Thinking about going green? Try a small business!

By: Reagan Welch

Small businesses are becoming the next new big thing and here’s why: small business owners take time and energy on creating your products while reducing the carbon footprint of business. That means keeping the environment clean.

Small businesses are the key to saving the environment. Instead of mass producing each and every product, over charging for the amount spent to make that product, and making more than necessary, they are making them in smaller amounts and in cleaner and greener environments.

A many small businesses are alternative energy companies: green retail outlets, organic food growers, and locally sourced craft sellers. Many businesses that are green have fewer employees but have a low turnout. That is changing though, and you can help them grow too!

As people grow and understand more about the environment, and global warming, there is a higher demand for green products, and small businesses are stepping up, producing more and keeping clean. Sure, each product is much more expensive than anything you can get from a fast fashion store, but that’s the price you pay if you want to keep the environment healthier and the earth alive longer.

Supporting small businesses is not only beneficial for you and the environment, it is extremely beneficial to the owner or owners. Almost all owners are extremely grateful and excited that you decided to buy from them, and of your support of them and their business. Some even include extra little gifts and thank you notes as an extra thanks. You could make someone’s day or help someone pay their bills just by switching up where you buy your clothes or gifts or anything.

Swikirti Sheela Nath from Linkedin says going green is working towards decreasing environmental pollution, therefore, improving the soil, water, and air. This will help slow global warming (loss of biodiversity, deforestation desertification, resource depletion, etc) which will automatically help the earth and its animals from destruction for as long as possible. That is why instead of just thinking about going green you should go green.

For more information, please visit:

Summer Jobs

For high school students, like us, we are looking forward to having our summer vacation, a much-deserved break from your academic activities, and with great weather – sunshine. But, It also comes with summer jobs. Here are a few jobs you can apply to:

Benefits of learning a new instrument

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Reduces Stress 

Music itself is known to be a great stress reliever! And according to San Antonio Music Schools, music helps reduce our blood pressure and our heart rate; it also releases happy hormones which helps us feel more relaxed. 

Improves Memory 

When you learn all the different aspects that come with your specific instrument, you’re giving your brain a workout which helps improve your ability to remember things.  

Enhances Patience

Patience is a very important skill to have. It helps us stay relaxed and ultimately leads us to enjoy life a little more. While learning a new instrument, you must make use of that patience through continuous practice and pushing through despite making mistakes. When trying to play new pieces of music, you’ll be learning how to take things slow which you can then use in other areas of your life. 

Improves the Immune Response 

Making music strengthens the immune response, which allows us to fight diseases, as shown in a ‘Live Science/ article! 

Boosts Confidence 

Learning a new instrument shows you that you’re capable of learning new things. With practice, you’ll be able to see your improvement as a player which helps boost your confidence and that confidence boost can slip into other aspects of your life. You can also try to play in front of some friends/family or others in order to feel more confident speaking/performing in front of a group of people. 

Improves Coordination 

With any instrument you play, you will most likely use two or more parts of your body in order to be able to play it correctly. Your mind is also used as it tries to be aware of whether or not you’re playing the right notes. This all comes to play with coordination; practicing all the different movements with your instrument will improve your ability to coordinate. 

Enhances Focus 

In order to learn a new instrument, you must be able to focus. Concentrating on everything you need to work on and your practice sessions makes the brain work on its ability to concentrate which enhances your entire ability to focus. 

For more information, please visit: 

“Tone Tags” and how to use them

By: Caroline Crosby

I will preface by saying that this article may be a bit opinion-heavy in some places. The goal is to be as clear and concise as possible with this information, but personal bias can be hard to exclude regarding social accommodations such as tone indicators

But what exactly are tone indicators, and why are they used?

The short answer is as the name suggests. They are indications or “tags” that are used to convey tone. Specifically, they clarify the meaning of messages or written posts that could be interpreted in more ways than one. Tags are intended for casual interactions (social networks, SMS, emails, etc.) and were first made popular on text-dependent social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Reddit.

Now that the “what” has been briefly established, we examine the “why” and the common application. 

Tone can drastically influence the meaning of a sentence. For example, let’s say that you and a friend were communicating via a standard messaging system. You send them an uproariously witty comment (in your own humble opinion), and they respond with “I hate you.” 

