Monday, September 24, 2012

How It Feels to NOT Have a Smartphone

Sometimes, I feel very lonely.

I look around during lunch at school, and almost everyone has their eyes glued to a screen.

I could ignore them, and think of myself as original, someone who didn't hop onto the Steve Jobs is a genius, I should buy all of his products bandwagon. Someone who has better things to worry about then who tweeted this or who Instagrammed that.

Or, I could crawl into a corner and wonder why life is so horrible, and how I could be asking Siri where the best pizza place is instead of wallowing in the darkness.

Okay, that was a bit dramatic.

But you get my point.

Looking on the bright side, it's not like iPhones were always around. People lived happy lives without them. (You would be lying if you said you've never heard your parents tell you the "Back in My Day" spiel).

Sadly, the way Apple is moving, it doesn't look like iPhones will loose popularity any time soon.

In the mean time, I'll wait for someone to invent a time machine, so I can go back to the prehistoric era and be amongst my fellow dinosaurs.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012

College: The Pros, the Cons, and What to Expect

By Karam Atli

The thought of college lingers in the back of the mind of most high school students (I can relate since I’m a sophomore getting ready to take the SAT’s next year) ; especially those of juniors and seniors. Many of you may be wondering what exactly college life is like, how it feels to be a college student, and what to expect when taking your first steps into college. So that’s why I’m here today to tell you about my experiences as a college student living the college life.

Many of you might be thinking right now, Wait a second… didn’t she just say she’s a sophomore? What does she know about college? Well, you see, I do not go to just any ordinary high school. I attend Florida Atlantic University High School. In this school, we complete all four years of high school curriculum in our freshman year on the high school campus, which is located within the A.D. Henderson school grounds. However, once we become sophomores, we officially become college students. So as a sophomore, I am studying on the Florida Atlantic University campus as an actual college student, taking actual university classes, and yes alongside actual university students which are approximately 4-5 years older than me.

So sit back, get comfortable, and take some notes as I share my experiences in college and describe to you the pros, the cons, and what to expect when you become a college freshman.

The Pros:
1.       Making your schedule: This is by far one of the best things about college. Since we started school as a child, our class schedules have been created by school administrators. However, once you become a college student, this all changes. You now wield the majestic, mystical, and unknown power to create your very own schedule.  This way you can plan your class times around your own personal schedule.
2.       Less homework: One great thing about college is that there is significantly less homework for the classes in comparison to high school. However this can be both a good thing and also a bad thing. Good thing is that you have more time on your hands. However, the bad thing is that this will provide you will less opportunity to practice and remember the skills and lessons you learned in class. Instead, you must become more responsible and manage your time well by making use of it efficiently by studying.
3.       Fewer Exams: Just like the less homework pro, this can be both a good and a bad thing. Although you will have more time between exams, these exams will mostly likely count as more, have a greater impact on your final grade in the course, and also cover more material. Therefore, make a smart use of this in-between and minimalize that partying to save time for studying.
4.       Each Course Only Lasts One Semester: This means if you have to take a course that you despise and dread, it will only last one semester, HALF the time it would usually take in high school. So hip-hip-hooray for that!
The Cons:
  1. 1. Less Caring Teachers: The big difference between high school teachers and college ones is not just the name change to professor, but also the fact that college professors usually care less for individual students than high school teachers do. It’s not that they are cold-hearted; it is because of the sheer number of students they teach as a whole. Some teachers teach up to a couple thousand students per week. This makes it difficult for the professor to answer individual questions from each student that may be confused on the lesson. Instead, a better way to answer your questions may be to ask your TA (teacher’s assistant) for assistant and clarification or even on campus tutors or supplemental instruction leaders.
  2. 2.       Being Absent Can Be a Big Deal: In high school, being absent for a few days when you are sick or just can’t make it, was not a big deal. You would have days to make up missed exams or homework. However, college is a whole different playing field. Missing a day or two can really create a big dent in your grade. Losing valuable in-class participation points can be like giving up an easy A. Also, there are no make-up days for exams in college. Once you miss an exam, you will indeed receive a 0. So get your flu shots and take your vitamins everyone!

My Experiences:
We FAU High students usually conceal our high school identities from both our professors and our college peers. We do this not because we want to, but because some professors and students are not comfortable with the fact that high school students are in their class. In fact, when people ask me how old I am, I do not say I am 15, instead I say I am 17.

Sometimes, when Boca High dual-enrolled students march over advertising they are high school students, the college students are bewildered and shocked. However, they do not realize that there are many other high school students (FAU High) in their class as well. We FAU High kids sometimes laugh at the thought of the college students realizing that they are surrounded by high school students.

Other than that, college life has been a wonderful experience for me, and I really do enjoy it. It provides me with more of a sense of freedom and responsibility. Transitioning into a college lifestyle was not too difficult. Once you get the hang of commuting from one side of the campus to the other, the professor’s style of teaching, and your new schedule, you will do fine.

Funny Short Story:
My Biodiversity professor poked fun at the high school students by saying that the students who receive the high grades in his class are usually in high school. He explained that when you are 15, you still have to listen to and obey your parents; however, if a college student’s parents asked them if they finished their homework, the student would just roll their eyes and stare at them like they have problems.

So now that I have given all the advice I could give in this article, I just want to say to all the high school students out there, work hard and keep up those good grades everyone! It will all be worth it once you get accepted into your dream university! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Homecoming Week is Almost Upon Us!

In the midst of stressful classes, difficult tests, and boring lessons (*cough* chemistry *cough*), Homecoming Week is the time to relax a bit, dress up, and have fun with friends.

