Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman

In September of 2012 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It started off as Stage 2 and was told it could be cured through treatment known as chemotherapy. Months had passed and although the radiation was harsh, she would show nothing but strength and determination to defeat her illness. Right when we believed things were getting better it took a turn for the worse and not only had her cancer increased, it had also metastasized to her ribs, her lungs, and eventually her brain. I lost my mother on October 4th, 2015.

Such a beautiful soul had finally been released to Heaven where she belonged after her excruciating battle with cancer. Since I was young, I had absolutely no idea on how to cope or even think about the future knowing my mother was no longer going to be apart of it. Believing nobody could understand the pain and loss I felt, I turned to no one for advice or comfort, until I came across the book Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman. It explains stages of coping and all feelings tied with losing such an important part of your life. A mother’s nurturing hand shapes a woman’s identity and Hope Edelman guides us to acceptance and healing.

-Leann D.

Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Fall Life Hack: Back to Time Management Habits

As a high school student, I know how hard it is to stay on top of your work, keep up your grades, and juggle multiple extra curricular activities. Sometimes, it seems like there just isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish everything that needs to get done. Key word: seems. Albeit difficult, time management is possible for everyone, regardless of your number of weighted classes or extracurricular activities. Here are a few tips to get you started on your path to a more organized and relaxed life.

To begin, take some time every Monday to schedule out your week. Know that any major assignments that you have are going to take up a considerable amount of time, and also count on minor assignments adding up to become time consuming tasks. Then, display your schedule in a planner or in another prominent place. I have a few whiteboard stickers on the wall above my desk to help me stay organized, but you can use whatever system works for you.

As your week goes on, try not to procrastinate assignments, big or small. Sometimes, this is impossible. Whenever you can, do homework that isn’t due the next day. Remember that in a world where homework is continuously assigned, you can’t always count on being physically able to do a project in a single night, especially if other teachers assign homework to you on that specific day. Also, remember that all of those small assignments add up! Try not to let them get the best of you.

Finally, reward yourself! Being a student is hard work, and if you study a lot like me, you still deserve to feel like a teenager. Take time after school to unwind, even if this just involves eating a snack or browsing your social media for ten minutes. This seems like it would be counterproductive, but if you let yourself take a break, you will be more productive when you go back to work.

I will admit that my word on this subject is by no means final, these are just a few habits that help me keep myself in check. Procrastinating never leads to less stress, it just compounds the stress you feel at a given time to a later date. With finals edging closer, staying on top of your work becomes even more important! To all of my fellow students, good luck, and I hope that this article helps you feel a little bit more in control of your school life.

-Mirabella S.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages of Required Reading

As students, we’ve all experienced novels in English class that are required for us to read. Sometimes these books turn out to be good and other times, not so much. Personally, I have disliked most of the books I’ve been required to read for a number of reasons. However, I can see the benefits to required reading as it is done through the school system.

There are certainly some advantages to required reading material in school. One could be that the book causes students to branch out of their comfort zone, as far as books go, and help them pursue a new genre that they, normally, would not have read by themselves. This advantage holds true to me, since I am someone who has no trouble re-reading Harry Potter for the zillionth time. I find it interesting if we read a book in class that I would not have otherwise wanted to read.

Required reading can help to grow vocabulary, reading, and writing proficiency. If a student was to go to a library and pick out any book, they would most likely pick one they like or are comfortable with reading. In school, students do not have the luxury of choosing which books to read, and therefore are subject to harder vocabulary and sentence types in higher level books written by authors with insanely confusing diction. This relates to my English class experiences with A Tale of Two Cities which challenged my reading and writing proficiency greatly. Although these examples may make required reading seem great, students may also find themselves despising any book they are forced to read and make it harder for the student to get involved in the class or homework.

A solution to this problem would be to give students a list of different books they can read, all out of their comfort zone of genre and reading proficiency level, and give them the choice of which book they would like to read. This gives students the idea that they themselves are choosing what they want to read which may result in fewer students being uninterested or unfocused while keeping a challenging level of reading and vocabulary along with it.

