HOW TO FACT CHECK ARTICLES ONLINE
As we continue through 2021 with the hope of new vaccine availability spurring optimism like never before, there’s a call for a return to normalcy. This has had many people hopeful about getting to go out again like there was never a virus in the first place. Sadly, not all the news that you see online is accurate, and thus, there’s a great need to fact-check your sources. Here’s a comprehensive list of steps to help you fact-check your news sources:
Check reliable fact-checking websites. Snopes is a great example, as it is a well-known and reliable fact-checker website. Other websites to check out are the Washington Post Fact Checker, FactCheck.org, Politifact, and the Breaking News Consumer Handbook: Fake News Edition. These websites are great sources to work with.
When it comes down to it, check the biases of the news anchors when it comes to political leanings. Fox News is famous for being heavily biased regarding the Republican Party.
When all else fails, check your own background and think about what is filtering your view of the world when it comes to current events. You need to listen to people who have few biases and no vested personal interests in skewing the news as they tell you what’s going on. Fox News is heavily biased, but many Republicans say that it’s a source of “accurate news”, despite a lawsuit in which Fox News “persuasively argues, that given Mr. Carlson's reputation, any reasonable viewer 'arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism about the statement he makes”. So this showcases how personal bias can play a heavy role in skewing people’s viewpoints in how Carlson’s charisma has gotten many to believe exaggerated views.
A NEW YEARS PLEDGE
As we start off 2021 and many people rejoice that the worst year of the millennium has finally passed, many are trying to kick bad habits and embrace becoming a healthier person. However, New Year’s Resolutions have been proven in many studies to not really be effective in the long run. Seeing Joe Biden taking office and getting to work immediately, betting on a vaccine plan that’s going to vaccinate at least 150 million people in 100 days, even using the Defense Production Act to overcome this pandemic, should inspire us to improve our lives as well. To help people with self-improvement, here’s a list of tips for 2021:
Take note of how people make good habits. This is a really important thing to note in learning how habits are made which can help you develop good habits like exercising daily. A good habit that some people may develop like cleaning while in quarantine should be encouraged and cared for.
Learn about how to break bad habits. Bad habits like staying up late to play video games can be very addictive and time-consuming, so breaking just one bad habit will be a step in the right direction. Think about what triggers these habits and consider trying to replace a bad habit with a good habit (e.g. replace zoning out with doing chores around the house).
If you can’t find anything new to do, make a good habit for yourself to fall into. The best way to start a good habit is to set a pattern every day and reward yourself for following that pattern. If you make a habit of washing all the dishes in the sink before preparing for bed, enjoy a nice book before bed. This could lead to dishwashing and general cleaning being associated with relaxing and enjoying yourself, which would make it easier to keep this habit in the long run. What matters is trying to encourage yourself to be your best self.
Remember, every new year is a year of new possibilities. Stay optimistic, safe, and don’t forget to update yourself with reliable news sources!
HOW TO STAY SAFE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Normally, at this time of the year, many people come together and celebrate the happy holidays. However, due to the circumstances this year, there must be an exception. As Christmas and the New Year arrive this month, many are planning to gather as the COVID-19 vaccine release date arrives. However, this is celebrating victory before the war is won. The pandemic is still not over. With that in mind, here’s a list to help when you make plans for the holidays:
Don’t travel. People want to gather with loved ones and old friends, but it involves serious risk. Large gatherings of a lot of people can increase the risk of getting COVID-19. It’s better to stay home and safe given how the severe symptoms of the virus are fatal and even if you survive, the side effects of weakened organs can risk your health insurance going through the roof. By doing your part to reduce this, you are saving lives.
Limit the people in the gatherings to those in your household.. This is the safest way to spend the holidays as this limits the risk of contact to those around you. Even though it may be sad to not see your whole family for the holidays, it’s vital that they stay safe from this virus and its deadly effects.
