Senior Features

What if College Isn’t For Me?

By: Brianna Ramos (Opinion Editor) As of March 2020, there are over 1.2 billion students in the world. It is proven by the National Center for Education Statistics that about 65 percent of high school students move on to higher level education, thus leaving the other 35 percent of students cutting their own path in life. In times like these, it is proven that many students can make it without a college degree. For those in question, it is important you take time to examine your financial situation, consider taking a gap year to evaluate your aspirations in life, and be open minded towards different opportunities that will aid in improving your quality of life. When reaching out to a few older people who have made a successful career without a degree, I was able to conclude that no matter the path you choose, there will always be a part of you that will wish you had tried life differently because it is human nature to wonder “what if I had chosen this path” in life. A man named Gil Cruz, who is 61 years old, stated, “I am now retired with little regrets, I was able to work as a postman for 35 years and I enjoyed being able to travel and experience the world one day at a time.” Additionally, I interviewed 33-year-old Kyra Cruz who said, “I am doing good on my own and I’m working as a caregiver for the elderly. I see myself enjoying this job while trying to build a career through YouTube as well.” Lastly, I spoke with 24-year-old Shantalie Santos who said, “I am working at a federal agency that deals with the collection of taxes. I enjoy my job because I get to help people with taxes, I get paid well, and travel about once a year. I didn’t feel school was for me because I never really excelled, and I am doing just fine where I’m at now.” These adults are living examples of a successful and comfortable life without college. This means, as long as you put yourself out there and apply yourself, it is possible to achieve what you want. On the other hand, it is also said that 12 percent of non-college attendees end up homeless. However, the odds are in your favor because that does not include the students who turn to drugs, gangs, etc. Overall, finding a career path is hard and it takes a lot of effort, but it is not possible to reach your destination as long as you persevere when the going gets tough. Other than the few instances of jobs listed above, some other career paths without a college degree with matching salaries are: -Home Health Aid $25,000 -Medical Assistant $35,000 -Massage Therapist $35,000 -Dental Assistant $39,000 -Solar Photovoltaic Installer $43,000 -Licensed Vocational Nurse $48,000 -Media and Communication Equipment Worker $80,000 -Power Plant Operators $80,000 -Repairman $80,000 -Powerhouse Electricians $80,000 -Criminal Investigator $82,000 -Commercial Pilots $83,000 -System Operators $87,000 -Patrol Sergeants $90,000 -Nuclear Power Reactor Operators $95,000 -Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers $95,000

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Aren’t You Forgetting Something?

By: Madison Bouton (Staff Reporter/Photographer) With senior year coming to a close and final college decisions being made, it’s time to consider what to bring. This busy end to the school year might cause confusion when packing and students might forget items. Liberty Streeter, a Nease High School graduate from the class of 2019, gave us helpful tips for seniors. When asked what was helpful and what was unnecessary, Liberty stated “the storage units under my bed were the most helpful, I use it to organize all sorts of things from clothes to dishes; however, the clothes drying rack I purchased was never used so I returned it.” She was also asked what she thought was most important, to this she responded “bring things that make you feel at home, storage units, and a good mattress cover and foam to make your bed comfy are most important in my opinion.” Following these tips and using the following list will allow smooth sailing for Nease seniors into their freshman year of college.  Clothing:  Pack for the season – only bring clothes that are needed for that time of year (Ex. Don’t bring sweaters and coats when it’s summer or spring)  Summer/Spring Items: Flip Flops Sandals Sneakers Bathing Suits  Breathable shirts  Shorts  Skirts  Hats  Sunglasses   Fall/Winter Items: Hats Jackets  Sweatshirts  Sweaters  Pants (sweatpants, jeans, etc.) Snow Boots (if you are in an area where snow is common)  Gloves Shoes (that are practical)   Dorm/Apartment Items:  2 Sets of Bed Sheets (ask for dimensions to see if extra long or regular sheets need to be purchased)  Blankets  Pillows and Pillow Cases  Mattress Pad  Mattress Cover  Comforter  Under Bed Storage  Laptop (with Microsoft Office)  2 Extension Cords  Headphones  Printer  Printer Ink  Printer Paper  Flash Drive  Calendar  Desk Chair  Desk Lamp  Trash Can  Extra Pens, Pencils, and Markers  Extra Paper  Glue  Tape  Scissors  Stapler and Staples  3-hole punch  White-out  Bulletin Board  Push Pins  White Board  Cell Phone Charger Posters  Pictures Bathroom Items: Bath Towels  Shower Caddy Shower Shoes (for communal bathrooms)  Toiletries  Skin Care Makeup Hair Care Products Hair Styling Products Eye Drops Contacts and/or glasses Deodorant Toothbrush and Toothpaste Dental Floss Razor and Shaving Cream Body Wash Tweezers Hand Soap Hand Towels Tissues Toilet Paper Sunscreen Medical Items:  Band Aids  Contact Lens Solution  Contraceptives  Couch Drops  First Aid Kit  Hot/Cold Packs  Vitamins  Prescription Medication  Tylenol  Pepto Bismol  Mucinex  Hand Sanitizer  Advil  Cold/Flu Medicine  School Supplies:  Backpack   Calculator  Index Cards  Notebooks  Folders  Binders  Notebook Paper  Textbooks (can be rented, printed, or purchased)  Pencils Case  Pencils Pens Highlighters Sticky Notes Important Documents:  Student ID  Drivers License  Car Registration  Bank Information  Financial Aid Forms  Social Security Card  Debit/Credit Card  Other Items:  Batteries  Bike, Bike Helmet, Bike Lock  Reusable Water Bottle  Safety Pins  Safety Whistle  Bug Spray  Umbrella  Duct Tape  Fan  Flashlight  Light bulbs  Sewing kit  Steamer or an Iron and Ironing Board  Hangers  Kitchen Utensils  Kitchen Plates and Bowls  Cups and Mugs  Ziploc Bags  Dish Towels  Water Filter  Broom  Windex  Disinfecting Wipes

