# Student Sound Off

## 42 Days

There are 42 days until Thanksgiving break, a date eagerly anticipated by Armstrong students as they struggle through AP classroom assignments and early mornings. I propose that we make the countdown a little more exciting by finding alternate ways to measure the time period between now and then.

There are 60,480 minutes until Thanksgiving break. Or maybe you would prefer to break it down further: in that case, 3.629x10^6 seconds. You blink about every four seconds, so if you sit and blink 907,250 times, Thanksgiving will be here before you know it.

You might choose to be more productive. You could orbit the earth 613 times, or get 69% of the way up Mount Everest. In 42 days, Michelangelo painted 2.9% of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. If he could do that, you can finish your homework between now and break.

It’s been said that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so you could form two. Start that 21 day ab workout you keep telling yourself you’ll get to, or memorize three elements every day until you’ve learned the periodic table (I’m looking at you, AP Chem students).

42 days is 420,000 steps on your fitbit or 210 rubies from your daily Mario Kart Tour log-in. It’s one and a half months, which is more than double the time it took Thomas Jefferson to draft the Declaration of Independence.

In 42 days, you’ll be an eighth of a year older than you are right now. Think of the significant life events you’ll have experienced by then– applied to college, or maybe (we can dream) been nominated for student of the month here at Armstrong.

Clearly, a lot can be accomplished in 42 days. So how are you going to spend your time?

-By Priya Thomas

## How Best Buddies Changed My Perspective On Inclusion

A few years ago I had my first encounter with Best Buddies, and it was exhilarating. If you had expressed to me then I would later become the new president of the club, I would’ve laughed and wandered off. I never imagined I would be given this astonishing opportunity. When I first heard the news, I realized I would be sent on a long-weekend conference trip to Indianapolis University, to become prepared for my new leadership position. That experience opened my eyes in ways I couldn’t imagine. The theme of that weekend was exactly what I had hoped for: Inclusion.

The first night of the conference, the energy was high. You could feel the excitement in the air, everyone eager for what was to come. Sitting in the vast auditorium, many celebrities were dancing on the stage and giving lectures regarding their experiences with inclusion. It was overwhelming, encouraging, inspiring. As I roamed around the campus that weekend in Indiana, I met many peers from around the world, everyone telling different stories. All this interaction broadened my horizons regarding what role I could play this year in Best Buddies, a program dedicated to including everyone, especially those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Hearing the success stories from individuals with IDD made me realize that what makes us different also makes us unique and beautiful.

My roommate and I connected instantly, and began to discuss ideas for both our chapters, staying up each night to plan and organize possible events. We shared our goals, the manners in which we could highlight everyone’s features and talents. We both decided to encourage and inspire all those within our chapters to be themselves and remind them that their best qualities can bring out the best qualities in others. Throughout the classroom sessions and friendship walks, a doorway opened and I became even more motivated to be the best leader I can be.

This trip displayed how all humans deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and compassion. The individuals I met that weekend connected me with new ideas to implement in my own Best Buddies chapter, to allow everyone at my school to feel included and create long lasting friendships. Throughout this year, and the rest of my life, I will work to make certain that everyone feels included, and that no individual is left out or isolated.

## Myth: The Plight of Diana

Creatures of the earth, born knowing the touch of warmth only remember the coldness of it now.

Diana, goddess of winter and dance, was once a jolly goddess. Her dance showered the earth with snow that could warm one's heart. Beauty personified as people called her, with a pair of emerald eyes and golden hair. She was dubbed wise and loyal among those on earth. Once every year, she would be sent to the tallest mountain on the blue planet, Mt. Runeterra. There, she would dance for months. Each step created breeze and each spin created snow.

Creatures of the earth adored Diana. She was their joy and happiness. They admired her dance and the warmth of her snow. Little did they know, one

incident would change her. One foolish human fell for her. Gods and goddesses across the sea heard and panicked. Gods cannot fall in love with creatures below them; every god knows the rules. If one breaks the rule, they will be dishonored greatly. Diana, confident and young, assured her fellow gods that she would not fall in love with the foolish human.

Months and months passed, but the foolish human continued to come to her. Rejection didn’t work. He always returned. Slowly, Diana’s heart softened. Months became years and the foolish human still continuously returned to her. Each day, he gazed at her graceful dance and each time he came, he brought a new tale to tell.

One day, Diana waited on the tip of Mt. Runeterra, but the foolish human never came. She danced and danced waiting for him, but he never showed up. Months passed yet Diana did not give up.

Creatures of the earth had a long season of snow and breeze as Diana continued to wait. But eventually she gave up resisting the feelings she had for him and decided to climb down the mountain to search for her love. As a goddess, her identity was important. She changed her appearance, covering her golden hair.

Five months passed yet there was no clue tied to the foolish human. Until one day, Diana stumbled across a certain house that pulled her heart. It was covered with flowers and vines. Diana tipped toed in, and saw a familiar face lying peacefully on the bed. The man she had chased after for almost a year was laying there, motionless. Emotions poured out of her as reality struck. “Foolish human, you knew you are not immortal yet you came every day, every month, every year, for a hundred full years.” For the first time, she gazed upon his tired, aged face and realized how much time had passed.

