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College Circuit: Andrea Chiurillo

New York University (NYU) is a private university located in New York, with more than 26,417 enrolled students. 2018 alumni Andrea Chiurillo is currently a freshman at the university. He spoke to The Circuit’s Anamaria Camara .

Why did you choose to attend NYU?
I chose to attend NYU because I always had a passion for business, specifically finance. Not only is [NYU] a great school in finance, but New York is the financial capital of the [United States]. When I visited the school, I felt this huge sense of opportunity that I wanted to explore.

What is it like to be a first year student at NYU?
In college, I have a much more independent lifestyle, especially in New York. When you walk outside to go to class everyday, you are walking alongside professionals, families, etc. You mature really fast to keep up with the fast lifestyle pace most New Yorkers live.

What has been your favorite college experience so far while studying at NYU?
My favorite college experience this year is how much independence I have. I take control of my own life and make decisions on my own. New York has so many working people, and I now walk among them.

How have your college experiences differed from your high school experiences?
At NYU, you truly feel the sense of diversity within the student body. I have enjoyed this because I have met some of the most interesting and unique people; it takes time to adjust and learn about others’ cultures and values. Having a really open mind helps the adjustment process.

What advice do you have for students considering attending NYU?
My advice is to keep working hard all four [years of] high school. Dedicate enough time to school so you can go where you want to go. However, remember to have fun too, spending high school stressed is never a good idea.

What do you plan on doing after you graduate from NYU?
After [I] graduate, I’m not sure what I want to do. I want to explore all the opportunities at [NYU] Stern [School of Business]. Before attending Stern, I thought I wanted to be a financial analyst. Now, however, I’m open to all the possibilities that Stern has to offer after seeing all the programs that interest me.

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Alumni Strike: Blake Pereda

BY BELLA GROGAN

Alumnus Blake Pereda, who graduated from the Bay in 2012, decided to go Florida Atlantic University (FAU). He went to study something related to exercise since he has always been passionate about physical fitness and health during his high school years.

“I always was taught by my family to do something you love as a profession, so I decided I would take that advice,” Pereda said.

While attending FAU, Pereda earned his degree in exercise science. He said staying fit and working out is an integral part of his life, so he feels he should study something he knows and loves to do.

“I have always had a passion for working out and eating healthy throughout my whole life,” Pereda said. “I knew I needed to study something I loved and that would not be boring to me; that’s why I chose to study exercise science.”

Pereda said he is now putting his degree to good use by working as a personal trainer at the Weston Family Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). According to Pereda, his job is to train clients and help them achieve their fitness goals.

“Helping people exercise the right way is a very important job to me,” Pereda said. “Many of my clients I’ve trained before had previously gotten injured because they didn’t know how to work out the right way.”

Pereda said he helps train at least five clients per day. In addition, he said he often assists with training a small group class.

“I enjoy training the small group classes because the energy of the group is more intense,” Pereda said. “[The small group classes] tend to have more motivation to complete intense workouts.”

Pereda said he usually works the evening shifts at the YMCA. He said he likes to get a workout in before starting his job and working with his clients.

“Most of my co-workers don’t like to workout on the days they are scheduled,” Pereda said. “I usually just finish my workout early before I have to work and take a quick shower.”

When Pereda is not training clients at the YMCA, he said he is either at a desk ready to answer members’ questions or walking around the gym to check up on everyone. He said he feels it is important to talk with members of the gym and encourage them to work harder since it makes them feel welcomed.

“[Walking around the YMCA] gives [members] a sense of belonging [by] having someone they know at the gym who can help them if they ever need,” Pereda said.

Pereda’s co-worker, Alejandro Estua, said he loves working with Pereda because he brings great energy to the workplace.

“Working with [Pereda] makes the job more fun because we are always laughing together,” Estua said. “We also work out together when we both aren’t on the schedule.”

Estua said he started working at the YMCA after Pereda. He said Pereda helped him get used to working at a gym.

“[Pereda] helped me a lot when I first started working because I felt a little awkward, but Blake was friendly and introduced me to many clients and members,” Estua said.

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University of Florida scrunchie designed by Nicole Straight. Photo submitted by senior Nicole Straight.

