by: Libby Weicker
This is a question everyone is going to have a different answer to based on their personal experiences. Based on my life experience, I do believe that boys and girls can just be friends. I grew up with my dad being a baseball and football coach and an older brother who always was hanging out with his friends. So, naturally, I was always around guys. I spent every summer traveling the southeast going to baseball tournaments, and spending 12+ hour days with sweaty guys. Having guys as friends was a huge part of my childhood. I remember many days playing catch and having races with the guys on my dad’s and brother’s teams. It was normal. That was my life.
Now, I fully understand that this isn’t everyone’s experience. I was more comfortable around guys than girls because that was what I was used to. Without growing up like I did, I might have a different opinion now. If you know me, you definitely know that my best friend of nine years is a girl, but I also have multiple really close guy friends that I’ve never been attracted to or wanted anything more than friendship with. I can’t imagine that this is just a me thing. I don’t know your specific situation, but I’m assuming based on your question that you are both heterosexuals, meaning one likes guys and the other likes girls. I think that friendship is a wonderful possibility if neither of you find the other attractive or want anything more than a friendship with that person. Obviously, if you are friends then you will be compatible in certain ways, but that does not have to mean more than friendship. Boundaries are a key part of friendships regardless of the genders or preferences involved.
There are amazing benefits to having strong friendships with people of the opposite sex. For example, you will have different perspectives of issues, and it provides an opportunity for fascinating conversations. The downside is that people will probably assume that y’all are together, but as long as no one is getting hurt by the situation, try not to let that bother you. People will always talk. The sooner we all learn not to care, the more carefree our lives will get. What it really comes down to is the fact that we all deserve a friend, regardless of their sex. Friends make life more doable. I believe that anyone who wants to be friends can be. As long as positivity is emanating from the friendship, it’s one worth keeping.
by: Libby Weicker
This is a very interesting question because the correct answer varies per person. Going to college definitely propels people in their lives because they are normally given more opportunities based on a higher level of education and networking. Although this normally is true, there are many jobs that do not need a college education to excel at. I do not think that everyone needs college to be successful, but I think that it will be easier to be highly successful in life with a higher level of education, as long as it is in reasonable means. I would highly recommend college to everyone, but I also can fully acknowledge that it isn’t necessary to everyone either. If you are seriously considering not going to college, you should consult your parents, guardians, mentors, and/or counselors because it is a serious decision that can change your life. College is one of the first decisions teenagers get to make for their adulthood, and it should not be taken lightly. Overall, weigh the positives and negatives, and make the right decision for you that will make you the happiest.
by: Libby Weicker
The continuous paradox of humanity. Amazing and terrible. All we want, yet what hurts us the most. Simple and challenging. Heartwarming and painful. We all go through love differently, but it’s also something that almost everyone can relate to. For me, romantic love has always been something that I thoroughly enjoy, but has never been a necessity. I’ve always been highly independent, but everyone wants love to an extent. You are in a very difficult situation. With the limited information provided, I have a few thoughts that I think could help. In making a decision of whether you should break up with your boyfriend of a couple months, I would submit these questions to you to ponder:
Now, moving on to addressing the potential feelings for the ex-boyfriend situation. My advice for this problem is to live your life with no regrets. If you still have feelings for him, tell him. Life is too short to regret something like this. Yes, it is scary to be that vulnerable, but it will be worth it in the end. Love is worth fear. If I were you, which I am not, I would end things with my current boyfriend because he deserves more than someone who may not consider him her first choice. Then, I would have a conversation with my ex-boyfriend about my feelings. I don’t know how y’all ended your relationship, but I would act on my current feelings for him. Ultimately, I think you should do whatever would make you the happiest, and it doesn’t seem like that is going to be staying in your current relationship. Relationships are supposed to make us better as people and add mostly positivity to our lives.
