Seniors Eleanor Asma, Brett Chody, and Elizabeth Porter get together on Critical Dialogue to discuss an important topic for many high school students: alcohol. They discuss expectations, what is considered normal, and the pressures that go along with the culture.
Planned morning ambushes, surprise attacks, and intense chases have taken the average backyard Nerf battle to the next level. Today, more than 170 students are following tradition and taking part in the thrilling competition known as Paranoia.
Self-organized teams of four to six players are randomly matched up at the beginning of each week and work together to eliminate their opponents via Nerf guns. Whichever team ends the week with more eliminations will earn one point, losers receive no points and in the case of a tie, both teams gain half of a point.
With nobody stepping up to take initiative with Paranoia, senior Victor Kolcan took the reins for the class of 2018. “I set up a Facebook group and made excel sheets to keep track of the game. The last step was just getting teams to sign up through a Google form. I also had to make the rules for the game.”
A condensed summary of said rules are as follows:
- Games start on Monday at 12:01 AM, and end on Sunday at 11:59 PM.
- You may not eliminate anyone on school grounds and this includes the senior parking lot. You may also not eliminate anyone at work or at a house of worship. This includes when they are immediately leaving or entering said place.
- Only authorized NERF or NERF-like guns are permitted. This means no NERF footballs, swords, battle-axes, BB guns, paintball guns, real guns.
- There are no shields in this game.
- HONESTY is essential.
- Dead players are out of the game until the start of another round, and they are explicitly not allowed to eliminate members of the enemy team or act as shields/cover.
- You may not be be shot at during a school-sanctioned sporting event, home or away.
- Do not do anything illegal in this game. Be prepared to pay for the consequences of your actions.
- You are 100% not allowed to criminally trespass on someone’s property. DO NOT under any circumstances enter someone’s home without permission from a human member that resides in said household.
With the heated political climate, particularly around gun control policies, it is understandable why teachers or other community members may feel apprehensive of the games’ premise. An LFHS student states, “honestly, the game has many rules to avoid repercussions such as trespassing, along with many safe zones like churches, work, and school.” “I don’t think the emphasis on the game is really to shoot people, it’s more like tag than it is a shooting game.” adds senior Hadley Seymour.
Taylor Rapperport, a vital member of the team known as the Anchovies states, “It’s fun to plot against your friends and get super into it. There have been multiple times when a teammate would call us and say they were being ambushed and we’d all skrt over.”
Victor included, “My favorite part is all the highlights that players send in when they report an elimination. mostly because they’re usually very funny.”
“Kids these days” are constantly ridiculed for their lack of imagination and inactive sources of entertainment. Rather than choosing to run around outside and explore or ride a bike through town, teens will likely rely on screens to occupy their minds. However, thanks to the enthusiastic senior class, technology has been used to accomplish a level of teamwork and inclusiveness that has never before been possible. “I have played weekly games against people I don’t normally see or hang out with on a daily basis, and it really brings the class of ‘18 together.” said Hadley Seymour. With the availability of social media and shareable Excel and Word documents, Paranoia has had the ability to expand to not just a large group of friends, but a whole community of classmates, ultimately bringing the senior class of 2018 closer than ever before.
Throughout all four years of high school, the subject of college always managed to twist my stomach and generate a profound feeling of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. As a fourth quarter senior on the brink of crossing the finish line and taking the next step towards independence, I’ve realized upon reflection that high school is a mind-boggling experience from an academic and social standpoint. Students are constantly searching to make the ‘right’ decisions and avoid the ‘wrong’ ones in order to fulfill their highest potential. The buildup and hype about receiving an acceptance letter from any college has become such an intimidating and highly over exaggerated monster that underclassmen need to realize is not living under their bed.
I am the kind of person who thrives off of “going with the flow.” As this can often be frustrating for my parents, it seems as though it has worked out pretty well. My college application process was highly unusual, particularly within Lake Forest’s high-achieving community. Having witnessed two older siblings drudge through the application process and the disappointment of dream school rejections and placements on waitlists, I made up my mind to approach the whole college process with a different mindset.
I applied to three schools total — two of which I was actually considering. None of these schools required essay submissions, and because I didn’t see the point in applying anywhere else, I avoided the Common Application completely. Both my GPA and ACT scores were just about average, if not a little below. Of course, this worried me throughout my High School years given that my friends were determined to raise their ACT scores above a 30, while I could hardly keep my eyes open for the duration of the exam. Regardless, I was accepted into a college that I love and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
Ultimately, I want to advise all underclassmen, including Juniors, that a college acceptance letter is not the mountain of impossibility that everyone makes it out to be, and it’s okay to be average. Any member of the Senior class will tell you that it isn’t worth your time to stress and focus so much on increasing your odds of getting into college that you ultimately end up taking away from your High School experience. There are thousands of quality colleges within the United States and beyond aside from the staple names you hear constantly floating through LFHS and lingering along your Facebook feed. You don’t need a top rated school to prove a higher level of achievement to yourself or anyone else.
There is a home for everybody, it’s only a matter of time before you find your own.
Join popular columnists Brett Chody, Eleanor Asma, and Elizabeth Porter as they discuss body image and eating disorders at LFHS on the second episode of their women’s podcast, Critical Dialogue.
