How to #YOLO Valentine’s Day 2k15

After all, isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about?

Illustration by Irene Jung (’16)

February 14, Valentine’s Day! The one day when boys and girls finally release their built up courage to express their love towards one another. The one day when chocolates are boldly given away to loved ones. The one day when new couples form and old couples rekindle their waning passions.

Or at least, it should be.

Valentine’s Day in KIS is sadly treated almost as any other day. The majority ignores the existence of such a day. Why is this? Students are so burdened with stress that the romance and excitement of the day are usually hidden under the daily struggles of homework, tests, and projects. KIS could use a change in the way we perceive Valentine’s Day. Conveying love and gratitude from one person to another should be a simple and natural course of action. With the help of KISRAK’s loving spirit, this year’s Valentine’s Day will hopefully consist of more spirit and enthusiasm. Let us not see the day as daunting or useless, but rather as an opportunity to brighten up someone’s day. 

Be brave, and be loving!

Here are some steps to a great Valentine’s Day!

1. Prepare homemade chocolates!

Nothing says “I love you” more than personally created works of delicious art! Rather than store-bought chocolates, homemade chocolates are preferred as a gift. It shows that you put in effort and love into each chocolate.

2. Dress for the occasion!

The way a person dresses can predispose the attitude for the day. Wear sweatpants, and you’ll feel comfortable and at home. Wear jeans, and you’ll be ready for a casual day. Wear a skirt or a nice collared shirt, and you’ll be ready to flirt and have a good day.

3. Smile!

Feeling nervous before the big moment? Smile, and you’ll feel more relaxed! You will also seem more approachable and sincere.

4. Have courage!

Finally, pluck up your courage and ask away! You have nothing to lose, right? Expressing your feelings is what high school is all about! #YOLO

Good luck everyone!

– Sarah Chin (’16)

Header: Irene Jung (’16)

Much Ado About Food

We all love food, but sometimes we can’t help but hate it at the same time.

Irene Jung (’16)

Who doesn’t love food? In-N-Out, Taco Bell, and Chipotle. Whether eating healthy was your new years resolution or you’re starting your diet, you’ll most likely digress and end up eating that one hamburger. Then comes the usual, self-loathing topped off with voraciously stuffing your face with chocolate. Face it, we’re in a love/hate relationship with food.


I mean, it’s sort of obvious why we would like food, isn’t it? According to The Guardian magazine, we human beings are naturally programmed to want foods by having liked them. According to Kent Berridge, a neurologist at the University of Michigan, there have been experiments to prove that your brain is directly related with the likings of food. The neurochemical that gives us pleasure is dopamine; and when Berridge suppressed domaine in rats, the rats did not want the sweet food it was given, but still enjoyed the sweetness. Meaning, the rats liked the food, but that did not mean they wanted the food. These two aspects of the reward system are directly related and close intertwined with our natural tendency to like food. Dopamine triggers what we decide to want, and the brain releases endorphin and enkephalin, which produces the liking.

If you’re not into the science-y background story, let me put it this way: psychological elements affect how we feel about food. Our brain is stimulated and induced when we taste and swallow food. It cultivates our mind and of course, our stomach. But food is also the illicit villain that destroys our eating habits specifically created for the sole purpose of losing weight. If you’re a teenager, you should’ve have gone down this path at least once.


However, we absolutely hate food when it lures us into eating it whilst trying to restrict our diets. Imagine what it would be like to eat as much as we want and keep the same body the entire time. That’s right, it’s just not possible. It is inevitable; we’ll end up gaining weight if we keep on eating the food that we love, and we all know that include sweets and junk food. We start letting our desire of staying skinny control us and manipulate us, until we go completely nuts and end up gorging food upon our mouths.


Hey, but remember: in the end, you have to do what you love; working for and keeping a glamorous body may be important, but the most important thing is to stay happy and healthy. A small piece of chocolate wouldn’t kill you, but taking the stairs instead of the elevator, for once, wouldn’t either. Finding balance and figuring out the eating habit that works for you is important. We may have a love/hate relationship with food, but the key is to seek your midpoint within the two extremes.

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Header Source: Tumblr

2015 Grammy Nominations and Winners

Check out what’s what with the year’s biggest music award show.

The Grammy Awards is an annual, prestigious music award show and is always a big event for the viewers, artists, and everyone involved with them. It contains many types of awards and several performances from top artists. Designers and make-up artists especially look forward to the Grammy Awards, which they consider a place to show the public their work, since being responsible for a celebrity on their “best look” list can bring them a lot of success. Singers and performers grow anxious and excited, since winning a Grammy or giving a memorable performance could mean immediate fame and popularity.

