Into the light
Pursuit of Happiness
When depression hits, everything begins to falter. Looming over our lives in a thick, unforgiving cloud, depression is a pain that affects our lives. Overwhelming our minds and attacking our hearts, we find no escape. As losses, failures and sorrows build, depression grows and accumulates power until the very things that give us relief become meaningless. We may even find ourselves becoming more attracted to elements that heighten our depression. Regardless, we must hold onto our happiness, we must rise above the pain and we must fight the depression...
INTRO BY JOANNA LEE PHOTO BYJESSE ZHOU
in-depth Finding the right
S T E L T U
Teaching the true lesson: Teachers who go beyond the whiteboard AZADEH RONGERE features editor
Modern novels and movies depict teachers as a different species than students. They supposedly enjoy wearing old lumpy lint-covered sweaters and sport sloppy hair, while teenagers wear short skirts and constantly chew gum. Movies, novels and television shows attempt to prove that the relationships between teachers and students are not valuable. However, teachers Kristin Kakes and Michelle Perry prove this statement wrong as they are passionate and interested about their students’ problems beyond the walls of their classroom, while guidance counselor Belina Olson offers advice at her office. These staff members understand that this competitive environment requires students to be the best at simply everything, which causes grief in the forms of depression, lack of self-confidence and division between peers. Although most of the problems result in grief, Kakes, Perry and Olson approach each problem differently for that student’s specific predicament. As a tactic, Perry attempts to recognize the early signs of stress by examining the student’s class behavior and observing their stress levels with their cumbersome burden of family problems, colleges and grades weighing them down. “I try to see the difference between ‘I’m fine’ and ‘No, I am not fine, but I am telling you that I am fine,’” Perry said. Guidance counselor Olson noted that common frustrations of high school students include class choices and the pressure imKristin Kakes | Mrs. Kakes tells posed by parents and peers to take certain students that frustration or fear are not signs of weakness, but normal feelings. overwhelming courses. Her first step in guidance is to confirm the source of aggravation, then decide whether the student’s decision was harshly influenced or whether they have JESSE ZHOU a passion for the class. “Many times the stress is root- ed in the number of AP or Honors courses or the level of the course, but the bottom line to being a successful student is to
choose classes based on strengths, interests and the opportunities to learn,” Olson said. Today’s vision of perfection is omnipresent in a teenager’s world. Students think that overwhelming themselves with AP classes and extracurricular activities will yield rewards when they obtain a golden college application. However, t e a c h e r s Michelle believe that when students are too Perry| Mrs. Perry hard on themselves, they tend to tries to see between disregard the fact that they have the lines of students’ comments to know the power to alter their feelings. what is really going “I usually ask a lot of queson. tions about how the students are JESSE ZHOU feeling and try to get them to see that it’s ok to be sad, mad, frustrated or scared. That he or she is not alone and, although the situation is not going to, you can change your own attitude and actions to eventually feel better,” Kakes said. On the other hand, when grief comes from home, one must use different approaches to correctly soothe a student’s mind. Olson admires the bravery students possess when they walk into her office to talk about personal matters. Although actively listening is also necessary, Olson says that the key to assisting insecure teenagers is to share personal experiences. “I believe that sharing my experiences help break down the feelings that many of our students and families feel: the sense that they are the only ones that are struggling with these problems,” Olson said. In a society where “average” is excelling in everything, teachers notice that students tend to disregard their physical and mental health by allowing their academic and home grief to overpower them. However, if students find themselves overwhelmed with grief and stress, at least they have the solace of knowing that open ears and supporting advice are easily accessible.
9 ways to snap out of the gloom
COMPILED BY VANI MULKAREDDY
1. Watch a Japanese game show and laugh as contestants fall over while trying to complete an absurd obstacle course.
PHOTOS BY JESSE ZHOU
2. Order takeout from your favorite restaurant. Marvel at the idea that you can pay someone to come to your doorstep with delicious, hot food.
3. Look up random facts on Google. For example, did you know Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because Donald Duck does not wear pants?
4. Write a letter to yourself to be read in the future, such as at your college graduation or your 70th birthday party. What would you tell yourself?
5. Create an onlin friend. Marvel at strange yet roman
MAY 6, 2011
Sharing will lead to caring Conversation can cure the darkest of blues TESS WU features assistant
Introversion leads to mental security, sanity and solace EMILY CHENG features assistant
Much of our daily lives involves interaction and communication. The human’s mental and physical ability to coordinate and send signals to others have been honed to one of top-notch excellence. Through this, we learn to maintain proper etiquette and image in front of those around others so adeptly that polite and controlled verbal intercourse can be carried out effortlessly. Yet, while we are lauded for our ability to manipulate self-impression, we strip ourselves of the comfort in speaking out to others and expressing true feelings. Such coldhearted demands in surface values thus creates only an unsatiateing blend of reluctance and tension when it comes to trusting others. When we find ourselves thrown into such a restricting world as this, chances are, finding any form of solace in dire situations would be dim; one’s emotional earthquakes will be perceived with the utmost criticaleye and occasionally, if the situation bears enough juice to amuse, it will spread like wildfire. Consequentially, even those you are not personally affiliated with will respond to you differently, for your image has been tainted and you will be inaccurately judged. Facing such a cruel world with personal problems
ne dating profile for you or a the number of hits and the ntic messages you may receive.
thus is not the most ideal way to resolve any issue. With few whom we can depend on and honestly entrust our words to, practicality takes strength in it’s voice - keep our problems to ourselves, since we know ourselves the best, secrecy may just be the better measure. Though secrecy means silence, not giving out information does not mean that one is completely inhibited from receiving third party input. As innately social creatures, we are able to gather the opinions of others and learn from them, regardless of the source. Therefore, any general conversation can lead to a topic related to one’s personal problems. Elite-level comprehension and understanding then piece together all the facts into working advice. This therefore brings us to a win-win situation. Having the mindset of being secretive gives ability to keep self-image clean and yet, still be able to rely on foreign opinion as a source of input. By rallying the importance of what is gained versus what is lost, we will find ourself easily drawn towards the side that appeals to both— secrecy helps you keep your image but still allows you to form self-opinion and to unleash personal intuition. Secrecy offers you the ability to think for yourself, be yourself and stay free from societal criticism. Secrecy, in a sense, is really a solace.