Small but mighty, most everybody is familiar with the extent of pain that is brought on by a paper cut. But why are these seemingly non-existent lines along our fingertips so painful and disruptive?
The first reason for the painful injury can be attributed its placement. Imagine getting a paper cut anywhere else on your body like your leg or shoulder. It wouldn’t hurt nearly as much as a fingertip. This is because your fingertips are the number one location for which your body perceives the sense of touch. Hundreds upon hundreds of nerve receptors are located here — also referred to as Nociceptors. Obviously, fingertips are constantly being used, causing the cut to be repeatedly agitated. This results in an increase in pain and a longer healing process.
Although it can’t be seen through the naked eye, the dull edge of a piece of paper creates an extremely rugged and damaged cut along your skin. This is comparable to cutting a piece of meat with an extremely dull knife. Not only this, but because papercuts are usually shallow and do not bleed, the nerves endings in your fingertips are exposed to the open air and all of the irritants which it contains.
So, the next time you find yourself distraught over the nearly transparent line on your fingertip, be sure to put on a band aid, aloe vera, raw honey, tea tree oil, and most importantly — avoid hand sanitizer at all costs.
This past November, the LFHS Wellness department and Tom Soprych’s TA Training/Leadership classes managed to raise $1,200 in donations towards Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Today, a goal of 2,500 shoes (100 bags of 25) has been set for a shoe drive to once again benefit the foundation. Students and teachers are working together to collect new, used, and gently worn shoes, boots, sandals, or any form of footwear that is not damaged beyond use (no holes or bad soles).
On March 21st , Funds2orgs will pick up and and send the shoes to nations whose citizens don’t have access to affordable footwear. Micro-businesses in those areas will then have the ability to sell these shoes at a very low cost to support local economies across the globe. If the goal to collect 2,500 pairs of shoes is reached, the LFHS Wellness department will receive $1,000 from Funds2org, which will in turn be donated directly to JDRF.
Donate your shoes to Lake Forest High School’s Wellness department before March 21st to benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as well as micro-enterprises around the world. Shoe donation boxes can be found throughout LFHS.
To learn more about JDRF, click here.
Juniors Katie Reinhardt, Katie Hubbard, Sasha Sklarov, and Jack Keil have worked together amid the rigorous Business Incubator class at LFHS, and have generated a product called Smart Senior. This program offers classes directed towards improving connections between generations and teaching senior citizens about today’s technology and how to utilize it. Initially, the idea manifested out of guilt, as Keil, Hubbard, Sklarov, and Reinhardt all shared the common experience of not being able to communicate with their grandparents as technologically as they would other relatives.
The group of students visited local senior centers and conducted interviews to target what the citizens intended to gain from the Smart Senior course. The feedback presented three clear goals: understanding the process of connecting through texting and FaceTime, sharing photos through platforms such as Facebook, and above all else, gaining the ability to connect more often with their grandchildren.
Kate, Sasha, Katie, and Jack are starting from the bottom, and from there, building a business plan. Reinhardt points out that, “the customer and consumer are different in this case.” It is expected that, often times, the consumer will be the senior who actually attends the class, and the customer will be someone close to them. The greatest challenge this group has encountered thus far on their entrepreneurial journey has been all of the nitty gritty details, including coding a legitimate website and providing the ability to charge people through credit cards. To put it in simple terms, all of the “technology stuff” has proven to be a more complex hurdle than anticipated.
Currently, Gorton Center in Lake Forest provides existing classes to help community members better understand Microsoft Excel and Word programs. Smart Senior will be hosted at the same location, however, it will aim to teach the ins and outs of iPhone apps and functions such as FaceTime, Facebook and texting, that have become commonplace communication platforms for this generation’s young people. A complete course consists of six classes, which will provide the full curriculum, and will progressively get more nuanced as the senior progresses throughout the course schedule. These classes do require a payment, but the cost will be cut if all six classes are bought together in bundle
The group members’ individual experiences with their grandparents provided personal connections to the Smart Senior course, and all of the benefits that it can provide in connecting generation to generation will certainly grow to develop a lasting partnership between grandparents and their grandchildren.
Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and necessary vitamins and minerals are all provided through food, and contribute to the overall functioning of our bodies. However, what may be delicious and exciting to some, could be another’s worst enemy.
Living with the ghost of an eating disorder looming over your shoulder is not only detrimental to your health, but it is also mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting. Those who struggle often times can’t fathom the idea of going through a day without thinking about what they’ll eat, when they’re going to eat, or what “consequences” they’ll need to endure for consuming certain meals.
Disorders like these can be seen in people of all different shapes, genders, and sizes — they are silent but deadly. In fact, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and most of the time nobody even notices those who are struggling.
Lake Forest High School social worker, Daniel Maigler states, “A student can eat five small, healthy meals a day, never restrict or purge, but still have an eating disorder if they spend their day obsessing about the food they consume, or if they feel a compulsion to go and exercise for 2 hours at the gym after finishing a 2-hour track practice. If someone eats a muffin and feels like they are a bad person because of it, then we might be dealing with an eating disorder.”
