3 Best ways to eliminate stress as a student

3 Best ways to eliminate stress as a student

As you finally start to get into the swing of things when the back to school adjustment period is over, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything going on. With so many activities and classes to keep up with, it can be hard to let yourself take a break and really relax. These suggestions are ways to de-stress while still getting things done and helping yourself out. These four ways to de-stress can make your high school workload seem so much easier.

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Secrets of a Student Council President: Tips to win an election for any position you run for 

Student council is a great vessel in which you can use to become involved in your school. Being a student council officer is not only great for your college resumes, but also provides you with a great platform which you can use to achieve great things within your school. If you are someone who enjoys taking initiative, is an excellent team player, and a strong advocate for change, then student council might be just the activity for you.

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5 Things to Do After a Stressful Day/Week

Everybody in today's society mutters this sentence at least once a day or week "I'm stressed." Sometimes when the opportunity presents its self to de-stress, you are so used to being filled with stress, you don't have the slightest idea how to relax. Here are five things to do after a stressful day/week

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5 Summer Programs for High School Musicians

5 Summer Programs for High School Musicians

A conveniently compiled list of 5 summer programs for high school musicians. Many high school students use summer programs as a way to gain experience and knowledge in their desired field of study. If you are a high school musician, this post will explore 5 of the most well-renowned summer music programs in the United States for you!

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How I Balance My Athletics with the Demands of High School


I still remember the feeling I has after my first gymnastics class. It was a feeling like no other. I felt a hunger to keep doing gymnastics, and that is exactly what I did, even when I entered high school. It was very apparent freshmen year that my high school experience was going to be a bit different than the typical high school experience. My schedule is something I get asked about frequently by friends. When I get ready in the morning, I have to make time out of my morning routine to stretch and loosen my muscles from the night before. Throughout my day, I’ve learned to do any homework that is due soon to knock it out of the way, so I could possibly go to bed earlier (which never happens). On my bus ride home, I usually take that time to take a nap and rest up before I head to the busiest part of my day. As soon as I get home, I do an in-depth stretch and eat for an hour and then head off to practice. Although practice ends at 9:00 p.m., I am not home until 9:30 p.m. and rush into my homework. I finish any assignments that I didn’t finish throughout the day and start studying for tests.


For any athlete, especially someone doing a sport outside of school, balancing school work, grades, and your sport can be difficult. I know my teammates have their ways of balancing it, but my way, involves A LOT of scheduling (emphasis on “a lot”). For, any athlete doing a sport outside of school, I advise the best thing to do is either get a physical planner or either download one on the app store (I use “myHomework” to schedule my days as well as assignments) I usually start my Mondays off by planning out when I can get assignments done—maybe I can do this one during class, or this one during lunch, and maybe this assignment on my day off. Taking three AP classes doesn’t help, either. My second tip to anyone ding a sport outside of school is to make sure your week is planned. Most assignments are given at the beginning of the week so start with writing everything down, and as the week progresses, add any new assignments given. I always have to make sure I am studying and getting the materials. I always use any of my free time during school to study or do quick assignments. I even carry around my AP Biology textbook throughout the school day and pictures of pages from another textbook I may or may not need to either study or do any homework. This has to be my most important tip, for any athlete out there, use your time wisely. We are always so busy during the day at school, so at the end of the day, after a long hard day at practice, the last thing you want to do is homework. Try to get as much done throughout the day because you never know your mood after practice (coming from experience *points to self*) A lot of people tell me that I try way too hard, but I feel like if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be top of my class. I want to be top of my class so I can get into a great college. This sport relaxes me and makes me want to work hard, but at the end of the day, school should ALWAYS come first, no matter what sport you’re in.


On top of school work, I also have to manage my progress in gymnastics. Unlike other sports, when practice ends, I still have to be working on my body. After homework is done at night, I have to work on my abs for 30 minutes and then I stretch again for 15 minutes and roll out my muscles to relax my muscles to prevent any soreness the next day. Right before I go to bed I treat any rips I may have gotten from bars and ice down my muscles if need be. Gymnastics is just one of those sports where you have to keep working on your body and strength to improve your performances. On my days off and on the rare holidays we get (Gymnastics is a year round sport which only closes due to major holidays and extreme weather), I am still at home working on my form and conditioning my body. I do this so that even on my day off, my body doesn’t slack off with me. An important part of doing any sport out of school is making sure you are improving, and the hard part is making time to do so, this is where scheduling comes in handy, but for me it’s more of a routine kind of thing, something that has to get done at a certain time each day.

With all the hard work that goes into doing gymnastics, I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. This is just the price I pay for doing something I love. Everyone should be able to do the things they love and still do well in school and life, don’t sacrifice one for another, have the whole dang pie. Ever since that first day in my beginner’s class, I have been hooked and can’t wait till I go to practice or get the opportunity to show off my skills. Gymnastics has taught me so much. There have been times when a skill seemed impossible to get, and it would take months to get, but eventually I would get it. It’s taught me to never give up and to work hard. Skills don’t come by themselves. You have put in the time and effort and get up every time you’ve fallen. If you’ve ever met a gymnast in your life, then you will truly see the passion to work hard gymnastics has given them. And to all my gymnasts out there, “Pointed feet, Pointed feet, Point them hard and win the meet” (sorry I had to make at least one reference to “Stick It” :).



Taking the Leap: Why You Should Try Something New This School Year


A new school year means another chapter that you will add to the story of your life and look back on in the future. The only question is this: what will you do to make sure that this year will be one to remember? Trying new things throughout your education will only lead to you becoming a well-rounded person, and with opportunities waiting left and right, it is up to you to take the leap and allow yourself to gain new experiences


1.. If not now, when?

