Category: Growing Up

If You Haven’t Checked Off These High School Milestones are You Really a Senior?

High school often seems like a lot of hard work, boring classes, and time wasted. While it can seem long and grueling in the moment, most people look back on their high school memories fondly. While academic work is important, memories made with these milestones will last a lifetime. Have you cleared all these senior milestones?

 

College Tours

One perk of being a high school senior is that many schools will excuse absences for college tours. This as an opportunity to travel to any school you plan to apply to, visit the campus, learn about classes, and check out any extras the school offers such as recreation centers or campus organizations. These are usually offered in the fall or spring. Talk to your academic advisor to see what campuses they might recommend.

Prom

It’s in almost any movie that features high school students. Prom may be the absolute symbol of American high school. You get dressed, go to dinner, dance, take pictures, and make lifelong memories. Even for students not interested in dancing, prom is an opportunity to have a night of extravagance unlike any other in your high school career.

Getting a Driver’s License

For many teenagers, a car equals freedom. Most students are old enough to get their driver’s license during sophomore or junior year of high school. Some wait a little bit longer, but most have their driver’s license before they graduate. You’re often required to take a high school class in driver’s education and will also have to pass the exam at the DMV. Being able to drive means being able to go places without your parents, which can make high school memories even more special.

Senior Trips

Some lucky seniors get to go on a senior trip with their friends or family. This can happen over spring break of senior year or after graduation. Some of the most popular destinations are Florida, California, and New York. This is an opportunity to get away with the senior class and bond in a new environment. If an organized senior trip is not a possibility, it can be fun to get away with a small group of friends or close family as well.

Volunteer

Some schools require students to log a certain number of volunteer hours during their high school careers. However, even if it’s not required, it is a good idea to put in some kind of volunteer activity to include on a college resume. Volunteering can be very rewarding and have a big impact on the local community. Local homeless shelters, animal shelters, and nursing homes are great places to start getting involved.

Not everyone will have a typical high school experience, but there are certain things every senior should do to make the most of their time and make memories that will last forever.

Pro Tips for Driving Safely on Snow and Ice

Snow and ice are among the worst conditions you can encounter while behind the wheel. In fact, snow, sleet, and ice account for 44% of weather-related crashes and 33% of weather-related fatalities. So if you’re afraid of driving in bad weather, you’re not alone! To stay safe on the road and cut down on your chance of having an accident, here are some pro tips for driving safely on snow and ice.

driving on snow and ice

Keep up with routine maintenance

Keeping your car in top operating condition is important as a general rule, but it is vital for driving in ice and snow. Maintenance issues with your car could become exacerbated by dangerous winter driving conditions. Some things you want to ensure are in good working order before hitting the road in winter are your windshield wipers, your tires, your brakes and your heating system.

Slow down and back off

Snow and ice on the road can make it much harder to slow down and much easier to lose control of your vehicle. That’s why it’s important when driving in winter weather to lower your speed and increase the distance between you and other cars. Slowing down and staying farther away from cars in front of you gives you more time and room to stop, something that can be very important on roads that are covered in ice and snow. A good rule of thumb is to double your following distance from what it normally would be.

Accelerate and decelerate slowly

When you accelerate quickly or slam on your brakes, you are more likely to slip and slide on icy or snowy roads. When driving in such conditions, you should make sure to accelerate slowly after stopping at traffic signals and brake much earlier much more slowly than you usually would. This will help to prevent you from losing control of your vehicle.

Focus on the road

Avoiding distractions is key in all driving conditions, but especially when you are dealing with snow and ice. You need your complete focus to be on the road, so you want to refrain from using your cell phone or any other electronic devices. You also should refrain from messing with your radio or messing with your hair or makeup.

When roads are snowy and icy, you should avoid driving if at all possible. That’s not always possible, though, and if you do have to drive in winter conditions, it’s important to follow these tips. Doing so can help you stay safe and avoid getting into an accident.

Fore more tips on winter driving, check out https://www.prettymotors.com/winter-driving-prepare-car-winter-trip/

How to Conquer Your Fear of the Freeway: Driving Tips for the Fast Lane

Freeway driving is a necessary part of driving that can be intimidating at first sight. As you drive more and explore more highways, you’ll become less fearful of the activity. Teens leaning to drive should review highway rules and practice as much as they can. Review these tips to help improve your skills for the fast lane.

Have an Experienced Driver in the Passenger Seat

Have an experienced driver accompany your trip on the freeway. A partner prevents you from making mistakes and increases your chances of driving successfully. An experienced driver in the passenger seat works as insurance in case you get into an accident as well. Be sure you feel comfortable behind the wheel before trying the freeway.

