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  • Articles,, School

    How to Balance Work, School, and a Social Life

    Sometimes things happen, and you’re left with an extra burden or two. Maybe that means you have to pick up an extracurricular activity to boost your scholarship resume, or maybe you need money now and have to get a job. Either way, adding more things to your schedule is never easy.

    You’re young and have your whole life ahead of you, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have things to worry about right now.

    Being young gives you the extra energy to take care of business, but it also brings along puberty, peer pressures, and the impending doom of what you want to be when you grow up.

    I know first hand how stressful life can be. In high school, I was a part of my school’s theater program, I participated in our school’s show choir and  regular choir, and I had two jobs. I also didn’t want to have to say no to my friends when they invited me out.

    I had to learn to delegate my circumstances ahead of time so that I was never left making hard choices too late.

    My week looked something like:

    • Monday- School 7:30am-3:15pm; Spend time with friends 3:45pm-6pm; work 6:30pm-9pm; sleep 9:30pm-6am
    • Tuesday- School 7:30am-3:15pm; Show Choir Practice 3:30pm-5:30pm; Homework/Study 6pm-7:30pm; Free time 7:30pm-9:30pm; sleep 9:30pm-6am
    • Wednesday- School 7:30am-3:15pm; Spend time with friends 3:45pm-5pm; work 5:30pm-9pm; Sleep 9:30pm-6am
    • Thursday- School 7:30am-3:15pm; Show Choir practice 3:30pm-5:30pm; work 6:30pm-9pm; Homework/Study 9:30pm-11pm; Sleep 11pm-6am
    • Friday- School 7:30am-3:15; Play practice 3:30pm-5:30pm; Spend time with friends 6:30pm-12am; sleep 12:30am-6am
    • Saturday- Work 8am-9pm; sleep 10pm-8am
    • Sunday- Church 10am-12pm; lunch with friends 12:30pm-2pm; Homework/study 2:30pm-5pm; free time 5pm-9:30pm; sleep 9:30pm-6am

    The best advice I can give if you are a very busy bee

    Give yourself time to breathe.

    You need fifteen minutes for relaxation every now and then, if not more time. I get that projects and exams are due at certain times, but try to take breaks between studying. I like to watch fifteen minutes of TV or get a snack in-between homework assignments. It helps me mellow out and focus better on my work.

    Try planning your week out in advance.

    There may be some curve balls in there, but the more time you allot for specific tasks, the more time you will have for yourself and for your social life. If you feel like you are saying no to almost all your friends’ invitations, try allotting time for them every other week if you can’t afford more time.

    The connections you make will aid in shaping you as a person. Find friends that take things as seriously as you do. They are more likely to understand your circumstances. Do not let other kids bully you into thinking that you are boring or overworking yourself. Do things at your own pace and how you want to do them. Different study techniques work for different people.

    Here’s another article with tips on how to use your time wisely during the school year, or to just manage your time better in general.

  • Articles,, Relationships

    A Friendship 4,000 Miles Apart


    Why Doesn’t Anyone Talk About These?

    Whether you have listened to a friend or family member talk about their experiences or have personally dealt with this difficult situation, we’re all well aware of the struggles that come with long-distance relationships. They seem like an overused movie plot or a daily topic of conversation, but why is there never any talk of long-distance friendships?

    I’m currently a junior in college; I’ve had the same group of friends for the past three years, and in that short time, I’ve developed a stronger-than-expected bond. I don’t know how I’ve survived up to this point without them, but I can confidently say they’ll be sticking around for years to come. 

    I’m with this group of individuals day and night, seven days a week. The three months of summer that used to feel so brief in high school are elongated, each day without my best friends feeling slower than the next. When you’re with your friends 24/7, they begin to feel like family. 

    My Own Long Distance Friendship

    This past semester has been especially hard for me. My best friend, the one person I know I can trust with anything and everything, is studying abroad in Spain. I truly didn’t think spending a few months without her would be a big deal, but the six-hour time difference and lack of cellular connection has really begun to take a toll. 

    But that’s the thing about best friends– no matter how many miles are in between you, no matter how many days pass by before you can have a conversation, you’ll always pick up right back where you left off. True friendships doesn’t fade after a few missed calls. 