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Do You Remember…?

By: Mia Sarmiento (Layout Editor) Looking back at your freshman year of high school can be a little blurry for some seniors. We don’t expect you to remember everything you learned from your classes or who said what four years ago. It was four years ago!  But do you remember that one song everyone would freeze to? How about that time virtual monsters were hiding around the real world? I’ve put together some lists ranking the top songs, news stories, memes, and shows from 2016-2017. These ranks are based on our senior’s opinions on what was most important to them or what brings the most nostalgia from freshman year. Four years ago a lot happened. Can you believe it’s already time for another presidential election? Your freshman year was full of new beginnings not only for yourself, but for the whole country. Politically, environmentally, and culturally, our country went through plenty of change. Just as you were transitioning from middle school into high school, history was happening all around you. Where were you when these influential stories were taking place? Yet, some memories from freshman year are not all that great. At the time, things might have felt like they would never change. However things always do, and we all grow up. Just as you are not the same as you were four years ago, your interests have probably undergone a change as well. Songs get overplayed, jokes get old, clothes go out of style. So, what is something from freshman year that you no longer like? Nease senior, Abbi Donaldson, had a certain song in mind, commenting, “Black Beatles. I’ve heard it way too much to still like it.” It’s crazy that these shows are already four years old! While some of these songs aren’t as popular as they were before, our seniors agreed that these had to be the top three. Nease senior, Hannah Williams, has lost her fondness of a certain show stating, “I hate 13 Reasons Why! Season 2 ruined it.” Why don’t you take a look back at season one from any of these shows. You can see how much each of the characters have developed and grown just as you have since you were a freshman. Last but not least, the memes. When you started high school, things were scary. Thankfully, memes can bring people together. Have you ever made new friends by using a good ol’ meme as an icebreaker?  Memes are there to make you laugh. Taking a look back at freshman year, these three memes brought our seniors the most nostalgia. After taking a look back at your initial year of high school, it can be easy to recognize how much not only you have changed, but to the extent that the world around us has changed. A student, who preferred to stay anonymous, reflected upon the ranks and what it meant to them stating, “I think I’ve changed a lot so none of these really resonate with me anymore. They remind me of myself, my friends, and the world from that time period, but I think the mannequin challenge was never really that funny.”  You can recognize what has influenced your character today from your ideas to your interests by taking a trip down memory lane. Remembering who you were, whether it was four years ago or even just a year, is important. Every single version of you makes up who you are, just as every event in the past contributes into what the world is today. So as you start a new transition from high school into another lifestyle, reflect on what has brought you to where you are today.    Photo Credits: Mia Sarmiento

