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  • Health, School

    Say Goodbye to Mid-Semester Slumps

    Mid-Semester Slumps

    Say Goodbye to the Existential Dread

    Halfway through the semester, I found myself completely burnt out. Overwhelmed with a full schedule and a color-coded planner demanding all my time, I needed a change. Although I had no motivation in the mood to give up, I also didn’t have the energy to wallow.

    These are the steps I took.

    Rest

    Sometimes all your brain needs is a nap and a snack to refresh. I began forcing myself to turn off my phone. Without the anxiety of missing a text or call, I had time and head space to enjoy things like a hot shower, a charcoal mask, and an entire movie. Whatever helps you feel mentally and physically rested is important. Taking care of oneself isn’t an option. Self-care is adamant.

    Cook

    For some, cooking is stressful. But for those who enjoy the challenge, cooking is an excellent way to clear your mind. I love discovering a new recipe. Cooking is therapeutic and rewarding. Try it sometime!

    Exercise

    I am constantly thinking about where I need to be and when. Time is personally, a big stressor. Therefore, it is relaxing to clear my agenda and go to the gym. I love taking my time at the gym and allowing myself to relieve stress. The gym isn’t always relaxing. However, exercise can be done almost anywhere. For example, take a nice, long run through the neighborhood. Blast the headphones and block out the world.

    Let go

    Saying no is healthy. Accepting every invitation or offer is exhausting. When one begins living to please, they stop living for themselves. Learn to say no to things that aren’t mandatory – as well as things you don’t actually want to do. Making decisions for oneself also makes it easier for one to partake in self-care.

    Take a break and allow yourself to rest. Brains can’t function on empty.
  • GirlSpring.com, School

    Plan A Perfect Semester With This Course Checklist

    Course Checklist

    Choosing Courses That Work For You!

    Plan A Perfect Semester

    It’s that time of year again. Everyone is fretting about which courses to choose for the upcoming semester. Many rely on the opinions of others to make this choice, but this only hinders self-growth. That being said, I am here to tell you a few things about choosing courses for yourself and the effect this will have.

    During my Sophomore year, I registered for Advanced Placement Chemistry.

    However, as finals week approaches, I am second guessing my decision. I also registered for Advanced Placement United States History during this time. Additionally, I refused to give up any extracurricular activities.

    Therefore, my Sophomore year began with a sense of unbridled arrogance.

    Very soon, it blew up in my face. I was getting very little sleep, my grades were slipping and my positions in the band, SGA, and robotics became difficult to maintain. Now, my social life has vanished and stubbornness is how I manage.

    However, I’m not suffering and I’m not upset about it.

    Last year, I made sure to sign up for one class in which I could study. I know what I want to do after high school, and I understand the full extent of what I will have to do to get it. If you commit to yourself, it will be easier to succeed. As I have been planning for next year, I’ve made a list of questions to ask myself and other students interested in my input.

    1. Is this class/extra-curricular relevant to your future career path? If you are working towards a leadership position, it is important to take courses that give you experience or communication skills. If the course does not provide useful skills, replace it with one that furthers your educational journey.
    2. How many time demanding things are you involved in? Don’t take seven AP classes. Seriously, do not. Unless the majority of them are relevant to your future major, don’t put yourself through that. You won’t have time to develop yourself in other important areas colleges look at like community service and extracurricular activities. If you have a job, take even less. To enjoy the fruits of your labor, you’ve got to be a functional human being.
    3. Are you taking classes that are too easy? If you constantly receive 95 percent averages with no effort, it’s time for a challenge. Take a chance at a higher GPA.
    4. Weigh all sides. If a certain standard level class is known to be difficult, take the Honors or Advanced Placement course. In standard level courses, there is a 10 point margin between each letter grade. However, in AP courses, a C grade is equivalent to a 3.0 GPA. Consider this when you choose between classes.
  • Articles, School

    This Packing Checklist is Perfect for Spring Break!

    Spring Break Packing Checklist

    The Ultimate Spring Break Packing Checklist

    It’s that time of year!

    We’re all counting down the days, hours and minutes until an entire week of no stress – basking in sunlight and parading around the beach. While our teachers pile on last-minute assignments, problematic projects, and inconvenient tests –  we hold on to a single, glimmering vision of hope: Spring Break.

    However, in the midst of the exhausting days before break, we’re burdened with one final task: packing.

    Here’s everything you’ll need for the ultimate spring break, overpacking not included.

    Multiple Swimsuits and Cover-Ups
    Beach towel
    Sunglasses, Sunglasses, Sunglasses!
    Headphones
    Your Favorite Travel Playlist
    Reusable Water Bottle
    Basic, natural makeup products (you won’t need much – it’s a vacation for your skin, also!)
    Bath Products – Travel-Size Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash
    Sunscreen!!!
    Toiletries for Morning/Nighttime Routine
    Feminine Products (in the case of any unsettling surprises)
    Comfortable Clothes – and a few outfits that make you feel fancy
    Pajamas
    Two – Three pairs of shoes (don’t forget socks!)
    Underwear/Bras (packing a few extra never hurt anyone)
    Simple Jewelry (accessories that are versatile)
    A Good Book for Beach Reading 
    Sun-Protecting Hat
    Beach Bag/Large Bag
    Snacks for the Road/Flight/Beach Days
    Disposable Camera = Memories!
    Phone Charger
    First Aid Kit (Better Safe than Sorry!)

