Second semester senioritis

January 29 marked the start of the last semester of high school for the class of 2018; the momentous occasion comes along with the inevitable crash some (most) seniors experience. Whether you call it the senior slump, senioritis or senior slide, seniors become unmotivated to complete their daily academic tasks.

The cause of the slide comes from the lack of motivation following the completion of college applications.

“Everyday, I don’t feel the need to finish work, or do work, particularly because I am done with all of my college [applications],” said senior Rhiannon Curtis.

Due to the four previously rigorous years of high school, most seniors only need to take a couple more courses to fulfill the graduation requirement, meaning that many of their courses are electives.

“The fact that I only have two classes that actually matter toward graduation, and the rest do not matter at all adds to the lack of motivation,” said Curtis.

Though senioritis can often lead students to procrastinate or plainly not com- plete some assignments, the cramming comes in at the end of the grading period.

“I focus on major deadlines, like tests and projects, anything that can have a major impact on your grade,” said Curtis. As inevitable as the senior slump can be, coming back from it is the most essential part.

CHS School Counselor, Bari Sholomon, advices seniors to be cautious of letting things slide.

“If you’ve already been admitted into college, just remember that a college can rescind an offer of admission, especially because this year admission has been so competitive,” said Sholomon.

The main concern with senioritis is college admissions offices noticing a major downfall between first and second semesters.

If you feel yourself becoming less motivated as the year goes on, make sure to narrow your focus on specific classes.

“You will have APs at the end of this year, so if a college takes those scores it will be less classes you will have to take when you get there,” said Sholomon.

Even though college seems like the goal, it is just the beginning of another four, or more, years of learning. Maintaining a solid academic rhythm will ease the transition into your next step.

“You should definitely think about the present rather than the future. When you are a senior, your whole year surrounds organizing your future, so you lose track of what is important right now. If you think about how everything right now impacts your future, it will motivate many to work right now,” said Curtis.

Strength in the classroom and on the court

Students leave class early for an away game at a distant school. At the school, an exhilarating match takes place in which the Jaguars come out victorious by a close margin. The student athletes are tired from the hard game, but they feel accomplished with their performances and their victory.

The student athletes enjoy each other’s company on the long bus ride with laughs and jokes. When they finally get home, they are ready for a long shower, some good food, and a good night’s sleep. Then, they suddenly realize that they haven’t even started their homework!

It’s a typical moment in the life of a student athlete: someone who dedicates their time and effort to both keeping up their grades and training for the games that everyone loves to watch. With many things to do and not enough hours in the day, these athletes have to effectively manage their time to navigate through the maze of student-athlete stress.

Sydney West, CHS junior, played middle blocker for the varsity volleyball team. During the season, her team practiced for two hours after school and had games twice a week. The travel time associated with the away games makes it imperative that West and other student athletes manage their time to avoid becoming overly-stressed.

West believes that taking challenging classes and competing at a competitive athletic level is definitely a lot of work. Although, the work is also very rewarding. West has dedicated lots of her time to volleyball, and she has no regrets because she loves the sport.

However, she does wonder about what she could do if she had more free time.

“I wish had more time to pursue different hobbies that I’m interested in,” said West.

Ananya Saravanan, CHS sophomore, is a guard for the varsity basketball team. She thinks that basketball is a great experience and well worth the extra stress.

“I play basketball because I love the sport, the team, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Saravanan in an email.

Saravanan shares that playing basketball doesn’t have to be stressful if you make sure to manage your time well and not procrastinate.

“I do feel stressed if I procrastinate on an assignment, but I generally feel that during basketball season I am more productive since I know that I won’t have as much time to accomplish homework,” said Saravanan.

Saravanan enjoys taking academically rigorous classes and knows that these classes have a larger workload associated with them. However, she finds time to keep up with the work during lunches and after practice. Saravanan also shares that basketball coach Sheremy Dillard-Clanton, sometimes gives the athletes study halls to finish their work before practice.

“As long as I balance my free time to do homework and study, it isn’t impossible to accomplish,” said Saravanan.

Symphony Wiggins, CHS senior, is a dedicated cheerleader and sprinter. She shares that sometimes balancing school work and sports can be stressful because you get home later and have less time to do work. However, Wiggins believes that if you utilize your time well and focus, you can get everything done.

“I feel like it’s all a mental thing; if you are determined, you can balance athletics and academics,” said Wiggins in an email.

