Hoofprints » Teen Interest

Teen Interest

How Highschool Seniors all around the world are adapting to the unanticipated challenge's and added stress of deciding and applying to colleges during a Pandemic, and how this Global crisis will affect the outcome. 


         Being a student in the year 2020 in any capacity is a challenge, however for seniors looking to attend college next fall it has made this already anxiety inducing process one like never before. Ever since the devasting impacts of the Corona Virus took hold back in mid- March 2020, it has been an uphill battle for schooling systems around the globe. This adjustment has been particularly hard for colleges and universities as dealing with the massive student body sizes and added headcount of incoming freshman has made physically attending schools quite difficult. However, Universities simply being open is no longer the problem, now we see massive challenges arising and newfound roadblocks for seniors hoping to apply to certain schools. The adaptations and stipulations now put into place due to the virus such as limited in person tours, little to no access to attempt tests such as the SAT and ACT, dealing with changes in applications, and simply considering whether to apply has morphed this process into even more of a pain. 

graduate with a sign that reads now what?

“The College experience” is a commonly spoken mantra that I am sure students have heard from their parents and college graduates often. As seniors we all hope to venture off and make new friends, lifelong memories, and truly gain the full “college experience”. With the strict stipulations put into place and a plethora of schools opting to teach via all online, many students have been questioning whether to attend college at all. Paying thousands of dollars a year to solely zoom call from your bedroom is simply not enough of an incentive for some Seniors to break the bank and a boatload of their time when the circumstances appear so limited. I spoke to a Senior here at Mainland who weighed in on the issue as he discussed his plan to attend ACCC for the first year until he will ultimately transfer after the dushas settled. “It's just not worth it” he stated, eager nonetheless to move on from high school, “paying all that money just to be totally online, not meeting any new people and not gaining any true college experience is just a waste to me”. He spoke about his sympathy for universities and colleges having to adapt on the fly to this unanticipated variable and dealing with heat from governors and families alikeHowever, the price people pay, and the quality of experience offered now with online learning has made for some, college an option in the future once they can attend in person and with the full experience.

To those still intent on attending College this fall amongst all the changes occurringlooking at schools has been a difficult challenge. A key element when searching for one’s ideal college fit is the special aura” or that indescribable feeling expressed all too often by graduates and college attendees. They’ll tell you that once your there, walking around the campus and passing by the students you’ll simply know you're at the right place. Attaining this special “feeling” or “gut instinct” has been a bit difficult to accomplish through a computer screen. With colleges adapting to Corona Virus restrictions and mainly holding online tours, this has caused another challenging roadblock for Seniors in search of their perfect fit. Students being unable to physically go in person and see the facilities, meet the people, and simply just gauge whether the environment is a match for them has had families and kids frustrated. I spoke to a family friend who is currently a student ambassador and tour guide at Montclair State University. She spoke about how much she missed holding tours and seeing “how excited people got when they saw our facilities and all the cool programs we have to offer”. She expressed her empathy towards graduating seniors and encourages students to be proactive and try to safely walk around campus themselves if their school does not offer it.  

It's difficult to say when the school systems will return to more of a stanard teaching and living environment. The Corona Virus has caused Universities and Colleges alike to adapt on the fly and alter student life traditions and some of the basics of their application processes. This unprecedented time has caused students to question whether attending college amidst a pandemic is worth the extra hassle and money, while some still hoping to attend are struggling to find their “fit”. Although each college and university have different rules and regulations put forth in order to keep their staff and students safe, regardless, I’m sure graduating seniors never thought they would be applying to Colleges amid a pandemic.



Image source: Forbes magazine  

Disposable cameras first came out in 1986 and became popular in the 90s. People commonly used them on vacations or at weddings, but now we use them as a second option to an iPhone or digital camera. Most people now use them to document events like summer vacation, or just to take pictures with friends.  

For beginners, I would recommend looking at a local drug store and finding out where to get one and where to get it developed. Personally, I use Fuji Film since the pictures turn out pretty good and I can easily find them near me.

Once you have your camera, you need to learn how to use it. Firstpoint it at whatever you are taking a picture of. Next, make sure the top right dial can’t spin anymore. It won’t let you take a picture if you are still able to spin it. Then turn on the flash, right by the lens. And lastly,The beach at dusk shoot your photo pressing the top right button. When you are done taking a picture, you need to spin the dial again to allow you to take another one. When you have used all of the photos you can take it to get developed at a Walgreens or CVS. The photos will be ready in about two weeks. They will also give you a CD which will allow you to get the pictures digitally.  

The Fujifilm disposable cameras have been very easy for me to use and I would recommend them to beginnersThey have a simple design and instructions on the box which makes it easy to find everything. As long as you are using the flash, the photos come out pretty clearAnd they fit comfortably in your hand. 


