Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stress 101

Hey Stress, how are you?

Speaking about stress as if it is a person is just a symptom of high school overload. By now, we've all learned that things don't exactly go as planned. Sometimes, you just want to pull at the ends of your hair and yell into the dark, vast universe: "Just give me a break!"

Before you rip your hair out, here are some quick ways to calm down. Intense stretches and breathing techniques are not necessary.

1) Think to yourself: Will this matter in five days? In one year? In ten years? It usually won't, and when looking at the big picture, the problem will not seem like the end of the world.
2) Instead of dwelling on why it didn't work out, dwell on how you can fix it.

3) For a quick pick-me-up, check out www.thingstobehappyabout.com. Seriously. You will be surprised at the little things in life that can make you smile.

4) Go outside. Sure, a jog can relieve stress, but just fresh air can make you think straight.

5) Call a friend and plan something for the weekend. Having something to look forward to will help you get through the rest of the week and whatever problems may arise.

6) Chocolate. It's scientifically proven to boost your mood...need I say more?

7) Take a fifteen minute break and do something that takes your mind off of things. Dancing like a maniac to Lady Gaga, watching a funny Youtube video, or looking through old pictures are good activities that don't let your mind wander back to the problem.

8) Assume that even though the situation sucks, maybe there's a reason why it happened the way that it did. Maybe in two weeks, you'll look back and think: Thank goodness that ______ happened, or else _______ wouldn't have happened!

9) Think about the problem, but don't complain about it. Write down the problem and then reread it to see if you can get a perspective on how to overcome it. Or, talk to someone about it to get a different opinion.

10) Lastly, just breathe. Smile confidently at your reflection in the mirror. You're strong enough to overcome whatever life throws at you (even if it's lemons.)

So, how about some lemonade?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A reaction to the Broward County Schools lockdown

A little fishy.

Those are my thoughts after reading about the lock-down that occurred today, shutting down all Broward County Public Schools. The original threat is believed to be made through an email sent to a local radio station as opposed to the police department.

Anyway, after hearing about the news online, I contacted some Broward County students, since I go to school in Dade, to gather some information which I wrote up below:

On the day before guns were to be shot respectfully, an unidentifed man threatened to shoot his own gun, as all schools and government buildings in Broward County and Pembroke Pines were placed on lockdown around 9:45 am.

"My mom texted me, it was a state of panic," Sebastian Padilla, 16, of Flanagan High School said.

Students remained in their classrooms for the rest of the day amid concerns from parents and relatives.

"I hoped it would be nothing serious," Stephanie Padilla, 18, of Broward College said.

A crazy day indeed, does anyone have a similar story?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Backpack or Trashcan? QUIZ

Is your backpack a trash can?
My backpack is like a walking trashcan.
To maintain being a very unorganized-organized person I have to clean out my backpack almost every other day.
So, is your backpack a walking trashcan?
1. Do you walk to the trashcan to throw away loose leaf papers and handouts you don't use?
a. Yes b. No
2. Do you leave the empty bag of chips you were sneaking as a mid-day snack?
a. No b. Yes
3. Do you have a different folder or notebook for every subject?
a. Yes b. No
4. Do you have a pencil case?
a. Yes b. No
If you answered mostly A's you have a backpack.
For those of you who answered mostly B's have a trashcan. =p

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Reading is awesome.
Some teens take advantage of books because they view them as a requirement that teachers force us to read as punishment.
There are many goods teen books out there.
These are just a few of my favorites:
1. Sarah Dessen books are always good.
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2. "Party" by Tom Eveen is a really cool book about how lives are interconnected.
3. Susan Colasanti books are also very good.
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Those are just a few of the MILLION out there.
Comment if you've read those books or if you want me to give you more book suggestions!(:

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's 2:00 am... is your homework done?

You blew it. You kept telling yourself that you would finish that project early this time, but now it's 8:00 pm, the night before it is due, and you're freaking out. Don't worry, I'm not here to scold you about procrastination; instead, I'm here to help. Take a deep breath, and follow these steps.
  • 8:00 pm- CHILL OUT. Calm down. You won't get anything done if you're running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Chill out, and tell yourself that you're not going to get distracted or do anything else until you get this done. (Get off of Facebook!)