But what did your friend mean by that? Do they really hate you? Were they joking?

For those who struggle to perceive tone through text, these types of situations can be challenging to navigate. Many people (myself included) struggle to pick up on the intention of a message in written form. For neurodivergent individuals, the lack of indications outside of the words themselves (e.g., physical body language, voice inflection, facial expressions) can make it hard to decode the meaning of a text or post.

That’s where the tags come in!

A few of the more commonly used tags. Image taken from: https://tonetags.carrd.co/

For example, if your friend wanted to convey that their comment was a joke in response to your own, it would read as: “I hate you. /j”.

Alternatively, if your message made them seriously despise you, they would say, “I hate you. /srs”.

Indicators are easy to use and prevent distress from missed social cues. When applied correctly, miscommunication and misunderstandings caused by ambiguous tone in text can always be avoided.

In a day and age where this particular medium of conversation is commonplace, clarity is essential. As non-face-to-face communication, in general, has grown and changed, our syntax, grammar, and sentence structure has adapted as well. 

Likely, you’ve never heard of these fabled “tone tags” before, but they were conceptualized long, long ago. An informative carrd.co site explains:

The tone indicator ‘/s’ has a well-precedented use, spanning years on Reddit. As early on as the 1580s, there have been tone indicators; Henry Dunham, an English printer, created a backwards question mark, ‘⸮’, which he dubbed the ‘percontation point*. It was meant to indicate rhetorical questions”.

In the modern context, they’ve evolved into a form of accommodation.

However, some believe that these devices are “stupid” and/or a form of “babying neurodivergent people”. Pushback also stems from those who think that the indicators are inconvenient or ruin punchlines. If I had a nickel for every time I heard the phrase “but /j ruins the joke”, I would be a formidable customer at the dollar store. But that’s neither here nor there.

Lastly, it’s essential to recognize that not all neurodivergent individuals need these accommodations. Cognitive disabilities come in all shapes and forms, and just because some struggle with identifying tone does not mean that all struggle with it. I’d advise not to push or assume that every neurodivergent person needs to use these. Ask!

As a disclaimer, choosing not to use them on social media or in other contexts does not make you a bad person. It’s up to you whether you want to employ tone indicators or not, but if someone asks you to clarify a message or use the tags when conversing with them, give it a try! 

For more information, please visit:

Benefits of doing puzzles

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

These days, puzzles have become a nice way to pass the time for many people. And if you haven’t been doing puzzles then maybe it’s time to try a few because there are quite a few benefits to doing so – and they’re fun! 

Image taken from: Image taken from: https://exodusescaperoom.com/the-benefits-of-puzzles 

Lower stress! 

While puzzles can sometimes be difficult, and maybe make you feel stressed, they actually help lower your overall stress! When we do puzzles, our brain gets into a similar state to that when we are dreaming – it’s called the Alpha State – that causes us to stay relaxed and feelings of peace. 

Improves memory

Doing puzzles gives your brain a mental workout. This works your neural connection which makes them stronger and creates new connections. The area in the brain that processes and stores information is made stronger which helps you improve your short term memory. 

Teamwork! 

According to some researchers at Yale University, when people work on a puzzle together their relationship improves. This also helps improve their collaboration skills and their ability to work as a team! 

Improve your mood! 

Whenever we do a puzzle, our brain begins to produce and release dopamine! Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects your mood, optimism, and motivation by sending feelings of pleasure and reward. This helps encourage us to continue to challenge ourselves! 

Get better at problem solving! 

Puzzles help you become better at critical thinking! When you’re looking for the next piece to place down, your mind pictures a basic idea of what you’re looking for which strengthens your ability to create theories and hypothesize. And when you pick the wrong piece, you immediately begin to formulate a new idea and look for something different. This helps you improve your adaptability and innovation! 

For more information, please visit: 

Snacks that help give you energy

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Do you ever feel like you need a bit more energy to get through the day? Maybe you didn’t get a good night’s sleep the night before, or your classes left you exhausted. Well, here are some healthy snacks to give you a bit more energy to get you through the day: 

Nuts! 

