Category Archives: Editorials

College and Success

 

KimaraSmith, Staff Reporter

In 2017, the question of the necessity of college and how it affects one’s ability to be successful is more relevant than ever. Many measure success based on the amount of money obtained, but is that what truly defines success? Society places a strong emphasis on the need to attend college in order to be successful, yet many obtain true success without college.

After attaining two masters degrees in teaching, Sherita Harkness began teaching at Woodland high school in Stockbridge, GA. She expressed that “in order to be successful it is necessary to get a degree and use it in the most effective way possible.” This statement is one that many seem to disagree with completely.

For example, Hannah Kornegay (SR) articulated that “there is no correlation between college and success.” Numerous people including myself seem to share this very same viewpoint. Success is not measured by how much money one makes or the degrees that one has, but is defined as one’s personal accomplishments. These personal accomplishments are an accurate measure of the success a person achieves.

A relevant example about these conflicting opinions are the number of  people that attend college, receive their desired degree then never end up pursuing that career path. Most often, these individuals find success elsewhere without the preferred degree. A recent fad is the abrupt success of Youtubers. Countless millenials have found their own route to success through vlogging and making videos for their subscribers. After becoming an established Youtuber, it is easy to be recognized by prominent businesses and live a prosperous life solely from the funds made possible by vlogging.

Success should be measured on a personal level and college is not necessary to be successful in 2017. The pressure that society places on young people to go to college and get a degree is a pressure that is becoming obsolete.

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What Net Neutrality Will Do to Your Internet

SireeshRamesh, Editor-in-Chief

NadiaDowlatkhah, Staff Reporter

 

“Under my proposal,” said the FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, as he proudly announced his new plan that would repeal net neutrality laws, “the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet.” With that very announcement on a Tuesday morning, Ajit Pai almost single handedly sent the internet into a panicked frenzy. Social media stars took to their audiences pleading to participate in the movement pushing to keep net neutrality. YouTuber Markiplier, for example, proclaimed to his 18 million subscribers that “the internet should be open and accessible to everybody” and “we as a species are not defined by profit.”  A user on Change.org even created a petition pleading for Congress to preserve net neutrality. In a little over two weeks, the petition amassed over 800,000 signatures.  

So what exactly is net neutrality, and why are so many people upset about its potential removal? The basic tenet behind net neutrality is that all content is created equal in the eyes of an internet provider. As a result, tech giants like Facebook cannot simply access more bandwidth, and thus higher speeds, by paying internet providers. In net neutrality, internet service providers are almost like a public service providing equal speeds to all content (from a local blog to a social media hub.) In 2015, the Obama administration created clear legal protections to preserve net neutrality.

Yet, the conservative backlash of 2016 and ensuing assignment of Republican Ajit Pai as FCC chairman has led to a reversal in the government’s degree of involvement with the internet. As Ajit Pai sees it, net neutrality will allow internet service providers to gain more money from companies willing to pay for faster service speeds. Ideally, this surplus money would go back into investments that could create technologies that increase overall internet speeds for consumers. On Dec. 14, the Senate will vote on the FCC’s proposal to dismantle net neutrality.

But this isn’t simply a party issue. Liberal and conservative constituents alike have something to lose if Pai’s proposal prevails. The dire nature of this situation can be understood with some context. Let’s say net neutrality was not enforced starting from the year 2000. Though Google would still have reigned as the number one internet search engine and browser provider, Microsoft would have been a major competitor. This is because, at that time, Microsoft was a larger and more profitable company. They could have outbid Google to internet service providers and made their speeds faster than Google’s, despite Google’s superior platform and service. Without net neutrality, Google would not have become such a corporate giant and there’s not a single person who prefers Internet Explorer to Chrome.

Thus, net neutrality impacts any person who uses the web. It’s our duty as a citizenry to make sure that the freedom and equality of the internet is preserved.  

 

Talented and Gauche

GraceSassaman, Staff Reporter

A standardized creativity test sounds like an oxymoron, right? It’s not, at least according to the TAG, or “talented and gifted,” program. Teachers and students alike have blindly accepted the supposed meaning of scoring well on these tests. It’s confusing to think that literal convergent thinking is considered to be creative thinking. Once a student has met the required standards to be considered talented and gifted, the student adopts a bumper sticker mentality, quietly believing that their natural intelligence will allow them to succeed without putting in effort and referring back to this label when comparing themselves to on-level students.

As a student who has taken both advanced and on-level classes, I can confidently say that there is a notable disparity in the way that my respective teachers have treated their AP and on-level classes but an even larger difference in the way Honors students perceive on-level students. Just the other day, I overheard one of my peers–who is admittedly extremely intelligent–say that he doesn’t understand how someone can have all on-level classes, but he failed to realize that on-level means exactly that–a student who is exactly where they’re supposed to be for their grade level.

This program claims to promote creativity to accommodate for the outstandingly intelligent kids, yet certain math and science scores are required to be enrolled. Those who excel in standardized common core subjects are disproportionately rewarded because their test scores elevate the ratings of a school, so these students are granted with extra resources. The TAG program’s blatant division discourages students on both ends of the spectrum from making the most of their abilities. An obvious fix is to include all students in specialized learning initiatives, allowing them to freely expand upon their talents.