  • 8:00 pm- Examine. Take a critical look at the assignment. Is it an essay? a poster? a power point? a model? Determine what supplies you need to finish this project, and clear your working space to get started.

  • 8:15 pm- Break it up. Break up the project into small, easy-to-swallow pieces. A bunch of small steps look much more manageable than a massive assignment. Make a checklist, get comfortable (you may be here for a while), and realistically plan out the time it will take, to keep you on track.

  • 8:30 pm- Start. What are you waiting for? Dive head-on into the assignment. Focus on content as opposed to small things like decorations and color. In the end, the content is what will scrape up points for you, not the clip art.

  • 12:30 am- Evaluate. After you have worked for a good few hours, take a step back and analyze. How much do you have done? How much do you need to do? If you can reasonably finish within the next hour or two, go ahead. If not, skip down to the next step.

  • 1:30 am- Go to sleep. If you just can't take it anymore, and find yourself getting easily distracted, go to bed. Chances are, by this time, you're cranky, you're frustrated, your productivity level has tanked, and you're cursing your teacher's name. My internal limit is usually around 2:00, but it varies from person to person. Go to sleep, and put your alarm on for early in the morning so you can finish then (Depending on when your school starts, this could be anywhere from 3:00 to 5:00).; you'll be surprised how much just one or two hours of sleep can change your outlook on the project.

  • 7:30 am- If you still aren't done... Hopefully, you've finished by now. If not, take it to school, and work on in every spare second you have, whether it be before class, after class, or during lunch.

  • DEADLINE- Turn it in... or talk. If you feel moderately satisfied with what you've completed, just turn it in. Even if its incomplete, you might be able to scrape up a passing grade. If what you've finished is nothing close to done, talk to your teacher. Some teachers, if you are completely honest and sincere, will give you an extra day to finish, albeit they might take a few points off. If they don't let you, just turn in what you have (hey, it's better than a zero), and learn from your experience. And keep your ears perked for extra credit!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How to Stay on Your Teacher's "Good Side"

  • Act interested. Try to honestly be interested in what your teacher is talking about. (That means no sleeping in class, unfortunately.) If you go into class with this mentality, not only will you enjoy it more, your teacher will appreciate your enthusiasm.

  • Go the extra mile. Teachers have plenty of students who try to scrape by, by doing the bare minimum. Small steps, however, can set you apart from the rest. Type, instead of write, an essay even if it's not specifically required. If you find a news article on something relevant to the class, bring it in and share it with the teacher. It won't require much extra work on your part, and your teacher will take notice.

  • Ask questions...wisely. Yes, ask questions. Teachers are there to help, and you really shouldn't hesitate to ask... after you've tried to answer the question yourself. Ask questions if you honestly don't understand something, not if you're just too lazy to find it out for yourself.

  • Do your homework. This goes hand in hand with the "acting interested" part. Consistently completing your work proves to your teacher that you are a hardworking individual.

  • Use your manners. This may sound obvious, but you'll be surprised how much simple please's, thank you's, and good morning's can make a teacher's day.

  • Follow basic class rules. This means putting your cell phone on silent, coming to class with your supplies, and raising your hand to talk. Yeah, it may sound like too much effort right now, but it definitely pays of really well in the long run. This shows your teacher that you respect them enough to follow their classroom regulations.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to: pay attention in math class.

I really really really really dislike math. I can't help but doze off into dreamland during math class. As interesting as the formulas to solve for the interior and exterior angles are, I'd rather be thinking about the weekend or what's for lunch.

If you think about it, unless your eating pi, math really isn't that interesting.

I'm more of an English girl myself. (No offense to all of you math loving people!)
I've been trying this new technique lately to help me focus in math class.

If you go into math thinking,"Ughhh I hate math. I can't find x for my life."

That attitude will define your effort in the class, which defines your grade.
Try this
1. Be excited. Pretend you're going on an adventorous hunt to find x, y, or even z!(:
2. Pretend that you like math.
3. Sit up straight! If someone were to put a book on your head while you are sitting it should'nt fall.
And remember, Math is fun! But, English is better!