The Grammys

This year, the much anticipated Grammy Awards show has taken place on Sunday, February 8th, and viewers watched it live on their television via CBS or on streaming websites. There are over 80 types of awards being given this year, but here are the nominations for some of the more popular ones, with the winners bolded (according to

Record of the Year:

“Fancy” by Iggy Azalea

“Chandelier” by Sia

“Stay With Me”(Darkchild Version) by Sam Smith

“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

“All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor


Album of the Year:    

Morning Phase by Beck

Beyoncé by Beyoncé

X by Ed Sheeran

In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith

Girl by Pharrell Williams

Song of the Year:

“All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor

“Chandelier” by Sia

“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

“Stay With Me”(Darkchild Version) by Sam Smith

“Take Me To Church” by Hozier


Best New Artist:

Iggy Izalea


Brandy Clark


Sam Smith


Best Pop Solo Performance:

“All of Me” (Live) by John Legend

“Chandelier” by Sia

“Stay With Me”(Darkchild Version) by Sam Smith

“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

“Happy” (Live) by Pharrell Williams

– Min Ji Kim (’18)

Header Source: Youtube

How to Pull an All-Nighter: Tips on Surviving Your Long Night

Big test tomorrow? Held off on an assignment until just hours before it’s due? Don’t worry — Blueprint’s got you.

Irene Jung (’16)

Have an essay due tomorrow morning? Got an AP World History exam when you haven’t even opened up the textbook? Planning on staying up all night? But wait! Before you reach for your first can of Red Bull, here are some tips and tricks to ensure maximum productivity for your long night ahead.

1. Lay out a plan.

  • Think beforehand what you have to get done that night. It will save you a lot of stress and havoc if you have a set list to tackle.
  • Don’t type it out! Gwendolyn Bounds of the Wall Street Journal discusses in her article “How Handwriting Trains the Brain; Forming Letters Is Key to Learning, Memory, Ideas” how writing things by hand can improve the process of learning and memorization.

2. Set your priorities straight.

  • Do you have both a biology exam and a chemistry worksheet due tomorrow? Which one will be more crucial when it comes to your overall grade? Avoid tackling more than one task at once.
  • Cut off all distractions.
  • As mentioned by the American Psychological Association, multitasking can cost you 40% of your productive time. Turn off Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and any other distractions; your body, brain, and assignment will love you for it.

3. Grab your caffeine later.

  • It’s tempting to reach for the coffee and Monster before the night has even begun. However, if you’re a regular coffee consumer or has already drank a couple of cups earlier in the day, drinking coffee or other caffeine products won’t have much effect when you’re trying to stay up during the night. Treat caffeine as your last spurt only when you desperately need it. When drinking caffeine, make sure to drink water along with it, for caffeine can dehydrate your body quickly, leaving it restless and tired.

4. Snack on the right foods.

  • When feeling drowsy, you may feel the urge to indulge yourself in carb-heavy foods such as chips and pizza. However, according to Dr. Nathan Shier, a nutrition science professor at Indiana University, such refreshments will only make you all the more lethargic. Instead, try going for protein rich snacks such as beef jerky or nuts.

5. Get some fresh air.

  • Do your eyelids feel heavy? If so, take about five minutes to open the window and breathe in the cool air. The chill will re-stimulate your senses that became accustomed to the heated room.
  • If that isn’t enough, go out for a short 10 minute walk around your apartment. Not only will the cold wake you up, but you’ll also get the chance to stretch out your muscles and shake off the stiffness that may lead to drowsiness.
  • A study by Robert Thayer, a professor at California State University, demonstrated how a ten minute walk increased energy levels for two hours, as walking pumps oxygen into the veins, brain, and muscles.

And lastly, if you finish early, don’t hesitate to sleep! That short 30 minute nap may not seem to be much, but it’ll boost your performance during the following day;  little sleep is better than no sleep at all! But still, too many all-nighters can ruin your sleep schedule, so try your best to balance your workload and get as much sleep as you can. Best of luck, and remember, don’t stress too much!

– Seiyeon Park (’17)

Header Source: Jorge Cham

SAT Testing Season 2015

It’s the season of stress.


On Saturday January 24, 2015, KIS students gathered early in the morning at the first floor of the high school building, awaiting the start of their SATs. This month’s tests included Subjects Tests from a wide variety, including Biology, Literature, US History, and Mathematics Level 1 and 2. Apart from the Subject Tests, KIS offered SAT 1 Tests as well.

Yunji Lee (’16)

The majority of the test-takers were juniors, but there was a surprising amount of sophomores and even freshmen who took the recent test. One out of five test takers were sophomores, and an overwhelming 76% of the test takers were juniors. With Advanced Placement tests approaching and school work never ceasing, it is necessary to recognize the extra time and effort that would have been invested into preparing for January’s critical standardized test.

Knowing that the SAT scores play a vital role in college acceptance, the KIS society naturally grows tense regarding the scores. Because of this, it is of great surprise that 40% of the test takers were absent of regrets and moderately pleased with their performance on the 24th. It is still imperative, however, to be cautious about potential cancellation of test scores due to notorious cheating scandals.

