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Beating Senioritis

Some people will tell you that there is no such thing as Senioritis, but I’m here to tell you that Senioritis does in fact exist. Every year seniors are plagued by symptoms such as: missing homework assignments, a lack of concentration, procrastination, school related fatigue, and excessive wearing of sweatpants. Read on if you or someone you know experiences one or more of these symptoms.

Senioritis results in decreased motivation in seniors and causes them to slack off their senior year. I know a lot of hard working students who have been hardly working. Many students have this crazy notion that they can slack off their senior year and everything will be great. Do not, I repeat, do not get that idea. Colleges can and will renege your acceptance if the grades from your senior year are not up to par. Many students learn this the hard way.

So how do you cure Senioritis? The answer is simple: stay awake in class, pay attention, do your homework, and study. If the teacher gives you homework or discusses something in class, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be on the test. Remember that you have been in school for pretty much your whole lifetime, and you don’t want to throw it all away months or weeks before your graduation. Also, remember that AP exams are right around the corner. Imagine how great you’ll look and feel in that cap & gown knowing that you didn’t slack off your final year of high school.

This is your year to shine, and you can’t do that if you’re not living up to your full potential. Take control of Senioritis, don’t let it control you.

You rock class of 2013! We’re almost there!

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My First Psychology Experiment

The Effects of Depression on Peer Pressure

Section 1: Proposal

The biological approach is the study of how physical and chemical changes in our bodies influence our behavior. The biological approach may be helpful with the field of physiology, which is the study of how the nervous system functions and how changes in structure and/or function can affect behavior. (simplypsychology.org) Psychobiologists believe that the things people think, feel, say, and do are caused by electrochemical events occurring within the neurons- particularly those in the brain- that make up the nervous system. (psychlotron.org.uk)

This study is designed to illustrate the effects that depression has on the likeliness of an individual giving in to peer pressure. The focus of the study is on the emotional, social, and ethical aspects of adolescence regarding their state of happiness (i.e. depression) and their probability of being influenced by peer pressure. Depression may cause feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, and self-hate, which may lead to low self-esteem. Peer pressure is more likely to occur with individuals who have low self-esteem as they have a greater desire to fit in.

Section 2: Collection of Data

Surveys would be used first to collect data, as to not influence the control group to change their answers from the interviews to the survey. Fifty questions are to be carefully selected in order to gather the utmost amount of data from each individual. Questions will be selected to discover whether the control group had ever felt depressed or pressured into doing something that they otherwise would not have done. It will also ask questions about their environment and other aspects that may play a role in depression such as alcohol or drug abuse, certain medications, sleeping problems, and stressful life events (break ups, failing a class, death or illness of someone close, divorce, job loss, social isolation, etc). The survey will consist of ten questions about the socioeconomic status and environment of the participant, twenty questions about their overall state of happiness, and twenty questions about peer pressure.

After administering the surveys, interviews will be conducted to gather additional information as well as to compare the two sets of data. During the interview, we may clarify any confusion that the survey may have brought about and rephrase any questions that the participants did not understand. The interview will be held in private to not only ensure confidentiality, but also to avoid their answers being influenced by outside factors.

Section 3: Experimental Design

Depression is expected to be inversely related to the probability of giving into peer pressure. We believe that the desire to conform and feel accepted leads people to give into peer pressure. Alcohol and drug abuse are not only causes of depression, but also increase the chance of giving into peer pressure. The use of substances impairs judgment and impedes the ability to make good decisions. Individuals are then unable to think for themselves and feel pressured to do what others want them to do or what it seems like everyone else is doing.

In this study, the independent variable is the participants’ state of depression while the dependent variable is the efficacy of peer pressure. In this study, depression is defined as the state of being sad or unhappy for two weeks or more. Peer pressure may be defined as the feeling of being pressured, either verbally or nonverbally, to do something that one would not otherwise do. The participants’ levels of depression & likelihood of giving into peer pressure will be measured by how they respond to each question on the survey. They will be asked questions such as: if they have ever felt sad or unhappy for two weeks or more at a time, if they have been clinically diagnosed with depression, if they have ever had thoughts of suicide, if they have ever been pressured into doing something that would harm them, and if they have ever felt that they needed to conform to keep their friends. The survey will also consist of psychological questions, such as if a cup is half empty or half full, to measure their positive outlook on life.

We will set up our experiment by forming both a control and experimental group. The control group will take a survey consisting of fifty questions without knowing what it is about. The experimental group will know what types of questions the survey will include. It is expected that by this group knowing the types of questions, they will respond differently, in a more positive manner, than the control group. The only problem with this method is that some participants will be too ashamed or afraid to answer the questions for fear that someone will judge them. In order to minimize that risk, each participant will be assured that the information they provide will be strictly used for research purposes only and that no one else will neither see nor judge them whatsoever.

