Monthly Madness

Periods. Otherwise known as menstruation. Otherwise known as the precursor to pregnancy, that time of the month, the curse, the monthlies, shark week, and the list goes on. Yet, with its many names, society seems to forget about this natural way of life. The fact that 49.6% of the world experiences this process at one time or another would make it seem that the conversation surrounding it would be frequent and healthy, but no.

Anyone born with a uterus has heard the first period stories. I remember before I got mine, I heard about my mother’s. She hid her underwear and would sit crying in her room because she didn’t want to tell her parents that she was dying. Think about that for a moment. Albeit, sexual education has progressed since my mother was a teenager, but the lack of information about periods is still very much an issue. I don’t remember any information about periods except a movie in fifth grade titled Just Around the Corner and a brief lesson about it in freshman year. I don’t remember learning what pads to get, if tampons are right for me, how to handle cramps, how to predict/learn about my cycle, and many other questions that I still have today.

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.com

“Most girls learn about their periods the day their periods start,” says Chandra-Mouli, a member of the World Health Orginization. He describes the all too popular story that usually goes like: “I started having periods at school. Spotting on my clothes. Giggling in class. I didn’t know what was happening. My panties felt wet. My teacher made me wait in the staff room. I thought my insides were rotting. My mother came and wrapped me in a towel, took me home, put me in a bath and said, ‘You’re a woman now. Don’t go out and play with the boys.’”

That lack of education is even worse in many other countries. Periods are seen as a curse; women are shunned from public life and aren’t allowed to cook, clean, or learn. It’s also immensely harder to get proper sanitary items and unhealthy options are almost always used. Did you know that 10% of girls in Africa miss out on school because of their period each month or that 4/5 girls in East Africa lack the access to basic sanitary supplies? Why are we letting these young, impressionable girls internalize these gross views of their bodies? In order to help the ever-growing future, we need to help young women all over the world to feel no shame about their bodies.

I think that the first step to getting rid of social stigma is education. Teach boys how to pick out period products for their sisters/mothers/ girlfriends and how to be supportive to these women in their lives. Teach kids that there are transgender kids who either do or don’t have periods and it kills them on the inside. Show us pad ads where the coverage simulation uses red ink instead of blue. Teach girls how to feel confident on their period and how to handle this intense shift in hormones. Open up this conversation in class or at meals. Yes, it may be uncomfortable, but if it could help one more person not stain their clothes or miss another class, then, in my opinion, it’s worth it.

Advertisements

Sports vs. Education

With sports comes a tedious amount of dedication, which does not always correspond with school; because, despite the amount of dedication sports require, school requires a thousand times that amount.

Many kids who wish to pursue their sports throughout high school, college, and even the rest of their lives have to make a choice; they either have to give up part of school or part of their sport. Most parents would never let kids give up school, because normally parents’ motto is “school comes first.” But to some kids, their parents let them follow their dreams and chose sports over school. Some of my very close friends, who I developed through horseback riding, have parents that permit them to chose their sport first by allowing them to home-school and dedicate their life to the show circuit.

Even though I still continue on the show circuit with my friends, it sets me back in school with the amount of days I have to miss to attend some of the shows. For example, coming up in November, I have nationals in Las Vegas and if I am to attend, it will make me miss a week of school at least, meaning mounds and mounds of homework, tests, and in class assignments to make up. After missing just three days of school last week, it still was a major setback.

As the years continue the amount of homework I will have to make up after missing just three days of school will only increase. Thinking about this only makes me more stressed out and worried about my future with my sport. I would like to think I would never allow myself to quit because I have devoted over ten years of my life to this sport; but many kids, have to give up their sports in high school in order to maintain their grades and prep for college. I hope I don’t have to become one of those kids, but sometimes I just wonder if it would make it all easier.

From: amazonaws.com
Sports vs. Education: From amazonaws.com

 

A Valuable Education

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first definition of the word education is “The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.” If you asked high school students what the point of going to school is, I have a hunch that the majority of answers would be “to get good grades.” Why is our immediate response that school is not about learning, but about grades?

The purpose of children and young adults going to school is to receive an education that betters our knowledge and helps us become well-rounded individuals. As time has passed and classes have become more rigorous and competitive, the value behind school/education has been lost. The purpose of attending class is no longer to learn new information, but to memorize facts and then spit them back out on a test.

Education has become a competition. With advanced placement and honors courses, students are so focused on earning good grades and getting into universities that they often feel like the purpose of it all is not to learn about world history, calculus, chemistry, etc, but to pass world history, calculus, chemistry, etc.

The grading system was put in place as a way to force students to learn and understand material. I realize the significance of this, but I feel like there is a better way to convey information that will still make a lasting impression and will create a less stressful, more beneficial environment for learning – one that makes students want to learn instead of feeling like they are being forced to learn.

Although the first definition of education mentions “systematic instruction,” the second definition, in my opinion, is far better. Simply put, education is “an enlightening experience.” Now, this might just be my teenage angst speaking, but usually when I come home from school I hardly feel enlightened.

Image via IllustrationSource.com

Personally, I feel like there comes a time when we learn as much as is necessary and beneficial in terms of academics (unless someone’s passion involves a subject that they would then go on to pursue, like a career in science or something of the sort) and the only intelligence that can be further gained is through life experience.