There have been many instances, particularly throughout my high school years, that I have overheard or sat in on conversations which evolved around somebody else’s eating habits. Comments along the lines of, “just eat it, it’s not that hard,” or, “she never eats, it’s so annoying,” add to my itching frustration with society’s clear misunderstanding and insensitivity to eating disorders. 50-80% of the risk for anorexia and bulimia is genetic — it’s nobody’s to get caught in the endless cycles of shame, regret, conflict, and distress that an eating disorder can induce.
Maigler adds, “From my perspective I always say that I believe eating disorders are the second hardest of all the addictions to treat. With most addictions you can utilize the abstinence model, no more drinking, smoking, self injury, gambling, etc… With eating, however, it is so much more challenging because you have to eat and not eat. It is like an alcoholic being asked to live in a bar, and drink just a little.”
All of the sources quoted in this story have been granted anonymity. All students quoted are Lake Forest High School students of various ages.
“In Lake Forest I really think people overlook the fact that this disease kills. I was 90 pounds when I was first checked into a program and I am a decently tall girl. My organs were starting to shut down. I would be wearing at least 3 layers and a winter jacket to stay warm, my hair was falling out, and I was getting a thin layer of dark hair on my body, but people I know were spreading rumors that I was faking to get attention.”
“I would constantly be thinking about how many calories I had consumed or where the nearest bathroom was during a meal. I would think of ways to casually slip away so no one noticed I left for the bathrooms after each meal. It was like having another voice in my head that I couldn’t get to shut up.”
“It’s like knowing you are in the wrong about something deep down, but still fighting to justify yourself because you want to reach an image of perfection that is impossible to obtain. In that mindset, the only clear bad guy is something that is a saver of lives, which is food itself.”
“I’ll restrict for as long as I can, until my body is starving. I eventually end up binging on huge amounts of food because I’ve been so hungry for so long. The next couple of days will be followed by binging and purging, until I feel like I have gained too much weight, and then I’m right back at square one, restricting again. I know food shouldn’t be so complicated and I feel so embarrassed in social situations, but my disordered thoughts never seem to go away no matter how badly I want them to.”
“Eating disorders aren’t about the idea of being “skinny.” It’s not as much about the food and the weight as people think. It is a way to numb, a way to cope, similar to a drug addiction.”
“It wasn’t something that I chose to do off of a whim, I didn’t intentionally push food away, it was more of a “if you eat this then you’re going to get fat.” I would lie to my Mom and tell her that I ate at school when I would just sit in the school library or the bathroom to avoid being around food. Dinners were probably the worst, I’d eat w my mom, but I’d spit my food out or move it around the plate. After a while I began purging, trying to get rid of even the water I’d consume. I didn’t think it was a problem until I went to the doctors for a check up and they told me that within 3 months I lost over 45lbs. It was a huge wake up call because I realized that I was slowly killing myself. Everyday was a struggle, and I spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals. It was scary.”
“Eating disorder behavior can be subtle. They can be caused by so many different things. Personally, I struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder and general anxiety along with eating disorder mindsets/tendencies. The negative effects of my ocd and anxiety are what caused me to struggle with eating and body image.”
“There is nothing easy about it. Your mind is caught on it 80% of the time just thinking about every detail about food. Should I️ eat, should I️ not? Should I️ take adderall or diet pills? Going through the days of senior year, food became my worst enemy. I️ hated I️t. I️ wouldn’t go to family meals which detached me from them. I️ didn’t go off campus for lunch with my friends which drew me from them. I️ spent four months in an eating disorder program. I️ was placed in a dinner group with girls who had been hospitalized. I️ didn’t think I️ was that bad, but if I️ had continued doing what I️ was doing I️ would’ve ended up having that experience as well.”
“I was always tired and cold and after not eating for so long, it became more of a lifestyle, rather than just a habit. It was really hard on my family — there were times where my mom would come in my room at night and check on me and she’d feel my head and I’d be ice cold. To this day I still struggle with it but not nearly as much.”
“Being an athlete you are always hyperaware of your own physical fitness, size, and of course eating habits. I have always been a bigger girl, which comes in handy with athletics at sometimes, but other times you stare in the mirror and pick out the little imperfections. I have always been warned by my mother that if I kept eating the way I want I will become “fat girl with the pretty face.” Little did she know I wasn’t eating and was already that. When the “water diet” didn’t work I tried everything in the book and eventually turned to binge eating a purging. My body only experienced the negative side effects and no weight loss occurred.”
“The thing that is hard about recovery is that it is a 24/7 process, there are no days off and you are really dedicating your time to helping yourself, it is a disease that you have for a lifetime, sometimes are easier while other times are very difficult. I️t is one thing being a teenager with already a sensitive self image but adding anorexia and body dysmorphia on top of it, things get pretty tough.”
“If there is one thing my disorder taught me, I would say it taught me how to be strong and appreciate who I am as a person. I know it sounds cheesy or cliche but it’s true. You are given one chance at life. You are given one chance to treat yourself with love. You get one chance to be you. So do it.”
Click here to contact the National Eating Disorder Association hotline through email, text, or a phone call.
As the saying goes, you should always dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
The term “enclothed cognition” has been introduced to the Psychology world to propose the influence which clothing can have on an individual’s cognitive processes.
According to a 2012 study, this theory was evidently confirmed. The experiment tested the effects of clothing on the performance and behavior of individuals by providing a lab coat labeled either a doctor’s coat or a painters coat. Those wearing doctors coats maintained a higher level of sustained concentration when presented with attention-related tasks, compared to the white jacket described as a painter’s coat.
