What I’ve learned (so far)

By Jenna Campbell

Since this is the final blog (and Flipside piece in general) that will be published before the Young Observer’s go on summer vacation, I have decided to take the reigns and write it. Sadly, I will not be returning when the Young Observer meetings resume in August of this year. Instead, I’ll be living on a college campus three and a half hours away,  furthering my journalism education at Penn State University. Although I have hopes of stopping by the Observer-Reporter for a visit from time to time, nothing is guaranteed. So, for my last article I ever write as a Young Observer, I decided to recount all that has happened thus far in my senior year, as well as life, and give some final advice to those reading this and to the Flipside writers I’m leaving behind. This way, no matter where I may be in this crazy world, a piece of me will always remain a Young Observer, forever within this post.

So with that, I give you, the 102 rules that I have learned (and am learning) to live by:

  1. Snacks are always a good idea.
  2. Never stress eat though, it will make you feel worse.
  3. Wherever you go, make sure you have your wallet, keys and sunglasses.
  4. Study until the information is stuck in your head, but take a break (you don’t want to study to the point of exhaustion).
  5. Drink a lot of water.
  6. No matter how old you get, after a certain time, make yourself go to sleep.
  7. When you get stressed, go for a walk.
  8. If you can’t go for a walk, at the very least, get some fresh air.
  9. It’s never a bad idea to have an extra pair of socks handy.
  10. Pizza and chocolate may not be the answer to everything, but they can solve a few problems.
  11. Go on spontaneous adventures. Trust me, those are the memories that last a lifetime.
  12. Always be open to trying new things.
  13. If you ever get the opportunity to travel, take it.
  14. Do charity work whenever possible (giving back is liberating).
  15. Live without regrets, every mistake makes you who you are.
  16. It’s okay to vent when you’re angry.
  17. But remember to let the little things go (and some of the big things, too).
  18. Never be afraid to ask questions.
  19. As cliché as it may be, never concern yourself with what others think (the only opinion that matters is your own).
  20. Do something outside your comfort zone. It will help you gain confidence.
  21. Think before you speak. Words can hurt and you know it.
  22. Find your passion and pursue it. Oh, and don’t let anyone stop you
  23. Be honest to yourself and others, no matter how difficult the truth may be.
  24. Always have compassion, you never know when you might need it in return.
  25. Keep your friends close because your close friends will already be by your side.
  26. Meet someone new everywhere you go.
  27. You should remind yourself daily of the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” (first impressions can be misleading).
  28. Fight for what you believe in.
  29. Stand your ground, even if your voice breaks and your knees start shaking.
  30. Pick yourself up when you fall. Every. Single. Time.
  31. Live every day to its fullest.
  32. Laugh when something is funny (even if your laugh is loud and the room is quiet).
  33. Discover your potential because you have a lot of it.
  34. Find a song and make it your anthem. Listen to it whenever you want and as many times as you want.
  35. Love with ferocity.
  36. Love unconditionally.
  37. Don’t let getting hurt stop you from trusting people again.
  38. Splurge here and there, it’s okay to treat yourself.
  39. You may not always know the answer; don’t sweat it.
  40. Nobody is the best at everything.
  41. Go out with your friend when you’re having a bad day. I know you won’t want to, but it’s better to get out than to stay home and mope.
  42. We’re all broke at some point or another, it’s how we learn to survive.
  43. Education never stops so you might as well embrace it.
  44. Always hope for the best, but be realistic.
  45. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, just go with it.
  46. Pain is temporary. Know this. Ponder this.
  47. You’re young and you’re human, change your mind as often as you feel like.
  48. However, don’t be indecisive when someone asks you what you want.
  49. Teach others new things, but gain knowledge from them at the same time.
  50. Like whatever you want to like.
  51. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone if you don’t want to.
  52. Some situations are not meant to be taken lightly.
  53. Get rid of any source of negativity within your life.
  54. Have pride but not to the point of arrogance.
  55. I hate to say it, but nobody likes a know-it-all
  56. If people want to walk out of your life, let them (I’ll let you in on a secret, they weren’t worth your time anyway).
  57. Stand out.
  58. Be different.
  59. Be unique.
  60. Nobody is the same, and don’t let anyone make you think differently.
  61. Get your thoughts and feelings out through writing (regardless of how insignificant they may feel, they aren’t).
  62. Some people will set out with the sole intent to knock you down. Don’t let them.
  63. You are more than capable of accomplishing anything you set your mind to.
  64. Spread peace just as often as you let it in.
  65. Put yourself (and your happiness) first no matter what.
  66. Be open-minded…always.
  67. Take pictures of the things you think are important.
  68. March to the beat of your own drum.
  69. And feel sorry for those who judge you for it.
  70. You will feel jealous sometimes; it’s only natural.
  71. Admit when you’re wrong (and don’t let it affect your ego).
  72. Take time to enjoy nature.
  73. Never take the world for granted.
  74. Walk with your head held high (even if you’re walking away from an embarrassing moment).
  75. It won’t be easy, but break all your bad habits, you’ll feel so much better about yourself when you do. (By the way, you can do it. I believe in you.)
  76. Wear whatever you want, and own it (this goes for boys too).
  77. Appreciate all forms of art.
  78. There are times to be courageous and there are times to give into fear, do not confuse the two.
  79. Try new foods (be sure to check the allergy restrictions but not the caloric intake).
  80. Running is an acquired taste, but you can learn to love it.
  81. If running isn’t for you, take up any form of exercise, it’s a marvelous cure for stress
  82. There’s no shame in crying. Everybody does it (don’t say you don’t).
  83. Have at least one person you can tell everything to, but don’t rely on them to fix your problems.
  84. Sometimes life will throw you a curveball, throw one right back.
  85. Eleanor Roosevelt said it all when she said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
  86. Keep your independence through tough times. There are moments in life where it will be the only thing you need to keep going.
  87. Accept that not everybody’s opinions are the same as yours.
  88. There will always be “that person,” suck it up, there’s nothing you can do about it.
  89. Life is not always easy, but you will survive.
  90. If you ever feel  like you can’t continue to survive, get in contact with me.
  91. Peer pressure is real, and it doesn’t go away with age. Keep this in the back of your mind.
  92. There will always be opportunities, but they won’t always knock on your door. Sometimes, you have to seek them out (but they’ll be worth it if you do).
  93. Develop a strong work ethic as soon as possible, and don’t let it go.
  94. Read on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter what it is, just read.
  95. Push yourself to get something done.
  96. Procrastinating will not pay off.
  97. Pay attention to the news, even when the stories are sad. It’s true, it’s real and it’s happening.
  98. Your interests will change as you get older – let them.
  99. Conforming is never the answer.
  100. Live a life you can write a book about.
  101. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Do not disappoint him.
  102. Do not disappoint yourself.