Drive at the Least Crowded Times

The most obvious tip for novices is to drive when it’s the least crowded. Choose a time and part of the highway that has the least amount of traffic. Some highways are crowded at all times, while others are less crowded on the weekends. The best way to know is to review the traffic reports and ask your parents if they know anyplace that might be good for practice.

Know Your Route

When you learn to drive, you must follow a predetermined route. New drivers cannot drive aimlessly on the freeway and take random exits or they’ll easily get lost and might increase their risk of an accident. Plus, you want to become familiar with driving on the main roads and exits you’ll usually take.

Start at Low Speeds

Start by driving at low speeds and remain on the right side of the road. Freeway accidents occur often when people change lanes too quickly or brake too late – all while going too fast. As your skills improve, drive at the same speed as other drivers. A freeway is the worst place to get into an accident because the drivers do not like to stop. The last thing you want is find a car accident lawyer just because you were trying to get some practice in.

Review Traffic Rules Beforehand

Review common freeway rules before you head out onto the road. Know the best way to merge onto the highway, remembering to signal properly and increase your speed at the right moment. Once you merge, it’s important to avoid accidents by flowing with the traffic.

On any road, drive for the safety of yourself and others. Also, get used to changing lanes and checking blind spots. At the same time, pay attention to exit signs and change into the right lane at the right moment.

Approaching the ramp is a nervous time for any new driver. However, there will be a time when approaching the ramp with ease becomes second nature. With enough practice and dedication, become a more experienced driver on the freeway.

Texting and Driving Will Probably Kill You

We’ve all had times in our lives when we’ve felt invincible – catching the winning touchdown pass, receiving a first kiss, or acing the math midterm you’ve been stressing about for weeks. Unfortunately, some of us tend to feel invincible even when we’re very, very not.

According to textinganddrivingsafety.com, nearly 1,600,000 people were involved in accidents caused by a distracted driver. By the time you read this, someone else will have been hit because someone was texting and driving. If you’re reading this in the car, on your phone, for God’s sake put the phone down and focus on the road. Otherwise, read on.

In the Blink of An Eye

We all love social media – except for that one weird libertarian friend who wears a Snowden shirt and tries not to have any digital footprint. Adults tend to overblow the consequences of so-called tech addiction, without fully appreciating technology’s positive influence in society. But when you are in control of a one-ton hunk of metal hurtling down the road at 88 feet per second, your parents aren’t being dramatic – they’re right! Even when you’re going slow, even when you think there’s nobody around, even when you’re looking back at the road, by the time you look down and then back up again, it is too late.

In the time it takes you to take your eyes off the road and look at the screen for three seconds, your car has traveled 264 feet. If the person in front of you slows down suddenly, it will take your brain an additional 3-4 seconds to apply the brakes, according to Safe Drive Training. That is about 6-8 seconds too late and you probably never saw it coming.

What Happens Next?

The consequences of texting and driving can ruin your life. If you are not hurt, the very least that will happen is that you will get a ticket. You will have to replace or repair your car. Your insurance rates will go up as much as 4 times. Brauns Law lists these potential consequences of accidents: severe injuries, brain drama, spinal cord damage, amputations, internal injuries, extended medical treatment or surgical needs, the need for long-term care, problems with medical insurance, and car replacement and maintenance problems.

And that’s assuming no one else is hurt, and this is what should really scare you! The CDC says that distracted driving kills 9 Americans and Injures 1,000 Americans every day. Not only would you have to live with that, but you could even face manslaughter charges in some instances! That is scary, and all because you could not wait to check your phone until you could pull over someplace safe.

It Can Wait

I know that it is easy to think that it is Ok to look at the phone for just a second, but if you really care about your friends, it is time to stick together and make sure that someone you care about does not become the next victim. It is time for texting and driving to become something only losers do, because in the end, everyone who does it loses. If you think it is important, think again, it can wait.

5 Ways to Fit in Without Hurting Your Future

Social groups can define who you are. As social creatures, we all want to feel like we belong to a group. But sometimes groups can influence individuals to make bad decisions, and these decisions can have pretty far-reaching consequences. Fortunately, there are a few ways for you to fit in without compromising yourself or your future.

Get Involved In Academic Groups or Sports

You might be thinking there’s nothing about academics or sports which interests you, but that might be because you haven’t looked closely enough. There are plenty of disciplines and there’s bound to be something that piques your interest. Schools typically try to facilitate those interests by offering extracurricular clubs. This kind of social group would equip you well for the future and keeps you busy enough to keep you out of trouble.

Be Ethic-Centric

An ethic-centric person is somebody who thinks about what’s right and tries to live by it. That doesn’t mean you have to be a goody-two-shoes, but if your friends are doing something that could hurt themselves or others, you should abstain or try to stop them. This could be something as simple as ditching a class in school or as drastic as drinking and driving. A gentle reminder to be careful could save your friends and others, and they might even thank you later for interfering.

A way to fit in without hurting your future would be to hang out for a while, and then when things get out of hand (someone pulls out a joint–or people start making out heavily), simply leave. Don’t announce it, just go. Text them later if needed, saying you didn’t feel comfortable and left.

Be Careful About Pictures You Send

Many young adults don’t know how to handle negative emotions. After a breakup, they might try to take revenge on an ex they’re upset with. For example, if you sent explicit pictures to your ex, they could use that against you. It doesn’t matter how trustworthy you think your partner is; a lot of people trust their partners only to find those photos on the internet after the relationship ended. Don’t become a statistic.

Fit in by sending flirty or cute pics, but never nude ones.

Don’t Skip Classes

Don’t skip class. There’s not a lot to do between 8 AM and 2 PM anyway, so you’re really not missing much of the social scene by sitting in class. While it might sound cliché, your education really will define your future. If you fall too far behind, it could take years to catch up, and that’s how some people end up living in poverty.

In this case, you cannot really fit in with the class ditchers except by hanging out with them after school. But do you really need to hang out with this type of crowd?

Control Your Emotions

This is probably the most significant thing you can do. Emotions can be useful, but they can also be destructive when they influence your decisions. A bad emotional decision could lead to you getting pregnant at a young age or something equally life-altering, like physically hurting someone. Try to think through your decisions as if you weren’t so influenced by emotion. Fit in by interacting with others, but don’t get caught up in the drama. Again, just leave or make yourself less available. If you find things to keep you busy, such as art, music, dance, martial arts, etc. you will have all the excuses in the world to not get involved in the b.s.

You don’t have to choose between your future and fitting in with your friends now. However, you do need to make wise decisions, and by following this advice, you’ll be off to a great start.

Can I Go To Jail for Smoking Weed?

Every year, more states are voting to legalize Marijuana for either medical or recreational use. Canada legalized medical marijuana in 2001, and Trudeau has recently championed a bill to legalize recreational use. Seemingly everywhere in the Western world, it is becoming easier and easier to find places where one can purchase and consume cannabis legally.

That said, it is important to understand that existing laws are very strict, even in states where possession and use have been decriminalized. Laws vary from state to state (as well as in Canada), and there are some non-legal risks to consider as well. Do your homework before making a decision about whether to try marijuana. Here are a few things to consider.

Local Laws

It is important to know the law in any jurisdiction where you intend to smoke weed. In states where possession is still a criminal offense, a complaint by an individual that leads police to you can, and often will, result in criminal charges and possible jail time.

If it is your first offense or you are in possession of only a small amount of cannabis, a judge may only sentence you to time served. Some states, however, have mandatory minimum sentences for even nonviolent drug offenses that can put you away for months or even years. The best policy is to not light up at all anyplace where it is still considered a crime.

Possession

In many cases, evidence of smoking weed (being high or testing positive for THC) is not enough to land you in jail. If you happen to be high and run into a cop who detains you because he smells it, there is little that can be done to make charges stick if you aren’t carrying. That means, in most cases, you really don’t have to worry about just walking home from a friend’s house after a smoke session. If it’s out of sight and not on your person, jail is highly unlikely.

Being High In Public

If you are out and about creating a public nuisance as a result of being high, you can be arrested for public intoxication and spend at least a night in jail, just like you would if you were drunk in public. Since that’s not standard behavior for most stoners, it’s likely not something you would really need to worry about either.

Other Considerations

While it’s true that the health risks of cannabis use have been tremendously overstated in the past, it’s not true that the risks are negligible. It’s still a psychoactive drug, and heavy consumption can seriously affect users’ neurochemistry – particularly if those users are teenagers whose brains are still developing. The National Institutes of Health reports that marijuana abuse is associated with some level of physical and psychological dependency, contrary to popular belief. This is why legal consumption age has usually been set at 21, as the risk of developing dependencies goes down significantly after brain structures crystalize. Long-term effects can also include memory dysfunction and a decline in visuomotor skills. And similar to other intoxicants, chronic use can contribute to risk of mental illness later in life.

On the other hand, there is some evidence to suggest that mild cannabis use can help fight Glaucoma, reduce the incident of epileptic seizures, and has well-established benefits as a pain reliever. For most patients, cannabinoid pain relievers have a lower incidence of dependency than the opioids that currently saturate the market. And while smoking weed can irritate the lungs and exacerbate conditions like bronchitis and asthma, those effects are mild compared to those of – say – cigarettes.

In short, smoking weed does come with a degree of risk, particularly if you are underage or in a location where it is considered a criminal offense. And just because it’s legal doesn’t mean you should stock up and light up. MARIJUANA ABUSE CAN BE EXTREMELY HARMFUL! If, however, you know the laws in the jurisdiction where you live (or smoke), and play by all applicable rules when it comes to possession and use, possible incarceration for smoking weed is not likely to be a huge concern for you. But, there is so much more you can be doing with your time…so why get stoned in the first place?

References

Canada.ca

Governing.com

Harvard Health Publications

Mo Weed

National Institute of Health

NORML

What are “Not A Drop” Laws and Why Should Teens Care?

You probably know that drunk driving is illegal and has very serious consequences, including fines, license suspension and even jail time. What many teens may not know is that drunk driving laws and penalties are different for those under the age of 21. These are commonly called “Not a Drop” laws, and they are important to understand.

How Not a Drop is Different

Regular drunk driving laws would allow the average adult to consume some alcohol before being considered legally intoxicated. This level is usually set at .08 percent blood alcohol, typically measured by breathalyzer and less frequently by an actual blood test. So long as an adult has not drunk enough to raise their blood alcohol beyond that point, then they are considered safe to drive.

Under Not a Drop laws, any level of intoxication is considered illegal. This means that a person under 21 cannot consume any amount of alcohol or have any amount of detectable blood alcohol.

Legal Penalty for Violation

 

A teen found in violation of Not a Drop may face several consequences. If they are a first-time offender, then their license will be suspended for 30 days and the will have to pay $20 to get it reinstated. If they are caught a second time, then their license will be suspended for 180 days and they will have to pay another $20 reinstatement fee. Further violations will probably result in the revocation of the license for a prolonged period of time and a much more complicated procedure for getting it back. The exact consequences for violation may vary by state or jurisdiction.

Other Consequences

Beyond the law, the consequences for driving intoxicated are real and serious. Accidents involving drunk drivers kill about 28 people every day according to attorney Dave Abels. A young person is likely to be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and may be impaired at much lower levels of blood alcohol concentration compared to an adult.

It is also important to note that teen drivers are subject to regular DUI laws in addition to the Not a Drop rules. If a teen driver is found with a blood alcohol concentration over .08 percent, they will face serious consequences similar to and perhaps greater than those faced by an adult. This could include arrest, jail time and loss of a driver’s license for years and the requirement to attend drug and alcohol counseling before the license is restored.

Drunk driving is a serious offense for anyone, but it is especially serious for teens. In areas that have zero-tolerance Not a Drop Laws, it is important that underage drivers never consume any alcohol. The consequences to your future, health and ability to drive are never worth it.

How Teen Drivers Affect Your Insurance Rates

You want to be a good parent and do everything right by your child, and while all parents strive to do just that, it can sometimes feel impossible. One thing a lot of parents want to do for their children is add them to their car insurance policy once they become a driver. Nothing wrong with that except that this can cause those premiums to nearly double in a lot of cases. But how do you know if your rates will really be affected? Here is what to keep in mind when making changes to your policy.

Why Teens?

Teen drivers are among the most dangerous on the road. They are inexperienced and are still learning how to grow up in general. It is hard for insurance companies to justify covering them at all if they do not charge very high rates. This is why even parents with excellent driving records can see a big increase in their premiums by adding a teenager to their policy.

What is it Based On?

The rates you can expect to see your premiums increase by vary based on the part of the country you live in, but according to NBC News the average across the states is about 80%.

The younger the driver that one adds to their policy, the more they can expect to have to pay on their premiums. Sixteen-year-old drivers add around 90% on average to premiums paid. Nineteen-year-olds by contrast add about 60% to the policy premiums. That is still a big increase, but below the average for all teen drivers. The insurance companies see the data and understand that the older the driver is, the less likely they are to have an accident on the road.

Other Increases

In the event that something terrible does happen out on the road involving a teen driver, you might want to get an attorney right away. Insurance rates will be the last thing you are worried about if your teenager is involved in an auto accident but they can help with the damage that might be done to your policy afterward in some cases.

It is difficult to express how important it is to have all drivers on the road insured. It is against the law to not be insured when you are driving, so you should consider this when looking at those such higher premiums. If you are able to convince your teenager to hold off for a while on driving then you will come out better money-wise.

How to Deal With High School Bullies

Dealing with high school bullies can be a big issue for teens and there are ways it can be dealt with effectively with positive results, which can put an end to bullying whether the confrontations are physical, verbal, social or internet related.