    My best friend and I have been on opposite schedules for a few weeks now; whenever I finished my midterm exams, hers were just beginning. When I go home after a long day of classes, she’s already been asleep for hours. Whenever I have a not-so-busy week, she’s traveling to Rome or Paris. 

    While it’s not an ideal situation, it’s comforting, in a way. Seeing your best friend living her best life, making memories that will last forever is an amazing feeling. No matter how much you miss her, no matter how much you wish you were there, the happiness you feel for her is overwhelming. And knowing your friendship can remain solid if not grow stronger, despite 4,000+ miles makes you feel lucky you’ve found something so great.

    Long-distance friendships are exhausting and even disheartening, at times. But when you’ve found a bond that survives, and even thrives, under these circumstances– that’s when you know you’ve found your best friend for life. 

    Long-Distance Friendships can work! Don’t believe me? Check out Aubrey’s story.

  • Articles,, Lifestyle, Relationships

    When Things Don’t Go as Planned, Make New Plans


    Planning doesn’t always guarantee your preparedness, as you never know what the future holds. However, your ability to adapt and stay positive can guarantee your success. Sometimes undesirable things happen, but we must learn to use our negative feelings to push us forward, and never let them hold us back.

    I didn’t know I’d be meeting my best friend

    Every summer, I am fortunate enough to attend some sort of camp. A few years ago, I went to medical science camp at my dream high school. South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Math, a residential high school I have been daydreaming about for years. I was obviously so excited, but I was also nervous. This was to be expected, as I didn’t know anyone going into it.

    On the first day, I was trying to meet people and make friends, but it seemed as if everyone had already created their groups. Then I heard someone say “hey, you are welcome to come over here with us! I’m Sriya by the way.”, and that was it. She introduced herself and opened her arms to me. I immediately felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders and a light surrounded me. She had the most beautiful and welcoming energy that radiated to everyone.

    Something between us just clicked. We instantly felt comfortable with each other, so we decided to be roommates the next week we were at camp. During our second week, we were in different classes, so we looked forward to the evening when we could discuss our days. That week was filled with conversations, both silly and serious….and plenty of Harry Styles sing alongs. We started to talk about our futures. We both knew we were going to apply to the residential program. We knew it would be extremely challenging, but we could get through anything together. About halfway through our residential application process, Sriya found out that her family is moving.

    Here are GirlSpring's thoughts on True Friendship
    Sriya and me

    Okay, not a big deal. We will be away at school and she will just go home to a different city. They won’t be that far away, right? Wrong.

    Pursuing our dream… solo

    A few months later, I got a call from the president of the school congratulating me on my acceptance! It was one of the most exciting days of my life! After I finished my crying tears of joy and shock, Sriya was the first person I wanted to call. Then it hit me. My best friend, the first one I always turn to, is moving 8635 miles away. We live in different cities, but I can get in the car for about an hour and be at her front door. That obviously isn’t going to work anymore.

    How am I supposed to do it? How am I going to live our dream without her by my side? I felt guilty. I felt guilty about being excited. I felt guilty about being selfish. Why do I get this and she doesn’t? I don’t deserve this. Can I do this? How can I go back to Governor’s School all alone, knowing that there will never be someone like Sriya waiting with open arms?

    Eventually, after a wake-up call from my best friend, I realized a few things: I did this on my own. I got in on my own, with the support from her. Sriya will never leave my side. She will always be there, even if she’s thousands of miles away, she will always be there. She’ll still be the first one I turn to, the last one I tell goodnight, and the one I always express my love for.

    I can do this. I have to do this. I will go away to Governor’s School and I will be successful. I am doing this for us. I will use the distance as motivation to be the best I can be.

    Plans change, but that just means doing things differently

    Everyone knows that things don’t always go as planned, but the only thing we can do is make new plans. Whether your best friend is moving across the world, or you just had a bad day, it will all be okay. There is always a way to modify your situation, or just your attitude, for improvement. It is going to be hard, and it might seem inconvenient and unfortunate at first, but distance, or any other factors, cannot destroy things that are meant to be.

    We make our long distance friendship work

    To my Sriya-

    Thank you for everything – for welcoming me, for being my best friend. I love you more than words can describe, my angel. Please remember that I am always right beside you, even if we are on different continents. You will always be my rock, my #1, and the love of my life. When I held you in my arms for the last time (for now!), my heart broke. My heart broke, so I could give you a piece to take with you. I’ll come see you soon. Pinky promise.

