Seven Things to Know About Being a Freshmen

This Tuesday I started my first year at high school. Though it’s only been mere days, I’ve already figured out a lot. Here are seven things you should know when you come into high school for the first time.

7. Yes, everyone really does hate freshmen. As sad as it is to admit, it’s true: The upperclassmen really do resent us. Trying to find your way around the halls, all you hear is older students muttering about how “annoying these little twerps are” or “god, they just get worse every year don’t they?” Sadly, they is nothing we can do about this, just stay out of their way and they’ll likely stay out of yours.

8. Surprisingly, middle school actually is worse! I don’t know about everybody, but almost all the people I’ve talked to, younger and older, all say the same thing; Middle school really exaggerates everything. Since I got to the middle school in fifth grade, they always said the same thing over and over again “They aren’t gonna be this easy on you in high school!” Which is such a lie, by the way. The teachers are more chill and the grading system is already much better here, as far as I can tell. This is a good thing, don’t wait for it to get worse, embrace it while it lasts.

6. You will more likely than not get lost. And that’s okay! Normal, even! You are in a new school you haven’t been in before and probably have at least five different classrooms per day you have to be in. With 3-5 minute passing periods, that doesn’t leave much time to learn your way around the new location. If you can, try getting to school early or staying late and going to each of your classrooms and memorizing which halls to take. And if you can’t do that, remember…

5. Teachers and upperclassmen are not to be feared! Yes, some of them can be intimidating or rude in one way or another, but a good amount of them aren’t that way! Remember, they were in your place once and they probably remember how scary it can be. If your school doesn’t have a buddy system in which an upperclassmen is assigned to a group of freshmen, then take matters into your own hands and find the right person, you’ll be set for the whole year.

4. You should not be worried to ask for help. Seriously. I cannot stress this enough. Trust me, I know how scary it is to ask teachers or other people for help(with schoolwork or other things), but it will only get worse if you let it be. Then, as you let it go on longer and longer, it gets worse and worse and you’ll wish you had talked to someone sooner and your teacher will wish the same thing. If the idea of going to someone for help is too scary for you, ask a friend to go along with you! Do it during work time of your class so you aren’t alone if you can’t ask anyone to come with you. Trust me, you’ll be glad you didn’t put off asking for help.

3. You will make mistakes. And there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s it. It’s a cliche, and it sucks, but it’s life. You are bound to make mistakes time and time again, and I know I sound like a teacher, but they know what they’re talking about. The sooner you accept that mistakes will be made(and that’s a good thing!) the easier it will be for you to grow as a student and a person.

2. While it’s nice to befriend juniors and/or seniors, do not pursue a relationship. Though some people view it as “scandalous” or “hot” it isn’t. There is nothing good about someone who is about to become an adult, dating someone who is just barely a teen. When you look to upperclassmen for guidance, friendships can occur, and that’s great! Wonderful even, because you are stepping out of your comfort zone and making new friends. But once a friendship turns into a relationship with that type of age gap, it likely equals trouble. Not only are they almost an adult, but you aren’t just in different places physically, but also mentally. It isn’t healthy and it won’t end well. Save yourself the mental health, and just stick to dating around your grade and maybe a year younger or older

1. Don’t underestimate yourself. It is hard to change what you’ve known for the past four years. Going to a new building, and sometimes a new city or just territory in general, is scary as hell to say the least. New people, teachers, hallways, and classrooms is a hard thing to do. And you’ve also been constantly told that high school is gonna be hard. And yeah, it is. But there are ways to help you out. Take notes, make up missing assignments, ask your teachers when you get lost during a lesson, just make sure you have what you need to succeed. You’re the only person who knows what you need and how you handle different situations, so you do what you need to do to succeed in school and life.

Small Disclaimer: These things do not always go with everyone’s freshmen experience, it’s different for everybody. This is just what I’ve noticed as a freshmen, and what other people I’ve talked to have found to be true as well.

