All Posts By:

margoa

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, School

    Should You Take An AP Class?

    As a senior in high school looking back at my younger self, I realize just how lost I used to be and feel. I am the oldest child in my family, and I didn’t have someone to show me the ropes of high school. I did not know which teachers were best, didn’t know which classes to avoid, and I was terrified of taking an AP class. When I was a freshman, there were no AP options in my curriculum. However, as class selection started for my sophomore year, that’s all the school-related talk became about. My friends would ask if I was taking any AP’s and if I was, which ones? How many? Why those? Did I want college credit, or did I just like the challenge? Honestly? I had no idea. I was just signing up for what looked good to take. Now, I want to break down how to assess whether or not to take an AP class.

    First, think about if you are good at the subject you want to go AP in. If you’re looking into taking AP chemistry but made Cs and Bs in regular chemistry, it might not be the choice for you. You will want to take AP courses in classes that you will already find engaging and interesting to study. The Collegeboard suggests studying 8 hours a week for each AP class you sign up for. So, if you don’t like the subject you are taking, it will be very hard to keep up and stay on track. 

    Second, think about what you might want to study in college. If you are looking into studying philosophy or history, make sure you take AP History and AP English courses. That will let the colleges you are looking into know what you’re interested in, and that you are a driven, hardworking student. 

    Third, assess your own time management/school abilities. AP courses come with a lot of homework and if you do not have the time or ability to keep up with the course work, it probably is not for you. AP courses are good to have on your transcript, but not if you got low grades because you couldn’t keep up. Challenge yourself, but do not overwork yourself; it will lead to academic burnout. 

    Finally, think about if you want to take the class in the first place. I know lots of people that signed up for AP courses because their friends were taking it, or because they felt pressured into it. If you do not want to take the class and all that it asks of you, don’t! It will be a hassle all year to try and keep up if you do not find it engaging or interesting. 

    I hope this helps! And just remember, most importantly, to take care of yourself above academics. It can be easy to over prioritize school, but when it becomes unhealthy, make sure to take a break and relax.

  • Articles

    Trump Impeachment Inquiry (9.30.2019)

    On September 24, 2019, White House speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that up to six committees would be making formal impeachment inquiries against Donald Trump over the Ukraine call on July 25, 2019. The initial call was made by Trump to try and find political dirt on Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Reports are finding that there is no evidence of current wrongdoing by Biden. Trump has denied that he tried to pressure Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, into giving away information on Biden, but a release of the call from July 25 proves otherwise. 

    “The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you ·can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.” – Transcript report from Washington Post

    As all the information is currently unfolding, 215 Democrats in the House of Representatives support impeachment, and according to CNN, upwards of 47% of Americans support an impeachment issued against Trump, with both of those numbers on the rise. Impeachment does not exactly guarantee a kick from office, and if Americans feel that is a necessary action, it will have to be fought for.

  • Articles, Lifestyle, Shero

    Stonewall Riots

    stonewall riots

    June 28, 2019, marks the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The name might sound familiar, but not too many people know many of the details of the Stonewall Riots. It isn’t taught in history class, although it was a major social disruption with historical significance, and most people don’t bring it up in their daily conversations. 

    Up until the 1960s, American society was extremely strict, cookie-cutter, and patriarchal. In the 1960s, there was a strong reverse in that trend. The decade birthed many counter culture movements such as the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the further advancements of women’s rights, and the Stonewall Riots.

    The riots stemmed from a police raid of a gay bar in Greenwich Village in NYC. The raid quickly got out of hand, and fights between bar attenders and plainclothes policemen soon broke out. People gathered outside the bar and watched. Those in the “audience” of Stonewall soon began to cry out cheers of “Gay Power”, and a mood of liberation and fighting back quickly struck the bystanders. 

    After the Stonewall raid, the next day there were protests in the Village for gay rights and acceptance. For weeks riots and protests went on to call for LGBT acceptance and rights. 

    Stonewall is known for the advancements of the LGBT rights. It was the major first step in drawing attention to the issue and led to many social and political reforms that led to the continuing acceptance of LGBT people today. 

  • Articles

    Climate Change: Where we are, and where we’re going.

    Climate Change

    Climate Change. You’ve heard the term before, heard a couple of compelling causes, and probably even felt scared about the future it’s bringing. But, what exactly is Global Climate Change? How do we know its real? What does it entail? Where are we on its course of destruction, and how can we stop it?

    Well, Climate Change is the change that our global climate will undergo as Earth’s average temperature heats up. So far, we have risen roughly 0.7 degrees Celsius in the past century alone, which is a drastic increase in such a short amount of time. A rise in 2 degrees Celcius will dramatize weather patterns such as drought, hurricanes, famine, heat waves, and more. We are steadily but surely headed to this marking, and so far, our current state gives no signs of slowing down. Our country actively incentives against clean energy, and instead promotes coal, natural gas, and oil. These non-renewable sources of energy only have so long (50 years left of oil, by the way,) and our government refuses to acknowledge the poisoning these resources have done to our environment and people.

    We know for a fact that climate change is real for numerous reasons. First of all, CO2 emissions on Earth have never risen past 300 ppm, (Parts Per Million), but currently, the number rests at about 400 ppm, and it isn’t slowing down. But how do we know that isn’t just more people exhaling, and fewer trees taking in that CO2? Because the carbon in the atmosphere is Carbon-12, an older form of carbon dioxide, as compared to Carbon-14, the form that we as living organisms exhale. The Internation Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has come to a consensus that yes, climate change is real. Why don’t we trust our climatologists?

    If climate change is real, which trust me, it is, what does it exactly entail? Will people just sunburn easier, or will there be worse consequences? Global Climate Change has already melted ocean ice ( which will flood our cities), created hotter and longer heat waves, and deeply intensified drought. So far, this has negatively impacted our food resources, which is already becoming very strained under the population growth of our time. Not to mention that in the future, these extreme weather patterns will begin making our Garden of Eden its own nightmare, killing off its people until almost no one survives.

    Of course, that’s a far off possibility. If governments across the globe pull it together and actually make some change, then our best case scenario is a 2 degree celsius increase with crazy weather. Still not a fun environment to live in, but hopefully humankind will continue. What we as people can do about climate change is to get in touch with our representatives, make calls, and spread the word about whats to come. Cutting down on your personal carbon footprint is also a lovely idea, and ways to do this are eating vegetarian or local, walking or biking places, and support clean energy like solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric.

    In conclusion, yes; climate change is real. Climatologists are sure. If we don’t do something about it fast, its going to inevitably hurt us in future decades.

  • Photography

    Gun Control, Where Are We One Year After Parkland?

    Roughly a year ago on February 14, 2018, Stoneman Majority Douglas High School was under attack by Nicolas Cruz for about 7 minutes. The outcome resulted in 17 casualties, many more injuries, and the spark of a movement that has lit wildfires of fear and passion for gun control across the United States. So, one year later, what has changed? Over the year, attention towards the desperate need for gun control has made the public more involved than ever. In multiple states, gun control policies were updated and strengthened.

    In California, specifically in the wake of the Thousand Oaks bar shooting, the minimum age of which guns could be sold to was upped from 18 to 21. Another bill was passed that made it so any person with a history or record of domestic violence is barred from owning any kind of firearm.

    In Illinois, the waiting period for when a person will receive a gun has jumped from 24 hours to 72 hours. This is especially important because it usually takes 3 days for petty anger to wear off, or for an argument to be worked out. This increase in waiting time can prevent future casualties.

    In Oregon, a trend had been for reported abusers to not get married, and thus still be allowed to own firearms in the ‘boyfriend loophole’. The original law made it so married abusers could not own firearms, but by not being married, these abusers could still own their weapons. The new law took care of this ‘boyfriend loophole’, granting safety to many people in the state who might feel unable to leave an abusive situation.

    In Washington State, the age limit for buying semi-automatic rifles increased from 18 to 21. Starting in July, the state will also pass new safety gun storage laws and background checks from law enforcement.