6. Create a bucket list. You will be surprised with the number of things you come up with and reminded of the denizens of years you have to accomplish all of these tasks.
7. Make your own shirt. $5 for the shirt, $5 for the paper and a few minutes will leave you with priceless personal outfit.
Health magazine articles or self-help brochures never say “keep it to yourself, you’ll feel better faster!” Assuming that the authors of these publications, as well as the entire psychiatric industry at large, are not just the results of a giant plot to make humanity suffer more than it deserves, it is well-advised that people suffering through grief should share their thoughts and emotions with other people rather than keeping it stored up inside. Human beings are a naturally social species. We work, eat and live together. We thrive together, which unsurprisingly makes us a more communicative species than say, the common earthworm. As such, we have the natural inclination to work out complex problems together. So why should conflicts of the heart be treated differently? Of course each individual is bound by their personal sense of privacy, which, for most, tends to nudge them in the direction of keeping to oneself. After all, no one wants to be a whiner. But what also needs to be taken into consideration is that this “privacy” comes at a price. Close friends and family begin to worry and feel helpless. While professionals encourage grievers to share their feelings, they do not dictate who to share them with or how much to say. That is all up to the discretion of that single person. Only the griever can decide how much support he needs and what kind by simply saying or withholding however much information he wants. This means that the act of telling others about one’s circumstance is not just a mindless blurting of details, but a safe and controlled form of problem-solving through communication. Not only will this alleviate the burden of the person in question, but also his close friends and family members can relax, knowing that their presence is welcomed and is helping. Sharing one’s feelings is not something to be ashamed of nor is it a form of senseless word vomit. It is simply a way to release a bit of the ongoing emotional turmoil in a person’s head. It can be done in many ways — spoken, written or even signed. It can be done in degrees or even all at once. Each is meant to be tailored to the person in need of help. But no matter the method, the result is the same — emotional and mental relief for all involved, because after all, burdens are meant to be shared.
8. Work out! Not only will you be burning those unwanted calories and building some epic muscles, you will also be keeping your mind occupied.
9. Think of a popular movie and write a parody where all the characters are replaced by your teachers. You will be surprised by how easily the jokes come to mind.
MAY 6, 2011
Musical solace poses its own threats and proves that a musical selection can affect one’s mental state ALYSSA WILLIAMS features asssistant
A break-up. A death. A fight or a disagreement. Peace of mind is far from attainable, but the worst thing you can do is to push the pain from your thoughts in an effort to fake happiness. It is okay to feel sad, angry or frustrated, and there are various methods for coping; however, with its availability, music is the most widely used outlet. While some music genres offer effective, relatable material, other types can be harmful or even deadly. Everyone uses a different outlet, but with music, if one song doesn’t suit your fancy, there are plenty of others to peruse. Songs can appeal to our inner musician and give you words to express the swirling chasm of emotions. I can always find inspiration in classic rock when the going gets tough, and smooth jazz keeps me from boiling over. By cooling down, I am able to step away and see the big picture— this is crucial for closure and coming to terms with reality. However, just as a sore festers if scratched, feeding pent up anger with more rage is potentially dangerous. While your preferred outlet may be a large dosage of hard metal, tread carefully. Loud, violent music can increase stress and has been
connected to heart attacks. This would definitely be a step in the wrong direction. Still, there are those who see ‘screamo’ as their comfort zone and can’t sleep well without their favorite singer yelling by their bedside; just like everybody else, fans of this genre find it easier to unveil a relatable message in music they enjoy. Death metal often touches upon taboo subjects that are avoided in the general public’s mainstream chart-toppers — subjects that can relate to a person’s pain better than any hit pop song. But even in the light of these circumstances, too much blood pumping at too fast a rate in reaction is hazardous. You want to understand pain, not feed it. Remember that there is more than your iPod. Step outside of your dark corner and find the daylight. By doing so, I personally find that life is more than just my little bag of woes. While I certainly can ‘find’ myself in music, I don’t want to be forever stuck on replay. The girl in the song whose problems mirror mine will be back beneath her mountain of troubles when I hit repeat, but I possess a future where opportunities to fix my troubles or spread some good will arise. As painful as it is to hear now, time will heal old scars. Finding a way to cope, though, keeps the tension from building and quickens the healing process. The fix for the problem is more accessible than it seems. The answer lies in your playlist.
Looking back, looking forward...
What causes grief? 11% GUILT
15% HUNGER 32% LOVE 10%
COMPILED BY FRED HAN
Problems appear big when we confront them, they appear indestructible when we combat them, and they appear permanent when we are knocked down by them. However, there will be a time when this problem will just become a memory, a battle wound, that barely stings when touched. There will be a warm day when you will forget what it feels like to be hurt, crushed, or destroyed. Pain itself will just be a bad dream, one that you won’t be able to remember even if you tried. That day, you can look back while looking forward. That day, everything will be all right. COMPILED BY ALYA OMAR AND NIKHIL KANTHI
junior issue 1 for 2010-2011 calendar year