Category Archives: Advice/How To

Fountain pens: Pros and cons

By: Jocelyn Knorr

Taken by Jocelyn Knorr

Fountain pens—here defined as pens holding a reservoir that can apply ink to paper via a combination of gravity and capillary action—are thought to have been invented for the caliph Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah of Arab Egypt. Reportedly, he requested a pen that would not leak or stain, and was presented with a rudimentary fountain pen made of pure gold.

They continued to be used, but only on a small scale, by modernists or the technologically inclined. Until the 1850s, that is, when popularity skyrocketed. Technological advancements enabled the fountain pen to gain dominance, and it continued to be dominant until the sixties.

Today, they’re seen mostly as status symbols, or fancy collectible antiques, made to look at but not touch. But, they’re still being manufactured today, and sales are actually rising!

So, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of fountain pens.

Pro: Ergonomics

Because fountain pens are designed to collaborate with gravity, inkflow is autonomous, while with gel pens pressure must be applied. This can lead to hand cramps and, in extreme cases, arthritis later in life.

Con: Cost

Unfortunately, fountain pens can be a bit of an investment with a good pen sometimes costing upwards of $30. Ink of higher quality, like Sailor or Noodler’s, can sometimes reach up to $24 for 50ml.

Pro: Smooth writing

Fountain pens are widely purported to offer one of the smoothest writing experiences, especially with a higher-quality gold nib. I, for one, find this to be the case, even drafting this article with a comparatively cheap, steel-nibbed, fountain pen.

Con: Ease of use

Fountain pens can be difficult to get used to, especially for beginners. While converters—especially squeeze converters, notoriously finicky for even experienced users—open up your choices of ink, they can definitely take some getting used to. Cartridges, meanwhile, are incredibly convenient, but limit your options for ink; especially if they’re proprietary.

Pro: Environmental benefits

Fountain pens do not come in a disposable variety, but can rather be filled and refilled for decades on end. This greatly reduces the amount of waste one produces. Disposable pens are one of the biggest contributors to ocean plastic, with just the United States throwing away 1.6 billion pens annually.

Con: Availability

The average store is simply not stocking its shelves with LAMY Safaris or bottles of Iroshizuku ink. I had to go to a specialty store to pick up what is now my go-to bottle, but as an upside, that bottle is liable to last me for the rest of the school year.

I’m not expecting everyone who reads this to go out and buy a shiny new $100 pen, (my journalistic powers aren’t that strong—yet) but here are my recommendations for anyone who’d like to dip their toes in the water.

  1. Buy a Pilot Metropolitan. Retailing for $18.99 on Amazon, these pens are incredibly good quality, especially for the price, and come in plenty of fun colors.
  2. Get a good black ink. My recommendation is Noodler’s X-Feather, ($15 for 100 ml on Amazon, designed to behave well on notebook paper) but you’re free to experiment. Goulet Pens ( even offers little sets of mystery ink colors.

At the end of the day, fountain pens can be pricey, but with that investment comes quality. Hopefully, I’ve helped a few of you shift your opinion—and enabled one or two of you to take the plunge.

Youth volunteer opportunities for the summer

By: Mila Hart

While taking time off during the nice and warm summer months, it would be a good idea to find somewhere to volunteer. For students that are a part of the National Honor Society, it might be nice to get all of your volunteer hours over the summer, so you don’t have to worry about it during the school year.

While having some down time during the summer doing some volunteer work would be a really great thing to do with your time, volunteering is a very fulfilling activity to experience. By being a volunteer you can find a sense of pride and identity while also building your self esteem and life satisfaction. It’s a fun way to feel a natural sense of accomplishment and to give back to, and help, your community.

A great organization to volunteer for is the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. This organization values the energy and enthusiasm that teens can bring to the table. Habitat for Humanity focuses on eliminating poverty from the Twin Cities, and bringing awareness to the need for decent, affordable shelter for all people. Habitat for Humanity offers many volunteer opportunities for the youth of the Twin Cities that range from helping build and rehabilitate affordable homes, sorting donations, gardening, and educating and advocating.

Another great organization to work with is Books For Africa. Books For Africa collects, sorts, and ships books, computers, tablets, and library enhancement materials to every country in Africa. They have had direct feedback from 212 recipients, in 35 different countries, that say that Books For Africa books have been very useful and have had a positive impact on learning in their communities. There is a large disparity in education between schools with a library and those without. While volunteering for Books For Africa you will be sorting and packing books according to category and age level.