Nuts are a great snack to have after something draining like a workout! They have good fats and are high in protein which helps your body recover and helps you regain some energy. 

Fruit! 

Apples, bananas, and watermelon are some of the best fruits to get an energy boost! Dried fruit is also good and easier to take around! It contains natural sugar and is high in fiber which is a good energy booster! 

Seeds! 

All seeds contain a bunch of protein! They also have good fats and many have different types of vitamins and minerals which are good for your body and can give you a good wake up call! 

Peanut butter! 

Peanut butter is greatly known for being a good source of protein! It also contains sugar and salt, and it’s quick and easy to eat for when you need a quick energy boost! 

Turkey sticks and some fruit! 

A mix of a turkey stick and an apple could give you a great energy boost! The mix of protein, fiber, and sugar really help your body out! 

Chocolate! 

Specifically, dark chocolate — it contains sugar and fats which really help give you some energy! Eating nuts or fruit covered in chocolate are also great choices, and are even better because they’re better for your health! 

Cottage cheese! 

Whether you have it by itself or with seeds, berries, or even chocolate, it’s good on protein and fat which are good energy boosters! However, you should eat it in moderation, since it can contain high amounts of sodium. 

For more information, please visit: 

How to motivate yourself and stop procrastinating!

By: Reagan Welch

Image taken from: https://timetracking.screenish.com/2016/02/16/
procrastination-the-motivation-killer/

Getting motivated right now is hard. Whether it’s because of COVID-19, or something completely different, or just because, it’s hard.

Sometimes, people rely on others to motivate them, and not themselves, and that’s what distinguishes high achieving professionals from them. Of course, to a certain extent, people need others to help motivate them, and that’s okay, but if you’re struggling on doing simple day to day things it will help to do self motivating activities.

Here are some simple strategies to get back in the game:

  • When you wake up in the morning get up and out of bed right away; get your feet on the ground. This will help you wake up faster and better.
  • Start small; don’t go too big. There’s no shame in starting where you need too.
  • Set goals, small or big, depending on you. Ask your friends to check in on you and your progress.
  • Play music, take a break, get up and have a dance party with yourself.
  • Be kind to yourself. If a friend of yours was struggling, you would do everything you could to help them, so why can’t you do that for yourself.
  • Take your bad days, your setbacks, and use them to grow and improve.

Procrastination is a part of life and your motivation. Every day you don’t do that one thing you’ll lose more and more motivation and eventually you might just not do it. We don’t want that.

You might be asking how do you overcome procrastination? Well here’s some simple steps:

  • Step one: identify that you are procrastinating
  • Step two: figure out why you are procrastinating
  • Step three: find some anti-procrastination strategies

Procrastination is a habit so it might take a while to break and it will be hard to break, but you can do it. You might stay on track, you might not, you might get set back, and that’s okay. Take in the whole experience and use it all as a learning experience.

For a more in-depth idea on how to start overcoming procrastination, where they have a lot more information and tips, please go to:

Homework stress and tips to help

By: McKenna Nutter

Research that was conducted at Stanford University, in 2013, found that high school students, who may be considered a part of ‘high achieving communities’, who spend more time on their homework, struggle with balancing their education with their social life and physical health. This lack of balance has caused many of these students stress. 

This study came to find that more than two hours of homework per night is not only overbearing, but it also is counterproductive. The students who participated in this study reported to be spending over three hours on homework, on average. 

When it came to stress, over 70% of the studied students reported they were often, or even always, stressed over schoolwork, and more than 99% claimed that homework was a stressor. More than 40% of students claimed they experienced three or more physical symptoms when asked if they ever experienced any headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems, and 80% said they experienced at least one. 

Many students in this study, and even personally, felt forced and/or obligated, to choose homework and grades over the rest of their life. This could mean that any free time at home, time with my family, any social outings, and extracurricular activities were neglected because of homework. 