The TAG program is a pipeline for TAG classes in middle school and AP and Honors courses in high school. Of course, every student learns differently, but to withhold certain resources from students who didn’t do well on a random elementary school test is unfair and usually causes them to be excluded from a future of rigorous and academic courses. Intelligence isn’t a fixed concept: it can expand and contract based on how we use our brains to solve problems. The TAG program does nothing but afford those in the program a false sense of superiority.

The Legend of The Bermuda Triangle

ChristianRonzoni, Editorial Editor

 

The year was 1950. An article had just been published in multiple American newspapers highlighting numerous ‘unexplained disappearances’ between the coast of Florida and the island of Bermuda. The article mentioned in detail five separate incidents over the previous half-decade in which 1 boat, 9 planes and some 135 civilians as well as crewmen vanished without a trace. It was the first time this particular region of the ocean was suspected of being abnormally prone to nautical vanishings. Shockingly, as the author failed to provide a cause for this ‘supposed’ abnormality, a provocative mystery was born.

          In 1952, a magazine specializing in the paranormal outlined the region of interest as a triangle between Florida and the islands of Puerto Rico and Bermuda. If this supposed triangular shape seems almost arbitrarily selected, it’s because it was. The author made no attempt to justify their selection of this shape. Once this idea of an enigmatic triangle had been thrown upon the world, its eventual name was inevitable. A 1964 issue of the American pulp fiction magazine Argosy featured a cover with the caption “Lost in The Bermuda Triangle.” The article inside covers many of the same disappearances as the previous two, but with a severely embellished narrative complete with fictitious quotes and alarming suppositions, which is exactly what you should expect from a magazine predominantly about fiction. The Bermuda Triangle is, and has always been, a mystery for mystories sake — the very definition of a legend.

          One of the oldest stories said to exemplify the “mysterious” qualities of The Bermuda Triangle is that of the first transatlantic voyage by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Three events are said to be of note. The crew observed a fireball of some kind, their compasses inexplicably malfunctioned and a strange light seemed to be suspended above the ocean surface. The fireball was more precisely described as: “A marvelous branch of fire [that fell] from the sky into the sea.” While invoking aliens and UFOs would be more exciting, there’s really no need as a meteor would be more than qualified to account for that description. In fact, shooting stars are the most common in September due to the orbit and tilt of the Earth and this sighting occurred on Sep. 15th. On Sep. 17th, the crew noticed their compasses misaligned with the North Star. This was certainly alarming at the time but we’ve since learned that this is due to an effect known as magnetic declination. Simply put, the needle in a compass aligns with magnetic north while the North Star aligns with true north. More importantly however, neither of these two events occurred anywhere near The Bermuda Triangle, but in the middle of the North Atlantic. A fact that may seem to convenient to disregard. But it is worth noting that the strange light was indeed sighted within the confines of The Triangle. Columbus described the light as: “A small wax candle that rose and lifted up.” But he also believed it to be an indication of land and never described it as inexplicable. In fact, mere hours after observing the light, a crewman first caught sight of the American continent, supporting Columbus’s suspicion that the light emanated from a nearby landmass. Perhaps a torch or a bonfire from the indigenous population.

          As it should be evident by now, this is all very mysterious as long as you refrain from looking beneath the surface.  The Bermuda Triangle is nothing more than a made-up mystery surrounded a part of the ocean where the average number of disappearances is the same as any other “triangle” you could draw on our map. Instead of putting fear into people about this area of water, people should be educating people about the possible dangers of flying or sailing regardless. If this triangle is as deadly as they say, why don’t any of the local coast guards or Air Traffic Control warn or even prevent travel through the deadly Triangle?

Taking “Christ” out of Christmas

Reindeers, Santa Claus, presents, ornaments, mistletoes, light shows, snow, cheerful songs, jingle bells, and decorations. What comes to mind besides the most wonderful time of the year? CHRISTMAS! According to Wikipedia, Christmas is a religious and cultural holiday, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ- a figure of Christianity. In fact, the name Christmas comes from Mass of Christ. But looking around, it seems as if EVERYONE celebrates this apparently religious holiday. So, the question remains: Is Christmas a religious holiday?

 

In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, it was found that “eight in ten non-Christians in the U.S. celebrate Christmas”. By the looks of this data, it hints at a wide acceptance of the religious holiday in America. However, after asking a fellow classmate, an atheist, why she celebrates this “religious” holiday, she replied “Why not? Everyone celebrates it even if you’re not religious. It’s like a cultural norm now.” It’s as if today’s culture has nulled the title of Christmas in a religious sense but heightened the holiday’s popularity as a cultural norm with movies and shows centered around the decorations and myths, Christmas baking challenges, and the extravagant light shows. Furthermore, celebrating Christmas over other holidays is almost inevitable due to its large selection of Christmas themed toys, snacks and decorations in almost any store as compared to the limited selection of other religious holiday decorations.

