Books you'll fall in love with
The more that you read, the more you know. The more you know, the smarter you’ll grow. The smarter you grow, the stronger your voice, while speaking your mind or making a choice. - Dr.Seuss
I discovered that quote on the back of a bookmark that my librarian gave me when I was six, and even though it wasn’t as cool as the other peppermint scented bookmarks that she found for us, this bookmark was my favorite. This quote reached out to me when I first fell in love with reading, thanks to the help of numerous dedicated people and marvelous books. And to this day, almost nine years later I still love the way this quote sounds in my head.
Reading is precious to me, more than anything else. There is magic to be discovered in books- quite literally in some- and the wonder that comes with occupying someone’s mind for a chapter or a few. So, without further ado I would like to introduce you to an inconclusive list of some amazing books that are much deserving of your love-
This list ends here for now, but I hope that after reading this article you’ll seek out some of these stories and find the wonder and joy that I found in these novels. This is by no means a conclusive list of books that deserve your love, and I’d love to make a list of more such books in the future.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free”- Frederick Douglass
Until next time!- Navya
Think about this: what is one thing you love from your favourite novel? Is it the plot that gets you so hooked you forget the cup of coffee sitting on the table? Or the setting you keep wondering about? How about the characters?
Characters are those beings living in your plot who convey the entire story. They are the mirror of the book who brings out the plot and theme. If you want your readers to think long after the last page is closed, treat your characters like your loved ones. Let the readers devour into the plot using your character’s individuality. Building characters with complexities, distinct personalities, and goals dive the readers into the story. Once you understand your characters inside and out, you can mix them in the plot or let them guide the story. Dimension, conflict, and empathy are some of the many things that can help you avoid creating dull characters. Here are few things about them:
One thing that makes characters dull is their lack of flaws. Develop human-like characters, let them have their flaws. Think about different aspects of life. Are they rich? If yes, are they greedy? Are they social? If not, are they lonely?
Let your characters have an internal conflict that influences the plot. No internal conflict makes the story monotonous and the character boring.
For example, the superhero of a story has to fight the villain. But he is still unsure of his capability. He doubts himself about being able to control his power. What if he hurts an innocent? These thoughts bring an inner conflict in him, which makes it difficult to solve the external conflict. You can experiment with the solutions to the conflicts. The result of the external conflict can cause a solution to inner conflict and vice versa.
Empathy is the power I love experimenting with. A way to incorporate empathy into your story would be to tell your readers why the villain committed the crimes. Empathy helps paste characters into the reader’s mind. You can always jump around different perspectives to showcase how the characters feel or what they have been through.
If you include these in your characters, you are ready!
Character outline is THE step I love. I invest more time in this step. It is where you connect and fall in love with your characters. I take it as a blind date; you don’t know what you expect or how they are. But you make a go for it.
Outlining characters includes the character’s past, personality, manners, and behavior. For example; one character may have a habit of scrunching their nose again and again. The other may explain themselves, their habits, and why they did certain things again and again because they had abusive parents.
Origins matter! It gives an insight into what they might be like, their goal, and their inner conflicts.
Different methods can be used to outline characters! The technique I find the easiest is Q&A on a mind map. There are questions I ask myself and address the answers in a form of a mind map.
Questions you can ask yourself can be:
Now, when you have your character ready to fall in love with, revealing them on the screen is crucial. SHOW DON’T TELL. You can use their behavior, attitude towards someone, or their actions to reveal the character.
Instead of ‘The young CEO of the company was cold and caring. He wanted all works done on time,’.
We can say ‘A tall man with a sharp jawline entered the conference hall. All staff members stood up at his sight. He bent down to the level of his secretary’s daughter, bringing a bar of chocolate out of his Tom Ford suit. The little girl leaped with joy. She brought his first smile of the day. He walked up to me and extended his hand for the file I had been holding. I shuddered under his icy gaze. His neck and hand veins were popping out while his eyes held no emotion. He was angry. I handed him the file while looking down at my heels, knowing very well I had crossed the deadline.’
Here, we get a taste of being his employee. We get a clue he has a soft side. We notice his veins pop out when he is angry. He doesn’t smile much. He is rich. A flashback can help display a character or some new characters into the story. Be careful about the transition between the flashback and the present time.
Few ways you can present flashbacks can be:
Try not to stop describing the characters. As you write, you discover more!
Your readers need to recognize the characters! Reminders are essential! But do not repeat everything again. The characters shouldn’t be too similar. Experiment with unique traits, accents, and behaviours. Ellen’s show and Carpool Karaoke can help you explore your characters more. Ask questions and answer them! Look into where the character would want to go depending upon their personality. Maybe your introverted character will take the host to the library!
Remain alert and aware of the accents and behaviour of people around you.
It is all about how you play around!
Make your characters human-like!
Practice, practice, and practice!
Credits to Reedsy learning.
How To Develop Memorable Characters (Free Course) • Reedsy
How to Write Believable Dialogue (Free Course) • Reedsy Learning
The Simple 9-Step Guide to Character Development
How to Develop a Character: 7 Simple Steps
Dealing with situations like being stood up at dates or a family problem can make us just want to hide away from the world. Escape reality and just go into another world of wonderland, which I thought I was doing.
In the past I have always kept my problems to myself; they started to build up like a tower.
But when the tower gets too overloaded it starts to collapse, that’s exactly what happened to my mind. Years of keeping all these problems to myself not talking caused me to have an outburst on other terms let out all my anger.
It started when I was back in high school, I was getting bullied due to having ginger hair and because of my last name which I dislike a lot to this day-that’s why I go by a different name now.
I was having a normal day in high school, but then came lunch-time. I went to meet my friends and we sat down to lunch, I went to go and get something from the food-counter and on my way back there was this girl who wouldn’t move her chair to let me pass. I asked her kindly if I could just get through to sit down but she refused.
So, that’s when things got pretty bad. She stood up and said to me “I can’t move because you’re so fat, bet I couldn’t even lift you to throw you out the window”.
That’s when the tower collapsed. I dropped everything in my hands and I just punched her continuing to then pull her hair and then pushed her to the ground.
The fight continued until we were split by the teachers. I was taken to the office to then be asked by the principal “what was that all about?” I just walked out and then was sent home. After that day I just locked myself away in my bedroom, not talking to anyone.
I was sent to a new high school where I pretended to be a person that I wasn’t. I started to wear makeup, I stopped eating and that’s when the new Mel began. Looking back on it now I wish I dealt with the situation differently because I couldn't even recognise myself!
That was just one of the situations where I ran away from my problems. A more recent one was when I was stood up by a girl who I was meant to be going on a date with. I got to the location where we were meant to meet but then she stood me up.
What I did after that was that I got a taxi back home then I relapsed with my bulimia. I punished myself because I felt like I wasn’t good enough and that nobody will like me with the way I look!
Now, looking back at that situation, I should have talked to someone. So running from the situation makes me feel ten times worse. I found some other ways that could help you feel better in situations like these; writing it all down in a journal, diary or even creating an article!
THE WORLD OF ANXIETY
Anxiety is a factor that affects every individual and is a typical response to stressful or difficult situations. The different types of anxiety attacks that could be difficult to grasp are anxiety disorders that many people find challenging their everyday lives. This disorder leaves an individual with constant worrying or stress, leading to depleting mental health because of the tension of worrying or panic attacks.
Anyone can sense anxiety coming into effect as your heart starts to race, you begin to shake, lose control over your breath, or feel out of control in the situation. This reaction is definitely a normal one. However, finding ways to combat this anxiety can make problems easier and promote a better mentality moving forth. With the different types of stress discussed earlier, there is one that is prominent with teenagers-social anxiety. The broad definition of social anxiety is having a fear of being judged or rejected in social situations. Many of these instances can be seen in classrooms while presenting or when being with large groups of people. You might feel the anxiousness that comes with speaking in front of a large group or having a fast-paced/shaky tone. One piece of advice to keep in mind is that you are not alone. Millions of others experience similar anxiety, so not perfecting something like a presentation in school or fitting into a social setting is entirely normal.