There are so many more volunteer opportunities for teens in the Twin Cities this summer so I also suggest doing some research yourself.

To learn more about volunteering for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity visit:

To learn more about volunteering for Books For Africa visit:

Benefits of investing at an early age

By: Abdihakim Mohamoud

The majority of teenagers don’t have investing on their minds when it comes to spending their money. However, investing at an early age can have numerous tremendous benefits. These benefits include saving more, improving risk taking ability, and more recovery time.

Investing at an early age leads teens to develop a habit of saving more, leading to more money gained in the future. With this in mind, teenagers save more by cutting unnecessary expenses and save money towards their investments., states that studies show that younger investors have more of a risk taking ability than older investors as older investors are generally more conservative and like being stable in their investments. The probability of earning a higher return increases at an early age because young people tend to take higher risks.

A third benefit of investing early at a younger age is more recovery time. If you begin investing at an older age, you’re more likely to have less time to recover your losses. However, by investing earlier you have more time to recover in case you incur a loss.

Studies prove that early age investing increases the probability of reaching financial stability at a younger age. Investing early supports your retirement plan; it’s always a better idea to save for retirement in your early 20s rather than in your middle aged years.

Teens, or young adults, should seek proper assistance when investing. People such as stock brokers, investment advisors, or even your parents, are good sources to help you start investing.

For more information, please visit:

How to survive a bear attack

By: Abdirahman Ege

Image taken from: Untitled document

Although bear attacks are rare, a man should always be on the lookout for one. You never know when something like this will come in handy.

Whether you’re dealing with a grizzly or a black bear, the way you respond to an attack differs.

Knowing what kind of bear you’re dealing with is the first step in surviving a bear encounter.

What to do If a Grizzly Bear attacks you

1. Always keep bear spray on hand. Experts advise hikers in bear country to carry bear pepper spray. This stuff is usually enough to put a stop to a bear.

2. Do not try to run away, the bear will automatically think you are his prey and chase after you. You will not be able to outrun a bear.

A Black bear is different on how it acts. This is what you should do if a Black Bear tries to attack you.

1. Don’t climb a tree, Black Bears are great at climbing trees, so you should avoid trees at all costs.

2. Fight back, when a Black Bear tries to attack you, aim for his face and nose.

if you ever encounter a bear, make sure to know what type of bear it is and use the appropriate tactics to save yourself!

How therapy animals can be helpful?

By: Christina Cyrus

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Therapy animals can be helpful in many different ways, like helping reduce stress, and they can lower your anxiety. Also, having a therapy animal can also provide an escape or a happy distraction.

A therapy animal can help give people a certain type of comfort. A lot of people get a therapy animal to help cope with their depression and stress levels, also others might get a therapy animal to help them get over a loss or help them grieve the right way.

Animal-assisted therapy can help reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue in people with a range of health problems. Some examples of where you might see this is, children that have dental problems, people recovering and receiving cancer treatments, people with dementia, and a lot more other ways.

Having interaction with a friendly pet can help you physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can help reduce high blood pressure and can overall help improve your cardiovascular health.

As well as that, having somebody there for you gives you a comforting effect, which can help improve your overall psychological state of mind.

Although there are people who have service animals, which are most of the time dogs, service dogs are trained to help their owners with specific health problems; for example: fainting, seizures, randomly passing out, being unstable, etc.

Having a service animal does come with a con; some places don’t allow animals. In order to have them in a place that doesn’t allow animals you have to get a doctor’s note basically saying you are allowed to have one due to the need that you have. Also, some places might make you pay a fee.

Another thing about having an emotional support dog is that you have to have a vest for them saying “emotional support” in order to bring them into places.

The overall view of having a therapy animal (emotional support animal) can be very good for an individual, and I completely recommend getting one if you suffer from any of these problems.

For more information, please visit:

How online therapy has expanded

By: Carla Tizcareno

After the pandemic started, and everyone was stuck at home, technology became a key tool in staying connected. We all know how that went. With everyone online, the mental health community was seeing a lot of setbacks.

Therapy wasn’t an easy thing to access because we were not allowed to go in public spaces. Because of the pandemic, health care providers were basically forced to see their patients online.

Currently, all mental health services are offering in-person and online options. There are many organizations that are purely online and targeted towards people who cannot afford therapy or don’t have insurance. In some cases, the therapist you see can adjust their hourly fee to meet the range that you can afford.