Personality Profile: Nicole Straight

BY ILYSSA MANN

In February, senior Nicole Straight said she took a leap of faith and created a business based off her hobby of making college-themed hair scrunchies. She said she now sells the pieces of fabric as merchandise through her Instagram account. She said her business has grown rapidly in a short amount of time, making her ecstatic with her progress so far.

“I have seen Instagram accounts in the past that sell college themed scrunchies,” Nicole Straight said. “I realized there is no one at our school that [sells them], so I jumped at the opportunity.”

According to Nicole Straight, senior year is the perfect time to kick off her business since it is when students discover what university they will be attending. She said the timing could not have been better for her company since many of her peers actively support her craft.

“I did not think starting my own business would be difficult because before I even started selling my scrunchies, I had friends asking to buy some from me,” Nicole Straight said. “However, once I started, I was actually a little overwhelmed with the amount of orders I was receiving.”

One of Nicole Straight’s close friends, junior Jack McMahon, said he is more than proud of her work. McMahon said it is easy to support Nicole Straight’s business since she works hard to make her business thrive.

“You don’t see a lot of people with this kind of talent that Nicole has portrayed,” McMahon said. “She took on a lot of responsibility with this business and she’s made it grow into something very impressive for a high school student.”

Because of her social media presence, McMahon said he has seen the progress of Nicole Straight’s products stretch not only across campus, but also different states.

“I’ve seen students at school wearing college scrunchies made by Nicole [Straight] and it just makes me feel even more proud of her,” McMahon said. “Seeing the spread Nicole’s products have reached is rewarding for her.”

According to Nicole Straight, her mother Elsa Straight has been a person who has been a backbone for her and her work. Elsa Straight said she has jumped in to help her daughter whenever she is too busy with school or has a lot of orders to handle.

“[Nicole Straight] is a dedicated character and she has shown that quality about her through her business,” Elsa Straight said.

Elsa Straight said she and her daughter were initially only expecting the franchise to spread locally within Nicole Straight’s school. Elsa Straight said they were both pleasantly surprised to see orders coming in one after the other from different places.

“In the beginning, both Nicole and I were under the impression that [the franchise] was just going to be a hobby for her,” Elsa Straight said. “Through her hard work fired by passion, [Nicole Straight] has single-handedly made this hobby into a real job.”

Nicole Straight said she has primarily been selling and advertising her products through social media apps such as Instagram. She said she loves that it is so easy for her to showcase her work to the public through her account.

“Making an Instagram [account] for my business has let me spread my creations not just locally, but across the country,” Nicole Straight said. “Social media has been a really easy and convenient way for me to promote my merchandise.”

When she first started her franchise, Nicole Straight said there were a few obstacles she had to overcome. However, she said the work she has done with her scrunchies has not been too difficult.

“Figuring out the pricing of my products and how to grow my sales past my direct friends in the beginning was a little tricky,” Nicole Straight said. “Although, once I got the hang of it, my work took off.”

Although Nicole Straight said she doesn’t have long term plans for her business, she said she will continue with it when she attends the University of Florida.

“I have a lot fun making the scrunchies so I definitely plan on continuing this [business] into college,” Nicole Straight said. “Exposing my product to college towns will also bring in a lot of business, and I am very excited to advertise my work on my college campus.”

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Space lovers share different perspectives

BY SABRINA BLANDON
ONLINE FEATURES EDITOR

Growing up, junior Sofi Prieto said astrology was an integral part of her childhood, as her grandmother taught her how it relates to tarot cards, which is a set of cards used for fortune telling. She said astrology provides comfort to her since it reminds her of her childhood memories.

“My grandmother taught me how to read the tarot and once I learned from her, I really liked the aspect of it,” Prieto said. “After the tarot, I started to research astrology and I became fascinated with it.”

Besides the tarot, Prieto said she loves reading horoscopes because they seem to be true most of the time and they deal with aspects of astrology.

“Much like anything which relates to astrology, the horoscope is another thing which is something unexpect[ed],” Prieto said. “The unexpected makes the present so much fun since you never know what you’ll get. That’s why I love everything dealing with astrology.”

Prieto said there is no way to tell if events involving astrology are true or not. However, she said she believes the events can help offer a solution when faced with a certain situation.