Thus, the current research suggests a basic principle of enclothed cognition.
This kind of study is a twist off of the well covered theory of, “embodied cognition” — that the mind does not simply affect the body, but the body can just as easily influence the mind. For example, cues like holding a warm drink will result in a warmer perception of one’s personality, or if you carry a heavy clipboard around with you, you will feel more important.
The symbolic meaning that is associated with particular items of clothing is essentially what influences our cognitive processes. Popular brands such as Lululemon have found a way to format their fitness wear so that it is not only functional, but fashionable as well. Through wearing fitness clothes like this on a more regular, social basis — it would make sense that one would feel more inclined to be more active and feel a stronger inclination to workout.
Dress like a doctor, you’ll pay more attention; dress like an athlete, you’ll be more inclined towards physical fitness. “Once you start feeling better, you’re gonna dress the way you feel,” states psychologist and personal trainer, Susan Rudnicki. “Your clothes represent your inner motivation and feelings. It’s a feedback loop—I feel good, so I’m going to wear the things that make me look good.”
So, next time you need that extra boost of motivation, take off the sweatshirts and sweatpants and put on some of your weekly best. You’ll be more ready to achieve goals, and most importantly, you’ll be overall dressed for success.
Typically, a mask is used to symbolize a barrier between one’s self and and the rest of the world. However, for the past three years the freshman class—with the help of Art Impact Project, a local non-profit organization—has utilized a blank white mask as a canvas for increasing their empathy, acceptance, and appreciation for others as well as providing an opportunity to reflect and potentially gain some insight into themselves. This year, both teachers and TA’s got involved in the process to help students take safe risks and use art as an expressive medium. By doing so, students can learn more about their peers and recognize similarities amongst one another in a judegment-free environment.
Students were prompted to utilize all of the information that was learned from each unit of the course, including overall wellness, mental health, and social health. Words, quotes, colors, and images that the individual felt represented them in some way were arranged across the front of the mask. However, the inside of the mask portrayed aspects of themselves that aren’t typically expressed or shared with others. Each student had the opportunity to share their masks with their classes, allowing everyone to be vulnerable in a safe environment.
This interactive, engaging, collaborative, and fun activity proved to have a wide variety of positive responses. One student stated, “I learned that I don’t need to hide what is on the inside because someone else can relate.”
Overall, it is important that through expressing and understanding ourselves we can make connections with others and establish a strong foundation to which the freshman will continue to build their community over the next four years.
The power of music has a surprisingly profound influence on our minds, mood, and memory.
As finals week approaches, students throughout LFHS will begin scrambling for every kind of study trick or last-minute cramming aid that they can find. Although we all love our classic country, rock, pop, and rap playlists playing in the background while we study, it has been proven that listening to classical music can significantly improve your memory and academic performance.
A university in France found that students who listened to a one-hour lecture where classical music was played in the background scored significantly higher upon completing a quiz on the lecture when compared to a similar group of students who heard the lecture with no music.
Classics composed by Mozart as well as music styles such as Baroque provide the key to unlock your brain’s capacity — a consistent pattern of 60 beats per minute. The Center for New Discoveries in Learning states that “learning potential can be increased a minimum of five times by using this 60 beats per minute music.” This frequency activates both the left and right sides of the brain simultaneously, maximizing learning and retention of information. The left is stimulated by the information being studied, while the music activates the right. Through this, the brain is more capable of processing and storing information in long term memory.
“Music has the potential to take a person from the Beta brainwave state to deeper Alpha, and then Theta brainwave states, depending on the music,” explained Dr. Masha Godkin, a professor in the Department of Marriage and Family Sciences at Northcentral University. While in this relaxed state of mind, your learning ability is increased, blood pressure and heart rate can be lowered, sleep can be improved, and anxiety can be reduced. In fact, a team of researchers at the University of Toronto found that tuning into classical music before bedtime helped people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Listening to classical playlists with 60 bpm songs is quite possibly the easiest way to boost your brain power in these upcoming weeks as you begin cracking open the books.
As the laws for marijuana usage are shifting across the country, it is no question that cannabis has become a much more common topic of discussion. Some argue that the drug has little to no health consequences, and others continue to preach the detrimental effects it has, particularly on developing teenage brains.
Marijuana, cannabis, pot, weed, ganj, dope, mary jane, devil’s lettuce, kush, satan’s quinoa — whatever you may call it, the use of marijuana has a similar effect on each user’s brain following ingestion.
Our brains are flooded with neurons which are responsible for processing information. Upon being excited, neurotransmitters pass information from one neuron to another within milliseconds. However, after each neuron’s firing, there is a relatively brief restoration period so that the brain can process information without becoming too overwhelmed. Not a second goes by without these signals traveling throughout the entire brain.
Within our brains, we have molecules called cannabinoids, which are specialized molecules that release upon the firing of those neurons. Not surprisingly, this is where the term ‘cannabis’ comes from, as marijuana contains that same molecule we already have. Cannabinoids interrupt that neuron firing regulation in some parts of the brain, ultimately removing the unresponsive period, and magnifying your thoughts, imagination and perception.
