Four Go-to Cafes Over Spring Break

Coffee and Friends: The Perfect Blend!

Not sure what you’re going to be doing over spring break? Or do you already have set plans: being stuck at hagwon for over ten hours, studying for your AP exams and perhaps even the SATs? It’s okay, I’ve been there too. But don’t worry – I’m sure we can find something for you to enjoy over the well deserved break other than simply repeating what you always do while school is still in session. I’ve got just what you need: a list of four unique and “aesthetically pleasing” cafes you definitely need to visit with your friends over the break!

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As the name of this cafe goes, the Style Nanda Pink Hotel gives off vintage hotel vibes, perhaps inspired by the movie, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. As soon as you enter the place, the first thing you will see is the concierge desk with room keys hung on the wall, just like any other hotel. Moreover, as Style Nanda is a fashion brand, you can shop for makeup and clothes from the first floor all the way to the fourth floor at this five stories tall building. The Pink Pool Cafe is located on the fifth floor, where you can enjoy the standard lattes and cappuccinos, as well as their famous cotton candy ice cream. It’s basically a giant fluff of cotton candy placed on top of haagen-daaz ice cream – what more can we ask for? And of course, we can’t forget the rooftop terrace cafe on the sixth floor, the area perfect to take photos with your friends, or to just chill out in general.

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PC: Twitter.com

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On the search for an one and only vibe to experience at a cafe? Then Ferry Roasters is the way to go. Again, as the name of the cafe goes, the interior design of this cafe is mostly inspired by how a cruise ship would look on the inside, with sprinkles of European sentimentality here and there. However, you can also go up to the cafe’s rooftop section where you can relax as you sip your cup of coffee (roasted on the spot!) and munch on your mini donuts, the cafe’s original specialty, while enjoying the great view. In fact, you can even see the Namsan Tower from there! Their popular menus include a drink of espresso added to milk (mixed with herb and vanilla) with a mini donut on top called the tube latte and the chilly choco, which is their hot chocolate with marshmallows on top.

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PC: Instagram.com

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Aren’t flowers pretty much long overdue, after that long, long, winter? I mean, it’s spring time; flowers are a staple when it comes to appreciating this season. So why not check out this flower cafe located in Hongdae? First of all, whether you take a selfie or ask your friend to take a “candid” shot of you at this cafe, the photos are guaranteed to look decent to a certain extent because the background will be that beautiful. It’s not necessarily a quiet cafe, per say, with everybody around you taking photos, but you need those photoshoot days once in awhile! As for popular menus, you should try their strawberry yogurt smoothie or their berry berry mate tea. Once again, a great place to take pictures to blow up your instagram feed!

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On the lookout for some mouth-watering dessert? Well, YGiis is a fantastic choice for you. It’s not difficult finding this cafe, as it’s the only place with a white exterior design amongst all the dull colored ones around it, thus easily noticeable to one’s eye. This cafe sells not only the usual coffee menus such as americano and mocha, but also the best choices of a wide range of sweets. Mont blanc, tarts, roll cakes…whatever you’re craving that day, I’m sure YGiis will have that choice of cake for you. Also, don’t forget their most popular menu, their ice cream placed in a cone made out of langue de chat. Langue de chat, French for “a cat’s tongue,” is a French cookie recipe, and it goes perfectly with the milk ice cream!

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Spring break may not be exactly what you planned for it to be, with the inevitable amount of studying you have to do, but who says you can’t take a day off from all those brain-frying equations, and the hours you will have to spend on which ways the AD and AS curves shift? #TreatYourSelf to a trip to one of these cafes with your friends, and don’t forget to take some insta-worthy photos! Don’t worry; we’re almost there.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Banners by Crescentia Jung (’19)

Featured Image by Celine Yoon (’19)

Shoot for the Moon: Soon to be a Reality

Space mission to the moon and back planned to take place in 2018.

Is a trip to outer space something you’ve always dreamed of? Our generation is said to have been born too late to explore the earth, yet born too early to explore the galaxy – middle children of history, if you will. However, that may no longer be the case as a trip to the moon might soon become a reality.