There are multiple websites that help you find a therapist that is available for you that meets your needs. Here a a couple of those sites:

There are also online therapy apps that help you connect with a therapist with a video call or through text. Wysa, Joyable, and Talkspace are some of those apps. Most of these options are under $100 a week. Apps like TickTalkTo are free or extremely cheap.

There are also many popular apps that help teach meditation, relaxation, good self-care, and coping mechanisms to help with many different mental health issues. Some of those apps are called: Calm, Headspace, and Expectful.

If you have been diagnosed with a specific mental illness that you want to target, there are many different support groups that are specifically made for people with depression, anxiety, OCD, and many more.

As always, there are mental health hotlines:

  • If it is an emergency, always dial 911
  • The national suicide prevention hotline can be accessed by dialing (877) 472-3457
  • The crisis text line is also available by texting HOME to 741741

It’s important to keep your personal wellness and health in check. In our day and age we have more options for that. The mental health community will continue to grow for years and years to come.

Best and most fun forms of exercise

By: Olivia Miller

Not everyone loves to exercise. It may even be some people’s least favorite thing to do. But exercise is a very important part of staying healthy and fit.

When most people think of exercise their minds go to the gym, lifting weights, running on the treadmill, etc., but there are actually endless forms of exercise, and ways to stay fit that people may tend to forget about; ways that are more exciting and fun, and will make you forget you are even exercising all together! So, I am going to tell you about some of the best, most fun forms of exercise.

The first, and my personal favorite, is dancing. Now you can practice this in a variety of different ways. Attending a dance class at your local gym or rec. center is a very easy way to do this. You have fun, and you’re around other people as well so it feels like a group activity. If you’re not comfortable with dancing around other people, you can have your own personal dance party in your living room. Something you can do for this is get ‘Just Dance’, it’s super fun and you’re playing a video game while getting exercise all at the same time.

Other fun forms of exercise can be found in common sports. Basketball, tennis, soccer, etc. These are super easy to take part in and they add in that competitive element if you’re playing against other people. These require little supplies, and If you don’t have the gear or supplies to play, it is super easy to rent out what you need at your local second hand clothing and item stores.

Another form of exercise, and probably the most easy, is just getting outside. Going on walks or hikes when it’s nice outside is super easy, and a great way to get your cardio in. Even in the winter time going ice skating, or skiing can be options as well. There is always a great form of exercise to go with every season

The key factor in most of these forms of exercise is turning it into an activity you can do with multiple people. Making a day out of it, and inviting friends or family to go along with you can make the experience much more enjoyable for you.

The importance of stretching before and after a workout

By: Caelyn Hippen

Image taken from: Stretching Article
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As many of you know, stretching is a very important element when it comes to physical activity and working out. But maybe you don’t know all of the benefits of it. Stretching has more of an impact on your body than many of us know. Here are some examples of stretching benefits.

First off, there are many types of stretching, such as:

  • Dynamic Stretching – active movements and are done to prepare your muscles for movement and exercise.
  • Ballistic – bouncing movement; less popular and has been proven to be bad for your muscles.
  • Passive stretching – done after your workout and with equipment.
  • Static stretching – this stretch is when you hold a certain pose for up to 30 seconds. This stretch is usually performed after a workout.

Here are some benefits before a workout:

  • Increased blood flow
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased flexibility and range of motion
  • Improved performance in workout

Benefits of stretching after a workout:

  • Reduces muscle pain and risk of injury
  • Gradual relaxation
  • Immediate muscle repair – goes back to lowering your risk of injury, stretching after you workout, especially static stretching, can help you by avoiding muscle cramping and tightness.

Overall benefits stretching has on your body:

  • Improves posture – helps your posture as you are stretching new muscles, and strengthening new muscles.
  • Helps to heal and reduce back pain – like I said before, stretching increases your range of motion. This comes into play again with stretching your back. Stretching helps release tension in muscles around your back and spine. These tense muscles can cause further pain and can build up as time goes on.
  • Calming – did you know that stretching applies to all muscles, including arm muscles, leg muscles, and brain muscles? Meditation and mindfulness is also a type of stretching, like yoga. Mindfulness and meditation exercises are just as important as stretching before a workout.