The constant firing of neurons leads you to perceive each thought that you have to be the most significant and profound thing ever. Your mind is temporarily caught up in the literal momentum of each idea, taking hold of your mind until you think of something new and move on to a new thought completely.
The THC within marijuana works through cannabinoid receptors, resulting in a significant increase in dopamine and norepinephrine levels, activating the brain’s reward system. This flood of dopamine contributes to the pleasurable “high” with sensations of euphoria, relaxation, and experience enhancements that those utilise who recreational marijuana seek.
Throughout other parts of the brain like the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex, cognitive functions such as short term memory, learning, coordination, and movement control are all impacted.
To learn more about your mind on marijuana and its effects, click here.
For immediate help with a crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK, or to locate a treatment center, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov
The following is an op-ed by senior columnists Elizabeth Porter and Eleanor Asma. All of the opinions and viewpoints expressed within the article are solely that of the author and may not reflect the beliefs of The Forest Scout newspaper.
How would you feel if you saw your name on a list ranking the hottest girls in your grade? What about most promiscuous? Or judging specific body parts? How would you feel if dozens if not hundreds of other students had seen those lists?
For many high school students and alumni across the country, these aren’t hypotheticals. Instead, they’re a tradition. In 2013, students at a high school in Washington came under criticism for establishing an online ‘hotness tournament’ to rank girls based on attractiveness. Similarly, in Oak Park in 2011, 50 high school girls were ranked and explicit information about them was publicly displayed on Facebook. In 2014 groups of high schoolers in Albany, New York and Zionsville, Indiana, created march-madness style brackets, which authorities at both schools condemned as cyberbullying. Clearly this is not unique to any one group or school, it is a nationwide phenomena.
In 2014, male students at Lake Forest High School made a list ranking 50 junior and senior girls based on hotness on an excel spreadsheet. Girls’ names were listed alongside comments about specific physical features.
According to one female 2014 graduate, “The list was being sent through group chats and posted on Facebook groups while girls walked through the hallways glued to their phones looking for their name.” She continued, “Some girls were crying in the bathrooms of the school, others had a huge boost of confidence and walked through the hallways like they were on top of the world after seeing their name close to the top of the list.”
“Obviously this kind of thing is something guys and girls talk about,” observes 2015 graduate Charlie Asma, “but when you turn it into a ‘draft’ or list of some kind, it crosses a line.” He also recognized that, “The whole situation was really uncomfortable. Especially for the girls on the list. It took your typical lunchroom chit chat to another disturbing level.”
The students responsible for the 2014 list were suspended.
Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the behavior. To many LFHS students, the existence of these lists are little more than a rumor, a whispering in the halls. But these lists are a real “tradition” at our school, created and inevitably shared every year. Similar to other traditions in our society, such as hazing, people continue to take part in things that are against their moral values just because they’ve been happening for years. What makes these lists particularly disturbing is the categories they are broken down into. Girls aren’t just ranked on hotness. They often include categories for alumna, sluts, fattest, or other body features.
According to a male senior familiar with the situation, “Any lists made by anyone based upon how they look is very inappropriate and has no place in high school.” Indeed, regardless of who is responsible, it needs to be stopped.
The lists are damaging for the girls on them, and the girls who aren’t. In the words of a senior girl, “Seeing friends on the lists can be hard because you want to be happy for them in a way for essentially being complimented, but it also makes me feel like I’m not as valued as the people who are listed.” That a 17-year-old girl is judging her own self worth on the opinion of a few of her classmates is very sad.
Should the girls listed feel flattered? Maybe, maybe not.
According to senior Brett Chody, “As girls we’re so used to the list coming out that everyone just wants to know if they’re on it and who is on it. We don’t realize what it actually entails.”
This may be the most alarming reality of this situation. Students are being subtly conditioned to find this normal. The girls become complicit in the tradition, sending leaked lists around to their friends and once making a list of their own in response.
High school is known to be a time of faltering self confidence. Eating disorders, anxiety, and depression are prevalent. Behavior like this only adds to those already staggering problems.
Ranking one another and publicizing it–regardless of gender–is simply unacceptable. However, it happens today in our high school, during a time at which our country is confronting shameful sexual harassment and bullying throughout society.
The Weinsteins and Spaceys and Lauers of the world are not born, they are created. We have to stop and consider how we may be inadvertently contributing to this damaging culture. What may seem harmless at first glance is actually perpetuating the unfortunate trends evident in the world today. If we have learned anything, it is that bad behavior has to be called out, or it will never stop and progress will never be made. By learning to respect each other, we can be the generation to turn the tide.
Oh, November. As our days become shorter, nights become longer, and thermostats begin to drop, it is common for people to come down with a case of the “winter blues.” However, these so-called “winter blues” aren’t just a coincidence.
Between four and six percent of people in the United States suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and another 10 to 20 percent may experience it in a milder form. It is more common in women than men, as 80% of those affected are female and 20% male. Seasonal Affective disorder is a form of depression, which we ironically refer to as SAD.
Most commonly, people will begin to experience the symptoms of SAD right around the time the clocks change in November, and further into the winter season. However, there are instances where people will experience this form of depression through the Spring and Summer seasons instead. It makes perfect sense that as the ratio of dark to light hours in our day begins to shift and we spend more time in the dark, our circadian rhythm gets all out of whack.