How to Lighten Your Load

  • Folders/Binders
    My freshman year, I made the mistake of buying a 1 and 1/2 inch for each of my seven of my classes. Not only was it a pain to carry around everyday, I ended up not needing a lot of the extra space. This year I was wise enough to simply get two separate 3-subject notebooks. While it's fun to buy a lot of different binders and notebooks in fun patters over the summer, keep in mind that you'll be regretting it later.

  • Textbooks
    If your school is fortunate enough to have a class set of textbooks, then you're one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately, all of us aren't. When managing your textbooks, think: What do I need in class everyday? Which books are available online? If you aren't required to bring the book to class, why lug it out there everyday? As long as it is not interfering with your grade or classwork, it is perfectly acceptable to leave you books in your locker or at home.
  • Backpacks
    You want to purchase a sturdy backpack with wide straps, because trust me, any other will leave your back aching. Girls (because I know some of you are shaking your head through this), if you absolutely must carry a tote bag instead of a proper backpack, at least get a large one so it can hold all of your supplies, and one with sturdy, broad straps so that it won't be cutting into your shoulder.
  • Paraphernalia
    Small things add up! Only bring your calculator on days that you need it. Bring a small water bottle, and just fill it up during the day. Take out unnecessary items (girls, is it really essential for you to bring a full size mirror and brush in your bag?), and leave them at home. Remember, you're just going to school, not on vacation. Guys can leave their two-ton wallets at home (a few dollars and your i.d. should be plenty for a day), and girls can leave their enormous makeup bag at home (At the most, a tube of concealer and lip gloss should be good).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Technology is Taking Over Schools

Rumors of online textbooks, computers instead of laptops, and an increase of online classes sweep the school halls. These changes are supposed to help students get easier educations with less hassle, but they are mostly diminishing the quality of education that the students are getting.

Online textbooks take away from the students’ personal feel for the textbook. Though a kindle or nook would be easier to carry from class to class, visual learners who annotate and highlight directly on the page would have trouble keeping up by merely reading along with the rest of the class, and many would quickly fall behind.

Although the use of computers instead of laptops may sound like a fairytale come true for the technologically based teenagers of today, the information on a computer can be lost from one simple virus. Unlike books, there is only one source that holds all of that personal information, but if a book gets ruined there are always more at the local bookstore.

Another problem is that the sites that list homework and grades have helped students, and technology in the classroom is on the brink of taking over. The online exercises for homework are constantly being copied from online sites or being done by other people. This takes away from the quality of education that students can get.

It is these many issues that should strengthen us in our desires to protect and continue to use our educating sources that aren’t technology based; that aren’t enabling students to cheat; that aren’t erased with one virus or power surge; that don’t impersonalize the learning system and alienate students.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Potty Pressure?

How many minutes do you get in between switching classes during school?
I get three minutes. Three minutes to drink water, go to the bathroom, and go to my locker.
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Sure, my school is kind of small, but it is a challenge nonetheless.
Here is how my usual transition from class to class works:
1. Bell rings
2. Pack up my bag and be out of class (hopefully) by 30 seconds
3. Walk to locker get books/drop off books (1 minute 30 seconds)
4. Walk really really really fast to my next class praying I'm on time.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I'm sitting in class and I have to use the restroom and I raise my hand and ask and the teacher says "you should've gone before class"!
WHEN? before or after I went to my locker and then sprinted to your class?
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And that brings up another topic.
I dont know about you, but after running around campus with 20 lbs of books on my back and in my hands I am parched. It's a LONG hour before I get to even think about a water fountain. And even then I hardly have enough time to take a sip of water before I have to run off to another class. (At my school you are not allowed to have any type of food/candy/drink or else you get a demerit)
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I don't mean to complain, but it can be quite frustrating always running around for 7 hours.
But, if you think about it would you rather have an exter minute or two in between classes and stay in school 7-10 minutes longer every day? Maybe racing to class isnt so bad.

