Category Archives: Feature

Are High Schoolers Too Stressed Out?

RithikDoddla, Editor-in-Chief

High school. What was originally viewed only as a place to build bonds and learn can now send chills down one’s back when referred to. High school can undoubtedly be a challenging time for students from college preparations to social anxieties. It is obvious that these factors cause stress, but is the stress so much that it negatively affects students? New research for New York University shows that a growing number of high school students are developing chronic stress, which could be stunting academic success and causing serious mental health problems.

The study examined stress levels in high school students, contributing factors to stress, and the various coping mechanisms students use. There were 128 high school juniors at two private schools in the Northeast were studied. Juniors were specifically selected because it is the peak for college preparation as students start thinking about what schools and majors to apply for. To get a deeper insight into the stress faced, various members from each school’s staff were interviewed.

The research found that 48 percent of students reported having at least three hours of homework every night and 49 percent reported “a great deal of stress” on a daily basis. Females, who had higher average GPAs than boys, also reported having more stress and were 40 percent more likely to have more than three hours of homework per night. It was found that much of the pressure to perform well academically came from parents. A teacher at the school believed that because school tuition is expensive, parents expect not only a high school diploma, but an acceptance letter into an elite college.

In an effort to satisfy parents, schools have also increased class difficulty and extracurricular requirements to make students stand out to college admissions officers. Many students reported heavy mental exhaustion and believed they were working as hard or harder than adults.

This immense stress can cause students to harm their bodies as they try to cope with it. Kids can decide to use various drugs such as alcohol and marijuana. This can result in addiction and a rise in various other health problems. Students can also be diagnosed with depression or anxiety as they crush under the stress every day. Stress can be good for the body and motivate it to work hard, but there is a limit to it and many high schoolers have already crossed it at such a young age. If schools don’t take action on this issue, the number of mental health complications will likely increase within the next few years.

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Making Ugly Christmas Sweaters 101

GiovanaDeOliveira, Staff Reporter

The holidays are here and there seem to be more and more Christmas sweaters in stores. But what’s better than being able to customize and make your own for a low and reasonable price? All you need are some craft supplies and the magic of a thrifted comfy sweater that you’re not afraid to meddle with and make your own.

First step:

Locate a store near you that has affordable, plain sweaters such as Walmart or Goodwill. You can even use a large sweater you have lying in your closet. The prices generally will range from no cost, (if you already own a sweater) or $3 to $10 if you get lucky!

Second step:

Time to go to the closest craft store. Good places to go include Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabrics and Crafts. The items you are going to need are:

  1. Fabric Glue ranging from $2 to $5
  2. Hot glue gun and glue sticks starting at $2
  3. Needle and thread, which you can typically find lying around your house
  4. Fun little holiday embellishments such as: Santa, Christmas trees, gingerbread men, Snowmen and small ornaments.

Third step:

This is where the fun really begins.  Lay your sweater down on a table and put a piece of cardboard inside to prevent things from sticking together. Pick out your main embellishment, such as Santa Clause or a Christmas tree, and use your fabric glue to stick it on the middle of your sweater. Other fun little decorations include jingle bells, which can be sewn onto the border of the neck of your sweater. Finally, use your hot glue gun or a needle and thread to put some small ornaments all around so it can look even more festive. Even add some lights to this DIY Christmas sweater to flash them all day long!

Fourth step:

Make the final touches to your personalized sweater and let the glue dry so nothing falls off. Don’t be afraid to make it original and add as many embellishments as you want. Now your ugly Christmas sweater is done and it’s time to show it off.

Hot Podcasts: What’s Trending

LydiaZermuehlen, Editorials Editor

Crime Podcasts

“Sword and Scale”

The catchphrase of this podcast is “the worst monsters are real.” Obscure and well known crimes, murderers and worse are covered in this in-depth podcast. You may lose your faith in humanity while you listen, but your curiosity won’t let you stop.