-Kyle H.

What are your thoughts on required reading? Let us know in the comments below!

My Favorite Fictional Characters!

Sodapop Curtis from The Outsiders: After I finished reading the book (The Outsiders), I was absolutely obsessed with it! I loved all the characters very much, but Soda is, by far, my favorite. He’s kind, funny, friendly, and most importantly, he’s a good brother. He protects and stands up for Ponyboy, and does everything he can to help Darry to pay the bills.

Fred Weasley from Harry Potter: (*Spoilers!) Don’t ask me why it’s Fred and not George cause I have no idea why. I do love George too, but for some reason, while I was reading the series for the first time, I decided that Fred was my favorite character. Mind you, I had decided this before I had finished the series, so I was completely heartbroken when he died in the seventh book, as I’m sure everyone was. I just love the twin’s constant bantering and jokes. Despite the fact that I’ve read the series a million times, they never fail to make me laugh.

Percy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus: I think it’s safe to say that this is the only series wherein my favorite character is the main character! I love Percy so much! In a way, I grew up with him as I read the books, and I think that really helped me grow to love him even more. Percy is so endearingly humorous, likable, and just… a fun guy! Even though he’s a very powerful demigod and his father is Poseidon, he acts, for the most part, like a normal teenaged guy.

Newt from The Maze Runner: (*Spoilers!) A Glader, and second-in-command to Alby, Newt is kind yet firm, and grows to be a good and loyal friend to Thomas. Perhaps not as fiery as Minho, Newt brings a more leveled personality to the story and is a very prominent character whom I grew to love and care about while reading the series. I was devastated when Janson (a.k.a. the Rat Man) read out the list of munies and Newt was not on it. It was very sad to see him lose his sanity, but I think he did contribute a lot to the team, and was sorely missed.

Azriel from A Court of Thorns and Roses: Quiet, dark, brooding, and mysterious, he doesn’t talk much, but when he does speak up, everyone pays attention because they know that whatever he has to say is important and significant. He’s an Illyrian warrior! Skilled in combat, he would make a deadly enemy. But he also has a sweet and gentle side. He’s very caring and respectful and enjoys having a laugh with his brother, Cassian, once in a while.

-Elina T.

Harry Potter – Foreign Language Edition!

This summer, my family and I took a vacation to Italy. We had so much fun, but one of the key things I remember about the trip was the different language, and how hard it was to understand things. One day while we were walking through Rome, we came across a bookstore. It was so cool to see all of these books that I recognize, but in a whole new language.

Most importantly, was the Harry Potter series. These books had their own little section at the back of an enormous bookstore. It took me a while to find them because everything was in Italian. I began to read little excerpts from each book, and even though I couldn’t read the native language, I knew these books like the back of my hand. This made it easy for me to tell what is going on without reading and understanding word for word what the pages said. Instead, I would get the general idea from what I knew was going on in the book at the time. This was helpful to improve my ability to understand Italian a little better by translating my version of Harry Potter memorized in my brain against the Italian text. I was soon able to recognize words and their meanings in Italian just by remembering who said what, what was happening, and where they were in the books.

After all this time, Harry Potter is still helping me and teaching me so much.

-Kyle H.

Back To School!

SOS! It’s that time of year again where every student excitedly buys new pencils and backpacks only to step foot onto campus and dread the long looming 180 days ahead of them. Leaving summer’s clutches and watching the warm days melt away is definitely bittersweet but the school year has so much to offer!