Obviously, there is no perfect relationship without any problems, but being in a relationship should bring you more happiness than unhappiness, and I think that if you are thinking about your ex, there is something missing in this relationship; therefore, it might not be the relationship for you. I hope this resonates with you and helped you in any way. Feel free to keep me updated with anything new that I can help you with!
by: Libby Weicker
Hello! Welcome to my world. My name is Wren Weicker. I am 1 year old and live in Arrington, Tennessee with my family. I love my family very much. My sister, Libby, adopted me about six and half months ago. My previous family loved me too, but I knew they were just my foster family. Now, I have my forever family. WOOF! My dream came true! I didn’t even have to wait until next Christmas to experience snow. My mom and sister were super-duper excited on Monday night for the potential snow coming that night and the next day. I didn’t totally know what to expect, but woof I underestimated everything about it! We woke up to a beautiful snow globe of a world, and it was amazing. Troy and I immediately ran outside and rolled around in this new, cold substance. My feet got a little cold, but I didn’t even notice it because I was having so much fun. Then, Libby woke up and came outside with us, and we went sledding down the driveway! I’d never been sledding before. It was exhilarating. I ran and chased and ran and chased until I had to lie down and take a nap, I was so exhausted. The best part of it all was that it didn’t even end there! We got to have another day after that to play in my new favorite thing. I loved the feeling of it falling on my back as I run to catch up to my brother, the way it feels on my nose as I sniff the grass through it, how my feet slide around on it, and how happy it makes my family. Extra snuggles were given and received in the cold, wet weather, which are my favorite thing. To say the least, I was overjoyed. I hope all of y’all had as much fun as I did! I hope you’ll join me in praying for many more snow days to come!
Until next time,
Love your people like your pup loves you,
by: Laurel Dernbach
“Ich bitte euch ratet mir was besser ist... reden oder sterben.”
Das Heptameron by Margarete Von Navarra
Is it better to speak or to die?
For those that don't know, Oprah Winfrey won the Cecil B. DeMille Award for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment" last Sunday on the Golden Globes. She accepted her award with an inspiring shoutout to all the women who have recently spoken out about their experience with sexual harassment, both mundane and in the lime lit world of Hollywood. When it comes to powerful men sweeping these claims under the rug, Winfrey proudly proclaims that "time's up."
I'll be honest and admit didn't watch the Globes live on Sunday, however after watching back the footage from Oprah's speech here, you can see every women in the audience entranced and empowered by her words. This is the power of truth. When you speak truth with conviction and authenticity, people cannot help but listen. Some people are empowered by this new-wave feminism and comforted by the idea that if something were to happen, there would be a group of supportive men and women behind them. Others, like myself, find it a bit scary. Yes, I'm comforted to know other women have spoken out and if I ever needed to, I could too. This being said, the large amount of #metoos is a bit suffocating, because I can't help but worry that a friend, a family member, or even I, hopefully moving to a big city like Seattle of Chicago in the fall, could be next. Sexual assault has always existed, I am aware of that, but the Time's Up movement makes it seem a bit more real and certainly impossible to ignore. To my dad, a smart and reasonable man, he claimed Oprah’s speech made him feel like he was being “lectured.” The truth is uncomfortable sometimes, difficult to fully grasp. This is also the power of truth. It raises awareness and creates a (hopefully healthy) sense of fear within us, hopefully driving us to, more or less, do better.
Another truth weighing heavy on my mind this week is Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name, a dreamy yet heartbreaking summer romance and coming of age story set in 1980s Italy. The beautiful clash of cinematography (2 hours of the Northern Italian countryside? Uh yes please), music (featuring The Psychedelic Furs and Sufjan Stevens), and flawless acting performances (Timothée Chalamlet is my new celebrity crush), this film left my heart so empty and so full all at the same time. I loved this movie because it's so genuine, telling a story that almost everyone can relate to, at least emotionally. Elio is 17 year old boy is growing up and like most 17 year olds, thinks he's already grown. He doesn't realize how much growing up he really has yet to do-- that's where Oliver comes in. Oliver, an American graduate student staying to study with Elio's family for the summer, teaches Elio what it means to really like someone, and then more importantly, lose them. In the end, Elio's father comforts him by saying, "We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything - what a waste! … Our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. And before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now there’s sorrow. Pain. Don’t kill it and with it the joy you’ve felt." And this my friends, is a brutal truth (at least I know it is for me). It's hard to feel thing sometimes. But the pain can only ever strike as deep as joy-- it's worth the temporary pain to fondly remember the joy.
Truth is powerful. It sparks conversation and lights fires in people’s hearts, from empowering women to recognizing how difficult it is to navigate growing up. Conversations about these real and important things need to be had openly, and home, school, church, wherever you’re most comfortable. Talking about things is how we grow as people, and believe it or not, you have your own truths to speak as well. Being able to have a person or group of people you can trust to say things like “My mental health isn’t good right now,” or “I’m sorry I’m not the friend/partner/child I want to be right now,” is critical to our development. Speaking truth is what makes it possible to process and deal with said truths, regardless of what they are.