    The worst feeling is arriving at your destination and realizing you forgot a vacation essential like your favorite pair of sunglasses or phone charger.

    No Worries – It’s easy for some things to slip your mind in between the pressure of class and the excitement of vacation, but with this list, you’ll be packed and ready to go in no time!

  • School

    Fun Ideas for a Spring Break Spent at Home

    Ideas For Spring Break

    Fun Ideas for a Spring Break Spent at Home

    It seems like everyone but you has plans for an amazing Spring Break vacation. Don’t let this get you down. You also have amazing Spring Break plans – regardless if you go anywhere.

    If you are stuck at home for Spring Break, this list is for you!

    Read

    All those books on your reading list that are sitting on your shelf collecting dusty are ready to be picked up. Grab the one you’ve been eyeing and go outside and read while soaking up some sun in the backyard. Or go to a local coffee shop, get your favorite pastry, and read.

    Binge Netflix

    There are so many shows on Netflix that have many seasons to keep you busy all week. My favorite shows to binge are Grey’s Anatomy, Law and Order, Friends, That 70’s show, You, Gossip Girl and The Office. All of these shows are extremely addicting. Trust me, you will not get bored.

    Bake

    Bake cookies or a cake. If you don’t usually bake, learn! Baking is so much fun and you get to eat whatever you bake. Get creative and just experiment. Learn to bake in a new way, like making vegan or healthy chocolate chip cookies. There are so many recipes and fun ideas on Pinterest, so have fun looking them up and start baking!

    Redecorate/Organize

    I am sure your room could use a new look, I know mine could. Change up the way your bed is positioned in your room, or move your dresser next to the window. Change things up a bit. Or organize your drawers. I know it is easy for clothes to get jumbled up and it becomes frustrating trying to close drawers. So, dedicate a day to organizing, refolding your clothes or redo your closet.

    Exercise

    Go on a morning run or start a new exercise routine. Exercising can only improve your health, so try it out! Or maybe go on Youtube and learn how to do yoga or pilates. There are so many different workouts out there and Youtube is full of free ones.

    Treat Yourself

    Give yourself a spa day. Put on a face mask, prop up your feet and watch your favorite romance movie. Finally, paint your fingernails and toenails. It’s about time – since you have been slowly watching the polish chip the past few months.

    Start A Blog

    Finally, write that first blog post you have been putting off for months. You know have a whole week to design a blog and express yourself through writing. Be bold and make it your own!

    There are an endless amount of ideas to keep you occupied all spring break.

    If you find yourself bored, think of all the things you’d like to do during the school year that you never have time for and do them!

    Make the most of your week and relax. You deserve it!

  • 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, Health, School, Stress

    Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

    Self-Care Isn't Selfish

    Self Care ≠ Selfish

    Because being self-aware does not make you self absorbed

     

    I feel like I’m always enveloped in some sort of activity— finishing an assignment or project for school, cleaning my room and bathroom for the third time in a week, or spending time with my closest friends, doing anything from running errands to talking about our days.

    Recently, I’ve realized that there’s never a moment where I take a moment to breathe. A moment to relax, to clear my thoughts.

    Don’t do this. Make time for yourself, whenever it’s possible.

    After years of spreading myself too thin, I’ve finally recognized a crucial aspect about myself: I cope with stress and anxiety by keeping busy. Whenever I’m alone with my thoughts, I begin to think about all of the other, more productive things I could be doing at that moment. I feel guilty for taking a break.

    It’s difficult to define stress; it can present itself in a multitude of ways, ranging from napping to the inability to concentrate. However, once you’re able to detect when you’re stressed, much like I did, you can discover how to alleviate it. Is confronting your emotions easy? No. But is it worth it? Definitely.

    Self-care is not selfish. I have to repeat this mantra to myself every single day, and chances are, so do you. You’re allowed to be your own priority.

    One of my favorite anti-stress methods, and one that has helped me the most is journaling. Through writing my emotions, I have learned so much about myself, including how to identify my emotions and why I’m feeling that way.

    I’m not a fan of pushing my problems onto other people, so through journaling, I’ve found a way to express my thoughts and relieve myself of the pressure they put on me. After putting my feelings on paper, I typically engage myself in “me time.” This concept, something that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, varies from person to person. It takes some trial and error to learn what works for you. Common methods are taking a bubble bath, applying a face mask, engaging in a type of exercise, or listening to your favorite music– as long as you’re doing something you love, you’ll come out the other end feeling better than before.

    As broad and cliché as it sounds, try to shut your brain off. Release the stress and worry of the day and be present in whatever you’re doing. We tend to become so wrapped up in our worries that we miss out on opportunities that can take the edge off, such as goofing around with friends or getting lost in the latest episode of New Girl.

    Stress is completely normal.

    So don’t be discouraged whenever that all-too-familiar feeling rolls around; above everything else, don’t burn yourself out by ignoring it. Recognize and accept what you’re feeling. Take a break to do something you love. Acknowledge that the feeling won’t last forever– you’ll wake up tomorrow, regardless of what happens day, to a fresh start.