Needing motivation? Here, read this:

  • Remember that education is a privilege and you are incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to broaden your knowledge for free. There are so many children around the world that dream of being in your shoes. Take advantage of this opportunity and spend this year making the effort to enjoy and indulge in learning!
  • Find something that makes you look forward to school each day! Maybe it’s seeing a friend in French class or maybe you love the way your history teacher makes class interesting. Maybe it’s a club you can regularly hang out with or maybe it’s heading to the library and reading all the amazing books it has to offer. School will be so much more enjoyable and tolerable if you find something good about it.
  • Make incentives! Reward yourself each day once you get home from school because you deserve it. Whether it’s allowing yourself to watch your favorite Netflix show for an hour or going outside for a bike ride, make something to look forward to throughout the day.
  • The experience. Let me explain this more thoroughly: going to school and interacting with others teaches you so many important life lessons–some of which are more important than the academic lessons taught. A humanities based education broadens your mind and improves your critical thinking skills, communicating with your peers improves your social skills, hearing opinions of others opens your eyes to new ideals and possibilities. There’s so much to gain by going to school and being attentive and engaged.

Need some good studying music? I have you covered! (*=my personal favorites!)

  • If you’re into dream pop, psychedelic rock, indie pop, or lo-fi, I suggest listening to Peach Pit*, Hippo Campus, Spissy*, Swimming Tapes, The Growlers, COIN, Yellow Days, Mac Demarco, Summer Salt, Beach Fossils, Billie Eilish, or The Kooks! They all give off a very laid back, dreamy vibe that is perfect to play as background music as you complete math homework!
  • If you’re still wishing you were sunbathing at the beach instead of studying, I recommend Sublime, Hockey Dad*, Golden Coast, Viola Beach, Bob Marley, Blossoms, Real Estate*, Cage The Elephant*, Circa Waves*, or Jon Bellion. They create a peaceful illusion that soothes you and sends you right back to sandy, sunny bliss!
  • If you’re more of a punk rock, alternative rock, grunge, pop rock type of person, you’re bound to like at least one of the following bands: All Time Low*, Green Day*, Nirvana, Boys Like Girls*, We The Kings, The All-American Rejects, The Smashing Pumpkins, Guns N’ Roses, Nothing But Thieves, or machineheart. Definitely more upbeat, slightly feisty and very fun to dance around to during a studying break!
  • Finally, if you’re one of those people who dread the uncomfortable stickiness of summer heat and you can’t wait for cool fall days, I have a sweater weather playlist for you. You can almost smell pumpkin everything when you listen to artists like Lana Del Rey*, LANY*, Little May, Arctic Monkeys, The Neighbourhood*, The 1975*, Two Door Cinema Club, Ed Sheeran, X Ambassadors, Josh Groban, or Seafret*.

In a perfect world, this post would amp all of you up about going back to school but alas, we live in a fallen society. Hopefully this at least encouraged a select few of you to view school in a positive way. Best wishes this school year, everyone!!

-Jessica T.

Harry Potter, Nineteen Years Later

*Contains spoilers for anyone who has not read the entire Harry Potter series!

In the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the final installment of the series), Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione are shown seeing their children off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts. James and Albus Potter and Rose Granger-Weasley board the Hogwarts Express while Lily Potter and Hugo Granger-Weasley watch wistfully alongside their parents on platform nine and three-quarters as they are still too young to attend Hogwarts.

The Battle of Hogwarts occurred in 1998, which means nineteen years later would be 2017! This year, a new generation of witches and wizards will attend Hogwarts and have and create spectacular memories of their own. This is also the year in which Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes place!

It’s extremely difficult to believe that this year marks the end of the Harry Potter series –this year Harry would’ve turned 37! Coincidentally, this year also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (or Philosopher’s) Stone.

September the first was a momentous day for Harry Potter fans all around the world. This was the exact day on which the Hogwarts Express would leave platform nine and three-quarters at King’s Cross. Loads of die-hard fans poured into King’s Cross station in London, England so that they could be present at eleven o’clock — when the Hogwarts Express would leave and Harry and his friends would be seeing their children off.

I have always been a huge fan of Harry Potter, and, in a way, I feel as if this year sort of brought a closure to the Harry Potter series for me. But I will still love it and read it and re-read it — always.

-Elina T.

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library and online from Overdrive