Category Archives: Feature

A Look into the Life of a Foreign Exchange Student

By Sandro Gvaramia

Studying a year abroad is both an amazing and a challenging experience. You get to meet people, make friends, and get a second family (if you’re lucky enough) outside of your home country.

Imagine leaving your normal life behind – your family and everyone and everything you’re used to ever since you were a baby – and starting a new life without people you have been with all your life. Although it might seem really hard at first, it actually gets easier as you start to adjust and open up. Plus, it helps when you’re aware that this is just for a year or so.

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Rockwell’s foreign exchange students pose for a photo. Credit: Ashlee Milton

There are many ways to spend an academic year abroad. You can pay for it on your own or you can win a scholarship which completely pays for the year abroad. Either way, you become an exchange student, but if you’re not mentally and psychologically prepared for it then you should maybe give it a second thought. There are cases when exchange students cannot finish what they started for many reasons, but usually it’s because of being homesick.

“I miss my family, but my boyfriend and friends help keep my mind off of it.” says Rockwell senior, Sarah Olsen, from Denmark.

Speaking of homesickness, I think this is the hardest part. Now you will not be homesick the day you arrive in a foreign country because you are all excited, but after several weeks or maybe months you’ll start to feel homesick, and not just about your family, but about everything and the way things used to be. This is totally normal, and there are countless ways to cope with it.

Another thing that may come as an obstacle is the foreign language. For some students it can be really difficult, especially since knowing just your native language can make it hard enough not to say anything about speaking the second language fluently. Nobody expects of you to know the second language fluently, so there’s nothing to worry about. You might just need a basic knowledge of ways to interact with people that do not speak your first language. If you are really determined to have a successful exchange year, you can always find a way to master the language.

Besides being homesick, a cultural shock can be really hard to bear especially if you have not been fully prepared for what’s to come.

For exchange students that spend their years in the United States it can be a lot easier because every foreign exchange student goes through trainings where students are informed about what living in the United States is like. The people who inform you this stuff are Americans, so students are getting first-hand information about what their exchange experience will be like.

Regardless of preparation, there are still students who have a really hard time adjusting, which is totally normal. It can be stressful feeling constantly culture-shocked, but this is where the host family can be of help.

Host families are a huge part of an exchange year. If you win a scholarship, you are funded by the US Government, and then wait to be notified about your host family. No exchange student gets to choose which state they will be placed in or which family they’ll be living with.

“My host family is great at taking me places.” says Reia Martaba, a Rockwell junior from Japan.

Some exchange students get really lucky with their host family. They form strong relationships with their host family as they become like second families outside of their home country who they really bond with.

I have learned a lot in my experience as an exchange student from the country Georgia. I think the biggest thing I have learned so far is how to be more of an adult and become more independent. Each exchange student will get something different out of their experience abroad – it all depends on the student and how they react to things that may happen during their year. Experiences will vary with ups-and-downs, but it all comes down to how the student is willing to shape their exchange year based on their involvement, their attitude, and their relationship with their host family.

Premy Tangpong, a junior from Thailand says, “I think joining the sports team and school in general is one of the highlights of my exchange year.”

Utah to Potentially Discontinue Daylight Savings, According to New Bill.

by Nutsa Javakhadze

Image Via Pexels

On Monday, March 11th, U.S Representative Rob Bishop announced a bill that would give individual states the freedom to choose if they want to be on daylight savings or standard time year round. According to Bishop, this will help people fight the feeling of grogginess they experience when they first switch to daylights savings time after a period of not using it.

Although states are given a choice, the majority of them, including Utah, will most likely choose the more popular option – starting daylight savings time in the spring, and continuing through summer and part of fall, and then going back to standard time for the other part of the year.

Marsha Judkins, a Republican representative from Provo who is in support of the bill, said that this year there were more than 60 bills in over 30 states addressing the issue of setting the clocks forward and back.

“Changing our clocks has a very detrimental impact on us,” she said. “It affects our health, our psychological health, and our society, our productivity.”

Sleep scientists suggest getting rid of daylight savings. The National Sleep Foundation said that people aged 13-18 need at least 8 hours of sleep, with 10 hours being the ideal amount.

According to University of Utah sleep expert, Kelly Glazer Baron, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, loss of sleep impacts a teenager’s performance in school and their alertness on the road.

“Teenagers need even more sleep than adults.” she said.

Some people are opposed to this potential change for two reasons: one – in their opinion, changing clocks isn’t really time-consuming, and two – most people get different amounts of sleep night-to-night anyways, so losing an hour or two to daylight savings time wouldn’t really make much of a difference.

President Trump tweeted that he is ‘OK with making Daylight Savings permanent,’ but Congress has yet to decide where it stands on the issue.

Some students at Rockwell aren’t so happy about the custom.

“It’s annoying to switch back the clocks,” said Rockwell junior Sierra Maldonado. “It throws people off.”