“The doubt in human minds is insatiable and there’s some questions that science can’t answer, so naturally, we go to whatever can provide comfort,” Prieto said. “I like being able to provide this type of comfort to others.”

Due to her fascination with the moon and the night sky, junior Michelle Duque said she enrolled in Astronomy at the Bay. She said she loves to look at the night sky and think about each celestial body.

“I have just always found something relaxing about being able to look up during the night and see all these flickering specks that each hold their own unique story,” Duque said.

Despite the differences they carry, Duque said she thinks people get astronomy and astrology confused. However, when she entered her astronomy class, she knew the difference between astronomy and astrology.

“[Astrology and astronomy] both deal with the aspects of the universe,” Duque said. “Even though astronomy is more of what we know of the universe, astrology is more of a belief that the universe will influence a person’s life.”

Even though Duque said she is interested in astronomy, she said she finds the concept of astrology compelling.

“I find it fascinating to try and think in the perspective that maybe the universe’s position might affect how we act or our lives in general,” Duque said.

Although there are differences between the two, astronomy teacher Kristina Wolf said her students know the contrasting aspects of astronomy and astrology.

“[Astronomy is] a higher-level class and [my students] are higher level students,” Wolf said. “They do seem to come [into astronomy class] with the foundation of knowing the difference.”

Even though Wolf said astrology uses astronomy, she said astrology is not as valid as astronomy. She said astrology comes into astronomy when people are trying to find explanations for why events occur.

“Astrology takes astronomy and the constellations and what we use scientifically and tries to make characteristics about us based on that and they’re not able to be valid in that sense,” Wolf said.

According to Wolf, she believes astronomy has more science involved than astrology. She said astrology is linked more to people’s emotions than science.

“We’re looking for reasonings as to why we behave and astronomy is more science and it’s not about our emotions,” Wolf said. “[Astronomy is] about linking the science involved.”

When Prieto looks to the stars for guidance, she said she finds peace in them due to her connection with astrology.

“While astrology does deal with emotions, more people are believing in it because it gives them a sense of hope, in a way,” Prieto said. “Also, people want to be able to connect with anything that deals with emotions since in the end, we are all humans.”

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Teenagers prepare for life outside high school

BY RACHEL ALEXANDER

As the school year comes to a close, senior Sydney Saul has already started preparing for her life after high school. She said she plans to teach special education after becoming inspired by her mother’s influence as an educator.

“My mom is a special education teacher and I have always grown up seeing the impact she has made on her students,” Sydney Saul said. “I want to make the same impact she does and change lives just like her.”

According to Sydney Saul, she will be attending the University of Central Florida this summer where she will fulfill her passion by majoring in special education.

“I’ve worked with individuals with special needs a lot throughout the years,” Sydney Saul said. “The more I do, the more I realize how ready and excited I am for [special education] to be [in] my life.”

She said her involvement as Vice President in Best Buddies has prepared her tremendously for her future goals.

“I’ve met so many unique individuals through Best Buddies who have all taught me so much,” Sydney Saul said. “The organization has also given me the opportunity to learn from some amazing special education teachers.”

Although she said she is scared to leave her family and friends, she said she knows it is the next step in her life.

“When times get hard or when I’m annoyed with school, I know that it will all be worth it because I will be able to do what I love every day,” Sydney Saul said.

Sydney Saul’s mother, Debbie Saul, said she is inspired by her daughter’s passion and she is beyond excited to see her reach her dreams in the future.

“I know she is so passionate about teaching and I cannot wait to watch her become [a teacher],” Debbie Saul said.

Debbie Saul said it is an unreal feeling knowing that she has inspired her daughter to follow in her footsteps in becoming a special education teacher. She said her daughter has showed her there is hope for the future when it comes to the field of education.

“I know [my daughter] will continue what I do,” Debbie Saul said. “She will advocate for her students, assist them in making their lives richer and love her chosen profession.”

Much like Sydney Saul, senior Gordon Griffin said he is also choosing to pursue a career he is truly passionate about. He said he wishes to become an actor and will be attending the New School in New York City. Griffin said he is excited to pursue his dream in his favorite city on Earth.

