By Sophia Kim
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing has been crucial for the health and safety of our community. In an effort to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, SAT and ACT testing centers have closed down and testing dates have been canceled. As a result, many students this year did not have the opportunity to take or retake the SAT or ACT. For the Class of 2021, this issue has caused stress and worry regarding college applications.
Colleges around the US have acknowledged this problem, a situation unique to our time, by becoming “test-optional.” More than 1,500 schools currently do not require students to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission.
What does “test-optional” really mean? Are colleges being truthful in saying that test scores are really optional? If I have taken the SAT/ACT already, should I submit my scores, even if the application doesn’t require them?
These are completely valid questions. Let’s first start with what it means to be a “test-optional.”
Types of Test Optional Schools
There are several types of test optional schools. One important thing to remember is that no matter what “category” a school falls under, application/admission policies vary from college to college. Be sure to check the specific requirements for schools that interest you.
To check which colleges are currently test optional, go to: https://fairtest.org/university/optional.
Truly “test-optional” colleges do not require students to submit their SAT or ACT scores in order to be considered for admission. Schools that are currently test-optional include the University of Chicago, Wake Forest University, Bowdoin College, Bucknell University, Pitzer College, and Brandeis University.
“Test-flexible” schools allow students to submit scores from other assessments such as SAT Subject Tests or AP tests in place of the SAT and ACT. Schools that currently fall under this category include NYU, Middlebury College, Drexel University, and the University of Rochester.
“Test-blind” schools are colleges that will not consider your SAT or ACT scores even if you submit them. These schools try to de-emphasize the importance of test scores in determining a student’s merit, however test-optional schools are much more common. Some examples of currently test-blind schools include Hampshire College and California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
Some colleges guarantee admission if an applicant has a certain class ranking or GPA. These schools typically require a student to be in the top 10% of their class or have a 3.5 unweighted GPA. However, as I stated earlier, each college has its own set of policies, so be sure to check.
Now that we’ve differentiated between these different admissions policies, let’s discuss some common questions regarding test-optional schools.
Does test-optional really mean test-optional?
Parents and students this year may be skeptical about whether colleges will really be impartial in choosing between students who have included their scores and those who have not. This is a fair question.
According to Robert Schaeffer, interim Executive Director of FairTest, test-optional schools will not penalize students who do not submit scores. Schaeffer says, “It is important for students, their families, and counselors to understand that ‘test-optional means optional.’ In other words, students who do not submit results from standardized exams will neither be advantaged nor disadvantaged.”
The National Association for College Admission Counselors (NACAC) agrees with this sentiment. In fact, NACAC released a statement in August 2020 confirming it. Over 470 representatives from colleges around the country have signed the statement to confirm that students applying to their schools will not be penalized for excluding SAT/ACT scores. You can check the list of colleges that participated here: Test-Optional Means Test-Optional. Through the document, Angel B. Pérez (CEO of NACAC) wanted to show students that colleges will be true to their word: “I decided to create the statement and circulate it among schools because I have heard from our high school counselor colleagues that their students just don’t believe that test-optional schools really mean it.”
Should I include my SAT/ACT scores even if the school is test-optional?
If you have taken the SAT or ACT already, you may be wondering whether you should include your scores in applications or opt to exclude them.
This is a decision that students have to make based on other factors. Most sources state that strong test scores will always strengthen an application. Therefore, students must think about whether their scores would positively contribute to their application overall. It is important to note that if an applicant does not submit SAT or ACT scores, college admissions counselors will have to rely more heavily on other aspects of their application such as GPA, course rigor, and personal statement.
Additionally, students may want to include SAT or ACT scores if they are looking to receive merit scholarships. For the most part, colleges award merit scholarships based on test scores. However, there are certain colleges that have modified the scholarship requirements because many students have no scores to send. Penn State, Miami University of Ohio, University of Maryland, and Indiana University are among those colleges that will not be looking at SAT/ACT scores to award merit scholarships to incoming freshmen. However, keep in mind that most colleges will continue to use SAT/ACT scores to determine who will be awarded these scholarships and how much money they will receive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had so many unexpected effects on all of our lives. Who ever thought that one day students would be able to apply to college without an SAT or ACT score? These really are bizarre times. I hope this article answered some questions and relieved some stress or confusion. Please be sure to wish our seniors the best of luck in their college application processes!
