All posts by simplychar16

Gap year

By Charlotte Lane

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When people talk about the benefits of a gap year the obvious pros are mentioned: being able to work and save up money for college expenses, gain experience in the work world, independence, learning how to be self sufficient, determining what you want to pursue and overall mature more. 

There are four types of a gap year 

The first is a personal gap year. This is when individuals focus on hobbies and personal interests, allowing time to do something you have always wanted to do but “never had the time for.” 

The second is an academic gap year. This gap year involves exploring schooling and finding your specific major or school. It allows students to be enrolled in 1-2 college courses in order to determine if this subject is something they would be interested in pursuing. 

Third is an immersion gap year. This is when students can spend time abroad in an unfamiliar culture with an unfamiliar family. This time gives students opportunities to learn a new language, experience a different way of living, and push themselves out of their comfort zone. 

The last opportunity is a volunteer gap year. This is a time where students can focus on leaving a positive impact on people and places. Volunteer work allows students to learn new skills, experience diverse cultures, and create a community of their own. 


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So why should I take a gap year? 

Throughout high school, students spend the majority of time focusing on their education, and it can be extremely tiring. Even though students are burnt out so much pressure has been put on by peers, friends and parents to go to college. This glorified experience has been planted inside student’s brains since the start of middle school. So, students rush into college courses, sometimes not ready to do so, even though it is healthy to take a break from school and reconstruct yourself. 

Here are ten reasons I think gap years are worth it



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Stop asking yourself if you should take a gap year, and start asking yourself why not.

Visit this site to explore gap year resources:

Now go discover what’s right for you!

Extreme animal abuse for a coat?

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This jacket retails for $1,050.00. Such a large price makes you wonder how it’s made. What makes it so special? But the real question is, is it humane?

Recently Canada Goose has become an extremely popular winter coat brand, and is being marketed as an extremely weather resistant coat. The company was founded in 1957 and recently has become a popular status staple. 

Although, recently throughout media, this company has taken a beating for animal abuse.

The Canada Goose states, “We do not condone any willful mistreatment, neglect, or acts that maliciously cause animals undue suffering. Our standards for the sourcing and use of fur, down and wool reflect our commitment that materials are sourced from animals that are not subject to willful mistreatment or undue harm.”

It is clear this company cares deeply about there product, but do they care about the source?

Throughout the past 7 months, PETA has been advertising anti Canada Goose ads to inform people of the horror going on through this company. 

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Animals are not ours

In one of their recent articles, the company depicts how Canada Goose – traps, kills and skins wild coyotes for the fur trim of each coat.

According to PETA, wild coyotes are trapped in painful metal traps, desperately trying to escape.

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The coyote will then suffer for days, remaining stuck in the trap.

Once the coyotes have died, they are skinned for their fur.

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The trappers then discard the animal’s body carelessly, and are left with the animal’s fur which is sold to Canada Goose. The fur is sown into the jacket, and worn by a careless person.

In the same article, PETA also reveals that Canada Goose uses geese who are killed in a slaughterhouse for their down. Each animal involved with this company will not die a pleasant way. Their last moments alive are conscious and terrifying.

PETA recommends that to prevent this abuse from continuing, STOP BUYING this product.

Ultimately, always make sure that the clothes you are buying are ethical and sustainable. It is crazy what you can find out if you dig a little deeper.

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Fast fashion

By Charlotte Lane

The fashion industry is one of the most powerful industries ever, and so many people contribute to it everyday: celebrities, designers, and the typical consumer. With such a powerful industry, there is a downside. 

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What is fast fashion? 

 An inexpensive trend that produces clothing quickly. 

The fashion industry before the 20th century ran on 4 seasons: fall, winter, spring and summer. Fashion designers used to work for months in advanced before product would come out.

Now, after the Industrial Revolution, the industry has only quickened in pace…and lower in cost.