Some tips that can help with the stress of too much homework are:

  • Stick to a schedule: As a student, this has helped me a lot, with more than my homework. Just forcing myself to wake up at the same time everyday, get dress and do something like make my bed or pick up my room before school has helped me create good habits that I wouldn’t otherwise have.
  • Stay organized and check your agenda constantly: This is another important aspect to keeping stress down. A tool I use personally is a homework app. I enter my homework and the due dates into an app and check it off as complete when it is submitted. It also helps me when an adult also has access to my homework tracker to help me stay on task.
  • Communication: Communication with your teacher is ideal, it helps your teacher get to know you and it makes it easy to talk to them when you have questions. And as mentioned before, talking with an adult in your house is very helpful. Sit down for five minutes every night, or every couple nights, and discuss how homework is progressing and your upcoming assignments. I was very hesitant when I first started doing this, but it has given me a lot of motivation to get things done. 
  • Get a good night’s sleep. This one seems very obvious but it’s true. I’m sure everyone knows the importance of sleep, but as a high schooler myself, I cannot tell anyone how much easier school got when I started going to sleep at a decent time. If you were to do this, even on most nights, the difference is noticeable. 

There are many resources students can use to keep in contact with their teachers and many apps and websites to keep track of your schoolwork. The app I use personally is called ‘My Homework Student Planner’, and paper planners are another amazing way to stay up to date. I spend, at most, five minutes at the start of each day looking through Schoology for new assignments. 

How to train your dog!

By: Reagan Welch

To effectively train your dog you need to establish a two way relationship with them. Dogs see and comprehend the world differently than humans do, dogs begin with the nose, then the eyes, then the ears, whereas humans start with our ears, then our eyes, and then are noses.

Knowing that information, use it to your advantage, commit it to the memory. When trying to communicate with your dog, start with scent, then eye contact, and then calmly speak. This will help build trust early on.

According to Cesar Millan, you want to be compassionate but in control of your dog. Have a calm-assertive personality, and you want your dog to be the follower, a calm submissive energy.

In order to achieve that, you always want to appear calm and in control. Being assertive does not mean being aggressive or angry. You just need to be in control, quietly and calmly, therefore it is easier for your dog to trust you.

To get your dog into a calm-submissive state, just sit them down and have them relax before starting anything. Then, before you start having them look at you, eventually they will be able to do this without any commands.

When correcting your dog’s behavior, it is your energy, your mind set, and the timing that are important rather than the method, as long as it is not abusive. Never resort to striking a dog. Simply a word, a sound, or a quick assertive touch should do the trick and snap your dog out of that behavior. Your job is just to redirect your dog’s attention back to you.

Doing this every time, on time, will help the dog understand what behaviors are unwanted and what behaviors are wanted.

Remember, discipline is not punishment, it is simply commitment. Discipline keeps humans on track and healthy, as it should for a dog too. It is simply there to help guide them and allow them to have a healthy relationship with you. As Cesar Millan says, “Discipline is survival, and without it, you are likely to become a source of negative energy.”

For more information, please visit Cesar Milan’s website:

The Pomodoro technique

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

The Pomodoro technique is a time management technique created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s. It is still used by many today. 

The main idea is that you make a list of what you need/want to get done that day and then set a timer for 25 minutes. In those 25 minutes, you work on the first task at hand without any distractions. After time is up, you take a 4-5 minute break and then do it all over again. Doing this once is called a “pomodoro”. After 4 pomodoros, you take a longer 15-30 minute break. 

This technique is nice because of its multiple breaks. After the break, you start the timer again, hopefully feeling refreshed and ready to begin working again. 

Another variation of this technique is to set a timer for an hour and take a 30 minute break. I personally prefer using this method because I get to watch an episode on Netflix, do a quick workout, or small meditation session, in comparison to the 5 minute break where all I do is eat a quick snack or get up and stretch. 

This variation also seems to be good because in a recent study at the University of California, they found that it takes most people about 23 minutes and 15 seconds to focus after a distraction not related to their work. Therefore, the hour gives you more time to work in a focused manner compared to the 25 minutes. 

Using the Pomodoro technique has helped change my perspective and feelings towards work. I no longer dread doing my homework or studying as much as I once did. It’s also nice because I get to look forward to doing what I want during those breaks, and feel more motivated to turn back to my work after the break is over. 

Both variations of the technique are effective and beneficial to many people, so trying both and seeing which one works best for you is key. You could also try and make your own variation depending on what your day looks like!

For more information, please visit: