How music can affect your mood

By: Christina Cyrus

Listening to music enhances your mood, it can help you concentrate, meditate, relax, etc. Listening to music is something everyone does whether it’s sad, happy, uplifting, or energetic, everyone listens to music. Although listening to music can affect your mood, that might be a surprise to some people but researchers at the University of Missouri found that listening to music can help an individual succeed to be happier, especially when the genre is happy.

During the first study by Ferguson (UofM), participants successfully improved their mood due to the boost of happiness they got from listening to music.

Music can also affect your mental health, it releases mood enhancing chemicals in the brain that can be considered a “natural antidepressant”, it causes our brain to produce chemicals like dopamine and serotonin which evokes feelings of joy.

Also, when talking about music clinically you’re talking about music therapy. Music can help your psychological cognitive or communication needs to help better your mental health.

Music can give strength to cope with problems, which you may have noticed. It can help you cope in a healthy way without harming your mental state.

Another thing is that music could cause aggression. Sometimes music can have a negative impact on people’s mental health. For example, hard rock and heavy metal may all lead to aggression, but with the aggression comes with releasing negative emotion. In other words, listening to this type of music can help you get some adrenaline released, which is good if done productively.

Overall, I feel like listening to music can help me focus sometimes because it helps me focus and keeps me focused for a long period of time. It does sometimes cause me to get distracted, which leads me to get off track, but overall, I think listening to music can honestly help you get more work done especially if you have no distractions.

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Senior Year

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As we gear up for our final moments in high school, many of us are excited and nervous about the next chapters of our life whether we decide to go to college, take a gap year, or do other things. There is a lot to think about during your senior year in terms of classes, careers, and colleges. It’s also an important time to make memories and have fun. Here are some things to look forward to for your senior year.

  • Prom – Prom is the most exciting event that most high school seniors look forward to, after graduation. As prom comes around we are excited to show our friends what we are going to wear and the pictures we are excited to take with our friends. Prom allows us to celebrate and create memories with our friends.
  • Freedom – Senior year provides a lot of freedom, most seniors take easy classes during their final year and get the opportunity to leave early, or arrive at school late, if they are all caught up on their credits.
  • Senior skip day – Senior skip day is celebrated in most schools in America. It’s when seniors get to skip a day of school and do something with their friends.
  • Senior all night party – After graduation, and after you go out with your family to celebrate, you come back to school one last time and hang out with your friends all night at school.
  • Graduation day – Graduation day is what you have looked forward to since your freshman year. After working hard in your classes and applying to colleges, you’ll be able to graduate with a clear mind!

My senior year of high school was fun. It was great to make memories with my friends that may go their separate ways after graduation. I enjoyed all the fun things we did during the year and I look forward to walking across the stage to get my high school diploma and go on to the next chapter of my life. Congratulations class of 2022!

Why do students’ mental health improve over the summer

By: Mila Hart

After a long school year of stressing over grades, cold and dark winter weather, and little to no time to relax, summer is the perfect antidote to not so great metal health. After talking with several students from Highland Park Senior High I can confidently say that the majority of students’ mental health improves over the summer.

One reason for this could be that everyone’s taking in more vitamin D from the sun over the summer (I have a vitamin D deficiency so I can speak on it). Because we are getting more vitamin D our energy levels rise and it just generally makes us feel happier.

This also means that in the cold dark winter months, we aren’t absorbing as much vitamin D, and this can negatively affect us in a few different ways. Many people in colder areas can end up developing vitamin D deficiency in the winter. Vitamin D deficiency can cause you to feel fatigued, muscle weakness, and you can experience symptoms of depression. This also means that anyone with seasonal depression are definitely in their happier months of the year over the summer.

Another reason that students’ mental health may greatly improve over the summer is because they don’t have to stress out about school anymore for the next three months. There are many different reasons why students may be stressed during the school year, some of them being: homework, tests, projects, clubs, and athletics.

Every Highland Park student I talked to agreed that they basically don’t feel any stress at all over the summer compared to during the school year. Stress can very negatively impact your mental health. If you have so much stress to the point where it is overwhelming, and it’s been going on for a while, you can potentially develop anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.

Students’ health also improves over the summer because they have more time to do the things that they enjoy the most. Whether it’s doing athletic activities, playing video games, or hanging out with friends, there is significantly more time for students to enjoy these things over the summer.

‘Angela’s Ashes’

By: Julia Swee

Warning *Spoilers*

‘Angela’s Ashes’ by Frank McCourt is a historical memoir about a poor and troubled, Irish Catholic family in the middle of the Great Depression. The main character is based on Frank McCourt’s life, as he grew up in multiple different homes and came across many different circumstances along the way. Frank’s family consisted of his mom Angela McCourt, his dad Malachy McCourt, his little brothers, and one sister. The first brother Frank had was Malachy Junior, and then came Michael, Oliver and Eugene, and then Alphie.

As the story begins, Frank is a young child, and does not yet know the horrors of real life until he experiences his little sister Margaret’s death. She dies as just a little baby, and this absolutely crushes his parents. His dad is a raging alcoholic, and is rarely ever there for the family, never providing for them, and leaving them with no money as he spends it all on his drink. 

As Frank recounts his life in Ireland, he mentions different historical events and incorporates traditional Irish folklore into his stories. Frank mentions his favorite childhood story, “Cuchulain”, and develops a deep connection with the folklore character.

As Frank and family grieve over the loss of their sister Margaret, the depression hits them hard, as they struggle to find a steady place to stay. As they settle in the same place that Angela’s mother lives, they are struck with more unlucky circumstances as Frank’s little twin brothers, Oliver and Eugene, pass away from famine. This only sends the family into deeper depression, as they now have three missing children. 

As Frank begins his schooling, he feels the pressure and impact of the strict Irish Catholic culture. Frank is forced to succumb to the ways of the religion and its extreme values. A part of the religion values the act of confession to a priest, which plays a big part in the book as Frank relies on confessions to relieve his guilt for many things.

Although there are good priests who listen to Frank and his issues, throughout the novel Frank comes to notice how uptight and selective the church is of their people. When the church comes to play in Frank’s education, he feels as if he’s being controlled, which leads him to distrust his higher ups in both the church and school. 

As Frank grows with age, he uncovers secrets of his family, the church, and the world around him. He loses his innocence as he tries to figure out the right ways to go about life, leading him to eventually go off on his own.

He pockets money from his job selling magazines to save for a trip to America, where he believes he will find his passion in life. Frank uses many different anecdotes throughout his story to calm the truth of how truly horrific his childhood was.

In the end, Angela’s Ashes gives the reader a detailed and inspirational true story about a young boy navigating the scary world that Limerick, Ireland was at the time of the Great Depression. As the story comes to a close, with Frank finally finding his people in the great country of America, the reader is left with closure for Frank, and hope for a future of success.