Overall, Wiggins is content with her schedule because — although she may have less time than desirable to complete her homework — she has found two sports that are incredibly important to her.

Steven Turner, guidance counselor and soccer coach for 27 years, has both the counseling and coaching perspectives on student athlete stress.

“What I find with student athletes in season is that they somehow become super organized and do better academically because they are forced to handle stress and they do a good job of that,” said Turner.

Turner thinks that the best way to avoid negative student athlete stress is to have a planner and other organization tactics.

He also thinks student athletes should talk more with their teachers, family and friends because it is hard to manage a disorganized day on your own.

“The best student athletes do a great job of writing things down and organizing,” said Turner.

Athletics make students more effective time managers since they know that they have more limited time to do their work. Athletes should stay organized and not procrastinate, so they don’t fall behind in academics.

Athletics provides a fun way for student athletes to learn time management and the other valuable life lessons that sports teach.

Sydney West, volleyball player, after a game this season. Photo by Grace Hegland

Sports and socioeconomics. One in the Same?

Sports are something that can be performed by anyone, no matter their race, gender, ethnicity or background. But, even with the improvement in equality in our society, there are still differences that separate people on the field, court and arena.

In the NFL (National Football League), over 70 percent of the athletes are African-American. In NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) lacrosse, only 1.9 percent of the athletes are African-American. Is it just coincidence? In tennis, only four players of the top ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) 100 in 2010 were non-White, while in the NBA (National Basketball Association), 70-75 percent of the athletes are African-American. These sports clearly have racial disparities, whether they are or aren’t intentional.

While there are many factors that could contribute to these differences, including traditions, representation on television and outreach programs, there is one lens — privilege — that may explain some of the disparities.

Some examples of sports that are more accessible for privileged athletes are lacrosse, tennis, and volleyball, while sports that are more accessible for mostly less privileged athletes are basketball and football. What divides these sports at their core is the expenses involved in them.

The first major expense in many sports is gear. In lacrosse, for example, there is so much gear that is needed to just play the sport, including a stick, pads, helmets, balls to practice with and goals to practice on. A stick itself is about $150- 200 for decent quality, while higher-quality helmets are around the same price. Different types of equipment will vary in price, but it is all overly expensive in the end. Fortunately, there are scholarships involved to some people who are interested in playing the sport.

Even in sports with less gear, costs can mount because of the common practice of taking personal lessons. In tennis, for example, the essential equipment includes a tennis racket and tennis balls . But the most common way to increase your skill at tennis is by practicing and taking lessons. The prices differ based on where you take the lessons, but a two-hour clinic with about 20 other players can cost around $40. For example, at the Chapel Hill Tennis Club, a one-hour tennis lesson will cost $71. Most tennis courts are part of a tennis club, so there is usually a fee for renting a court and being a non-member at those clubs. A membership will cost even more, which is something usually that is only for higher classed people.

Club sports and tournaments command an entry fee as well. Travel team membership is the primary cost for both of these sports. According to Parker Zinn, a sophomore for the Carrboro team and a competitive club athlete, a volleyball tournament usually cost around $40-50 per person. A USTA tennis tournament in the Chapel Hill area can cost anywhere from $50-70.

There are much cheaper options such as football and basketball. The gear for football is provided by the school or team, while basketball has little gear at all. The easiest ways to practice for these sports are free, by finding a court for a pick-up game or a field to play a four v. four game with friends. While there are many prep schools to partake in for athletes that play football and basketball, players do not have to be successful to go through these prestigious programs. Some of the NFL’s most prestigious athletes attended public schools, such as Jarvis Landry, Carson Wentz, and Khalil Mack.

According to Braden Hunter, a football player for the Carrboro team, it is very cheap to play football at the school, with gear only costing around $20 dollars. The school supplies equipment such as pads and a helmet, which comes out to about $20 dollars per person to rent these. While the school supplies equipment for football, it does not supply equipment for tennis.

“All you need is your equipment for a practice,” said Hunter. “Another way to practice is to go out and throw a football, or play a game with friends.”

Why is it that the majority of these sports have clear disparities?

High schools, professional organizations, and teams clearly need to take steps in order to reverse this effect. The only question: how?

Illustration by Nina Scott-Farquharson

What the Panthers need

As the Panthers’ season came to a close, Panthers fans are now eager to see who the next majority owner will be.