According to The Good Trade fast fashion basically copies trends at a fast production rate, and are all made out of low quality material. This is all in order to lower prices, and offer inexpensive styles to the public.

Why does fast fashion concern me?

You should care, because of how thin of ice these companies are skating on. For any product to end up in stores at Zara, forever 21, or H&M there are inevitable consequences.

All of these brands easily make billions just by how much product they sell day to day. All this means fast fashion garment workers assemble pieces at extremely low minimum wages.

“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere is paying for it.”

– Lucy Siegle

Not to mention all of these clothes add extreme environmental waste to our planet. Fast fashion brands use hard chemicals, synthetic fabrics and damaging dyes all ending up in water systems in low income countries where these clothes are made. According to the New York Times more than 60% of fabric fibers are now synthetics, derived from fossil fuels. This means that when these clothes end up in a landfill, it will not decay.

There are also micro plastics and micro fibers that will end up in the ocean, and will never be able to be filtered out. Because of these effects of the earth, overall fast fashion is causing climate change.

Another alarming consequence of fast fashion is that it kills people. Yep, kills people!

In April, 2013, in Bangladesh, a factory collapsed and killed over 1,100 people.

The movie True Cost deeper explores this epidemic, exposing the ugly truth of fast fashion.

How can you make a change to fast fashion?


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You may think not buying any clothes for a long duration is impossible, but really it isn’t. A great challenge to try out is the 333 project, which is where you only have 33 items of clothing for 3 months. The 33 items do include accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.

If this seems unreasonable try altering the rules for yourself, but really the whole point of this is to not buy for 3 months. Learn more about the 333 project here:

Instead of not buying, start supporting sustainable fashion brands

Some good ones are:

And last but not least THRIFT

Be conscientious about what you buy, and what you throw away. A true cost will forever remain.


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Holiday gift guide

By Charlotte Lane

Whether you are buying a gift for your brother, mom, sister, best friend, dad, or cousins, gift giving can always be a little challenging. 

Here are a few things that I think are great gifts for whoever during the holidays. 

1. Cool socks 

When you were little getting socks for Christmas almost felt like a punishment at the time, but honesty if you find the right ones socks can be a great present to receive. This is a great gift for anyone in your family or could even be great for a Secret Santa gift. 

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2. Tickets to a game/concert 

You really can’t go wrong with this gift! If you know of any artist or team they like, look to see if any venues are holding shows or if a game is coming up. Getting two would be a hit because then they could bring along a friend. 

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3. Bite Beauty products 

I don’t know if it’s just me but I love a good chapstick, and Bite Beauty has that. This is a great trendy yet realistic gift anyone will use over and over. 

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4. Slip pillowcase and Slip scrunchie. 

Another great gift that will get amazing use out of, these silk items are reasonably priced and will wow anyone you give them too.

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5. Priceless moments 

Always remember that the holiday aren’t only about presents, sometimes the best gift you can give someone is quality time together!

I hope these gift ideas help some creative juices get flowing in your brain so you can hopefully find the perfect (or almost perfect) gift for anyone. 

Enjoy the holidays and happy gift giving!

Girls fashion trends coming this Winter

By Charlotte Lane

Sweaters have always been a classic in my wardrobe, but this season beiges, whites, tans and cream sweaters are it.

These soft, warm tone colors are perfect to pair with any winter jacket. Thankfully, sweaters are a very versatile clothing item and are super easy to transition from fall to winter. They are also really easy to accessorize. So investing in one now would be in your best interest. 

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Surprise surprise, the iconic 80’s plaid blazer look is back! 

Bet you never thought about wearing these anywhere except to an interview but look where we are now…

Plaid blazers are making a comeback and every boss woman should have one in her closet. They can dress up any outfit, and can be paired with jeans or trousers. Not to mention, they are extremely comfortable and forgiving.  

Whether you have a busy day ahead or just wanna look cute, try out wearing a blazer! I guarantee you’ll fall in love.  