Ways to get assistance on social anxiety could be to practice more healthy habits or breathing exercises to practice. If you feel anxious about an event, grab a journal and write down your thoughts.If you feel angry or frustrated, go on a run or let your energy lose and blow some steam off by doing physical activity. If you are genuinely struggling and need more help outside of yourself, a critical piece of advice that I can give is to talk to someone, whether it be a friend or a professional which could both prove effective in different ways. I have provided a link to a website that furthermore discusses anxiety, the different types, helplines, and many more. https://www.mentalhelp.net/anxiety/hotline/.
In my experience, anxiety has been a part of me and has always been a factor in my lifetime. I constantly feel myself worrying or holding unnecessary tension in my everyday tasks and life. Especially now, with a new shift in school, I find myself worrying and afraid of the possible outcomes of a negative situation or me not fitting in. I am still working on aiding my anxiety. I take appropriate steps that help me feel better, such as working out, journaling, reading, and cleaning my mind by taking breaks from social media, focusing more on myself and my own downtime. Finally, I practice breathing and complete 5-10 minute meditation sessions in the morning and night to provide my brain with a break and have a fresh mindset for the rest of the day/next.
Finally, anxiety is not something that is easy to overcome, but it is a part of you that you must aid and treat if it begins to affect you. Once again, there is a link provided in the article about more information regarding this topic and hotlines if you need more help, which is always okay. I wish all of you the best and hope you are navigating life in a manner of your own.
The 'rude' side of anxiety
“Never judge a book by its cover.” This is a common expression used when you meet someone new-to never judge them solely based on appearance. However, we can’t help it sometimes. We are quick to judge and write off someone, assuming that they are rude or impolite. Yet, that might not always be the case. Those who suffer from anxiety have coping mechanisms and side effects that can come across as “rude.”
A lot of us have been in a social situation where we’ve felt we didn’t showcase ourselves in the way we wanted to. Whether it was being too chatty in fear of awkward silences or being too quiet. For people who live with anxiety, situations like this can feel all too real. There are other ways as well which include:
They leave an event early or abruptly: Our body’s natural reaction is “flight” or “fight.” In this case, the “flight” response is activated. If someone’s anxiety is becoming too intense, their brain’s response to a perceived threat will tell them that it’s time to go.
They cancel plans last minute: Chances are that they are excited to go out but as those plans near closer, anxiety begins to speaker louder. Their anxious thoughts may consist of fearing a panic attack in public or avoiding triggering situations.
They ask “can you repeat that?” multiple times in a conversation: Brain fog! People with anxiety are overwhelmed with thoughts. At times, it can be hard to process so much information at once.
They seem withdrawn or don’t talk much in a conversation: People with anxiety may fear being judged for what they say or how they say it. Some would prefer to listen to what others are saying, rather than input their thoughts into a conversation.
They are irritable and easily agitated for what may seem like “no reason”: Anxiety is overwhelming! Imagine trying to battle your thoughts, physical sensations, and a sense of impending doom all while trying to navigate at once.
I have been in situations where due to my anxiety, I may have come across as rude. Whenever I am out with friends or at a party, I end up staying for a very short while before leaving. Also, during these social gatherings, I stick by the side of who I’m with. This is where I would be seen as clingy and disrespectful. This is something I don’t mean to be. I just want to stay with people I know.
I also don’t know how to connect with random strangers. I don’t know what I can trust about what they do or say. I don’t know how to react to the conversation. So I become monotoned to avoid saying or doing the wrong things. But once I get to know them, I start to relax and I can be myself. I’m not as cold as I initially seem.
These are just a few things that I do that can easily come across as rude to others to strangers and acquaintances.
But there are ways to overcome your anxiety with these coping mechanisms. Some methods include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to inducing anxiety situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviours before they get out of control.
Identify and manage your triggers: Whether it is on your own or with a therapist, learn what your triggers are and how to manage them. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious. Long-term problems, such as work-related situations, may take some time to figure out. When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can.
Meditation: Meditation can help your brain dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise. If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting with yoga.
Health: Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to not think of your anxiety.
Medication: If your anxiety is severe enough that your mental health is being jeopardised, discuss your concerns with your doctor.
(Note: Remember that different methods work for different people.)
Anxiety is our body’s natural response to stress. How we deal with it may come across as “rude” to those that do not know us. For loved ones, recognize that these anxiety-driven patterns can be extremely difficult for the anxious person to adjust, especially if they're in the midst of a clinical anxiety problem.
To get in contact with your local helplines then visit:
the worst case scenario
Anxiety is described as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. While the majority of individuals will experience anxiety at some point in their life, some may experience anxiety frequently at a more intense level. Through overthinking and overanalyzing, those with anxiety will constantly fret over multiple situations, oftentimes being irrational.
The difference between being anxious about a specific event such as a public speech, a first date, or a test, and being anxious over nearly everything is that when one experiences severe anxiety, their entire life can bring them unease.
While anxiety is an umbrella term, some may not know the different forms of anxiety disorders.
Separation anxiety is described as inappropriate and excessive fear or anxiety concerning separation from those to whom the individual is attached. Regardless as to why someone is excessively attached to a specific individual, it can become a disorder if the individual has recurrent excessive distress when anticipating or experiencing separation from home, excessive worry over losing someone from illness, injury, disasters, or even death. Some may even struggle to leave their house due to fear of being away from someone.
Another form of anxiety can be a specific phobia where one experiences anxiety over a specific object or situation.
Social anxiety disorder is the fear of one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others. This can include the fear of having a conversation with unfamiliar people or performing in front of others.
Panic disorder is when one experiences recurrent unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is known as an abrupt surge of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes (symptoms may include sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, etc).
Perhaps the most well-known anxiety disorder is generalized anxiety disorder which is excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not about a number of events or activities. This anxiety is difficult to control and can lead to irritability, restlessness, sleep disturbance, etc.
When I was younger, my anxiety was rooted in bullying. After attending schools and being bullied by other students, I began being home schooled for a few years and was terrified to reenter a physical school afterward. This caused me to keep to myself and limit my socialization in fear of once again being bullied. As I have grown older and made friends, this fear has decreased dramatically. Although some days I do fear being around others I do not know well, I am able to control it better and conquer my fears. Though this anxiety has decreased, I still suffer from other forms of anxiety. Some days I become stressed over irrational fears and am unable to focus on anything else. Some nights I find it challenging to sleep due to thoughts racing through my head and tormenting me. The anxiety can get so intense that I may experience a panic attack that is difficult to stop.
Although I still struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, I have found healthy ways to cope and clear my mind of these irrational worries. By speaking with someone who I am close to, such as a family member or friend, they are able to reassure me and let me know that these worries are over situations that are unlikely to occur. They are aware of the severity of anxiety and therefore do not undermine my feelings but do aid in reassuring me so that I can calm down.
Some ways to deal with a panic attack include deep breathing and focusing on an object. A calm way to focus is to look around and see five things, touch four things, hear three things, smell two things, and taste one thing. This can help one get out of a panic attack and focus on what is around them and slow one’s mind. It is also valuable to know that everything will be okay and having someone tell you this can greatly aid in calming down. The majority of the fears that one experiences when suffering from an anxiety disorder are oftentimes unlikely and therefore it is important to set these fears to rest and focus on other things. By talking with someone, watching TV, listening to music, going for a walk, doing chores, etc, one can get their mind off of their worries and stabilize.
Everyone experiences anxiety now and again and it can be perfectly natural. However, if the anxiety remains constant and controls your life, it might be wise to seek help. Anxiety doesn’t have to control your life, help can greatly reduce the anxiety one may suffer from. It is useful to realize that the anxiety is temporary and oftentimes over an outcome that has a very low probability of occurring. Anxiety can be a serious issue for many and it is also valuable to understand that if you have a loved one who suffers from anxiety. Do not undermine their state but rather provide the support they need whether that be addressing the issue or helping to get their mind off of their worries.
Anxiety; our body’s natural response to dealing with stress. Anxiety is a response our body gives out when we stress, this response is the feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s about to happen. “Anxiety is a mental disorder”. First of all, when you read this sentence, I believe that many of us grew up to believe that a “mental health disorder” meant that something was wrong with our body and it was our fault. I’m sorry to break it to you, but that is completely incorrect. Our bodies are a fascinating thing and we cannot create a disorder or a disease, so, each one of you out there needs to understand that nothing is your fault.
Anxiety is like having the feeling of butterflies when you’re nervous or anxious about something which is about to happen, or when you’re stressed about a couple of things, or when you fear something when you’re sad or worried. Anxiety disorders are when you have these feelings constantly, like nearly every day, and while others sometimes don’t understand what the “big deal” is, its because they don’t understand how it feels to have anxiety nor an anxiety disorder. It’s really hard to cope with anxiety let alone an anxiety disorder because of the immense and overwhelming feelings.
Personally, I have a lot of anxiety and I deal with my anxiety nearly on a daily basis. I know how it feels to keep having a constant feeling of being worried or stressed, feeling a shortness of breath, having heart palpitations, to get obsessive over something you can’t control. The feeling of having an anxiety attack is overwhelming, and trust me when I say, I’ve had my fair share of them. An anxiety attack is an immense feeling but I have some tips/tricks which have helped me cope with them;
1) Breathing. When I have an anxiety attack, I usually breathe in for 7 seconds, hold it for 6 seconds and breath out for 8. This helps to slow down your breathing and have better control over it.
2) Talk to your body. When I face an anxiety attack, personally, I can’t control my hands and I get really fidgety, so whenever I can’t control it, I talk to my hands. I know it does sound a bit off but trust me, it does work.
3) Talk to yourself out loud. Talking to yourself out loud to calm yourself down does work. Sometimes, saying it out loud makes your body listen better than talking in your mind. These are my top 3 tips and hopefully, they work for you too.
An anxiety attack is not easy to deal with alone so its good to open up about it to your loved ones. For those who don’t have anxiety or an anxiety disorder, if you know someone who does have anxiety/ an anxiety disorder, its always good to know the symptoms: heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath/ feelings of choking, dizziness, trembling/shaking, numbness, hot and cold flashes, fear of dying or of losing control, queasy stomach, feeling detached from oneself and one's surroundings. If you know someone who has anxiety/anxiety disorder and is having a panic attack, some ways to help them are:
1) Remain calm. When you know someone is having an attack, you need to remain calm in the situation. They need to have an assurance that everything around them is under control so you should calmly tell them that you are there for them and that they are safe.
2) Ask them how you can help. If the person you know has dealt with anxiety attacks and knows how to control/stop it, then ask them how you can help and what their coping methods are.
3) Do not say “ don’t worry” or “calm down” over and over, it may worsen their attack, instead, make them do breathing exercises with you, like take deep breaths and count with them, or ask them to count down from 100, or ask them to name 5 things they can hear, smell, see or feel. This would help them keep their mind off their anxiety attack and calm them down. These are my top 3 tips on how to help someone if they have an anxiety attack.
I won’t say that I know exactly how you feel because I understand that we all cope with our anxiety differently but I am able to understand you and I’m there for you as well. To all of you out there, there is no such thing as being “normal”. We all have our battles to fight and to stand up for, and one battle that we all need to fight is to understand anxiety and anxiety disorders, and eventually all mental disorders out there. It’s our job and now your job if you read this article to stand up and educate others about anxiety and anxiety disorders, and make them understand that it's no one’s fault.
You need to be there and support those who have mental disorders, and tell them they are not alone.
- Ananya :)
Some articles written by TWE with coping and dealing with anxiety and anxiety attacks:
a.Dealing with anxiety and panic attacks: what to do:
b.Cope with panic attacks: https://www.teenagerswithexperience.com/guest-articles/cope-with-panic-attacks
c.Breathing tips for anxiety: https://www.teenagerswithexperience.com/guest-articles/breathing-tips-for-anxiety
Hotline Numbers to Call:
a.Panic Disorder Information Hotline: 1-800-64-PANIC (72642): If you don’t feel comfortable with calling someone you know while having a panic attack, some hotline numbers you can call if you need to speak to someone while having a panic attack. You could also call this number if you would like to know more about panic disorders.
b.Teen Line: 1-310-855-HOPE (4673) or 1-800-TLC-TEEN (1-800-852-8336): This helpline allows teens in crisis to connect with other teens who understand what they’re going through. The service can also be reached by texting “TEEN” to 839863.
Some articles you should check out if you want to understand more about how to deal with your panic attacks:
a. Tips on how to stop a panic attack: these tips are really helpful in dealing with your panic attacks and reduce your anxiety symptoms:
b.This article on “How to deal with anxiety” will help you and teach you more about accepting your anxiety and how to listen more to your body’s
An article to read if you want to understand more about anxiety disorder sign and symptoms:
Stress: it's an emotion we all feel every now and then. However, with the right mindset, it doesn't take much to combat the dreaded feeling once and for all. With university applications just finished, while the first step of the lengthy process is just about over, the stress never seems to stop. Here are some tips to stay mentally sound during the application process.
Procrastination is something I've struggled immensely with and is still a big issue that concerns me today. Although I am tempted to leave my work to the last minute, I know that this will ultimately do more harm than good. Instead, you should always start the work ahead of time, and divide the work into sections while doing it. This will allow you to retouch work from before without having to do it all in one go, thus limiting any unnecessary mistakes.
Your mental health should be in a place that is steady and calm. Take a deep breath and relax for a while. Do some stretching, take a walk, grab a snack or do some yoga. Just do anything other than work. This will not only strengthen your body, but also your mind.
Talk with someone:
If you are struggling with applications and need an opinion or two, talk with someone. Communication is key to getting your thoughts across and obtaining sufficient feedback and ideas that can benefit you in your application. Talk with your friends, or even better, an older person who is currently in university. This can be your older sibling, a family friend, or even a relative.
With these tips, you can battle stress in any shape or form that comes with the tense pressures of applying to university. While stress is an emotion that will always be apparent in your life, it doesn't mean it should always negatively impact the things you do.
All my life I’ve struggled to keep jobs, keep friendships everything you can think of I’ve found it hard to keep. The most I struggle with is friendships so you can expect what I’m going to say now, I don’t have many friends, and I don’t socialize as others do.
Some people may see this as complete laziness, but for me, it’s a daily struggle to even wake up and find something positive to do.
This is when daily activities come in, many people like to work out in the morning before the day ahead, many like to take walks and many like to spend time with their family before heading off to work.
For me, it’s the complete opposite. Before you think I’m one of those people who sit at home and play games all day. No, I’m not one of those people, I do have a job, and I do try to go out with the friends that I have (which is hardly any).
I do try, and it’s a lot for me to do. I try to keep myself doing at least something per week just to say I have actually achieved something. But it’s a hard battle to fight with yourself.
This is what mental health can do to someone. It can drain them, it can take their daily life and make it nonexistent. The days seem long, so you sleep away your worries hoping to one day wake up happy.
This is not just one kind of mental health, this can be various of illnesses that do this to our bodies. It’s the way we deal with it that’s important! But also what’s important is that this is recognized as NOT being lazy, but as being mentally drained.
What is Sociology?
Sociology is an exciting field of study that analyses human social relationships, politics, crime, religion, social class, and radical change. An endless study that examines all fragments of society, and how human actions shape these social structures. For instance, psychology examines the mind, the psychology of an individual, and Sociology examines the environment, in which humans live. In fact, you may have taken part in surveys conducted at school that may have been related to sociology, questions that ask your ethnicity, age, gender, and experience of schooling. Sociology emphasizes gathering evidence and conducting research, and the government has been able to use the data from these surveys or other forms of research to make policies and change.
