Freshmen Seminar and Senior Mentor

Freshmen Seminar and Senior Mentor

The perfect book ends to high school.
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Going into high school, almost every freshman has some anxiety. For many this means the fear of making friends, or even fear of the upperclassmen. It’s common in movies to see the bigger seniors bullying the freshmen. I was lucky enough to go to a high school that created a program that made these fears obsolete.

A year prior to my entrance into high school, Sandwich High School rolled out a new class that freshmen could take called “Freshmen Seminar." This course runs concurrently with another class entitled “Senior Mentor." The freshmen seminar class is centered around the idea of preparing the freshmen for the next four years in high school. There is a group of seniors placed in this class and they serve the role of senior mentors.

The freshmen are divided into a few groups that are referred to as pods and the seniors divide themselves amongst the pods. The seniors work on essential skills that they will need in high school and life. These lessons included public speaking, homework/study skills, tying a tie, and many other useful tips. I was lucky enough to be a part of this program as both a freshman and a senior mentor.

Going into my first day of freshmen year, I was incredibly nervous. Many of my closest friends had gone off to private or charter high schools. My first class that day was Freshmen Seminar. I knew the minute I walked into the classroom that it would be one of my favorite classes because of the high energy and the seniors' warm welcomes. My class was small and when we divided into groups it was just two other students and I, along with our three mentors.

We began our first class with a public speaking exercise that focused on eye contact. Our teacher, Mr. Dumas, lined us all up in two lines facing each other and made us stare into each other's eyes and then we worked our way down the line. It was beyond awkward; however, it got us all out of our shells and we began to bond as a class. This made a huge difference for me because it gave me a group of people that I was comfortable with and that I could call my friends.

We played a ton of games throughout the semester and became overly competitive with one another. I dreaded public speaking days, but I did see myself improving in presentations as the semester progressed.The worst part of the class was that at the time, each student had it for only a month and then they switched to another class. My biggest take away as a freshman was how much the seniors care about us freshmen. They went out of their way to say hello in the hallways and they were always there when we needed them. This made me want to apply to be a mentor.

Fast forward three years and I walked into that same classroom on the first day of school, but this time was different because I was a senior mentor. The class itself had also changed. Instead of having it for about a month of the semester, the freshmen had it all semester, every other day. The seniors had it every day with two different groups of freshmen. Instead of entering the room as a timid freshman, I was comfortable and beyond excited to see my fellow mentors.

The first day of the class sets the mood for the rest of the semester and it is up to the senior mentors to create a positive environment. As the seniors laughed and talked with Mr. Dumas, the freshmen filed in. The class began with introductions and we then moved into our lines for the eye contact game. Everyone was laughing and it was evident that the freshmen’s discomfort began to fade after a few rounds.

We got into our pods and at that time none of us realized how close we would get. The semester moved on and we did similar activities from my freshmen year; however, I got to see the freshmen improve. I loved helping my younger peers with homework and bonding with them. I liked the class as a freshman; however, I loved it as a senior.

As a freshman, I understood the impact the class had on the freshmen; however, I did not realize the impact it had on the seniors. At the end of the semester, many of us seniors were beyond sad that the class was over. During our final class we all circled up and reflected on the semester. One of the seniors of course had to toss on some solemn music and then Mr. Dumas asked us to share our favorite moments.

My favorite moment during the class was when we were doing a team building project with our pods and all of the seniors were told to step back and we saw all of the freshmen working together and completing the challenge. It was amazing to see our shy freshmen from the first day of the semester to that moment. The freshmen talked about how it impacted them and the seniors sat their proud of the people that they had become.

This class teaches the seniors how to be leaders and gives them the opportunity to help the freshmen class. The circle ended with tears and hugs. Many of the mentors explained at our debriefing that they found that this class made them look at how the acted in their lives. They felt as if they had to carry themselves in a way that the freshmen could look up to. I left this class having formed relationships with both the freshmen and the other seniors. Many of the seniors were from different friend groups and had different interests. A few of the seniors had never even been in a class with me. By the end of the class we were all friends and celebrated the end by going to breakfast with each other. As the freshmen filed out on that last day, the seniors circled up around the teacher’s lab bench, like we had done every morning for the past semester, and we ended our first semester of senior year.

