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  • Articles, Confidence, Depression, GirlSpring.com, Puberty, Tough Questions

    Redefine Your Life: My Story

    Getting off the bus after the first day of kindergarten, I remember feeling so overstimulated and overwhelmed I ran straight to my bedroom, ignored everyone, and sat on my bed crying. Thirty minutes later I came back to the kitchen, had my afternoon snack, and everything was back to normal. Reactions like this were normal for me throughout all of elementary school. I was the girl who would restrict my playdates to two hours, call my mom to pick me up at sleepovers and disappear for hours at a time into the woods. The consensus I eventually came to was I just enjoyed being alone. Other people made me tired and anxious, so at a young age I put myself into a box: I was an introvert.


    I was happy in this box for most of my life going on my own adventures and living in my own world until I realized that many of my classmates were going on the same adventures but bringing other people with them and they seemed to be having more fun. Fixing this issue was easy as I just started bringing my neighbor with me on my adventures. Soon we were inseparable; however, I still saw myself as an introvert: I was now just an introvert with a best friend. Because I had a best friend I never felt the need to meet anyone new; therefore, I never learned how to interact with new people.


    This lack of social ability was not an issue for me until I moved in eighth grade. At first, it was exciting, everyone was intrigued with me, boys were asking for my number, girls were complimenting me, and I had already learned everything I was being taught: life was great. However, I had no idea how to actually form relationships, so eventually when I was no longer new, I was all alone. Soon the box I had put myself into for so long began to backfire, I found myself feeling constantly depressed and alone. All I wanted was to climb into my bed and go to sleep. Furthermore, I was extremely confused as to why I was feeling this way as I still believed that I was an introvert and loved being alone.

    This period of depression continued into high school. I was constantly pushing people away, refusing to participate and then seeing pictures on Snapchat or Instagram and finding myself jealous or upset. This situation continued until one day I decided I was not happy and I did not fit into this box I made for myself so long ago. I clearly remember one of my first yes moments. I was at a football game that my older sister had dragged me to standing uncomfortably at the top of the student section, everyone around me was cheering, laughing, and getting involved in the game. However, because I still have no idea how football works there was no way to get involved even if I wanted to leave me wanting to just cry and run away. At halftime, people started to leave the student section and I was about to call my mom and beg her to pick me up. Right as I was reaching for my phone a random guy from my grade came up to me and asked, “Hey, do you want to walk around with me and my friends.” Instead of pretending I didn’t hear him I just said, “sure.” Although that may seem so minuscule, it was a major change in my life. It was the first moment I let myself venture out of my box. It was the first time I found myself having fun and actually wanting to stay somewhere in years.


    Throughout the rest of high school these yes moments continued to occur: saying yes to a dance, yes to a party, yes to getting involved in my school and community. As a senior, I have completely redefined myself. I am no longer the quiet, introverted girl who could not get out of her comfort zone. In fact, when I tell people that I used to be extremely shy they laugh in my face and ask, “Do you know what being shy means?” or respond “I don’t know about that.”  Now instead of being the girl unable to talk to anyone, I’m the one going up to that random person so that they can finally have a yes moment too

  • Articles

    Mattel Honors Rosa Parks and Sally Ride

    Rosa Parks

    Barbie dolls have been a staple in the childhood of young girls since the 50’s. There was nothing quite like the fresh plastic and shiny packaging of a new doll. Mattel is an American toy company that started in the 40’s. Over the decades, Barbie has been featured with various occupations, styles, accessories, athletics, and many other customizable elements. In honor of the recent 99th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote, Mattel released a Rosa Parks and Sally Ride inspired doll. On August 26th, 2019 Mattel debuted the civil rights activist and the first female American astronaut dolls. Parks and Ride were both ambitious, fearless women who are remembered for their contributions not only to women’s rights, but towards the nation as a whole. 

    Who Was Rosa Parks?

    Rosa Parks is most well known for her activism in civil rights. Specifically, during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the 50’s. During this time Parks had chosen to sit in a typical recgonized demands of a white man during the laws of intense segregation. Parks played a pivotal role in the progression of the boycott. She is remembered for her determination and bravery to fight for what she believed in. She continued an active participant in many activism groups and organization until she passed away in 2005. 

    Who Was Sally Ride?

    Sally Ride was the first ever American woman to go into space, and the third ever woman to go into space. She was a highly intelligent astronaut and physicist. She began working with NASA after applying from a local advertisement she saw, and was one of 35 selected out of 8,000 applicants. Ride completed her training in 1979, at this time there were very few women working in her field. On June 18, 1983 on mission STS-7 Ride became the first American Woman to enter space. Ride returned to space once more before moving to Washington D.C to work for NASA’s headquarters. Following her work with NASA, she went to Stanford University and University of California San Diego to teach and do research. She then retired, and passed away in 2012.

    So What?

    It’s important to recognize and appreciate the wonderful women we have throughout America history to celebrate. Mattel’s decision to honor Parks and Ride was a choice to acknowledge women’s rights and accomplishments, and is something to remind individuals to continue to do so in the present. Mattel works to inspire young girls and encourage them to aspire and dream big. The representation of these women who have worked so hard is a reminder of greatness for young girls and our society!