By Marissa Cohen
Over the past few months, school board meetings have become the number one source of information about everything from reopening plans to football games. However, if you’re like most students in Council Rock, you’re probably way too busy to watch these now almost four-hour-long meetings. Here are a few of the most important and relevant points that came out of the October 1 board meeting.
Covid-19 Reopening Plans
For many students, parents, and teachers, the past few weeks of hybrid learning have been going well. As we start getting accustomed to this new way of learning, the school board has already started to discuss a five day a week plan for in-person learning. Much of this month’s meeting was spent discussing this plan, specifically the target date for implementing this new plan. As of now, it’s hard to tell whether or not students will even be able to go to school for a full week since news about the pandemic changes almost daily. There have already been two cases of Covid-19 in CRN alone, and no one knows if that number is going to increase. However, the school board is staying optimistic and cautious: the current target date for reopening five days a week is November 16th. Of course, the school board can’t force students uncomfortable with in-person learning to come in, so the 100% virtual option will still be available. It will be interesting to see how this plays out: after the announcement that cases have started showing up at CRN, more students have opted out of the hybrid option and are now virtual. And without a hybrid, two days a week option, there could be an increase in students who go 100% virtual because they aren’t comfortable going in all five days. They will be having a final vote on this notion on October 22nd, and if you have any concerns or comments, you can make a public comment at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Education Committee and New Electives
It seems that even one month into school, teachers are already planning new electives for the 2021-22 school year. In the technology education department, a new elective called STEM guitar was approved. The basis of this elective is building a guitar, a process that will teach students about many different aspects of the STEM field. Three new electives in the Family and Consumer Sciences department are Global Foods and Culture, Nutrition and Dietetics, and World of Fashion 2. These three electives and the STEM guitar one were not voted on unanimously: some board members had concerns about expenses and about having enough teachers to include these subjects in the curriculum. However, two new gym and health electives were approved unanimously: Unified Physical Education and Achieving Happiness. These new electives may give students more options for their required gym classes, something that can add diversity and fun to this requirement. All of these electives will most likely be available beginning next school year.
CR Health and Safety/Athletic Health and Safety Plans
Another major issue in this month’s board meeting was regarding the current health and safety plans and Governor Wolf’s restriction mandates. Previously, the plans stated that there could be a maximum gathering of 25 people indoors and 250 outdoors, and that allowing spectators at games would be a case-by-case decision. However, after much discussion, the school board revised those statements. Now, the district will strictly follow whatever the CDC and Governor Wolf’s guidelines are. And for us, it means that a limited number of spectators and talent scouts will be allowed to come to games, something that will hopefully boost morale and school spirit for our great teams.
As they have been the past few months, this board meeting was filled with lots of discussion, debates, and public comments. There is currently a lot of turmoil over what’s right for the students and how it may conflict with the health and safety concerns of the state. These times and these decisions are increasingly difficult, so it’s important to stay informed about what’s going on in our district. These meeting summaries will most likely be written monthly, so make sure to visit the Indianite’s website next month to learn about November’s meeting.
By Anushka Rajmohan
As the famous psychologist, Carl Jung once said, “About a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. This can be defined as the general neurosis of our times.” Although in the world we live today, psychological experts are able to diagnose most who suffer from this “neurosis” with known and studied mental disorders, Jung’s other statement still stands as a constant: mental health has been declining and continues to do so, especially among teenagers. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened mental health, this mental health crisis has been on-going for decades now.
Before the 1900s, mental health was not a big societal concern, and those with mental health disorders were mostly considered “crazy” and were stigmatized. However, as psychology began to grow as a prominent field of study and psychologists began to understand more about the effects of previously thought to be milder mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, the issue of a widespread decline in mental health in teenagers became much clearer.