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Fending Off the Freshman 15

Fending Off the Freshman 15 By Nicole Scarbrough (Publisher) College is a groundbreaking and incredible opportunity for students across the world. Alongside the opportunity to advance their education, students are exposed to a diverse cultural environment. However, while there are inevitably many perks in attending a college, university, or trade school, stress typically is served alongside rigorous academics. According to medicalnewstoday.com, stress is “a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands.” Whether a freshman concerned about their first midterm or a is senior trying to ensure that they graduate on time, stress is experienced by all college students at some point throughout their college career. From this experience, the theory of the “Freshman 15” is derived. For starters, the “Freshman 15” is interpreted as a myth to some and a fear for others. Not all college freshmen are predisposed to gain fifteen pounds, though gaining weight initially isn’t unlikely due to the sudden change in lifestyle. There have been countless studies analyzing the effects of education-based stress on college freshmen, and college students in general. One particular study conducted by researchers at Utah State University concluded that nearly one in four college freshmen gain an average of ten pounds per semester of school. However, just because the numbers point accusatory fingers towards a quarter of the freshmen population does not mean that there isn’t a way around it, nor does it mean that gaining weight isn’t preventable in the first place. Let it be known that avoiding the “Freshman 15” is not a feeble task, especially since the brain is just as important of a muscle as the biceps are. There is a three step system to evade and escape the “Freshman 15.” Eat, sweat, and breathe. All factors ultimately play a major part in determining how mentally and physically “fit” students are upon entering freshman year of college. The graphic above breaks down the distribution of components in a meal based on gender. While these values are recommended, they may vary due to personal preferences and dietary restrictions. Step 1: Eat Eating healthy on a budget can be near impossible for some college students. Unless a student is on an all expenses-paid trip to graduating, there usually isn’t too much change in the piggy bank left over for trips to the organic section of the grocery store. However, many college campuses have dining halls and offer meal plans with healthy options for students who want to take responsibility for their health. The problem arises when students are not informed of their health and nutrition. The balance and distribution of meals has changed significantly in the past decade, and it is often difficult to keep track of. Initially the presence of grains, such as bread, comprised a significant portion of the food pyramid. When the pyramid was eventually revised and subsequently became a circle, fruits and vegetables became a necessity and now comprise slightly less than half of the food circle. However, the amount of food to be consumed per individual is heavily reliant on an individual’s proportions: height, weight, and BMI (Body Mass Index), which can be calculated by dividing your weight by your height then squaring that and multiplying it by 703. BMI is a representation of body fat. The higher an individual’s BMI is, the more likely an individual is for contracting weight-based food diseases such as diabetes. That’s not to say that the occasional serving of gummy bears or Pringles is something to feel guilty of. There is a term that nutritionists use called moderation. This means that students should avoid eating the “extremes” of a food. Basically, just don’t eat too much junk food. However, the amount of food that should be consumed daily by an individual varies per person and gender. A 100 pound boy and 100 pound girl should eat different amounts and types of food. Many colleges and universities have a nutrition and counseling program where one can receive a customized meal plan catered towards students’ specific needs and proportions. Many gyms offer free or affordable personal training services to college students, take advantage of them. To avoid injury or to learn more about equipment and ways to use them, express interest to gym management or employees. Step 2: Sweat An important aspect of evading the “Freshman 15” is staying in shape. Whether taking a light jog around campus or doing pushups on the floor of a dorm room, college students have many opportunities to maintain physical health throughout both semesters of freshmen year. Many colleges and universities offer an abundance of opportunities that foster physical health. Among such opportunities are fully equipped gyms, bicycle rentals, and the ability of students to take fitness classes (spin, yoga, pilates, etc…). However, it is important to keep in mind that the availability of activities vary across schools. While some colleges or universities may offer heated pools and an indoor track, others may offer a gym and an equestrian center. By using all the available resources, which most schools include in their tuition, staying in shape has the potential to become less of a chore and more of a hobby. Routine is the most important aspect of physical fitness. Many websites such as Pinterest give users access to a diverse array of workout plans for various levels of experience. So when faced with a set of weights, kettlebells, or resistance bands and no means to use them, a simple search with step-by-step directions both reduces the possibility of injury and spices up a workout. Additionally, with their expertise, trainers can show students how to safely and correctly use gym equipment to get a rewarding workout. The Harvard School of Public Health concluded that a participation in exercises and frequent physical activity has a positive impact on stress levels and health. In other words, exercising is invaluable to success in college, and allows students to place more focus on their studies and less focus on what the numbers on the scale read. Part 3: Breathe Mental health in college students has become a concern in recent years. With anxieties affecting the performance of students in school, such schools are taking an additional step to combat this struggle and assist students in their fight against mental illness. According to research conducted by the National Alliance On Mental Illness, 40% of students do not seek help, 80% of students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities, and 50% have become so anxious that they have struggled in school. These numbers represent a crisis that will only continue to increase. Bre Jarvis, a junior at Brigham Young University states, “Your physical and mental health definitely go hand in hand with your performance in anything. On days when I don’t eat right or get enough sleep, I do a lot less well than on days when I do take care of myself.” A deteriorating mental state simultaneously can lead to weight gain and mood fluctuation produced by stress. With an increased awareness of a students’ state of mind, not only is there potential for growth and development academically, but there is a decreased possibility that the student will experience the infamous “Freshman 15.” In other words, the more “fit” an individual is mentally, the healthier and more motivated they will be physically. There is an abundance of resources located on campuses to assist in defeating the “Freshman 15.” From health and nutrition councilors to personal trainers, there is an arsenal of people willing to fight battles alongside students. While focusing on academics is undoubtedly a priority, staying healthy is also a necessity. So squeeze in some push-ups while pulling an all-nighter, or grab an apple to complement that tasty-looking slice of pizza. Even the smallest steps are significant when it comes to developing and maintaining your mental and physical health.   Photo Credits: Nicole Scarbrough

