Stress Management Tips

School3With school underway and teachers assigning homework left and right, stress continues to overcome so many teenagers! Here are some helpful tips to learn how to deal with stress both before and during overwhelming situations.

Getting Organized

It is important to be conscious of what is most important and should come foremost in your everyday life. Appropriately prioritizing involves being organized. Use sticky notes to your advantage by writing out to-do lists. Take notice on what is actually important and not what seems important.

“I make sure to write down things that need to get down as soon as I remember them because I know that I will forget later on. Even if I think I will remember, I don’t take that chance,” said Bianka, 14, 8th grade.

Planning ahead is also essential to organizing your tasks. This allows you to be able to set aside tasks that are not as important and to avoid consuming time and wasting valuable energy on unproductive labors.

Make the Most of Your Valuable Time! 

Aside from the given— social media, watching TV, over sleeping, etc…—procrastinating, the inability to make up your mind and being heavily involved in perfecting every task in order to meet your high standards, can take up our valuable time!

Procrastinating wastes time and limits productivity. Waiting for the perfect time to finish your homework or finish your chores will just waste more time. There will never be that “perfect” time. Life’s uncertainties should not cause you to procrastinate and become indecisive. There will be many decisions you make that will have it’s own uncertainties, but the most wise and productive thing to do is make the best, most effective choice with the help of your friends and family.

“I like to keep myself busy which keeps me on top of things. I realized that if I avoid lounging around too much, I am more motivated to get things done,” said Rosa Alvarado, 15, 9th grade.

Trying to perfect every task you take on is not good for you! Take it easy sometimes. It is great to have high standards, but it is not wise to allow them to take up unnecessary time. It can cause you to stress out because of being afraid to disappoint yourself. It is okay to make mistakes every once in a while because that is how we learn.

Balancing Responsibilities

While in school, it is good to consider that you can only fully attain two of three priorities in your life: sleep, good grades, or a social life. Therefore, it is important to have a balanced and realistic view of your priorities and how much time and energy you commit to them.

Extracurricular activities can be fun and enjoyable, but when homework must also be accomplished along with meeting extracurricular requirements, it can become overwhelming. It is important to balance these voluntary activities so that homework does not seem as overwhelming— taking away the joy you should be experiencing with these fun activities.

Going hand in hand with balancing responsibilities, sufficient sleep is also necessary. Getting eight hours of sleep can have a positive effect physically, emotionally, and cognitively. So as much as it is important to get homework done and meet extracurricular activity requirements, it is also good to be able to have some free time on your hands as well and enjoy yourself!

“Being involved in extracurricular activities can be fun, but my parents help me out to make sure that I’m also on top of my school work. Bad grades=no extracurricular involvement,” said Emily, 13, 7th grade.

Life can be full of surprises and filled with endless decisions—this can seem and feel overwhelming. Just keep making the most of your time and making the choices that you think are best, and everything will fall into place!

Take A Study Break

Stresses of Studying

Stress from studying for finals or the SAT can add up during intense study sessions. Although some find comfort in found in food, it is not healthy to make every study break a food break. So here is a list of five great study breaks that don’t involve eating a fourth meal!

 

Give Yourself a Manicure

Painting your nails is a nice way to switch up your studying routine. It requires moving around, choosing a color and the simple act of painting nails is a thoughtless yet stimulating task. Plus, while you wait for your nails to dry you can close your eyes and meditate.

Estimated Time: 20 min

Take a Walk

 No need to change into workout clothes, just put on some comfortable shoes and take a walk. You can take a solo walk, which is the perfect time to think or invite a friend. Taking a walk may be the best writers-block eliminator, try it!

Estimated Time: 20 min 

Watch 1 Episode of a Sitcom

After completing some deep reading watching some TV that makes you laugh is never a bad idea. Being in a good mood can make you more productive and can help alleviate the stress from hitting the books.

Estimated Time: 30 min 

Phone a Friend

Calling your hometown friend is also a great break, you can catch up on the latest college happenings and recall all those great sleepovers. This quick break will probably make your friend day too!

