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Years A Blank Slate Media / Litmor Publications Special Section • August 10, 2018

38 BACK TO SCHOOL • Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018

Prepare for school with eye exam Seeing well crucial for kids reading books, staring at computer screens, playing athletics BY F R E D R A PPS The start of a new school year can be filled with great excitement and anxiety for both parents and students. But eyesight cannot be ignored. In addition to heading back to school, August is also Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. The annual observance is a great reminder to get your child’s eyes checked before they return to the classroom, and it also reinforces the importance of maintaining good eye health and safety throughout the year. Thinking about eye safety may not be a top priority for most kids, who spend their time running to class, staring endlessly at computer screens, and studying or training hard for their school’s athletic program. By taking time to teach them a few important safety tips, parents can ensure their children will be able to focus on what really matters: their education. Here are a few of the most important things to remember: 1. Get your child an eye exam

before school starts. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have their first comprehensive eye exam at age one, and again at age three. In addition,

children of parents who wear glasses should have an eye exam after every year after the age of five. Vision screenings are useful but often miss binocular vision disorders and hidden vision prob-


lems. 2. Kids should wash their hands regularly. The tears and front surface of the eye form a mucous membrane that transmits germs easily. Some

eye infections (particularly viral infections similar to the common cold) are extremely contagious. Kids tend to rub their eyes quite a bit, so clean hands will cut-down on eye infections. 3. Ensure children wear protective eyewear when playing sports. Sporting events are among the top cause of eye injuries. Even if a child does not need glasses to see, protective eyewear (sports goggles) are a must to guard against dust and dirt in the eyes, eyelid and corneal lacerations, and fractures of the bones that make up the eye socket or orbit. 4. Encourage kids to give their eyes a rest. Excessive screen time can lead to eye-strain, blurred vision and even nearsightedness. Handheld electronics (phones, tablets) and computer-use should be limited to 20 minutes at a time and no more than 2 hours a day – especially if someone in the family already wears glasses. Fred Rapps, owner, Focal Point Optical

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News Times Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018 • BACK TO SCHOOL

Tips to eating well while away at college


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BY L I N Z Y Z I E G E L B AU M Whether it is your first year of college or your last, eating well can be a challenge. Healthy eating challenges at school include not having a full kitchen in your dorm room, limited dining options on campus, late-night eating and having a student’s budget. With a few tips, eating well can be simplified! Many schools will allow you to have a refrigerator and a microwave in your room. These two appliances can be lifechanging when it comes to your diet. A few things I recommend keeping stocked in your room include plain Greek yogurt, fruit, whole wheat bread, canned tuna fish, nut butter, pre-made hard boiled eggs, avocados, whole grain crackers, pretzels, cereal, dried fruit, string cheese, hummus, oats, nuts, granola bars and popcorn without salt or butter. With these foods available in your dorm room, putting together quick meals or snacks is possible. A few meals you can quickly put together include a yogurt parfait with plain Greek yogurt, fruit and cereal; peanut butter and fruit sandwiches (peanut butter and banana, peanut butter and berries, and peanut butter and apples on whole wheat bread are all delicious); oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts; avocado “toast” with whole wheat bread, avocado and hard-boiled eggs; and tuna salad either on whole wheat bread or whole grain crackers. You can also make multiple snack combinations including fruit with string cheese; fruit topped with nut butter; trail mix made with nuts, popcorn, dried fruit and cereal; yogurt and fruit; yogurt and cereal; yogurt and nuts; pretzels and hummus; and hardboiled eggs. When choosing granola bars for snacks, I recommend looking for ~200 calories, less than 10 grams of sugar, and at least 3 grams of protein and fiber.Some simple changes can make eating well at the

