Dear Freshman Me:

As senior year draws to a close, there have been many moments in which I have wished I could go back in time and give my freshman self a quick word of advice before hand. So, in an effort to pass that advice along to someone, here is what I would tell my freshman self if I could.

Dear Freshman Me,

Right now, as you sit crying on a courtyard bench, know that everything is going to be OK. As cheesy as that is, it is true. Right now you are at a metaphorical “fork-in-road” –the trajectory of your next four years will change drastically, depending on what you chose to do next. Stay seated on that bench, or get up and introduce yourself. Although being the “new girl” is hard, it also lends itself to a unique advantage–no one knows you. No one knows that you wore the weirdest outfits in middle school, or that you had spinal surgery a mere three weeks ago. Take this opportunity to be the best version of yourself, while still being yourself.

Don’t compromise who you are just to simply fit in. High school is weird–people will try things that you don’t want to try, and do things you don’t want to do,and vice versa. In spite of this, remain true to your goals, values and character. Ultimately, that is what will pay off the most.

Do not–seriously do not–procrastinate. If something needs to be done, do it while you are still thinking about it. The momentary bliss of “no homework” is not worth the unnecessary stress you will be under when you try to get something done at the last minute. Also (spoiler alert) teachers can generally tell when you’ve slung something together at two AM, and it’s never pretty.

Also, please please study–I know you may think you already know everything you need to know, but it never hurts to keep practicing. It’s really important to adopt this habit now, before you’re a senior taking pre-calculus (hint: you will eventually be a senior taking pre calculus). Along with studying, start studying early, but stop before it gets too late. Sleep is vital in order to perform well. Without it, you may find yourself falling asleep in the middle of a Comp. Gov movie on Nigeria.

Routines, routines, routines! Establishing a routine that works well for you early on is critical–try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day (and only an hour or so later on weekends). Establishing a routine creates consistency, and your body will be more apt to perform well when it knows what’s going to happen next. Routines beyond sleeping are important too: make sure you are keeping your cortisol (adrenaline) levels in check by working out, and eating the proper foods.

And as much as you love Diet Coke, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. By plenty I mean at a minimum 64 oz, but half your body weight in ounces is ideal. Drinking water keeps you alert and refreshed for the entire school day. Going to seven classes in one day is a lot, and no one wants to burn out during 4th period simply because they are dehydrated.

Anyways, there is still so much more to high school–a lot of which you will learn along the way–but hopefully this helps make it even just a tiny bit easier. You’ve got this.

Senior You

A blue-blood rivalry

UNC will face-off against Duke tomorrow in one of the toughest basketball rivalries in basketball history. Illustration by Nina Scott

This Saturday, March 9, UNC and Duke will face off again in one of the most anticipated sporting events in college basketball. The last time the two teams faced off, on February 20, Zion Williamson was pulled 33 seconds into the game – due to a knee sprain as the result of busting through his shoe.

Williamson has not played in a game since the incident in late February, and he has not announced whether he will play in Saturday’s game.

Ticket prices are nearing $9,000, and will continue to rise as the game approaches. Ticket prices for the previous game rivaled ticket prices for the Super Bowl.

President Obama and Phil Ford were in attendance at the previous match up. There hasn’t been word of who is thought to be attending Saturday’s game, but UNC students have been camping out since Thursday, in anticipation. Fans look forward to rushing Franklin Street, should the Tar Heels pull out another win.

Duke was favored by nine points at the previous matchup, but UNC ended up winning by 16. The stakes for tomorrow’s game are much higher, since whoever wins is likely to be a one seed heading into the NCAA tournament.

Matt Cone, a CHS social studies teacher, says that, “[Coach K’s] team will get dominated.”

March 9 is also Senior Night for the Tar Heels. Sunday will be the last game in the Dean Dome for seniors Kenny Williams, Cam Johnson and Luke Maye, and potentially for freshmen Nassir Little and Coby White.

Treasured Tattoos

Tattoos: a form of self expression rarely seen amidst a high school population because, legally speaking, you have to be eighteen to get a tattoo in the state of North Carolina. Therefore, the select few who have chosen to have something permanently inked on their body naturally draw a considerable amount of attention.

Evie Joseph, a senior at Carrboro, is among the select few sporting tattoos at Carrboro. Her tattoo is the female symbol, and inside of the circle is an outline of the continents of the world. It lies on the right side of her ribs.

“[My tattoo] has a few different meanings; the globe part, by itself, shows my passion for travel and global justice,” said Joseph.

Joseph got her tattoo on February 25 of this year, but says she’s always known she wanted a tattoo. Joseph says it’s important to solidify your tattoo ideas long before you commit to them, because – although they are fun – they are permanent and to a certain degree cannot be  removed.

Laws pertaining to tattoo guidelines differ from state to state. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that, in the state of North Carolina, you cannot legally get a tattoo until you are at least eighteen years of age.

Even with parental consent, tattoo parlors can not legally give you a tat- too if you are underage.

If you are someone thinking about getting a tattoo, make sure it’s something you are certain you want, since tattoo removal can be especially pricey.

Once you’ve solidified your design, make sure you find a place that fits your needs and abides by state-regulate codes. Hygiene is key when making decisions that will permanently alter your body. After taking proper precautions, students can have positive experiences.