The time that you have as a high school and college student is very valuable. If you pass up chances to do certain things, who knows if you’ll ever come across them again years from now after you’ve already entered your line of work? Take advantage of the opportunities that cross your path this year, because it is unlikely that you’ll see them again as an adult.

If you’re hesitating to try something new because you are nervous, go ahead and push the boundaries of your comfort zone! Sign up for debate club even if you’re terrified of speaking in front of others, or pick up that instrument that always seemed interesting to you. Waiting only leads to more indecision, and soon, you’ll miss your chance to do anything at all. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to be uncomfortable; maybe you’ll find a new hobby!

2. You’ll be able to indulge in new interests.

Finding things that you are passionate about is an important thing because it adds to what makes you unique as an individual and so you can do things that you love when the stress of school gets to you, as it does to every student. You might be super passionate about Biology, but if that Women’s Literature class caught your eye, why not join it? This portion of your life is for exploring different things, even if they are things that you might not have ever thought you would get involved in.


3. New worlds will open up to you and allow you to consider your current career path.

Perhaps what you are studying now or plan to study in college has been what you have always wanted to do and has always seemed so certain to you, but that belief may be challenged if you explore your options. When you find something else that you really love, a whole new realm of possibilities will work its way into your life, and the path that you had planned to take before might not seem as intriguing to you anymore.

Trying something new that interests you in some way as early as possible will give you a lot of time to find out if it is right for you and if it is a viable career path for you to take or something that you should keep on the back burner as a hobby. It may seem a bit frightening that what you’ve always said you were going to study might turn out to be an interest that you don’t pursue, but it’s worth attempting to find new passions and possible majors that could make you happier in life!

4. You will befriend people whom you may have never been able to meet before.

When you become a part of something new, you’ll have the opportunity to become friends with people from all walks of life that you may not come across in your regular classes. This is one of the most rewarding things about finding new interests; sharing something that you’re passionate about with another person is a great feeling that cannot be replaced. These people will be able to understand your love for something and be willing to talk to you for hours on end about it.


Gaining more trustworthy people in your life is a big thing within itself throughout your years of education, for you will have more shoulders to lean on when school gets to be too much, and you’ll be able to enjoy your experience more with friends by your side. Reach out to strangers in whatever new activity you choose; you may just find friends in them!

With so many chances to gain new experiences in life during your higher education, don’t let them slip away due to fear or anything else. This is your time to find what you are passionate about, and you definitely need to take advantage of it. Some of these new endeavors might not click with you, and that’s completely okay; at least you took the time to find out if they were right for you! When you do find something that really makes you excited, though, you know your options. Remember: in the end, we only regret the opportunities we didn’t take.



How to Start Volunteering and Contributing in Your Community


As a high school student, you’re in school for at least 30 hours a week, participate in extra-curricular activities, and might even work part-time. All the work that you put in as a student will eventually pay off; however, getting some community service hours on top of your other work will benefit you and the people of the community you’re helping; so it’s never a bad idea to search for some community service opportunities.

 What is community service?

 Community service is basically any voluntary act that benefits a community or group of people; you don’t get paid but you do benefit by building your character. Recently, I visited an animal shelter; although I went home with bloody scratches and fur all over my clothes, I learned the importance of caring for others (even if they’re not humans).  According to the ASPCA, there are 7.6 million animals in the shelter every year; knowing this, I wanted to make sure that I helped a local shelter in any way I could.


Where can you find community service?

 Firstly, check with your guidance counselor! Your guidance counselor is a great resource for reaching out to others in the community. You could possibly send them an email asking if there are any organizations that reached out to them about the need for volunteers. Last month, I visited a Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital and told my guidance counselor about my experience; she offered to help me find more opportunities in which I can volunteer and talk to veterans. According to VA.gov, there are over 21,000,000 veterans; knowing this, I for sure wanted to help any veterans in any way I can because I am a military child.

Secondly, contact local groups, non-profit organizations, churches, or even elementary schools. The nearest elementary school to me, often holds annual family-fun fair events; they always reach out to the community asking for volunteers to help run the event. Also, by contacting local groups and organizations yourself, you are able to create relationships with people that’ll authorize your service hours or even write you a recommendation letter.

Last but definitely not least, you can simply google “volunteer near me,” use the website https://www.volunteermatch.org, or check your local newspaper. My local newspaper happens to have a section where local businesses and organizations can post about their donation/volunteer needs. Also, volunteermatch.org, will allow you to narrow down what kind of service you’d like to do and where you’d like to do it.

 Why should you do community service?

 Besides the fact that you might need service hours as a requirement for clubs or school, you should do community service for a number of reasons.  First of all, you’ll learn more about yourself. Everyone is different in their own unique way, but when you utilize your skills to help other people, you’ll learn more about yourself and gain even more skills. For example, I shaved my head for childhood cancer when I was 13 years old; it was then when I realized that I am a “people person” and want to continue helping people for the rest of my life.


Also, you’ll have experience to put down on your resume. Whether you’re applying to college or a job, you will have something to write down under the “experience” section of your resume. Colleges love seeing diverse and well-rounded students; so, take action and show colleges what you’re capable of! Lastly, you’re simply helping others. Kindness goes a long way; whether it’s saying “hello” to a war veterans, walking a lonely dog, or serving food to the homeless, you’re filling their hearts with joy that they probably needed.


 To wrap it all up, participating in community service will not only benefit you, but the people and groups you help. The work that you put in will be greatly appreciated and you’ll feel better for helping someone. Remember to keep in mind that you are representing yourself and your school as you participate in community service. Go out and find service that’ll mean a lot to you!