How to Take Great Notes

Notes for a Class Lecture:
Don't write down everything! It will only give you a hand cramp, and you will be more likely to miss important information. As a rule of thumb, you should be listening about 80% of the time, and writing only 20%. Listen to key words that your teacher says such as, "The main idea is...", "What I want you to get from this is...", and "The important thing to remember is...", which hint what the most important points are. Listen for a pattern in what your teacher is saying, (is he going in chronological order? by cause and effect?) and use these to format your notes. If you find that your notes are messy when you take them, take the time to recopy them and highlight important points later.

Notes from a Textbook:
Don't re-write the book! That's just a waste of your time. The whole point of notes are to have a condensed, easier to study guideline, not to have a second copy. Usually for a textbook, it's best to format your notes in an outline, but it depends on the subject. You can use many different techniques such as venn diagrams, time lines; whatever works best for you. Pay special attention to bold and italicized text, and keep a list of vocabulary words.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to get Homework Done Quickly and Efficiently

Let's face it. Homework stinks. We all hate it with a passion. We often wonder why it's even assigned. And we most definitely don't like completing it. Here are some tips to make the pain go away quickly, and maybe make it bearable.
  • Finish homework as soon as possible. Really. Think about it: the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can go and waste the rest of your afternoon on facebook. I also find, that completing homework before dinner is better, because afterwards, you tend to feel more lazy and sleepy.
  • Break it up. Break your homework up into small, bearable sections. Do NOT go in order of your classes; instead divide it by priority (this is where an agenda or planner comes in handy). Think: What is due tomorrow? Which test comes sooner? That way, if you run out of time to do everything on your list, you will have the peace of mind that the important things are already done.
  • Make it enjoyable. So, I'm not saying it will be laugh out loud enjoyable, but it will make it a little bit more bearable. Listen to some music, have a little snack to keep you awake, and take a break every 30 minutes or so. Homework is not supposed to be torture...
  • Use the computer wisely. If you facebook status says "studying", you're probably not studying. It's so easy to get distracted while you're on the computer. If you are using it for research, have the will power to stay on those sites only, instead of facebook and email. I can say from personal experience that the computer can sap up hours of time without you noticing.
  • Be comfortable. This does not mean doing your homework on the living room couch. If you have a desk in your room, that's perfect, but if you feel too distracted by your tv, computer, phone, etc., sit at your dining room table. Your chair should be comfortable enough to sit for long hours, but not comfortable enough to put you asleep. Keep the place well lighted, (natural light works best, but, we're usually doing our homework at a much later time), and free from unnecessary distractions.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting the Most Out of High School

We've seen the movies. We've read the books. We've heard the songs.

High school is often portrayed (in pop culture, anyways) as this massive fishbowl of jerks, preps, dorks, jocks, ect. all trying to find their place. Or in some cases, there are those who could care less and are content with simply finding the best place under the desk to plaster their chewing gum to. Many, however, just can't wait to get out into the Legit Real World (no, not the MTV show.)

The thing is...high school, as with everything in life, is exactly what you make of it. It could end up being the most miserable four years of your life, which you will leave you flinching and shuddering everytime you recall it for the next fifty years until your memory runs thin...or, it could be a trial period. An experimential period.

Before I start sounding like a psychoanalyst, let me get my point across: Take advantage of everything your high school has to offer. Join the dance team if you love to dance. Join student government if you like being involved. Go to a few football games. Have a little school spirit.

There is no benefit in mooching around, waiting for the last day of senior year to roll through. High school is the time to practice for the Legit Real World, and why not spend those last few years in the school system with great memories to take with you after high school?

Stress + Stress + Stress = High School

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I'm sure that every single high school student out there had a moment in their life where they just wanted to scream.

High school causes a lot of pressures and they can be UNBEARABLE!
Getting into college
Being a "cool cat"
Good SAT & ACT scores
Peer pressure

That's just the beginning of the list. If i sat here and wrote them all down it would take me all week. And as shown in the list, I don't think any of us have time to write or even read a list that long.

So, how do any of us survive this stress? I use my stress reduction kit that I got for $19.95 (shipping & handling not included).

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Just kidding! Please do not try using the "bang head here" method, it really does not work!
There is really no way to reduce stress. It's all about time management and organization.
Time manage everything so you don't have 987654321 things to do. Get your priorities straight!