“I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else and I’m ready to face any of the challenges that accompanies such a competitive field,” Griffin said. “I know it will all be worth it to become an actor.”

While being involved in theatre throughout high school, Griffin said he has learned that no problem is too much to overcome.

“I have been faced with countless challenges and rejections,” Griffin said. “None were enough to stop me from reaching my goals of becoming the best performer I can be.”

According to Griffin, he has worked endlessly throughout high school to get into a fantastic college with the best acting program he could ask for. He said what scares him most is the fear of failing, but the fear also motivates him.

“This fear [of failure] drives me and it’s why I have been fairly successful so far in my career,” Griffin said.

Griffin said theatre has changed his life in countless ways and his one goal in life is to continue to do what makes him happiest. He said he is beyond thrilled to see what the future has in store for him.

“Theatre has given me an outlet for all my feelings and frustrations,” Griffin said. “[Theatre’s] also helped me grow as a person and it has allowed me to make and become friends with some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life.”

Similar to Griffin, Sydney Saul said the experience she has gained in high school will allow her to have a smoother transition into her future career in special education and adulthood.

“I will always remember the memories I have created through my teen years,” Sydney Saul said. “[The memories] have all contributed to my passion of pursuing a career in special education.”

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Independent students 2 submitted by junior Cameron Tovin

New responsibilities teach life lessons to minors

BY RACHEL ALEXANDER

With adulthood approaching, students such as junior Jack McMahon have taken the initiative to become independent. For example, McMahon said he got a job at Lucille’s American Cafe because he wants to learn to become more self-sufficient.

“A large reason I decided to get this job is because I wanted to learn the value of making my own money and budgeting it wisely,” McMahon said. “By making my own money, I am able to feel more independent as I have taken on adult responsibilities.”

McMahon said having a job at a young age has made him feel self-reliant in all aspects of his life. He said he enjoys learning the value of hard work through his job because in life, everything will not always be handed to him.

“Having a job has made me appreciate things much more as I worked extremely hard to get them,” McMahon said. “Making my own money is a truly satisfying feeling and it has made me more careful when choosing what I spend my money on.”

According to McMahon, it is important to gain independence at such a young age, since he knows he cannot count on his parents forever. He said it is better to learn this lesson early because it will help prepare him better for life outside of high school.

“Having a job now is going to benefit me in the future because I will know how to save my money for the future,” McMahon said. “I won’t impulsively spend money on things I don’t need.”

Like McMahon, junior Cameron Tovin said she wanted to become more self-sufficient, so she decided to start driving herself to her dance classes in Naples three times a week. She said it takes approximately an hour and a half to and from her dance school.

“I started to drive [to my dance classes] after I got my license because I can’t expect my parents to drive me there three times a week,” Cameron Tovin said. “Although the drive is far, it gives me time to reflect upon my day and it allows me to feel more independent.”

Cameron Tovin said her dance school has been her second home for five years and the friendships she has made there are extremely special to her. According to Cameron Tovin, her passion for dance motivates her to make the drive after school, even on days when she feels exhausted.

“I would drive any distance to be able to dance with my best friends,” Cameron Tovin said. “Dancing with them makes all of my stress instantly melt away.”

Cameron Tovin said her work load from school causes her to feel overwhelmed due to the limited time she has to complete it, however, she always manages to get it done. She said school is a priority to her and she utilizes the days she has off from dance to get her work and studying done.

“Although I am often up late studying due to the amount of time I spend in Naples, it is worth it to be able to dance at the place I have loved for numerous years,” Cameron Tovin said.

When it comes to her daughter’s personality, Tovin’s mother, Melissa Tovin said she feels her daughter has always taken initiative to complete tasks on her own. She said throughout her daughter’s life, she has seen her juggle responsibilities perfectly between school and her demanding dance schedule.

“A majority of high schoolers do not drive long distances multiple times a week,” Melissa Tovin said. “I have total faith in my daughter to be responsible on and off the roads.”

Melissa Tovin said she loves how her daughter is passionate about Irish dancing and she would do anything to support her dreams.

“Cameron [Tovin] has always made me proud which has allowed me to trust her completely,” Melissa Tovin said. “Driving to dance by herself not only allows her to feel self-sufficient, but it gives her the chance to do what she loves in the place she feels the most comfortable.”