Image credit: Bella Disidori, taken with a disposable camera on Longport beach

Covid-19 has affected every single person’s lives one way or another. One of the most important effects it has had, is on students mental and physical health. Coronavirus has closed many schools, making students go virtual for safety precautions. Technology has become a huge part of all our lives more than ever, and we are the first of our generation to do school all virtual. Not only have teachers had to change their teaching methods, but students have also had to adapt to these new conditions. This transition has had a negative impact on a lot of teens mental and physical health, and their education 

As a teenager, school hasn’t been easy online. Not being able to physically show up and be interactive in class has caused me to become lost in lessons and overall, not understandingThe lack of interacting is negatively impacting many. We can’t ask questions and get immediate help. It also takes away from some of the social skills and team building that occurs in school. We also can’t rely on instructors responding right away and many receive poor feedback from the teachers that are having a hard time explaining through a chat. This lack of understanding topics leads to a huge loss of motivation. Not understanding schoolwork is one of the most frustrating and stressful times for teens and it will lead to grades dropping and passing the class will become harder. Teachers assign more work to make sure we’re getting a full understanding when really, we’re just overwhelmed with the amount given and that’s when we start asking our peers for answers and help. Once that habit starts, teen begin to just rely on others to do their work and an unhealthy habit forms that won’t help them in the future. Overall, online learning has made classes harder on teens. 

Not only has passing classes become harder, but so has keeping up our mental health. When loads of work that we don’t understand are dropped on us, we start stressing out. Stress and anxiety are one of the causes of depression and bad mental health. We are staring at screens for cartoon students in surgical masks in front of school with closed signhours on end 5 days a week and on weekends we have homework to complete. As stated on New-Letter.com“Increased screen time usage, especially for non-academic activities, has been found to be linked with increases in depression, anxiety and perceived attention problems.” Those things are not taken lightly. Another thing to bring into this, is homelife. For some students going to school is their break, their safe spot. Nobody knows what’s going in everyone’s personal life. Staying home in an uncomfortable environment has a strain on mental health. On top of school and being glued to a screen, parents could be hard on their children. That weight on their shoulders could be very overwhelming and makes getting through school harder.  

As important as mental health is, physical health is just as severe. Online learning has affected the physical activity levels of students. Not walking between classes has made some students stationary for hours on end in front of their computers. Some schools require their students to sit in virtual classes with cameras on for 6 hours with a few short breaks in between. Being stuck in our beds, or desks, isn’t good for us. We are getting less physical activity deeper as we go into the year. Screen time is also affecting our eyes. Dry eyes, nearsightedness, red eyes, headaches, sleepy, and blurry vision are all effects of too much screen time.  

Online learning has so many negative impacts on students. Learning has become harder, bad mental health has increased, and were physically hurting ourselves being stuck to a computer screen for hours. Overall, online learning has made everything tougher. Maybe a simple solution is for teachers and parents to have a better understanding of the stress we are under and possibly a better schedule that pays more attention on us personally rather than the focus being strictly on our grades. 


Photo source: https://yourstory.com/2020/03/coronavirus-schools-shut-edtech-startups-byjus-vedantu-toppr 

Why Vegan?    

Most people have heard the term vegan and the supposed benefits that come with the lifestyle: improved health, preservation of resources, prevention of animal slaughter, among many other reasons. However, there may be some people who are unaware and confused as to what the term “vegan” refers to. The vegan diet can be defined as the foods it excludes or the ones it includes. Instead of seeing it as a diet that will restrict meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and honey, look at it as a lifestyle based completely on plants. A healthy vegan diet is comprised of wide variety of fruit, vegetables, grains, seeds, and legumes.  

Reduce Waste and Save the Environment 

Currently, we can produce enough food to readily feed 10 billion people. By the year 2050, the world population will have reached and possibly surpassed 10 billion. With the current consumption of red meats and dairy foods, it is impossible to raise enough livestock to feed the ever-growing number of peopleMoreover, more than 70% of the grains farmed in the U.S.  and 50% farmed worldwide serve the sole purpose of feeding livestock (1), while at the same time, 690 million people (worldwide) do not have enough food to eat daily. This equates to more than 700 million pounds of food that could be used to feed people (2) 

Improve your Health and Reduce your Risk of Illness 

As technology increases, more and more studies are showing the benefits of following a plant-based diet. Red meats are high in saturated fat, which over time can lead to high cholesterolheart disease, colon cancer, and ultimately death. In 2007, scientists from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research stated that “red or processed meats are convincing or probable sources of some cancers.” From the evidence gathered in the study, they were able to conclude that there is a strong link between red meat, processed meat, and colorectal cancer, and some connectionto lung, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, and endometrial cancers (3). Eliminating red and processed meats gets rid of these risks completely. 