It was announced recently, by Space Development Company SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, that the company is planning on sending two lucky tourists around the moon by 2018. It’s nearly impossible to even fathom of what’s in it for the tourists when it comes to “mak[ing] a long loop around the moon”, as it’s difficult to conceptualize what it’s even like out there. As of now, all we can say is that the passengers will travel for “perhaps 300,000 or 400,000 miles distance altogether,” and that “the mission [will] not involve a lunar landing.” Moreover, if this trip is successful, it will be the first return of human beings to the deep space since the 1960~1970 Apollo plan. It has also been revealed that the private tourists have already paid a substantial amount of money for this getaway, and that they will be going through training as well as health and fitness check ups within this year.

“Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration.” – Elon Musk

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PC: IBTimes UK

The passengers are planned to travel on the capsule spaceship Crew Dragon, which will be placed on the rocket Falcon Heavy. The Dragon spacecraft will, for the most part, “operate…autonomously,” which means the passengers must “train for emergency procedures but will not be in charge of piloting the spacecraft.” 45 years have passed, but mankind will finally be re-exploring the solar system and beyond. It is exciting to see how far we have come in terms of technological advancements, and what more the future awaits. Who knows, maybe we weren’t born too early to explore the galaxy!

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: SpaceX

Sources:

http://www.spacex.com/news/2017/02/27/spacex-send-privately-crewed-dragon-spacecraft-beyond-moon-next-year

http://www.azfamily.com/story/34622214/spacex-says-it-will-fly-2-people-to-moon-next-year

http://www.space.com/35844-elon-musk-spacex-announcement-today.html

Lounge with Leona: Controversial KIS Bus Policy

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; is the KIS bus policy fair?

Ever since I came to KIS, which was back in 2011, I have been riding the school bus to and back from school. Before I came to KIS, I lived a five minute walk away from my school so I basically paid nothing for transportation fees. Hence why it shocked my parents when they first saw how expensive it was to ride the school bus (you would think the fee is included within the tuition since it is insanely high-priced). Now, I’m sure the fees have changed (upwards) in comparison to six years ago, but let’s do some simple arithmetics here. The bus fee for the school year of 2016~2017 is 2,500,000 KRW. That multiplied by 6 is 15,000,000 KRW, which is the money my parents have been paying in order for me to ride the school bus for the past six years.

I could whine all day and night about this cost, but as it is a price all bus riders pay at KIS, complaining would pretty much get me nowhere. Besides, without the school bus, I have no other way of getting to school (as no sane taxi driver wants to drive us up the hill KIS is located on because of the morning traffic that takes ages to escape). In fact, I’m not even here to complain about this bizarre pricing. Rather, I’m here to question the fairness of the KIS bus policy.

Under the “Application for School Bus Service” google form found on the KIS homepage, the bus rules which “all students need to adhere to” can be found. Section B component i clearly states, “students must tag their RFID cards to board the school bus.” As it never explicitly states the specific time period this rule applies (before or after school), I’m going to assume it also includes the times we ride the late bus. According to the busing page found on the KIS homepage, KIS provides four late buses for students who stay at school after 3, due to drama practices, sports practices, and so on. However, recently, I’ve been noticing the after school bus that goes to Sunae, Jeongja, and Migeum that I always tend to ride frequently end up full. This is most likely because many students live in the area. Students used to have to stand and ride back when I was a middle schooler, but most recently, drivers have simply been bringing out new buses so that the students who couldn’t ride the original bus could still return home.

This got me wondering; would the after school buses truly overflow with students if only the students who were actually allowed to ride the buses rode them? Basically, I’m calling out the students who don’t pay a single won of the 2,500,00 KRW that myself and hundreds of other bus riders do, yet somehow justify themselves riding the after school bus, leaving many of us in situations of inconvenience. Sure, you still “pay” for your ride to school whether it be because you ride your parent’s car or taxi. But if I could get away with just paying for my ride to school instead of a round trip, why should my parents even bother to pay the 2,500,000 KRW? Surely, it would be smarter for me to do just as those who are breaking the rules.