Disinfect your household. COVID-19 can be found on dirty surfaces, which contribute to spreading the virus. Make sure to routinely wash your hands when you come home from the outside as well. When people come in after venturing outside to possibly contaminated places, let them know where they can immediately wash their hands and get cleaned up.
Gather outside. If you are planning to see your friends and family despite all the risks COVID-19 brings, consider seeing them outside. It’s the best way to ensure a lowered risk of catching the virus as they aren’t in a stuffy enclosed space which contributes to spreading disease.
It may seem saddening to cancel the traditional gathering with loved ones, but the long-term effects of taking such a cautious move is guaranteed to pay off. Please be patient this year, we’re almost to the finish line. Let’s not stop before this marathon is over. Have a safe and happy holiday!
HOW TO STAY SAFE THIS THANKSGIVING
Thanksgiving- it’s a wonderful time of family, food, and friends as we all gather in one place to eat and be happy together. Obviously, in the wake of COVID-19, we can’t gather together and break social distancing, but we can find a way to celebrate and be happy. Here’s a comprehensive guide to connecting with your loved ones this Thanksgiving:
Connect with your family and friends on ZOOM. Yes, I know, this is very obvious, but hear me out. Are you aware of the fact that ZOOM meetings can go over the 40-minute time limit for free accounts this Thanksgiving? This means that even if you only have the free version, you can hold a meeting that can last far above the 40-minute limit this Thanksgiving.
Please stay home, it could save your life. Many people want to gather with loved ones and catch up with old friends this year, but it poses a serious risk of being a superspreader event if a lot of people crowd together this year. It’s best to play it safe and check the risks in your local area to check out the likelihood of catching COVID-19 and whatnot.
Keep the home gatherings to just the people you’ve already been living with. This is the safest way to spend your Thanksgiving considering that this limits the risk of COVID-19 contact to those who you’re already dealing with every day.
Clean, clean, clean. This is very important in how dirty surfaces could have traces of COVID-19 on them and then spread the virus. Also, wash your hands when you come in from outside as well. Better safe than sorry.
If you are planning to see your friends and family that you haven’t been living with, see them outside at the very least. It’s the best way to ensure there is a lowered risk of catching COVID-19 by making sure that you all aren’t in a stuffy enclosed space that spreads disease around like smoke.
Check out the links below to see how the ZOOM time limit works and what the CDC recommends for Thanksgiving!
HOW TO START VOTING
As voting month approaches, many people are struggling to stay safe and have their voice heard as well. As many high school seniors and college freshmen plan to have their voice heard in the voting process for the first time, here’s a checklist of what to do to get started on the voting process:
Figure out the way you plan to vote, and prepare accordingly. This is important since there are multiple major ways to get ready for voting that don’t involve you leaving the comfort of your home. You can register by mail/online, which means that you don’t need to worry about COVID-19 before election day rolls around. However, there’s more than just getting registered that you need to look out for...
Remember the important dates for voting. I’ve compiled a list of important dates for you to note down for voting below:
Election day is Nov. 3
Online: Oct. 9
By mail: Postmarked by Oct. 9
In person: Oct. 9
Absentee ballot deadlines:
Request: Received by Oct. 27
Return by mail: Postmarked by Nov. 3 and received no later than Nov. 10
Return in person: Nov. 3 by 9:00 p.m.
Oct. 24 - Nov. 1, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live
If you vote by mail, you need to make sure you’ve followed all the directions properly and thoroughly to ensure that your vote is not invalidated. This has already happened to many people who’ve voted by mail, who later learned that their votes were invalidated due to not reading the fine print.
Get ready to stand in line for a long time if you vote in-person. When you vote in-person, it might be hard to stand in line for a long time and struggle with social distancing, but don’t worry. Make sure to pack up some hand sanitizer and something to help the time pass by. Pro-tip: backup batteries.
Fusion Voting (AKA votes for multiple parties go to one candidate). This is a special state-related style of voting that’s impacted by if your state believes in fusion voting, so check your state voting rules and regulations first. If it is available in your area, then learn about how it works in your area (different locations may have different rules) and consider if you want to work with this.