“Stets werde ich meinen Freunden raten, zu reden, denn nur wenige Worte lassen sich nicht wieder gutmachen,”
I will always advise my friends to talk, because only a few words cannot make amends.
That is the power of truth.
by: Libby Weicker
I want to begin this column by saying that I personally do not suffer from or experience anxiety regularly. I have had a couple panic attacks in my life, but they have been situationally conceived; therefore, I cannot speak from extreme experience in this article. Because of this, I have reached out to a few of my close friends who have expressed their struggles with anxiety to me. Below, I have included their responses to this question because I believe that comfort comes from understanding that you are not the only one dealing with a problem, and I think they can answer this question from experience better than I can.
To start, I want to define what anxiety is. According to anxiety.org, anxiety disorders share a general feature of excessive fear (i.e. emotional response to perceived or real threat) and/or anxiety (i.e. anticipation of future threat) and demonstrate behavioral and functional disturbances as a result. Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are features that can occur in the context of many anxiety disorders and are similar in that both can cause one to feel dizzy, short of breath, or as though there is some sort of impending doom, however panic attacks will last on average 30 minutes, while anxiety attacks can last for days, weeks, or even months. There are numerous strategies for trying to conquer or even just tolerate these attacks, which one of my friends commented on by saying, “Mentally, this year I decided to just relax and take it easy and surround myself with the right people and people that I wanted to talk to versus who I thought was necessarily popular or the coolest to everyone but me. I tried my best to stay calm and collected after tests and quizzes, but yes it is very difficult to deal with severe anxiety.”
Many doctors have different ideas of treating anxiety as well, including mediation, breathing techniques, and therapy. There is nothing wrong with trying to get the help you need to thrive in life. There is no shame in going to counseling or therapy or being prescribed medication, if your doctors deem this potentially helpful with their expert knowledge. In my limited experience with anxiety, meditation and breathing techniques really made all the difference. When it felt like I had absolutely no control over my life or anything in it, I really tried to take deep breaths and remember the truths about my life, and what I knew was constant and stable. Anxiety has the power to control your life, which is the terrifying aspect to it. It can hinder us from truly living out our lives how we want and need to.
I found the second half of your question particularly curious and intriguing. I had never really considered that there could be positives to anxiety. I asked another friend who struggles with anxiety about this and she responded by saying, “The good is that it shows you’re human and that you have cares and fears. Where it becomes dangerous is when it is controlling your life.” She is completely accurate. Having anxiety about something means you have something that you care about, which is a good thing to a degree. Ensuring that it doesn’t control your thoughts and actions is the tricky part. Overall, I believe that there are varying levels of anxiety and everyone experiences anxiety differently. Different techniques of dealing with it work for different people, so I would recommend trying a bunch of different ideas. Give yourself more alone time. Light some candles. Turn on some relaxing music. Take a moment to sit down and hand write a list of things or people that you're grateful for. Don’t be scared to see a doctor and ask for his or her recommendations. Understand yourself. Accept yourself. Be yourself. Believe that you don’t have to control everything for it to turn out correctly.
by: Libby Weicker
Hello! Welcome to my world. My name is Wren Weicker. I am 1 year old and live in Arrington, Tennessee with my family. I love my family very much. My sister, Libby, adopted me about five and half months ago. My previous family loved me too, but I knew they were just my foster family. Now, I have my forever family. Merry Pupmas and a happy Pup Year everyone! I thought Christmas was going to be fun, but woof, I had no clue how amazing it is. My family opened our presents on Christmas morning. This was my first real Christmas with my real family. I got so many new toys from Santa, my siblings, and my mom! My brother, Troy, and I loved playing with and shredding the wrapping paper that was already ripped off presents. I loved everything about Christmas. The tree, ornaments, presents, amazing smelling food, and smiles all around. Everyone seemed happier at Christmastime. Even the mailmen that came every day to the house to drop off the packages and daily mail seemed happier to see us. I made sure that they knew that although it was Christmastime, Troy and I still meant business about protecting our home, but we appreciated their holiday joy. I’m already looking forward to Christmas next year and experiencing it all over again. I heard my family talking about having a white Christmas, which I think means snow on Christmas morning. It did snow a little on Christmas Eve, but not enough to really play in. I hope next year is a white Christmas! I really want a big, fun snow this year to play in with my new family. But, once it snows, I want it to get warm again because I’m not the biggest fan of the cold. I hope all of you had the perfect Christmas, just like I did.