    On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, the House of Representatives passed significant gun control regulations, that requires background checks on all firearm sales in the United States. Another term for this that you might be familiar with is Universal Background Checks. That’s right, it finally happened. The vote still has to move to the Senate where it is unlikely to pass, but it is a huge step in the right direction.  

    One year ago, there was a lot of uncertainty about whether the March For Our Lives movement would amount to anything. And one year later, I think I can say that it has made a very good impact. There is still a long way to go on the road of gun control in the United States, but this movement has made its case, and won’t be leaving until their demands are met.

  • Poem

    Roots

    Roots

     

    My roots are

    Grounded in

    Generations of women

    Readying the battlefield.

    Women who were

    Hurt

    Abused

    And those same women who

    Rose and

    Grew.

     

    My stem supported by

    Mothers and

    Grandmothers.

    The same women who would

    Drop anything

    To save everything.

    By women sitting on the

    Sills of closed windows,

    And women of the past who

    Ran away.

     

    My leaves are sheltered by

    Strong women who

    Fight for their family’s

    Name.

    By women who put up with

    Injustice and prejudice

    So their children may

    Live a better life than

    Them.

    By women who throw themselves into

    A new world with no

    Knowledge of even the

    Language or

    Culture.

     

    My petals are painted by

    My grandmother’s delicate paintbrush.

    Adjusting pigment and

    Adding water.

    Diluting the tones

    And always making sure the image

    Is strong

    And understood.

     

    Doctors, lawyers,

    Activists

    And an almost architect.

    Painters and nurses and

    Engineers and

    Stay at home mothers.

    All powerful.

    All strong.

    All helping me

    Grow into

    What I am meant

    To become.

  • School

    How to study for the ACT / SAT

    Junior year is considered the hardest year and most juniors’ biggest stress is studying for the ACT or the SAT. Now, for most standardized tests, the best way to prepare is simply to practice. This article is here to help you guide yourself for studying for the ACT / SAT and to give some guidance on preparation.

    First, assess your current situation. Have you taken the test yet? If yes, then you know your starting point and what you’re trying to build off of. If you have not taken the test of your choice yet, then take a deep breath and remind yourself that you have many times in the future to take the test over again. You probably have plenty of time to study and prepare.

    Second, sign up for your test. Most of the time, the sign-up deadline is roughly a month away from the test date. This would be a good time to either: purchase a practice test book or find a good practice program online. I know that Khan Academy provides a good SAT practice program, and many people have given good reviews with inspiring scores. Any old practice book will work also. You can easily buy one at a bookstore.

    Third, set up a practice schedule. If you don’t think you will need to study that much, then limit yourself to only 20-30 practice problems every few days. If you don’t think you’re going to do very well, then I would recommend 25 practice problems a day. With this schedule, you can easily finish a practice test in a couple of days.  If you record your answers on a separate sheet of paper, you can retake the same test and avoid buying another book after finishing it.

    Fourth, make sure to check your work. Most practice booklets have an answer key at the end of each test and explain each answer. Read the descriptions of why things are right! It helps to build connections and will strengthen your smarts on why a certain answer is right.

    Note: Standardized tests L O V E short and concise answers. If you’re in the English / reading portion of your test and it asks for a replacement statement, go with the most concise answer.

    Fifth, its the day before the test. On this day, don’t do any practice! You have been working so hard for the past month or so, and before the big day, you need a break. Make sure to print out your ticket, and have the directions for your testing center. Pack your bag with what you plan to bring to the test, eat a nutritious dinner, and go to bed early. I don’t mean wildly early, just enough so that you can get 7-8 hours of sleep.

    The next morning, wake up early enough to eat a good breakfast. Not just a pop tart. Get some protein and carbs so you have the brain energy to make it through all of the test. Leave your home early enough to reach your testing center with a few minutes of extra time to find your testing room and settle in. Before the test, take a deep breath and remember all the practice you have done. You are ready to conquer the ACT / SAT!