According to McMahon, having a job has been a life changing experience and he plans to continue working to gain experience from his superiors.

“All aspects of my job have been beneficial due to the amazing leadership skills people above me possess,” McMahon said. “Becoming more independent in high school will allow me to go through the rest of my life more smoothly.”

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Struggling to overcome trauma after devastating event

BY GOWRI ABHINADA

For some students like junior Gustavo Lanz, it is apparent that trauma can be a life-changing experience. He has recognized trauma is hard to overcome when it comes to the extremities of undergoing gun violence in Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD), to those who struggle with the ripples of this tragedy. Lanz, however, said although the burden of overcoming distress can be gruesome, it is important and empowering to grow from these emotions.

“Overcoming trauma is important for the sake of being able to continue with life knowing that the traumatic event doesn’t have control in defining who you are,” Lanz said. “A trauma of this magnitude has shaken our community to the core. Overcoming trauma means taking power away from those who’ve hurt us and defining ourselves by what we know we are and what we can be.”

According to Lanz, he was deeply impacted by the tragedy which took place at MSD. He said he recalls the emotions he felt after hearing the chilling news from his mother.

“[When my mother told me about the news,] I was pretty dumbfounded; [while I was hearing the news, it was] almost as if I’d just imagined what she said,” Lanz said. “You never expect [school shootings] to happen in your community until they actually do. [School shootings] are forever a case [of] not here, not possible.”

Like Lanz, freshman Tess Segal said she was impacted and managed her emotions she faced by protesting her anger.

“Anger is a whole lot easier to process than fear and sadness. My first instinct was to fight, to protest and maybe that was a distraction from facing the fact that I no longer felt safe at school,” Segal said. “Instead of thinking about that very visceral terror, I thought about the legislation, lobbyists and the politicians [to cope].”

Segal said she became politically involved after the incident by creating signs and volunteering in organizations to create change. She said she found these activities helpful in overcoming trauma and she hopes they will prevent future tragedies.

“Not a whole month after [the incident], I created a countdown sign and I started volunteering for Headcount, where I got to help people register to vote for the 2018 midterms,” Segal said. “Vote out senators and representatives bought out by the gun lobby; recognize that gun violence is a public health crisis and these tragedies are and always have been preventable and believe in real change.”

Junior Alexandra Geisser said she lived through the tragedy, which occurred on Valentine’s Day. According to Geisser, she is a survivor of gun violence and a former MSD student who transferred to American Heritage soon after the calamity.

“[The MSD shooting] wasn’t supposed to happen to me, my friends, my school [or] even my neighborhood. I wasn’t supposed to walk out with my hands on my head, glass shattered at my feet [and] blood pooling around bodies,” Geisser said. “Moving schools gave me the opportunity to distance myself from the trauma and to process [the event], without being back on campus in that atmosphere.”

According to Geisser, once the tragedy took place, she resorted to what she calls writing therapy.

“Writing my feelings and thoughts certainly helped,” Geisser said. “In my particular instance, projecting onto my characters or stories also helped me cope and process the trauma better.”

Much like Geisser, Algebra 2 Honors teacher at MSD Shanti Viswanathan said she experienced the same disaster and felt broken after the incident occurred.

“I was completely on adrenaline after the shooting; my sole intention was to save my students. My fear factor was null but once [the adrenaline] was gone, I experienced pockets of memory loss and grief,” Viswanathan said. “A guest from Columbine told me that when one goes through tragedy, your brain conveniently forgets the most horrid parts of the day; that’s how my brain coped. My adrenaline died [two days after the MSD shooting] and by then I was all tears.”

Viswanathan said she was shaken from what occurred at her workplace and struggled to come to terms with the situation. She said the district forced inhabitants of MSD to return a week after the tragedy, which made the healing process difficult after losing many people that day. She said her peers outside of school congratulated her for protecting her students, but she said receiving the recognition came off as insensitive toward her.

“[Some of my peers] called me brave and I didn’t want to be congratulated; I had lost so many dear to me and my second home. It was like we were being penalized,” Viswanathan said. “We were forced to come [back to school] after a week and the funerals weren’t even over. We were trying to cope.”