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, TRENDING

    The Whistleblower Complaint and A Summation of President Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry

    united states capitol building

    On September 24, 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the house would initiate an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. Ever since the Mueller report was released, impeachment has been circulating through the media. It was only until Tuesday, September 24, that this impeachment could be possible. So what exactly does impeachment mean?

    What is Impeachment?

    Impeachment is often recognized as the catalyst to the end of a president’s term. While this could be true, only two presidents have ever been impeached, and neither of them was removed from office. Impeachment simply means that the president will be questioned by Congress, but does not mean that the president will be removed from office. Although impeachment is immensely relevant, there is merely an impeachment inquiry being held right now. 

    What is an impeachment inquiry?

    An impeachment inquiry is the beginning of the process of impeachment but does not inevitably lead to impeachment. In this case, the impeachment inquiry means that democratic officials elected for this process will investigate and possibly propose articles of impeachment. This would then be voted on by the House of Representatives. If a simple majority passes any article of impeachment, the president is officially impeached. Only after that is when the Senate votes on it, confirming or denying the president’s conviction depending on a two-thirds vote. 

    So, why is there an impeachment inquiry of President Trump?

    The main reason for the impeachment inquiry coming out recently is mainly because of the “whistleblower complaint” shared with the New York Times. A whistleblower is a person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity. In this complaint, the anonymous government employee claimed that Trump asked the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Trump’s most threatening rival in the upcoming election, Vice President Joe Biden. Specifically, Trump asked for an investigation of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. The anonymous source also stated that all records of the phone calls were put on “lockdown” and stored on a top-secret computer this summer. The source said that many white house aids were concerned that the president was abusing the system, but had confirmed that it was “not the first time.” This yields evident questioning concerning the president’s motives. 

    Why should the whistleblower be believed?

    This is a question many people are asking. There is strong evidence showing that this person knows what he/she is talking about. The acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire, appointed by the president, claimed that many of the events pointed out in the report align with information released by the president. He also claimed that he has no reason to doubt the whistleblower’s intentions. The New York Times also released information stating that the whistleblower is a C.I.A. officer. In any case, a whistleblower, when admitting controversial information, is prepared for a life-changing event to transpire. Thus, no one would release faulty information when it can lead to such high-risk retribution.There is evident proof that this is not simply fabricated. 

    Will President Trump be impeached or even removed from office? We must be patient and await the outcome. We are living in an extraordinary time period. History is being made; all we have to do is pay attention. 

    *Because of dynamic events and hourly developments, this article may lack important information released after publication

    Sources:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/pelosi-top-democrats-privately-discuss-creation-of-select-committee-for-impeachment/2019/09/24/af6f735a-dedf-11e9-b199-f638bf2c340f_story.html

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/how-does-impeachment-work/2019/09/24/7eea04b3-dfd2-4dd8-8722-fd924f30410d_video.html

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/whistleblower-case-4-top-takeaways-from-the-whistleblower-complaint-and-the-testimony-of-dni-joseph-maguire/

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/read-the-whistleblower-complaint-regarding-president-trump-s-communications-with-ukrainian-president-volodymyr-zelensky/4b9e0ca5-3824-467f-b1a3-77f2d4ee16aa/

    https://www.npr.org/2019/09/27/764794409/the-trump-ukraine-affair-what-you-need-to-know-and-whats-coming-next


  • Articles

    Managing Social Media Usage

    woman sitting at a desk on a computer

    It can be super easy to get lost in the world of social media today. While it has rapidly become a huge part of our society, it has its ups and downs. Social media is great for keeping up with friends or family you don’t see frequently, being able to freely express yourself, and even to access news outlets. On the other hand, however, we all know the toxicity it can have. Comparison issues, over analyzing, time wasting, and fake news. It seems to be with each positive it brings, there’s a negative to counter it. Nonetheless, it’s almost unavoidable today if you have a smartphone. Here are some tips on how to manage your social media, in order to take it in doses that will be helpful rather than harmful! 

    1.) Monitor your screen time. 

    With a relative new Apple iPhone update, you will receive a weekly notification of your average screen time daily, along with a percentage to tell you if it is up or down from the previous week. This has been a great tool to stay aware and conscious. When you think about your day, we are typically awake for about 12-14 hours. If your screen time is reporting you average seven hours a day, that’s a strong indicator for how you’re spending your time. Now, obviously, this won’t all be from social media. However, it usually ends up being most of it. Furthermore, if you click on the notification it will pull up a page in your settings with a breakdown of how and where each minute went while your screen was on. Additionally, you can set time limits on apps and schedule downtime away from your phone. Take advantage of these features and resources to stay alert of how much time you spend on social media.

    2.) If you don’t have an iPhone,

    While iPhone accounts for a large portion of cell phone users, it’s not something that everyone has. Look into your specific phone settings and see if there are any similar features or resources. If not, that’s okay! If you find yourself needing to keep track of your social media usage, grab a notebook or piece of paper and jot down the times you log in to the time you log off, and analyze the times at the end of the week and set a new goal. You can also set alarms on your phone to start and stop social media usage. 