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Conserving Cash in College

By: Maria Ribot (Editor-in-Chief of The Vertical) You did it! You are weeks away from walking across that stage and receiving the diploma that you’ve worked for 4 years to obtain. Soon you will go off into society as an individual accomplishing incredible things and making a difference in the world. But, wait a minute, have you ever wondered how you will spend your money as you become more financially responsible? As college debt is becoming more of a concern in today’s economy, it is not a bad idea to formulate a budget and plan ahead to provide for a life of high financial literacy and low debt by the time you graduate from college.  Commit to your budget! The structure and routine of budgeting is proven to assist incoming college freshmen in college since they appeal to the routine and consistency of high school. Bella Ibrahim, a member of the class of 2019, claims to have spent about “half of her savings” during the first semester in college. The truth is, having structure in college is imperative since it will keep things consistent and efficient. As her first semester went on, Bella “quickly learned the importance of being mindful about the amount of money [she] was designating to different areas,” which allowed her to formulate a budget to watch her spending but still be comfortable. Another member of the Class of 2019, Breanna Jarvis, claims that although she did not have a budget plan, she did look at her student loans and “planned out how much she needed to pay for rent and tuition.” She also not only looked at “on-campus jobs,” but eventually made a “monthly budget for how much [she] would spend on food and other needs.” So, in the spirit of conserving more cash in college, here are more tips from experienced college students directing the campus tours of Florida Public Universities such as UF, FSU, and UCF.  Don’t buy new textbooks. Choose housing wisely, get a roommate to split the cost. Explore campus amenities, if you are looking to stay active, the gym and rock climbing is almost always free of charge on campus.  ALWAYS have an emergency fund! Avoid eating out and cook instead, it is a lot cheaper and more nutritious. Make an excel spreadsheet to have a visual aid of your spending habits. As a rising sophomore majoring in Biological Sciences and Education with a minor in Chemistry, Bella Ibrahim advises incoming college freshmen to “come up with a tentative monthly budget.” She also advises to “not to spend too much money for entertainment,” instead, limit funds for entertainment and leisure and put left over money in a savings account, so when you have an emergency like a flat tire you will have the funds necessary to quickly rebound from it efficiently. Similarly, a transfer student in the BYU class of 2021, Breanna Jarvis, advises the Class of 2020 to try to be as financially independent as possible and to “avoid debt if you can.” It is also acceptable and necessary in some cases to seek financial help through student loans or advisors and parents. Seeking these resources will provide you with “peace and freedom that comes from being able to pay for everything on your own.”   To assist you in the structured nature of budgeting in college, I recommend downloading some of these apps that keep you accountable and financially safe.  Learn Vest: This app safely links your bank account and files your purchases in pre-named folders such as entertainment, rent, and gas. You can also set a budget for each of these folders so you can easily track your spending while being held accountable.  Mint: Also connecting to your bank account, this app updates your purchases automatically into pre-named folders in which you can set a specific budget. Mint also guards against credit card debt by making sure that you don’t charge what you can’t pay for in the future, which makes this app perfect for first-time credit card users.  TextbookMe: This app compares the prices of college textbooks from many online retailers, so you ensure that you will pay the lowest price for your textbooks! Also, a lot of universities are starting to match the prices of online retailers, so this resource could also be very useful for those who have textbook heavy majors.     Photo Credit: https://www.myshortlister.com/financial-wellness-buyers-guide

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