Viswanathan said she sought therapy to try to overcome her trauma. In addition, she said there are numerous ways MSD has supplied students with helping deal with their troubles. According to Viswanathan, mental wellness centers for teachers and students are being facilitated as well as a monthly professional development day. MSD also has a masseuse who offers oil massages, manicures, tea and spices to students to calm them.

“[Students and faculty] all take counseling but for me, it’s being with my students [that helps me heal] as we’ve gone through the same things,” Viswanathan said. “My students and I understand each other perfectly without even speaking.”

As a teacher who has seen the power in children’s voices, Viswanathan said she feels youth activism is integral when facing loss.

“The youth are the difference in how we cope with trauma. Taking out bump stocks was because [politicians] would lose votes if they ignored all these children marching against them,” Viswanathan said. “If [politicians] don’t get votes because the children are leading the change, then it makes everyone here at MSD become stronger because we are winning the fight for our lives.”

Geisser said she has acted on issues relating to gun violence. Last year she attended March for Our Lives, which occurred on March 24 and said presented a speech last year in her new school on April 20, in honor of Columbine High School. She said she feels tangible change such as protests need to occur, in order for her to overcome her trauma and feel safe again.

“I don’t feel safer in school and even measures taken to protect students feel empty or useless,” Geisser said. “More needs to be done for [students] to heal.”

Even though freshman Kai Amarante wasn’t present at MSD when the tragedy occurred, he said he believes activism is integral in the healing process. Amarante said he believes the trauma will take a long time to heal, but through movements such as the March for Our Lives, change could be made.

“Activism for gun control is extremely critical, to not only save lives and help cope with trauma, but also teach young people about the importance of participating in politics,” Amarante said.

According to Amarante, he personally helped those impacted by MSD by going to the March for Our Lives movement.

“It’s important to be civically engaged to overcome the trauma in order to prevent another tragedy like this one,” Amarante said.

According to Viswanathan, she said gun control will contribute to dealing with the pain of the grim reality of MSD.

“Making a difference and voting to let politicians know that we will vote them out is integral for the future and today for overcoming trauma,” Viswanathan said. “When we know something is being done to fix the problem, it makes us feel much better.”

Viswanathan said she finds youth efforts, like movements, to be commendable since they represent the hope the youth has for the future.

“Kids are planning to cause change. Both parties talk about things other than the actual solution,” Viswanathan said. “What helps is when we stand up and fight; we grow stronger together from that. The kids will change the story.”

Like Viswanathan, Lanz said he feels activism is essential toward overcoming trauma. According to Lanz, he feels change will bring true healing.

“Youth activism, like March for Our Lives, has been vital to push for things like gun control proposals currently in Congress,” Lanz said. “Personally, I’ve tried to be as active in the movement as possible. In my eyes, the best way to cope with something so horrible is to ensure it never happens again.”

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Pressures of acceptance weigh down on teenagers

BY CAMILA ESPINOSA

When freshman Jacqueline Ondarroa first started high school, she said coming to the Bay was nerve-wracking due to the large student body. However, Ondarroa said her main fear was not being able to successfully make friends.

“Transferring to such a large school terrified me, even though I had friends at [the Bay] already,” Ondarroa said. “You never know what you’ll encounter the first day [when] you walk through those doors or who you’ll have class with or who you will see and who you won’t.”

Besides fitting in at a new school, Ondarroa said she wanted to find friends who would accept her for who she is and not try to change her.

“Sometimes, you find people who will accept you for you and it will be great,” Ondarroa said. “However, others simply do not accept you as easily and you start changing to basically meet their standards. I want friends who I can just be myself with and have fun.”

Similar to Ondarroa, freshman Isabel Nanhoe said sometimes students may find it hard to feel accepted due to the number of people in the student body.

“There’s about 4,800 students in school this year,” Nanhoe said. “[The amount of students at the Bay is] a crazy amount of people that go to a single school which makes it hard to find a group of friends among so many people.”

Nanhoe said she feels students should not feel pressured to change themselves to fit into a group of people. According to her, it’s normal to keep oneself’s’ values in mind.