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This is no surprise but the “lazy look” is here for women. Personally, this is my go to style because it’s so comfortable. 

I’m happy to throw the skinny jean craze away in favor of loose fit, classic jeans. Jeans can be worn on any day of the week with a simple tee shirt or sweater. Definitely expect to get great wear out of these this winter.

Last year’s trend of the jogger is dead but it brought comfy sweats on to the racks. This winter bet on staying warm and comfy in school/the workplace, while still looking “acceptable”.

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Chelsea boots have been in for some time now, but I truly think they are going to hit the spotlight this year. These boots are super practical but perfect for any winter outfit. The easy slip on boots will keep your feet warm on long walks and blend in well at school or the workplace.

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If the typical Chelsea boot isn’t really your style, you can definitely bet your money on some snakeskin boots. 

Honestly, when the animal print style was booming I wasn’t really in love with it. But these subtle snakeskin boots will make you feel like a million bucks as well as keeping you warm throughout the cold months.

Now get out there! And use this as a foundation and have fun with your fashion.

How to speak gender neutral

By: Charlotte Lane

Have you ever been in a situation where you suddenly realized you may have used the incorrect pronoun to address someone? Well I have, and it made me feel awkward. I was working at a hardware store and addressed a customer assuming I knew their gender. I believe my gender identifying language made us both feel uncomfortable. This situation got me thinking “Why can’t we clean up the English language to be gender neutral?” 

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Use Honorary Titles 

One way to avoid these uncomfortable mistakes is by having the English language use more honorary titles. Honorary titles are often used in professional settings.  Doctors, nurses, professors, and teachers are all titles that are used to identify people without revealing their gender.  

The English language could invent more titles to use to categorize people. For example, we currently use Ms. Mrs. Mr. as salutations for individuals where we could substitute new titles that are gender free.  

Pronoun Refresh

Last year, the Merriam dictionary updated the meaning of “they” to refer to a “single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.” How about using the option of Mx. (pronounced Mix) or RP. (respected person) to address your neighbor or business partner?

Another option is using neo pronouns (new) that some individuals have started using. Xir (him or her) or Xi (he or she) could be used to replace the use of of current gender identifying pronouns.  

Share Your Pronouns

When speaking with others, use the pronoun you prefer to be addressed by and don’t be afraid to ask others what pronouns they prefer to use. It can help avoid awkward situations by letting other people know what your pronouns are. 

An example of this is when a teacher is open about being called “they/them.” Knowing this helps foster a healthier relationship between student and teacher. 

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Be Forgiving

Similar to learning any new language, it gets messy. In order to make this new language work, we need to remember that no one is perfect and people are going to make mistakes. 

If and when you do trip up, respectfully correct the misunderstanding in hopes of change. When it comes down to it, we all have our own pronouns, but regardless of these we are all biologically human.

Is school better designed for girls than boys?

By Charlotte Lane

There is no denying the current data reflects that girls are out-performing boys at all levels in school.  According to the New York Times, boys score equal to girls on standardized tests, however they are receiving lower grades and fewer boys are completing college than girls. 

Researchers involved with the New York Times believe the reason behind this is that boys have a harder time sitting still and following rules than girls, and teachers lower boys grades due to bad behavior.

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Sit Still and Be Quiet

New York Times research shows that schools were not created for all different learning styles. Girls mature faster than boys, and this means they can consentrate longer and have better interpersonal skills. Schools are designed for one learner type, it’s not necessarily a boy verus girl issue, it’s a lack of learning style options for students.

The traditional learning style at schools is geared for someone who can sit and actively listen for long periods of time. Research proves that is exactly what girls can do.

What is the Differnce? 

Boys don’t fit in the box of sit, read, and listen to a leture. Boys need to be more physical and learn by hands on learning.

Schools are created for a learner profile that is easier for girls to follow.