Our circadian rhythm is controlled by the SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus) by taking cues from the eyes about the level of lightness or darkness that you are in. These messages are then sent to the pineal gland in the brain, the main location responsible for releasing melatonin — the main hormone which helps us sleep. Additionally, serotonin, the chemical in your brain that keeps you feeling good naturally begins to lower in the winter season for the same reason — there are fewer hours of light.
5% of Americans experience SAD each year. Interestingly enough, 1.4% of people located in Florida, 9.9% of people located in Alaska are affected by seasonal depression, whereas only 1.4% of people are affected in Florida. This goes to show that latitude can make a big difference.
The general symptoms of SAD are similar to those of any other form of depression which may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses. This may include feeling depressed nearly every day for most of the day, losing interest in activities, low energy, sleeping disturbances, change in appetite, feeling sluggish or worthless, and having difficulty concentrating. Winter-onset SAD may more specifically include symptoms such as oversleeping, appetite changes, especially craving foods high in carbohydrates, weight gain, and tiredness or low energy.
Of course, it’s completely normal to have days when you feel more down than usual, however, if your symptoms persist, it is a good idea to perform an assessment and receive a diagnosis.
There are a few different treatment options that doctors typically recommend. One of which involves getting a bright white light and sitting in front of it, just a couple feet away for a half hour in the morning. You don’t have to look at it, just sit next to it while you read your morning paper, apply your full face of makeup, or sip on a cup of coffee. Medication can also be utilized in more serious cases. SSRIs are a class of drugs that may keep more serotonin in your synapses, helping to relieve the symptoms that the darker season triggers. Psychotherapy is also an effective method of treatment, however, none of these options are a sure bet. Like any other treatment, some are better in combination, and the most effective method(s) can vary greatly from person to person.
Less severe cases of SAD, where seasonal mood changes occur without depression also offer a few methods to lower those feeling of the “winter blues.” Light therapy, and increasing your exposure to natural light can make a significant difference. However, natural light can be difficult to monitor and keep up with a consistent intake. Exercise is viewed as more of a preventative measure, so a trip to the gym every so often is never a bad idea.
Particularly for high school students headed off to college, it is important that you monitor your seasonal emotional habits carefully, and consciously select a location that is going to benefit your mental health because as I said before, latitude makes a big difference. So, rather than toughing through that seasonal funk you experience every time winter rolls around, don’t brush it off. Seasonal Affective Disorder can seriously put a damper on your mood, so take the steps to stabilize your motivation and get yourself onto the brighter side of things.
We all have heard of the myth claiming that the more you laugh, the longer you live. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can prove this correlation, yet there are still a multitude of health benefits which may contribute to a healthier, more productive life overall.
For starters, laughter counters the negative effects that stress often times has on the body through the triggered release of endorphins. This endorphin release can even temporarily relieve pain to a certain extent. The stress hormone, epinephrine, tends to lower from laughing, keeping blood pressure at a more normalized level. Additionally, when you laugh, T-cells (immune cells) are released, ultimately improving your overall resistance to disease.
Through a stomach-cramping laugh, physical tension is relieved for up to 45 minutes after the laugh attack comes to an end, and the muscles in your body become more relaxed. Laughter can help protect you from heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems by increasing blood flow throughout the body and improving the function of blood vessels overall.
One study found that you can burn about 40 calories after laughing for about 10-15 minutes per day — but this, of course, is by no means a substitute for your daily workouts at the gym.
Laughing does not only serve a multitude of physical benefits for your body, but also for your mental and emotional health. It can contribute an immense amount of joy to life by easing anxiety and relieving stress. It can work to strengthen relationships between ourselves and others by allowing us to create a lighthearted bond over an assortment of topics. It can improve teamwork and defuse conflict in times of high tensions, and it creates a perfect environment for group bonding.
So, although laughing may not be adding years to your life, there is proof that comes in a variety of forms reiterating how positive laughing can be for you physically, mentally, and of course, emotionally.
From reducing pain and anxiety to boosting your energy and memory, essential oils have become a hot commodity amongst a highly diversified audience.
Way back when, Egyptians treated diseases with the use of essential oils. Additionally, Dioscorides, the greek physician, wrote books about the healing properties of oils. Today, essential oils and aromatherapy can be utilized for anything from reducing chemotherapy side effects, to promoting a restful night of sleep.
Obviously, the “aroma” in aromatherapy typically comes from these essential oils or extracted concentrated liquids from plants. Common scents are easily recognizable, like lavender, sage, tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, and orange, and many more.
A recent study performed by the Mie University School of Medicine revealed that patients with depression required reduced doses of antidepressant medications after a citrus fragrance treatment. These scents normalized neuroendocrine hormone levels and immune function amongst the test subjects. Additionally, another study from the University of Vienna demonstrated a decrease in anxiety from female patients when the use of orange oil was utilized in dental clinics. Although there is not a plethora of studies that prove the validity of the use of aromatherapy for medical purposes, however, many studies are showing that some fragrances can have a clinically noticeable effect on mood.
So how does aromatherapy work?