High school students who become the targets of bullies need to be equipped with the best possible strategies to stop bullying in its tracks. There are essentials in handling bullying, which include:

Basic Actions

If bullying is continuous and a teenager is dealing with it in a number of areas, including social media, school authorities and parents need to be notified immediately. In addition, records and documentation of bullying occurrences need to be maintained. Both these basic actions should be of help in constraining bullying.

Physical Confrontations

Physical bullying is obviously dangerous and teens need to have ways to deal with it without getting physically involved themselves. If a teenager is being tripped, hit, shoved, punched, kicked or worse, he or she needs to do everything possible to make it difficult for the bully to make direct bodily contact. Separating or extricating oneself from a confrontation is the best way to deal with physical bullying. The behavior must be immediately reported to a school administrator or security official. No one wants to be accused of assault, and a bully can turn the tables on their target and accuse that person of the same actions, so documentation of what actually occurred needs to be reported and recorded.

Verbal Confrontations

Verbal bullying usually involves comments that are degrading, shaming, isolating and hurtful. Bullying remarks can be challenged with assertive replies by the teen being harassed and through complaints to school authorities and parents. If a teenager is reluctant to report this kind of bullying to a teacher or principal in charge of discipline, he or she should speak with a parent, and the parent should contact the school for further action.

Social Confrontations

Social bullying usually involves teen relationships and the harm that can be inflicted through spreading rumors, destroying reputations, lying, excluding others and turning a person’s friends against them. This kind of bullying can be curtailed when instances of it are brought out in the open and the truth is exposed. Intervention can come through a school counselors, parents or the teens themselves. With open communication and set intervention guidelines, those doing the bullying lose their influence and power.

Cyber-Bullying

Cyber-bullying through social media sites usually involves taunting or threatening a teen through e-mails, messaging or chats. The best way to avoid this type of bullying is to make online teen accounts private so others are unable to view a profile or postings to a profile. If bullying does occur, a teenager can print off a chat log or e-mail that indicates the interactions and submit it to a parent or school official. Schools are more likely to handle these issues even if the bullying occurred outside of the school grounds, particularly if it involves students enrolled in the high school.

Bullying is a concern at almost every school level, and it can be dealt with in a number of ways. High schools and other schools with zero tolerance bullying policies can immediately curtail bullying, and if there happens to be no discipline procedures for bullying, administrators, counselors, teachers and parents can establish intervention strategies on behalf of students. Students themselves should not have to be afraid to report bullying without recrimination. Bullying can be prevented with the right strategies and willingness of students to expose it.

Social Media Pitfalls and Problems They Create

In today’s world, social media is a way of life. Whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, or another platform, social media can be used for many wonderful things. Keeping in touch with family and friends, spreading the word about lost pets, or talking with others about life’s struggles all make social media an integral part of our lives. However, it can also have numerous pitfalls, causing problems along the way. To learn how to avoid falling into a social media trap, here are some common pitfalls and the problems that come with them.

Photos Containing Alcohol or Drugs

If you want to get in trouble at work, church, or with any other group where a positive image is a must, post a picture of yourself drinking alcohol or taking drugs. This is especially true with teenagers as these pictures can sometimes paint a picture of irresponsibility and recklessness, and even lead to you losing a job, scholarship, access to your parents’ car and have negative consequences at school or any leadership position.

Sexual Conversation or Photos

Needless to say, sexually explicit photos or conversations can also present numerous problems. If these are found posted to your site, teachers, administrators, and coaches will assume you have very poor judgement, and in all likelihood suspend you, bench you or even turn you over to the police. Be careful what you post as once it goes viral, you will never be able to get it back..

Revealing a Secret

If you think you can reveal a secret on social media and have few people know about it, think again. For example, if you’ve got a criminal record you’d like to keep hidden, or got fired from a previous job, posting that on social media will essentially let the whole world in on your secret. If you’ve got an employer preparing to do a background check on you, chances are you’ll be looking elsewhere for a job.

Posting During Work or School

In many schools and workplaces, policies are in place prohibiting posting to social media during class or while on the job. In one instance, a city clerk in California lost her job when she was caught posting while she was taking minutes from a meeting, so take these policies seriously.

Putting Yourself at Risk

Whether it’s your high school buddy or some adult you think you know, make sure you know exactly who you’re talking to on social media. If you meet someone online and want to meet face-to-face, let others know when and where you’ll be, and also be careful not to reveal important information like your address or phone number.

By recognizing these pitfalls and the problems they can create, you’ll find yourself not only safer, but also being able to do well in school, hold a job and network with others in a healthy manner.