As this noticeably became a public health concern, the Department of Human and Health Services (HHS) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started to analyze data from the 1900s to the 1980s to find possible trends and causes to this crisis. They noticed that the suicide rates among teenagers were steadily increasing from 1900-1950 and then sharply increased starting around the 1980s, exceeding the rate of suicide for all peoples.
This mental health decline has only been intensifying, with psychological disorders among children and teenagers rapidly increasing since the mid-2000s. As of now, in the United States, the second leading cause of death for young adolescents, teenagers, and young adults is death by suicide. This fact is even more alarming when compared with the results of the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, which revealed that suicidal thoughts have been the most prevalent among young adults, specifically ages 18-25.
Researchers and psychologists have been conducting hundreds of studies in order to pinpoint the cause of this public health crisis. Although most studies have not been able to find a conclusive single cause and contribute to the decline of mental health for various reasons, those studies also mainly point to the rise of social media and the excessive use of technology for this mental health decline.
Studies have found that the use of smartphones and laptops leads to less amount of sleep, both because teenagers are spending too much time on these addictive devices and the blue light from screens that disrupt sleep patterns. Moreover, the omniscient presence in teenagers’ lives lessens face-to-face interactions with family and friends. Both of these factors have shown to increase already present stress from other factors and contribute to mental disorders such as depression and bipolar (also known as manic-depressive) disorder, which are the two leading disorders contributing to suicide among teens.
On top of these pre-existing issues, the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in the world implementing various lockdowns has not been kind to the teenage population either. A research study conducted about the effects of the lockdown explained the plunge of mental health among school and college-going students and emphasized the factors that led to this:
“The home confinement of children and adolescents is associated with uncertainty and anxiety which is attributable to disruption in their education, physical activities and opportunities for socialization. Absence of structured setting of the school for a long duration result in disruption in routine, boredom and lack of innovative ideas for engaging in various academic and extracurricular activities.”
The pandemic only increased the stress that teenagers already had and disrupted a regular routine that, the study predicts, will have psychological effects later on in their lives as well.
A student from North, who would like to remain anonymous, was asked about their own experiences with their mental health struggles over the spring/summer lockdown of 2020. The student claimed that the lockdown had a negative impact on their mental health, mostly due to a decrease in daily face-to-face social interactions with friends. The student commented on this reduced social life:
“Not seeing people in general or going out was incredibly tough for me because there was nothing to look forward to.”
The student also both proceeded to explain that this decline in mental health negatively impacted their school worth ethic in general. The student explained that “school life slowly went into downward spiral.”
Although the terrific death rate of this pandemic is still important to concentrate on, the decline of mental health and increase in stress also deserves attention since this even impacts our own school.
So, what is being done about this serious public health crisis plaguing kids and adults alike? Many organizations have been created to help and spread awareness of this growing issue. One such organization is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). AFSP shares real stories of suicide survivors provides a crisis lifeline and raises money in order to educate and push for suicide prevention programs in schools. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is another organization that aims to raise awareness for the suicide pandemic and is also the biggest suicide crisis call center in the United States, providing support for anyone in distress.
Schools and colleges are also implementing suicide prevention programs and mental health programs that aim to detect early signs of suicide and help students suffering from serious psychological disorders and self-harm. Our own state has the Safe2Something program, its main objective being to help those who might be in a crisis by recognizing certain signs. Our school also has the CARES program, which is also designed so that students can recognize warning signs from their peers and help them by reporting to trusted adults.
The topic of mental health has been one that holds much stigma and still, to some extent, is an uncomfortable topic to discuss today. However, spreading awareness about this pandemic and effects of this on teenagers is important in decreasing the rates of psychological illnesses and rates of suicide, both of which have been on the rise for decades now. The only way to prevent more casualties that these mental health diseases cause is to be educated on the topic of mental health, spread awareness, and join and support organizations advocating for suicide prevention. And even if you are not able to do these things, even having a bit more awareness for the people around you can save a life.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact any of the hotlines below:
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-784-2433
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR
Council Rock North and the Council Rock community salutes the class of 2020. See the matriculation list here.