“Criminal”

For a true crime podcast, this one takes a different spin. Not all of the crimes cover arrested people, but people who breach the gray area of morality. With stories that will shock your socks off, to ones that will almost make you laugh, “Criminal” gives its audience loads of attention-grabbing stories.

“Serial”

Most people who don’t even listen to podcasts have heard about “Serial.” It is an insanely popular podcast, and for good reason. Each season consists of one edge-of-your-seat story with season one being its most popular. If you want unbelievable and mysterious crime stories, “Serial” will give you everything you want.

Comedy Podcasts

“Dear Hank and John”

Hank and John Green are brothers, Youtubers, authors and now podcasters. Between the two of them, they find answers to their listeners’ questions. The questions range from “What would it feel like to get microwaved?” to “How do I convince my boyfriend not to grow a mullet?” Hilarious questions with even funnier responses, “Dear Hank and John” is a great place to get some laughs.

“Ear Biscuits”

Rhett and Link, well known YouTubers, interview other YouTubers and comedians to give you a whole hour of giggles and chuckles. As they explore interesting and humorous topics with their guests, you are bound to learn some extremely odd facts.

“The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast”

Comedians Cody Ko and Noel Miller discuss what’s latest in the news and pop culture while giving laugh-out-loud commentary. This podcast does not hold back on anything, so prep your ears for the wackiest topics and discussions.

And More

“Lore”

“Lore” is a popular podcast about historical tales and myths. Superstitions, creatures and freaky places are explored in-depth and are guaranteed to make you check your locks twice before you sleep. Explore the terrifying stories humanity has told since the dawn of time with Aaron Mahnke in this fascinating, yet educational podcast.  

“Stuff You Should Know”

Hosts Josh and Chuck dive into well-known and not so well-known topics to give you all the details you could possibly ask for. In one of the most educational podcasts you could possibly listen to, you’ll hear about topics ranging from safety pins to Vomitoria. Want to get some great and fresh conversation starters? This podcast will really give you something to talk about.

“Welcome to Night Vale”

Have a taste for the nonsensical? “Welcome to Night Vale” is a perfect podcast to listen to. This podcast takes you into a world you could never imagine, where there are no dogs in the dog park and everyone must hail the Glow Cloud. Take a trip away from reality for an hour or so with your host Cecil.

How to Stress Less

KatherineGray, Staff Reporter

With finals just around the corner, angsty and overworked teens are becoming more and more overwhelmed as they prepare for massive exams. Since teenagers are not very good at self care, most students do not know what to do with their stress. Thankfully, there are lots of options for reducing tension and finding balance between school and personal needs.

When you sleep, your body encodes memories and recharges itself for the next day. The average teen gets around seven hours of sleep when they need 10. If you actually want to remember what you have been studying and decompress, you have to sleep. Sleep allows the brain to repair itself from wear, promotes creativity and is essential for memory. Try choosing a consistent time to wake up, even on the weekends. This will help prevent the Monday slump and make it easier to fall asleep at night.

Starting your day right with a satisfying meal can be a great way to take care of yourself as it provides your body and mind with the fuel necessary to function efficiently. Skipping breakfast robs you of the nutrition you need to remember your course materials and do well in class. While donuts are delicious, avoiding foods that are high in added sugar is important. It’s always good to steer clear of overly-processed foods, so instead go for some fresh fruit and a protein, like egg whites, soy or lean meat.

Another way to destress is talking out your problems with wise friends and trusted adults, as it can be both therapeutic and a way to receive sound advice. Preferably choose a time when you’re not overwhelmed, so maybe before/after you have done your homework. Just talking out your feelings can work wonders, and oftentimes you will get back far more than you put in.

Furthermore, exercising actually releases dopamine and other “feel good” hormones into your bloodstream. It is pretty much a guaranteed way to destress and feel good about yourself, whether you decide to go for a jog or hit the gym. Other quick options could include a few rounds of kickboxing or some other form of cardio, many of which can be found online.

Additionally, drinking more water can actually be very helpful for clearing your mind and making you feel better overall. Our bodies are 60-65 percent water, so when we don’t drink enough of it we are thrown out of balance. Water energizes us and helps our kidneys, so staying hydrated is essential for maintaining both physical and mental health. Perhaps choose a large bottle and commit to drinking a certain amount of water each day.

Meditation gives you a chance to see your problems from a different point of view and clear your mind of unnecessary stressors. Apps, such as Calm, or places like Johns Creek Yoga provide tips and help for those exploring the world of meditation. Whether for five minutes or an hour, meditation can be very relaxing and give you a new perspective on what’s giving you anxiety.

Essential oils, like concentrated frankincense, peppermint or orange oil, serve a variety of uses from relieving stress to easing breathing. They can be diffused or rubbed directly onto your wrists, and given their wide range of applications, they are certainly worth investing in. You can find them at Whole Foods, Target and a variety of other stores, and there are plenty of books on how to use them.

Ultimately, perhaps the best way to destress is to actually get your work done. If you have to choose between scrolling through Instagram or studying for an extra half-hour, in most cases you should choose the latter. Obviously, there is such a thing as over-studying, so taking 15-minute breaks every hour or so is very important. Another thing many teens forget to do is set a cut-off time. Choosing a time, say 9 p.m., to stop working is often very helpful for motivating you when you are studying. Blocking out your day rather than just assuming you’ll “get it done whenever” will often help you get better sleep and feel more efficient.

Balancing both the physical and mental aspects of health can allow one to destress. After all, our bodies and minds are inherently connected and one cannot do well without the other. Taking care of yourself, even though it can be time consuming and trying, is always worth it.

What You Never Knew

KatherineGray, Staff Reporter

The bright lights and trees of Christmas are familiar to many, but there are a variety of other holidays that take place in the winter season that don’t get as much recognition. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Gita Jayanti are all fascinating winter holidays, yet many people don’t know much about them or why people celebrate them. There are many Chattahoochee students who observe these holidays, so it’s time to lean in and learn about some fascinating winter traditions.

Hanukkah, which was celebrated this year from Dec. 2 to the 10, is a Jewish holiday that celebrates when “Judah and his brothers took back Israel,” says Elle Smith (SO). Afterwords, “when they returned to their temple” all of the oil needed for lighting a menorah “was spilled out except for one vase” that would only keep it lit for one day. However, it remained lit for eight nights, “which is why Hanukkah is for eight nights.” Elle likes to celebrate Hanukkah by having “a big feast with potato latkes and jelly-filled donuts,” and she feels that “the best part of Hanukkah is the gifts, which are the practical, logical things that we need.” Elle emphasizes that Hanukkah is “about coming together and celebrating,” and it is certainly a beautiful tradition to engage with.

Kwanzaa, which is celebrated from Dec. 26 to Jan 1., is a cultural holiday that reinforces “family, community and culture among African American people as well as Africans throughout the world African community.” It centers around the Nguzo Saba, or the Seven Principles, which include unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. During celebrations, people greet one another in Swahili and children are typically given gifts, which often include a book and a heritage symbol. The colors of Kwanzaa are red, black and green, and they are often included in the Mishumaa Saba, or Seven Candles. This holiday presents an amazing chance to learn about African and African American culture.

Gita Jayanti, which is celebrated this year on Dec. 18, is a Hindu holiday that “celebrates the advent of the Bhagavad Gita,” which is a scripture where “Lord Krishna outlined everything that [his followers] need to know,” says Nivedita Chellam (JR). There are several other Hindu sacred texts, but this is “the most famous of all the scriptures,” leading to Gita Jayanti being a very important day for many. In terms of how she celebrates it, Nivedita states that “we fast on that day” and “say of bunch of shlokas,” which are “verses from the Bhagavad Gita.” If you would like to see what Gita Jayanti is all about, Nivedita recommends checking out the “Bhagavad Gita As It Is.” Both reading this text and perhaps going to a celebration with a friend are excellent ways to explore this holiday.