Aside from being annoying, some feel it isn’t necessary anymore.

“It is an outdated practice and although it used to be necessary, it is not anymore,” said Rockwell sophomore Kane Webb. “We need to move on and start using things that are actually useful to us now.”

The Blue & Gold Unwind: Dealing with Bullying and Gossip

by Katie Hull

Image via whyy.org

The definition of bullying is to seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce someone. Even though Rockwell is a smaller school bullying still happens here. I do believe it happens less than most schools because we all know each other more personally and the teachers know us. Gossip is a huge form of bullying. The problem is because we are such a small school, gossip spreads like wildfire. No one likes to be gossiped about so why does anyone feel the need to spread it about others? It doesn’t make sense.

The most important thing to know is that if somebody is spreading gossip about you, realize that they are trying to hurt you and remove them from your life. There is absolutely no excuse for gossip or bullying. It is harmful and hurtful to the person being gossiped about and the friendships that are involved. You need to know also that if they are spreading gossip about you, more likely than not, it is not personal. They are going to spread gossip about anyone and you happened to fall into the light this time. Don’t try to get back at them or get into a fight with them because in the long run it will not help or do anything positive for you or the other people involved. Just stay away from them. You do not need poisonous people in your life.

If you are the one gossiping or bullying others you need to take a long look at yourself and understand that it is not okay. You will get caught and you are hurting another human being. Nothing makes you better than other person. If you are doing this because your life is hard and want others to feel like you, realize that you have no idea what this person you are hurting is dealing with at home or when you aren’t around. It is also against the law to bully, cyber-bully, haze someone or be part of retaliation bullying. It is against the law for teachers to not report it to administration and for administration to not involve parents. If you endanger or purposefully distress another student or school employee, it is bullying and against the law. Bullying is wrong.

If you are getting bullied, harassed, or feel threatened you need to report it to a teacher or guardian immediately. It is not okay that this is happening to you and you need to realize what it is; it’s bullying.

Rockwell Students Flock to Eagle Mountain’s First Soda Shop

Photo by Cassandra Nelson

Eagle Mountain’s first-ever Quench It opened on January 25, 2019. This is the fourth Quench It to open, the original opening in Heber, Utah. This soda shop has lots to offer.

Customers can get any soda they want with as many flavorings as they can think of, including unique ones such as peanut butter and marshmallow. They also serve hot chocolate with special additions. They sell cookies, pretzels and different flavored popcorns. This is the closest soda shop for quite a ways if you live in anywhere in Eagle Mountain or Saratoga Springs. It has very quick service and all the workers are very kind and hard working. When I took a trip there, there was a full line in the drive-thru and a line in the shop. I still managed to get through the line to order two 44 oz drinks in 15 minutes.

“I was impressed with the service at Quench It,” said Rockwell sophomore Melaghan Lentini. “And their drinks are really good.”

According to employees, they have gotten a lot more business than expected and already are hiring more to keep up with demand.

There are perks to visiting Quench It, such as getting a Quench It loyalty card. If you have one of these, everytime you purchase a drink, pretzel or cookie, 10% of the price will be added to the loyalty card to use for a later free drink, pretzel or cookie. They also sell stainless steel reusable mugs with the Quench It logo in different colors for $25 each.

Inside the restaurant is a counter with stools for customers to sit on and well as quite a few tables and chairs. Hopefully when summer comes and weather permits it, they will be able to add tables and chairs outside. They have a shelf full of games for any guests to play and a T.V. for the enjoyment and relaxation of anyone who cares to watch. It is an inexpensive, delicious, fun place to get some snacks and relax with a drink. Quench It is a family-friendly restaurant that the whole city can enjoy.

“I love Quench It because it is super good and super cheap,” said senior Chandler Thurman. “It’s like Swig, but cheaper.”

Responsible Pet Owners Month

Image Via Natural Dog Company

by Lucy Maldonado

February was national Responsible Pet Owners Month. Many people have pets they love and care for, especially here at Rockwell.

Throughout time, dogs have been by our side. Science has proven that dogs were domesticated about 40,000 years ago. The domestication of dogs was probably one of the most heart warming events for humans. It is quite ironic that the dependents of an animal that we once feared the most, the wolf, would one day become one of our greatest allies.

Many students and faculty here at Rockwell love their pets and consider them an important part of their family.

“My family fosters dogs.” said Rockwell freshman Grace Maw. “I like it because they’re so cute and it feels great to give them a new home. It’s fun to take care of cute, little animals.”

Taking proper care of pets is something Responsible Pet Owners Month focuses on.

“Take your dogs for walks and let them go outside a lot,” said Rockwell junior Ruby Hernandez. “Keeping your dog isolated is not good for their health.”

Properly training pets is another way to become more responsible pet owners.

“I haven’t had a pet in a long time,” said Rockwell’s music teacher Ms. Larsen. “But training them is a big thing you can do for your pet.”