Choosing Clubs and Extracurricular Activities in High School: How Not to Do Everything


A lot of students choose to participate in extracurriculars for a variety of reasons; whether it is to continue a childhood passion, make new friends, or uncover new interests, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you select which clubs and activities to be a part of during your high school career.

Do What You Love

When it comes time to filling out college applications, many students feel that their extracurriculars must relate to one another in order to be considered noteworthy. I identify personally with the student who has varying interests across many fields. I am involved in Future Teachers of America because I love to work with kids, Drama Club because I love to be onstage, and DECA because I love to exercise my public speaking skills through business terminology and posh professional wear. With that being said, it is okay to let your interests lead you to clubs that may have little to no correlation with each other. High school is supposed to be a time of self-discovery and exploration; do not limit yourself to a status quo. For example, if you want take a cooking class and be a part of the science club, you may later find that it opens doors for you in the field of food science.

Find a Balance & Prioritize

Take some time to carefully evaluate your daily class schedule and fix your extracurricular activities around it. Voluntary clubs and activities should not heavily interfere with your academic priorities. I, for example, am taking Honors and AP classes this year, complete with dance and Spanish electives. Because I know that I will be completing classwork and studying on a consistent basis, I have a more mindful approach in making outside commitments to time-consuming extracurricular activities. From there, I can narrow my number of extracurriculars to a few time-consuming activities that fulfill and excite me, rather than a plethora of activities that I will only wound up exerting little to no effort in. Ultimately, you should evaluate for yourself what you consider to be a want or a need, fit or unfit, in your daily schedule. Do not feel pressured to include certain extracurriculars into your regime if they add unnecessary stress. Not only will you wind up overwhelmed and unmotivated, in most cases, poor academic performance and civil participation can lead to termination from your activities.


Quality over Quantity

If you find that you only have room fit in your schedule for one school-oriented club, be rest assured. You do not need to stretch your time over a wide range of clubs in order to be involved. It is far better to be involved in a singular activity than five. Here is why: when you are wholly devoted to one or few clubs, you have extended opportunities to connect with the club advisors and advance to higher positions/rankings within the club. As a DECA participant for three, going on four, years, I can speak truthfully that the best part of being involved DECA for so long is being able to clearly see my personal evolvement as a strategist, business intellect, and person since being a freshman in high school.

Do Not Follow Your Friends

You are taking personal time out of your day to attend to clubs and extracurriculars. If you do not feel wholly passionate about the activities of the organization, you should not feel pressured to serve additional time to it. To those with friends who may be pushy or misunderstanding of the matter, be sure to communicate with them, in whichever way necessary, that you feel your time together should be spent elsewhere.


Create Your Own Club

Many students often forget about the opportunities to create their own clubs within the walls of their school. If you have an idea or passion that seems to generate interest among a number of students, do not hesitate to reach out to your school advisers.

Just Join!

At the end of the day, extracurricular activities are available for your benefit, not to fulfill a requirement. Always check with yourself to ensure that you are happy with whatever it is that you decide to do. You will find in high school that your mind will change constantly as you try new things and become curious about others. Allow that change to happen within you and go with it. Best of luck!



Four Ways to Become More Efficient and Organized


 “I can’t, I have to (insert mundane task here)” We’ve all been there. Friday afternoon, just when you’re finally decompressing after a taxing week of school, you get a surprise text from one of your friends (who seemingly never have any work to do). They ask you to hang out, and suddenly everything that you planned to do over the “endless” weekend seems to pile up in front of you. Your mind gets bombarded with schoolwork and clubs and oh god, no, laundry!! You cancel, saying that you really need to get caught up on your to do list, which really means Netflix until the memories of your responsibilities disappear (but you’d feel guilty going out when you have so much to do). Luckily, there are small habits that you can build to help you optimize your time.


Month by Month to Beat the Funk

Having a big picture view of your obligations can help you get a grasp of how much you have to do and which obligations are the most important. This is the time to break out a calendar. Things like school don’t need to be marked on the calendar since they happen daily, but if April is the beginning of lacrosse season and your new SAT class, then it would be helpful to mark the days of games and classes to make sure that you have a clear idea of what activities you have to juggle.

It could be helpful to also color code your calendar, such as by having green highlighter for sports and blue highlighter for family activities. Having a color system would help you see easily whether this month is more green heavy (meaning you have many extracurricular activities) or more blue heavy (meaning your family is getting together a lot this month), showing you where your priorities should lie for this time.

This calendar would also be the place to mark any special events that happen only once, such as your sister’s dance recital or your friend’s birthday party (trust me, you do not want to suddenly remember that it’s your friend’s sweet sixteen thirty minutes before her party). Make sure to put your calendar in a very visible place, so that you can easily see your obligations.

Week to Week, Get the Free Time You Seek

Now that you know where your priorities lie, make weekly goals so that your tasks don’t seem so large and looming. If you have to read a book for English class this month, write down that you want to read at least one hundred pages this week. If you have a big piano recital coming up, say that this week you’ll learn the second half of the song or perfect that part at the end. Weekly goals are large enough so that you can see your work building up, but small enough so that they’re not overwhelming. Keep your list of weekly goals somewhere that you see daily, so that you can see if you’re really working to accomplish them.

It also helps to have a designated rest day during your week, sometime to just relax, hang out with friends and family, or just make sure that your room is clean. After reading this article, you probably will be so inspired that you’ll want to get on that grind every single day, but having a rest day will help make sure that you don’t burn out. Mani-pedi Sunday with your sister or that movie on Saturday with your friends might be the thing that gets you through a tough week of studying.