Save The Lives of Animals 

Over 200 million animals are ruthlessly killed each day in the U.S. for human consumption (5).  The most common method used to kill animals is to use a stunning pistol. After living through a life of torment and abuse, an animal is dragged onto the killing floor where a pistol is aimed at its head. Then, the trigger is fired, and a metal rod is instantly shot out to pierce through the animal’s skull into the brain (4)This, however, is not designed to kill the creature but rather to cause injury and partially paralyze it so that its heart will still be pumping blood when the throat is cut open.  

Many people argue that the dairy and egg industries are not nearly as gruesome as the meat industry because the animals are not killed but usedThe only thing that differentiates the two is the fact that when people eat meat, they are eating an animal that has already been killed. While when eating foods with dairy, eggs, or other animal products, they are eating foods that came from an animal that surely will be killed.  


It is noEthical 

When presented with these statistics and disturbing thoughts, many people’s first reaction is to simply not think about them. After all, we have always been taught there is nothing wrong with eating animals and using what they provide for us. Nevertheless, consuming products that come from animals is just a pleasure and tradition. There is no evidence that meat is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. In fact, many studies have shown that the opposite to be true (6) 

Many people argue that killing animals is legal, and by default, must be okay. With that argument, we must consider, does the fact that something is lawful, make it morally correctMillions of animals are used in cosmetic testing each year, but that does that mean that it should continue to be that way. When asked this question, most people will probably answer that animal testing is not humane. It does not make sense that people see it right to consume an animal, but wrong to use them for lab and cosmetic testing. An animal’s life should not be equal to a taste in someone’s mouth. When people sit down to eat, their meal will last them ten minutes. It will have cost the animal their entire life.  

Concerns: What about Protein?  

Many people are concerned that if they transition to be vegan, they will not get the fundamental nutrients and minerals needed for proper functioning of the body. For example, one common myth about a plant-based diets is that they are deficient in proteinThe truth is most Americans on a vegan or vegetarian diet get more than enough protein than needed. Unless they are living an incredibly active lifestyle or pregnant, getting enough protein should be relatively easy when following the diet correctly.  

Carl Lewis, a world known Olympic track runner, was known for winning nine gold medals between the years 1984-1996. In 1990, Carl Lewis switched to be a strict vegan. As an Olympic athlete, he was is need of much protein and essential nutrients. Not only was Carl able to succeed in his athletic endeavors, but he claimed he could run faster and jump higher after switching to veganism (7)Later, in 1992, he won two gold medals in the 4x100m Relay and Long Jump. All his personal bests were achieved when he was vegan.  


Eating animals has always been the way of living and seen as “normal”. But with the new technology and research available to us now, we have a definite way to know that there are benefits to being vegan. We can live longer, prevent diseases, protect the environment, and live in harmony with nature. Although animals cannot talk, it does not mean they do not have feelings, show emotions, or feel pain. The best way to show our support and improve our connection with animals is to abstain from eating them and using their products. If done correctly by eating a diverse array of plant-based foods, it will lead to a long and healthy life.  


Sources used:

  1. 14 Reasons Why You Should Be Vegan in 2020 



  1. Action Against Hunger, World Hunger: Key Facts and Statistics 2020 



  1. WebMD, The Truth About Red Meat 



  1. Vegan.com, Why Go Vegan? The Top Reasons Explained 




  1. Matthew Zampa, How Many Animals are Killed For Food Everyday 



  1. U.S. National Library of MedicineNutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based diets 



  1. Beegans Online, Olympian Carl Lewis Vegan 



There is no where to begin but with the elephant suffocating the room. The corona virus will define this year for the history books of later generations. Millions have fought the tough battle and lost in horror. It crawled and clawed its way out from the devil’s bed like a monster straight from hell. It made its way up and has casted a sinister shadow over billions. Like wild ivy it has spread from nation to nation, person to person. It has taken lives, jobs, businesses, and education alike with its unwavering and disgusting hunger. Our world may never be able to fully recover. There is no where to begin but with the elephant suffocating the room. The corona virus will define this year for the history books of later generations. 