“I admit at times, I’ve felt like I had to do something to fit in and look something like the other girls at school,” Nanhoe said. “But then, I also remind myself that it’s okay to be different and to stand out. Real friends will accept me no matter how I dress and what I do or don’t do.”

According to Sergeant Major Jorge Cruz, pressure to be accepted may have negative effects on students. He said students might lose sight of their goals and dreams as well as their values while trying to fit in with others.

“Students feel that by changing, they are now part of the clique, when in essence, they are letting others dictate who they are,” Cruz said.

Even though Cruz said he felt pressured to fit in when he went to school, he said people should always stay true to their identities by remembering where they came from.

“When I went to school, where you lived and the clothes you wore would dictate who you were,” Cruz said. “Sometimes, students decided that in order to fit in they need to change however, they shouldn’t. [Students] should never let others change who they are.”

By accepting individuality and uniqueness, Cruz said students may find more creativity in their day to day life and can contribute great ideas to the world.

“Students have so much potential that they do not intend to use just because they feel pressure to fit in,” Cruz said. “If students realized how much their personality and ways to see things benefit the world around them, then they would not be as insistent in fitting into a group that does not think outside the box.”

Nanhoe, as well as Cruz, agrees that a life full of individuality can be a joyous one. She said by being distinctive, an individual can be more aware of the experiences they enjoy and take more pleasure in doing such activities.

“Wasting time trying to fit in can cause a person to forget about the things they like to do, wear, watch and even eat,” Nanhoe said. “By being your own individual, you can take pride in doing whatever makes you happy without feeling like you can’t do it because of someone or something.”

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Adolescents transition into adulthood

BY CHRISTINA PUGLIESE

Ever since senior Nicole Velasco had to pay for her own expenses and gas, she said she has had first-hand experiences with what adult life is like. To afford to pay for these expenses, she said she works at Cinnabon in Broward Mall. However, in addition to her responsibilities, she said she has to make sure to maintain her grade point average, so she is on track to graduate high school.

“It is really exciting working at Cinnabon because of all my coworkers and the new environment,” Velasco said. “It’s hard to manage going back and forth between school because sometimes I have to sign out of fourth and eighth period to make it to work on time.”

As a senior, Velasco said her workload has been difficult to manage, but through her job at Cinnabon, she said she has learned essential life skills, including time management. According to Velasco, before she had a job, she would spend most of her time sleeping in or hanging out with her friends. With her job, Velasco said she’s learned how to prioritize.

“Now that I have a job, [working at Cinnabon] is a major responsibility,” Velasco said. “I have to put the job and my school work first, otherwise, I won’t graduate, which is the main goal of high school.”

According to Velasco, her job simulates what life after high school will be like since her job involves constantly working and managing her life.

“[My job at Cinnabon] has taught me to be independent, especially because I hate when people try to pay for my things,” Velasco said. “I now know that I am able to hold my own, especially with all of the time I have put into working.”

Like Velasco, junior Emma Smith said she has been working at Robin Lewis Insurance Company since last summer. Since Smith is a teenager at the insurance company, she said she mainly does clerical work and scans files to upload onto the company’s computer database.

“Having this job [at Robin Lewis Insurance Company] definitely makes me feel more independent because in the office I have my own desk and [I don’t feel like] just a teenager,” Smith said. “[The job teaches] me lessons that I know will be valuable when I am eventually on my own, especially with the responsibility of paying taxes.”

Due to her salary, Smith said she must pay taxes. She said paying taxes makes her feel accomplished because she feels more connected to adult life, knowing paying taxes is a responsibility every grown-up with a job has to complete.

“Most people my age would hate paying taxes, but I don’t really mind,” Smith said. “I know [the money] goes toward things like insurance [and] social security. [These responsibilities are] civic duties so I am happy to comply.”

Even though she has to pay taxes like any adult, Smith said her parents are constantly reminding her to finish her taxes on time.

“I was scared about the deadline [for the taxes] because my parents were very adamant about when I had to pay,” Smith said. “Having the responsibility of paying [the taxes] had me worried, but also let me realize how important [paying taxes] really is, and now I will be more prepared for it next year. It was a little frustrating that I couldn’t remember the deadline, but I was thankful for the learning experience.”