Importance of Sociology in society
Sociology is an essential subject, a subject I hope will one day become a compulsory module in schools. It is a subject that would teach children about the society they live in, the challenges others face, and hopefully teach empathy and humanity.
Putting those hopes aside, those who are in school or have completed their education should consider diving into this subject. Sociology is more important now more than ever. Since this generation is aware of the cruelty and injustice that occurs around the world and the inequality and unfairness of the laws and systems in place. Sociology offers a factual and logical explanation, arguments that can shape our society and make it a better place to live.
Sociology shapes our politics, broadens our minds on the different economic systems that exist, challenges our comfort, our existence, and our purpose. You will find yourself exploring not just plain feminism but Marx feminism, intersectional feminism, communism, socialism, and critique of capitalism, helping you understand yourself better, not just society.
In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Me-Too movement, the revolutions, riots, the impact of the pandemic on marginalized communities, and police brutality, sociology is essential. Without an open mind and an understanding of history and society, we cannot progress very far; we cannot begin to understand why people are rioting or why marginalized groups are calling for change.
My experience with Sociology
When I studied this subject at A-level, it validated my experiences as a South-Asian woman. Growing up, I had theories of my own, which I later learned had entire studies on, my experiences dealing with racism, sexism now had a name, a study, analysis, and an explanation. My experiences were no longer just my experiences, they were universal. It was enlightening to study something so personal and insightful.
To learn sociology is to understand our values, where we stand in society, and how we can challenge the systems in place. To understand sociology is to want better for ourselves and others, to gain compassion, to gain another soul.
Books and sources that may interest the reader:
-Feminist Studies - A Guide to Intersectional Theory, Methodology and Writing By Nina Lykke
-Essentials of Sociology by James M. Henslin
-A Down-to-Earth Approach By James M. Henslin
A website that shows you a list of great books to choose from to begin learning: https://bookauthority.org/books/beginner-sociology-books
Building a college list
Being a junior going into twelfth grade, summer is less about fun and more about having to think about the colleges that I want to apply to next year. There are tens of thousands of universities in the world and even in the U.S, there are still over 4,000 schools to choose from. So how exactly do you narrow down that 4,000 to 7-15 schools? That’s what I’m here to help you with!
For me, the process of narrowing down my college list was overwhelming, to say the least. I had no idea how to start and felt as if the decisions I made during this process could either make or break my entire future. Talking to my counsellor and some of my friends that had already applied to college was very helpful for me. After having gone through the long process and finally limiting my options to 20 schools, I believe I learned many great tips regarding how to compile a college list best suitable for you. So, here is how to get started on narrowing down your college list:
1. Get to know yourself - What are your preferences and interests?
College can be a huge investment and to get the most out of your college experience, it is important to make sure that you are going somewhere that meets your needs and wants. Considering the fact that college is where you will most likely be spending four years of your life, think about even the smallest things. For example, here are some questions that you can think about as you start the process.
2. Research, Research, Research
Once you have figured out what you want, it is time to see which schools will be able to meet those needs and wants. The easiest way is to search up: “Best schools for intended major.” However, make sure that you look beyond just the academic rankings. Instead, look for lists of schools that are most diverse, have the best sports programs, have the happiest students, have the most school spirit, or whatever else is important to you.
Going to college fairs, watching YouTube videos, and talking to your high school alumnus are a few other ways to find colleges to look into. Once you have a rough list of schools that you are interested in, whether that be 30 or 60 schools, it is time to do in-depth research into each of the schools. This definitely took me a long time, but you do not have to do it all in one day, and being thorough here will definitely be helpful later on. Here are a few ways to do your research:
As I did research, I started eliminating schools that didn’t fit what I wanted and was able to narrow down my list.
3. Split the colleges you are interested in to reach, safety, and target schools.
While I am not a professional on college admissions it is recommended that you have a list of around 8-15 schools with around 2-3 safety schools, 3-6 target schools, and 3-6 reach schools. Safety schools are schools that you have a good chance of getting into, target schools are those that you have a 50-50% chance of getting into, and reach schools are those that you do not have a good chance of getting into. So, how exactly do you know which colleges fit into which category? Here is what my own counsellor recommended:
I know that coming up with a college list can seem daunting, and I definitely felt worried and unprepared myself as I started the process. However, the more I did research, the more confident I became in knowing what I wanted and whether or not a school is a good fit for me. Your college list will evolve over time and you do not need to do it all in one day. So, don’t worry too much and I know that you got this!!
Have a great day,
If you’re getting started on writing your college apps, especially for schools in the United States, one major part of the application process that probably is going to take up the majority of your effort is the essay portions. Between the Common App, UC Personal Insight Questions, and thousands of schools’ supplemental essays, you’ve got quite a bit of writing ahead of you. Actually, that’s somewhat of a lie; most college app essays are only around 500 words, so it’s not much at all. And that’s all you get to convince these schools why you deserve a spot over thousands of other applicants. Sounds daunting? It can be.
I remember the amount of effort I put into writing my college apps, and boy am I glad that part of my life is over. I found so much advice for how to write the best college applications, and yet I still struggled to get started. 17 years of life experiences flooded my mind, and I couldn’t sort through it all. That’s because I had no idea what I should be writing about.
Deciding on what topic to write about is the most important part of the college app essay. The rest is just applying general writing skills and finding the right tone, but the story you tell is what the admission officers will focus on - because that story will represent you. Despite that, there’s not a lot of information about how to select a topic for each essay. Some prompts are hyper-specific, especially if it is a supplement for a specific school, that point directly to what you should be writing about. Others are as vague as “Share an essay on any topic of your choice.” That’s literally a prompt on the Common App (one of seven, and you only select one).
For anyone who is stuck on this decision process, I’ve been there. You might have the instinct to just think of something that fits and dive right in- try to fight that. Chances are, you won’t go deep enough into the prompt or the experiences you come up with, and shallow essays can break an application. Don’t let that happen to you. This article is a long one, but hopefully it will guide you to figure out what exactly to write about for each essay.
WHAT COLLEGES WANT
Before you even start to think about how to answer a prompt, you should first try to understand why schools are asking that prompt to begin with. What even is the point of these essays, anyways? Simply put, you are more than your report card and résumé, and schools want to see the rest of you that they can’t get from anywhere else but your own words. They want to see who you are, what your values are, what drives you, how you think, and how you move through life. Sounds deep? Yup. That’s the point.
Schools rarely use the essay to measure your intellect as a student. Instead, they want to see you as a person. There are some questions that statistics cannot answer. Will you be a good fit for the school? How do you get along with other people? What is it that you care most about? How do you react to challenges in your life? What else interests you aside from what is on your résumé? What do you love to learn about? Why do you want to go to college? How do you think, and how do you learn? Why do you think you deserve a spot at that school? There are many other questions like these, and I won’t list them all because there is no official list. However, you probably now have a slightly better time understanding what UChicago is really asking for with the prompt, “what can actually be divided by zero?”
Most importantly, colleges want to know how you see yourself. What do you think is the most important thing about who you are? Some prompts explicitly ask for this, others don’t. The key is to not choose a topic based on what you think will impress an admission officer. Back in 2019, I attended an event with Exploring College Options, a cohort of top-tier schools that do undergraduate recruitment and fairs together. One admission officer reminded people to not write to impress: the essay that he remembers the most is one he read several years prior about a tree that a student had planted with his family as a boy and how the student has grown along with the tree. It is a simple concept and relatively unimpressive in terms of what would be on a résumé, but the student wrote from the heart and it showed.