    Our last time together before Sriya moves


    The Fatality of FOMO


    FOMO is Fatal

    Most likely, you have heard the term, FOMO.

    Honestly, you’ve probably been feeling this in some way or another your whole life, you just haven’t known what to call it.

    FOMO, or the “Fear of Missing Out,” is yet another problem that social media has exemplified, taking off the most recently.

    But what is FOMO?

    For me, FOMO is seeing Snapchats of my best friends at the premiere of a movie I wanted to see but had to pass on due to the looming fear of an upcoming test. As well as scrolling through Instagram. Jealousy skyrockets at the sight of people zip lining in Costa Rica or riding camels through the sands of Morocco.

    The ability to view other’s high points in life provides no opportunity for us to be genuinely happy for them. In fact, it has increased the amount of time we waste, remaining stagnant in a constant state of comparison.

    What we don’t see is the process. We see an aesthetically pleasing filter, a dazzling smile, and breathtaking surroundings. So why do we long to be somewhere we know absolutely nothing about?

    Truth is, we don’t.

    Seeing someone else in an ideal situation makes us feel like we should be doing more, traveling more, going out more, and hanging out with friends more.

    We’re not focused on experiencing these things for ourselves.

    We’re focused on not experiencing these things for ourselves. It’s not about what we’re gaining, but more about what we’re losing.

    So next time you’re experiencing FOMO, ask yourself– what will I really benefit from this? Will it make me smarter or happier? And will this have any significance on me in the long run? Do I actually want to do these things, or does it just look better than whatever I’m doing at the moment?

    FOMO is psychological torture.

    FOMO definitely isn’t an easy thing to forget about, but it’s certainly not something to dwell on.

    Learn to be comfortable with yourself, comforted by the idea that you’re on the correct path, making the correct decisions. If you know your priorities, you’ll know how to get there– not even FOMO will be able to blind you.

  • Articles,, Holiday, Home Life, Lifestyle

    Spring Break with Parents vs. Spring Break with Friends … What do I do?

    Spring Break

    Spring break season is upon us.


    In our heads, we think of this glorious, week-long break from school as a time to relax and recuperate from the trials and tribulations of spring semester. But in all actuality, is it really as revitalizing as we make it out to be?


    Spring break falls into two categories: making memories with friends or spending quality time with your parents. Although both have their pros and cons, spring break is never actually as relaxing as we make it out to be.


    I spent this past week in Arizona with my parents. After long days packed with hiking at the Grand Canyon, searching for wild horses and watching baseball in the desert heat, I’m finally back home– and let me be honest, I’m more tired than I was before the vacation.


    On the other hand, a group of my closest friends spent their spring break in California. Even though laying at the beach, sightseeing around Beverly Hills and chatting around a bonfire doesn’t seem to strenuous, they’re ready to return to everyday life, as well.


    So if spring break is going to inevitably end up in exhaustion, how do you make a decision on what you’re going to do?


    In my opinion, spending vacation with your parents is always the way to go. Yeah, you’ll miss your friends (and probably encounter quite a bit of FOMO), but after a short week, you’ll be back together again.


    Spring break-ing with parents is much more smooth– the group is more organized and overall does more activities (and hey, not paying for everything with your own money is a perk). You don’t have to worry about travel or living situations, and they’re you’re family, so you know you’ll get along. Sometimes.


    Experiencing new things with friends is always a good time, but truthfully, spending too much time with them could produce some difficulties.


    I missed my friends this past week, without a doubt. But there’s nowhere else I would’ve rather been than with my family. Plus, family vacations aren’t forever– milk it while you still can!


    If you’re debating on whether to spend spring break with friends or family, follow the number one rule: family comes first. Besides the perpetual state of tiredness after it’s over, a great time is guaranteed.

  • Artwork

    Seahorse Galentine’s Day Card by Chloë B.

    Galentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays because I love to celebrate my friends! I made this Galentine’s Day card for a friend of mine and it is inspired by a line Leslie Knope says to her best friend Ann Perkins in Parks and Recreation: “Ann, you transcendent little seahorse”. I included this quote in pen and drew a seahorse using pencil and watercolor. I used a variety of colors to represent how fun and unique my friend is. I painted bubbles in the background and added blue coral to give the sea horse a more suitable habitat than a plain white background. The little seahorse sends a heart as a gift of platonic love and appreciation.