Until next time,
Love your people like your pup loves you,
by: Ansley Moore
There is only one day in the whole Gregorian calendar system where all of its adherents (aka everyone on the planet except for the residents of give or take three countries) celebrates so massively the change of one day to the next- New Year's. Most people will celebrate with parties, staying up until midnight, and making New Year's Resolutions. This year in particular, the concept of New Year's Resolutions has been quit fascinating to me. Gearing up for my last semester of high school I'd like to think that my previous 25 semesters at FRA have taught me valuable skills as a student and as a human, but looking back there are definitely still changes I can make in order to be less of a "garbage human" as the kids say. That's why over the break I have been scouring the internet looking for advice from other people on how they achieve goals and have combined them with some of my own ideas so that (hopefully) we can both go into the New Year with the best chance possible at letting 2018 be the year that we actually accomplish our resolutions!
1. Plan Early, Start Late
There are still 6 more days left in 2017, so use that time to prepare your resolutions and start planning for the changes that you want to make. If you want to start eating healthier, use this time to look up recipes and ingredients. If you want to spend more time with friends, look up any fun events coming up that you can put on your calendar to bring your friends to. The clearer your ideas, the easier it will be to actually know what you want to change going into January 1st.
Also, in case you weren't aware January 1st is on a Monday this year and I know that I will have been up very late the night before or many of you might be out of town or with family, which means that the chances of doing anything productive on New Year's Day might be very slim for you. If that's the case, maybe start on January 2nd, or the 3rd, or whenever you think the day is that will best set you up for success. Similarly, if it's June and you feel like you've hit a block don't feel like you have to keep doing something that isn't working. Change your approach and modify from what hasn't been working and start again. The important thing is the resolutions and the changes you're making, not to start on January 1st.
2. Say It Out Loud
I won't bore you with the nitty-gritty science, but essentially when we say phrases like "I can't do this" out loud it strengthens chemical pathways in our brain that make those negative thoughts a habit, which in turn makes it easier for us to talk down to ourselves because even if that negativity isn't true we're more likely to think that way because it's a habit (NPR). So not only would I encourage you to say your goals out loud, but the more times you find to say "I can do this" in your daily routine, do it! Start with simple things that you're already doing like "I can get to first period on time" or "I can drink this whole coffee" in order to strengthen the positive pathways and then keep building up to the bigger goals.
3. Set Measurable Goals
It's easy to say you want to "Get healthier" in 2018, but what does that actually look like? If you were to instead phrase that goal as "Go to yoga three times a week" or "Eliminate processed sugar" you're still "Getting healthier", but now you have steps in place to keep yourself on track. Another way to set measurable goals is to do them as short, medium, and long term goals. This works particularly well for goals like "I want to pass [insert any class here]". In the short term you could decided on a specific amount of times you want to visit the teacher during tutorial per week or dedicate 30 minutes on a Saturday to reviewing all of the material you learned in class that week. Those are good short term goals because they're measured on a weekly basis so you can tell quickly if they're working or not and gauge how to to adapt if a goal isn't improving your performance. A good medium term goal might be to get a B on every test this semester because like before it's very measurable, but it's using knowledge from the short term on a slightly bigger scale. Both of those goals will hopefully come together to help you accomplish the original long term goal of passing that class.
4. Pick Goals For YOU
There's no point in doing something that you don't want just because all of your friends are doing it or because you feel like it "should" be your goal. Find what you're passionate about changing and make your goal around that. It's far easier to stay motivated when you actually want to do the thing you've set out to do so don't set yourself up for failure by picking goals that you aren't willing to work for.
5. Accountability Is Key
Find a partner, tell your dog, post it on Instagram- just to something to let other people know what your resolutions are. You can use these other people to keep you accountable for following through on your goals. Finding a partner with similar goals would be ideal in my opinion because doing something with your friends always makes it more fun and friends are also much more likely to call you out for slipping up on your resolutions.
And now I'm going to leave you by taking some of my own advice and make myself accountable by sharing three of my New Year's Resolutions with you:
1. Eliminate Plastic Straws
Inspired by this Buzzfeed video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiHDwU-g8T4 I plan on boycotting plastic, single use straws in 2018. Straws are so harmful to our underwater friends and I'm going to do my part to cut down on the amount that get put into landfill or into marine habitats. To help me do this I have ordered reusable, glass straws to take with me in public in the event that I need a straw for something. (WARNING- The first :18 seconds shows the affect of plastic straws on marine life and while it helps to fully understand the impact our trash has on the environment, if you're particularly sensitive to seeing animals in pain maybe close your eyes for that part.)
2. Make Sleep A Priority
Like most of you, I don't get enough sleep. My normal routine is go to sleep at around midnight and wake at 6:00 the next morning for school then "catch-up" over the weekends by sleeping as late as I possibly can. This usually results in me feeling exhausted all week then unproductive all weekend because I sleep half the day away and I'm hoping that by more evenly spreading my sleep I can stabilize my mood throughout the week and cut down on days where my sleepiness makes me really irritable. To do this I have created general schedules for an afternoon routine for three different times of the year- when I have nothing after school (which means I'm home around 3:15-3:30), when I'm in rehearsal (which means I'm home around 7:30-8:00), or when it's tech week (which means I'm home around 10:30-11:00). For you this might revolve around sports schedules, academic commitments, a job, but this is what my year will look like. Then for each day I have given myself a set amount of time for homework, eating, socializing, and getting ready for bed which the knowledge that when I get home earlier I have more time to socialize and when I get home during tech week I basically get to finish my homework and go right to bed. Generally my goal for during the week is to be in bed asleep by 10:30-11:00 and up by 6:00, but on the weekends I'll let myself wake up around 8:00 and stay up until 12:00-12:30.
3. Learn How To "Adult"
This will be a process that takes several years, but this year I'm starting with understanding my finances. I'm completely clueless when it comes to money. I have no idea how taxes work, how to make a budget, what is an acceptable amount to spend on rent- any of it- and since I'll be living alone in a new city in approximately 9 months I want to learn all that I can before I'm on my own. To do this, I've bought a notebook that I'm calling "Ansley's Book of Adulting" where I plan on compiling all of the knowledge I can find on how to live successfully on my own, starting- of course- with finances. I think the internet and my bank will be my two most helpful resources for this. I want to find several mock budgets and adapt them to fit my needs and I'm sure somewhere out there is a Khan Academy: Taxes for Dummies or something similar- I just have to find it. I also plan on calling my bank to ask if I can meet with someone to talk through good habits I can start as a teenager and how banks work in terms of things like giving loans and mortgages.
Hopefully these have given you some insight into how I have used the advice I found to make my own resolutions and will come in handy as you prepare for 2018. Best of luck in the new year!
Starecheski, Laura. “Why Saying Is Believing - The Science Of Self-Talk.” NPR, NPR, 7 Oct. 2014, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/10/07/353292408/why-saying-is-believing-the-science-of-self-talk.
Top 10 Memes of 2017
by: Sarah Nance
There’s no denying that memes have been a huge part of our culture for the past few years, and 2017 did not disappoint with new meme content. With this year coming to an end, I’m here to share my personal list of the best memes of 2017.
10. Uber Drivers
With the booming popularity of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, it’s no surprise that people had their laughs at the companies.
9. Dancing Hotdog
The snapchat dancing hotdog came out this year!
8. Chick Fil A Employees
Because of the amount and popularity of Chick Fil A restaurants in our area, we are all familiar with and can appreciate the persistence, dedication, and hospitality of its employees.
7. Nothing But Respect For My President
This phrase became popular after a tweet of a college student cleaning Donald Trump’s Hollywood Star.
6. Mocking Spongebob
When you run out of comebacks, just mock whatever the other person said.
5. The Floor Is Lava
A game where someone yells “the floor is lava” and everyone has only a few seconds to stand on something other than the floor.
4. Student Athletes
If you’ve met a die-hard student athlete, this meme is self-explanatory.
3. Me, An Intellectual
A meme full of hilarious over-explaining.
2. He Protecc, He Atacc
This meme depicts the duality of man and includes many variants, as long as there is a word ending in “c” or “cc.”
1. Living in 3017
The epitome of 2017 memes, just because of the specific reference to the year. It describes someone so innovative that they are living 1,000 years into the future.
BONUS ROUND: FRA Memes That Hopefully Need No Context:
3. Get Shrek’d
2. A Word on Juuls
1. Truck Yeah
Here’s to amazing new memes in 2018!