As I was seated in my classroom, I peered down at my textbook. I flipped through pages of war, depressions, and acts of pure violence. With my eyes fixated on the very last pages of nothing but blank paper, a terrible thought rushed through my mind. Nowhere in this textbook do the author recount a time in history in which a disease tore apart the entire world with an act as unassuming as a cough or sneeze in the wrong direction. This was in March. Two seasons and several months later, I find myself far from the days of in class lessons. Confined to the boundaries of my household, I turn on my computer and stare blankly into a screen for hours on end. The words of my teachers fly through one ear and out the other. Personally, online school has been extremely difficult. Compared to regular school days, which seem an ancient way of learning at this point, I am struggling to come to grips with the idea of virtual classes. In particular, I have no motivation to be present in each class, as our grades are mostly down to just completing the given assignments rather than whether or not we actually understand them. Additionally, my focus has had to be torn into two halves. Although finishing my senior year and being able to graduate is something I wish to do, the online aspect of it all has severely dilated the overall importance of school. 

In relation to my fellow peers, they hold similar concerns to mine. For some, the pressure of being prepared for school at such an early time was more of an afterthought as the promise of being surrounded by their friends was too persuasive. As Melina Galias, a senior at Mainland Regional High School, states “Through online learning, it has been difficult to make and maintain relationships with friends and teachers. The social aspect that was once found in school has been lost”. She describes a solid point. As students and their respective teachers are being divided by computer screens, the one on one assistance has completely disappeared. Social interactions between students during school are extinct as well, which may be a driving reason for so many students losing any real desire to be present in class during the week. Another concern students hold is the difficulty in keeping track of all of their schoolwork. As our educational responsibilities fall solely online, it can be extremely hard trying to manage finishing every assignment which can all hold varying due dates. Zach D’Antono, who is also a senior from Mainland Regional High School, expands on this as he explains, “Due to the virus, my days have consisted mostly of running back and forth between school and my new job. It has been a real problem trying to manage both responsibilities. Juggling between working several days a week and having to properly organize each of my seven classes has caused a lot of stress for me personally.” Between school losing most of its core parts and the problem of keeping up with the new requirements of virtual learning, online school hasn’t been without its complications in the opinion of most students. 

To conclude, online school has been far from a valiant and equal to its counterpart. It has created more issues than it has solved; however, we can’t ignore its pure intentions either. The virus has been hard for all of us, and the efforts made by schools and their staff cannot be overlooked. The online system will continue to evolve. Students will continue to be resilient and adapt to any new situations being thrown at them. We will find ways to be better. We will be okay.  

The Scholastic Assessment Test, also known as the SAT, is taken by 8 million students each year. The SAT costs $49.50 and costs $64.50 with the essay. However, SAT fee waivers are also available to low-income eleventh and twelfth-grade students. Also, students can take the SAT as many times as they want. Figuring out how to study for the SAT can be challenging and overwhelming. Knowing the right tools and study strategies is difficult. After reading this article you will have all the information you need.  

students taking the SAT

First, is figuring out the best prep book to use. According to blog.prepscholar.com, the best overall SAT prep book is “Kallis’ SAT Pattern Strategy. This SAT book has step by step answer explanations for each questionexplains concepts in grammar, literature, and math; and goes over the structure and format of the SAT. Also, “The College Board's Official SAT Study Guide” and “The Princeton Review's Cracking the SAT” offer practice tests that are like those on the SAT. SAT prep books can range from $10-$40.  

Next, there are free options online that can also help. According to EnFactYourFurturethe best SAT prep websites are Collegeboard.org, Khan Academy, Test Prep Review, The Princeton Review, and McGraw-Hill. Collegeboard.org offers tutorials, many free practice tests, and test-taking strategies. Khan Academy offers free personalized practice based on a diagnostic test result.  Test Prep Review allows you to quiz yourself on certain SAT sections. The Princeton Review gives you a detailed performance report with tips on how to improve. McGraw-Hill gives explanations of every question from PSAT and because the PSAT is very similar to the SAT, it is very helpful.  

Additionally, a good calculator is key! The number one best calculator is the Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX CAS, but it is quite expensive and costs around $150. A cheaper option that can be just as helpful is the Texas Instruments TI 30x IIS, which is around $15. 

Also, SAT Tutors can range from $10 an hour to $1,500 an hour. However, many people question whether SAT Tutors are helpful or not. Some people believe that a tutor can only teach you everything you can learn from a prep book, but other people say that a tutor has secret tips and strategies. Iyou can afford an SAT tutor, thea student should probably get one; but if you are looking for cheaper options, there are SAT study groups and prep classes that you can join.  

Finally, tips and tricks are important to know. For example, a student should use the process of elimination for every question. During the reading section, do not ignore passage introductions. The little blurb before the passage can have key information and give details to what the passage is about. Also, do not leave any questions blank without an answerA student gets the same amount of points whether a question is left blank, or an answer is wrongA student should pick a letter of the day and if times runs out, the student should select the same answer for all the questions, instead of randomly guessing.   

Whatever different cite, test book or tutor a student decides to use, the most important thing is to practice, practice, practice taking the SAT.