    3.) Frequently check how often you post.

    Most social media platforms will keep track of how often you post. Instagram keeps track of posts on your profile, Twitter also does this with the number of tweets you have. Snapchat also has a “score” that increases with the more snaps you send and receive. Don’t feel like you need to obsess over these numbers, but don’t be afraid to look at them from time to time. This can also be a good indicator of how much time you are dedicating to these apps. 

    4.) Understand not everything is as it seems.

    We know that our eyes can deceive us on social media, but that concept strays away sometimes. As much as it can be hard to identify, yes, FaceTune exists. And YES, people use it! Don’t let unrealistic physical features allow you to feel self-conscious, because a lot of the Instagram influencers with thousands of followers are using an app to edit themselves! The same goes for other content as well. We have to remind ourselves someone’s whole life isn’t reflected on their Instagram. Even more so, it’s only exactly what they want us to think their life is. Additionally, don’t believe everything you read. Twitter specifically, has been known for having fake news go viral. If you see a piece of news that catches your interest on social media, Google the topic to find credible sources to see if it holds true or not. 

  • 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

    It’s Okay Not to Feel Okay

    sad girl

    September is national suicide prevention month, which calls for the conversation we must remind ourselves to have. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people between ages 10-24. The youth struggles with mental health more than we commonly acknowledge, which is why it’s important to speak out, especially during this time of year. The stigma around mental health can sometimes cause young girls and boys to struggle with expressing their emotions. With every conversation, society can work towards breaking down this stigma. 

    There is nothing wrong with asking for help, society relies on humans working together, not against each other. It’s important to seek help if you are struggling yourself, or recommend help if a friend or loved one is struggling. There are many stories of people finding hope and that light at the end of the tunnel, it’s inspirational and can motivate others to share their stories as well. It can be very hard to voice the struggle while going through something as deeply emotional and intense. 

    Experiencing trauma at a young age can be confusing and hurtful to anyone that experiences it, especially youth between the ages of 10-24. Some people might not even fully understand the feelings or emotions they’re having in result to an event. However, it’s not just trauma that can trigger a suicidal response. It can come purely from a chemical imbalance in the brain, and a lack of serotonin. This is okay! Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health related issues that coincide with suicide. Dealing with a chemical imbalance doesn’t mean that person is any less capable of accomplishing and living a healthy happy life. What is important, is to watch for warning signs of risk in oneself or in friends and family, and seek help when needed. 

    What to Look For

    If you become worried for yourself or someone you love, there are significant signs to be aware of. The American Foundutation for Suicide Prevention tells readers to be aware of changes in talk, behavior, and mood. 

    Talk

    Pay attention to the language used. Is there about feeling like a burden to themselves or those around them? Talk of feeling hopeless? Or vocalizing unbearable pain? These are all warning signs the AFSP points out to be alerted by. 

    Behavior

    Behavior changes when someone experiences the feelings of suicide. Maybe they will stop engaging in activities that once brought them joy, or any type of isolation is also a red flag. Social and academic withdrawal are to be noted as well. If the person becomes angry and aggressive frequently, or starts engaging in substance abuse behavior (drugs, alcohol, etc), these are all signs to check up on yourself or the person you notice experiencing them. Additionally, sleeping too much or too little, as well as giving away meaningful possessions. 

    Mood

    The mood of those experiencing suicidal thoughts will come across as typically negative. However, that doesn’t mean it will be obvious. Increased depression, anxiety, lack of interest, humiliation, shame, and irritability can all be warning signs that something is wrong as well.

    What to do When Warning Signs are Present

    Suicide can feel very lonely. It’s a dark feeling that heightens isolation, and at times can be very scary. The most important thing to know, and to tell others is that you are never alone in the fight. Each life is precious and important to contribute to the human race. If you experience warning signs in yourself or others, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24 hour serivce waiting to help. They employ trained professionals that work with certified suicide prevention specialists highly skilled in suicide intervention skills. For more information about how you can help yourself or loved ones, visit www.afsp.org or call the 24/7 hotline at (1)800-273- 8225

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com

    A Poem to the Women of the Past, Present, and Future

    Rosie the Riveter

    This poem is dedicated to all the women who fought for equal rights

    All around her cottage, loud rain falls.
    Only one trace of life within her walls.
    A little girl sits alone.
    She fails to light a match.
    She pleads for heat.

    With a blanket in hand,
    She closes her eyes,
    And sees a warm fire,
    A fire within,
    A fire of her own.

    A little girl sits,
    Baffled by her goals,
    Denied by society,
    And consumed by her dreams.
    Was the fire just in her imagination?

    Maybe, for now,
    But one day,
    She’ll release her fire.
    The world will ignite,
    And she’ll spread her light.

    Education for all,
    Regardless of sex.
    Voting for all,
    Regardless of sex.
    Equal rights for all.

    Sojourner Truth,
    Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    Oprah Winfrey,
    The list goes, but
    We thank you.

    All around our cottage,
    her light shines bright,
    Everyone is warm,
    We stand together
    And fight for our rights.