Estimated Time: 15min 

Take a 20 min Nap

You probably already know the importance of sleep, but in your senior year of high school and in college you begin to realize how sleep becomes a luxury. So, for your next study break, take a nap! Experts at The Guardian reported taking a  “short afternoon catnap of 20 minutes yields…enhances alertness and concentration, elevates mood, and sharpens motor skills.”

Estimated Time: 20 min

 

What is great about these study breaks is that we also get to practice some self control, since it’s easy to go on a binge and watch the whole season of Friends or take a three hour nap instead of a 20 minute one. So, before the urge hits, keep in mind the satisfying feeling of being able to check off items in your to-do list!

Tips for That A+

Do not let the procrastination bug bite you. Here are some great tips to keep your nose in the book to get that A+ you deserve.

  • Social media tempting you to check what your crush is doing right now? Don’t worry about it. Apple has an app for that. If you are a Mac girl, there’s a free app called ‘Self-Control’ that allows you to block any website you want for an x amount of time. Once you block those websites, there’s no way in using them until the time runs out. If you are a PC girl, there’s a Google Chrome extension called ‘Stay Focused.’ All you have to do is download Google Chrome to your desktop, then download the extension for free. The extension is as easy as ‘Self-Control’ so you will not be tempted to Facebook stalk your friends.
  • Do you have a sweet tooth, but have a huge amount of pages to read for class or an exam? Use your sweet tooth to your advantage! Buy a bag of gummy worms (or anything gummy) and place one piece of the gummy candy in your mouth every two-three paragraphs. Every time you reach a gummy, you can eat it. It’s a delicious way to keep you motivated to read! By the way, don’t use anything that’s chocolate. That might dirty your book and leave a huge mess. Then you really won’t be able to read for class.
  • Every girl needs some color in her life. Use markers, gel pens and color pencils to add some personality to your boring black and white notes. Having colorful ink in your notes helps to keep your  attention on your notes. You can use different colors to elaborate what is truly important, the most important concept and to add separation between sections. Just be careful that the ink does not run through the paper or you will end up ruining your notes.

  • Notecards are a girl’s best friend. If you have a billion and one terms to memorize, write them down on notecards. You can get colorful notecards to divide the terms into sections or just to keep your attention on the cards. If you can only get the regular notecards, use the markers from tip 3 to make those cards colorful and study-worthy. Don’t have time to go to the store? Get some paper, and cut them into squares!
  • Are you a music lover? Or cannot study in a quite place? Try listening to some classical or instrumental music while studying. Studies have shown that listening to classical music can help improve grades. Tip: Don’t try to listen to anything with lyrics especially if it’s your favorite band/songs. You’ll get distracted by the lyrics and will be tempted to sing along. So do not be listening to “One Direction.”
  • Play hide and seek with your phone. Hiding your phone (or asking someone in your house to hide your phone) is a great trick to getting you to study and keep you productive. Without your phone, you cannot text, check social media or play Angry Birds. You will be forced to study that boring subject, read the chapters you “forgot” to read and get the A you wanted.
  • Be comfortable! I know many of you are stylish fashionistas, but you should study in something comfy. You’re going to be sitting down with your nose in your book so not many people are going to notice that you’re wearing American Eagle sweatpants and your school’s spirit shirt. Your main priority should be your notes and that high G.P.A.
  • Chill out once in a while. Do not study in huge chunks. Studying for 45 minutes and then taking a small 15-minute break is more helpful than studying for  two hours straight — give your brain a break! You can do a set of math problems, read a chapter or work on that essay. After the 45 minutes are up, you can always creep on your crush over Facebook, text your friend or catch up on your favorite band via Twitter. In addition, have a bigger goal in mind. After you reach your goal, treat yourself. Did you finally finish reading the three chapters from your biology book? Catch up on Gossip Girl or read that book you’ve been dying to get into.

Grades should always come first. Doing well now will open doors for you in the future. Stay motivated. Stay positive. You can do well on those final exams and ace that class. After you ace your class, you can always celebrate the holidays by relaxing during your vacation.

College Prep Tips

Follow these college prep tips to get ready to reach your higher education goals:

Get Informed
“You can go to college fairs to see what options you have.” - Rachel Ford, age 15

Get Good Grades
“Always pay attention in class and stay focused in high school. Work on getting good grads. This can help give you a better chance to go to college.” - Melissa Arredondo, age 14

Get Goals
“Get a future that you like and figure out what career is for you.” - Alison Torres, age 15

Get a Jump Start
“Take AP and honor classes to prepare for college. Enroll in challenging classes that can help you later on in life.” - Brianna Muñoz, age 14

Get Accepted Early
“You can attend junior college while you are in high school to see what it is like. You can also get college credit.” - Victoria Lozano, age 14

Get Involved
“You can prepare for college by doing your best in school clubs, community service and activities. This will look good on your application.” - Kimberly Martinez, age 15

Get Test Scores
“Study for your college entrance exams and take the SAT and AP tests.” - Yeseñia Cavazos, age 17

Get Organized
“Start early with college applications. If you, keep pushing them back and back, before you know it they will be due. Be organized and prepared to meet the deadlines.” - Letty Garcia, age 15

Get Money
“You have to save money, fill out loan applications and apply for scholarships.” - Brittney Garza, age 15

Get Into the Right School
“In order to prepare for college, you must be informed about making the right college choice for you. Start investigating schools and take tours. Find out what you can expect at each campus.” - Vianey Parra, age 17

Diary of an Overachiever

 

My best friend is amazing! She reminds me when I need to do things, is always there for me, takes care of all my phone numbers and contacts, and lets me write all over her! Yes, my agenda and I are very close. Like most nerdy, over achieving people, our agendas have a very special place in our hearts. Of course, you know what it’s like to be an overachiever with hardly any time in your schedule for yourself. I mean you are a high school or college teenage girl! Is that just me? Doesn’t everyone have a strong almost unhealthy relationship with their agendas? I am Vanessa Rodriguez, and I am a busy overachiever. I like to believe that I’m not alone! Here’s a day in the life of a high school overachiever.

With high school almost ending and an expensive college tuition rolling around, scholarships force many of us to fill our schedules with extra curricular activities, advanced placement classes and sports. For me, my extra curricular activities include being a historian for the National Honor Society, being a yearbook editor, being a committed member to student council, devoting my time to National Technical Honor Society (which is like nation honor society just technical), helping out the DECA club, and organizing meetings for the Business of Professionals club. My advanced classes include all of my core classes, some dual credit classes, which are classes that give college credit, and COSMOS classes, an organization focused on a certain curriculum for science and math orientated kids (why did I take it? I don’t know. I don’t even like science and math that much!). I’m not in a physical sport and I was too busy to get my physical in time. Instead, I’m in debate and SkillsUSA, activities that give my brain quite a workout. Now, you can kind of see how my obsession with my agenda came to be.

My real, human, friends are like me. They also devote their time to school, sports and agendas. We would be classified as the “nerds” in our school, but we don’t care. There’s actually a big group of us! We’re all relatively good at science, math, writing and reading, we even compete over grades and ranks, but we aren’t too fond of all of the subjects. We all have that one passion that we want to make our career. We have a future doctor, a business organizer, an architect, a politician, a lawyer, a graphic designer, a writer, an engineer, a couple computer techies and a journalist. Together, we rule the school by planning all of the activities as we hope to one day conquer our world. We’re all in student council so dances, pep rallies, and movements our made up of our opinions, decorations and plans. The school has become our second home. Yes, I know we’re not normal. To be honest, I love being so involved! I’ve met so many people because of everything I’m in, and it feels good being part of our school’s voice. My nerdy friends and I have a busy schedule, but we don’t let it get in the way of our social life. We still get invited to parties, go out to the movies or carnivals and still know how to have a good time. We’re still teenagers.

My busy schedule usually starts at 6:30 in the morning. I wake up and get ready for school (just because I’m dead tired in the morning doesn’t mean I can’t look good!) I arrive at school around 7:15. Yes, class doesn’t actually start until 8 but I like to be there early for any morning meetings or to finish up my homework. Because we all have our own strong suits in certain subjects, my friends and I help each other out with our homework and then we start school. Even though you might not jam pack your time like me, I know, you understand those 8 hours of work that everyone does. After school is over I’m on my way to any after school meetings or practices. Usually I don’t get home until about 5 in the afternoon. And when I’m finally home, I start my homework and don’t finish until about 10. It doesn’t necessarily take me 5 hours to do my homework, but the internet and phone can be such horrible distractions! Procrastination shouldn’t be tolerated in my busy schedule, but it’s always practiced. Finally, I go to sleep completely exhausted and prepare myself for another adventurous day! Then the weekend rolls around and if I don’t have a debate tournament, I have a community service project. Sunday’s are devoted to church and family time. I’m so happy that my family has been very supportive with my busy schedule and I feel there should be a day saved for them. Actually, my busy schedule is the reason why they bought me a car!

