Browsing Tag:

high school

  • 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, Body Image, Confidence, Health, Mental Health, Puberty

    What Body Positivity Means to Me

    Three girls smiling at the camera

    Body Positivity In Our Society

    We live in a society that claims to be “body positive’, but doesn’t accept all types of people. I always hear “every person is unique” and I get that. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t celebrated. I don’t mean that we should all get participation trophies or be praised for anything we do, but everyone deserves to be comfortable and welcome without exception. It’s true that we are all unique. We are different shapes, sizes, and colors, but we should feel the same – confident and comfortable.

    I was taught to be “body positive”. What does that even mean? Why do other peoples bodies concern me? That’s just it. Other peoples bodies don’t concern me, and my body doesn’t concern anyone else. Is that body positivity? Not really. It definitely isn’t my place to tell anyone else what to do with their body. Different things empower different people. I don’t think to be body-positive means that you can’t make observations about other people’s appearance, but I believe they do need to be empowering.

    I know that the celebration and representation of all people can be directly related to self-confidence, so why isn’t diverse representation more common? It’s because we, as a society, have become used to a particular image being showcased. Some people cannot see themselves in this image, so they begin to feel inferior. Most people’s first reaction is to be judgemental. I’ll admit it. Sometimes I see someone and think. What are they wearing? but then I remember they can wear whatever works for them. It doesn’t matter what I think. If I don’t like it, then I won’t wear it. We have to train ourselves not to be critical of others because we are constantly reminded of something that doesn’t really exist. The “ideal body” cannot be captured in one image. Everyone has a different body, and that is enough, we shouldn’t accept or strive for one type of body. 

    On the other hand, we are too harsh on ourselves. I am. You are. We are all hypocrites. We tell others they should be confident, and turn around to belittle ourselves. At the same time, we get dressed, stand in front of the mirror, and pick ourselves apart. This would look better if my stomach was flat…or if my thighs were smaller, I’d be happy. The truth is, I’ll never be 100% satisfied with my appearance, and that’s normal. It’s important to remember that body positivity is for everyone – including ourselves. 

    I decided to write about how contradictory our society is when it comes to body image, because of a song I love. “Body” by Julia Michaels begins with an apology that we should all take notes on. She is apologizing to herself. She knows that she makes herself lose confidence and feel insecure. She knows that she shouldn’t treat herself like that, but she still does. All she wants is to love her body like she loves others’ and they love hers. Why are we like that? Why can we see the beauty in others, and others can see it in us, but we can’t see it in ourselves?

    Personal Relationship With Body Positivity

    My relationship with my body is constantly changing. My entire childhood I was a gymnast. I was short, strong, and could never find jeans that fit. Around the age of 11, I got taller. I was thinner, and the strongest I had ever been. Still, I hated my body. Then came an injury that ended gymnastics forever. For the rest of middle school, I was getting zero exercises and eating terribly. I was depressed. I hated myself, and I hated my body even more. The little bit of confidence I had was gone. I wouldn’t even look anyone in the eye.

    Then high school started, and I was more comfortable with myself. I was adapting well. I was doing everything I wanted to – succeed academically and socially. Spring semester of my 9th-grade year, I got sick. I lost my appetite almost immediately, I was on a lot of medications, and the doctors were running dozens of tests that were not providing any answers. Nothing. I was also participating in swim team, so I was burning lots of calories and not eating any. Obviously, this resulted in rapid weight loss( almost 45 pounds in a few weeks). The sad part is I liked how I looked. I felt confident. Friends told me “Wow! You look great! Have you lost weight?” Yes, I did lose weight, but I was so unhealthy. I was ill. The time I felt most confident was when I was thin from illness…how twisted is that?

    Remember that how you feel is always more important than how you look. 

    We should live in an environment where every shape and size is not only welcomed but celebrated. It isn’t difficult to be kind to those around us and ourselves. We all need to stop trying to fix what we see and focus on how we make each other, and ourselves, feel.

    Want to read more about body positivity and self-love? Check it out here and here!

  • Articles

    A walkthrough of my artistic thinking process- and why you get to decide you’re an artist

    Title: A Home Alone

    A note from the artist, Lydia Bloodworth:

    An isolated shed made of scrap-metal out in rural North Carolina may sound like the last thing a person would feel inspired to take a picture of and render in a work of art, but that’s exactly what I did. There was something about the layers of colors, the mixture of textures, and the startling antithesis of something small and manmade with the grand natural landscape around it, that captured my imagination. The shed I transformed into a house, a collage of my own making, made of paper that people created from trees, to represent the human involvement in the creation of a house. I used watercolor, a material that blends and flows like a river or stream, for the grass, mountains, and trees, to represent the beauty of nature. Inspired by one of my favorite artists, David Hockney, I manipulated the colors of the whole piece to be brighter and more intense than those in the photograph. I am a big fan of purples, aquas, and greens, which I used to make the piece my own.