Also, check where you vote/drop off your vote! There have been instances where the voting booths were illegitimate due to not being installed by the government, so do check where the official voting booths/drop off locations are!
In some areas, the voting system is somewhat outdated in terms of how it makes sure that the “people” have their voice heard, but that is why we vote. Voting is an essential part of a healthy democracy in how we have our voices heard by the government. We don’t just have to follow the government for rules and regulations, the government must hear us or we vote them out.
HOW TO SURVIVE HIGH SCHOOL IN THE AGE OF COVID-19
As the school year starts, staff and students alike are both concerned about the risk of reopening schools due to the lack of reliable cures. As two main teaching systems are set up in the year, students need to quickly adapt to one or maybe even both of the new systems. Here’s a set of comprehensive to-do lists to help you get started on surviving this school year.
Have a designated workspace. As you get ready to study, get comfy, but not too comfy. Uncomfortable learning situations can be detrimental, but getting so comfy that you can easily be distracted is NOT ideal. Set up a space for yourself to focus on work first, play later. Luckily you don’t have to brave the outside world for an education, so get comfy at home.
Manage distractions to enhance productivity. Your phone is a major hindrance to paying attention when your teacher/parents aren’t going to manage your time. Find a way to keep your phone use as productive as possible and work to make sure that you don’t get distracted on Youtube and end up browsing whatever new video popped up. Distractions are a major way to kill productivity, so we need to reel them in.
Time management. This is a major problem to deal with given that since the quarantine started, time seems to fly by. Make a strict schedule to help manage time better and leave free time to unwind if you already got what you need out of the way.
Find a way to stay active. No, really, working out can help you focus and sharpens your mental abilities over time. Keeping active can help you not only stay sharp-minded, but also improves mental health as well, which is definitely important as we all try to get through this pandemic.
Be prepared. It’s rather risky to do so, but if you prefer going in person, better get ready to brave the outside. Pack up a bottle of hand sanitizer and make sure to wear a face mask when you go outside. Take anything you think could come in handy but don’t overdo it. You don’t need to take the kitchen sink, so be mindful of what time would likely pass when you go outside.
Have the right reason. Make sure that you don’t forget that you are going outside to LEARN! It’s somewhat nerve-wracking to go outside knowing about the risk of contracting COVID-19, but you need to remember why you are going outside in the first place. You are still a student, despite the fact that COVID-19 is killing people left and right. So make sure to be careful, but also try to learn and make the most of your outside time.
For Both Systems:
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP (especially freshmen)! Seriously, if you are struggling with something major in a subject that you couldn’t figure out even after hours of scouring the internet, you should reach out and ask for some help. We have a great support system, so don’t forget about them.
NAVIGATING THE SCHOOL
GEOMETRY/ALGEBRA 2+TRIG (CHEUNG)
LIVING ENVIRONMENT/AP BIOLOGY (EISENSTADT)
ADVISORY REALLY DEPENDS ON THE CLASS BUT EXPECT IT TO BE IN OST/AGUIS/KOZAK
TO NOTE: SCHEDULE 1-3-5-7 CYCLE MEANS YOU HAVE IT ONLY ON ODD DAYS
SCHEDULE 2-4-6 ONLY ON EVEN DAYS
(ALSO, CYCLE DOESN’T RESET SO WHEN IT’S MONDAY IT’S CONTINUOUS FROM FRIDAY. EX: FRIDAY IS EVEN, SO MONDAY IS ODD)
ONE SEMESTER IS COMPRISED OF TWO QUARTERS
TOTAL: TWO SEMESTERS (TRANSLATES TO 4 QUARTERS)
ONE SEMESTER= 1 CREDIT (65 = PASSING BUT TRY NOT TO EXPECT THE LEAST!)
