High School

High School Grads: Here are a Couple of Tips for Your Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation Tips Many of us struggle to find the balance between work and play. I know that when I’m on vacation, it’s hard for me to focus on doing anything I’m not interested it in at that very second. Especially, during the summer between high school and college, students are left with almost no responsibilities and three months to ponder.

As a recent high school graduate, I thought I’d set some goals to accomplish during my vacation. I know it may seem silly to plan ‘serious’ things during a vacation, but I think that a little bit of planning can go a long way. My goals are two, they can be achieved anywhere, and they are a perfect way to maintain some of the structure students are used to have every day:

1. Read one book a week
As someone who struggles to just sit down and crack a book open, I have found that by setting myself this goal ahead of time, I can actually make myself enjoy reading. Studies have shown that students lose a tremendous amount of what they learned from the previous year during the summer because they don’t work their brain.

Reading will not only help ‘upkeep’ but it will also open up your world to the infinite others lying hidden in books. Before I begin each book, I see how many pages there are and divide that by the number of days I want to finish it in. Thanks to this goal, I’ve started to notice huge changes in my reading habits, and my diction has grown greatly.

2. Exercise 30 minutes a day
As a disclaimer, I think this mainly applies to extended vacations. It’s so easy to forget about the health of your body when you’re lying on the beach in the Caribbean or enjoying rich fare in France. Exercising every day allows me to stay healthy even during a very delicious trip.

I have two exercises that don’t require any equipment. The first one is just to jog for thirty minutes, for me that is about 1.5-2 miles. You might think that jogging would take away time from a trip, but it’s actually an awesome way to get to know your destination. The second exercise that I do is 10 push-ups, 30 sit-ups, and 15 squats. I will repeat this rotation for 30 minutes, usually with an episode of “Friends” or “That 70’s Show” to keep me entertained.

What I recommend, and keep in mind that while I have experience in this exercise, I’m not a trained professional, is to raise each exercise by five every time you feel it’s becoming a bit easy. Exercising every day during vacation has actually made me more energized and ready to explore my location, while at the same time making sure that my body is healthy and in shape.

These two goals are a perfect way to enjoy summer while making sure that you keep some structure and don’t lose what you’ve gained through the school year. Enjoy your summer!

This is a guest post by Noa Livneh, a high school graduate in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Higher Education

7 Reasons College Is Still Worth It

college graduateIt is a well-known and vastly reported fact that the cost of college tuition is rising. And as we see such drastic increases without an accompanying rise in income, many of us question whether a college degree is actually worth the hundred grand many of us end up paying for it. Though there are many paths to success, a college education does vastly increase options in the job market, teach valuable skillsets, and connects lifelong friends and colleagues.

Here are seven reasons a college education is still worth it:

1. College doesn’t have to be expensive. Scholarships, grants, starting at a two-year community college or studying in state can greatly reduce the cost of your degree. A price tag is not always what it seems. Investing some time in researching and applying for scholarships can reap a big financial payoff. Alternatively, starting your college career at a community college will save you tens of thousands in loans, and you’ll still graduate with a degree from a four-year university.

2. College isn’t all about the degree—it’s also about the education. Living and learning on campus will be different than anything you’ve experienced before. You’ll have access to the best resources, professors and peers. If you take advantage of all the academic opportunities surrounding your campus existence, you will graduate with much more than a diploma.

3. College opens doors. Though not all careers require a four-year degree, many do. Plus, a four-year degree will almost always give you a leg up in any field. Though you’ll often hear the argument that people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg don’t hold a college degree, such instances are exceedingly rare. Unless you’re a computer genius with a billion dollar idea, college is going to grant you access to many-a-profession.

4. College is a great place to network. The value of a college education is not entirely in the learning material, but also largely in the people on campus. Whether it’s your professors or your peers, college provides you with time to get to know new people with new ideas, who might inspire, encourage, challenge or work alongside you.

5. College graduates make more. Average out that hundred grand over 40 years in the work force, and it comes out to $2,500 per year. While that’s certainly a significant amount of money, it is by no means life changing, and probably won’t put much of a damper on your lifestyle. Consider the fact that college graduates earn an average of 56% more than high school graduates do, and your investment in a college degree, whether it’s $20,000 or $200,000, still pays off.

6. College graduates have higher rates of employment. According to the Pew Research Center, only 3.8 percent of college graduates are unemployed, whereas 12.2 percent of people with only a high school degree are unemployed. The job market is extremely competitive, and a four-year degree will greatly increase your odds of success.

7. A college education also takes place outside the classroom. Living on your own for the first time is a big deal. You learn how to take on new responsibilities and manage your own time—it is a valuable stepping-stone toward adulthood. College is an excellent time to learn about yourself: who you are, who you want to be around and what you want to do with your time on this planet.

Though the cost may seem daunting, a college education, experience and diploma is still a very worthwhile investment. There is so much to gain from a college degree, both tangible and intangible.

High School

3 Tips for High School Happiness

high school happinessI believe in hard work, challenges and competition. I believe that nothing will happen if you aren’t truly willing to sacrifice time and energy. However, when your schedule is completely overwhelmed with homework and extracurricular activities, you’ve got yourself a problem.

Your grades are important, but so is your happiness. In fact, I did much better in school when I learned to allow myself to step outside its walls, metaphorically. Here are my three tips for achieving happiness:

1) Don’t prioritize studying, no matter what, over a good night’s sleep.

There is no reason to sacrifice seven hours of sleep to extra time to study because let’s be honest, if you need to stay up the night before the test to learn material, you probably won’t do much better on the exam than if you had just had a good night’s sleep. Also, this may sound silly, but never, ever go to sleep angry. Even if you’re having a fight with somebody or just mad in general, make sure to resolve it (at least in your head) before you go to bed. It’s extremely rare that I have bad nights of sleep and I truly believe that I’m a much happier person because of it.

2) One day a week should be dedicated purely for enjoying yourself.

Try to allocate a day’s worth of time each week to doing something you want to do. Whether it be hanging out with your friends, watching TV or being with family. Personally, I would always save Friday night and the entirety of Saturday to rest. Of course there are exceptions, such as AP exams and SATs, but overall I tried my best to keep that time free. My parents would often take my sisters and I on day trips to San Francisco. I had the chance to get to know and enjoy one of the greatest cities in the world, and now am forever able to navigate around major metropolitan areas.

3) Like what you do.

Don’t join the tennis team if you don’t like to play tennis. Don’t take APUSH or AP BIO if you aren’t interested in the subject material, and especially don’t hang out with people who don’t make you happy.

Your life isn’t just the things you can write down in an application or a resume. It’s so much more. You will be stressed in high school and you will have to work hard, but please take time to rest, recharge and do the things you love, not just what your school wants you to do. While my tips aren’t a foolproof recipe for happiness, they can help get you a step further towards self-fulfillment.

This is a guest post by Noa Livneh, a high school senior in the San Francisco Bay Area.