Jerry Richardson, the current owner of the Panthers, grew up playing football in North Carolina, then continued his career at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In 1987, after the NBA brought an expansion team to Charlotte, Richardson met with supporters to discuss bringing an NFL team to both North and South Carolina. Politicians from both Carolinas lobbied to the other owners to support their expansion. Richardson financed the construction of the stadium, in Charlotte, that would seat 70,000 fans.

In 1992, the NFL announced the Carolinas would have an extension team. The following season the NFL owners voted, and it was decided that the 29th NFL team would be in Charlotte. Richardson was the majority owner for 23 seasons. Just before the Panthers kicked off against the Green Bay Packers on December 17, Sports Illustrated released an article reporting that Richardson would go from office to office asking female co-workers to show him their rear ends. Richardson later announced that he would sell the team at the conclusion of the season. So now the burning question is: Who will the new owner be?

Whoever the owner will be, all of Panther Nation should keep in mind the following wishes for the next ownership.

1: Replace The NFL Shield Logo.

There are only two stadiums in the NFL that do not sport their team logo in between the 45 yard lines. The first of which is Metlife Stadium, which hosts two NFL teams, so it’s easier to have the NFL’s shield at midfield than to change it week to week. The second is the Carolina Panthers, who have no reason why besides the fact that Richardson thought that’s how it should be.

2: Value winning over the “team image.”

Prior to the Panthers drafting Cam Newton, Richardson asked Cam Newton if he had and tattoos or piercings. Newton answered “no” and Richardson responded, “Let’s keep it that way.” He was also told former tight end Jeremy Shockey that he liked his attitude, but that he’d be better without all of his tattoos. The next owner should keep their views away from the team, and allow the team’s image to take a backseat to winning football games.

3: Value Winning over Personal Relationships.

In 2010, the Carolina Panthers went 1-15, after which Richardson “cleaned house”, meaning he fired everyone. However, this did not include Marty Hurney, the general manager—known to be a good friend of Richardson. Hurney was fired after the team lost five out of the first six games in favor of Dave Gettleman. Gettleman had his own problems as the General Manager, but he assembled a 15-1 roster, as well as fixed the horrendous financial issues that Hurney put the team in.

The following season was disappointing, and because of it Richardson fired Gettleman, and named none other than his good friend Marty Hurney back to his old office position.

Now that Richardson will be out as the owner, the Panthers can move forward to be perennial Super Bowl contenders. The team will be relieved of the pressures that Richardson placed on the coaching staff and players to look and act a certain way. This allows a wider range of players to be targeted which will lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl win that they deserve.

Opinion: battle of the bluebloods

Once upon a time, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke were not rivals. Fans did not hate each other, students did not camp outside for weeks just to get tickets, and people’s psychological well-being did not hang in the balance of 40 minutes of basketball. Now, nearly 100 years after the very first meeting of these two teams (UNC won by eleven,) the rivalry is the best in the NCAA.

Photo courtesy Charlotte Ellis

This leads to the question, which team is better? The answer is obviously the UNC Tar Heels. Not only do the Heels have more National Championships (7-5), more Final Four visits (20-16) and more ACC Regular Season titles (30-19), but they also lead the all-time series 136-110. And oh yeah, the Heels won the most recent meeting between the two teams 82-78. After being down four at the half, UNC dominated the last 20 mintues commiting only two turnovers and grabbing nearly 70 percent of total offensive rebounds. Senior Theo Pinson closed out the game by dunking the ball in front of the electric student section which led one of the best crowds the Smith Center has ever seen.

Duke also has a long history of recruiting aggressive players. Walk into Kentucky’s Rupp arena on any given night, and you’ll find numerous fans wearing “I still hate Laettner” t-shirts. Who doesn’t love making fun of Grayson Allen’s joke-of-a-suspension after tripping three different players. And let’s not forget the time Gerald Henderson broke Tyler Hansbrough’s nose.

Speaking of Henderson, he and Hansbrough now run a podcast called the Tobacco Road Pod in which they discuss all things Carolina and Duke. The very first episode is called “The Incident” where the two explain their own side of that bloody moment. Henderson does his best to defend his actions but ends up inadvertently admitting to punching Hansbrough on purpose.

“If you look at the replay, my eyes are closed,” said Henderson during the podcast. “I just wildly took a swipe down… it wasn’t my intent to hit your face but I was hitting anything that came in that direction.”