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From the “KIS School Bus Service Information” found on the KIS homepage.

This brings me back to the point made earlier about component i that is frankly, highlighted in red, further establishing that that rule is important. I’m assuming this rule was implemented in the first place so that they could differentiate who is allowed to ride the bus and who isn’t (ie: if you aren’t a registered bus rider, you cannot ride the school bus). At the beginning of the year, I was constantly reminded to tag my ID card when I got on and off my regular bus as well as when I rode the after school bus, and I do admit, that process got tedious and annoying after a while. However, I did get used to getting my ID card out. Yet now, I only find myself getting reminded to tag my ID card when riding my regular transportation bus and not when riding the after school bus. Taking advantage of this, students who do not pay for the bus rides began riding the after school bus again, and bus drivers don’t bother checking whether they’re allowed to or not. Why? Out of laziness? Because they know the students will probably make up some random excuse and still end up getting their way? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s probably a little bit of both.

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PC: Clare Kwon (’18)

As my opinion alone would probably mean nothing to the administrators, I decided to interview other KISians who ride the bus on what they thought about the status quo. I ended up getting quite a range of voices – those who didn’t mind, those who were mildly irritated, and those who were upright furious.

“Personally, I don’t really mind. But I do understand that it’s unfair and honestly it causes clutters pretty often. Especially on the more popular buses like the Jeongja one.” – Amy Choi (‘17)

“I honestly don’t really mind it when people ride the after school bus despite not paying for it. Who knows, maybe they really need that ride and they don’t have any other method to get home. But in the case that there aren’t any seats, I believe that it’s only fair that those who did pay for the bus service should get seats first.” – Erica Lee (‘17)

“To be honest, I would be angry because I’m paying for the bus and they’re just using it for free. But at the same time, I understand when people ride the bus for free after school because…a lot of teams act in groups and it’s so hard when a lot of people can’t ride the bus with them.” – Anonymous

“As a person who pays a whole lot for the bus fee to ride the bus, I honestly think it is unfair when people who don’t pay for the bus still ride the after school bus. Once in awhile is fine, but riding every single day is a different story.” – Anonymous

“I just think it’s really ridiculous that we have to bare having so many people ride our bus[es] when they don’t even pay for it. I understand that the bus rides are very expensive and it honestly isn’t fair for everyone to pay 2,500,000 won to ride a bus that’s probably only a 15 minute ride home, but it’s not fair that some people have to wait for extra buses since so many people are filling our seats when they didn’t even pay a single penny.” – William Lee (‘18)

I also received this interesting opinion that did change my perspective.

“I have mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I don’t really like the thought of my parents paying for someone else’s transportation- since that technically is what occurs in such an occasion. However, I do understand the struggles of transportation and that there are multiple factors that go into it- some parents have work and other students depend on public transportation in the mornings, and after a long day it can be really tiring to get back home.” – Anonymous

It is true that there is only one public bus station in front of the school, and after long hours of practice (whether it be for theater, music, or athletics), students will be annoyed to not be able to ride a form of transportation right away, not to mention, the closest subway station, which would be Sunae, is a very long walk away from the school.

We tried the ID card tagging system, and clearly, it’s not working out. It’s inevitable that someone will find a loophole within a set of rules; it always happens. Perhaps what we need is something different, because this “innovation” only took us so far. For example, a one-way bus ride option which is currently not available according to the KIS homepage. Or, bus drivers enforcing the ID card tagging policy at a higher degree. Either way, the situation we all are currently in is not favorable towards certain students who pay the bus fee. However, that is not to say that we do not have any sympathetic feelings towards those who ride the after school bus without paying, because they probably have their personal reasons for it. What could be done to solve this problem? We have yet to find out.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: Clare Kwon (’18)

Sources:

http://www.kis.kr/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016-17-Tuition-and-Fees.pdf

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdMUSyG9BKpOuHSR6vLIf2p4DiwHAYJAbBWRLPCgIP6bXr11A/viewform?c=0&w=1

http://www.kis.kr/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/MS-HS-AS-BUS_20161013.pdf

Lounge with Leona: Does Going Mainstream Mean Failure?