I believe that there is great value in traveling the world and seeing other cultures. I hope to travel all over the world within my life, but not just to the most most desirable places. I want to go to Mumbai, India, where millions of people live in an extremely compact area, or to rural Africa or South America where people live without electricity or running water. Seeing how people live all around the planet, experiencing their cultures and understanding how different peoples’ lives compare to one another: these are the things that help shape a person’s intelligence, skills, morals, and opinions.

I am extremely thankful and privileged to receive the education that I have and I would never want to compromise that. I’m not saying that I’m extremely intelligent (I’m not) and I’ve already learned everything I need to know (I haven’t), but I’ve come to a point where I feel like the best way for me to grow as an individual is to experience all that the world has to offer. But seeing as I am only just beginning my second year of high school, I guess I’ll have to keep up with the classes and grades for a little while longer.

 

Boys Rule, Girls Drool.

It’s a well know fact to all teachers that the average boy is behind in the industrial world, beginning in Pre-K, and lasting through to college.

Boys, simply put, haven’t been doing nearly as well as girls in school. Statistics have shown that, on average, boys’ grades consist of mainly C’s and D’s, while girls hold more college degrees.

This phenomenon is a growing epidemic in all countries, and all cultures. 70 to 80 percent of the students accepted to Advanced Placement (AP) classes are girls. This increasingly large gap doesn’t pertain only to inner-city boys, it includes boys from each and every corner of American Society, and beyond.

Photo Credit: heartbreakhypnotist.com

This education crisis has been the focus of large schools, which are actively trying to curve the problem. Some blame ethics and how the social dynamic of school affects young male students, who see athletics as their way to shine. Others blame the school system as a whole for failing to provide boys with a system that adequately suits them, and demand a larger outcry for boys, just as there was for girls thirty years ago.

Jefferson Academy in Long beach C.A. has taken a different approach, by putting students into gender-separated classes. For boys, they have placed a larger emphasis on academics as opposed to sports. So far, the school has seen a large success rate in test scores and overall effort.

Though schools across the country are hesitant to apply this practice, this agenda has been proved so far to be beneficial. As a boy with coed classes, I don’t believe I would want to have my class suddenly split.

If this were the only way to resolve this issue, it should happen with a new generation, rather than the current generation enjoys the luxury of mixed classes and would be opposed to anything but.

Research also points out how an emphasis on academic success may be just as beneficial in the long run. With similar intelligence rates among boys and girls, the academic gap could be eliminated through better parenting, and a greater emphasis on boys in class.

To what extremes would the school system go in order to help young boys succeed? That is the ethical question that the next generation, and America as a whole, may have to face.

A Penny for Your Consent

BuzzFeed is known for its clickbait and quirky news updates. But, occasionally they use their large following for good use. A video titled “Would You Steal $5?” is a perfect example of that good-doing. A simple message is put across as it begins: “What is considered stealing?” The narrator lists different scenarios in which someone has $5, and each scenario shows another situation classified as stealing. But at the end, it’s revealed that the $5 is a symbol for consent. In simpler terms, without consent you are stealing from someone.

What is consent? Most claim to know the answer, but in reality, not many do. Consent is defined as permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. Mostly, consent refers to situations involving any romantic or sexual interactions. It seems simple enough, if one or both members aren’t up to doing something, then both have to accept that they shouldn’t be doing whatever that is. Yet somehow, rape and sexual violence is still all too common.

No one knows the severity of rape culture. On average, 288,820 people are raped annually in the U.S. alone. That is one person every 2 minutes. That number surely disgusts many, yet rape is still a taboo subject. Why is it that consent isn’t taught at all schools? Sex Ed is only mandatory in 24 states, and not all of those have to teach consent. No wonder the headlines are filled with reports of rape and violence against women and men.

Consent is honestly so simple. If you or your partner is uncomfortable, drunk, unready, or unwilling, don’t have sex! If someone says no to any activity, don’t do it! It’s simple, really.

Watch the BuzzFeed video below:

Homework?

School is a designated time and place for people to learn and increase their knowledge. Because of that, I don’t think it’s fair for copious amounts of work to be assigned out of school as well.

When long hours are spent every day sitting in chairs and taking in lots of information, it seems like overkill to continue to practice what we’ve learned later in the day.

Many teachers argue that class time is for learning the material, and that through homework we are supposed to prove our knowledge. That is a legitimate point, however, if we didn’t have homework, then there would actually be time to execute our skills during class itself.

Photo Credit: jbmthinks.com

So much time is spent during class periods assigning, explaining and reviewing homework. If no homework was assigned, the time originally spent talking about homework after we’ve learned the lesson could be spent proving what we’ve learned. Then, we would have learned what we needed to know and have proven our intelligence all within the class period, without having to do even more work at home.

With all the homework that is assigned – coupled with after school activities – many students are staying up late into the night, and are not sufficiently rested for the next day. That causes them not to perform their best in school.

If this education system could be revised, students would be more attentive in school, have a higher motivation to get their work done in class and overall be more successful academically.

Bright Room, harsh lights

fefe

Sitting in the darkened room.

Plastic flashing, sounds pulsating.

The light, when on, is harsh and unnatural.

A man, tall and large, lives within these confines.

Quick to anger, slow to reason, his intelligence is low.

A role he is given to shape minds and stuff them of knowledge.

Knowledge he said, scoff I said.

If you cannot think on your own,

how can you teach others to do the same?