Heartbroken, she carried his body to the heaven’s garden where she cried each day. Her tears turned empty and hollow; no emotions were left inside her but sadness. Her dance became clumsy and emotionless. The snow that contained her feelings lost its warmth and became cold and icy.

-By Tina Chi

## Why I Love High School

Finding joy in high school has been easy. So easy, that I wonder why we complain about it so much. See, in just senior year alone, I have already complained about college applications, whack schedules, and homework assignments I don’t want to complete. Not exactly a hard life. I always find ways to laugh a little during school. Maybe my friends and I find joy in complaining. But between debates over the best Jolly Rancher flavors or reminiscing about who should’ve won a fictional World War game in APUSH during lunch, our conversations are nothing short of chaotic exhilaration. I’ve never felt more alive and more happy.

However, the wavering fear that nothing like this will ever exist again truly sends me down a rabbit hole. High school is special because we live as if it’s our last day; we form bonds with others and learn things about ourselves we could’ve never imagined. Like, who would’ve thought I would change so much from the tumblr girl I aspired to in middle school? I badly misjudged how cool I was back then. At this point, I’ve pretty much accepted that I am more concerned with: a) being comfortable as myself, b) figuring out the future, and c) being a good person. I don’t think seven year old me would have expected to be an introvert, yet here I am, cooped up in my room most of the time. At least I’ve made the most of this period of ‘self-discovery’. There are benefits to figuring out who I am and who I want to be.

And yet.

I’m still nervous for the future. Going into senior year, all I can think about is the last high school memories I’ll experience. Obviously, I’m not going into every class saying, “Oh no! It’s the last Halloween during seventh period I’ll ever get to experience!” but the mentality is there. High school is special. I’ve made friends that get me, the way that movies and TV shows always portray. Maybe they feel like discussing string theory. Maybe they feel like discussing their love lives. Maybe they feel like saying nothing at all and just taking a nap with me. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’re here, living in the present, enjoying what youth we have left (And yes, working with small children, that does include joking about the fact that I creak like an old person). I want to collect as many memories with my friends as possible.

If I could just leave one note about why I love high school, it would be pretty straight forward. There is no better time than the present, and the present is right now, in high school. I love it because despite the ups and downs of classes and finicky romances and the angry world outside, all I will remember next year will be the sound of laughter and cheering at a football game. It’s high school and you only experience it once.

-By Julia Pham

The Snapcat filters at my daily awakening hour usually depict a Bigmoji

## Early Mornings: Why I Love Them and Why You Should Too

Every morning, my phone alarm goes off at 4:06 AM. This oddly specific hour is a vestige of a bad bout of insomnia I had last year; no matter what time I went to bed, my body awoke me at any hour between two to four in the morning. Being someone that cannot not be doing something, I would rise at whatever time my eyes first opened. This led to yawn-filled days and….) My science-inclined brain decided to put my sleep inconsistencies to the test: what was the latest I could push myself to stay in bed before going insane? After several extensive experiments, I found the average answer to be 4:06 AM. So, every morning after awakening at an ungodly hour, I wait in my bed with force-shut eyes until that alarm goes off. Once that characteristic marimba sounds, I allow myself to begin my day.

When people hear the hour I choose to wake at, they always ask the same question: what do you do in the morning? I always give the same answer: a lot. I ideally would like to be as present as possible during class, and the best way to do that is to give myself time to get my brain started. This provides the optimum learning experience, which is of great value to me. How will I succeed if I’m only half-awake in AP Micro? On an average day, this is what my morning routine looks like:

4:06 AM: Rise; proceed to the bathroom to brush teeth, use bathroom, and wash face.

4:10 AM: Get dressed and go for a run.

4:40 AM: Shower time! This step takes roughly 40 minutes (I apologize deeply to Tiffany, my environmentalist best friend).

5:20 AM: Get dressed for school; dry hair; perform various daily hygiene requirements (i.e. deodorant, lotion).

5:40 AM: Read. The length of this step varies, but I’ll generally read for about forty minutes.

6:20 AM: Make and eat breakfast. My favorites include eggs cooked in the shape of a pancake, Buttermilk Kodiak Cakes (recommended by Ella, my nutritionist best friend), Vanilla Activia, Original Life Cereal, and—my personal front-runner—slightly green bananas.

6:40 AM: Pack backpack and make sure everything is in order. This does not take twenty minutes, but I purposefully leave that wiggle room in case I want to read a few more chapters or run a few more miles.

7:00 AM: Leave for school.

My extensive routine has led to plenty of ridicule from my friends, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Early mornings allow me to present my best self every single day, making me an overall happier and more productive person. Sure, it’s strange to experience life at an hour where everyone around you is still asleep, but I like the quiet anyway.

-By Alyssa Hopper