Whe essential oils are inhaled, the scent that they carry is passed along by the olfactory nerve cells in the nose. The aroma is sent to the limbic system in the brain which is the main location for emotions and other functions related to our instincts and memories. Something unique about the sense of smell is that unlike all other sensations our body perceives, it does not pass through the thalamus, the main portion of the brain responsible for relaying motor and sensory signals to the cerebral cortex, making your sense of smell all the more effective and immediate. In fact, our sense of smell is 10,000 times more powerful than all of our other senses. Mood enhancers like endorphins and serotonin are released amongst the introduction of different aromas. Smell is also the strongest link to the subconscious mind and to our collective unconscious mind where memories are stored, which explains why a certain smell can completely transport us to a specific time or place.
Sometimes, people utilize essential oils directly on the skin. Since oil doesn’t dissolve in water, they attach to the body fat and fluids, bringing them into the body along with their many antioxidants and enhancing our immune strength.
Utilize this list of basic scents to reap the many benefits that aromatherapy can provide.
Relieve Anger: Chamomile, Jasmine, Patchouli, Rose and Ylang-ylang.
Relieve Anxiety: Bergamot, Cedarwood, Cypress, Frankincense, Hyssop, Lavender, Marjoram, Myrrh, Neroli, Orange, Peach, Rose, Rose Geranium and Violet Leaf.
Increase Confidence: Frankincense, Jasmine, Patchouli and Sandalwood.
Ease Depression: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Neroli, Orange, Petitgrain, Rose Geranium, Sandalwood, Tangerine and Ylang-ylang.
Improve Memory: Bay Laurel, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon and Rosemary.
Ease Sorrow: Clary Sage, Cypress, Fir, Marjoram, Rosemary and Sage.
Overcome Fatigue: Angelica, Benzoin, Camphor, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove Basil, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Lemon, Peppermint, Pine, Sage and Spiced Apple.
Deal with Stress, Nervous Tension and Insomnia: Bergamot, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Cloves, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Myrrh, Neroli, Nutmeg, Orange, Petitgrain, Rose, Sandalwood, Sweet Melissa, Valerian, Vanilla, Violet, and Ylang-ylang.
Calm Irritability: Chamomile, Neroli, Rose, and Rose Geranium.
The most highly coveted privilege at LFHS is senior parking. With its cobblestone design and prime location, perfect for strolling in five minutes before class starts seems perfect. However, it’s not always as amazing as it may seem. Having been in school for just over about two months now, there are a few things that myself and many others have come to know about what it’s like to park in the glorified senior parking lot.
Here are just a few basic guidelines to all future senior parking spot holders to follow, or at the very least be aware of:
When 8th period is winding down and the school day is coming to an end, it is essential that you have all of your materials packed up and ready to go before 3:20. Whether you do this blatantly in front of your teachers, or slowly and discretely — that is your choice. Just be aware that the more movement you make, papers you rustle, and backpacks you zip, the greater the chances are that you’ll be scorned by the teacher for rushing out of class so early, even when you still have “two whole minutes left.”
Now, upon exiting your classroom, you need to decide what level of socialization you will engage in before leaving the school. If you want to talk to your friends, you might as well just plan on sticking around for an extra 10 to 15 minutes or so. Otherwise, there is absolutely no time to waste, and you need to book it out of the glass common doors. Give your friends a smile and a wave, and continue on your way.
We all know that you can never ever leave a man behind. However, if a driver has a place to be, that might just happen. Never ever sacrifice your own punctuality because of the promptness of your passengers.
There is approximately a three to four minute time slot beginning immediately at 3:20 that allows for an easy exit from the battlegrounds and out onto Mckinley. Wait any longer, and it could be another 15-30 minutes of sitting in your car skipping through your Spotify playlists. If you are running behind, it is often times faster to run past the awkwardly-sized stairs that connect the lower and upper grounds, and perform a light jog across the grass directly to your car.
Once you have reached your vehicle, the real battle begins. If you’re unable to make the quick escape from the lot, your next challenge is pulling out. Depending on what kinds of friends and acquaintances you have, your departure time can be greatly impacted. Often times, good friends offer about a 50% entry acceptance rate, and if you’re only acquaintances with the person, you might as well forget it.
Don’t be afraid to lay on your horn. It’s there for a reason. Shouts and gestures are also common, but aren’t encouraged. This is also a warning for all of the parents in their SUVs flooding into the parking lot. I understand that the pickup process is tedious, hectic, and that we all have places to go and people to see, but be aware that the senior parking lot is a high risk, low reward area. Enter at your own risk, and don’t get frustrated when you get caught amongst the herd of aggressive teenage drivers.
As if wedging your car inside a herd of angst-ridden drivers wasn’t enough, the final step to complete a successful escape is beating the big yellow busses and finding gaps between all of the parents driving their kids. If they seem to shake their head in a disapproving manner, take note. Those parents don’t know what struggle you just endured. However, cautious driving is typically preferred by most.
Everyone agrees that one of the best feelings in the world is waking up from a full, uninterrupted night of sleep. However, it’s inevitable that there will also be a number of restless nights — constantly tossing and turning followed by the rude awakening of an alarm clock.