At West Broward, us Bobcats always go all out when it comes to Homecoming Week. Last year, each grade level decorated a hallway with the theme "Let the Games Begin" in mind, there were crazy pep rallies and there was a video game character everywhere you looked.

This year, our theme is "Under the Sea", and our homecoming activities will be filled with the same Bobcat Spirit as last year.

On Monday, students will be decked out in the color that represents their grade.

On Tuesday, Bobcats will voyage to school as either pirates or sailors.

On Thursday, students will group up with friends and wear matching outfits.

On Friday, Bobcats will show their school spirit, covered in Carolina Blue, silver, and black

Last but not least, Saturday the 29th is the Homecoming Dance. I am so excited, because I can't wait to just spend time with my friends, dancing and having an awesome night.

If one thing's for sure, West Broward knows how to have a good time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Girl Effect?

So during my AP Psychology class, my teacher decided to show us a video of a program called the Girl Effect. The 3 minute video was enough to make me understand what was really going on in the world and the difference that we can all make.
The Girl Effect is a project started for girls to actually get a chance to be someone important in their country. The funds go to girls in poverty-stricken areas so that they may get a chance at education, stay HIV negative, and basically raises the standard of living for themselves and their family. The project helps girls in  different areas such as India, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh. The entire motive for the project is to make sure that every girl gets a chance to learn and become a real part of the changing world. The idea is to help  50 million girls out of poverty and help them help others create a better world.
The website is, check it out if you want to learn more!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Jonas Brothers are Back!

So, I'm not going to lie- I was obsessed with the Jonas Brothers when I was younger. Starting from fourth grade to the sixth, my room was covered in all things Nick, Joe and Kevin. I listened to their songs religiously, and they were, of course, the first concert I ever attended.

File:Jonas Brothers 2009.jpg

When I found out that they are currently working on a new album, I had a mini heart attack, as any former Jo Bro fanatic would do, naturally.

I for one, am very excited, since this amazing band of brothers haven't completed an album together since Lines, Vines and Trying Times (2009).

On August 17th, Ryan Seacrest announced on his radio show that the fabulous three will have a reunion concert at Radio City Musical Hall in New York on October 11th.

Kevin (the oldest Jonas brother, far right) now has his own reality show with his wife Danielle on E! called "Married to Jonas", which will focus on the couple's relationship and *squeal* will document the brothers as they record their new album. 

I just can't wait for the Jonas Brothers to fall back into the swing of things, because, hey, One Direction just can't hog up all of the boy band glory, right?  


Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

I was five when it dawned on me - presumably over a coloring book or a carton of animal crackers - that my lifelong ambition of becoming a princess would probably never be fulfilled.

It was a disheartening revelation; I reacted by wailing deep, animalistic sobs and flinging crayons at a wall with an iron resolve. Iron, that is, until my mom intervened with the promise of ice cream, and I promptly forgot all about my shattered dreams. I blame Disney - it instilled me with delusions of yellow taffeta ball gowns and unattainably handsome princes.

Anyway, upon realizing my prospects of  a royal lineage were decidedly scant, I harbored many aspirations, all in quick succession of each other:  to be a scientist, a film director, a zookeeper, before lingering permanently on the most improbable one of all -  a writer.

Ever since, I’ve regarded the world with a sense of possibility. Heck, I can be a royal, scientific, film-directing, zoo-keeping writer. I can be anything.

All I have to do is kiss a few frogs.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Bookshelf is a Time Machine

My bookshelf is a melting pot of memorabilia. From my beloved Harry Potter books, to the softball trophies I received in second grade, it's the glue that's holding parts of my childhood together.

Looking at the snow globes I've collected (on the second to top shelf) reminds me of the places I've visited with my family over the years, from Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West to the Grand Canyon.

I have quite a few books on these shelves, which I've gathered through out my life. A lot of them, sadly, I haven't read. Others I've read countless times, like The Chocolate War. I spotted books that make me smile, like my Lizzie McGuire collection, and my Kim Possible books.

On the very top is my old magic kit, which entertained me for hours. Next to it is my Rose from Titanic collectible Barbie doll, which is still fresh in the box.

Everything on my bookshelf has meaning to me, whether it be my first Vogue magazine to the gold necklace my parents gave me.

I know I should of cleaned my bookshelf out long ago, but I don't think I ever will.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Our Summer of Contentment

As a tribute to a summer heaving its final breaths, I've blasted Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" on an infinite loop (much to the chagrin of my parents). But even the lilting loll of Billie Joe Armstrong does precious little to console me - the school years spells out, in no uncertain terms, the end of my capering and cavorting, the end of azure beaches and sun-kissed summer adventures.

It's the end of an era - and the advent of one, too. Cue in the speckled scan-trons, groggy morning bus rides,  and homework finished begrudgingly into the wee hours of the night. Even as I write this blog, a more responsible inner voice admonishes me, telling me my time is better spent wrestling math problems or dotting the "i's" on a research paper.

I wish I could sprinkle stardust on all my assignments and have my Pinnacle effortlessly agleam with A's. Each year seems to have a recurring theme from which I can glean something new - last year, as a freshman, I dealt with inhibitions of high school, the anonymity I felt in its hallowed hallways. Now, sophomore year has presented me with an arithmetic lesson:  seven classes' worth of homework by 180 days of school divided by six hours of sleep per day minus the square root of negative infinity plus the amount of hairs I've just pulled out of my head.

Oh, and don't forget to multiply that exponentially. That's junior year, I'm told. And that's just beyond the horizon.

Admittedly, I can't pretend to hate school for a second. I'm engaged in my classes, buoyed by the fact a free public education provides such an opportunity for intellectual galvanization. I'm determined to make the most of the 4,860,600 seconds of school wedged between me and my summer vacation.

But who's counting?