How to deal with school stress and mental health at the same time

By: Mya Olson – Williams

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As all Highland Park Senior High students know, mid-quarter grades are coming out and many are dealing with seasonal depression during this long lasting winter. There’s several assignments and projects due at this time, as well as a new formative grading policy. How do you deal with the stress and pressure of school at the same time as your own mental health?

Taken from experience, never procrastinate your work. Yes, it takes a lot of energy, and yes, it’s boring to do. Unless you work great under immense pressure, starting assignments right before they’re due will cause way more stress. Work on them in class, or set time aside to do them so you don’t have to worry about it later.

Focus on one thing at a time. For example, try to focus on what you’re doing at school while you’re there, and take care of yourself when you have downtime at home. With too much going on in your head, you can get easily overwhelmed.

Talk to someone. If you need help with school work, HPSH is full of adults willing to help you, along with parents or other mentors. Same thing goes for mental health. If you think you need help and support, don’t be afraid to reach out. Having someone there for you is always a good way to feel more secure.

One of the best things to do is take breaks. If you have the time, take some time to do the things that make you happiest. Whatever it is, relax and focus on yourself for a while. It always feels good to disconnect from the world, especially with so much going on around you.

This time of the school year can be more than stressful. Make sure you’re staying healthy and paying attention to the things needed to be done at school. It can be very very hard, but don’t forget to learn about all the resources that are available to you!

But where are the aliens?

By: Ren King

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One of the biggest recurring questions in human history is whether aliens really exist. You would think that with the amount of attempted contact and searching we’ve made throughout the years for more life, we would have found some sign.

Today, we’ll cover the top four theories of why we haven’t found other life.

The first, and most unlikely popular theory, is called the Gaian Bottleneck. This theory holds the idea that life needs very specific conditions in order to survive, and that all other civilizations have ended before they had the chance to begin.

Earth is the only exception. Pretty geocentric of a theory, huh?

Close to this theory, but not so self important of humans, is the Great Filter theory, which is said to be one of the most likely out of most alien theories.

It says that civilizations develop while at the same time destroying their environment, and before they can reach the stage of technological advancement where other civilizations are contacted, they self-destruct. This builds on the idea that though we are making leaps and bounds when it comes to space technology, all of our effort is creating global warming which will kill us in the near future.

Now, the next two theories are a little more disturbing, so let’s start off with the less unsettling one.

Have you ever gone to the zoo as a child and watched the animals through the glass and realized that they probably don’t understand the fact that they are being gawked at as entertainment or an experiment because this is how they’ve lived their whole lives?

This is the essence of the Zoo theory. Either we don’t understand that we are being watched because it’s part of our normal life, or we are secretly being observed for some greater reason. Unnerving, right?

The final theory we will cover today is called the Dark Forest theory, quite possibly one of the scariest, as you continue to think about it.

Imagine yourself in a Dark Forest, you are a hunter with a gun, and you know that somewhere in the woods, there are more people like you. You creep along, paranoid, trying to make as little sound as possible and watching out for any other signs of life.

If you were to see another hunter, frantic and holding a gun out, the safest thing to do in that situation is to shoot them before they can possibly hurt you, right? Eliminate the threat before it becomes one.

Now, imagine you’re a small child, not understanding the situation and crying out “Is anyone there?” broadcasting your location to all these hunters. These hunters are out there, both silent and paranoid, untrusting and ready to shoot.

There are a lot of theories out there, but the question is, which one is correct?

Taylor Swift Debut Album

By: Rose Ramadan and Thea Berg

This article, which examines one of the greatest musicians to exist, will discuss Taylor Swift, her least-listened to album, as well as the details and opinions around it.

Taylor Swift’s debut album, which has 780 million Spotify streams, has received the least attention. That is around 4.3 billion fewer streams than the Taylor Swift album with the highest listening volume which is her album ‘Lover’. Even though other albums have a lot more streams, this is not surprising.

Taylor’s debut album, which is also her first, doesn’t contain many hits or the most well-known songs. This album was also one of her only country ones. The most played song, “Our Song,” was a huge hit in the late 2000s but is now virtually unknown to listeners of contemporary music. This album consists of 11 songs and is a total of 40 minutes long. Each song is around 3 minutes long.

In 2004, at age 14, Taylor Swift signed a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV, which made her the youngest signer in the company’s history.

In 2006, she then signed with Big Machine Records and she scored her first top 40 with the song “Tim McGraw”.

Taylor Swift moved to Nashville Tennessee when she was 14 years old which led her to release her debut album 2 years later. She released ‘Debut’ on October 24, 2006, when she was 16 years old.

Liz Rose, an experienced song writer co-wrote 7 out of the 11 songs on the debut album. Her first hit-single that was released on ‘Debut’ – “Tim McGraw” – was one of the songs co-written with Liz Rose.