Now that you hopefully have a clearer idea of the goal for these essays, it’s time to start thinking about the topics. You may feel you have too many ideas, or not enough, but it is always good to find a variety of experiences and activities you can draw from to answer any number of prompts and ensure that your application reflects who you are. You will want to start evaluating your life in terms of what activities take up the most of your time, special interests, specific memories-both good and bad, but also evaluate yourself in terms of qualities that you think transcend these moments in your life. Below is a brainstorm similar to my old notes from when I was going through the process for myself.
*I swam competitively from ages 8-11, then started again when I was 16.
With these in mind, the next thing you will want to do is unpack some of the specific examples you have listed out. Your goal is to see how they have shaped you as a person, what you have learned from them, and how they highlight who you are as a person. Focus on experiences that are relatively recent, as colleges want to see who you are now, not who you were years ago. Go deep, and let yourself go on tangents. You’ll find some dead ends, but that’s okay. Never erase anything. The goal for this exercise is to explore the full value of these experiences, not to try to write the essay.
LOOKING AT THE PROMPTS
Only once you have clear ideas of what you could write on your applications should you zero in on the prompts. Prompts can be tricky because they may not always show what a college is truly asking for from you. It’s your job to figure out why the schools are asking those specific questions, or giving those exact prompts. Rarely is there one right answer only. Sometimes, your gut reaction of how to answer a prompt may actually show colleges the exact opposite of what they want. For example, one PIQ asks “What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?” The trick to this prompt is that the talent or skill you mention is less important to the admissions officers than how you have developed and utilized it throughout your life. The point is not to brag about what you can do. It is to show how you make the most of what you’ve got.
As you start to understand the prompts better, you’ll see that some of the topics you’ve brainstormed won’t really fit well for any of them. I personally had wanted to write about my family, but I knew my words were limited. I knew that there was not a whole lot I could share about my family experiences that would truly show to colleges what I know they want to learn about me, so I left the idea behind, along with several others. You may find yourself leaving behind over half of your brainstorm, and that is okay. The point of brainstorming is to just find your options and explore different ideas.
Chances are, some colleges will be reading multiple essays from you. Even if this is not the case for any of the schools you are applying to, it is vital to balance your application. Every school will have some form of a resume, and the essays will merely supplement it. What does your resume show about you, and what is missing? My resume highlighted my academics, so I focused more on my extracurriculars and non-written achievements for my essays. You want your application to show a complete picture of who you are and will be as a college student - in courses and the community. Your essays will fill out the rest of the picture that cannot be taken from anything else on paper. Therefore, if you have multiple essays to the same school, try to make sure they are not too similar. With limited words, you want to show as much of yourself as possible.
Finally, you may find that some topics fall under multiple prompts! Keep these topics in mind. If they are central to your identity, make sure you write something about it. However, sometimes the ideas we brainstorm are not as deep as we originally thought. For me, I found that though writing about my experiences with swimming could work for many of the prompts I was given, I simply would not have enough to say. Make sure you have enough to say on a topic. Most prompts give a word range - always aim for the upper bound.
SELECTING THE TOPICS
By this point, you’ve already done a lot of the work. You know what colleges are looking for. You understand the prompts. You know yourself and what stories about yourself you can tell. At this point, all that is left is to simply decide what topic to write about for each prompt. Sounds easy, right? But be careful - most people rush through this step without realizing, even if they prepared well for this step. Remember, it is okay to change your mind. Nothing is finalized until you hit the submit button, so keep an open mind even once you’ve made these decisions. I myself shifted several of my essays around. After writing out a full essay to answer a prompt about improving my community, I shifted it to answer a different prompt about an academic subject that inspires me. I had to write some more to frame the story properly and make some edits to passages that I enjoyed, but that is alright. I think I wrote at least ten times as many words through my various drafts than what was actually submitted to schools.
Keep the following in mind as you start to commit to your essay prompts:
Hopefully, this article helped you build a process to select what you want to write about for your college applications. With the brainstorming and the first drafts, just write it all out. Don’t try to get it perfect or succinct just yet, just put everything on the page. Narrowing down the topic and editing are quite similar processes and are probably the two most important steps to writing a stellar college application essay. If you get stuck in the brainstorming process or struggle to express yourself on the page, turn to those that know you best. The application is supposed to reflect your own introspection, but you can also find inspiration from the way others describe you.
When I was in high school, my college counselor was not very helpful at any stage of the application essay process. However, there is one thing she said that is very important - someone who knows you should be able to read your essay and identify it as your voice, your identity, and your experiences, not anyone else’s. Part of this comes down to editing and word choice, but mostly it comes from choosing a story that is unique to you. You need to get to the heart of your identity and expose yourself. Some topics require you to show your flaws, and that is okay. Colleges are not expecting perfect people, so don’t try to be one. Just make sure that whatever flaws you describe are countered with related positive qualities.
For essays that are around only 500 words each, the process is long and may seem arduous. Yet without doing this work, those short essays go from being the deciding factor for admissions officers letting you into the school of your dreams to the reason you failed to stand out at any school at all. So please take time with this process. Don’t do it all at once, but a little bit day-by-day or week-by-week. That way, over time, you can change your mind as needed or slowly build to the best possible essay you can write.
Best of luck,
When did I join TWE?
I joined TWE in early November 2019 when I was 14 and in Year 10.
How did I find TWE?
TWE first appeared to me in a Facebook group (of all places...) called GCSE Revision. A former member had published their application form for Head Girl and had mentioned an online organisation in the letter. She wrote how it helped her communicate with others and improved her social and teamwork skills, which interested me as it sounded like something I’d fit into. Even though she had left by the time I sent in my application to join, I suppose it restores the saying ‘when one door closes, another one opens’.
Why did I join?
I joined the organisation for something to do in my spare time, mainly because of the lack of hobbies and activities I do outside of school. Writing is something I enjoy and I always have enjoyed, and TWE has given me the opportunity to actually possibly help someone instead of just writing plain stories which only family members will read. This makes my time worth it and also extremely rewarding.
What has my experience been like?
My experience here has been great; not only have I been able to write for a real purpose as I mentioned before but I’ve also made new friends on the way who are all from different places. The best thing about TWE is that it’s a safe space for anyone, which is definitely promoted by the members as they are all welcoming, friendly and non judgmental. Everyone here is unique, and the biggest feature about the members here is their strength and resilience, for example when I read some people’s articles, it makes me realise how much harder other people’s lives are than mine and how lucky I am to not have to deal with the things they have been through. Everyone supports each other and really do re-enforce the safe spacity of TWE.
What lessons have I learnt from TWE?
I have absolutely no clue, but one lesson I’ve learnt (as cheesy as it sounds) is that everyone has a boss wherever you go in life (unless you’re Emily). Another lesson would probably be how to use Google Drive properly, which will definitely come in hand in the future.
I think TWE is an amazing opportunity for anyone who isn’t already a part of it for the reasons I have explained above. If you’d like to be a part of a positive, rewarding and friendly organisation then I’d definitely recommend joining.
Are you unsure what you want to do in the future?? It is okay, we’ve all been there. Maybe you’re really indecisive like me, maybe you have a vague idea or maybe you are just completely lost. No matter which one you relate to I’m here to help, by telling you about my experience.
So, I was certain after binge watching all of 'Gilmore Girls' plus the revival that I wanted to be a journalist, just like Rory (one of the main characters). Which is why I started my blog as a way to build up a portfolio of my writing. I even started up a school newspaper in my highschool and then later joined my college’s student magazine. I showed that much enthusiasm towards it that I am now in line to be the chief editor next year. But speaking of college, I even suited my chosen courses around this idea of being a journalist, I mean I chose English and media (two obvious ones but my favourites) and sociology which is what I wanted to be my niche.
However, I recently had a review day where me and my teachers sat down to talk about how I’m getting on in their courses and how I can improve in advance of our summer progression tests. The grades we get in these tests decide if we continue our courses into the second year. In my meetings there was a unanimous trend that my writing wasn’t enough and that I wasn’t fully answering the exam questions. So, as a way to improve I was set the tasks of doing practice essays at home and attending an “Academic Writing Course” during my free periods in college.
Then when I got back home from college I told my Dad, and that's when we came to the realisation that maybe journalism isn’t right for me. I mean there is one journalist apprenticeship in my local area.On top of that it is a highly competitive field and I am having to take an extra course to work on improving the main skill required for this job. Which is how I came to the conclusion that maybe college isn’t right for me. That’s okay, there is a lot of speculation around being a college drop out and it is certainly seen as inferior. But I realised that an apprenticeship could be a better option for me.
My advice is to weigh up your options. Originally I thought that college was the only way and it is not. If you have any further questions I would love to help out, and if you have some advice why not help out??
High school is a time in which nearly every person experiences anxiety, whether it’s caused by the overwhelming amount of homework, or the ever-changing circle of friends. When a teenager is under stress whilst facing the typical anxieties surrounding fitting in, it is easy to fall victim to peer pressure, and ultimately develop an emotional dependency on drugs and alcohol.
Not only do these actions result in significant damage to the health of teenagers with developing bodies, but the psychological harm that teens undergo proves to be major in the effects of substance abuse.
Having witnessed this behaviour in my own home and at school, drug and alcohol abuse appears to be prevalent in teenagers who lack the proper support system at home or within their social circles to confront and work through their emotions. In addition, those struggling with self-image, bullying, family problems, and even the pressure of succeeding in school are more prone to escape these anxious feelings with what seems to be the easiest solution.
Although typically teen addicts may feel that drugs provide relief from stress, relying on a substance for any form of satisfaction only drives a person down a dark path. I have seen first-hand the effects that drugs and alcohol have on teens, such as strained relationships with family and friends, and losing touch of themselves and what truly brings them joy outside of their addiction.
The topic of drug abuse in adolescence is often wrongfully stigmatized. I find that those who refrain from smoking or drinking, or adults and family will judge others who use without empathizing with them and realizing that they are going through something. Those who simply want help for teen addicts overlook why one might be seeking to escape their reality in the first place. Within my school environment, it is difficult for adults and for some students to understand a teen who is reliant on drugs, and the aggressive and judgmental approach taken by parents and schools only widens the void between teen users and non-users. With the difficulty to understand each other, a teen addict is pushed further into self-isolation, ultimately worsening their addictive behaviour. What must be brought to light is how school staff, parents, and peers confront teen addiction, and ways in which both sides can be made to feel understood. Although every situation may be different, teen substance abuse stems from the inability of a teen to have the resources to properly digest and control their anxiety, making it a priority that parents and schools offer psychological help rather than judgment and punishment when confronting a potential addict.
If you’re applying to university, you will need to write a personal statement. If you’re applying through the university itself, they may ask for a variation of a personal statement or one itself, often with a word limit. If you’re applying through UCAS, you’ll need a personal statement with your application and there’s a character limit of 4000 words or 47 lines. This can seem intimidating, but it isn’t as daunting as you may think.
A personal statement is an introduction to you. It’s your first impression to the places you’re applying to. It’s an important part of your application, but it isn’t talked about much. There aren’t many tips on how to make one, especially to make one stand out, so here are my tips on how to make a personal statement.
I applied to university last year, both through UCAS and through university websites. Making a personal statement for UCAS can seem scary due to the character limit and their advised limit of 500 words. Of everyone in my class, none of us thought we could get to 500 words, most of us claiming we weren’t exciting enough for that many words. I can guarantee you, everyone’s exciting enough for 500 words, even if you don’t feel it.
One place I applied to split the personal statement up, asking specific questions such as ‘why do you want to study here?’, or ‘What’s something interesting about you?’, each having a very strict character limit of 250. That’s why I would say to have your UCAS personal statement easy at all times so you can adapt it to those kinds of applications.
Here are some things I found helpful about the structure-
The first paragraph should be a brief introduction to you. How did you get into the subject? Be as passionate as you can while keeping this brief. My best advice is keep it to four lines, maximum.
The second paragraph should be about your current education. If you’re in college, write about your experience on the subject based on your college experience and what achievements you’ve completed in college, all relevant to your subject. If you’re in sixth form, write about your subject and your relevant achievements you’ve gained throughout sixth form. For example, I wrote about the shows I worked on in college and what I gained from those experiences.
The third paragraph should be your experiences and achievements about the subject outside of education. If you don’t have any, don’t worry about this, just skip this step. For this section, I wrote about theatre experiences I had outside of college, even if they were from before I started college, I put them in. Big up yourself. Show off what you’ve done.
The fourth paragraph should be about you. Do you have any hobbies? Put them in. They have subliminal messages, so keep that in mind. Do you like running? It shows you’re active. Do you like writing? It’s seen as you can keep up with work. Put it in. Tailor them to your subject. For a production arts course, I put in that I run, I write, that I play piano and do grades. It showed that I’m active, I’m creative and do work, and I can read sheet music. Be smart about what you put in, because they will look for the messages your hobbies give. Put in experiences you’ve had outside of your subject. You went to a club? Put it in. It shows you keep busy.
The fifth chapter should be a summary. Try to be as passionate as possible. Say why you want to study your subject in higher education, but keep it brief. Four lines maximum.
With that structure, here are some things to remember:
This is what I learnt about personal statements. I hope that this has helped, even just a little! It’s a tricky thing to do, but remember that the most important part is to be you. Hype yourself up but stay true to yourself. Being patient is especially important. It’s hard. Be patient. You’ll get it perfect in no time. Through my experience, it took me three months to get it right, but it worked. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there, as long as you get it in before the deadline, it’s perfectly okay. Rushing it won’t get it perfect. Being authentically you is the best thing to do when writing a personal statement.
Life as a teenager and young adult can be extremely busy and overwhelming. Especially because we have to balance school along with our personal life and other commitments that we have. This can be a lot and for many it is extremely tough to obtain a good schedule or routine.
One of the most important things to learn as a teenager is time management. Time management allows one to not waste time and spend one’s time in both useful and/or beneficial ways. Some efficient ways to manage your time are:
Another key to balancing school with your personal life is finishing schoolwork and studying in a timely and efficient manner. Easy ways to do this include:
Adding on to that, using your phone is one of the biggest ways of becoming distracted and wasting time. Limiting your screen time and putting your phone somewhere not easily accessible when doing any assignments will significantly improve your work ethic.
Moreover, managing your time, planning, and making schedules will help you be more efficient and will then allow you to have more time to spend with your family and friends. Additionally, you will have much more time to relax and spend time doing the things that you want to do. Another tip about spending time with friends is planning to hang out with friends only on the weekends or on days you have finished all of your work so that you are not interfering with your schedule or schoolwork.
Balancing school and your personal life can be stressful, but there are many ways to make every day a little bit easier and a little less taxing. Although some days can be really extremely hard and stressful, that’s okay because there will always be good days with your friends, and even at school!
Cheesy quotes aside, music really is one of the best things we humans ever created. Different frequencies of sounds all coming together to create something that can transport you through time and space. A song can take you to the best years of your life or make you bawl your eyes out for no other reason than just the fact that you heard it.
As my life gets more and more chaotic and my emotional state less and less healthy, I always find myself turning to music. I would never go as far as to say that I am an aficionado but it's one of those things that has always played a huge part in my life. Some of my happiest memories are tied to certain songs that never fail to give me the warm and fuzzy feeling of nostalgia. Whether it's playing the same song on loop for hours on end or constantly switching genres, every two minutes, music has always played a big part in determining my mood and sometimes even how productive I am on a given day. I have spent hours just imagining the million different ways my life could be. I have conquered my biggest fears and achieved my wildest dreams in my head. I have breathed life to my stories and characters just because a song just gave me the vibe. Infact listening to an amazing playlist while writing my fanfictions is probably when I am the calmest.