  • Lifestyle

    Interview with Teen Vegan Athletes

    Vegan Athletes

    Meet Claire and Maddi, vegan athletes. Claire is a senior in high school, and Maddi is a sophomore. Both are competitive figure skaters that train and condition regularly. And both have made the life-changing decision to not consume animal products, to go vegan.


    How long have you been vegan?

    Claire: Three years.

    Maddi: Since September 20, 2017, so a little over a year.

    What influenced your decision to go vegan?

    Claire: Before I went vegan, I already faced dietary restrictions due to lactose intolerance, which was an influence to my choice. However, my ethical beliefs also influenced my decision.

    Maddi: I had a lot of different influences. The first being Claire, who had first introduced me to veganism, and the second being wanting to improve my skating and overall health. Once I did more research on veganism, I started doing it for ethical reasons, as well.


    How has your life changed since you went vegan?

    Claire: I have become a lot more aware of what I eat and no longer care as much about what others think about my decision.

    Maddi: It’s changed my life for the better. I’ve learned a lot about food and what is actually good and bad for me. A lot of people seem to think that when you are vegan you can’t eat out because restaurants don’t have food for vegans, which I have learned is definitely not the case. So that aspect of my life has not changed much if any. Lastly, I have learned to think for myself and not worry about what other people think.


    Have you noticed a difference in your health?

    Claire: I have absolutely felt a difference in my health. I have a lot more energy, and in general, I feel stronger.

    Maddi: I still get tired but I have way more energy. Also, I feel less bloated after I eat.


    How has becoming vegan affected your athletic life?

    Claire: Becoming vegan was the best thing as an athlete! I have found my recovery time is much faster now, and I just feel so much better in general.

    Maddi: I have noticed a huge improvement in my skating. I had way more energy and endurance. I also started sleeping better which helped me with training and mental health overall.


    What are some of the difficulties you’ve faced?

    Claire: Eating out has been a slight difficulty. Also, facing judgement from my family members and sometimes strangers too.

    Maddi: The biggest struggle is dealing with family, friends, or even strangers that don’t understand or respect my lifestyle. Having to deal with this almost everyday has taught me that I can’t make everyone understand or agree with what I am doing, but I can still do what I think is best for my own health and the world around me.


    Explain how you have adapted your daily life.

    Claire: I always make sure to have vegan food stocked up and let new people that I know that I have dietary restrictions. I definitely cook all of my food now as well.

    Maddi: I started packing my own lunch every day for school and I always check the ingredients of items before I eat or buy them.


    How do you order from restaurants?

    Claire: Normally when I order from restaurants I’ll pick an already vegetarian item, or I’ll ask the waiter if I can get my item without dairy or other animal products. Most restaurants are very accommodating and don’t mind at all! After all, they are there to serve you.

    Maddi: Ordering from restaurants is really not that difficult. I will typically choose an item on the menu with the least amount of non-vegan items in it, and then I’ll ask them to remove whatever isn’t vegan. Other times I order a whole bunch of sides together as my entrée.


    What advice would you give people thinking about going vegan?

    Claire: Do your research! Make sure you are getting all of your nutrients and vitamins. Don’t expect going vegan to turn you into a health guru. Also, don’t restrict yourself of any vegan foods. Lastly, keep everything in moderation.

    Maddi: I would definitely say do your research on what being vegan actually is. It is not just eating dairy, meat, etc., there is a whole other ethical side to it. Make sure you educate yourself on what actually happens within the meat and dairy industry. Secondly, do your research on the necessary vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Know that people won’t always understand or even agree with your lifestyle and beliefs, and that’s okay. Do what you think is right and don’t worry about what other people think you should do.


    What is your typical meal?

    Claire: A typical meal would be tofu or edamame and veggies.

    Maddi: My typical meal is either a baked potato with ketchup, broccoli, apple, and a soft serve dark chocolate popsicle or some sort of burrito with rice and beans.


    What is your favorite vegan recipe?

    Claire: My favorite recipe has got to be lentil spaghetti or a really great veggie burger.

    Maddi: My favorite recipe is a good veggie burger.