Day by Day to Keep the Stress Away

In all honesty, it really helps to have a daily plan that you never deviate from. Having one builds structure and helps prevent that “Oh my gosh, my life is falling apart!” feeling that high schoolers are so used to having. Little habits build the foundation of a really productive person. Having a set homework time (and snack time, so that you don’t die of starvation while doing calculus) may seem like an unnecessary inconvenience, but a strict schedule will help you make sure that you always have your work done and that you never find yourself in the dangerous haze of the procrastinator (aka every high school student ever).

Sample Schedule Suggestion

In the morning:

  • Eat breakfast!!!! (extra exclamation points because this one could save your life)
  • Put pajamas away in a laundry basket
  • Read over everything that you have to attend (club meetings, practices, lessons)
  • Make a list of everything that you need to get done today (homework, projects)
  • Smile and face the day!

In the evening:

  • Put clothes away in a laundry basket
  • Make sure that your room is neat (so that you don’t have to wake up to a dirty room)
  • Lay out clothes and supplies for the next day
  • Write down important events for the next day


Sometime or Another:

  • Talk to your friends and family
  • Build in at least 30 minutes of a relaxing activity (playing with a pet, reading a book, watching an episode of Friends for the third time this month)
  • Pick up objects when they’re out of place, so that you never have to do a big clean up
  • Shower and do other cleanly activities

With all of these tips in mind, it is also very important to make room for adjustments. Surprises happen to everyone, almost regularly (almost). Your mom might forget to tell you that you have to babysit your younger brother, or your laptop might break down (like mine did today). These things will happen, but all of that extra time that you’ll have because of your efficient planning will help you deal with these surprises and still have time and energy to spare!



Investing in Yourself: Choosing the Path of Your Own Future


Family, finances, fear of failure, and friends: the four main sources of academic pressure. As you’re surfing the waves of the high school and college experience, you’ll come to realize that making decisions that will greatly affect your imminent future and possible career path will be anything but easy. With relatives constantly asking you want you want to do with your future and pressuring you to do well in school, the heavy costs of college tuition, the little devil on your left shoulder telling you that you’re not good enough, and your peers always making remarks about how they have their whole future planned out, deciding what path you want to take after high school is one of the most difficult, yet important decisions you’ll ever make. However, if you keep these pressures at the forefront of your mind, you may lose yourself in the heat of it all. You may end up taking a left turn, and drive along a road that you never wanted to take in the first place. Here are ways to make sure you take ahold of your future before others do. pduzzrvrmruidvz6wuym.png

Make Yourself a Priority

When considering all the factors that contribute to deciding your career path, you should always remember that this is your future; no one else’s. The decisions that you make will impact you, not your grandparents, not your teachers, and not your friends. For some, the opinions of loved ones play a huge role when making choices about one’s future. However, in the case of choosing colleges and career paths, you may have to make your own opinion a priority above those of your loved ones because like I said, this is your future.


Finding What You Love

So many people end up pursuing career paths that they aren’t completely happy with because they didn’t have enough confidence to do what they really wanted to do, or they didn’t think it would be enough to keep them financially stable, or because their family is expecting them to carry on a legacy of a specific career; the list could go on and on. There is a plethora of pressures, fears, and risks that come with deciding what career path you want to take, but it is important that you go through with what you want to do regardless of these fears and risks. You should decide upon a career path based on something that you enjoy doing. Pursuing a job that you love and enjoy is one of the most rewarding things in life. Think about all of your passions and your hobbies. Take into consideration what you want to accomplish in life, your interests, and your values. What do you find exciting? What kind of working environment do you prefer? What’s important to you? What do you excel at; what skills do you have? Combine all of these aspects and create a list of possible careers that fit your criteria. Maybe even consider fields that you’re not so familiar with but are interested in pursuing in the future. Which of these things can you see yourself doing for a living? Once you’ve narrowed the list down, research the remaining topics as careers. Look at how many years of school are required/recommended for a degree in those fields, the average annual salary for employees, and all of the aspects and positions of the job. When you’ve done your research, choose one, or maybe two, careers that you think will satisfy your desires and needs. Keep these career fields in mind as you continue your high school and college journeys, and participate in things that you think might help you in grasping a better understanding of them. Interested in going into politics? Join the debate team! Want to be an engineer? Enroll in an engineering course and/or a physics course! Interested in becoming a photographer? Join the yearbook staff, or join a photography club! Participating in these things will help you determine whether you truly enjoy certain subjects or not, and possibly help you decide what you want to do in the future.

Dodging the Bullets

Like I said before, this process comes with many pressures, fears, and risks, but it’s essential that you dodge these challenges when it comes to your future. Perhaps you’ll disappoint your parents by deciding to pursue the arts when they wanted you to become a neurosurgeon, or maybe your peers will ridicule you for wanting to become a psychologist, but in the end, doing what YOU want to do and following through with it will make YOU happy, and that’s all that should matter.



Pros and Cons of Getting a Job In High School


I completed my final year with a class field trip to Cedar Point and my photo gallery is stuffed with photos of my friends and I in tears. High school was officially over and all of my friends were going their separate ways. Even though my pictures on graduation night said otherwise, I was excited to leave high school and get off to work. The first day of summer meant the start of accomplishing my only goals at the time: have enough money to be able to get one smoothie a day, and get a scholarship to college. With little knowledge of the college admission process, let alone financial aid options, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to be a golf caddy at my local country club. While my mommy-and-me golf lessons ended abruptly in the 5th grade (and so did my dream of being the next Tigers Woods, or as I called him, "the guy in the red shirt") due to the birth of my brother, I figured that re-learning golf vocabulary would be worth it if I was getting tipped big bucks in return, in addition to having the opportunity to get a full tuition scholarship to one of my two big state universities. It appeared that by working often, I would soon enough move up in the caddy ranks, gain a reputation between my clubs members, and be on an easy path to accomplishing my goal.