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; does something going mainstream ruin it?

So that thing you love, the one thing you consider your safe place, is now going mainstream. Now what? Perhaps you will continue cheering for and supporting that underground band whose music you could only find on Soundcloud before, or the hipster movie you wouldn’t dare talk about in front of your friends because they wouldn’t have seen it anyways. Or, will you end up getting annoyed by the constant exposure it will receive, thereby beginning to dislike or even hate the thing you used to absolutely adore?

I don’t blame you; I’m definitely a victim of this vicious cycle too. I (supposedly) discover something none of my friends have ever seen or heard of, go crazy over it, decide to share the love with others, only to unmask it so much that I get annoyed of repeatedly hearing about it (now that I’ve got my friends hooked to it as well). Take La La Land for example; an exceptional film. I’ve seen it twice, and it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen it in theaters, but I still, to this day, find myself constantly humming the soundtrack. However, I did also catch myself saying, “La La Land is so overexposed” and that the movie never really deserved the title of “Golden Globe Awards record breaker,” which, now that I think about it, is something weird to say. Had I forgotten about the times I got chills down my spine whilst watching the movie because the screenplay was so beautiful, or when I almost teared up towards the end of it? It’s definitely not that I was the first one to discover the film, but I did question why I could not genuinely be happy for the film getting more exposure, thus giving the actresses and actors I love the recognition they deserve.

I did give this a thought, and this is perhaps because I like variety in the things I watch, eat, listen to, or do. I’m always up for new things, hence my attraction towards lesser known genres of entertainment. However, there are a certain number of times things are allowed to be played constantly before it gets redundant, and before I get bored of a conversation involving it rather than genuinely enjoying the talk. So here’s the question we all want an answer to: is it always a positive for the thing you hold dear to your heart to go mainstream, or is it downhill from there? Take Taylor Swift, for example. I used to listen to her music when I was in the third grade, when she was still a singer with the guitar singing country music. Now, her songs are still about love and heartbreaks but they more or less fit the pop genre. Don’t get me wrong, I still listen to her discography. However, I assure you there are fans who have distanced themselves from her and her music because they can’t accept her new style of music. But honestly, can we blame her, or any other singer who has had a similar experience as her? They figured out what the majority of the populace likes to listen to, and adapted themselves in order to continue making music and more importantly, money. If they have found what works for them, whilst continuing to please the public, go figure.

If you have been a loyal fan of something or someone for a fairly long time, of course you may feel betrayed by them after they’ve gone mainstream (whether that was their decision or not). However, you should also remind yourself that those singers, youtubers, actors, DJs, artists…; they’re human beings. They won’t stay the same forever, and where’s the fun in that anyways? People experience new things, change, and adopt certain elements they’ve learned into whatever they’ve been doing to create something new. And such change they make in order to impress the majority may end up in them going mainstream, thus perhaps giving them a little too much exposure. But just like the La La Land example I’ve given before, try to stop yourself from no longer accepting your favorite thing just because more people know about it now. Instead, be happy for the attention they’re receiving. That’s what will allow them to continue producing what you love. Moreover, I’m sure they will always remain loyal to the fans that have continued (and hopefully will continue) supporting them before they gained immense popularity.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: Crescentia Jung (’19)

Lounge with Leona: Why Environmental Problems aren’t being Solved

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; why Environmental Problems aren’t being Solved.

Grey, smoggy, and dusty skies. Constant coughing. Days in which fellow KISians are sent home instead of participating in after school activities because of the air pollution outside. It is without a doubt that South Korea is heavily affected by environmental issues, especially revolving around that of the atmosphere. We often see people blaming China for the air pollution in South Korea, when in reality, much of it is due to our nation. South Korea is a small country where over 50 million people reside, many of whom drive cars which contribute to the deterioration of the cleanliness of the air we breathe. Moreover, South Korea’s economy is ranked fourth overall in Asia, making it inevitable for the country to build many factories in support of industrialization, also contributing to air pollution.