Last October, test prep companies in Korea and China were accused and found guilty of illegally obtaining test materials. Consequently, scores were canceled; not only were the scores of those with an unfair advantage canceled, but also the scores of those who had prepared with dignity. Sarah Choi, a senior at KIS, agreed. “It is unfair that innocent people simply become helpless victims of a heinous crime, in this case, cheating,” she remarked.

Hopefully, this year’s test scores will be clean from crime and accepted by CollegeBoard.

– Becky Yang (’16)

Header: Collegeboard

Album Review: 1989

Swifties unite.

On October 27th, 2014, international pop star Taylor Swift released her fifth album 1989. Despite it being a completely different genre and style from her previous albums, 1989 was a huge success and sold 1.28 million copies in the first week, making it the only album to sell more than one million copies in its first week in 2014. 1989 earned Swift 3 Grammy nominations for her hit leading single “Shake It Off”, an upbeat song about how she doesn’t care about the “haters”: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance. Swift also was the only artist to perform in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2 years in a row when she performed in this year’s show, singing her singles “Blank Space” and “Style”. According to, 1989 has been number 1 on charts for weeks and is the officially best selling album of 2014, beating the previously number 1 “Frozen” soundtrack. Also, Taylor Swift has won the Billboard Woman of the Year, the Dick Clark Award for Excellence at the AMAs, number 1 on iTunes, and many other awards and achievements. Swift also released three music videos so far for 1989: “Shake It Off,” “Blank Space,” and “Style.”

Big Machine Records

In an interview with Fusion, Taylor Swift said that unlike her previous album, Red, which “was a devastating record…about dealing with an intense heartbreak.” 1989 is about “the phase after that where you brush yourself off and you’re okay”. She also says that unlike her other songs, which were often related to heartbreak and romance, 1989 is more related to how she wants to define “my life on my own terms. That’s my list of priorities now, which is different than it was a couple of years ago.” Most of the songs on 1989 are fast and upbeat, and the instrumentals are more drums and electronics based compared to her typical country guitar sound. One thing that Taylor has kept in 1989, though, is the meaningful, self-written lyrics that seem to be relatable to every situation. According to Swift, 1989 is more “sonically cohesive” than Red, and is her favorite thing she’s made so far.

– Min Ji Kim (’18)

Header: Big Machine Records

Freedom of Speech : Charlie Hebdo

How free is freedom of speech?

Moral Low Ground

On Wednesday, January 7, the world was shocked with the news of a terrorist attack in France at the magazine Charlie Hebdo building. After killing 12 people, including cartoonists, the editor, and police officers, the gunmen exited. According to NBC news, witnesses have stated hearing the attackers shout “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “God is Great”. The motive is assumed to be the satirical caricatures of Prophet Muhammad that Charlie Hebdo had published. Three years ago, similarly, Charlie Hebdo was firebombed for the same reason. Gravely affronted by the attack on freedom of speech, Paris is currently on guard and focused on finding these terrorists.

The recent event has sparked mass demonstrations throughout the world both in support and against Charlie Hebdo. The supporting protests in Europe are proclaiming the rights for freedom of expression, while the many Palestinians against it are exclaiming over the disrespect shown by the magazine in their offensive publications of the Prophet Mohammed.

Charlie Hebdo

Furthermore, after the attack, Charlie Hebdo had published another controversial “survivor” issue that further angered Muslims around the world. The largest one in Karachi, the demonstrations depicted the anger of Muslims and their desire for respect towards their beliefs. They are protesting against the magazine itself, and some are going as far as to boycott European imports altogether.

Not only Muslims, but other faiths have also expressed discontent with the magazine’s outspoken insults towards another religion, as they are notorious for a sharp tongue against other religious groups. Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, although expressing clear opposition to terrorism, also voiced disdain for offending religions.

It is during times like these when freedom of speech is questioned and tested. Many from western backgrounds believe strongly in the individual rights of men, but is there a limit? Charlie Hebdo had rights to publish whatever they so desired under the idea of freedom of speech, but by doing so, offended many around the world, which thus led to retaliation and terrorism. According to Huffington Post, the Pope stated that insulting one’s religion can be compared to insulting one’s mother, which would cause hurt and defensive behavior.

A similar case of questioning freedom of rights could be seen in the Snyder vs. Phelps case against the Westboro Baptist church, where Phelps was sued for causing disruptions and insulting the Snyder family during the funeral of the Marine son, but was victorious as a result of freedom of speech.

Indeed, how far is too much? But, on the other hand, the attackers in this terrorist incident resorted to violence and murders, including those of innocent lives. There is no correct answer, but recent events with Charlie Hebdo incite curious reflection on freedom of speech.

– Sarah Chin (’16)

Header: The Telegraph