I’ll admit, I was late to the aesthetic music trend. A natural consequence of being me apparently cause everyone was onboard this train a long time before me. Regardless they have become a staple in life and I think they are literally the best things to ever happen like ever. Whenever I find my mood drifting towards a bad place, I always know I can find comfort in these. Whether it is my mom yelling at me, me feeling like a loser or if I am just having a bad day, there is always a playlist to help me and I am so grateful for it.
From the amazing creators whose talents have honestly no bounds to the hilarious titles and stunning music choices, it's one of the most wholesome and pure communities I have found on youtube and just reading through the comment sections in one of these videos gives me hope that maybe humanity isn’t as far gone as I think. Even as I write this I am vibing to two songs I found on a playlist (interrupted by spotify ads) with rain pouring outside. It's a nice feeling. I have a mountain of work to finish but...at this moment, I feel happy. Contant. Just calm. Rainy days already give me nostalgia for reasons I can’t fathom. Add to that a beautiful playlist and it’s just….good. If I had to imagine heaven had a vibe, I hope this is what it's like.
Aesthetic playlists can range from grunge to dark academia to what I can only describe as pastale. If you have an aesthetic, there is a playlist to match it. These songs can transport you to literally a time so long forgotten by you that even you might be surprised by the memories it may dig up.
I am convinced that these are therapeutic on a level my brain is simply incapable of computing. These are excellent to calm you down or give you that kick of energy you were looking for. Being a night owl, I often find myself listening to these at night which produce either one of two outcomes - I end up happily drifting off to sleep or I stay up the entire night writing a novel in my head before getting side tracked by calming youtube videos and not getting enough sleep. If you aren’t convinced, here are some of my absolute favourite playlists that have been with me through thick and thin -
a playlist of songs that make studying suck less - YouTube
homework vibes ~ homework playlist ~ - YouTube
lets go on a trip through your nostalgia, a 10's playlist ♡ - YouTube
another trip through your nostalgia ( pt. 2 ) - a playlist - YouTube
everything’s going to be okay ~ a comfort playlist for anxiety attacks/intrusive thoughts - YouTube
indie/alt pop songs i mouth the words to - YouTube
songs with ✨ emotional value ✨ - YouTube
gloriously alive and causing shit; finger snappin playlist - YouTube
i'm here to cause a riot; rebel revelry playlist - YouTube
a playlist of songs that make studying suck less - YouTube
a playlist that will make you feel like you're in a movie starring as a badass villain. - YouTube
Basically these songs honestly act as a mood board for me. There is something for everyone and it's just a beautiful community. If I managed to either introduce you to this concept or a playlist that you adore, I consider it mission accomplished !!
The fear of public speaking, glossophobia, is extremely common. About 77% of the population has some level of anxiety regarding public speaking. The fear of public speaking stems from social anxiety, which is one of the many types of anxiety disorders.
The fear of public speaking and social anxiety can occur in many different situations. It can come up when one is presenting something, when one is in a public setting with many people, or when one has to talk to a stranger/someone they aren’t familiar with. Social anxiety causes one to think that everyone is judging them, even with the most basic tasks. It may cause many symptoms, such as blushing, sweating, trembling, feeling a rapid heart rate, or feeling one’s mind going blank, which are all normal symptoms of glossophobia.
As you probably know, in school students are required to do many presentations and other things that involve public speaking. This is a part of school that many students strongly dislike, myself included. Every time I have been assigned a presentation that needs to be presented in front of one of my classes, I have always thought of excuses to try to get out of the presentation like staying home sick on the day of a presentation or pretending to lose my voice. But I have never actually used these excuses, due to my fear of getting a bad grade if I don’t present.
Whenever I have to present, I do get the common symptoms of glossophobia and social anxiety, I start excessively sweating, especially my hands, my heart rate becomes faster, my voice begins to tremble, and sometimes my mind goes blank and I forget what I have to say, so I have to start improvising. Because I start improvising, I feel that I don’t sound as intelligent as I could’ve, and then I feel like I am being judged all over again.
These presentations give me a lot of stress, and every day leading up to a presentation I always feel extremely nervous, and sometimes this stress can lead to panic attacks, which are never fun. Although I have been struggling with this for a while now, I still have not gotten completely used to it, it is just something one learns to live with.
Another example of when I feel a sudden rush of social anxiety is when I get called on in class without volunteering. I feel that I am being picked on and that if I don’t get the answer right I feel that everyone is judging me and talking about me in their head. Even when I do know the answer, sometimes I freeze up and start thinking about what others are thinking of me, but I have gotten better at being able to answer “normally” when this happens.
Although public speaking is supposed to get easier over time I feel like it is still just as hard every time, but there are some things that I try to do to make it slightly better:
Other ways to improve public speaking, in general, is to:
The fear of public speaking is totally normal and many people experience it, so there is no reason to feel ashamed or upset about it. Although it is extremely scary at times, there are ways to help get yourself through it. Remember you are not alone and you can always ask for help.
Public Speaking Tips from a Doctor:
Best of luck,
swipe left or swipe right
PLEASE NOTE: You must be 18 or over to legally use a dating website or app so please bear that in mind.
Online dating has become increasingly popular in recent years and it looks like that trend is only going to continue. Gone are the days of meeting someone in a bar or through a mutual friend. It's easy to see why people turn to websites like Tinder, or Match.com. It is so easy to create a profile and it allows you to meet single people outside your circles who you may not have otherwise given a second look.
But online dating is also scary. With an estimated 323.9 million people using dating apps (source: Cloudwards.net) it can be really difficult to decide who to 'swipe left' or 'swipe right', so to speak. Not everyone on a dating site is going to be trustworthy and who they say they are and, certainly for women, unsolicited pictures (colloquially known as 'dick pics') are a common occurrence. But it’s not just women. Men can also feel concerned for their safety as women online can also be inclined to lie or make omissions about who they are and their life. So do the pros of online dating outweigh the cons and if so, how can you keep yourself safe?
I am extremely inexperienced when it comes to dating. My first and only serious relationship was when I was 15/16 years old and it really didn't end well. I had briefly considered online dating before but I had always been scared as all I’ve ever known is the horror stories you hear about catfishes and dick pics and people just looking for sex. I knew I didn’t want that so I was very reluctant to go online, despite my godmother insisting that I needed to get out there again and give dating a chance. But, despite my reservations, I have recently taken the leap and decided to try Facebook Dating. It’s been an interesting endeavour, to say the least. I was decidedly optimistic about online dating and thought I’d met ‘the one’ the first time I matched and spoke with someone.
That was my first encounter with what I call ‘the bullshitter.’ He told me he’d never met anyone like me, never felt this way about anyone and he was falling in love with me (this was all on the first date, two days after we’d started talking, can I add.) He kept saying how he couldn’t wait to put a ring on my finger and spend his life with me. Cue two weeks later, two days before our second date, he messaged me to tell me he was getting back with his ex-girlfriend… who was also pregnant with his baby. I mean - what, wow. What am I meant to do with that?
Understandably, I was pretty cautious and nervous after that about getting too invested in anyone. I didn’t want to be let down yet again. In the past month or so, I have matched with many people and spoken with roughly half of them. Half of those I’ve clicked with and half of them either didn’t work out or didn’t even reply. I’ve been ghosted, sent unsolicited dirty messages and blocked for no reason at all among other strange interactions. I honestly considered deactivating my profile and just giving up again.
Roughly two weeks ago, I met one of the sweetest guys I've ever encountered. He has one young daughter which is a bit scary for a 22 year old, but he is so kind and makes me feel pretty damn special - not in the way the bullshitter did though, but in a genuine way. He’s made it very clear that he’s fine with me needing to slow down and he won’t pressure me into anything that I’m not ready for or completely 100% comfortable with. It’s early days but we’ve been on three dates so far and thanks to him, I’ve regained a little bit of hope and faith in online dating.
