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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Academics and Creativity Conflicts

Academics is definitely something important for students, but it seems that creativity is pushed aside too often.

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As students, we are heavily focused on academics. Some of us may also be heavily focused on athletics. Anything that helps or is integrated into our academic careers has a way of controlling how we live our daily life. We go to class, we study and do homework, we attend activities/work, and then we most likely have little time to relax.

One thing that seems to lack in the academic world is creativity. Many students may say "Well, I'm not creative." Why have students subjected themselves to being uncreative individuals? How does someone define "creativity" as the verbatim definition across the world? Creativity can be used widely if we are aware of how it can be done.

  1. In the classroom, students can find creative ways to approach a debate, a different way of understanding a topic, changing the argument and allowing different perspectives and voices to be heard, and so much more.
  2. Students can find different ways of changing the issues our communities may face such as homelessness, segregated communities, etc.
  3. Organizations can be created to fill in the gaps our communities may have (including in a university).
  4. Students can remain to do creative activities such as crafts, writing, art, etc. This can be done within different organizations or in the comfort of the student's home.
  5. There are different platforms that encourage creativity like photoshop, video editing software, websites like Wattpad to create and share your own stories, and more.

We cannot let academics take over every moment of our lives. It can easily result in a point where we have no motivation to do anything at all because we are in a constant routine that can drain us. We are more than school, although it is still very important. If we shall succeed, we have to embrace the things we love to do and not forget about who we are.

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