There are a number of confounding variables that may affect this experiment including, but not limited to, the respondent’s level of education, social class, and poverty level. High school students are more likely to pull all-nighters, which may lead to sleep deprivation (getting less than eight hours of sleep per night), therefore contributing to depression. High school students will also be more stressed from homework, projects, assignments, and getting good grades. They are also more likely to feel secluded & like they don’t belong. According to Dr. Lydia Falconnier, assistant professor in UIC’s Jane Addams College of Social Work, depression has a “profound impact on an individual’s productivity, which is particularly true among individuals in lower social classes and with lower levels of education”. Social class is also closely associated with depression as, according to biomedcentral.com, people with lower socioeconomic backgrounds are “more likely to exhibit psychiatric disorders.” Poverty levels also act as a third variable. About one in six Americans say that they have been diagnosed with depression, and that rate is almost double for people with a lower income. Americans that make less than $24,000 a year are the most likely to report being diagnosed with depression while those that make over $60,000 a year are the least likely to report ever being depressed. Richer people claim to be happier than poorer people and people of all socioeconomic backgrounds say that they expect wealth to bring happiness. To account for these confounding variables, respondents with the same level of education shall be chosen and their poverty levels as well as their social class will taken into consideration. In order to address experimenter bias, one of us will create survey and interview questions while the other administers them so that whoever is administering the survey and interview won’t know what to expect, therefore reducing the risk of a biased experiment. In order to minimize the impact of demand characteristics, deception will be used as an approach. Concealment will be used by telling the participants that they will be observed on how easily they are influenced by others, but they will not be told that they are also being observed on whether they have ever been depressed at some point. This is so that the Hawthorne Effect will not take place in the participants and cause them to behave differently or exaggerate the state of their happiness.

The selection of people will consist of the most common group of people affected by peer pressure to be able to better observe the characteristics of those who give into peer pressure. The sample will consist of 50 people that will be randomly selected from among high school students. The students that volunteer to participate will have their names written down in a randomized order, which will then be assigned two numbers, either one or two. The students who are assigned the number one will be a part of the control group, while the students that are assigned the number two will be a part of the experimental group. This will be done to give each student an equal opportunity to participate and be a part of a group.

Section 4: Ethical Concerns and Practical Applications

This experiment does indeed conform to APA ethical guidelines. We are aware of the professional, scientific, and social responsibilities. We also respect the rights, privacy, and dignity of each participant. Information about the research participants are confidential unless it is otherwise agreed upon in advance. Under no circumstances will information be revealed nor exploited about the individual participants. Each participant is also free to decline to participate in the experiment or withdraw from the research at any time. If a personal problem or conflict should arise, the experimenter is to withdraw immediately as to prevent harm to the research participant and/or the experiment. The experiment will be honest, fair, and respectful.

This experiment is worthy of being funded by the Hanso Foundation because it will not only further uncover depression in adolescents, but it will also be able to help prevent peer pressure by determining who is more likely to be pressured by others. This, in turn, will aid in targeting not only the teen’s depression, but their self-confidence, willpower, and refusal skills as well. It is expected that this will lead to fewer thefts, acts of violence, and alcohol and drug abuse within teens.

The Effects of Depression on Peer Pressure Presentation

My Pageant Speech- Education, Not Deportation

Every year, thousands of immigrants graduate high school with the hopes of furthering their education. Every year, thousands of immigrants are unable to go to college because they are undocumented. Each of those immigrants has a dream.

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3 Reasons to Go to College

As children, we all had dreams. We dreamed of being anything that we wanted: a doctor, lawyer, dentist, or an astronaut (I wanted to be a cowgirl & my sister wanted to be a mermaid). Sometimes those dreams were big and seemed to be beyond our reach but the truth is, nothing is beyond our reach. We can do anything that we set our minds to. Power is limitless and knowledge is immeasurable.

Do you want to know the best way to gain power? I’ll let you in on a secret- all great leaders are also wise. They have a thirst for knowledge. They know just what to say and just when to say it. Not only are leaders great communicators, but they also know how to put their words into action. Do you know where this comes from? This knowledge comes from experience. There’s that word again. Experience. Only good things come from experience. You spent your time in college doing an internship. You did a great job so they offer you a full-time position upon graduation. You continue to work hard and gain experience and five years later you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. You didn’t have the highest GPA, but you got the job because you had the most experience. Experience is a very appealing trait.

College is the perfect place to gain that appeal. It prepares you for the real world and gives you the knowledge that you need to succeed. Pursuing a higher education shows prospective employers that you are a determined, hard-worker who knows what (s)he wants and how (s)he’s going to get it. But it’s not enough to just go to college. You have to actually finish it. Keep reading and I’ll tell you why.

1) A college degree is worth more than a high school diploma.

High school graduates earn an average of $30,400 a year while going to college for just two years to obtain an associate’s degree presents an average of $52,220, which is nearly $22,000 more than what a high school graduate makes. This number increases even more the higher the degree is, with the master’s degree level earning $62,300 annually. A student with a doctoral degree can expect to earn $89,400 a year and $109,600 with a professional degree. That’s over three times the salary of a high school diploma.