A ‘foolproof’ plan

This blog post was initially planned for publication the week of April Fool’s Day. Because of communication and technical errors, it’s a couple week’s late, but still here for your enjoyment!

By Lydia Grant

Well, It’s April Fool’s Day and you have no good pranks?

Here are 10 “foolproof” pranks. Hah, get it? It’s a pun! You know because fool? Anyway…

1. Go up to your teacher/boss and tell them blue is a number. That’ll get ’em.

2. Ask someone if they want a piece of gum, then hand them an apple. Unexpected and healthy.

3. Go up to your crush and tell them you hate him/her. Then say “Just kidding, I love you”. April fool’s my friend.

4. Do that ‘you have something on your shirt’ thing. Classic. Everyone will fall for it.

5. Tell someone you were a hipster before it was cool. Then say “I lied I was a hipster after it was cool.” Keep a straight face or you’ll kill the joke.

6. Tell someone you support silverware equality. Then throw a fork on the ground and hold a spoon to your face. Now softly whisper, “April Fool’s.”

7. Bring a bear to school/work. Hah, brilliant.

8. Tell someone you’re smart then yell, “April FFFOOOOOOOOOOLLS!”  Get it? Because you’re dumb and fool is a synonym for dumb. I’m hilarious.

9. Do your siblings chores. They sure won’t expect that.

10. And finally, if all else fails, tell your family you love them.

Well now you have 10 fool proof pranks to pull on all your loved ones. Merry Christmas!

Things change

By Hope Savasta

On January 1, Taylor Swift tweeted, “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”

Change is a part of life. For me, high school is less than a year away, and I don’t know what to expect. I just try to remember we’re all in the same boat. At least once in our lives, we will all face change.

Yeah, it’s new and you may feel uneasy about it, but sometimes we need something different to happen to us in order to grow and learn.

Any major changes in your life? Feel free to let us know!

Strange circumstances surround presidential assassinations

By Julia Felton

You probably already know that four U.S. presidents were assassinated while in office, and those four presidents were Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy. But there are some strange facts about their assassinations that you might not know.

Abraham Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated while in office. As we all learned in history class, John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln at Ford’s Theater, and the president died a few hours later. However, there were some strange events surrounding the assassination.

At the time of Lincoln’s assassination, John Parker was the president’s body guard. On the night of the assassination, Parker was at Ford’s Theater at first. During an intermission, he left to go to a nearby saloon. Little did he know, John Wilkes Booth was drinking at that same saloon on the same night.