“I would recommend getting a tattoo [and I] love my tattoo,” said Joseph, reflecting on her experience having a tattoo. “They’re not for everyone, but if you have something that’s really important to you, or a design you just really like, why not?”

How much GPA really matters

With every day more letters in response to seniors’ college applications arrive in Carrboro students’ mailboxes. With each one, some students will be able to rejoice and relax, while others will not. Some seniors will find out that they didn’t quite make the cut, and will head back to the drawing board to reconfigure their dream to fit their second, third or even fourth choice school. Maybe their dream school was looking for someone more well rounded, maybe their essay should have been edited one more time or maybe their GPA just wasn’t good enough.

The thought of someone’s future riding on a cumulative grade point average, accrued over the course of four of the most vulnerable and formative years of someone’s personal life, is inconceivable — yet some admission counselors consider it indicative of an applicant’s worth, and GPA is used to argue for or against thousands of students’ acceptance every day.

GPA is only one component of the application process; however, it is often used by a student as the metric to decide if you could realistically get into a given school. For example, someone with a 2.1 GPA would most likely not apply to Harvard, where an admitted students average unweighted GPA is 3.95. (Unweighted GPA is calculated on a 4.0 scale.)

This conditioned way of assessing the likelihood of being accepted into a school can build a defeatist mentality in students, often causing them to avoid applying to schools that seem like too much of a reach. The definition of a “reach” school varies from person to person; to one person it may be a school with a marginal acceptance rate, and to yet another it could be a school with an average GPA one point higher than theirs.

Although GPA is beginning to carry less weight on an application, this three digit number can sometimes be the difference of getting in versus not getting into the school of one’s dreams.

Due to the GPA’s trivial importance, schools are beginning to institute what they call “holistic reviews,” meaning they will look at an applicant’s qualifications collectively, and make a decision based on all parts in conjunction with each other. These holistic reviews are being created to ensure no single metric serves a large role in deciding a student’s admission or denial. This millennial way of assessment has given students some leeway in certain areas of their applications — such as GPA — where there was none before.

While GPA is becoming less signifi- cant to applications on the whole, things like a student’s ACT score, how many extracurriculars a student partakes in or how many service-learning hours a student has accrued are becoming increasingly more important.

As you apply to college, take a deep breath and consider your chances from multiple angles – not just on whether or not your GPA is “good” enough.

Cost of CHCCS

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are among the most prestigious public schools in all of North Carolina. Accompanying the high praise is a high price tag.

Over the last decade, schools have increasingly moved away from traditional forms of teaching and moved towards technology-based teaching; this has brought, in turn, an increase in the cost of attending public school. Since a large portion of teaching is done via technology, the majority of modern-day homework is assigned online. This requires students to have internet access and a computer or some sort of mobile device at home. While the cost burden of internet and mobile devices differs from family to family, there is no denying that it is an added expense which previous decades of public school students did not have to consider.

The costs of standardized aptitude tests, such as the ACT and SAT, are also steadily increasing. While both cost somewhere between $40 and $50, most students take them multiple times in order to ensure they are submitting the best score possible to universities — which means students who can only afford to take these tests once are often at a disadvantage. There are also external factors to consider such as SAT and ACT prep, which range in price from $95 to $200 per hour, again putting students who cannot afford these preparations at a disadvantage.

The American education system invests nearly $1.7 billion in standardized testing annually, yet students are still paying an average of $650 for school supplies over the course of a given school year, and college tuition is constantly increasing. These are all examples of how personal gain is prioritized over collective success.

Although public schools are marketed as a form of “free” education, the more advanced education becomes, the less free it really is. The divide between well-funded schools and under-funded schools is constantly increasing; where the former is able to provide students with more institutionalized assistance, the latter struggles to provide students with the most basic forms of support.

On Columbus Day, town of Carrboro celebrates alternate holiday

While much of the country is commemorating Columbus Day on October 9, the town of Carrboro has taken a stance against the national holiday. Carrboro adopted the alternative holiday, “Indigenous People’s Day,” in 2015. Indigenous People’s Day was first celebrated on October 10, 2016. Lydia Lavelle was mayor at the time.

The concept of Indigenous People’s day stems partly from the idea that Columbus did not discover America the way some perceive. He and his crew landed in modern day Haiti and the Dominican Republic; while his journey contributed to the subsequent colonization of North and South America, Columbus never actually set foot on either continent.

Many history curriculums and textbooks paint Columbus as a hero who discovered the Americas. However, this portrayal of discovery ignores any dark side of Columbus’s expedition as well as the actions of the Indigenous People of North America, who crossed the land bridge from Eurasia to what is now Canada 15,000 years ago and populated the Americas. In recent years, this concept has been especially debated because of the way the discovery of America is portrayed in schools.

Annie Williams, a social studies teacher at CHS, discussed the complicated history that established Columbus Day. “In the late 20th century [the Italians] wanted to create a holiday for their ethnic group…they picked Christopher Columbus because he was Italian,” said Williams.

The holiday was intended to acknowledge the importance of Italian immigrants to the United States; in years prior, Italians faced a substantial amount of persecution and felt underrepresented.  

As time has passed and the meaning of Columbus Day has evolved, communities like Carrboro are establishing new traditions. Indigenous People’s Day is a concept communities across the country are slowly adopting. The effort to diversify holidays, on both a local and national level, is increasing, and Carrboro was one of the first towns to do so.