Luckily, our brains produce a very important sleep hormone called melatonin. It is the counter hormone to cortisol, the stress hormone that is high while you are active and energized during the daytime. When it comes to the production of the hormone melatonin, the pea-sized pineal gland in the center of the brain is the main culprit. What makes the pineal gland a little bit odd is that it has optical tissue (eye tissue) within the gland, which means it has light receptors. When light enters the eyes it goes through an ornate series of reactions, and one of the places it ends up is the pineal gland. Therefore, the variations of light throughout your day have a direct effect on the amount of melatonin produced in your brain. Obviously, since it is a sleep hormone, light turns off the production, and the darkness stimulates it–calming your brain waves, slowing digestion, and relaxing your muscles.
Being over-exposed to light can skew our melatonin levels and throw off your circadian rhythm (sleep rhythms). This is why going outside and being exposed to natural cycles of light is so important, and minimizing screen time before going to sleep can make a significant difference.
Supplements of melatonin are considered to be the holy grail amongst a large population of people. However, most will eventually come to learn that consuming melatonin every single night to hit the sack a little bit sooner works pretty well at first, but becomes less effective over time. Since melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally releases, consuming a significant amount from supplements will trigger the brain to stop producing the hormone on it’s own, potentially leaving you in a more worn out state than before.
Although melatonin is known as a safe and natural over-the-counter quick-fix for sleep, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be the solution to all of your restless nights. According to a 2013 analysis, Consumer Reports stated that melatonin supplements worked to put users to sleep “only 7 minutes faster and sleep 8 minutes longer on average.” Additionally, “about 20 percent of users in our survey reported next-day grogginess.”
“The word ‘safe’ is used very freely and loosely with this drug,” said professor David Kennaway, “but there have been no rigorous, long-term safety studies of the use of melatonin to treat sleep disorders in children and adolescents.”
So what’s the consensus?
Melatonin is in fact a somewhat safe and natural supplement that can effectively be utilized from time to time–especially for countering the effects of jet lag, shifting sleep schedules, etc. However, your nights of tossing and turning cannot simply be solved by a little gummy, and it is not a cure for insomnia. Rather, the best and most effective way to establish a beneficial sleep schedule is by creating a consistent routine, and being sure to get lots of daytime exposure.
It is highly unlikely that a surge of laughter will be the first sound that comes from your mouth after hitting your funny bone. The paralyzing, sharp, tingling sensation that spreads throughout your arm happen not because you’re hitting a bone, but because you’re hitting a nerve that connects all the way from your spine, along your arm, and out to your pinky and ring fingers. This, perhaps the most notorious of nerves, is technically called your Ulnar nerve, otherwise known as the funnny bone.
What makes this Ulnar nerve so vulnerable is that there is no muscle or bone to protect it as it passes across the elbow. Once the nerve is hit, its connection to the brain is temporarily hindered, resulting in those dreaded waves of numbness and tingling.
If for some reason the overwhelming sensation remains for more than a few minutes, this could be sign of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and you should contact your doctor as soon as possible. Otherwise, as you have probably experienced, the pain is momentary and generally subsides in about five seconds. That said, the funny bone always seems to find itself in a position to be hit by the corner of a desk, a chair, or even a door.
Next time you get that feeling, you’ll know why.
Pen clicking, leg shaking, topic changing, and fidget spinning–kids, teens, and adults will often times be criticized for being troublemakers or having a poor work ethic when in reality it may be Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder causing them to act out these certain behaviors. All of the symptoms that ADHD entails can range from mild to severe: it can look like a little boy who doesn’t sit still or a girl sitting at her desk staring off into space. ADHD is a difficult disorder to diagnose, but luckily there are a vast amount of methods that can be utilized for coping and an array of treatment options.
Those with ADHD tend to have a smaller frontal lobe than the average human. This is the part of the brain that is mainly responsible for, “motor function, problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgement, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior.” Obviously, such characteristics that can be seen in those with ADHD, particularly relating to hyperactivity, are absent-mindedness, difficulty focusing, and lack of restraint, which all directly correlate with the frontal lobe of the brain.
Not only is one particular part of the brain smaller, but the brain as a whole tends to develop slower amongst those with ADHD. As we grow older, neural pathways begin connecting and maturing. The slower these connections are made, the harder it becomes to pay attention and focus. This also specifically impairs executive functions such as organization and the ability to successfully complete routine tasks
People with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine, the key chemical in the brain’s reward center that is also linked to things like movement, sleep, attention and learning. Therefore, people with ADHD are constantly looking for stimulation, which commonly results in all of the aforementioned behaviors of pen clicking, leg shaking, topic changing, and fidget spinning.
We all assume that the go-to solution for all things ADHD is medication — particularly Adderall, the most well-known of all the prescription medications. While this can be one of the stepping stones to overcoming such disruptive behaviors, there is a wide variety of other medications such as Concerta, Vyvanse, Ritalin, as well as natural coping skills, including sleep and exercise that can work just as well depending on the circumstance.
In each medication used to treat ADHD, there is a low dose of a stimulant called amphetamine. Amphetamine initiates a release of dopamine along with other neurotransmitters in the brain so that little distractions don’t cause you to lose focus. As a result, hyperactivity begins to subside because your brain no longer has the urge to constantly seek stimulation and satisfy your body’s reward center.
Fun Fact: In 1943, the U.S. army used “pep pills” to fight fatigue and keep spirits high throughout their long days at war. These pep-pills were pure amphetamine–a stimulant. Japanese and German troops also utilized these drugs. In fact, Hitler received daily injections of amphetamine.