Since when do you get to punch someone and then claim that it wasn’t your fault because their face got in the way of your fist? Even the coaching legend Coach K refuses to discipline Henderson, claiming that the game was already over and that Hansbrough shouldn’t have been playing.

Unlike the usual tactics of Duke staff, Carolina is creating a family atmosphere that even toddlers can enjoy. Ian Williams, author of the iconic “Why I Hate Dook” column that runs in the Daily Tar Heel, illustrates that point through his daughter.

“When [Hansbrough] would shoot foul shots, and the TV would show that he was sweating, [my daughter] would take one of her little tissues and wipe his face on the TV screen,” said Williams in an interview via email.

You don’t see too many three-year-olds running around in a Henderson jersey pretending to punch people so that they can feel closer to their idol.

Despite their intense history, Henderson and Hansbrough seem to have a genuine respect for one another, or at least a respect for each other’s accomplishments. After all, their days of playing college basketball are over.

Isabel Simmons, CHS sophomore, is a self-confessed fan of the Tobacco Road podcast.

“I think that it promotes a sense of unity, [because] it shows that even two people involved in one of the most contentious events in the UNC vs. Duke rivalry can come together. And if that can happen, then it really gives me hope for the rest of the world,” Simmons said.

One of the greatest games of the rivalry came on March 2, 1974 in Carmichael arena. The Heels trailed the Blue Devils by eight with seventeen seconds remaining, making it a four possession game as this was before the three point line. At this point, most coaches would have given up, but not Dean Smith. It started with Bobby Jones sinking a pair of free throws, followed by two Duke turnovers resulting in Carolina baskets.

After Duke missed the front end of a one-and-one, the Heels managed to get the ball to Walter Davis who sunk an NBA-range three at the buzzer to send the game to overtime, where the Heels won by four. Moments like these are only produced by a rivalry as great as theirs.

Throughout the long history of the Tobacco Road Rivalry there have only been two things that both teams can agree on: NC State sucks, and people who say they “don’t care” about basketball are crazy. As long as the game continues, the Battle of the Blues will too. Students will build bonfires, fans will sit in their lucky seat, and friends will become enemies for one night of basketball glory. No matter what happens on the court, the rivalry will always be among the most intense in all of sports.

GMOs: our friends, not our foes

Whether I’m getting coffee with a friend, grabbing a quick bite for lunch or just picking up some groceries, I spend a lot of time at Weaver Street Market. (I know I’m boujee, but have you tried their tofu spring rolls?)

For those of you who somehow have not made it to this classic Chapel Hill/Carrboro institution, Weaver Street is a health food co-op which, like many higher-end grocery stores, prides itself on foods that are high quality, organic and non-GMO. I love Weaver Street, but this third criterion bugs me — a lot.

GMOs have been a topic of hot debate over the past decade, but especially in recent years. Still, many Americans are fairly uniformed on the topic.

A 2016 study from the University of Florida found that while 84 percent of those surveyed were in favor of labeling products containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients, 80 percent were also in favor of labeling foods containing DNA. (Ironic, because all plants contain DNA.)

Let’s start with a simple question: what are GMOs? GMO stands for genetically modified organism. GM plants have had new genes inserted into their DNA, oftentimes to make crops larger, pest/drought resistant or healthier overall.

In 2016, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a far reaching report asserting that there is no evidence for GM foods being less safe or healthy than foods that are not genetically modified. Almost all contemporary research agrees. However, some individuals are still skeptical.

The stigma against GMOs may come largely from a perception that they are unnatural and therefore unhealthy. Though we can wrap our minds around transfusing blood from one person to another, it’s too far-fetched, apparently, to transfer DNA between organisms.

To all the anti-GMO activists, I hate to be the one to tell you, but we’ve been modifying crops for way longer than genetic engineering technology has existed.

Take a moment to Google “watermelon painting, 17th century.” Looks nothing like the fruit we know and love, right? Watermelons are just one example of how crops have changed drastically thanks to humans. Like genetic modification, other well-accepted plant breeding techniques, such as artificial selection and hybridization, fundamentally change a crop’s genome. Without them, your dinner table would look incredibly different — in a bad way.

I find it disconcerting that people can look at all of the scientific evidence proving that GMOs are safe and effective and still think they’re scary or dangerous.

To the anti-GMO activists: you cannot pick and choose which scientific literature to believe and which not to. You cannot yell at anti-vaxxers or creationists to “believe in science” or “come into the 21st century” while also asserting that “Monsanto is NOT going to put that gene in my tomato,” without being a hypocrite.

Another thing anti-GMO activists should know is that their actions have real consequences. One huge point in favor of GMOs which has not been brought up yet is their ability to save literally millions of lives in developing countries.

Foods like rice and sweet potatoes can be fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients, preventing malnutrition in susceptible populations. Anti-GMO rhetoric not only ignores these life saving advancements, but decreases their popularity and likelihood to be funded.

Like with any technology, there are ways for GMOs to be abused. For example, wind can spread pesticides intended for crops that are engineered to be resistant to the pesticide to non-GMO crops, killing them. However, this is not an argument against GMOs as a whole, it’s an argument about one way they can be used: an important distinction.

While I’m always one for a good discussion, in recent years that of GMOs has been dominated by fear, misinformation and unhelpful Gwyneth Paltrow ads. Let’s believe science on this one and start worrying about more important things.

Illustration by Ruby Handa

Jagwire Judy

How can I prevent myself from sleeping through my alarm or hitting snooze a thousand times? No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get myself out of bed in the morning — help!

-Ms. Morning Misery

Ms. Misery,

Great question! Even as a self-proclaimed morning person, I too find getting out of bed a difficult and overall unpleasant experience, especially during these winter months. I could advise “adopting a regular sleep schedule” or just “sleeping more,” but I’m guessing you’re a smart cookie and you don’t need me to tell you that. Instead, here are three (hopefully) more helpful ways to unleash the morning person in all of us, or at least make sure you’re never late to first period again.

1. The light trick. Set two alarms: one for when you need to get up and one 15 minutes earlier. When the first alarm goes off, open your curtains and turn on a dim light source. (I have string lights around my window, but a small lamp works too.) Now, crawl back into bed! Enjoy the coziness, grab a few extra minutes of sleep, and by the time the second alarm goes off the light will have started to wake you up gently.

2. Charge your phone across the room. Getting out of bed to turn off your alarm will wake you up quickly and effectively as well as, uh, get you out of bed. You also eliminate the risk of accidentally hitting snooze while half asleep. This strategy has the added bonus of keeping you from using your phone right before you go to bed, which will improve your sleep quality. Maybe you’ll even crack open a book before catching some “Zs”. Who knows?

3. Befriend mornings. There are ways to making the morning a time of day you look forward too, not dread. Try completing all your arduous tasks the night before, like packing your lunch and getting all your school supplies together. Reserve the early hours for things that relax you and prepare you for the day ahead, like drinking a mug of coffee or tea, reading the paper or scrolling through social media. Ideally, mornings should not be for rushing around half-asleep, and recognizing this will make conquering them a little more enjoyable.

Sweet dreams,
Jagwire Judy

How can I get off Nicotine?
– Anonymous

Anonymous,

Addiction is a serious issue. I am neither a counselor nor a physician, so if you think you or a friend is addicted to anything, please seek professional help. I can tell you that when it comes to addiction of any kind, friends play an important role in recognizing when someone needs help. Please look out for each other, and know that there is nothing wrong with admitting you need help. If you ever wan to talk about addiction related issues, Linda Karcher (in the CIC) is qualified.

Best of luck,
Jagwire Judy

HBCU vs. PWI: A College Choice

Some students at CHS do not know what HBCUs are, and according to a survey conducted by the JagWire, those who know of these colleges have not considered attending one.

An HBCU is a historically black college or university created for African Americans to go to college after being deprived of education in America for hundreds of years. The first HBCU, Cheyney University, was founded in 1873, according to the web- site HBCU Lifestyle. After centuries of systemic oppression, black people now had a place to get higher education and better support  their homes by getting well-paying jobs.

Before 1873, America only had predominantly white institutions (PWIs) such as Wake Forest, UNC and Harvard.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the  intention of serving the African American Community. These institutions have allowed African Americans to have an opportunity to become successful, productive citizens,” says website HBCU Connect. “They have disproved old stereotypes that stated that Blacks were ignorant or unable to learn and achieve as whites have.”

Contrary to popular belief, non-black students can and do attend HBCUs. In 2015, non-Black students made up 22 percent of students who attended HBCUs nationwide (NCES).

There are some teachers and staff at CHS who went to HBCUs. Rolesha Harris, CHCCS Speech Pathologist, went to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro; for her Masters, she went to Central in Durham.

“I went to a predominantly white high school in Durham––all of my schooling was predominantly white from kindergarten all the way up through high school. I was determined to do something totally different, so I only wanted to go to an HBCU; I didn’t want to go anywhere  else,” said Harris.

Harris expressed that every student is different and should choose the best college for them.

“I think it really depends on the student. I feel like if you have an experience where you are a minority in the school, I think you do need to experience being in a majority or being in a setting with other people like you,” said Harris. “Even if you
don’t like it… see if you like it because it’s totally different when the culture is more of what you’re familiar with.”

According to Harris, everyone’s background is different, and some students might choose not to attend an HBCU.

“My daughter went to a predominantly black high school in Durham so she decided to go to a PWI,” said Harris. “Her high school experience was totally different than mine, so because of that, she kind of flip-flopped.”

English teacher Mintzy Paige agreed that HBCUs would be a great choice for many students at CHS. Paige went to North Carolina Central University, and chose an HBCU because she had previously went to predominantly white high schools. She wanted to know the experience of being a majority.

“I think HBCUs are important because they help students of color continue to have a place that they can
call their home. It allows them to feel safe and comfortable in their own skin,” said Paige. “They can give that home feeling that students of colors sometimes miss.”

“I recommend all students go to HBCUs. It doesn’t matter their color––I actually just had a conversation with some of my white AVID students about going to an HBCU… I think the experience would be good for any student,” said Paige.

Both Harris and Paige agree that students tend to overlook HBCUs despite the colleges’ abilities to provide great opportunities for success.

“It depends on the student, and where you feel more comfortable and where you will be the most successful,” said Harris.

Illustration by Nina Scott-Farquharson 

Teachers share college stories

Kendra Hargett-Chamblee

Fayetteville State University (Fayetteville, NC)

Q: How did you decide on the college you went to?

A: My brother was attending Fayetteville State University, and I just followed in his footsteps. I was inspired to go there by him.

Q: Is there something you wish you knew before you went to college?

A: Looking back, the only thing I wish I knew before I went to college was to take advantage of different organizations, like sororities and different social groups and stuff like that.

Q: What’s the best/worst part about your college experience?

A: My best experience was how I went into early childhood education, and I had the opportunity to work and do my student teaching with third graders. That was very rewarding, to actually go into student teaching and actually feel what it was really going to be like. It was a good experience prior to graduating. The worst part of my college experience was I had to take a photography and art class. Of course, I cannot draw! I had to spend a lot of time working on that.

Q: Advice you want to give others before they go to college?

A: Study hard, pay attention, make good choices, ask questions [and] utilize the
library. I spent a lot of time in the library, so that’s something positive.

Ryan Severance
Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Mount Vernon, Ohio)

Q: How did you decide on the college you went to?

A: As I was picking colleges, I actually only had two in mind my senior year. My top choice was Indiana Wesleyan and my second choice was Mount Vernon. My mom told me I had to visit Mount Vernon or I wouldn’t be able to visit Indiana. Mount Vernon was a school I didn’t want to attend whatsoever. But when I went to go make the choice, Mount Vernon was the only school that was going to allow me to double major. While I was there, one of the math professors approached me and asked what I wanted to do. The friendliness and the outreach of that professor was one of the main reasons why I chose Mount Vernon; that school had professors that legitimately cared about their students.

Q: Is there something you wish you knew before you went to college?

A: There is a lot when it comes to just weird financial things that are attached to college. There is a lot of making decisions on loans, are you going to get loans… everyone jokes about the “adult things” they never teach you; there’s a lot of that that I kind of wish you knew. Once you go to college that might be the first time you have to do your taxes by yourself. There’s more budgeting that is involved in college, just a lot of small things that when you’re in high school that get over- looked. And then suddenly when you’re in college, there’s a lot of stuff you have to experience for the first time.

Q: Is there something important others should bring to college?

A: In a way it sounds weird, but bring yourself. The store can replace everything else, but not losing your identity when you go to college is probably one of the biggest things not to forget.

Q: Advice you want to give others before they go to college?

