This room means the world to me. Though I despise the ugly pea-colored walls and the yellow curtains that not only clash with the surroundings but are also far too sheer for comfort, I’m happy due to the contents held inside the four walls:
A figure collection that ranges from a selective Funko pop group all the way to random Invader Zim and Teen Titans blind bag finds. A large stack of colorful pop albums that will soon outgrow the dedicated shelf of my bookcase. The wardrobe filled halfway with completely pink and pastel clothing, along with the rest of my all-white and cream furniture collection. Even the seemingly planned pastel pink theme that streams from my floral bed covers to my extensive stuffed animal collection that lays atop it. Everything has become the perfect safe haven.
Still I worry… “Is everything I have too childish?”

Needless to say, I’ve been called the term a number of times over the years. Sometimes it’s been said as an endearing compliment while others, with a negative connotation. The latter confuses me. While I get that some people find acting this way immature and think that I should just “grow up,” I don’t understand what’s wrong with it. These cases of either nostalgia or a child-like mindset can actually be great attributes for relieving stress. This seems to prove more true the older I get, especially as I’m preparing for my senior year of high school and getting ready to enter college afterwards.
With the pressure of having to constantly worry about college decisions, essays, applications, and scholarships, who wouldn’t want to take a break from being my age? I’ve been put in this hopeless slump when thinking about my future. I can’t be happy that I’ll take a break from school because it’ll just come back in a couple months; Leaving for college would be exciting if I didn’t have to leave behind most of the things from my room that I love, or know I will be more pressured to do more than I already am. And after university, the first thing I’ll have to do is look for a job to spend the rest of my life doing. I don’t remember there being anything nearly as serious to worry about when I was a kid, and I feel I never appreciated that freedom enough until now.
Honestly it makes me sad how when we’re younger we yearn for the seemingly fetching lifestyle adults have, but the older we get the more we tend to pine for returning to simpler times of youth. Both ends of the spectrum seem so attractive but still so far away and unattainable to their respective possessors. When thinking of all this, who wouldn’t feel like reliving the carefree aspects of childhood and grabbing onto one of the last remaining pieces of freedom that always stays with you?

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Self-care and senior year: Tips for dealing with post-summer stress
Our tans are fading with the color of the leaves and the beach waves of our hair is getting folded into greasy, messy buns. Can you smell that? Yup, that’s the back to school season in the air.
From seeing all those annoying classmates you were desperately trying to avoid on social media all summer to finding out you’re stuck with the strict homeroom teacher everyone hates, school can breed a ton of stress. The question is: How do you relieve this stress? The answer is… well, actually there is no single solution to this problem. There are multiple methods you can try to stay sane. 

Tip 1: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
My freshman year of high school, I made the mistake of joining five different clubs. These clubs consumed more time than I was prepared to give, and the stress of having to balance them with school was too much for my 14-year-old brain. Needless to say, I made I fell off those bandwagons so fast that by the end of the year, I was only frequenting half of them and was wallowing in guilt over not being able to stay loyal to them all. Be smart kids. Don’t be like me.

Tip 2: Organize! Organize! Organize!
We all have those days. You walk into class and your teacher says, “Clear your desk for today’s exam.” The only thing that goes through your mind is “What exam?!?!” In reality, your teacher has been reminding you of this for, like, two weeks. This feeling sucks and it happens far too often, but it’s not impossible to avoid. Try utilizing a planner. This can be done on your phone, computer or using a classic notebook. Having a planner and making a point to document important events as soon as they come up will be a lifesaver! There is a reason why every beauty vlogger’s “Back to School Giveaway” includes one.

Tip 3: Make sure to get more sleep!
Now I know, it’s easier said than done! >:( But it is possible. One way to achieve this is to power nap in the afternoon. I participate in sports, a part-time job and multiple clubs, and am aware that on top of feeling tired every day after school, the stress of believing you don’t have enough time for homework can get in your head, too. The good thing is these naps should last for just 10-30 minutes. They won’t cause a dent in your homework time, but will help refresh your mind and keep you energized. This energy boost can help you get work done quicker so you have a chance for personal time. Plus, this is way healthier and less extreme than turning to sugar or caffeine. 