dining hall and out at restaurants easier. Choosing water instead of soda and juice will save you calories and sugar. One 12 ounce can of coke has 39 grams of added sugar and 140 calories. To put this into perspective, 39 grams of added sugar is the equivalent of 9 1/3 teaspoons! Another simple change is to choose foods that are grilled, baked, steamed and roasted instead of fried or creamy. The USDA My Plate guidelines are an easy way to help build a balanced plate anywhere. The My Plate method of meal planning includes making half of your plate fruits and vegetables, one quarter of your plate protein and one quarter of your plate starch, and preferably a whole grain starch. An example of a healthy meal using this method would be a piece of grilled chicken in one quarter of your plate, brown rice in another quarter of the plate, and broccoli with a side salad for the other half of the plate. Don’t let a busy schedule get in the way of your healthy meals. If you know you are going to have back to back classes without time to stop for a meal, at least pack a small meal to bring with you such as yogurt with fruit and cereal, a peanut butter sandwich or hard-boiled eggs. It is beneficial to always keep snacks with you too, so that you don’t get over hungry and reach for whatever it is that you find first. Granola bars, nut butter packets, dried cereal, trail mix, apples and bananas are all easy snacks to carry with you from class to class. If you still have questions about how to eat healthy at school, contact a Registered Dietitian. Dietitians are able to help you with meal planning while you are at school, and some schools even have dietitians on campus. Have a great year in school! Linzy Ziegelbaum, MS, RD, CDN



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Tips for studying abroad S

tudy abroad programs can change students’ lives, opening their eyes to other cultures and helping them to make memories that last a lifetime. Study abroad programs also may inspire a love of travel that students will foster for the rest of their lives. Students who have enrolled in or are considering enrolling in study abroad programs can make their experiences overseas more memorable if they take some time to prepare for life abroad before boarding the plane. Learn about your host country. Students who can successfully assimilate into their host countries may get more from their time overseas than those who do not. Studying a host country’s customs and history is a great way to learn about life there before your plane touches down. If the native language in your host country is different than your own, do your best to learn the language. While you won’t become fluent overnight, learning some basic words and phrases can make your time overseas go more smoothly and increase the chances that you develop meaningful relationships with locals. Enthusiastically leave your comfort zone. Daily life might be vastly different in your host country than it is at home. Rather than dwelling on the differences between life overseas and life at home, embrace this chance to leave your comfort zone. Approach cultural differences with enthusiasm instead of skepticism, even trying local cuisine you might otherwise not experience

back home. Get out of the dorm. Study abroad programs include the word “study” in their titles, so students should recognize they will still need to devote time to their schoolwork. But during your down time, embrace chances to get out of your dorm room or apartment to soak in your host city. If your host country is in Europe, where traveling between countries tends to be simpler than in other regions of the world, learn about neighboring countries and do your best to visit some during your time overseas. Disconnect from your devices. Whether or not life at home is dominated by devices, use your time overseas to disconnect so you can fully experience your host city and country. Don’t miss out on the sights and sounds of your host country by spending too much time using your tablet or smartphone. Keep a journal. One of the best ways to commemorate your time abroad is to keep a daily journal. You will no doubt enjoy many unique experiences while overseas, and keeping a daily journal is a great way to ensure you remember each of those experiences and all the people you meet along the way. Study abroad programs can benefit students in myriad ways, and a few simple strategies can ensure young men and women make the most of their time overseas.

News Times Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018 • BACK TO SCHOOL


How to make applying to college less stressful A pplying to colleges is exciting for many high school students. But that excitement is sometimes tempered by anxiety. The college application process can affect students’ lives for years to come, so it’s understandable why some teenagers might feel stressed as they apply to college. The National Center for Educational Statistics says 69 percent of high school graduates in the United States enroll in college the fall after graduating from high school. Many students begin applying to college before entering their senior year of high school. Students can employ various strategies to make applying to college less stressful.

Create an inventory of student experiences and awards When completing their college applications, students submit a variety of materials. In addition to students’ track records in the classroom, schools will be interested in kids’ extracurricular activities, hobbies, volunteer work, and even things they do during their free

time. Parents and students can work together to develop a master list that includes information about what students have accomplished during high school. These may include involvement in certain clubs, participation in sports teams, advanced ranking in scouting programs, or even a list of books read. Having this document handy will make it that much simpler to fill out college applications.