Tips to a successful stretch:

  • To be successful when stretching, it is so important not to overdo it or go past your point of comfort. Stretching should be a relaxing, positive experience. And while after a workout, you do want to stretch your muscles to avoid injury, stretching too far can hurt your muscles just as much as if you didn’t stretch at all.
  • Another important thing about stretching to keep in mind is to not go into your stretches cold. It is important to do a warmup activity, such as 50 jumping jacks, before you stretch. This is important because it will help your muscles stretch even farther.
  • One more thing, remember that stretching isn’t a one time thing. You need to remember that stretching isn’t something you are good at, it’s just supposed to be fun and calming. Say you have a goal to get your splits, this isn’t necessarily a goal you can set a time limit on. You can tell yourself to stretch everyday, but you can’t push yourself too far or you will get injured and hurt your muscles.

Can yoga improve your mental health?

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

Yoga is the practice of your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It is a physical form of exercise moving your body through various positions. Yoga comes in many different forms. Yoga can be physical exercises, such as vinyasa classes, which boost your heart rate with movement. It can also be mindfulness practice. Another form of yoga is breathing exercises.

Yoga can benefit your mental health. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, or other psychiatric disorders, yoga could help improve it. 

The connection between yoga and your mental health is this: It creates a safe, quiet, and still place for your body and mind. It can also create a space for you to express yourself.

According to Dai Manuel, a fitness speaker, these are 7 effective ways to improve your mental health with regular yoga practice: Increase your self-confidence, improve your level of concentration, make you physically fit, avoid stress, good posture, peaceful mind, and increase the quality of your sleep.

The way yoga increases your self confidence is by giving you a peaceful and private space for yourself to heal and learn from past mistakes.

Yoga can improve your level of concentration by focusing on an object or staring at a long distance view. This can enhance your level of concentration. Each pose takes concentration on what you are doing and where it is going on.

Yoga can also make you physically fit by practicing exercise regularly and putting in the effort.

It can help you avoid stress by having good yoga postures. According to Dai Manuel, “When you practice yoga 2 times a day (it’s enough at least you spare half an hour a day) it makes you feel relaxed and puts you away from your level of stress and helps you to become more healthy and successful in life.”

Good posture can also come from practicing yoga. Yoga can help your body maintain its position and relieve stress and inner pains. 

When you first start yoga, it is difficult to find the inner peaceful mind. When you practice yoga more and more you will soon feel and achieve what a peaceful mind feels like. Yoga is poses and breathing practice. Focusing on your breathing can help your brain find your inner peace.

Everyone knows that increasing your quality of sleep is difficult. Again, Dai Manuel has some thoughts on this: “At the end of your day try to spare around 15 minutes for you to recollect all your day memories and sit in your yoga position, try to concentrate on your breathing, which helps you to enter into a state of relaxation, overcoming your day’s hurdle.”

Health benefits to drinking more water

By: Liv MIller

Image taken from: Health benefits to drinking more water

We all know that water is one of the most beneficial contributions to all living things. Plants need water to grow, animals need water to survive, and as humans, so do we.

Not only does water help grow plants that provide food for us to eat, and in turn help us survive, but the human body also needs water to survive as well. I’m sure everyone knows the importance of water and how it keeps us alive, so I don’t need to go into great detail about that. But the amount of water a person drinks significantly affects that person’s health.

Growing up, everyone’s parents told us that we need to drink lots and lots of water if we wanted to be healthy. And even now, doctors and health professionals are constantly advising us to drink more water daily. But why does this help us? If I’m drinking enough water to keep me alive I shouldn’t need more right? Well, this is what most people struggle to understand.

There are many health benefits that occur by drinking as much water as one can during the day. Even drinking just a little bit more water than usual can benefit you, because according to, “Dehydration can have a noticeable effect if you lose as little as 2% of your body’s water content”. Why is this so important? Well, the effects that dehydration has on your body are not fun. As also states, “Your brain is strongly influenced by your hydration status. Studies show that even mild dehydration, such as the loss of 1–3% of body weight, can impair many aspects of brain function”. What can happen is that it can impair your mood and concentration; it can also cause you to be more prone to headaches.

Maybe the risks of not drinking enough water won’t convince you to stay hydrated, so let’s talk about how it can improve your way of life. Again, according to, drinking water can help with weight loss. This happens because drinking water improves your metabolism, which increases the number of calories you burn in a day.

Drinking water can also improve your physical performance. If you are an athlete, staying hydrated is very important if you want to stay at the top of your game. When you sweat you lose 6-10% of your water weight which causes serious dehydration, which as we talked about before, isn’t good.

Some other benefits drinking water can have on your body is that it can prevent constipation and even treat kidney stones.

The benefits that drinking water has on your body is endless. So, why not take the extra effort to make sure your getting the proper hydration you need?