As if it wasn’t strange enough that Lincoln’s body guard was at the same saloon as Booth on the night of the assassination, it gets even more bizarre. The Secret Service did not yet exist, but it would exist soon after Lincoln was killed. Lincoln was killed in April 1865. The Secret Service was officially founded in July of the same year. But that isn’t the shocking part. The most shocking part of this story is Lincoln signed the bill creating the Secret Service the night before his assassination.

James Garfield was the next president assassinated. His murder also had some strange circumstances. Charles Guiteau shot the president because of his anger over being unable to secure a federal position for himself.

The newest technology was used in a desperate attempt to save the president. At the time, Alexander Graham Bell just invented the metal detector, which was used in an attempt to locate the bullet inside of Garfield’s body. Unfortunately, Garfield was lying on a bed with metal framework, causing the metal detector to malfunction, although no one at the time could figure out why they were having such difficulties.

William McKinley was the next unfortunate victim. An anarchist by the name of Leon Czolgosz shot McKinley September 6, 1901. His trial lasted just more than eight hours and, after only about 20 minutes of deliberation, the jury found him guilty.  Just six weeks after McKinley’s death, Czolgosz was executed.

Perhaps the most bizarre part of McKinley’s assassination involved the president’s personal lucky charm. McKinley almost always wore a red carnation on his lapel. While greeting a group of people, he took the carnation off of his lapel and gave it to a young girl. Seconds later, he was shot.

The most recent presidential assassination was that of John F. Kennedy. Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy November 22, 1963.

When Kennedy was shot, he was taken to Parkland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Approximately 48 hours later, Lee Harvey Oswald was taken to the same hospital after he was shot by Jack Ruby. Oswald was also pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital. Jack Ruby was arrested for the murder of Oswald. While in prison, he got lung cancer and was taken to Parkland Hospital. He also died there.

Each presidential assassination was surrounded with strange circumstances. We all know the basic facts of the assassinations, but these events are clearly more bizarre than they appear at first glance.

Just calm down

By Lydia Grant

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed by stress? Do you need to just calm down or help the people around you relax? Well, here’s an A-Z list of fun facts to help you relax.

  • A – Albert is the 54th most popular name in the United States. Crazy stuff right?
  • B – Books will always be better than movies. That’s not an opinion it’s just fact.
  • C – C is a pointless letter because we already have K and S. Seriously. Think about it. Why does C exist?
  • D – Donkeys can live for more than 50 years. What do they do with that time? I think they play poker, mostly.
  • E – Everything will make sense eventually. It’s like reading a book and finally knowing how the title is incorporated.
  • F – “Fire fighting” and “kite flying” were featured at the 1900 Olympics in Paris.
  • G – Giraffe’s have blue tongues, but they can also be purple or black. It’s like they eat popsicles when we aren’t looking. Conspiracy?
  • H – 1,600 people in the United States are named Hippo. 119 have the last name Hippo. Hippo Hippo is a possible name choice. If that doesn’t make your day, then you need to calm down (title reference).
  • I – Internet traffic is cat-related 15 percent of the time. Yes, 15 percent of the internet is cats.
  • J – Jennifer held the most popular girl name in the United States for 14 years. “The Jennifer Era” should have it’s own show on the Discovery Channel.
  • K – Kanye West pretends Kim Kardashian is Kanye West, because Kanye loves Kanye. This is a fact.
  • L – Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt have never won Oscars.
  • M – Mary-Kate had her first kiss before Ashley. The Olsen twins played Michelle Tanner on “Full House” (just to refresh your memory).
  • N – Stephen Hawking hasn’t won a Nobel Prize. Nobel starts with n.
  • O – Was the color orange or the fruit orange named first. Is your mind blown or is it just mine?
  • P – Penguins do indeed, have knees. They can also wear sweaters (which is pretty impressive and adorable).
  • Q – The Queen of England attended a wedding after she was invited as a joke. The couple had no real social status. God save the Queen.
  • R – Marsala Red is the pantone color of the year.
  • S – Snakes are just tails with teeth. It’s been scientifically proven by absolutely no one.
  • T – The North Star’s light that we see is from 400 years ago. So space is kind of like a time machine. I blow minds daily.
  • U – Unicorns are just horses with party hats. That’s a fact.
  • V – Vending machines kill more people than sharks. What a way to go.
  • W – We, as humans, can’t taste water, unlike pigs, dogs etc. Am I the only one who really wants to know what water tastes like? We can only taste the chemicals.
  • X – Xbox One was designed not to clash with television sets.
  • Y – You never stop getting older, you just go and go. No breaks, no warning, just aging. Well, that hit me like a rock.
  • Z – Zebras are white with black stripes. Case closed.

You have become a better person just from reading this. Are you calm yet? You should be.