Investigate the Common Application The Common Application began as a niche program for select private liberal arts colleges, but now has grown into an organization that services more than 750 schools. The organization enables students to create an account and complete one basic form that will be accepted by all institutions who are members. The CA helps students streamline the college application process and reduce redundancy. An alert system also helps applicants manage application deadlines.

Avoid applying everywhere Some students think that applying to dozens of schools will improve their chances of being admitted. However, applicants may be wasting their time applying to schools they have no intention of attending, and that only adds to the stress of meeting deadlines. Narrow down the possibilities to a handful of favorite schools and go from there.

Use the resources at your disposal Students who have access to guidance counselors, mentors, college centers, or even teachers who are willing to help with the application process

should use these resources wisely. In addition, iPhone and Android apps can help streamline the college application process.

Consider scholarships concurrently Some schools automatically consider applicants for scholarships, grants and work-study programs. But that’s not so with every school, so students may have to apply on their own or rely on third parties for scholarships. Fastweb is a leading online resource to find scholarships to pay for school. Advance preparation can make the college application process a lot less stressful for students and their parents.

44 BACK TO SCHOOL • Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018

Questions to ask before taking a gap year H

igh school seniors are on the cusp of significant change as they begin their final year of secondary school. As students try to decide what to do after high school, many will be preoccupied with applying to college and exploring their interests in the hopes of finding the right subject to study upon enrolling in college or university. Students consider those weighty decisions while simultaneously preparing to leave home for the first time and focusing on their schoolwork. While the vast majority of high school seniors will enroll in a college or university in the fall after they earn their high school diplomas, a small but growing number of teenagers are taking gap years. A gap year is a year away from the classroom between high school and college that students use to gain more life experience as they try to decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

when deciding how much structure they want. Going it alone with very little structure may put students in compromising, unsafe situations, a potentially dangerous course for students who have spent their lives within the often protective confines of school and family.

How long do I have for my gap year? Fitting a gap year into existing academic structures should allow students ample time to get what they want out of their gap years and still afford them the chances to earn money via summer jobs. So students who plan to travel or volunteer overseas should aim to do so during the months they would normally be in school.

The Gap Year Association notes that gap year planning should be conducted with purpose and intent. While the gap year need not be as structured as a typical school year, a year entirely free of structure might not provide the insight students are hoping for. In fact, the Gap Year Association recommends students answer the following questions before taking a gap year so they can be sure they’re making the best decision possible.

Should I go with a group or go it alone? Students should assess how they have fared in collaborative situations in the past as they try to decide if a group setting or something more independent is best for them. Students may fare better in teams or working alone, and that can be used to inform their decisions. However, students who want to challenge themselves to grow may benefit by making a decision that takes them out of their comfort zones.

How can I make college possible after my gap year? The Gap Year Association recommends students confirm whether they need to defer, take a leave of absence or arrange for a Consortium Agreement in order to enroll in college after their gap years. Make a note of all deadlines, including when tuition deposits are due, before taking a gap year so your enrollment is not jeopardized.

How much structure do I need? Some students may take gap years to get a break from the structure of student life. But students should be honest with themselves when assessing just how little structure they can handle. A year completely free from structure can be disorganized and therefore not as enlightening as students hope. In addition, students must consider safety concerns

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Where do I want to be, and what do I want to do? A lack of purpose or direction during a gap year will not provide students with much insight into themselves and the world. Students should determine where they want to be and what they want to do (i.e., volunteer, teach, etc.) before deciding to take a gap year. What is my budget? Gap years can be enlightening, but they also can be expensive. Students should figure out how they’re going to finance their gap years in advance. Students who will need to work during their gap years should make sure work does not take up so much time that the goal of their gap year, namely learning about oneself, is compromised. Gap years can help students learn about themselves. But like many of the other decisions facing teenagers as they prepare to graduate high school, the decision to take a gap year requires careful consideration of a host of factors.

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Back to School 2018_08_10

Back to School 2018_08_10