I Started Taking Yoga Every Day. How Did It Help Me?

featured image via : Popust Plus 

I Started Taking Yoga Every Day. How Did It Help Me?

For those of you familiar with Yoga, you may know there are many different types of Yoga you can take.  For those of you not familiar with these types of yoga, they include  but are  not limited to: Hatha ( a basic slower-moving yoga class), Vinyasa ( a dynamic practice linking breath and movement together ),  Bikram ( a heated yoga in which you typically practice the 26-pose Bikram sequence, definitely a more vigorous practice ), and Hot Yoga * my personal favorite* ( obviously a heated yoga practice which is similar to Bikram yet not restricted to the 26 Bikram sequence).

These practices are some of the most common or popularly practiced types of Yoga.  There are many more including, Kundalini, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga etc.  This being said they all focus on different aspects of finding peace and focusing on your breath and bettering of your body.

After researching, and learning the many positive effects yoga can have on your body, and mental health I decided it was time I finally take action, and take my first yoga class.  Luckily, I am a flexible person, with 9 years of background it martial arts training I definitely have become extremely flexible which came to my advantage in my opinion.

Here is how my first three days went.

 

Day 1 :

The first thing I noticed when I walked into that heated room with my mother was the complete silence in the room.  It was intimidating I won’t lie, individuals of all ages stretching, in child’s pose, handstands. The only things going through my mind were, I hope they don’t expect me to be able to do that.  and If it stays this hot the whole time I think I might pass out.  

After 10 minutes of stretching, the class had started and I was excited.  I was attending a hot yoga ” Flow ” class with an AMAZING instructor.  She started us off with a little meditation, then had us go through many poses including: ” Downward Facing Dog” or Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit, Chair Pose or Utkatasana, Child’s Pose or Balasana, and Crescent Moon Pose or Ashta Chandrasana to name a few.

We ended our night with some more meditation and spent around 5 minutes completely stretching or meditation on our own.  Whichever we felt we needed most.

If I was to summarize my first real yoga class, I’d say it was the best idea I’ve had to take it.  I found myself completely in the moment, at peace, and just relaxed altogether.  As hesitant as I was I am so glad that I took this class.

 

Day 2:

I went to sleep after my yoga class last night, and I felt so at peace.  I woke up feeling great and well rested, and I was looking forward to taking my second class tonight!  I think it’s appropriate I mention, my mom is a yoga fanatic.  She attends yoga class regularly and now I finally understood first hand how beneficial and calming yoga really was.  She always tells me I’m missing out, and it’s super fun and let me tell you she was 100% correct.  I can not explain how much the first class of yoga benefited me.

I took a different class today, Warrior Sculpt in a heated room again with another AMAZING instructor.  Let me be honest with you. This class kicked my butt.  Yoga itself is not a walk in the park, try doing it with weights in 100+ degree weather.  It’s like a soothing yet painful slow death.  All jokes aside, this class was definitely not easy at all but I loved it.  With different workouts and poses to work different parts of your  body, I walked out of that class sweaty, sore, but super happy.  Definitely a class I will return to.

The only thing going through my mind when I went to sleep that night was : I feel great now, I hope I can still walk tomorrow. Might I say, I am attending a 5:00 AM Yoga class tomorrow for my mom’s birthday. Wish us luck.

 

Day 3

It is currently 4:30 AM and I am half asleep filling up both my mom’s and my water bottle.  We are going to heated ” Flow ” yoga at 5:00 AM, and I am super excited and super sore!  Might I add, none of my hoping worked and I am so sore that I can’t even sit down but I don’t mind!

We arrived at the gym, and I was surprised to see class was full with over 25 people!  I never thought anyone would wake up that early on their weekend to attend a yoga class, until I attended my first class.

We started off our class with some meditation, and light music and to my surprise I had accidentally walked into a Flow core session yoga.  5 AM core workout. Not my best idea.  After my mom and I pushed through our core workout, we got into a more mellow/ cool down part of class in which we stretched, and practiced basic yoga poses.

I was extremely happy with this class.  Regardless of the fact I had no clue I was about to get a core workout at 5 AM, this class honestly was a great way to start my day.  I walked out of it refreshed, and ready to take on whatever the day had in store for me.  My mom and I had so much fun taking that class together, and I look forward to continuing yoga with her.

 

Final Thoughts

I am so so happy with my decision to attend yoga classes every day.  This week, I noticed so many different positive changes in my lifestyle and mood.  I felt completely relaxed and at peace with myself and my surroundings.  The many different classes that I took really worked my body, but in such a great way.  No matter how sore I felt, I found myself waking up eager to attend class, and eager to take on the day.

Despite being hesitant to try yoga, and be surrounded by experienced yogi’s after my first class I really understood what everyone meant when they told me yoga is solely for myself.  I did not have to compete with anyone, or try any of the things anyone around me was doing.  I did everything I wanted, and everything I wanted to do.  Just like starting any sport, it takes time to grow and advance.

In this one week, I noticed my levels of anxiety significantly decreasing.  I learned to focus on my breathing and to live in the moment rather than stressing about what is to come.  Aside from this I also noticed I began to become less and less stressed about the little things that always seem to get me tense and stressed out.  Taking 1-2 hours of yoga a day significantly improved my days and feelings this week.

In conclusion, I can honestly  say I will continue to take 1-2 yoga classes every day with my mom, and strongly advise you guys to take yoga at least once or twice a week.  The effects it has on you overall are so rewarding, and you will be so content with the results.

Until next time,

Namaste.

The Diversity of Privilege

This week my family and I traveled down south from Wisconsin to Louisiana, specifically New Orleans. We originally had difficulty figuring out where exactly we could go considering we are a mixed family. My sister, who is white, suggested we go to Alabama. My father and I, both people of color, became anxious at the thought of traveling  down there. My mother, who is also white, put out the idea of Virginia, which I immediately shot down. What with all the rallies and white supremacists around? We found it hard to set our hearts on a place that was safe, and that everyone in our family wanted to go to. Eventually someone threw out the idea of New Orleans which we all decided was a great idea, safe for everyone, and had activities and attractions we all wanted to witness, and experience.

While in New Orleans I noticed many things that were different compared to our small town in Wisconsin. Besides the obvious things including: different weather, accents and drawls, and how hectic the city was, I found that I almost felt safer, a sense of more normalcy.

In my small hometown it was very stereotypical–lots of people knew each other, people who lived there now had grown up there when they were children, very religious, and also very white–Down here in Louisiana it was so diverse! White people, Black people, Hispanic people, Asian people, and everything in between.

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Walking down in the French Quarters going from shop to shop I heard at least five languages, I saw people singing to one another and same-sex couples comfortable enough to hold hands and kiss in public, something I rarely saw back home. Everything there was just so diverse, from the culture to the people. Architecture, food, people, and places, everything was different.

You know how in some towns they have city flags on their lampposts, or state flags on them? Well, in New Orleans, they have gay pride flags on their lampposts. Talk about taking steps forward!

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But, these differences weren’t all good. In some parts of the city it’s the nicest thing you’ll ever see. Beautiful houses bigger than some churches I’ve seen. Rich neighborhoods filled with mansions that had gates and intercoms, and then one street down, the next block over, was filled with houses that had trash in their lawns and boards on their walls so that there wasn’t a hole from the outside to their living room.

 

 

So few of them had window air conditioners, and in this heat it seemed vital to a Northerner like me, but when they did they had cage type things over them so they wouldn’t get stolen. People stood out on their porches with as little clothes on as possible to escape the heat, because at least there was wind outside to combat against the blinding sun and horrible humidity. Another thing that struck me was the amount of homeless people. People who had signs begging for food, people who had dogs with them or who were overheating because of the sun. There were moments in which we passed people that were either asleep or had fainted, or fallen over sick. I could never quite tell which it was.

One thing that was impossible to go unnoticed, yet easy to be put aside for many, was the fact that the rich neighborhoods by the French Quarters and the above ground cemetery where people toured, it was near all white people. And the poor neighborhoods with small, tore apart houses, was all black folk or people of color in general. I’m not gonna lie, there was an occasional black person or family in the rich parts, or maybe one or two white people in the more poor, broken down neighborhoods, but it was still mostly black and white.

This struck me hard because when I really sit down and think about it, even if I do have disadvantages because of my skin or my health or past, I have an amazing life. I have a good education, my family is mid middle class, and we are a family. We have a roof above our heads and food on our plates. We don’t have to put a locked cage around our window air conditioners to make sure it doesn’t get stolen. We don’t have to lock our door at night in case someone tries to break it, even if we do lock it anyways. Though I do endure disadvantages, I have so much privilege that I rarely acknowledge. I have a tenancy to tell people, “Everyone has at least a smidgen of privilege, so accept yours and use it to the best of your abilities.” And after being reintroduced to these types of places and how hard it is for some people, I think I need to take a step back and listen to my own advice.

One day we took a wrong turn and ended up in a poor neighborhood. It was filled with people sitting outside of their houses, the places they slept in wrecked as though it hadn’t been lived in for years and years. When we were in this neighborhood my mom had told my dad, who was driving, “Hurry and get us out of here, this place is scary.” To which I replied, “No, not scary. Just sad.”

Things you can do to help folks in your hometown who need it are simple for most. You can volunteer at soup kitchens or donate food. If you have leftovers you can give them to homeless people outside who need it. Many people don’t give money to homeless folks because of many reasons, so give them food, water, or clothes. Help them get into a homeless shelter or get a job if they don’t have one. If someone who is homeless approaches or passes you, don’t be fearful, be inspired to help. You can easily find numbers for homeless shelters by doing a little bit of research.

Remember, a little can go a long way.

renee lee

this is a submission by Renée Lee

**

we’re all dazed and delirious,

wrapped in a cloak of ignorant bliss

 

reckless nights drowning in the affections of a new infatuation

 

impulsive kisses and fervent touch,

rapturous in our ecstasy

 

intoxicated confessions speak an unvarnished truth of a simple minded state,

a declaration of revelations, sensitivities and vulnerabilities

 

in spite of this, we recover our delirium

surrendering to the ease of oblivion

 

adolescence captured in a reverie of endless euphoria

 

– Renée Lee

sushmita ghosal

this is a submission by Sushmita Ghosal

**

history is written on concealed folds
of blood stained cloths covering
tiny hands realizing what words like
revolution, resistance, rebellion mean.
history is purple scars on skin from
trying to keep in fire refusing to settle in,
it’s whispers passed on from scared,
but certain words of mothers to
new born ears still learning to breathe free.
history is written on concrete walls
that have stood through secrets being
spilled out like wine on satin and
blood drying up on stamped papers.
history travels through rough, unworthy
hands to finally reach the ones patient
enough to understand it in all it’s uncertainty.
-s.g.
**
Susmita Ghoshal is an 18 year old from India. She’s a lover of poetry, history, biology and cats. You can find her on instagram @idksush and more of her work @iknowsush.

the lights that shine through

possible trigger warning, please continue reading at your own discretion. 

*

the light that shines through

 

i love nothing more than the night skies,

angelic darkness and twinkling stars winking at me like a wise, old soul,

telling me that everything will be alright.

i wish for nothing more than to keep even one window open to hear the soft sounds of the night, so they can lull me to sleep,

see the things of the night that no one else sees so they can visit me in my dreams,

a secret between me and midnight,

but since i was just a girl i was told, ‘Mija, if you keep your curtain open then they will see you at night, they will climb up the ladder of your dreams so they can catch a peak of you changing into your Cinderella pajamas.’

if your curtains fall open just a tiny, sneaking inch, then when the cars drive past they will let their lights shine through into your room,

so all the peeping toms of the neighborhood can catch a glance of your sleeping face,

looking calm for once in your life because in your dreams you don’t have to worry about the registered sex offender on your street,

or the three registered sex offenders on your best friends street,

or the five registered sex offenders on your other best friends street

the lights from the cars cast shadows into your room that form into the man your mother told you about when you were six and you couldn’t understand why someone wanted to see you while you slept, while you were stuck in a vulnerable coma of candy land and sugar plums,

and now that you’re twenty-three, living on your own, you close your curtains but forget to triple check that they’re closed all the way,

and the next thing you know car lights are shining through to you and you’re six years old again wearing your princess pj’s and you call out for your mom,

but all you get in a response is a grown mans hand holding a rag against your face that smells like a

flowery,

sickly sweetly,

chemically smell,

and suddenly your eyes flutter shut and you no longer worry about the lights that shine through from the night skies

What You’re Worth

I’m not good with math
Or numbers or change
but here’s an equation
I’ll try to explain
if I start with a positive
and lose any cents
My account becomes negative
make any sense?
I know you don’t get it
Just hear me out
I’ve run out of worth
causing debt and doubt
I don’t take loans
grants or gifts
in the form of cheap thrill
Or fake relationships
so try and keep quiet
don’t fuss or holler
Bc what’s your two cents
Compared to my dollar
You still don’t get it
so let me just say it
I am changing for me
And no opinion can delay it
So in Dollars, cents
pennies or quarters
know your self worth
And stop taking orders
So better yourself
and don’t be ashamed
add up your value
Bc everyone needs change

Al Gore’s New Film Brings “Truth to Power”

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Image result for an inconvenient sequel truth to power
Al Gore at Sundance Film Festival. (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

A decade after Al Gore’s empowering and eye-opening film and book, An Inconvenient Truth, Former Vice President Gore has brought a new inspiring movie that reminds us of our responsibility to the climate movement. The sequel reviews the changes in both policy and climate, that have shaped the world.

The film exposes the rapid changes that are occurring in the Arctic with a spotlight on the glacial melt in Greenland. Footage shows Gore exploring the quickly melting glacial ice and the colossal chunks of glacier crashing into the ocean. He suggests that due to unusually high temperatures in Greenland, the glaciers are responding. Following the drastic chain of effects that follow sea level rise, the film focuses on flooding events that have ruined cities. After giving the viewer a background on the effects of climate change, Gore calls for the response that is essential to stopping this crisis.

Highlighting Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Training, the film calls for more activism and involvement to drive the climate movement. In the Leadership Corps program, Al Gore personally trains the potential leaders to encourage change in local community and  to bring the “Truth to Power”. With the program, people can apply to become apart of the Leadership Corps and commit to overcoming the climate crisis.

The coined term “Truth to Power” is now a forceful push in action that stands for change and revolution. Gore proves that through defiance, persistence and charged persuasion, the goals needed to make a difference are achievable. Though faced by many challenges, the climate movement has fought against every opposition and stood strong after every downfall. He brings hope and is determined that we can continue to lead our efforts into the future; despite Trump’s radical agenda. Gore connects the Climate Movement to the many influential movements that have shaped our world such as the Civil Rights Movement, Gay Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage Movement, and Anti-Apartheid Movement. Each of these oppressed movements were confronted by many threats but continued to develop and achieve ambitious progress.

After a long and burdensome road to ratifying the Paris Agreement, President Trump announced on June 1, 2017 that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. A huge setback to the goals ratified, the withdrawal would ruin the dynamic formed in the agreement and would override the changes endured in other countries. While addressing this announcement, Gore remains hopeful that the strength of the movement is more powerful than the actions of the President.