According to Smith, working helps her gain financial independence as well as work experience. She said working makes her feel more like a grown-up and prepared for life after graduation.

“Now, I am not longer worried with moving on to the next part of my life,” Smith said. “I am very grateful for the opportunity I was given [at Robin Lewis] and I will not be scared for the future.”

Besides teaching his students, Personal Finance teacher Michael Pappas said he prepares his students for life after graduation with important life skills. He said these skills include tasks such as how to get a good deal when buying a car and how to invest in the stock market.

“[These life skills] are crucial to my students’ lives, especially because most of them will be graduating this year or next,” Pappas said. “I am glad I can give [my students] the opportunity to use the stuff [that] I show them because it is guaranteed to be used in the future.”

Pappas said his senior students tend to see the relevance of his class more than his other students because they are more likely to use the information sooner. He said his class gives students a perspective on what it means to be an adult and what responsibilities grown-ups have.

“The information I teach is stuff that everyone’s parent [must] do that [the students] don’t realize,” Pappas said. “[The lessons] show how students can apply it to their own lives after graduating.”

Much like Pappas’ class, Velasco said her job has taught her basic life skills which will be beneficial in her life. She said having a job and paying her own expenses has shown her what responsibilities she will have in her adult life.

“My job has made me feel more mature and I have gained a lot of knowledge by working with new people,” Velasco said. “I am also gaining a lot of experience that I can use on my resume for after I graduate high school.”

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College Circuit: Joseph Walsh

The American University (AU) is a private research institution located in Washington DC, with more than 13,000 enrolled students. 2018 alumni Joseph Walsh is currently a freshman at the university. He spoke to The Circuit’s Alexis Epstein.

What made you choose to go to American University?
I chose American University because of its proximity to the Capitol and the seat of American government. I have access to a wide swath of opportunities, such as tons of positions and internships in the government that I can work in, both on and off of Capitol Hill. This will help to bolster my career. I’m majoring in CLEG, which stands for Communication, Legal Studies, Economics and Government. This major [CLEG] is unique to AU because it is the only school that offers [CLEG] and has given me greater freedom in learning about public policy and how a country functions.

How did the Bay help prepare you for AU?
The Bay helped me prepare for AU by offering great [advanced placement] courses that gave me a head start for AU, such as American History and Comparative Government. American History and my Government classes helped me by enabling me to bypass their equivalent courses at AU and take more advanced courses earlier. Both of these topics are a part of my AU curriculum.

What advice would you give to anyone who is deciding to go to AU?
Definitely get in touch with your AU adviser. I reached out to the person who represented students from the south and he really helped me understand what I needed to do to get into AU. Also, [talking with the AU adviser is] a great way to network and get to know other prospective students coming from South Florida.

What makes AU unique?
AU’s proximity to the Capitol and [the university’s] relatively suburban environment make it really unique in comparison to the other DC schools. Schools like Georgetown and [George Washington] are further into the city and are more bustling and city-like. AU is further away from the city, so it is much calmer. Plus, whenever I need to go into the city, I can just take the Metro.

What were your expectations of American University before becoming a student compared to now?
Before coming to AU, I was worried that [the university] would be much more competitive and stressful than high school and I thought I’d have to work much harder just to stay sane. It turns out that everything isn’t necessarily easier than high school, but it is more manageable. I’m able to make my own schedule that works for me. I have much more personal freedom and I have a great support network of close friends and advisers to help me if I find myself in trouble.

What opportunities have you had as a student at American University?
I intend to intern for the [Central Intelligence Agency] next summer, which can very easily translate into a full time paid job after I graduate. I’ve had opportunities to meet congresspeople and [to] network; I have made great lasting friendships.

Where do you prefer living: Weston or Washington DC? Why?
I truly do prefer living in Washington DC, as the experiences I’ve had and the friendships I’ve made are unique to this city; [the experiences and friendships] will stick with me for the rest of my life. Also, Washington doesn’t get hurricanes. On the one hand, in Weston, [the people in Weston] lose electricity and [Weston] roads are closed thanks to hurricanes. On the other, in DC, all it takes is two inches of snow to close the whole city. In both instances I get to skip class, so in the end I still win.


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