Taylor Swift did not go on an individual tour with her debut album, but she went on a 6-month country music radio tour in 2006, and she was an opener during 2006-2007. She opened for other country music artists and she became more well known. She was an opening act for Rascal Flatts in 2006, George Strait in 2007, Kenny Chesney in 2007, Brad Paisley in 2007–08, and she opened for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s joint tour in 2007.

The song “Tim McGraw “ is about a personal experience from when she dated a senior in high school during her freshman year. Once he moved away, she was inspired to write it. The song was funny and cute to him, but not to his new girlfriend who wasn’t necessarily a fan of Taylor. This song means a lot to Taylor which is why she made it the first track on her album.

On this album, a lot of the other tracks spoke to different listeners. Many feature lyrics that are profoundly moving, such as “Tied Together with A Smile.” Many listeners may give into their pain thanks to this song, which eliminates the need for them to pretend their troubles don’t exist. This song may touch the emotions of many listeners and maybe alter the way they perceive their own reality.

“Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)” is a wonderful song and love story about two lovers growing up together, getting married, and taking place in a country setting. Many listeners believe that it is the most underrated song on this album. It is well regarded and a really pleasant listen. The song is worth listening to and might even engage you in her music, especially her country music.

‘Taylor Swift’ was a sleeper success in the United States. It debuted at number 19 on the Billboard 200 chart, dated November 11, 2006, and within the first-week had sales of 40,000 copies.

Though we covered this album on a small-scale, there are still many more songs that are highly praised by fans and listened to everyday. This album, though her least listened to album, is one of the cutest and most underrated albums in the history of Taylor Swift lyrics.

Top 7 quarterbacks of the 22-23 NFL season

By: Nagad Omar

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With the end to a very entertaining NFL season, I’ll be ranking my top 7 quarterbacks of the 22-23 season. This list is based strictly off of this season only. Honorable mentions go to Tom Brady, Brock Purdy and Jared Goff.


Coming in at number 1 is 2x MVP, 2x Super Bowl champion, Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes display of pure athleticism and quick decision making puts him at the top of this list. Mahomes has demonstrated this season exactly why he deserves to be at the top of this list including winning the Super Bowl on a bad ankle. Throughout the season Mahomes has been a great leader on the field and led his team to Super Bowl victory. Mahomes has also had amazing stats this season. He threw for 5,250 yards with 41 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and rushed for 358 yards and 4 touchdowns.


At close second is Joe Burrow. Joe Burrow has been starting in NFL games for only 3 seasons but took the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl last year all though they did not win. Burrow showed the league what he has with an arm that can throw both quick darts and deep passes. Burrow’s stats can also speak for themselves. Burrow threw for 4,475 yards and 35 touchdowns (second only to Mahomes) and rushed for 257 yards and 5 touchdowns.


Coming in at number 3 is the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles who happened to lose the Super Bowl this year. Jalen Hurts is an insanely talented quarterback who can throw with amazing accuracy to his very talented wide receivers. Jalen Hurts played at a different level this season, not to mention his amazing story of getting benched during the college football championship then a couple years down the road leading his team to the Super Bowl. Hurts threw for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns.


Although he has fallen just short of the Super Bowl for two years straight, Josh Allen still deserves to be put at the number 4 spot. His flashy, yet effective, throws give him just the confidence he needs. When he’s playing at his best, his passing and rushing is unreal. But his red zone interceptions are what slow him down. Although he didn’t have his best season, Josh Allen still had some great stats to back up his effectiveness at the quarterback position. Allen threw for 4,283 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also rushed for 762 yards and 7 touchdowns.


And at number 5, who happens to be my favorite on this list, is Justin Herbert. A team riddled with injuries, Herbert still makes do. With no top 10 WRs and no top 10 running backs Justin Herbert still put on a show. He also had the highest completion percentage when outside the pocket which goes to show his ability to scan the field and make changes when needed. Herbert has the arm of a beast and took the Los Angeles Chargers to their first playoffs since 2018, despite their terrible loss. All in all Herbert is really a threat and I think we can expect to see him holding the Lombardi trophy within the next 5 years. Herbert threw for 4,739 yards and 25 touchdowns. While having 147 rushing yards and 0 rushing touchdowns


Coming in at number 6 is the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Not much needs to be said about Trevor besides that he took a dying, poverty, franchise to the 2nd round of the NFL playoffs along with overcoming a 27 point deficit to the Chargers. Lawrence has really proved himself, and with more consistency, he really will be a force to be reckoned with. Lawrence had 4,113 passing yards and 25 touchdowns along with 291 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns.


And at my number 7 spot, I have the controversial QB Justin Fields. I think what Fields has done this season with no wide receivers, no running backs and no good coaching staff is impressive. Although his stats might not show it, and his record doesn’t either, Justin Fields is a very dynamic quarterback with an amazing show of situational awareness. Fields isn’t scared to use his legs when he feels the pocket collapsing. Fields had 2,242 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, 1,143 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns.