4 HS Senior Year Resources For The Stressed Fam Out There

4 HS Senior Year Resources For The Stressed Fam Out There

To my fellow overwhelmed seniors: here are some apps that will help you survive senior year.
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You’re a senior this year. Maybe you’re excited about graduation. Maybe you’re suffering from early-onset senioritis. Or maybe you’re like me, and you just feel so overwhelmed that you don’t want to do anything. Whatever it is you’re feeling, it doesn’t change the fact that senior year is happening. What you can control, though, is how you get through your senior year. This is likely the most important year of your life so far. If you’ve flubbed the past three years, well... maybe try a little bit harder this year. After all, for most of us, the next step is college.

If you’re struggling, you’re in luck! Here are some websites and apps that will hopefully help you out now or in the near future, focusing on key ideas to keep you grounded senior year. Get ready for lots of pictures.


1. Procrastination is a problem.

First and foremost is an issue that plagues the average high schooler: procrastination. Procrastination has always been an issue for me. You can probably relate. Over the past three years, however, I’ve built a little collection of things that help me get (and stay) on track.

Here are four that have helped me stay on top of things!

Cold Turkey Writer

Cold Turkey Writer is a simple computer application that only allows you to do one thing: write. You can set it to how many words you want to write, or how long you want to work, and that's it. It’ll give you a blank document to write on. A progress bar at the top of the screen will tell you how far through your goal you’ve made it. Though the application doesn’t really have any sort of formatting, it’s great for getting something down that you can work off of later.

Forest

Forest is a cute little productivity mobile app that rewards you with coins and a cute little garden. Do you hate the thought of murdering that cute little tree up there? If so, this app is for you!

Every time you open an app that’s not on your whitelist in the middle of a timed session, you kill a tree, and you’re left with the dried husk of what used to be an adorable plant. You are free to open apps on your whitelist without endangering your tree, so it’s a good way of categorizing your important applications and the distracting ones. Plus, you get to create a cute little forest!

Habitica

Habitica is definitely my favorite app on this list. Available as a mobile app, a website and Chrome extension, this program is a fun way of “gamifying” your to-do list and earning virtual rewards for getting things done.

And here we see ZombieMerlin (me!) with her pet cactus in the upper left.

Anyways, every time you check off a task, either something on your To-Do list or a daily task, you earn coins that you can use to buy quests, armor and other rewards. You can hatch adorable pets with hatching potions, chat in the tavern, take on challenges and go on quests with your party. Habitica is honestly one of my favorite things ever, and I hope it can help you out as much as it has me.

StayFocusd

StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that helps you do exactly what it says: stay focused. You let it know what websites you find distracting, and it’ll count down on a timer whenever you’re on one of them. I personally allow myself 30 minutes of distracting time a day. After that, whenever I try to go on a time-wasting site, I’ll get this redirected to a screen that asks, "Shouldn't you be working?"

Again. Pretty simple, but it works wonders for getting me on track (even if it gets pretty annoying sometimes).


2. School those tests!

Most people can probably agree that testing is pretty annoying and stressful, especially when you don’t know the material. The internet, however, is a vast and wonderful place, so here are four sites to help you out.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy has saved me more times than I can count. The 93 I got in Pre-Calculus last year can definitely attest to that. It covers pretty much any school subject you can think of and then some. Whether you’re looking to understand the quadratic formula or study the intricacies of a circuit, Khan Academy has got your back. You can also hook up your CollegeBoard account to study for the SAT, learn to code in a fun and easy way and watch lessons from Pixar employees about how they create movies.

Plus, whenever you get frustrated in math, you can do what I do and tackle some kindergarten and first-grade math, and then cackle at how smart you are. It does wonders for the self-esteem.

AP Worldipedia

APWorldipedia is for the brave few willing to put themselves through the torture that is AP World History (no offense, Mrs. Leonard). This guy goes through almost all the key concepts in excruciating detail. He’s probably a big reason for the five I got on this AP exam. (Again, no offense Mrs. Leonard.)

Symbolab

Symbolab is an amazing calculator for solving that one homework problem you can't figure out. You'll be hard pressed to find another calculator that can help you solve matrices and chemistry equations. Not only does it give you the answer, but it also has a step-by-step breakdown of how the calculator arrived at the solution.

ACTUp and SATUp are great apps to help you review for those annoying standardized tests. You can take practice tests, hammer down on your weak areas and work steadily towards the score that you’re aiming for.

Pro tip: Try to take the SAT or ACT as soon as you can, if you haven't already. It'll save you a ton of headache later in the year. To my underclassmen reading this: take one as soon as you feel ready! I took an ACT in the spring of my sophomore year, and I'd be lying if I didn't say it's made my life a whole lot easier.


3. The Dreaded “C” Word

College. There, I said it. A good majority of us don’t like thinking about it, but for most it’s inevitable. The pressure to get into a good college, to get scholarships, to fill your resumé up with activities so you can impress college admissions officers... I feel you. I really do. That’s why I’m sharing these links with you.

College Info Geek

College Info Geek, AKA Thomas Frank is my favorite guy who I’ve never met. His entire website, blogs, podcasts and all is dedicated to making you a better student. I’ve been subscribed to him for years, and I still haven’t explored his entire website, but he’s worth looking at. Maybe you want to build a personal website. Maybe you need help staying motivated. Maybe you’re just looking for some good ol’ mental fodder.

Also, just look at that face. Look at it. He's adorable.

College Essay Guy

College Essay Guy is another great site. As his name may suggest, his specialty is college admissions essays. Any question you have about college essays, he's the man for you.

Unigo Scholarships

Unigo and the CollegeBoard’s Big Future Scholarship Search

are great places to find scholarships. I like Unigo for its weird scholarships, like the Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship or the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Scholarship Contest, but it also has plenty of other scholarship categories such as merit-based, athletic and minority. The CollegeBoard’s scholarships tend to be a little more what you’d expect from a scholarship database, but I highly recommend looking into it.


4. Take a second and breathe...

With all the stress of school and extracurriculars and college, sometimes you get so overwhelmed that you nearly drive yourself to the point of breaking. That’s when you need a mental health day.

I’ve had more than my fair share of stress-related breakdowns, all because I’m a workaholic who has a tendency to forget to stop and take care of myself. Don’t do that. Not only is it awful for your body, but it also takes away from the experience of high school.

High school is supposed to be fun! I’ve often heard it described as “the best four years of your life,” and even though I’m not out of high school yet, I think I agree. Don’t get so caught up in academics that you forget to be a teenager. Take a break for two minutes. Hang out with your friends. Go to random websites. Go to a party or two. Marathon "Supernatural." Whatever it is that you do to relax, do it. As long as you make it an exception and not a rule, it’s perfectly fine.

With that, I leave you with my final link. If you ever feel overwhelmed, hop on over to that post. You’re stronger than you think.

Cover Image Credit: Claire Lin

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22 Seriously Hilarious Tweets About Being A Big Or Little In A Sorority

We really are obsessed with each other.
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We have all heard the stereotypes about sorority girls and how they are all obsessed with their littles and bigs. I'm just here to let everyone know those stereotypes are true and here are some of the funniest tweets about it.

1. We need very little prompting to talk about it

2. Getting a Big/Little is a holiday

3. Seriously, very little prompting

4. When you know, you know

5. Family is very important to us

6. I love my big a lot, but I also really do love Big Lots

7. Love is out there for us

8. We eat, sleep, and breath this stuff

9. One ~BIG~ happy family

10. I may actually be a headache for my big

11. Not to be dramatic, but...

12. She outweighs the end of the world in importance, sorry not sorry

13. We are an acquired taste for some

14. It's for life

15. I really bought her gifts, months in advance

16. Don't interrupt me

17. We're serious about the "for life" thing

18. Mock us if you must

19. A little bit too what, white boy?

20. I want Little Caesars but I want to eat it with my little

21. It's how we find out if there are others like us in the area

22. It's as important as my name AJ, let me live

I love my big, I love my little, and I'm not even a little sorry.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Dear Universities, Please Hire Good Professors

I didn't sign up for tens of thousands dollars in student loans to teach myself in several courses.

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Have you ever had that one professor who completely ruined a class for you? Whether it was because they have zero teaching skills, clearly didn't want to be there or spoke almost no English, they made life hell for you. The sad thing is that I've had way too many of these cases and I'm only a sophomore in college.

The whole point of attending university is being taught by experts in your field, who will take extra time of their day to help you understand difficult concepts, thoroughly explain during their lectures and transform you into successful professionals one day. Getting a degree is not an easy task; students have heavy course loads to juggle with extracurriculars and on-campus jobs as well. We rely on professors to teach us so that we can do the work easily.

I did not sign up to be tens of thousands of dollars in debt from student loans so that researchers, who have never taught a day in their life, are forced to lecture me on cell biology because the university requires them to be professors to do research here.

Any grade school teacher will say that they went into this profession because they love TEACHING. They spend time on making lesson plans and working out ways to explain one concept five different times for students who might not get it the first time around, even if it's teaching introductory biology to 7th graders when they have a master's degree in that field. It should be the same way with college professors. If you don't have an education degree, you shouldn't be teaching. Plain and simple. I want to love a class because my professor makes it interesting and clearly loves what they're doing, not because they're just here to do research. We can't learn well just by teaching ourselves a difficult course of brand new material.

Now, before you argue with me that immigrants have every right to teach here, I'm going to stop you. I'm the child of immigrants, so I'm all for them to work here. The difference is that my parents worked their butts off to become fluent enough in English to become successful in their jobs. If you are going to teach at an American university in English, please for crying out loud, be able to speak and understand the language well enough to communicate with students properly. I don't care if you have an accent, I just want my questions understood and answered in a way I can comprehend.

What happened to putting the students, on whom pays this institution millions intuition, first? I can't become a successful Physician Assistant without the professors who put forth 110% effort into making sure I understand the material and made me love my major. They are the ones who deserve those jobs, not some fancy Ivy League researcher who thinks they're above public state university students. The ones who will meet with you outside of office hours to go over exams, come to your exam review sessions and stay after with you to discuss questions, even though it's late and they have a kid at home, are the kind of people that should be hired over others.

So dear American universities,

Give me what I'm paying for.

Sincerely,

An angry college student who will pay tuition for your graduate school as well.

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