Of course, South Korea is not the only nation suffering from environmental problems. Complications such as climate change, overfishing, and ocean pollution affect multiple countries. Ironically, society is seen constantly calling for protection of the environment for the sake of future generations. However, we do not see nearly enough action taken for this to actually happen. In fact, it is quite interesting to speculate about why efforts towards protecting our planet is often minimized. For example, thousands of environmentalists call out for the increase in usage of renewable energy sources, yet we see the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe supporting the use of coal. The way I see it, it is perhaps because appealing to one’s sense of morality and humanity is simply not enough. Yes, individuals obtain satisfaction for having done something to improve the status quo of the environment. However, there is a limit to how effective such good will can be, in comparison to the satisfaction, power, and fame people may gain from depleting resources for certain reasons such as producing goods. Perhaps to influential world leaders, efficiency is more worthwhile than a badge that says, “I’m a proud environmentalist.”

“Yet in the same year that the world agreed to combat climate change, Japan’s utilities continued to increase the use of the cheapest but dirtiest fossil fuel, ramping up coal imports to a record.” – Osamu Tsukimori and Aaron Sheldrick

The pinnacle of economics is not a single equation. The essence of this subject is built upon the assumption that an individual will always act in their own best interest. However, couldn’t this tendency to act in one’s self-interest prove to be the greatest flaw found within one’s intelligence? Indeed, according to the theory of Laissez-faire, a utopian economy is formed when a nation is left in a free market situation, in which every man is bound to act in his best interest. Supposedly, the invisible hand works to form a perfectly functioning economic system as a result. Yet such pillar begins to crumble when it is juxtaposed with Hardin’s theory of the tragedy of the commons; in a situation in which people share a common resource, they will abuse and deplete the shared resource due to self-interest.

If a resource is common, one is typically not charged for it. As an example, human beings do not have to pay for the air they breathe (imagine Thneedville from The Lorax coming to reality…), resulting in people taking advantage of those resources, polluting them as a result. It is interesting to see how in economic situations, each individual’s selfish actions end up cooperating for the satisfaction of humanity, yet when it comes to the environment, self-centered behavior only leads to collective abuse. Couldn’t this be due to the fact that in both situations, acting in one’s self-interest allows for profit? Meaning, in the economic sense, what one considers correct is what one yearns for, because they both lead to money, highlighting the idea that money always holds the highest of priority and importance. It is difficult to compute the correlation between the proximity of what one considers “morally correct” and what one simply wants, because in the environmental sense, actions for “the greater good” may be considered correct, but not necessarily prioritized.

As long as human beings continue acting in their self-interest, environmental problems will never be solved. People are rarely, if ever, motivated by ethical agendas. After all, people are practical beings, always seeking rationality and functionality, even when their actions may not necessarily serve the commons very well. It is natural for human beings to have selfish motivations. Isn’t this why the usage of renewable energy is rarely implemented, because it is much more costly in comparison to if they were to simply use coal? Human beings chase profitability, and will most likely choose the path which promises them the largest amount of revenue. Nevertheless, we must realize that in the long run, nonrenewable sources of energy will run out. We must realize that it will be too late if we continue putting off our responsibility to protect the environment. We must realize that there may be no future if we do not change our patterns of action when dealing with the finite amount of resources found on our planet. There will be a time in the future where we will regret not taking action in advance. Determining a way in which we can consolidate natural, selfish motivations of humans with a need to protect our environment is pivotal if we want to do something about the status quo of the Earth.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: Hannah Kim (’19)

Sources:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-japan-energy-demand-idUKKCN0V30N6

Arrest Warrant Served for Samsung Heir: Rejected in Court

Choi-gate prosecutors file charges against the de facto chief of Samsung for potential bribery and perjury.

SEOUL – On January 16th 2017, it was revealed by the Choi Soon-sil Gate prosecutors that they filed charges against Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong for bribing President Park Geun-hye. The South Korean multinational company, of course, did insist on Samsung’s de facto heir Lee’s innocence, as he himself spoke of having been coerced by President Park into contributing funds in cooperation with Choi Soon-sil. However, Lee still ended up being questioned by prosecutors for 22 hours. Moreover, prosecutors seeked to have Lee detained for potential perjury and bribery.

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Illustration by Hannah Kim (’19)

According to the Choi-gate prosecutors, Lee paid 36 million US dollars (43,000 billion Korean won) to entities owned by Choi-Soon sil, including Mir foundation and K Sports foundation, through government affairs in exchange for full support of inter-subsidiary mergers within his multinational company. However, despite the issuance of this arrest warrant, the district court was not in favor of the prosecutors. The court rejected the warrant, claiming that there was insufficient evidence for charging Lee with bribery.

As for what the public has to say about this incident, many were seen to be appalled by this warrant rejection. Numerous Korean internet users disagreed with the court’s decision, saying that whether Samsung perishes or not, it is necessary to punish those who have committed illegal action (in reference to Lee). Many displayed discouragement. They spoke of the nation no longer being able to trust the South Korean judiciary system as well as Samsung. A few mentioned this was South Korea’s last chance to expose chaebols, or large, family-run conglomerates, as Lee’s arrest could prove fatal for Samsung, but overlooking possible corruption could prove fatal for the country.

Although chief Lee Jae-Yong managed to get away without being arrested, it is estimated that this scandal will negatively affect South Korea’s economy as a whole, reemphasizing the heavy influence this single ‘chaebol’ has on an entire country. Prosecutors have claimed this result to be “very regrettable,” but also that they will continue working towards reissuing a warrant, according to spokesman Lee Kyu-chul.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Sources:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/wall-street-journal/president-park-geunhye-coerced-me-samsung-heir-lee-jaeyong/news-story/5c5323e87c1e8a0567dc36404f0d98a2

http://en.koreaportal.com/articles/25535/20170120/samsung-resumes-calm-avoiding-arrest-heir.htm

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2017/01/202_222479.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/15/world/asia/south-korea-samsung-arrest-jay-lee-park-geun-hye.html

Banner: https://si.wsj.net/

To Current Juniors, From Current Seniors: Advice on Second Semester

Don’t slack off, but don’t stress out too much; find the perfect mixture of having fun and pursuing high achievement in academia.

You know what they say; junior year second semester is always the worst. Of course, one may beg to differ, but never mind that. It might not be the most difficult thing you must encounter in your life, but it definitely is a time in which a student has no choice but to be stressed out about not only academics but also maintaining a social life as well as getting enough sleep, whilst managing multiple extra curricular activities at the same time, and not to mention having to already think about college. Can it get any worse? Well, I don’t know about that, but there sure are ways to make the best of what’s headed towards you. Fear not, and keep your heads up high, juniors! Here are some ultimate tips and words of wisdom from seniors who have once been in your shoes. Let’s see what they have to say about enduring junior year second semester!

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“Try not to exert yourself with too many activities, and stay healthy! There is a certain limit to the amount of workload you can take, so give yourself some time to keep things in balance, and keep your condition up!” – Stacy Jo (’17)

“Don’t let stress get to you, because if you’re regularly feeling hopeless and overwhelmed, it’ll be even harder to find the motivation to push through the semester.” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Finish ur SAT Subject tests related to your AP courses in your junior year, or else you’ll have to struggle to remember the content in your senior year because you pushed it until the last minute.” – Nancy Koo (’17)

“During junior second semester, it’s important to maintain your GPA. No matter what people tell you about standardized tests, although they are very important and you should finish them during first/second semesters, your GPA will be the main factor of your college application. To maintain it, start organizing your daily schedule so that you can stay on task. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made during junior first semester was not recording my class assignments on my calendar. If you write all assignments and test/quiz dates on a calendar or even a piece of paper, you will get better results. I’ve learned my lesson on that and got a higher GPA during my second semester! It’s all about not procrastinating and staying on task. You really have to get the hang of pushing yourself to do your assignments on the day that it was given, because once you become a senior it will benefit you in terms of doing college applications. You really don’t want to finish apps at the last minute!” – Emily Lee (‘17)