By Anushka Rajmohan
During the early months of the year 2020, the pandemic COVID-19 swept the world and warped normal life as we know it. Institutions, workplaces, shopping centers, recreational centers, and any other locations deemed as non-essential all were shut down. People around the world were deeply affected as they quarantined in their own homes, with families, pets, and sometimes even alone.
With the disruption of regular reality, students, teachers, parents, and workers all were forced to adjust their old lives to this new reality. So, how have teenagers been spending their time in quarantine?
Many of the students of the world were first overjoyed at the thought of having a break from school. However, as the quarantine was extended and these young people were forced to stay home for weeks on end, this excitement quickly turned into boredom and restlessness.
To cope with this feeling of ennui, students have been occupying themselves in the digital world more and more. Many have delved into different social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, to stay connected with their friends and family and the world. Others have turned to platforms such as YouTube and Netflix to entertain themselves.
As a result of millions of daily viewers, some streaming services have even created new supplements for subscribers and viewers to utilize. For example, Netflix has introduced the “Netflix Party,” an extension that can be used to watch Netflix at the same time as another person. Friends have been using this to hold quarantined movie nights in the safety and comfort of their own homes.
Other young people have sought enjoyment from a decades-old activity: video gaming. With the release of the Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, many have spent hours on their Nintendo Switches, fishing for Rainbow Trout and helping animal characters in the game. This game is part of the Animal Crossing game series that consumed the childhoods of many millennials, which has led those 20-year-olds to spend their time on this game as well.
Similar to how these millennials took this chance in order to pick up old hobbies, many have followed suit and have tapped into old interests.
Ruhani Gill, a current junior at Council Rock High School North, expressed that with the amount of free time she has now, she has been “reconnecting with [her] old hobbies like painting, Tae kwon do, and reading.”
With the copious amount of time in many people’s schedules, this has been the perfect time to discover new passions and rediscover old ones.
Aside from these leisurely activities, students have also been busy with the introduction of “distance learning” by many school districts across the world. As part of distance learning in Council Rock, students are required to record their attendance every “school” day through their computers. Although this form of learning is very different from the face-to-face experience of classroom learning, thanks to the hardworking and wonderful teachers around the world, many lucky students have had the opportunity to still learn and stimulate their brains even during this lock-down period.
Teachers record lessons and post them on a learning platform, such as the vastly used Canvas, and then later, students can access these lessons. In addition to these lessons, many teachers have been utilizing applications such as Zoom to virtually see their students and lecture in that manner.
Although these seemingly superficial activities that these young people and teenagers are engaging themselves in may seem trivial compared to the suffering and chaos occurring in the world as of the moment, it is important to recognize how this young generation is dealing with such an important moment in history.
Even though this virulent virus has rattled the world, these teenagers have managed to adapt to this new situation and to be brave in the face of chaos. This very flexible mindset should be both applauded and applied to one’s own life.
Recommendations from students on how to spend your time during quarantine:
By Sarayu Cheemalapati
COVID-19, or more commonly known as the coronavirus, has been spreading rapidly in the past month within the United States. As cases and deaths rise, Council Rock schools and all schools in the state of Pennsylvania have officially closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic school year to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, forcing staff and students to continue education through online resources.
Although academics have been altered due to this pandemic, many other events that were of high importance were cancelled as well. Many of these events had special importance to the graduating class of 2020.
This year was supposed to be the peak year of the seniors’ high school experience, considering it is their final year before moving on. Special events were planned to accomplish this, such as prom, the Disney trip, and, most importantly, graduation.
Prom is one of the biggest school dances of the year. There are two of them: one for the juniors, and one for the seniors. Both of them were cancelled because of the number of students attending, which is a risk because of the spread of the ongoing pandemic.
Senior prom is a time for seniors to celebrate their past and be excited for the future as their high school years draw to a close.
“Prom gives you kind of a surreal feeling, especially for people like me who aren’t used to getting dressed up all fancy,” says cross-country senior Caroline Gallen, “Seeing all your friends looking so confident and getting to spend a night of fun dancing with them really makes you feel special.”
Additionally, the Disney trip, originally scheduled for April, was for the seniors to relive their childhoods again before leaving high school. As of right now, there is no word for whether it is completely cancelled or postponed. The risk of travelling currently is dangerous, due to the pandemic. Other students worry about the future of this trip, as well, but Anna Cairone, the junior class president, remains optimistic that this current crisis will not affect the future of Disney trips.
Finally, one of the most important events that is being affected due to the coronavirus is the 2020 graduation proceeding. This ceremony is to present seniors with their diploma and is the final event before leaving high school. Like the Disney trip, currently the fate and form of this year’s graduation remains uncertain, but an in-person graduation seems unlikely.
Graduation is such an integral part of high school that even the underclassmen of Council Rock North are talking about this.
“This is something they [the seniors] will always remember. It [the coronavirus] came on so unexpectedly that they just didn’t get that chance to say goodbye. I just think that will impact their memory of it [graduation],” states freshman Kathleen Morton.
We, as a district, understand the problems being faced with this sickness going around the nation. Although senior year did not end as planned, we wish all the success and happiness to our graduating class as they navigate the uncharted waters of adulthood.
By Jessie Jin
The Continental Army faced one of the hardest winters at Valley Forge in 1776. Supplies were depleted, soldiers were starving, the weather was bitter cold, and enlistment time was almost over.
During these darkest days, the words of the American revolutionary Thomas Paine in The American Crisis comforted soldiers, boosted their morale, and convinced them to extend their enlistments:
“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of men and women.”
As the American Revolution soldiers faced many hardships, we too face obstacles in our daily life, some more severe than others. This current unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis. People from all different backgrounds are negatively impacted by this health crisis. In fact, I am writing about the coronavirus right now because it has completely changed my life.
A month ago, some classmates lightheartedly remarked that they hoped school would close because of coronavirus. But soon, on Friday March 13th, 2020, the year 2020 would never be the same for us. School closed; so did practically everything else except grocery stores, banks, and hospitals. Now, school closure has extended until the end of the school year.
During this time, everyone’s lives have changed. No more weaving into school at 7:31 AM. No more ra-tat-ta of drums. No more laughter while playing ball. No more face-to-face interactions with friends. Instead, we are now stuck at home, where it seems that boredom could drive us insane.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can take charge of our own lives and make this abundant precious time count. As many people now are working from home, there is more family time. What a perfect time to strengthen familial bonds! Usually, our lives are so busy that we forget to or don’t have the time to spend with our loved ones.
Also, I earnestly believe that this great challenge we are facing is an opportunity to redeem the time. Time is ever fleeting. Now that the coronavirus has freed up so much of our time, we should use it meaningfully. From personal experience, I understand how difficult it can be to go between the extremes –almost non-existent free time to too much free time.
Thus, I believe that it is important to organize time –give it some structure though not too much or too little. We can write lists, mark our calendars, or write hourly schedules (much like school periods). These are only a few suggestions. Ultimately, organize your time in a way that best suits your needs. Whatever your method, you will find that when you organize your time, your days become meaningful. You are now motivated and will achieve greater things.
As Bill Bryson in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything puts it: “[e]ven a long human life adds up to only about 650,000 hours”. So, let us cherish each moment of our lives. When this time comes to pass, may we confidently say that we enjoyed our life and have no regrets.
Today, the coronavirus has devastated so many lives, claiming about 121,000 lives and infected about 1.9 million people thus far (actually underreported infections). Many are unemployed and everywhere people have quarantined themselves. Despite all, I am still hopeful.
In a famous Greek myth, evil things came out of Pandora’s box and cursed the world. But more importantly, hope was the last thing left behind. Let us hope for our families, our communities, our countries, and all the people of earth. We can overcome the coronavirus together. If everyone works together, we can slow down this pandemic.
Although we face a virulent enemy, Thomas Paine once remarked, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
Once this virus is over, we will be stronger and more united families, communities, and global citizens. Before that though, we must take caution, practice social distancing, and enjoy the time and family we have. May we all unite and have faith to overcome this enemy.
By Marissa Cohen
This year at North has been more special than ever as students and teachers alike come together to celebrate North’s 50th anniversary. As crazy as it may sound, this building has been standing since 1969 with not many renovations since then. While it may seem cheesy to celebrate a school’s 50th anniversary, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the history that’s led to where North is now as a school and as a community. Furthermore, these celebrations can bring students closer to some of North’s alumni and give them an insight on how things used to be.
Throughout the school year, different clubs and honors societies have been celebrating North’s 50th anniversary in many different ways. These celebrations kicked off in the beginning of the school year, during grade-level assemblies. In these assemblies, Mrs. McCarthy handed out phone wallets featuring our school’s unique hexagon windows and announced that all year, students and teachers would be planning activities to celebrate this anniversary.
After that, the junior class hosted the first official Council Rock North Homecoming with the theme of North through the ages, paying homage to the 50th anniversary. The student government hung pictures of alumni and teachers from 1969 to the present down the hallways for everyone to see as they walked in. Some of these pictures can still be found in the frames across from the attendance office.
After Homecoming, anniversary celebrations slowed down for a bit as some clubs and honors societies began to prepare for the rest of the year. One organization that’s working on the 50th anniversary is Rho Kappa, the social studies honors society. In the beginning of the year, administration asked Rho Kappa to plan some of the 50th anniversary celebrations as a part of their yearly activities and so far everything has been going really well.
The biggest project Rho Kappa has taken on is researching and creating a brochure outlining the past 50 years at North, including famous alumni, important dates and changes to the school, and more. Students have been working on this for a while and it will be available soon.
However, if you want to know more about North’s history before then, check out some of the old yearbooks on display in the library. These yearbooks go all the way back to the 1960s, making it easy to trace North’s unique history.
Another effort some students are making is to try and get in touch with as many alumni as possible. It’s a great way for students and teachers alike to see not only what’s changed, but what’s stayed the same over the past 50 years. From brochures to dances to interviews, North’s 50th anniversary celebrations in the first half of the year have brought people closer to the history of not only this building but also the people who have passed through it just like students today. Hopefully, the excitement and energy surrounding North’s 50th anniversary will continue through the rest of the school year.
By Sophia Kim
About one week ago, after taking attendance and marking a handful of students absent, one of my teachers said, “It’s definitely flu and cold season.” You may have noticed recently that some of your classmates have called into school sick, or perhaps you have gotten sick within the past several months. Flu and cold seasons are currently in full swing, which explains why illness has plagued much of our school as of late. The flu and common cold are more common in the winter months. In the United States, flu season begins around October and can last until May but usually peaks between December and February. Cold season starts in late August and can last until early April.
I asked some of my classmates whether they had gotten their flu shots and whether they had gotten sick this flu season. A few of these people stopped for a moment and responded, “I definitely got sick, but I don’t know if I got the flu or a cold. What’s the difference?”
The flu and common cold are both viral respiratory infections that can affect the nose, throat and lungs. Both are spread by droplets dispersed in the air by the coughing, sneezing, or talking of infected people. Direct contact with objects containing these same germs can also spread the flu and cold. These infections usually fade without medical treatment, but can have serious complications. Despite the similarities between them, there are key differences between the two illnesses.
Influenza or “the flu” is only caused by the influenza virus. Its symptoms appear suddenly and tend to be more severe than those of the common cold. With the flu, it is common to experience fever, body aches, chills and sweats, a dry cough, fatigue, and weakness. Complications of the flu include pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma flare-ups. People who have the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days that they experience the symptoms. Flu symptoms usually disappear after about five days, but coughing and weakness can last longer. Full recovery usually takes one to two weeks. On average, adults get the flu twice every ten years.
Unlike the flu, the common cold can be the result of many different viruses. Cold symptoms tend to appear gradually and overall are milder than those of the flu. Some of these symptoms are a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, congestion and sneezing. Most people recover from a cold in about one week to 10 days. On average, adults get two to three colds a year.
If you don’t want to get the flu or catch a cold, take some preventative measures. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, and limit your exposure to infected people. In order to limit the spread of germs, try not to share glasses or utensils with others and remember to sneeze and cough into tissues. Additionally, make sure to take care of your body! Get enough sleep each night, exercise regularly, eat well, and manage your stress.
In addition to implementing these simple actions to your daily life, you can get vaccinated for the flu. The flu vaccine is the best proven defense against the flu. But since the flu virus is constantly changing, the flu vaccine is also always evolving. Each year’s flu vaccine protects against three or four flu viruses that scientists expect to be common that year. Flu vaccines contain inactivated viral strains which are injected into the deltoid muscle, (the uppermost part of the arm and the top of the shoulder) or the thigh. This vaccine has successfully reduced flu-related illnesses and decreased the risk for flu complications.
If you have already gotten sick this flu and cold season, avoid spreading illness to people around you. Wash your hands, contain your coughs and sneezes, and disinfect surfaces that you touch regularly, such as doorknobs. According to a 2018 CDC study, 8% of the US population gets the flu each year, but it ranges from 3% to 11% depending on the season. Children and people 65 or older get the flu more often than other age groups.
To get a sense of what has been going on at CRN in relation to flu and cold, I took a poll among some of my classmates on how they have been affected by sickness recently. Out of 59 CRN students, 34 students or 58% of the group got the flu shot. 8% got the flu, 39% got a cold, and 53% did not get either.
Even if you follow the preventative measures listed above, sometimes sickness is inevitable. However, do what you can to reduce your risk of getting the flu or cold, and be mindful of your impact on fellow students. Stay healthy, North!
By Autumn Knoop
Why save money at all?
Money is what sustains our day to day lives, and is absolutely essential for our futures. When you get a job, you will receive income. Rather than spend all the money you earned at once, it is recommended that you save a portion of your paycheck for your future. The more you save, the more money you have for things that cost more, such as a house or a car. It is also smart to save money for retirement, as you will not have a job to sustain you anymore.
Teens who save
Many teens save, even if it means a couple of coins in a jar. But what about teens who run businesses or earn large amounts of money? For this section of the article, I will be interviewing Aveline Knoop, who is an entrepreneur and student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Q: So, to jump right into it, how young were you when you started saving money?
A: “I started saving money at fourteen years old.”
Q: What caused you to start saving money?
A: “I started saving money because I founded my own business making and selling nail art and care products. As I began to make money, I wanted to start saving for my future seriously.”
Q: How did you start saving?
A: “I started saving by putting my money in a retirement fund (a tax-free savings account).”
Q: How much do you recommend saving?
A: “ Saving 20% of every paycheck you receive is a great standard.”
Q: What is a Roth IRA?
A: “An IRA is an individual retirement account which allows you to save up to $5,500 per year. This amount compounds 6% (about) annually to build your savings. A Roth IRA is a business IRA. It allows you to save more than the $5,500 limit as a business.”
Editor’s Note: As of 2020, IRA/Roth limit is $6,000 per person, with additional catch-ups for older workers. Also, a Roth IRA is not limited to business people; anyone can open and fund a Roth IRA subject to income limitations (high earners are restricted). The main difference between an IRA and a Roth IRA is that you pay no tax now on funds you invest in an IRA. You then pay tax when you withdraw the funds in the future. Conversely, you pay tax now on funds for a Roth IRA, but then you pay no tax on these funds in the future. You can choose to invest in either type of account or both types.
Q: Do you have any tips for teens who are interested in saving?
A: “Even if you are working at a day job, I would start saving now. It doesn’t feel like much, but you’ll find your small amount of contributions today will amount to thousands of dollars in a decade. And if you are motivated and believe you have a great idea to start a business - it’s never too early.”
How to start saving
As Aveline suggests, once you start to make an income, you can immediately start saving. The first step to saving is to analyze how much income you are making and how much you are willing to save with money left to spend. In this sense you are budgeting for your future self. Successful saving for the future is anywhere from 10-20 percent of your income, but any amount saved will benefit your future. Rather than spend money on things that you don’t need, simply put that money aside, and create a more secure future for yourself.