that can be prescribed by a psychiatrist or primary care doctor. Patients may need to try several different types or combinations of medications in order to find one that is effective. In the article “Depression”, Belinda Rowland affirms that “Patient education in the form of therapy or self-help groups is crucial for training patients with depressive disorders to recognize early symptoms of depression and to take an active part in their treatment program.”

    For those afflicted with depression, therapy and other similar coping mechanisms are highly beneficial.

    Although depression can have detrimental effects, using coping mechanisms assists with the return to stable mental health. Because of depression’s recurrent nature, various solutions exist that have the ability to repair one’s mind, body, and family. Eventually, with effective treatment, one can break free from the chains of depression.

  • Articles, School

    Education in the U.S. – Is it Equitable For All?

    Education in the U.S.

    Education in the U.S. – Is it Equitable For All?

    Flaws in the U.S. Public Education System

    A small girl, dressed in a stained shirt and jeans, walks up dilapidated stairs to her first day of school. With inadequate funding and outdated curriculums, this school system struggles to keep teachers and students above water. Across town, another young girl dressed immaculately enters her first day of school at a well-maintained building containing small classes and adequately prepared teachers. Without surprise, the second girl mentioned graduates and attends an acclaimed university, later living a comfortable life. The first girl is unlikely to attend college and struggles financially and socially later in life.

    The discrepancies prevalent in the U.S. public education system lead to social inequalities that affect children for the rest of their lives. 

    Poor allocation of resources, such as grants, teachers, and infrastructure, creates a standard of inequality in public schools. The lowest quality teachers are often placed in struggling school districts. Oftentimes, education is put on the backburner during legislative meetings and discussions. Especially the education of schools in lower-income neighborhoods.

    Additionally, the economic aspect of this problem is troubling. Considering the millions of dollars invested in U.S. education, the true problem lies in the flawed use of money. Government funding, although meant for a positive purpose, usually have little impact on the effectiveness of one’s elementary and secondary education.

    The prodigious differences in size, curriculum, and quality between these schools due to income disparity heavily reinforce my belief that many children are receiving an unfair quality of education.

    For most social challenges, quality education constitutes a key part of the solution. Education gives students a choice with their future and leads to higher incomes and productivity levels. The power of knowledge is endless, and we must strive to provide that to every youth possible. The lack of equality causes fissures in society and negatively divides the population.  

    On a larger scale, it is essential that public policy makers take greater notice of these situations and apply the necessary means to reach the most optimal quality of education.

    The more obstacles children face in attaining necessary knowledge, the more like they are to face more difficult obstacles in their later years. These barriers lead to most, if not all, the facets of social inequality.

  • Articles

    Passion

    Ballet, Passion

    I bent down to tie the fraying ribbons of my pointe shoes, hands moving from habit due to years of ballet. As I straightened up, Tchaikovsky’s opening plays in the background, and another rehearsal begins.

    High school arrived in August 2017, and along with it, a whole new level of stress and pressures.

    Thinking about college, the future, and what would look good on my resume became the majority of my thoughts during the day. Getting high grades, which had come easily to me before, began to pose challenges. Along with academic struggles, keeping up in ballet classes had become a new difficulty. The strict movements of this dance form seemed to only compound the harsh demands of high school.

    So, at the insistence of my friends and instructors, along with my curiosity, I signed up for a Contemporary class held at my studio the next week.

    After receiving an unsatisfactory grade on a history test during the school day, I stepped into the dance studio with a more-than-average amount of stress weighing on my shoulders.

    Class began, and after warm-ups, the instructors started to teach fluid and loose choreography to us. The emphasis on versatility and improvisation was foreign to my structured knowledge of ballet.

    Sure, I had known of the existence of contemporary dance, but attempting the choreography was something entirely new. It was strange, this lack of restrictions on my movements.

    The chords and melodies ringing through the room seemed to guide my limbs, lifting and stretching in endless ways. I left class with new knowledge and a yearning for more.

    Dance became an escape route from the endless path of stress and school. It was strange, how the stress from countless deadlines could be stopped with a single routine. The forgotten algebra homework and halfway-finished history essay lay carelessly on the kitchen table as I let my body run free with the music. No longer was I constrained to dancing to orchestral music, I could now choose from pop songs to electronic, to anything.

    The freedom and fluidity of this art allowed my mental relaxation from the various pressures I experienced. I left the unforgiving and harsh demands of high school and extracurriculars.

    As weeks and months passed, the pure exhilarating passion stemming from this art began to improve other aspects of my life: mental health, energy, friendships. I started thinking more about how to better my health and relationships with others.

    However, this is not to say that I quit ballet. I continued to love and dance both art forms and found ways to enjoy them in different ways. Ballet brought a sense of stability through its strict and structured movements.

    Contemporary dance became a way to express myself and my struggles through the art of movement.

    Along this journey, I have discovered that passion is something one may never find in a lifetime, but, if found, should be cherished for a lifetime.

  • Books

    Les Miserables: An Honest Book Review

    Les Miserables: An Honest Book Review

    Set in the early 1800s of France, Victor Hugo crafts a moving tale about love and redemption, Les Misérables, which translates to “The Miserables.”

    Hugo was a highly influential novelist during the Romantic Movement in France. He published Les Misérables in 1862 to massive popularity and it is still beloved today. Hugo uses an elaborate plot, unexpected chance encounters, and hidden identities to spin a passionate tale. The novel focuses on Jean Valjean, a former convict, who struggles to escape from his past. The story follows the lives and interactions of several characters while weaving in historical events from France.

    The book is filled with dozens of wonderful, and not so wonderful, characters. Les Misérables challenges stereotypes of the rich and the poor, the free and the jailed, and the beautiful and the ugly. It also proves over and over again what the power of love for others can do. The story is used by Hugo to examine and criticize French society and law in the 19th century. He wanted to bring attention to not only the struggles of the poor but also their remarkable potential.

    In modern days, Les Misérables has been popularized through film, television, and stage adaptations. This classic and well-known story is still being told and read about around the world. Les Misérables continues to challenge people’s beliefs and shape their ideas. I highly encourage you to not only read Les Misérables but to understand and appreciate the themes and concepts present in this beautiful story.

    Need a copy? It’s easy to find for free at your public library, try setting up an account at Hoopla — https://www.hoopladigital.com/

    Looking for other great books? Check out this review of The Book Thief, https://www.girlspring.com/tag/book-review/