Just because I have met some horrible people doesn’t mean that everyone is horrible. There are some genuinely nice guys online, as proven by the latest guy I’ve met. Online dating is scary and yes, it can be really difficult to navigate like some kind of unsolvable puzzle. But I don't want you to write it off just because of the prospect of meeting someone horrible. So here are some tips from personal experience on how to keep yourself safe and enjoy the experience.
So whilst I encourage you to enjoy the experience of online dating if you decide to try it, I’ll leave you with this thought: be careful and stay safe.
~ Kenzie x
When it’s coming up to Summertime we all like to have something planned. That’s when a bucket list comes into action! A bucket list is when a person makes plans that they would like to accomplish during their lifetime.
Summer is about creating special memories with family and friends. But who’s to say bucket lists are just for Summer?
There are four seasons every year, so we can make more bucket lists! The benefits of having a bucket list are you have something to be excited about but also you can plan it out too! Also, it can make you feel motivated that you’re going to accomplish your dream!
Here are some ideas for each season!
Spring Bucket List;
Summer Bucket List;
Autumn Bucket List;
Winter Bucket List;
So there are just a few ideas on how to create your seasonal bucket lists! But remember these bucket lists don’t have to be big ideas they can be little ones like helping out a neighbour or taking your family out for dinner.
The things you put onto your season bucket list are your personal ideas and you can complete them anytime you want! It’s fun to create seasonal bucket lists so you can have an idea of what you would like to do in the New Year.
Some of the things I’d like to complete in the New Year are;
My bucket list has helped me to grow my confidence to get out more but also have a positive look at life. My future can be filled with exploring but also discovering myself more.
The importance of a bucket list is to live a life with hopes and aspirations. Whilst also reflecting on our values and goals,
First time for everything
Despite going through different things in each of our lives, there are some aspects to life that we share—one of those regarding getting a job. Whether we’re talking about part-time or something you want to do for the rest of your life, this is something we all go through. Working is an essential part of life.
To say I am very lucky to have the job I have now is an understatement. Given my circumstances, I would have been foolish to turn down a job like the one I have now. Not only does the job pay $3.75 more than the minimum wage, but it is also across the street from where I live, and it allows me to meet new people and develop more relationships (not to mention my coworker who is very easy on the eyes). I currently work at a gas station which requires me to manage the store by myself most times. Some of the requirements of my job include:
Working is not easy. There are many factors to getting and maintaining a job. While some jobs are easier to perform than others, it is important to recognize the hard work it takes for everyone to perform their job. In this article, I wish to share the process of getting my first job as well as how I am doing so far.
Step 1: Looking For Jobs
This was definitely harder than it sounds. I had multiple things to keep in mind as I searched for a place to work. These factors included:
Step 2: Applying/Interview Process
There are plenty of websites where companies post if they are hiring. Another good tip is to search for a company you want to work for, and call/make a visit to see about applying. What I personally did was look up jobs in my area, then refined that search to a specific company to see if they were hiring. Sometimes, if a company is desperately looking for employees, they may skip your resume and immediately ask for an interview. While this doesn’t always happen, it is important to be prepared for an interview soon after applying. Personally, since the gas station needed workers, I bypassed the interview process and only had to submit a background check. While I had an easy interview process, I still recognize that most people still have to go through a vigorous process for interviews.
Step 3: Training
Once you have successfully passed the interview process, you will have the training to teach you the ropes.
This happens with every new job you get to ensure you are able to successfully complete the tasks assigned to you. With my training, I had two phases: computer and on-the-job training. Computer training is essentially taking courses, while on-the-job is more hands-on.
Some tips I have to get you through training are:
While there are plenty more things to consider when completing training, the steps
listed above helped me tons getting through it.
Step 4: Maintaining Your Work Performance
Once you have completed training, it is now time for you to put your skills to the test. Since I work at a gas station that only allows one person per shift (with the exception of the manager and trainees) I was quite nervous to handle the customers by myself whilst ensuring the gas station is clean.
Below, I have compiled some tips to help you maintain excellence, regardless of where you work.
Working is a part of life. Everybody experiences it and will have different encounters each time. While my experience won’t relate to everyone, I have compiled advice that could help in a broader sense. Getting a job is not an easy thing and will take time. Don’t feel discouraged by getting rejected, there will always be a job out there that is perfect for you. Good luck to everyone that is looking for a job or already working!
Best of Luck,
Early Bird gets the worm, right?
One of the worst things imaginable is waking up early, especially on days where you are allowed to sleep in. You spend hours tossing and turning, hoping sleep will eventually happen, except it doesn’t. If you have ever experienced waking up too early for your liking, you are not alone. Up until recently, I spent years waking up at 4:00 in the morning, even on weekends. This was especially bad since I ended up going to sleep too early.
Some people who don’t experience this might see this more as a blessing than a curse because they are unable to wake up early without an alarm clock. However, waking up too early can be detrimental to one’s health, especially because a good chunk of teenagers go to sleep very late.
Waking up too early was something that I absolutely hated about my body. Sure, I can brag about being able to rise before my alarm, but that doesn’t mean that I want to be up and about at that time. Problems that have occured to me waking up too early include:
In order to understand our bodies, and why we arise too early in the morning, it is essential that we learn about our circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm includes physical, mental, and behavioral processes that occur in a 24-hour cycle. A healthy circadian rhythm allows you to go to sleep and wake up at consistent times. However, you still need to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Finding a good circadian rhythm for me took years, because my body was waking up despite being constantly tired. Below, I have provided some tips that have helped me gain control of my circadian rhythm again.
Now, these may not necessarily work for you. Everyone’s body is different, so you may have to try new methods to fix your circadian rhythm. Below, I have compiled a list of even more solutions in case mine didn’t work.
Waking up early is a part of life, it is something that is necessary for everybody. However, it is possible to wake up too early. It is important to listen to your body and figure out how you can maintain a healthy circadian rhythm so you’re getting as much sleep as necessary.
10 Romantic themed prompts
Writer’s block can feel like the worst thing to overcome when you’re stuck in the middle of it. To help you get through this, I’ve come up with a list of writing prompts that could help!
My first day of 11th grade was my first day back at school in over a year. It was one of the weirdest days of my life. Being on campus with over 3,000 students again after being in only zoom classes for over a year was a dramatic change. Going back to sitting with groups of people and having normal social interactions, rather than breakout rooms with minimal interaction, while being in the comfort of your own home, in whatever clothes you want, eating whenever you want, and pretty much doing anything whenever you want, is a big change compared to in-person school. Seeing people and being surrounded with numerous others was a big change, not only literally but also emotionally.
I was used to waking up for school just minutes before my first class and being half asleep throughout most of it, but being back in-person completely changed my mood in school and towards school. Overall, I felt much better and much happier, however, it was quite overwhelming going back with so many people and so many expectations.
Although I am happy to be back and get back into the normal groove of things, it will take sometime. Recently, due COVID, I haven’t had to or haven’t been able to make new friends and really try to make connections, but now I do because it is important to do so. Even though being super social is not everyone’s strong suit, as it definitely isn’t mine, I found it quite easy and natural to make new friends in my classes, and just in general.
One thing I thought that was interesting about COIVID and my experience throughout COVID is that I have actually become more social. I used to be extremely shy and although I still can be, I find it much easier to talk to others, although presentations and public speaking are still extremely difficult for me. But now that we are back in-person, presentations are a part of many classes and even though they can be scary, practicing and being prepared will make it easier.
Another thing about being back at in-person school is getting involved in school and school activities. Dances are finally back, football games and other sports events, clubs, and even just being involved in classes. I know I am going to take full advantage of these things and be as involved as possible because I have missed so much this past year. I highly recommend getting as involved as you can with school and school activities because they are so much fun and only last a few years.
Although going back to school can be crazy overwhelming, I’m so glad I am able to go back because I feel that I’ve missed crucial parts of my high school years. I’m ready to fully enjoy these next couple of years and I hope you are too!