Organize EVERYTHING: backpack, pencil case, desk, etc.
If you don't, you'll end up feeling like her!

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That's about all the tips I have. I still struggle, but isn't that's what high school is all about?
Disagree? Have more tips to add? Comment! (:

Monday, September 20, 2010


School clubs...every school has them.
You either love them, like them, or neither.
Some schools have clubs that are not that appealing.
Some schools have clubs that you don't even know about.
Some people believe that clubs are really not beneficial, therefore never joining a school club in all four of their high school years. Some actually joined a club and their membership did not last long, for the reason of being uninterested.
I can honestly say I was one of those people.
Until I discovered Key Club...

I remember like it was yesterday. I was sitting enjoying lunch with friends when I saw this big banner that said "Key Club". I pointed it out to my friends and asked them if they knew what it was. I then asked them if they thought it had to do with making keys. We were very curious, so we we walked over to the table to ask what it was all about.
At the table, I found out that it was actually a community service club. They did a lot of community service on the weekends and the membership fee was $30, including a t-shirt.
I was intrigued, since I am a person who enjoys giving back, I thought about how busy I could make my weekends dedicating it to giving back to my community. Yes, $30 was a lot of money, but I wanted that t-shirt too!
My friend on the other hand kept saying "I'm not paying $30 to join a club, I can use that for more important stuff."

And now I am a proud Key Clubber for four years now, and an officer for 3 years. I'm glad I took that step to join the only club I stayed dedicated to.
Key Club is not your average community service club. It is nowhere near boring! You are constantly learning more about [the history of] it and yourself. I personally believe that Key Club is all of the clubs in one because there is something for everyone there, whether you like to travel, like to write, like to create things, talk to people, and even lead.
You get recognized for your hard work and talent. You also get scholarships for college.

For me, Key Club has made my high school years so much better.
I'm really proud to say that I have been a Key Clubber since freshman year. When you have been a member since freshman year, you gain and learn so much in four years.
There are always opportunities to meet new people, even people who you can be sure you will be friends with when you leave high school.
It really is like you are apart of a family, a family that is so much better than your own, if you have a seriously dysfunctional family.
Even when the homework and home life pounds on, Key Club helps me to remember that there are people out there suffering worse than me, and there are people out there who can make you smile by simply being themselves or children who you can make smile by either fund-raising for the ones in need (UNICEF, Operation Smile, March of Dimes) or spending a weekday afternoon or even a Saturday morning with them. With me giving up my 2-3 extra hours of sleep for 2-3 hours of community service, I believe that's the way you get the key to their hearts and that's what Key Club is about, unlocking the hearts of those less fortunate.

So if you really think that high school clubs are really not worth your time and not worth your money, think again!

Better yet, join your school's Key Club! You won't regret it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

6 Things That Could Be Hurting Your Grade

  • Zoning out in class
    Zoning out, even for 10 minutes, will be something you will regret when you miss the test date. If you find yourself tuning out, here's what to do: Sit up straight, and keep yourself actively engaged in the lecture by participating in discussions and taking notes.
  • Procrastinating
    We've all done this... it's 2:00 in the morning and you still have 5 more pages to write for a research paper. The only way to prevent this is have good self-discipline, and great time management techniques. It takes practice!
  • Cheating
    Cheating WILL come back to haunt you. Just because you passed that quiz by looking over at someone's paper does not guarantee that you know the material for the next test. Better to study yourself, and not take the risk of getting caught AND failing the next string of assignments and quizzes.
  • Not being organized
    Organizing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure good grades. Make a folder for every class, or a section in a notebook. Keep on top of things by filing papers away immediately instead of tossing it into the black hole that is the bottom of your backpack. It will save time in the long run.
  • Not asking questions
    Teachers are there to help you. If you don't understand something, you need to ask that same day, before the teacher moves on to more complicated lessons. Most teachers would be happy to help you during lunch and before or after school. This is the best thing to do to help yourself really understand what you're learning.
  • Getting on the teachers' "bad side"
    Teachers are human too. If you goof off in class, and are rude to them, they will be less likely to be willing to help you out. Treat them like you would like to be treated, and take the first month of school to really make a great impression.