By Gowtham Pichaiyan and Ayush Shah
For many, driving is a rite of passage. A stage in life that marks freedom, responsibility, and power. With this new privilege, it is only natural to search for the opportunities to buy a car to call your own. However, the process of buying a car is notorious for its many steps, precautions, and dangers. This article will outline the basics of buying a car without breaking your bank.
One of the first steps in buying your automobile is picking a model based on your preference. Similar to most things in life, the more premium choices tend to cost more. When deciding the capacity of the options above, it is important to realize that these factors influence how much you will pay upfront and in the long run.
The criteria you choose for a car influence the following prices: cost (how much you pay upfront), maintenance (how much it costs to make repairs and keep the car running), and insurance (how much the insurance company sees fit to charge you based on the rating of the car).
For example, buying a brand new Lexus coup will ensure high performance, safety, reliability, and clean appearance, but the upfront cost, maintenance, and insurance are bound to be exorbitant. To prevent falling into a pit of endless debt, experts advise that car buyers should prioritize the criteria and choose an appropriate car within their budget.
Now you should know that cars are very bad investments, as the price depreciates the second the car is taken out of the lot. However, at the same time, this shouldn’t sink your boat in terms of car buying just yet if you properly plan out how you will go about buying.
First off, there are two main ways to get a car: buy or lease. Buying a car makes it your property while leasing is essentially borrowing the car for a fixed period of time. While leasing is the cheaper option, it comes with its drawbacks, as there is also a limit on the number of miles you can drive and also you cannot sell the car when the lease is up.
Once you decide on that, you must establish a budget based on your needs and ability to pay which will help to choose the model and brand preferences. When you have chosen all of these, it is time to move on to the financing part of the process.
Before you go to get a car, you should research prices online of the car you are viewing to make sure you find the best invoice price. Once you are fully prepared, it is time to buy the car. It is important to be able to know how to negotiate with the dealer as it is possible to get significant discounts with proper negotiating.
Once the price is settled, it is time to pay for the car. Most people will need to take a car loan out to pay for the car. On the chance that you have the ability to pay the full price on the spot, that is the best option as interest will not be an issue at all in the future. With a car loan, interest will be a key aspect of the loan repayment, usually spanning for a couple of years. The national average for US auto loan interest rates is 5.27% on 60-month loans. Taking out loans is a costly investment that could easily hinder your ability to purchase any other expensive items during the loan period, so it shouldn’t be taken out without extreme thought.
Along with the cost of the car itself, there comes a necessary maintenance cost for the future of the car. Luxury cars will typically end up costing more in maintenance than standard types of cars. There is a fuel cost as well to be mindful of, as gas mileage could end up turning a cheap car into a gas-guzzler in the future, costing you thousands of dollars. Finally, insurance is a vital part of owning a car, as all cars must be insured to be allowed on the road. You must take the time to choose the correct plan to fit the basic legal requirements as well as any other precautions you would want to take with the expensive item you just purchased.
It truly shows how complicated car buying can be and how important it is to do prior research and make a plan before you even walk into the dealership. Cars are a symbol of desired freedom for teenagers, but at the same time, they can be the chains keeping you bound to a dealership monetarily.
By Karen Leifer
Think about the worst part of your day. Is it waking up at the crack of dawn to get ready for school, heading into your least favorite class, or even doing the dishes? For me, and many other students, it’s homework. All high schoolers can relate to the struggle of studying for tests, writing essays, taking notes, and reading textbooks. In an effort to understand the misery, I decided to survey students and staff members about homework.
According to a January 2020 Council Rock North survey, there are large discrepancies between teachers’ and students’ perspectives when it comes to homework. On average, the educators surveyed believed that students should be spending about twenty-five minutes per subject per weeknight on homework. When all subjects are taken into consideration, these teachers believe that students should be spending between 1.5 to 2 hours on homework a night.
But student report spending almost double the amount of time that teachers suggest. The students surveyed are from a variety of different grades and courses. These students report spending an average of three hours on homework a night. During the weekends, students are spending a little over four hours on homework. With an extra four hours students could volunteer in the community, have social interactions, or waste time on their phones.
Clearly, students’ reports largely vary from the teachers’ expectations of about one and a half hours of homework per weekend, or twenty minutes per subject. The biggest surprise is that half of the surveyed educators reported not assigning homework over weekends or breaks. It is quite strange that some teachers aren’t assigning homework over weekends, yet students report having more than during the week. Perhaps a wider spectrum of surveys may have indicated a closer gap between teacher expectations and student’s time spent on work.
Teachers themselves have to complete work whether it may be lesson planning, differentiating instruction, or grading. The surveyed teachers reported an average of one and a half to two hours of “homework” a day outside of their teaching responsibilities. Thus, teachers believe they are spending the same amount of time as students on work outside of school, but the survey indicates that some students are working almost twice as long as teachers.
The teachers surveyed mainly said their purpose in assigning homework was to have students practice concepts learned in class. Other purposes include learning new concepts and preparing for future classes. Although teachers’ purposes in assigning work seem to benefit students, many students do not view it this way.
Students often have a hard time focusing when completing work. Seventy percent of students surveyed reported that their biggest distraction while completing work was their phone. Other students reported being distracted by “literally anything” or the desire to sleep. Assigning homework seems to be a routine part of school for teachers, but a hassle for high schoolers.
In conclusion, homework may hurt many students. According to the American Psychological Association, homework can cause students to face “boredom and burnout toward academic material.” It also decreases time they could be spending with their family and friends. A study from Dr. Rubén Fernández-Alonso shows that “when kids reported having more than 90 to 100 minutes of homework per day, [test] scores declined.”
In order to alleviate stress and negativity in students, teachers may want to consider changing how and when they assign homework. Students are spending almost double the assumed time completing work. They also are easily distracted by technology, which may be from fatigue. If homework assignments are decreased, students may become less stressed. Council Rock North will be a happier place when teachers assign less homework, allowing students to pursue other interests.
By Jessie Jin
January is busy and stressful with midterms, the end of the marking period, and course selection. Yet at the same time, January is a redefining moment, a new beginning. This new year has so much potential and it is vital to start strong. Thus, goals, or in this case New Year’s resolutions, can help you roughly sketch out the new year. (Note that the tips discussed in this article can apply to all goals.)
Making New Year’s resolutions is a yearly tradition that helps people reflect on the previous year and improve shortcomings. Often times, people (myself included) are motivated and confident the first few days after making the goal. However, by February many people lose motivation and forget about their goals.
If New Year’s resolutions seem so short lived, why do we make them? Psychiatrist Dr. Glenn Miller cites tradition, self-improvement, and a desire to start. He believes that resolutions challenge us and open our mindsets. One study shows that 46 percent of people who wrote resolutions achieved their goals whereas only four percent of people achieved their goals without writing them down.
To put things into perspective, I conducted a survey which thirteen ninth graders participated in. Among the ten students (77%) who previously made New Year’s Resolutions, three students (46%) achieved some of their goals. In the past, numerous students resolved to “eat healthier,” “exercise more,” and “get better grades.” As goals for 2020, four people cited time management or efficiency.
Student Amber Li hoped “... [to create] an allotted time for each task before beginning anything” to be more time efficient.
Freshman Jaden Wan indicated that, “I will study ahead of time for tests and make sure I understand the information taught” to achieve better grades.
In regards to sleep, one student remarked that to get more sleep and rest, “I’ll try to get off my phone at a reasonable hour. I could create a routine before sleeping.”
Since resolutions are unique to you, you may face different challenges to achieve them. However, we can analyze common trends to determine the greatest pitfalls and how to avoid them.
In the survey mentioned above, stress and lack of motivation were the most common problems, as nine and eight people cited them, respectively. Fortunately, we can alleviate those problems.
Psychologist Jelena Kecmanovic offers science-based tips to keep resolutions.
First, you should figure out what you value and honor those values. If you enjoy doing something, you will work hard and not lose motivation.
Next, you can change your environment to avoid temptations that will prevent you from achieving your goals. A classic example is to put away your phone if you want a good night’s sleep.
In addition, you can adapt to change by using a gradual approach to reach your goals because drastic changes can be overwhelming. For example, if you wanted to save thirty dollars a week, you could start by saving a few dollars a week and then work your way up to save more money.
But most importantly, remember to stay positive. You will encounter setbacks, but never be bogged down with failure.
Remember Winston Churchill’s wisdom that “[s]uccess is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Rather than fearing failure, we should learn from failure to lead us to success. Indeed, you may face obstacles, but never lose hope. If you do what you are passionate about and endure trials, your actions will become habits. Then you will achieve your goals as easily as breathing.
By Sarah Cruz
In terms of preparing for midterms, most people may not even know where to start. They need guidance in how to get ready for midterms in the most efficient way possible, so here are five easy ways to prepare for midterms.
One way to prepare for midterms is study, study, study. Whether you are looking through old notes or studying with a group of friends, it is always a good idea to know all the information you need. But, don’t study too much at once.
As student Mishti Mishra suggests, “Study a bit per day instead of cramming 6 hours of studying [into] the night before.” Pacing is a great idea because stress is the most important thing to avoid and this is the most effective way to do just that.
When looking through old notes you took earlier in the year, you may feel overwhelmed by the volume of information. Therefore, condensing notes or information from textbooks is the way to go.
The best way to organize notes is by making notecards and study guides. This way, you can extract all key facts or ideas instead of looking at tons of pages of notes without retaining much of what you read.
Also, color coding or highlighting notes is another way to organize ideas as best you can because you reinforce crucial terms or definitions when doing so.
Another way to prepare is by using your resources. When teachers give out any sort of material or practice for the midterms, they are giving it as a way to help you succeed in the tests to come. So, use it to your advantage.
Also, there are websites out there, such as Quizlet.com, to help make the process of studying easier. As student Dara Cohen states, “Making quizlets, or at least using quizlets is helpful because a lot of fellow classmates or teachers make them for students to use.”
On Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, most teachers offer clinic for students who need help in a certain subject. So, this is another useful way to get help if you are struggling in any sort of area that is on the midterms.
As student Jess Yuan says, “I reviewed my notes every night for the week leading up to the midterms. If I had questions, I made sure to ask my teacher in class or during clinic.”
Lastly, getting much needed rest or sleep is a very important way to get ready for midterms. Most people don’t think about how much sleep they need, but the National Sleep Foundation identified that only 15% of teenagers sleep a healthy amount of time each school night. Therefore, try not to stay up all night studying as it will cause you to be less successful for the midterms to come. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep in order to be at your best for test time.
All in all, there are tons of ways to prepare for midterms, such as studying, getting enough rest, or making notecards. But, the most important thing is that you find the method that suits you best and makes your process easier.