    As I have learned and grown as an artist, I have discovered compositional mistakes that I made, but still, I have decided to hang the piece in my room, right where I can see it. Why? To me, the piece is a daily reminder of what I am capable of making with my own two hands. I know I have a long way to go as an artist, but I am proud of what I have accomplished.

    One of the hardest parts of being an artist, is allowing yourself to accept the label of “artist.” We all have an inner critic in our head that is meant to help us become better, but often holds us back. If you, reading this, have ever felt a longing to create, I challenge you to give yourself permission to set aside your inner perfectionist, and just go for it. 

  • Articles, College, Confidence, School

    5 Things I Wish I Could Tell my High-School Self

    high school advice

    5 Things I Wish I Could Tell My High School Self

     

    If I had the choice to travel back in time to my first day of high school, to do everything differently, there’s no way I would do it. High school played its part in shaping me into the woman I am today. If I had a choice to send a letter to my 14-year-old self, however, I would give that girl supporting words and advice on how to carry herself. Words that I think every high-schooler should live by.

    Be okay with being alone.

    You’ll run into days when it feels like nobody is on the same wavelength as you like everyone else lives in a different dimension. Don’t strain yourself to fit in with the “cool” group. Don’t try to find a boyfriend because it’s what everyone else is doing. You’re always going to be your own best friend, so the sooner you accept yourself for everything you are and everything you’ll become, the sweeter life will be.

    Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

    This is going to play a big part in preparing you for life outside of high school. Ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Take risks. When you challenge yourself and push your own boundaries, you open the door for beautiful, unexpected things to happen.

    Don’t worry what others think of you.

    Tell yourself this every morning when you wake up. And again in the middle of the day. And again. And again. Everyone is so concerned with what they’re doing and how they’re portrayed during high school, not what others are doing. Focusing on your own happiness and success will lead to the best memories.

    Stop worrying about the future.

    I was notorious for this in high school, and consequently, it tainted my final two years. Trust me, you’ll do well on that test. You’ll be accepted into a good college. You’ll find a career doing something you love. There come a time and place to focus on those thoughts, but don’t stress out about it too much right now.

    Realize that high school doesn’t last forever.

    You might not believe it right this moment, but you’re going to miss the hallways you stroll down each day. You’re going to miss those homework assignments because trust me, they get a lot harder. You’re going to miss seeing those familiar faces every day. While there may be some excruciatingly painful parts of high school, you never realize what you’re going to miss. Don’t take a minute of it for granted. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up; be present in each moment.

    Just take the moment to soak it all in, because when you look back you’ll think that is so high school. Think about that and other advice in the article “It Will All Be Over Soon.” 

  • Articles, College, School

    The Final Pages of your High School Chapter

    The Final Pages of your High School Chapter

    High school seems like it lasts a lifetime. And then, in the blink of an eye, it’s over.

    Before you realize it, you’ll be cheering on your team at the last home football game, hardly registering the fleeting experience due to the overpowering noise from the bleachers and marching band.

    Soon after, you’ll be adding the finishing touches to your makeup, preparing to slip into your last prom dress.

    Although it may seem like a relief, in a few short months, you’ll be walking into harshly lit hallways and classrooms for the final time. You never realize how much you’ll miss the rooms that had the supernatural ability to make five minutes seem like a full hour.

    Speaking from personal experience, it’s easy to wish away the final days of high school. It’s easy to see everything from a negative perspective– too much homework, too many responsibilities, too little sleep.

    Don’t fall victim to that mindset like I did.

    Enjoy the time you have left with your friends; although you may spend eight or more hours with them now, soon, you will all be dispersed throughout the country, living different lives.

    If you’re involved in sports, give your full effort without taking the game too seriously. Some of my favorite memories began with goofing around with my best friends at track practice. This will also be the last time someone forces you to exercise… take advantage of that.

    Go all-out during spirit weeks and pep rallies. You’re not going to remember how silly you looked, you’re going to remember how much fun you had doing it. Don’t dull your high school experience by worrying about what others think.

    High school is a whirlwind of stress and emotions, but somewhere in between all of that mess, lifelong memories were made. Don’t take the time you have left for granted– live in the moment. Spend that extra hour with your childhood friends.  Dominate the dance floor at prom. Attend every sporting event that you possibly can, and don’t be afraid to cheer at the top of your lungs.

    These are the final pages of this chapter of your life. Make the most of them.

    Check out this letter from a college student to a high school senior. And remember you’re only in high school once!

    Even though you may be starting your senior year, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to grow and change. Here’s some advice on how to your own person in high school

  • Articles

    20 Things To Do Before Turning 20

    20 Things To Do Before Turning 20

    20 Things To Do Before Turning 20

    Take Advantage of Having No Worries While You Can

    Before I left my teenage years, I was able to accomplish many goals along with crossing-off several bucket list items. Most of one’s high school memories shape them into the person they will become. Once high school ends and college begins, free time starts disappearing.