Though the weather outside is frightful, learning about fascinating holidays is so delightful. Engaging with other cultures and traditions helps you to see more of the world and better understand your peers. Chattahoochee’s diversity is what makes us such an incredible school, and embracing wonderful winter traditions make us that much more unique and empathetic.

Ventres Adventures

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Ventre’s Adventures

 

Living to explore and travel – these simple, yet powerful, words are what our teacher, and now travel coordinator to-be, Ms.Ventre. This young teacher started up her own business in order to help students partake in international excursions. After months of hard work, Ventres Adventures became an official company, or legally an LLC (Limited Liability Company). The business is just starting out and will be fully up-and-running by the end of November 2018.

Traveling throughout 32 countries over 6 continents, Ms. Ventre wants to be the embodiment of life outside of your local area – outside of the United States.

The idea is to encourage student travel experiences as much as possible as well as encouraging teachers to travel with their students. According to her blog, information about teacher student traveling is not found easily, therefore she dedicates articles on her website relating to the topic. She continues to tell teachers how it is possible and what guidelines they should follow when planning an out of country trip. Studying abroad and student traveling was the ultimate inspiration for the company, as Ventre has said, “bringing my travel stories into the classroom changed the course of everything.” Students are eager to travel but may find it impossible due to all the planning that goes into it. Ventre wants to make it possible for both students and teachers nationwide. “I feel like there is a lot of misconceptions about the travel industry and expenses because affordable travel is very much possible.”  When planning any trip it can be hard to stay on the cheap side, however, with the help of a travel agent, especially one that encourages minimalistic travel, Ventres Adventures will allow flexible pay to have a cheaper trip.      

Ventres Adventures is already starting to gain popularity through social media. Its popularity has sored through twitter and Facebook but mainly Instagram. Ventre herself was recently invited to a business convention in Austin Texas to promote the platform. The convention has many influences and people in the business industry – hoping to raise awareness and gain sponsorship.

Specifically, Ventre is looking to work with outdoor clothing companies that sell travel related items. Her blog features places to buy travel gear since most of her trips are backpacking only. “Minimalism is key when traveling” she told us. Ventre believes in traveling light, which is why every trip, with or without students, have been backpacks only – no suitcases.

The company seems to be off to a good start – with sponsorship’s and promotions already in the making – Ventre’s goal is to go nationwide but is starting out small with the local area. However, seeing as how successful the business is without already being officially launched, it won’t be long before the company is known worldwide.  

    

   

 

How to get cuffed

ClaireBunnell, Staff Reporter

It’s that time of the year again… cuffing season. For all you single people out there, this is considered one of the worst times of the year. The cold winter season brings cuddling, drinking hot chocolate and watching holiday movies – which you’ll be doing all alone. However, there are a few tips and tricks to make sure you’re cuffed during this holiday season.

Due to changes in the weather and the beginning of the holiday season, many single people desire to snuggle up with their significant other. Luckily for all you single folks, the winter season brings many cute and festive activities, which would be really unfortunate to have to do alone – so find that special someone and be courageous! It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or boy; ask your crush out on a date. Being confident is key to scoring a date.

Some unique ways to also score your crush is to bring them food. Everyone loves food. So, it is likely that if you cook or buy them their favorites snacks, they will probably like you a little more. No one can turn down a person who brings them Chick-fil-A.

Show interest in what they’re interested in. No, this does not mean that if they enjoy football you should go join the football team. Showing interest in learning how the game works or going to an actual game with them can show them that you care about something they may love. This will definitely score you some brownie points with them.

Be yourself. Believe it or not, it can be attractive if you’re quirky or nerdy. Whether you like to sing, draw, play an instrument, read books or snort like a pig when you laugh, uniqueness can make you stand out and lead your crush to fall for you instead of anyone else.

Aside from everything else, getting cuffed during the winter season is not a necessity. Growing as an individual and learning to be independent are always first priorities. However, if you are ever in need of a partner to cuddle and watch holiday movies with, this article should do the trick.