2) Lower unemployment rates.

Studies show that as of March 2012, people who didn’t graduate from high school have an unemployment rate of 12.6% whereas high school graduates have an unemployment rate of 8.0%. Students with an associate’s degree have an unemployment rate of 7.5% and a bachelor’s degree has an unemployment rate of 4.2%. The lowest unemployment rate is that of a master’s degree, with 1.6% of its holders being unemployed. Do you know why? This is because a higher education will always be in demand. Anyone with a teaching degree can work in a school, but not everyone can perform brain surgery.

3) Live the life you’ve always wanted.

With higher employment comes a higher salary. Do you know what comes with a higher salary? Whatever you want. College graduate will often achieve more in their lifetime simply because they have the money to do so. A college degree is accompanied by a more luxurious lifestyle. A brand new Ferrari and a dream trip to Spain certainly begins to make that professional degree seem a lot more enticing. The possibilities are endless.

College is the one thing that can make our childhood dreams come true. College has a way of empowering people and giving them the ability to do anything that they set their minds to. What does that doctor, lawyer, dentist, and astronaut all have in common? They all fulfilled their dreams by going to college.

It’s in My Nature

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I am, by nature, a very caring person. I will put others before me because I know that I’ll be alright.

Because I am oh so caring, I love to demonstrate how much I care for people because saying it just isn’t enough.

Watch what they do, not what they say
Randy Pausch

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The Power of a ‘Thank you’ Note

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It feels good to be appreciated. A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way. Just like you feel great when someone appreciates something that you do, others feel the same way, especially when it’s in the form of a note. Never underestimate the power of a thank you note.

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Valedictorian Avoids Deportation

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Daniela Pelaez is a high school senior with a GPA of 6.7 (Yes, you read it right) and according to cnn.com, she is top in her class of 823 students.
She and her sister were scheduled to be deported until they were given a 2 year reprieve under prosecutorial discretion because they have not been in any trouble with the law.
Instead of deporting talented DREAMers, the DREAM Act should be passed. It would greatly benefit the US. Who knows, maybe Daniela will find a cure for cancer.
President Obama’s views on the DREAM Act & Immigration:

What is the DREAM Act?:

They Are There to Help: Admissions Counselors

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So, the time has come to begin applying for school. You have a few colleges on your list (see From High School to College) but you just can’t seem to make a decision. You’ve visited them all (which I highly suggest doing), they all seem great, but which one is best for you? How can you possibly decide? I’ll tell you one simple way that students often overlook.

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Education, Not Deportation

The DREAM Act, or the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, was reintroduced on May 11, 2011.  It is a bill giving undocumented immigrants the opportunity to become legal citizens. The bill, however, is not open to all undocumented immigrants. There are set requirements such as the following:

  • Must be 12-30 years old at the time of enactment
  • Must have arrived in the U.S before the age of 16
  • Must have lived in the U.S for at least 5 years
  • Must graduate from a U.S high school, or get a GED
  • Must plan on going to college or serving in the U.S military for at least 2 years
  • Must not have any criminal convictions

As you can see, the DREAM Act is meant for those that are already here. It’s also more focused on children or teens. Those same children, who were brought here at very young ages, may not even know that they are undocumented until they are much older. Now they have to live in fear of being deported from the only place that they know and call home. Many don’t even know their home countries. These same kids have the same hopes, dreams, and aspirations as all other Americans: to succeed and be the best that they possibly can. They should not have to live in fear of being kicked out of the only place that they call home. They are indeed Americans, although not by birth. They are proud to be called Americans. They celebrate our independence day, they attend our schools and churches, and they contribute to our communities, and most importantly, they’ve become a part of us.

DREAMers are full of immense talent, just like everyone else. The only difference is their civil status. Denying DREAMers is like saying that they can’t cure the sick, although they’re perfectly capable of it. That they can’t start  a successful business. All because they were brought here over something that they had no control over. These talented DREAMers can and will help our economy prosper, if given the opportunity:

  • DREAMers like Walter Lara, an honor student who found out he was “illegal” when he was applying for college.
  • DREAMers like Stephanie, who started at UCLA when she was 16 and works two or three minimum wage jobs to pay for her schooling.
  • DREAMers like Eric Balderas, a Harvard biology major who has been in America since he was 4 and was detained when flying back to school after visiting his mother.

I’ve recently attended Senator Lugar’s symposium, and while there I was able to ask him a few questions.One of the questions was if he anticipated the DREAM Act being passed any time soon. He told me that it would probably not be passed this year, but he also informed me that 55 of the necessary 60 votes were in favor of the DREAM Act. That’s about 92% of the needed votes.

Come on DREAMers and let’s make this dream a reality! What do we want and when do we want it?

From High School to College

There comes a point in every young adult’s life where we have to choose what we’re going to do with our lives. For many of us, the answer is simple, but if you’re anything like me, it’s one of the hardest decisions you will ever make.

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