Or so I thought.

After a short summer and a majority of the fall caddying, combined with a vacation to Martha's Vineyard and a violin intensive, I quickly accepted that I was going to have to find another way to pay for college. Trudging around miles on a soggy golf course with shoes creating blisters the size of quarters was the last way I wanted to earn 60K towards college tuition. However, the experience was one that I have never regretted, as I learned lifelong skills about the workforce a lot earlier than my peers. Within my personal experiences combined with what I heard from my peers makes up the pros and cons of getting a job in high school.


1. Skills for Life When the smallest slip-ups can get you fired from your job and the smallest gestures of kindness can get you promoted, you quickly adjust to being on your best behavior. You'll learn a myriad of different skills that will be applicable to life, including punctuality, treating even the most complicated of people with respect, how to handle situations appropriately, how to think on your feet, get an introduction to the banking system, and much more.


2. The Money While this pro is probably one of the reasons you were considering getting a job in the first place, I think it’s less about the money itself and more about the freedom you have with that money. You won't have to wait until Christmas to get your Converse because your parents are buying them, because if you have the money available you can purchase them yourself. You can also put your money towards something meaningful, like to your own family that is struggling financially or even to GoFundMe campaign that’s going towards food in a developing country. Your money will also be accessible at any time, which will help you gain the responsibility to spend it wisely.

3. Your Resume While it’s never good to do extracurricular activities for the sole purpose of getting into college, having work as an experience is something that is looked highly upon on college applications because of all of the skills you learn when you have one. If you find a job that you like and can commit time to, it could become your "thing" like some play basketball or strum a guitar in a band.

4. Exposure to Future Careers While you dig a little deeper (as sung in the Disney original, Princess in the Frog) in your job search, you may come across job opportunities that can expose you to your field of interest. While they may be harder to find, it is not unheard of for doctor's offices, law firms, and jobs in other professions to hire high school students to do office work. While it may not be direct exposure to the field itself, opportunities could lead to shadowing that office or even moving up in ranks that expose you to more in that career path.



1. The Hours For most, if not every part-time position, employers will have a minimum amount of hours they want you to work in a week, and quite honestly don't care too much about how hard your classes are or how long your soccer training is. If you have to do, say 15 hours a week, but would like to sleep for six hours on a good night and have a little time to watch a weekly episode of Grey's Anatomy, you'll have to spend the majority of your weekend working. And even if you decide to work during the week, when you first start out, you're almost never guaranteed the best hours and could be working on a week-night from five to ten. Rest in peace to family dinners and watching Jimmy Fallon live.

2. The Money The extra pocket change you receive in return for your hard work is great for your movie visits as it can allow you to get the medium popcorn and a drink. However, at some jobs, it may not be all that you thought it was going to be, especially in jobs that rely heavily on tips. While dreams may consist of you 'making it rain' every day, you may quickly come to the realization that you're going to have to gain a lot of experience to be able to wait more than two tables at once or have the privilege of serving that table for 10. It's not necessarily that you won’t earn any money, but it may take some time for the funds to build to an amount you're satisfied with.

While having a job in high school is something that takes a big commitment, there are a plethora of benefits that can be gained with having one. However, some activities aren't for everyone, so it’s important to use your best judgment in deciding if adding a job to your busy schedule is right for you. If not, you can always consider getting one during the summer.

Good luck job searching!



A Guide to Choosing Clubs Freshmen Year of High School


Understand that there are three categories of clubs.

•Subject area clubs are clubs that come from an interest in a subject area taught in school (such as Math, Literature, Film, etc.)

•Hobby Clubs are clubs that most likely wouldn’t be taught in high school (such as Chess, Anime, and Video Games).

•Charity Clubs are clubs that are linked to raising money, raising awareness, or helping your community (such as Key Club, National Honor Society and DECA).

Choose Club(s) That Interests You /Are Relevant to Your Field of Interest

Freshman year can be a very intimidating time in your life. You’re still roaming the hallways trying to find your way to your first period. Because it’s a new school, in some cases a bigger school, it can cause you to shy away from school activities. But, don’t do that. One of the key factors colleges and universities look for are how involved you were in school activities. The earlier you start, the better. That being said, don’t think of joining a club as something you have to do, think of it as something you want to do. Which means to choose a club(s) that you think would be fun? Whether that involve going on field trips or it involving a hobby.


Choose Club(s) that have benefits

Have you ever heard of Key Club or National Honor Society? These organizations are nationally recognized. Which means that schools know about these clubs and it will look really good when it’s your time to apply to colleges? It looks especially good if you’ve been in the club since your freshman year. This shows schools that you are a committed and resilient person. Which is something that they would like to add to their school. Especially, when they know that you still could’ve been sleeping in on a Saturday morning but decided to come to an event at 6 o’clock in the morning.

Choose Club(s) That Can Be Fun and Entertaining

With all of this in mind, whether it be a hobby or charity club, make sure it’s something that you’re passionate about. Now you’re probably thinking, how do I choose a club? Make sure it’s something that you enjoy? First, think about what you like to do. What’s your favorite class? What are your hobbies? Is there a skill that you’d like to further explore? Also, keep in mind that you’re going to meet so many different people. You might even make life long friends. Once you have asked yourself these kinds of questions you will have a better understanding of what exactly you should look for to satisfy those club cravings your freshmen year!



Aline Your Clubs with Your College Application


What to put on your college application to make you stand out.

I’ve been at this college application process for a couple of months and I’ve had an overwhelming amount of advice from my parents, friends, uncles, cousins, and even strangers and some of the advice was great. Some are just plain awful but they have the best intentions. But what they all have said to me was, “Make sure you make yourself stand out.”


They say during high school, be as involved as possible but I say don’t. Freshman Year, you join every single club and you may start overwhelm yourself that you don’t get as involved in the clubs. You can't move up in the ranks. When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter how many clubs you join if you don't move up in the ranks, all college admissions will see is that you joined the clubs just to join.

My Advice/ Experience

Join two or three clubs that you really enjoy so that you have the chance to get to know the members, the sponsor, the works of the club. When you do, get as involved as possible in those clubs. These will open up a plethora of opportunities for you so that when senior year rolls around, you could become VP or even President. When college administrators see this, they know you stay committed and you work hard.

I’ve been a member of the same two clubs since Sophomore year of high school, and as a senior, I managed to move up as VP for both clubs. Though my schedule was busy, I had time to participate because I wasn't running around trying to keep up with what club meetings I had to attend. The clubs I joined corresponded to the major I plan on studying in college. I joined a club named HyperStream which deals with learning how to code website, Graphic Interfaces (I/O’s). It corresponds with the Computer Science major which I will be pursuing in college. You don't want to confuse the admissions board by joining all these journalism clubs when you’re intended major will be Science or Mathematics. You want to stay consistent so they can see what you are interested in your major.

Now, I'm not saying to not join a club that involves one of your hobbies. You can still be an engineering major with a list of two clubs that involved learning about engineering but you can still have an art club because it's something you enjoy.

In the end, it's all about finding something you love and staying consistent. Don't be afraid to explore, but at the same time, don't be timid towards your aspirations. Clubs are meant to get you involved in your school community while building extracurricular contexts for your academic resume - make the most of them!



Secrets of a Student Council President: How to Win "The Election" for Any Officer Position


Student council is a great vessel in which you can use to become involved in your school. Being a student council officer is not only great for your college resumes, but also provides you with a great platform which you can use to achieve great things within your school. If you are someone who enjoys taking initiative, is an excellent team player, and a strong advocate for change, then student council might be just the activity for you.

Evaluate Your Options

Before you consider joining student council, it is best to evaluate your options. “Evaluating your options”, means to make sure that you have enough time so that you will be able to exhibit the dedication necessary to do the job. Being a student council officer takes a lot of work. This is completely different from being the captain of the cheerleading team or president of the science club, because unlike being in those positions where you will only preside over a select group, with student council you preside over your entire school, which involves nearly twice as much time and dedication.

With Student council there are school dances, organizing various clothes and food drives, and you will be expected to do this all while planning the destination and date of the next school trip. Student council is a lot of work, and it requires a great commitment. If you are currently the president of another club or committee, then I would highly recommend that you suspend any interest to run for student council until a time when you will be able to handle the job. Whatever committee you preside over, whether big or small, deserves all your time and effort. You don't want to “spread yourself too thin’, meaning engaging in more than three times your capacity (consuming extracurricular activities, while balancing your three, four, or five AP classes will do just that).


Formulate a Campaign Strategy

Yes, the magic formula. The Campaign Strategy. Formulating an excellent campaign strategy is a very essential step on the path to winning an election. The purpose of a campaign strategy is to be able to communicate your values, ideas, and the individual approach you will take when handling student council affairs.

When forming a campaign strategy, think on these things:

A. What am I good at?

In order to run a successful campaign, you must center it around your strengths. If you have any special talents, abilities, or hobbies, use them. Those strengths make you unique. Those strangers will make you shine against the toughest competitors. Make sure to utilize those strengths, because they will be your best asset while running your campaign.

Ex: If you are an artist, you can design beautifully artistic flyers, and elaborate on how you want more artistic expression throughout your school. If you are a comedian, make sure to crack a joke or two when introducing yourself to others.

Use your talents, they will help you create a campaign that is not only interesting, but also personable to you and your talents.

B. What makes me unique?

The secret to winning anything is to play to your uniqueness. This part is easy because it is innate. We are all born unique. Utilize your unique qualities. Whether you are a computer nerd, or an all-star dancer, varsity soccer star, or skilled violinist, you each have something unique that can help you stand out against competitors. This strategy is extremely helpful when student council elections at your school seem to be one “big popularity contest” and you just don't seem to fit the bill. If you aren't popular then use your “unpopularity” to your advantage. Make students know that you are similar to them, tired of student council being a popularity contest, and that you aim to change that by running for a position. If you have been bullied, or harassed within your school, and want to make it a safer place for everyone, reach out to other students who feel the same.

The concept of utilizing your uniqueness, and what makes you different from everyone lies is in how you see yourself and how you see your school. There may be improvements that need to be made around the school that only you will see, and there will be challenges that exist for some students that others may not be aware of. Use your perspective, have faith in it and let it propel you forward!

C. What do I want to accomplish?

This is the most important facet of your campaign. In order for people to be led to vote for you, they need a glimpse of what their school would be like with you as an officer. You need to communicate your vision. Your vision is your plan for your school, how you plan to make it better, the improvements you see to be made, and how you plan to go about achieving these improvements. People need to know what it is you plan to do. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail (Benjamin Franklin)! So plan whatever it is you want to accomplish as an officer, and make sure to communicate it to your fellow students.


Getting Your Name Known

Now that you have a clear view your strengths and the perspective you take on your school, it is time to get some publicity. Post some flyers, take to social media, tell friends to spread the word, whatever you do, make sure to get your name out there. Unfortunately, a big part of a school election relies on the amount of publicity you receive. You can have some amazing ideas, and a catchy campaign slogan, but without the proper publicity your campaign won't be able to gain much leverage against other competitors. So make sure to get your name out there, because the success of your campaign depends on it.


Now I know there are some rather shy people who too want to run for student council, but feel they will struggle with the “getting your name out there” part. If this is you, fear not because I too can be shy. Because I am shy, when running for student council I made sure to write my flyers in a way that made sure the readers would know everything (almost everything) there is to know about my unique qualities mission, and campaign. I also enlisted others to help me, so getting some friends involved won't hurt either.

Write a Winning Speech

So now that you've gotten the campaign, now it's speech time. What type of statements do you want to include in your speech?

A. Your belief system

B. Your positive attributes

C. Your proposal for change

D. Solutions for problems that exist within your school

E. Ideas for events/fundraisers

F. Anything else you would like to add

With your speech feel free to get emotional. Make sure to express your passion and show the love that you have for your school. Communicate your dedication and make sure to let your fellow students know how much you are willing to work to improve your school. Your speech should have feeling and be able to move the hearts of your fellow students. It should also be good enough to make your competition shiver in their boots.


Seize the Moment

It's your time! Make sure to say your speech with all your passion and power. Do not be afraid of the competition, just focus on yourself and make sure to encourage yourself. Know that the position is yours. You’ve made it this far. You’ve made it through your entire campaign, ups, downs, and everything else that comes with the territory. Now it's time to seal the deal with a winning speech. Go out there and seize the day.










High School Senior's Guide to Making Extracurriculars Extra Meaningful


Heading into my last year of high school, I’ve seen so many friends leave behind some of their longest lasting extracurriculars, add on some fun activities, and also give themselves the break they’ve always wished they could have. If you’re trying to figure out the best ways to spend free time as you deal with balancing college applications and school with real life, hopefully this will help you to prioritize and take on what really is right for you.

todoStick with what you love.

If you’ve been doing something since freshman year (or longer) and can’t imagine your last year of high school without it, there’s no doubt you should stick with it. Having things you’ve cared about for a long time looks good to colleges, but another huge benefit here is having something you truly enjoy doing.

If you’re wanting to start a club related to an interest you’ve had for quite some time or take on a leadership role in a club or sport you’ve been involved in, go for it! Now’s the time to do things you’ve wanted to do and lead the activities you’ve grown to love in high school. Make sure, though, to keep note of how time consuming your activities may be and balance them out.

Leave behind what you don’t.

If you’ve done something the past three years, but aren’t really into it anymore, don’t sweat leaving it behind. If you’ve got other activities to keep you busy, or if you need more time and the club or sport is too time consuming, it’s not a big deal. There’s always something else. I’ve seen my own friends leave behind swimming or band just because they lost interest or wanted a different type of senior year, and that’s totally fine. Even though doing four years of something does look good, freedom feels good and gives you the chance to delve even deeper into other things that look good as well as being more important to you.

Keep it reasonable. While it is common to hear about how being well rounded is really important, joining ten new clubs your senior year is probably going to make you more stressed than anything else. Like this article says, colleges value quality of your extracurriculars over quality, so opt for a few you really care about being involved in over a ton that you’re just using to look better.

Make sure you’re not overcommitting. Manage your time well, leaving some days open so you can work on homework and college applications as well as having fun. Before you fully commit to a handful of clubs, I’ve found that writing them all out can help you to understand just how much time they’re taking up. When you read over your schedule and realize that you wouldn’t be getting home until 10:00 for most of the week, you may opt to continue doing those things or you may want to let a few go.

Every person’s different in how much they can handle, how much homework they do at home versus at school, and how they balance their weeks. Just be wary of overcommitting, especially when you’ve got so much to do and your last year of high school to enjoy.

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Leave time for you.

While you may love all of your extracurriculars, make sure you leave time for yourself. Have fun during your last year of high school, both in the activities you choose to be involved in and in your everyday life at school and with friends. For a few ideas on how to enjoy yourself despite the stress, here’s a senior year bucket list perfect for making sure you’re smiling your way through the year.

Extracurriculars are meant to be fun ways to explore your interests, so don’t let them take over your life completely. By choosing wisely and making sure you really enjoy what you’re committing to, they won’t feel stressful, instead helping to take the stress of college and senior year away.






The Wizardry of Junior Year: A Guide to Managing Your Priorities


SAT testing, extracurriculars, AP courses, prom, applying for jobs, volunteer work, getting your driver’s license, and maintaining friendships. All of these things combine to create the most bittersweet era of the high school experience: the dreaded junior year. As you may know, it’s a lot to handle for one person within just ten months, and it is hands-down, the most difficult year, especially considering you are only a year away from sending in applications to your dream schools.

It almost seems impossible, doesn’t it? Staying involved in sports, clubs and work, while still managing your GPA and preparing yourself to receive good scores on all of your exams to keep yourself as “well-rounded” as possible seems like a task designed just for Wonder Woman. Well as challenging as it is, it is also the most critical era, since several of the decisions that you make as well as the outcomes of this school year will have an essential impact on your near future in regards to your college admissions process. As Ben Marcus once wrote, “The impossible is just a blind spot that dissolves if we move our heads fast enough.” So move your heads quickly and learn to master the wizardry of junior year.


Setting Goals for the School Year

A skill that will doubtlessly help you through the rigorous year as well as through the rest of your college admissions journey is setting specific goals for yourself. If you are reading this as a sophomore or as someone about to enter junior year, then you’re right on time to give yourself a head start. Before you start the year, you should try to prepare yourself a “game plan” on what you intend to do and accomplish within the year. You should make a list of all the classes you’ll take and what grades you hope to get in them, the extracurriculars you’ll be participating in and how much time you think you’ll dedicate to them, standardized testing (SATs and ACTs) dates and how much time you’ll devote to studying, and other things that you plan on doing throughout the course of the ten months (such as applying for jobs, volunteer hours, etc). Keep this plan for when you actually attend school in the fall and begin to keep track of what you accomplish and what you don’t. This will help you manage your time and your tasks. Having a clear physical plan for what you want to do will keep you much more organized and relieve the stress and panic of procrastinating to complete things. However, this idea of a plan/agenda will only work effectively if you are totally consistent and determined to do well, so it is absolutely essential to stay focused.


Course Selection

Choosing the right courses in junior year may seem very difficult at first, since a whole new span of options will be made available to you, and you might not know which ones you’ll need. In terms of electives, you should first think about your high school’s graduation requirements, and check to see if you haven’t yet fulfilled some of the required classes. Those classes are the ones you should definitely make sure you enroll in. You should then consider the possible career field that you might want to work with in the future, and select a class or two that correlate with that field. If you’re not sure about the career path you want to follow yet, try signing up for classes that seem interesting to you; definitely do not choose electives that you think you won’t enjoy or be interested in. Now in terms of the levels of difficulty of your classes, you absolutely want to make sure you make the right decisions. You may feel pressured to take 4-5 honors and AP courses, but in most cases, this probably won’t be the right thing to do. Taking challenging classes is obviously something that you should consider in your junior year, as it is something that college admission offices pay close attention to. However, there is always a limit to the amount of rigor that one can handle. Keep in mind when selecting your courses that you’ll need time throughout your days to do other things such as sports or other extracurricular activities. A good amount of AP classes for junior year might be 2-3, depending on your daily schedule and academic interests. When you’re up at 2:00am finishing your AP Bio paper, there’s no doubt that you’ll thank yourself for not taking on that extra AP course.

Big Future

Beginning the College Search

If you’re a junior and still don’t know what kinds of colleges and schools you want to go to/ apply to, now is the perfect time to start looking. It’s extremely important that you have, at the very least, a general idea of what schools you are looking for before senior year comes around, as you’ll spend the majority of your first semester and the summer before you’re a senior preparing your applications. It may seem slightly difficult to decide what you want to do with your future when it seems so far away in time, but once you’ve indulged yourself in research, you’ll have a much more distinct image of what you want, and your search will become much simpler. You should start by considering all of the contributing elements: location (in-state or out-of-state), type of school (private/public), size, academic programs, intended major(s), cost, financial aid, etc. Many of these you’ll be able to decide yourself, but some may have to be discussed with your counselor or your family before anything is set in stone. It is important that you take as much time as you need to deeply consider which colleges you’ll apply to so that you’ll make the right decision when choosing which one you’ll attend after you graduate. Do not make any impulsive decisions to apply for a school without doing plenty of research beforehand, and do not wait to start looking.

Time Management

As you’re experiencing your junior year adventure, you’ll realize that time management will become more and more difficult to maintain. One thing to keep in mind in order to avoid this from interfering with your grades and academic performance is to not procrastinate. So be efficient, put all distractions aside, complete your work on time, get your projects out of the way, and have all the leisure time you need when you're finished. Trust me on this; it's a lot more satisfying to relax knowing that you've finished all your school work for the day. Try your best to balance school work, extracurriculars, and personal free time. A great tool to keep track of all of your assignments is The HW App, which is available in the Apple Store.


Your Best Friends: Your Counselor and Teachers

Keeping in contact with your counselor and your teachers throughout this year is crucial to your application journey, since these are the people that will be writing your recommendation letters required in your college and scholarship applications. Frequently visiting your counselor to discuss college plans will show him/her that you are serious about getting a higher education, and will give him/her more great things to write about if they decide to write you a letter. Counselors are also one of the best college and education resources that you'll ever have, they'll tell you anything that you need to know about the schools you want to attend, the careers you intend on pursuing, and the classes you'll need to take in high school to get where you want to be. So never be afraid to consult with them and build relationships with them! It's also important that you stay on your teachers’ good sides, since they are the people that observe your dedication and hard work in the classroom, which is something colleges really consider when looking through applications. Remember that although it may not always seem like it, your school’s faculty is always on your side, and will do anything to help you become what you aspire to be.

Self-Motivation and Effort

You will only succeed as far as you’ll allow yourself to be pushed. Being your own number one supporter and motivator is a major key to tackling obstacles such as junior year. You must make yourself want to do well and want to succeed; you won’t get as far as you are able to by telling yourself that you need to do things. You have to want to do them. Put all the effort that you have into each and every one of your assignments, and constantly remind yourself that you’ll succeed if you try your best. Yes, it will be very tiring and time-consuming, and sometimes you’ll want to just BS all of your assignments and take a nap. But keep in mind that hard work will always pay off. Not only will self-dedication help you through the year, it will help you to strive to do better in all of your life obstacles that await your future. You do not want to look back your senior year regretting your grade in a class that lowered your GPA, or disrespecting a potential recommendation letter writer.

So Maybe it’s Not that Hard

Maybe referring to this year as some mysterious sorcery is a bit of an exaggeration. It may seem that way at first, but trust me, you’ll get through it. It’s all a matter of consistency, perseverance, and hard work. As long as you stay focused and keep your goals in mind, you won’t need a magic wand to keep you sane.

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