I know you’re probably thinking that my life is just way too busy to even enjoy, but I have to say that I love my life and actually love being so busy. Many of my greatest memories and pictures have come from all of the community service projects and events I have been involved in! I’ve met so many people, visited different places and have learned so many new things. I will admit that at first I joined so many things because of college, but now that I look back on it, I don’t regret anything. If you look back at my agenda, it’s really a good work of art, with scribbles, notes, phone numbers, sticky notes, assignments, birthdays and reminders. I love how it outlines everything I accomplished and experienced throughout the year. Even though I can be a bit over achieving I have to say that so far I’ve done a lot of great things!

Dealing With Senoritis

As a senior in high school,  I can’t help but worry about the dreaded disease known as “senioritis!” In case you haven’t Teen in front of high school lockerheard, senioritis is a made up disease conjured up by seniors who feel that it is the reason students procrastinate and slack off, which takes a toll on senior year productivity. Although it is made up, I have found that several of my friends, which happen to be some of the most dedicated and committed students in school, have become victims of this make-believe illness. Unfortunately, there are consequences that will affect their future.

What is Senioritis?

Main symptoms include: slacking off in class, procrastinating on homework, cutting classes, laziness, and lack of participation in school, academics, sports and activities. It is highly contagious and targets the majority of people between the ages of non-graduate and graduate. It seems that Senioritis happens because it’s the last year of high school and students just want to leave for college. Ytzel McDaniel, a recent high school graduate in El Paso, Texas and current Latinita, agrees and says Senioritis continues to infect “because all you want to do is get out of [high school] and get into college. There is a lot of red tape that comes with senior year, and it comes at the worst time because all you want to do is get out!”

What causes Senioritis?

Many students work the hardest throughout their junior year- sacrificing rest, comfort, and utter enjoyment of life. I would know because I fell into that overworking zombie mode, non-stop, joining club after club after club, devoting weekends to community service projects and spending long, sleepless nights to excel on homework. Now that our last year of high school is coming up, it seems almost irresistible to take a little break from all of our hard work, and, based on all the rumors from previous seniors, its not too hard to take a break. Many of the students that fall into Senioritis have already completed their college applications and resumes during the summer before their senior year (college application deadlines usually occur in fall semester), therefore doing more work that won’t be added to final admissions seems unnecessary and tedious. Catching the disease is easy but what many people don’t take into consideration is that the consequences can be life altering.

What are the Consequences on Senioritis?

Although Senioritis is not a serious disease, it’s symptoms do resemble the same as depression. Here is where it starts to get serious. Many students start to feel lazy and displeased about having to get up and participate in class, sports, or activities at school. Some get a bit nostalgic and depressed about having to get used to not being able to see their friends or having to be independent and live on their own without the guidance of adults. Many (like myself and a couple of my friends) are afraid of the real world and feel that they aren’t ready to start a new chapter in their lives. Some actually do fall into depression because of the serious consequences that follow from Senioritis; ranging from failing grades, to losing spots off the varsity team, to colleges or universities rescinding their acceptance, to financial aid reworking your already established paperwork! Taking a break from school work can go as far as making a steady future turn into an unknown, shaky one. According to USA Today, “[Colleges] may be more likely to revoke an offer of admission to those who haven’t maintained top grades or fallen short in some other way… Those who slack off will find themselves last in line.” Regardless of whether your admissions application is flawless and perfect, colleges will still keep a very close eye on you and can still deny you admission. What if you fall into the disease and unfortunately gotten worse, what can you do?

How to prevent and get back up from Senioritis?

Well the remedy can be tough, but there are some solutions. First, try preventing ever falling into Senioritis.  Get your “cootie-shot” which consists of books, energy, motivation and devotion!  Always remember that even though you’ve already been accepted or have sent your final letters in, high school is not over yet! Continue being involved but don’t overwork yourself too much like you have for the passed 3 years. Many youth-serving organizations like College Board and the National Youth Leadership Council believe that participating in service-learning programs could help motivate seniors. These programs include getting involved in the community through internships, community partnerships and community service. These programs believe that seniors are most likely to be down about high school because they want to leave and experience what’s outside, and what better way of gaining experience than actually getting out there!

Good Luck!

We need to wake up, and continue working until our high school days are over! There is a reason we have 12 grades and we can’t let Senioritis take over our world and cause us to get rid of a grade and dumb down. Get your Senioritis-shot and keep going! I wish all of you seniors good luck and don’t let this disease take over your future and well being!

Ready for Back to School?

Are you ready for the school time crunch? Many chicas have a hard time keeping up with homework, tests, extracurricular activities and friendships. Latinitas’ teen reporters dish about how they manage their busy schedules. “I keep track by keeping a calendar or a planner. I keep everything in check and try not to get out of order. If something pops up, I always put in on my planner. I keep everything in folders so I can be organized,”

- Laura Galindo, age 15


“When something pops up, I automatically write things down as my day goes. I sometimes have friends and family that remind me of things needing to be done. I also write things on the calendar. I organize my work in individual binders for class.”

- Hiley Escobar, age 16


“I keep a planner to help manage my time. Without it, I would be completely unorganized. Another thing I tend to do when I forget things is to write a short, one-word note on my hand to help remind me to put it in my planner. When I ask my friends to remind me not to forget things, it doesn’t seem to work much. Unless they write it down in their planner or have an excellent memory, they’re most likely to forget, too.”

- Geneva Diaz, age 16


“I write down my homework in a journal and when it is due. I would also write what class it is for.”

- Samantha Escobar, age 16
By Teen Reporters

Making Good Grades

Doing well in school isn’t just for goody two shoes. It’s just a matter of making your education a priority and following these simple tips from an experienced honor roll student.

Dodge class distractions.
Paying attention in class can be a very hard decision for most teens. Friends, notes and cell phones sometimes come in the way. Here’s some ways to avoid those distractions.

  • Friends: Tell your friends that you really want to learn and pass your classes. Give them hints that you want to be left alone. If this is too hard for you to do, then talk to a very close friend, and see if they can help you.
  • Notes: Avoid passing notes during class. If you receive a note just stash it under your stuff on the desk and read it later. If you write back, then you could miss the topic being discussed in class.
  • Cell phones: Turn your cell phones off, and put them in your book bag. Avoid using cell phones during school hours. If you’re paying attention to the cell phone or text messages you could be missing the lesson. Check up on your phone at lunch.

Ask questions without hesitation.
I’ve noticed that most people are embarrassed to ask questions. But what’s embarrassing about it? Would you prefer be confused because you didn’t ask for help or would you rather to be on track because you did? I’d go for the second one. Ask questions when ever you don’t understand something. Who cares what the other students think of it. You may not be the only one struggling.

Do your homework—even if you don’t understand it.
Look over your homework the second you get it. If you feel you need extra help on it, stay after school. Do your homework the night assigned, and make sure to turn in when it’s due. If you do not understand something on your homework keep trying. If you still don’t understand it, then put a star next to the problem and ask your teacher the following day. They won’t give you a bad grade because you didn’t understand it. The thing they will give a bad grade for is not doing the homework all together.

Get organized.
Buy a planner. Write down all your homework and cross each assignment off as you finish. This keeps you motivated to continue marking off your list. Believe me, this works.

Study outside of school.
Study with friends who are serious about school. Study without being told to study by your parents. Reread over a lesson and do some extra problems. This is how college will be: more study time, less class. It’s good to start now!

Go to tutoring.
Go to tutoring to get a better understanding of your class work. It helps!! If you go to tutoring you will be able to do your work with flying colors. You will also have to go more than once, but if you go every day for a short amount of time you will make the grade you want.

If a peer is making fun of you because your grades are better than theirs, don’t worry about it. It probably means they are jealous. Try not to pay attention to them. You’ll see the rewards of getting good grades. Don’t give up. Keep trying!

By Krystella Rangel, Teen Reporter

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