 

Formally known as a religious celebration, it can clearly be seen that in today’s society Christmas is in fact more of a cultural holiday celebrating a season of giving and communion.

Don’t be THAT Customer… Please?

As a Senior in high school, I recently got my first job as a hostess. Let me tell you it’s only been a couple of months but boy oh boy, a couple of months is more than enough time to realize the worst types of customers. So, don’t be THAT customer… please?

  1. The Babysitter
    1. I applaud you for not letting your kid get in the way of you living your life but maybe don’t bring little Jackson to a nice ambient restaurant for date night, yeah?!?!
  2. The Late Bird
    1. No one likes a customer that calls 15 min before and walks in at closing time saying “hey I called remember?”. Trust me no one’s happy and let’s be real you won’t get the best service either.
  3. The Locater
    1. Please don’t come up to me asking where I’m “actually” from because I am “actually” born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia
  4. The “Joined-at-the-hip” Couple
    1. C’mon people let’s save that for the motel not a nice restaurant
  5. The Preoccupied
    1. Your table is ready! You can follow me! “Janet Janet No I can’t close that deal with you right now. Janet. JANET.”
  6. The Extremely Temperature-Sensitive One
    1. “Excuse me, Why is it so HOTCOLDSTUFFYUCOMFORTABLYTEMPERATE in this restaurant?”
  7. The Nomad
    1. *Couple walks in* “Um can we actually move to the four top over there? No wait, maybe over there. Actually I think here is fine.” Does this look like your house??

 

Please, give us a holiday present by not being the “unwanted” at any restaurant. Thank you!

Mental Disorders Today

OliviaErickson and SireeshRamesh, Editors-in-Chief

As a preface to this article, I would like to acknowledge the fact that mental disorders are real, legitimate afflictions and affect nearly 450 million people worldwide, according to the WHO.  

 

          The stigmatization of mental disorders has a long and deep-rooted history in America. In the 1800s, patients with schizophrenia were thought to be possessed by demons and were commonly thrown into crowded and unsanitary mental asylums. Psychoanalysis from the 20th century brought with it the idea that electroshock therapy and lobotomies could cure emotional disorders like depression and anxiety. Even today, when suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15-29 year-olds, only a fifth of Americans with diagnosable or self-reported mental disorders chose to see a mental health provider.

The negative perceptions surrounding mental health treatment have thus become a problem many people, organizations and movements have worked to solve. The progressivism of the 1970s inspired a deinstitutionalization of mental asylums in favor of more open community centers. Additionally, the Psychiatric Survivors Movement pushed for public education and media that would bring light to emotional disorders and their treatability. It’s these movements, in part, that brought us “Jacob’s Ladderor “A Beautiful Mind,” works whose protagonists have mental disorders but are still sympathetic and appealing to a broad audience.

The question is when the media’s portrayal of emotional and mental disorders goes past simply creating an acceptance of it in society to fostering a romanticism of these disorders. Recent releases and trends in pop culture seem to suggest that this is becoming a legitimate concern. And as impressionable, young people consume media at ever-increasing rates, it may be time we as a society again step back and reconsider how we portray mental and emotional disorders.

Among the worst of the perpetrators is the Netflix Original, Thirteen Reasons Why. While the novel version of this story was insightful and touching, the television show version felt cheap and exploitative. In the trademark scene, in which the protagonist, Hannah, slits her wrist, she looks beautiful. The scene itself is difficult to watch, but the entire show centers around the fact that everyone thinks more highly of her now that she is dead. That kind of plotline has a few major problems: For anyone who actually struggles with suicidal thoughts, an entire show devoted to reinforcing the idea that “people will finally like you when you’re dead” is simply not the right idea. Additionally, the show paints a picture of this beautiful, enigmatic, misunderstood girl who commits suicide. The problem is, in real life, people who are depressed are not beautiful. They are not cool. Depressed people are not pretty; they are struggling–and not in the cool artist way either. Then, the problem progresses when any unknowing teenage girl who isn’t getting enough attention at home or in her friend group decides that she wants to be that cool, mysterious girl, and plays depression. Now, everyone is depressed, but no one ends up getting the help they need, because the majority of the time, when someone is depressed, they aren’t trying to shove it down your throat that they are, so the ones who are loud and proud faking it get the attention of well-meaning adults.

Another film made on Netflix, To the Bone, makes eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa look elegant. The movie does show the struggles that people afflicted with these diseases face, but then throws some twisted love story between the positively gorgeous Lily Collins (of course someone that pretty had to have the eating disorder) and the sole male suffering from an eating disorder. I understand this movie meant well, but it is the epitome of the romanticism of mental disorders.

Now, the romanticism occurring in the media has leaked into entire friend groups and social circles. People have turned mental disorders into practical jokes to be announced and laughed about during their lunch periods. I would like to make clear that the people making jokes are not the problem; we can’t help what we find funny. The problem lies in the overall desensitization of the immense weight of these diseases; they have become so casual that we can laugh about them.

Broadcasting companies, *cough cough* Netflix, need to be more cognizant of the weight of mental disorders and impressionability of young people viewing their depictions in the media. It should not be trendy to be suffering from a mental disorder.