According to the New York Times Magazine schools ultimatly demasculinze boys. An exapmle of this is how mucn more young men are yelled at then girls. Unlike boys, girls are much more likely to mimic each other and work as a team. Boys value compentency and group acceptance, and boys prove this by being the most physical, the funniest, or the most disruptive in a class setting.  

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Instead of focusing on the differences of genders in school, we should focus on a solution to help boys succeed.

One solution is designing curriculums for more than one learner type as well as allowing for more hands on, kinesthetic learners. Schools need to account for different learning styles and learning speeds.

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Take the shot

By Charlotte Lane

Have you ever wondered why the flu shot is important? Or have you wondered if it even works? I sure have; why would I ever voluntarily get a SHOT!? 

My entire life I have gotten a flu shot but recently I have been curious as to why. 

The reasons I hear people say they don’t get the flu shot is because they don’t need it, they don’t believe it works, or they think it causes the flu. The truth is if you’re reading this article you should get a flu shot. 

Who me? I don’t need it. 

Actually, you probably do need it. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu shot annually.

If you get the flu, it’s a serious virus that could land you in the hospital, or even kill you. If you don’t care about yourself you might care about loved ones, when you don’t get the flu shot you put others at risk.

Every flu season strain is different, so you cannot be immune to the flu. Every year you need to get a new shot. Getting a flu shot is in your best interest. 

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Flu schmoo 

The CDC estimates that the flu shot reduces your risk of getting the flu by 40-60%. Even is you do end up getting the flu, if you got the shot, your symptoms with be significantly less painful.

Statistics prove that the flu shot does work, it has been delivered for nearly 80 years, improving every year. While there is a low change that the flu shot isn’t paired with the flu strain making it less effective, it will still lessen your symptoms.

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But…I’m Healthy 

The last excuse people use for not getting the flu shot is they believe it will give you the flu. This isn’t the true. Despite rumors the flu shot is not a live virus, it is made up of dead viruses and cannot give you the flu.

Your arm may be sore after receiving the shot, and you might feel a little achy, but you won’t feel like you just got hit by a truck and you want to die. You will probably feel fine within a few days, and forget it even happened. 

I recommend this flu season you do yourself and your loved ones a favor, and take the shot. 

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The Central/Highland experience

By: Charlotte Lane grade 11
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I attended Central High School the year of 2017-2018. Like all incoming high school freshman, I was confused and nervous. I attended Highland Park Middle School and really enjoyed it. There, I made a lot of friends and we were all planning on going to Highland Park High School together.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go the way I wanted and I ended up being placed at Central High School without my friends. This heart breaking change completely blind sided me, but through it I gained perspective on the differences of Central vs. Highland.  

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Two different worlds

My first memorable experience as a new student was the Central vs. Highland football game. Being a Central student I sat at the Central student section at the game.

When entering the stadium I felt anxious because my old friends sat on the opposing side, and I found myself wishing to be with them. The Central side was nerve-racking and felt just like what you see in the movies. 

The students were screaming “go home freshman!” and “Highland Sucks!” After 20 minutes I took off my Central sweatshirt and snuck across to the Highland side.

Although I felt comfortable for a few minutes I quickly realized I didn’t belong there either. It is not an uncommon feeling for any new student to feel lost and alone.

Looking back on this time in my life, now being a junior at Highland Park High School, it now feels like a normal coming of age experience. 

So what’s the difference? 

Central is a French immersion school compared to Highland, which is a Spanish immersion school.

Central is also a bigger school with a graduating class of 400 students. The large size teaches you independence, shows you diversity as well as real world conflicts. 

Highland is a smaller school with a graduating class of 300. It is more sports focused and feels more like a neighborhood school.

Both high schools are International Baccalaureate (IB), however my experience has been that Highland integrates and focuses more on the IB program than at Central.

Families pain-stakingly choose their child’s high school for lots of different reasons. Some parents are looking for a challenging curriculum, others are interested in extracurricular activities.

What I learned from attending Central for one year was that both Highland and Central are good schools.

What school is best for you?