Giving your pet time and love is another thing Responsible Pet Owners Month focuses on. These pets are a part of your family and they have proved time and time again that they will love you for who you are. There’s a reason dogs (and cats) are often referred to as “man’s best friend.”

For more information on being a responsible pet owner, visit http://www.avma.org.

S.A.D.: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Image via Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

by Katie Hull

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., is a specific type of depression that is directly related to the seasons. The most common cases of S.A.D are fall/winter. The farther you live from the equator, the more cases of S.A.D. are found. According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, about 10 million people in the United States are affected by this, and 10 to 20 percent of people in the world are affected. This disorder is four times more likely to occur in women than men. This is a real thing. Most people tend to just write off their sad or hopeless feelings as “winter blues”, but it is more than that. It’s a real problem that has real solutions. You don’t have to feel that way anymore.

“I definitely think it’s real but I won’t pretend to [know] the science behind it.” Rockwell High school english teacher Jacob Hampton said. “I’ve noticed people in my class that get more depressed during the winter months. Although I do not have personal experience with this, it makes sense that people’s mood would be affected by the weather. As well as if there is less sunlight people will be more sad.”

One cause of this disorder is the decrease of sunlight. Serotonin levels decrease during these months. How much sunlight you get effects this chemical. This chemical regulates mood and social behavior. Melatonin levels also get disrupted because of the time changes. This means that people are getting less sleep and may not be thinking as clearly or be as happy specifically because of that.

“I just feel sad in general and you get sad over stupid things.” says Zoie Miller, 8th grade Rockwell student. “The sun isn’t out. It’s like those scenes in movies when it’s raining outside because everyone is sad. You aren’t really sad for any reason, it’s just outside is sad and you are too.”

Some symptoms of this disorder
Feeling depressed all day
Low energy
Losing interest in activities
Sleeping problems
Change in appetite
Feeling hopeless
Feeling agitated and tired
Trouble concentrating
Thoughts/actions of suicide or self-harm

Specific Winter/Fall S.A.D. Symptoms
Oversleeping
Appetite changes ( especially cravings of foods with high carbohydrates)
Weight gain
Tiredness/ low energy

Specific Spring/Summer S.A.D. Symptoms
Trouble sleeping (Insomnia)
Poor Appetite
Weight loss
Agitation or Anxiety

“Some mornings it’s just really hard to get up and move. Nothing’s easy to do.” says Rockwell junior Mckay Marinos. “It gets dark early and there is nothing to do because it is dark and cold outside.”

There is hope. There are treatments as well as home remedies that seem to work as well or sometimes even better than the other treatments. One of the best home remedies is to simply get more sunlight. Spend more time outside or open all the blinds in your house to let as much natural light in as possible. Soak up that sunshine. Another home remedy is music or art therapy. Listening to music, singing, or playing an instrument has been proven to calm and make people feel better. Or if music is not the way for you, spend time using art as a creative way to express yourself or emotions. Meditation is another home remedy. It is time to just focus on something simple and to feel more calm or to start the day with a slow and easy thing. If any of those home remedies don’t work, the next step is to seek professional help. If you continue to feel this way then medicine is the way to go. You don’t have to let yourself feel sad or hopeless. You are important and you matter.

Resources
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-2036465

How to Save the Earth

by Katie Hull

Image via Zastavki.com

There are so many things we do to this planet that can only be construed as destructive. We choose to put toxic gasses into our atmosphere and dump thousands of pounds of garbage and plastic into our oceans. 100,000 marine mammals die from plastic each year. The Worldwide Health Organization estimates that 4.6 million people die from direct causes related to pollution. How long are we going to let this go on?

Rockwell students could help. We could make a difference. Some of the top ways to save the environment are ways that you wouldn’t think. They are simple, easy and cost effective.

  1. Reduce the amount of meat you eat. Scientists have found that red meat is responsible for 10 to 40 times as many emissions as greenhouses! This doesn’t mean getting completely rid of meat. But if you simply reduce the amount you eat you could start helping the environment.
  2. Reduce the amount of paper in your life. Almost everyone, if not all of us, have phone or access to a computer. 40% of the worlds trees that are being cut down is being used for paper.
  3. Reuse water bottles. Or even better, don’t use plastic bottles. Spend the money on a five dollar water bottle and reuse it. Over all you will spend less money then buying single water bottles that cost give or take a couple bucks.
  4. Don’t throw away just anything. Recycle when you can. Kitchen scraps can be used in gardens as fertilizer.
  5. Take notice of how much water you use. Try not to overuse. Turn off the water rather than leave it on when you are doing other things.

 

Basically these are a free simple things we can all do to help the environment around us. The Earth is our home and we are killing it one day at a time. We need to work on keeping it alive. Wendell Berry said, “ The Earth is one thing we all have in common.” Treat it like you would a home because it’s all of ours.

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