DATES OF SEMESTER END (ROUGHLY):
1ST QUARTER: SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER (WHAT TO EXPECT: SETTLING IN AND LIGHT WORK/BUILDING ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR THE REST OF THE SCHOOL YEAR AND BEYOND)
2ND QUARTER: DECEMBER TO MARCH (WHAT TO EXPECT: GETTING INTO THE FEEL OF THE HIGH SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT WHILE COMPLETING THE BULK OF THE ASSIGNMENTS)
3RD QUARTER: MARCH TO APRIL (WHAT TO EXPECT: BULK OF ASSIGNMENTS! WORK HARD DURING THIS PHASE! ATTEND TEACHER’S OFFICE HOURS FOR EACH SUBJECT YOU NEED MORE ASSISTANCE IN)
4ND QUARTER: APRIL TO JUNE (WHAT TO EXPECT: BULK OF ASSIGNMENT, PREPARING FOR UPCOMING REGENTS IF APPLICABLE AND CONTINUE PUSHING ON. YOU ARE AT THE LAST STRETCH!)
JULY-SEPTEMBER: ENJOY YOUR SUMMER AND REST.
CONTRARY TO POPULAR OPINION, IT IS ADVISABLE TO WORK HARD. THE FIRST TWO QUARTERS MAY BE HARD AS YOU ARE STILL ADJUSTING TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND EVEN IF YOU GET VERY LOW GRADES (PLEASE NOT TO THE EXTENT YOU FAIL), YOU STILL HAVE TWO SEMESTERS TO BUMP IT UP.
FILLING OUT YOUR PLANNER CAN GET ANNOYING BUT PLEASE USE IT. IT’S YOUR BEST FRIEND WHEN IT COMES TO ORGANIZING YOUR TASKS FOR THE DAY.
JOIN AS MANY CLUBS AS YOU CAN. FRESHMAN YEAR IS PERFECT FOR BRANCHING OUT AND EXPLORING YOUR INTERESTS SINCE YOU HAVE A RELATIVELY LIGHT COURSE LOAD. (PRO TIP: GO TO OFFICE AND LEARN ABOUT THE CLUBS THAT ARE POTENTIALLY GOING TO OPEN)
ADVICE FOR ALL GRADES:
EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT (HINT HINT! PLANNER)
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EXTRA CREDIT/DON’T PASS OFF ON EASY HOMEWORK
DON’T SLACK OFF - FIND A BALANCE BETWEEN YOUR school AND SOCIAL LIFE!
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SCHOOL RESOURCES (EX: EXTRACURRICULARS, EXTRA CREDIT, LUNCHTIME TO REVIEW CLASSES YOU JUST HAD, SCHOOL LIBRARY FOR A QUIET PLACE TO MAXIMIZE PRODUCTIVITY)
BE PRODUCTIVE DURING SUMMER (LAND A JOB OR INTERNSHIP!)
BE AMBITIOUS! SET UNREALISTIC GOALS AND TURN THEM INTO REALITIES
BEFRIEND THE FACULTY AND STAFFS
ASK QUESTIONS! DON’T BE AFRAID TO DO SO!
FRESHMAN: MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SCHOOL YEAR (LOOK AT TIPS)
SOPHOMORE/JUNIORS: START TAKING ACT/SAT AND GAUGE WHICH IS THE RIGHT FIT AND GO PREP!
SOPHOMORE/JUNIORS: FIND YOUR INTEREST AND PASSIONS.THE EARLIER THE BETTER (WINK WINK)
-IF NOT, FILTER OUT THE MAJORS THAT YOU KNOW YOU DON’T WANT TO PURSUE.
END OF JUNIOR YEAR: KNOW THE COLLEGES YOU PLAN TO APPLY TO
SUMMER OF JUNIOR TO SENIOR: DON’T SLACK! RESEARCH COLLEGES/BUILD RESUME/COLLEGE APPS.
SENIOR YEAR: FINALIZE ESSAYS BEFORE THE DEADLINE.
As rallies and protests ramp up and people seek justice for George Floyd’s murder, many people are now wondering what they can do to aid in this righteous quest. As the summer approaches, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement and be a contributive activist.
Donate to the NAACP.
Go to protests. Check on social media for where the nearest protest may take place, but be wary of false information and make sure to be alert for possible violence.
Research racism in America and study your material.
Sign online petitions and check out ways to contribute via social media.
Support businesses that contribute by spreading information about them and give them publicity!
Organize your own activities! Post about the movement near you, spread info, and help your cause wherever you can help!
Encourage your peers to contribute and be ready to help out if anyone shows signs of being about to burnout (a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress) or show symptoms already.
Also, remember that COVID-19 still has no vaccine or cure yet! You can’t contribute if you can’t live!
HOW TO BEAT CABIN FEVER
As all of us stay inside to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 disease, cabin fever (the claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person/group ends up in an isolated or solitary location/ends up stuck indoors in confined quarters for an extended period of time that has resulted with sharp boredom and irritation) has set in among many people, and is now a threat to people’s sanity. Here are ways to beat cabin fever as you stay in your cozy abode.
Keep a list of things to do every day. This is a minor way to organize your time as you go about your day. Take the time to appreciate what free time you have now. Don’t be afraid to sleep in.
Clean up the house. This quarantine is gonna make you go crazy if you sit around bored out of your mind. Why not do something productive with this time. Whether it’s just rearranging your room as a way to tackle the dust that’s been gathering around the corners you couldn’t reach or finally tackling the chores your mom wants you to do, why not make the most of your time when you have it?
Play board games. I know, you’re getting bored. Why not go for something different from the internet - something old-fashioned? Board games can be very engaging if you let yourself have fun in the meanwhile. Monopoly and Sorry can be very distracting from real life, and that’s a good thing. They’re old, but good entertainment.
Cooking. Bread is a lot easier to make than you think, but it takes time to get the hang of making bread from scratch. Why not stock up on flour and get cooking? Cooking is an essential life skill in how it feeds you for a lifetime.
Learn an instrument. Got any musical instruments laying about that are collecting dust? Why not dust them off and get started via online classes?
Online classes. There are plenty of free online classes you can find online. Perhaps you can finally learn enough to get that engineering degree you have had your eye on for a while. Or perhaps you want to finally learn French? Now’s the best time, so seize the day while you have it!
Social media. This is a very important form of communication that should not be underestimated in how it can be a powerful tool to keep you connected to the outside world while you wait out the storm and get ready to go outside like before.
Remember that there might be a second wave, so stay safe guys! Be prepared and look at the news often.
Disclaimer: I’m not a viral expert, here is some more information:
CORONAVIRUS SAFETY TIPS
In history, diseases grow and change along with humanity as time passes and new innovations in travel arise. COVID-19 is one of the new plagues that has taken advantage of the modern age to spread and infect humanity with disastrous consequences, which can be traced back to globalization making the world a lot more easier to travel, making it easier to spread disease. With that in mind, here’s a list of safety tips to prevent getting sick:
Wash your hands. Yeah, you’re probably rolling your eyes right now, thinking, come one, I already do that. Yeah, well, try to add it in where you could find a reason to wash your hands. Before cooking, eating, and if you can’t wash your hands, find hand sanitizer. Come on, it’s not that hard, right?
Practice respiratory hygiene. If you prevent others from getting sick, it’s less likely that any diseases will spread.
Maintain a respectable distance from anyone whose health is unknown to you. This is mainly to lower your risks of catching infection to lower the chance of the Coronavirus spreading, not to prevent others from getting sick, but you.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. The Coronavirus from China has symptoms like these and the cases are most frequently fatal, so take precaution.
When you bunk down in your house, keep an eye on the news. There’s progress made to fight this plague everyday, and you need to be updated to know what’s really going on and what hopes humanity has to fight it off. Hopefully it won’t hurt too many people to start the apocalypse.