Tip 4: Prioritize Self Care
Sometimes, we get so flustered thinking about how much we need to get done that we end up spending an unreasonable amount of our life in a depressing, deep, dark hole. Instead, we could use that time to do something that helps us relax. You can always find time for self care, especially since these actions can be really simple. It can be as easy as just remembering to shower, eat all your meals properly or clean your work space. You can also go for a walk, watch that Netflix show you’ve been dying to see or go for a workout.

The belief that school is only as stressful as you make it out to be is a claim that I used to be very reluctant to acknowledge. Even though there will be genuinely rough times during school that will drive you crazy, there are still many ways to de-stress and help make your life easier to handle. Good luck!

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Boston Latin School is one of among the most popular and sought-after schools in the city. It is viewed as an ideal place to receive an education in Boston and many consider it an honor to be accepted there. People have been going to this school for generations. However, with all of the learning comes a lot of work. As a student of BLS, I personally believe that it assigns far too much homework every day to its students. A lot of it does not even seem to amount to much in terms of learning.
I am not alone in this opinion. 16-year-old BLS student Jack Charles thinks that the school gives too much work; but on the other hand, he says that the work helped him learn things, as homework is meant to do. However, another student of the same age, Phoebe Holland, disagrees. “I feels like a lot of homework assignments I have been given over the years at BLS have been complete busy work and not necessary for learning the material,” she said.  
While many students agree that the workload is too large, there is some debate over whether or not it actually serves its purpose. Timothy Gay, an AP Environmental Science teacher at the school, believes differently. He thinks the average homework load is a decent amount, and that “the skills that students develop at BLS help them immensely in college and beyond.” Clearly, adults feel differently about the amount of work given than their students do. In fact, according to studies made by the Brookings Institution, 60 percent of parents in America think that the average homework load is the right amount in this country, despite the fact that studies by The Telegraph show that the average time spent doing homework in the US per week is 6 hours and 1 minute. 
Despite what adults may think, I personally agree with Holland. Most of the work students are assigned is just meant to keep them preoccupied and does not actually teach you much of anything. What is the point of homework if it does not help you learn in any way? It is puzzling as to why this is a common habit of the school, and I and many others wish that BLS and other schools with similar patterns will break this habit and make things easier and more significant for all students. 

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Everybody loves good food. Even more so, everybody loves good, affordable food, so I set out to find three of the best affordable restaurants in Boston.

Mama’s Place, 764 Huntington Avenue, Mission Hill 
Mama’s Place offers traditional Greek cuisine along with burgers and seafood. Upon entering Mama’s with Nattalie Gualdron, a sophomore at Noble and Greenough School, I immediately noticed the cozy ambiance. Customers were chatting happily and enjoying their food, and the cashiers were very warm and welcoming. Mama’s is a very small restaurant, however, so for bigger groups it may be best to order takeout. 
 I chose a BBQ burger, with pepper jack cheese, applewood smoked bacon and caramelized onions on a lightly toasted bun, plus fries and a drink for $13. Nattalie got a shaved sirloin steak and melted cheese sub, plus a drink for about $11. In addition to being affordable, the food was delicious! Everything was well prepared and we left Mama’s full and satisfied.

Saus, 33 Union Street, Downtown
Saus is known for offering Belgian-style fries, beer and 15 different sauce options. Sandwiches, salads, and Belgian waffles are also on the menu. Uche Ogbue, an 8th grade student at the Winsor School, visited with me.
Upon arrival, I was hit by just how small Saus is. Very little seating is available and the front of the restaurant quickly became crowded. That aside, I did find the decor of Saus to be very aesthetically pleasing; Uche described it as cozy.
I ordered a Liege waffle with Biscoff cookie spread and a big side of fries for a total $13. Uche ordered a Liege waffle with dark chocolate hazelnut sauce along with two diet cokes for $11. The wait for the food was not very long, only about 15 minutes. 
The fries were definitely the highlight of the meal. Though I ordered them with curry ketchup, I often found myself eating them plain because they were good enough on their own. Uche and I agreed that these were some of the best fries we had ever eaten. I enjoyed my waffle, but Uche found the texture too dense and “bready.”
Overall, Uche and I both left Saus satisfied with our meals. We will definitely be back in the future for more.

Laughing Monk Cafe,  737 Huntington Avenue, Mission Hill 
I visited Laughing Monk Cafe, which specializes in Thai cuisine and sushi, with Ify Ogbue, a student at Milestones Day School. The interior of the cafe is large and very minimal with black furniture and some exposed brick wall. Less than a minute after we walked in, we were seated. Our waiter was friendly and always doing his best to attend to our needs.
Ify and I ordered the same thing: pineapple fried rice and a can of soda for $15 each.  During our brief wait for the food, we both noted the good music selection playing in the cafe, enhancing our already great experience.
The pineapple fried rice was absolutely delicious. I particularly enjoyed the contrast of the sweet pineapple with the savory rice and vegetables. Our meals proved to be very filling. By the end of our visit, Ify and I had both decided we would like to visit Laughing Monk Cafe in the future.

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Taxation without representation: It’s time to give teens the vote
I felt the benign wetness of a teardrop on my face. Donald Trump 53%, Hillary Clinton 44%. I stared in disbelief. Some of my friends disliked Hillary’s ideas, but we all agreed Donald Trump was the wrong way to go. I began to think, if teens were allowed to vote, we wouldn't be in this predicament. 
Older teenagers are being disenfranchised by the U.S. Teens who work are getting taxes and social security taken out out of their checks. In some states, teens can be tried as adults in court. These are all ways in which teens are treated as adults, yet we lack the right to vote.
As more teens become regular consumers of social media, we’ve developed a heightened awareness of worldly issues affecting us. Unfortunately, many believe that 16-year-olds are not responsible enough to vote in elections.
Luckily, a country across the ocean has experience in this topic. In 2007, Austria legalized 16-year-old voting which has proven that “lowering the voting age does not appear to have a negative impact (...) on democratic decisions,” according to Electoral Studies, an international journal covering all aspects of voting.
Upon surveying 80 14- to 21-year-olds, I found that 76% felt underrepresented in politics.  “An older voting block might not be as keen to tackle climate change as it isn't as much of an immediate issue for them,” said Boston College High School senior Jack Shankar. 
 Of those surveyed, 94% have seen current event coverage on social media, exposing them to modern day issues. 80% have established that they read current events articles, and  100% of them have conversations about politics with their friends.
 “Social media, of course, has made me gain access to insight on political news and especially with the current administration it has kept me on my toes with what's currently going on in that mess of a White House.” expresses Shelby Casimir, a senior at Marblehead High School.
Then the main question: “Should the legal voting age be lowered to 16?” The overarching answer? Yes. With 61% of voters agreeing.

“There’s always been a lot of political maturity in young people” said Felicia M. Sullivan, Senior Researcher at The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. “There is no cognitive difference between being 16 and being 18.” 
Infact, research has proven that 16-year-olds are more likely to vote than 18-year-olds is because “they are in the presence of an educational mechanic.” or in other words they're still in the K-12 school system. 
Voting is important. The future of democracy depends on it. By including teens in politics while they're in school, they carry these habits into adulthood.
As teens, we can register to vote early and that will save us a step and allow us to walk into a polling site ready to go. We can also join initiatives for lowering the voting age like Teen Empowerment or Boston Mobilization Teens Vote. 
The one thing we can't do is allow our generation to stop participating in the election process. When it’s time to vote, get out there and do your job. When you’re mad about who's in office, I’m going to ask, “Did you vote?” 

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