This is the type of class that should be offered at many high schools because it creates a positive start to high school. You learn essential skills such as public speaking and those that choose to bookend their high school years by becoming a mentor, learn skills that colleges and employers look for. Mentors learn listening skills, as well as leadership. You have to be able to work through conflict and solve problems. You do not just leave the class with those skills, but with long lasting relationships with your pod. I have pictures of my pods hanging in my dorm and I am proud to see my freshmen from last year enjoying their sophomore year.

Click here to learn more about the class through the eyes of the freshmen, seniors, and administration of Sandwich High School.

Cover Image Credit: Sandwich High School

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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Why Passion Leads To Success

Success is based on what a person wants to accomplish and the journey they take to accomplishing their goals.

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Passion is extremely important to a person's success. I think success is when a person is happy and content with their life and they have the career they have dreamed of and they make the right amount of money to live the way they want. I also think it is that a person meeting their goals and taking advantage of opportunities in their lives to better themselves is important to become successful. Success for an individual is usually based on their goals in life and the passions they have for certain subjects and career choices.

Kids always are forced into doing what their parents want and high school pressures kids to go to college way too much. I chose the path to go to college, but it is not the only option or always the right one. All people are different and they all have different interests, and that is the key point to their success. People have plenty of hobbies they enjoy, but they are always certain subjects and activities that people are passionate about. After graduation, the options are endless, because there are jobs a person can advance in to become a top employee in the company. A person can also go to all kinds of schools such as college, trade schools, tech school, beauty school, dental school, and so many more. A person can also join the military and serve their country while trying to find a career to enjoy in the military, so they have options after their service. Some people cannot handle the military, college, or trade school and there is nothing wrong with that. The journey a person takes and the goals they achieve cannot be rushed, but takes hard work on finding out what makes you happy and what makes goals achievable.

I know some people that are still trying to find their passion in their early twenties and there is nothing wrong with that. Some people are having kids or getting married, while others are achieving some goals or getting into trouble. The point is everyone is in a different place and have a different journey as they attempt to find out their passion. An important quote to me comes from Walt Payton. Payton was a running back for the Chicago Bears in the 1970s and his quote was "If you're good at something you'll tell everyone, but if you're great at something they'll tell you." This quote is important because usually if an individual is great at something and people tell you, then a person will likely fall in love with that activity. People love to be complimented and hear positive comments about themselves to boost their self-confidence. People perform their best at the subjects that they care about and have a passion for, but they also need the praise and support from the people around them to push them to be their very best. This is how I found my passion, but some people will stumble on it themselves. I started writing papers for English classes and computer classes in high school and my first year of college. I enjoyed having the freedom to write about what I wanted and being recognized for that made me feel confident so I decided to major to become a journalist. I never imagined that I would become a journalist, but that turned out to be something I loved doing and I continue working hard to improve my writing skills.

Society judges a person's every move and they peer pressure many people into feeling they have to make all the money they can or they have to go to college to be successful. I know people that have not attended college and they are making good money at their job and enjoying what they do. I know some friends who go to trade schools or are getting certificates to establish their career. The best thing America offers an individual is the ability to have the power to choose your career based on personal interests and skills a person possesses to make themselves content with their lives. People should take advantage of the opportunities around them and try to do their best in their profession. People do not live forever, but their work and impact they leave around them are important, so people should make the best of their life and find their passion.

Passion is important for every human to find, but do not rush your life or career, because people will find their passion at all different ages and periods in their lives. Young adults should enjoy their lives and have fun with their peers as they find their passion and set their goals to become the best they can be in their career. I have seen people of all ages in my college classes; Kids from high school, young adults, and even adults in their thirties to sixties. This proves people can change their current situation any time they want and find their passion at any age. People need to get more confidence in themselves and put their best effort into every aspect of their lives, so they can be happy and successful. Life is all about what a persons makes it because they are in control of their destiny, but they must find their passion and capitalize on their opportunities.

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