    Getting older doesn’t mean less fun, it just means dealing with multiple aspects of life that didn’t exist in high school. Living alone, working to pay bills, and balancing time between school and social life is why young adulthood carries the connotation of figuring out life.

    Teenage years are perfect for trying new things, making memories, and having the type of fun experienced only when carefree with little responsibility.

    20 Things To Do For YOU Before Turning 20:

    Stay Up All Night.

    Whether it’s to finish an assignment or talking for hours with friends – at around 3 AM, the silliness from lack of sleep will show itself. Allowing yourself to be silly is an important step in self-empowerment.

    Go On A Road Trip with Friends.

    Make unforgettable memories with friends in an unfamiliar place. Without family, it’s easy to understand what a vacation feels like.

    Get A Real Job.

    While the traditional lifeguard or camp counselor is great over the summer, a real job teaches the importance of making your own money.

    Kiss Someone on New Year’s Eve.

    Sure, this is a plotline for many cheesy rom-coms, but who hasn’t wanted to experience this at some point?

    Binge-watch an Entire TV Show in One Night.

    Although some would say binging TV is embarrassing, there’s nothing more rewarding.

    Travel Outside the Country.

    It’s crucial to experience other cultures. Plus, this is how the best memories are made.

    Go To A Music Festival.

    Spending a day or three in a happy-go-lucky environment is one of the most carefree experiences.

    Journal Every Day.

    Journaling is the quickest way to get in touch with one’s emotions.  Filling up every page in a journal and reading your thoughts is essential in self-reflection.

    Learn a Foreign Language.

    This is a life skill that will come in handy at the most unexpected times.

    Do A Digital Detox For The Weekend.

    Camping in an area without cellular service, or just turning off devices, allows one to be completely present.

    Have a Meaningful Conversation With a Stranger.

    It can be surprising how interesting other’s lives are and the quality of advice they can give.

    Conquer a fear.

    Whether the fear is big or small, conquering a lifelong fear creates the possibility of accomplishing anything.

    Learn to Play an Instrument.

    Just for fun and to impress people.

    Go to a Movie Alone.

    It’s crazy that something so simple can offer such a sense of empowerment.

    Learn to cook.

    It’s something that everyone needs to learn at some point. We can’t survive on ramen noodles and peanut butter toast forever.

    Forgive Someone.

    Although it may seem difficult, you’ll feel ten times better without the weight of carrying a grudge.

    Take Pictures at Every Opportunity.

    Someday all of these memories will be gone, but these mementos will remain. Collect as many as possible.

    Go on a Walk Without a Destination.

    Connecting with nature and being present can heal in unforeseen ways.

    Reconnect with Old Friends.

    Connecting with old friends can create an everlasting friendship, or confirm the reason you grew apart. Either way, it’s a beneficial experience. 

    Learn Self-Love.

    This one is tough, and it always will be. However, the more you work on it in your teen years, the easier it will be in the future. Your twenties will present experiences that cause you to question everything, but as long as you have self-love, you’ll be able to persevere.

  • Articles, School, Stress, Tips

    2019: The Year of Organization

    2019 - The Year Of Organization

    2019 – The Year of Organization

     

     

    The beginning of the school year is pretty painless — you’re stocking up on notebooks and folders, colored pens and highlighters, saying this year is going to be different.

    This is the year I’m going to become organized.”

    As the weeks go by, your class assignments start to pile up, your extracurricular activities strain your sleep schedule, and your social life seems to be waning by the second. The quickest fix might be to throw organization out the window, solely focusing on meeting deadlines by any means possible, but don’t do it! Putting your energy towards organizing won’t only ease your mind, but it’ll make your daily tasks and goals easier to accomplish.

    A planner will be your best friend in this new, tidy phase of your life. Personally, I believe the best type of planner encompasses all of the tools you’ll need on a daily basis: a monthly calendar, weekly breakdowns, to-do lists and places for notes. A planner is essentially a pretty, portable lifesaver, helping you keep track of what needs to be done and reminding you when you have to do it. Mustering up enough motivation to update my planner each day has been a critical component of organizing my life– inside and outside of the classroom. Next, to the almighty planner, color-coding is a must. I fill up my monthly calendars with multiple colored categories: all subjects, social events, and mandatory events – like meetings. Not only can you glance at your calendar with a clear understanding – you can admire your craftsmanship at the same time!

    While you can easily dismiss customizing a planner or beautifying a calendar – failing to manage your time wisely comes without recovery. 

    Dedicate a time of day or part of your week to a certain task or activity.

    Have a free period during the day? Use that time to complete homework for another class.
    Have free time after school before practice, but need some downtime? Try to Relax!

    The key is to use the same time each week for the same activity. By developing this routine, it’s harder to stray from productivity.

    It’s difficult to depend on our own devices 100% of the time. If a specific routine, a few colored pens, and a planner can help you become organized – why not take advantage of it? These aren’t ground-breaking tips, but if utilized correctly and regularly, they will completely turn your life around.