A: Don’t be scared by the idea of college. Yes, there’s gonna be very scary things; yes, it costs a lot of money (lots of financial issues that are going to be apart of it), but embrace it. It’s going to be one of the coolest times. I grew more in college than I did in high school. As an individual you’ll find out who you are, and just go in head first. Take every advantage to go meet people to get out of your dorm room, and just get your work done. Because there are so many scholarships out there just for doing your work. You will thank yourself when you get free money to pay for your school, but at the same time enjoy it. Find those friendships, don’t get caught in a bad relationship, find those people you can center yourself around which are good role models that you can have fun with but also have serious conversations. And just don’t take the four or five years for granted: enjoy every moment. Give it the best you have. Because in the end, you will make it.

The Side Effects of Slim Standards

My first public panic attack happened in the fourth grade when a girl brought her ringneck snake to school for pet day. Calling it a snake was generous—as its length and width more closely resembled a worm—but nevertheless, I was the only kid in class that could not handle it. I remember feeling embarrassed, sitting puffy-eyed and short of breath in the hallway, and it wasn’t until some other girl freaked out over a tree frog that I realized that everyone is afraid of something.

But more common than the fear of the dark, tree frogs or even ringneck snakes, is the fear that afflicts over 80 percent of 10-year- old girls: the fear of being fat.

“In fourth grade I was bullied by a group of girls who used to comment on how fat my stomach was,” said an anonymous CHS junior, under the pseudonym of Margo. “I wore a belt, and I would tighten it all the way until all my stomach was sucked in.”

According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 51 percent of nine- and ten-year-olds feel better about themselves if they are on a diet. But what exactly do these diets look like?

“I would eat for three days, and then just drink water for four. Occasionally I would have a smoothie or some very low calorie snack,” said Margo. “I was exhausted. I didn’t really keep it up for that long because I got so tired. I didn’t sleep a lot. I lost a lot of hair.”

Some of the most common effects of restrictive diets, according to Dr. Kay Schlegel-Pratt—a nutritionist at Essential Nutrition in Chapel Hill—are “specific deficiencies of nutrients like protein, vitamins or minerals that are not adequate,” which can often lead to fatigue and physical weakness.

“When a person loses weight rapidly, they are losing fat and lean body mass,” said Schlegel-Pratt, also adding that “typically, rapid weight loss results in weight gain after ending the diet.”

The depletion of lean body mass is extremely dangerous, especially for growing teenagers, whose bodies can see long-term effects from stunted muscle, bone and organ growth. These diets are also often unsuccessful; Margo’s restrictive dieting followed a similar progression.

“Over time I did gain the weight back, and I would feel the need to binge,” said Margo. “You’re going to eventually break, either by going to the hospital or by trying to eat everything at once because you’ve become so tired and worn down.”

To safely manage a healthy weight, Schlegel-Pratt recommended “focusing on long-term health habits that you can keep for life” over extreme and harmful dieting techniques.

Although Margo stopped extreme calorie restriction, she still experiences social pressure to stay thin. The root of the prob- lem, it seems, is the culture that creates the ideals that these girls strive towards.

“I feel huge pressure [from] a lot of social media,” said Margo, referencing popular Instagram models.

Vast discrepancies exist between the media’s representations of the average woman and the actual average woman; according to the Center for Disease Control, the average model is 5’10’’ tall and weighs 110 pounds, while the average American woman is 5’4’’ and weighs 144 pounds.

These standards set up an almost impossible threshold to meet, and many girls grow up with misleading ideas of what it means
to look normal. “It’s not a positive mindset to have,” said Margo, regarding distorted body image. “If you want to lose weight, you need to find a safe plan for you to follow.”

Margo admitted that shifting your mindset is not an easy task. Since birth, girls are conditioned to believe that the closer you come to a specific body standard, the closer you come to being beautiful.

According to anonymous CHS senior—under the pseudonym of Arden— to begin to change the culture, we must change the language.

“It’s common to compliment young girls on their fashion sense before their abilities,” said Arden. “Comments like ‘What a pretty dress!’ can be beneficial to a girl’s self esteem, until she begins to hear those more than ‘What a thoughtful comment,’ or ‘What a beautiful art piece.’”

De-emphasizing the importance of outward image, according to Arden, is an important step in creating a culture that no longer values these dangerous standards.

“There’s this one line from a poem by Rupi Kaur that says ‘I want to apologize to all the women I have called beautiful before I’ve called them intelligent or brave,’ and I think that’s really relevant, especially in this conversation. By disconnecting the aesthetics of a woman’s body from her worth as a person with our language, we can begin to work towards a future where that sentiment actually holds true in our culture.”

Illustration by Nina Scott-Farquharson