Closing with the motivating message, “Fight like your world depends on it”, the film leaves viewers with an intense desire to make the changes laid out in the film. Overall the sequel was a perfect combination of recalling the growth of our past while reminding viewers of the obstacles that still lay ahead. The film should be used as proof of the glorious outcomes of unity, determination, and grit.

To join the Climate Reality Project proceed to the project website to bring “Truth to Power”.

Watch the trailer to this inspiring sequel here.

 

Trumps New Military Ban

featured image courtesy of Elite Daily 

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On July 26, 2017, President Donald Trump sent out a series of three messages on the social media platform Twitter. The three messages included new information about a certain group of people from the LGBTQ Community. They said, in order, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……” “….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..” “….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”

In writing these messages Trump stated that transgender individuals are burdens, which created an uprising on every social media platform. Hashtags were created and reused from old, forgotten about protests. Celebrities took to Instagram and Twitter to reblog pictures and captions that littered every corner of the internet. Celebrities/Politicians spoke their mind over Twitter.

Tom Perez tweeted “To the members of the transgender community: You are not a “burden.” Do not let this president shake you. We support you, we stand with you.” The tweet was liked more than 70,000 times and retweeted more than 35,000 times.

An old tweet from Ivanka Trump said, “I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.” That tweet was quoted by another twitter user James Cordon who, on July 26, said, “Hey Ivanka, James here. Hope all is good, quick question, can you… Erm… Call your dad and have a talk. X” That was in response to what her father had tweeted just earlier that day.

Former Vice President, Joe Biden, tweeted “Every patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve. Full stop.”

Since Trump’s tweets people have stopped to wonder, ‘Is this constitutional?’ ‘what about those who are already in the military? will he really take 15,000 individuals out of the army?’ ‘isn’t he basically un-arming our military?’

However, none of these things can shake our community. Why? Because President Trump’s many actions carried out during his term have shown us, multiple times over, that when you silence and discriminate against one community, all others stand up to shout louder and stronger for those who can’t.

Angelina Jolie Diagnosed With Bell’s Palsy

featured image via Vanity Fair

Angelina Jolie ( 42) revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair that she had been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy,  ” a condition in which the muscles on one side of your face become weak or paralysed.  […] [affecting] one side of the face, Bell’s palsy leads one side of the face to droop or become stiff on the particular side.”

In an interview article with Vanity Fair,( click here to view Angelina’s cover story with Vanity Fair )  Jolie opened up about her ‘difficult’ divorce with her former partner of 10 years Brad Pitt, alongside insight on her current film she is working on ” First They Killed My Father”. The film is extremely personal and close to Jolie’s heart, yet has brought tension to the table due to a method used in order to cast children for the upcoming Netflix film.

It was mentioned by many sources that casting directors ” set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism [in which ] they put money on the table and asked the [children] to think of something they needed the money for, and then to snatch it away”

This method of casting in order to find children with ” raw emotion” has been deemed controversial by many different online media sources, and magazines.  Jolie was quoted by Vanity Fair regarding the casting where she mentioned, ” Srey Moch [the girl who was ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child [ who had ] started at the money for a very, very long time.  She was forced to give it back [ and became ] overwhelmed with emotion.  All these different things came flooding back”

Jolie later mentioned with a heavy heart that Srey Moch had wanted the money for the funeral of her grandfather who had recently passed.

A trailer tease for ” First They Killed My Father” can be viewed here.

 

Originally scheduled to come out Thursday, the Vanity Fair article was put on public display one day early,  leading to the break out of chaos and worry. An insider speaking to Page Six a celebrity news site mentioned, ” The company wants the magazines to promote each other’s stories that are newsworthy. However, releasing another publication’s piece prematurely ” especially a cover story ” would be considered ” a major screw-up”.

The above statement is an excerpt from a Fox News published article which can be found by clicking here.