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Emily Lee (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)

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“Teachers’ classrooms during auto are a great library alternative for those who want a quiet study hall. Plus, you can ask the teacher questions and even ask them to proofread work if they aren’t too busy.” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Talk to each other! Everybody’s pressured about their academic life and talking it out is the best way to relieve all your stress. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who feels pressured. It’ll help you to get through all hardships together, maybe even get a bit closer to them.” – Emily Lee (‘17)

“I relied on what I loved, which was music and dance. Luckily, those things were included in the clubs that I led or participated in, so I was able to stay spirited in school.” – Stacy Jo (’17)

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Stacy Jo (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)

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“Try to do what you love in the midst of all those hard classes and long nights of studying! It makes going through junior year so much faster and more enjoyable, regardless of how high your scores on tests are. Don’t abandon an activity to simply study for something!” – Stacy Jo (’17)

“It’s a cliché, but don’t procrastinate. Just because you could pull off a last-minute all-nighter first semester doesn’t mean it will work again second semester! Also, attend college visits when you can. It’s never too early to start getting an idea of where you might want to apply next year :).” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Hang in there, you only have a year left! Have some fun, go on trips, make some valuable memories. You only have a year left to create some of the most memorable experiences in your high school career. You might get a little depressed sometimes, but always remember there are people around you who feel the same way. They will always be there to support you. Start your common app early. Please don’t procrastinate.” – Emily Lee (‘17)

“Ask your teachers for recommendation letters before it gets too late or they’ll get stressed.” – Nancy Koo (’17)

“Looking back at it now…it feels like a short period of time to just survive. There’s always light at the end of every tunnel. So as long as you remember that…don’t ever lose hope and hang in there. It’ll all be over soon.” – Scott Kim (’17)

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Nancy Koo (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)
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Scott Kim (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)

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“- It’s going to be tough if you leave things to the last minute. You will eventually not make it.

– Get your standardized tests done ASAP.

– Don’t forget that you’re going be applying to college. Go to college meetings during junior year. Going senior year isn’t helpful.

– Comparing yourself to others won’t get you anywhere.

– Don’t overdramatize your junior experience. Trust me, it’s not as hard as senior year first semester. Junior year is what you make of it.

– When you study, use the Ghibli piano soundtrack… It helps.

– Go to teachers for help. Stop wasting your time during autonomous block and go to those teachers.

– Utilize your resources: personally, videos on YouTube help[ed]. Especially for chemistry.

– Keeping your room clean can help you focus.

– Stop BSing your way through homework.

– Create an effective study group. This does not mean find a friend who will do everything for you.

– Making connections will help you memorize things better (ie: draw diagrams).

– No naps longer than 20 minutes.

– Already have the colleges you want to go to and write a couple of essays. Don’t write about why you are perfect. Colleges want personality (this can also be shown through the style in which you write it in). Also, just because it’s a top notch college doesn’t mean it’s your best fit. Moreover, watching vlogs of people who go to that specific college can help you understand the environment of the school.

– Get your teacher Recs. ASAP.

– Focus less on standardized tests during your summer. You can’t learn and magically improve your score. If you have been taking SATs for more than a year and your scores haven’t changed, stop.

– Know your priorities.

– Don’t get angry at those who have college consultants write their essays. They won’t get far in life. Getting into a good college isn’t everything.

– Don’t judge other people based on what college they are applying to. They have their reasons and you have yours.

– Don’t judge where people get in either. Not everyone is confident about college.

– Don’t let your parents force you to apply to a specific school. Just take it into consideration. If you don’t like it, don’t apply. It’s a waste of money.” – Grace Kim (’17)

Believe me, it does get better. Second semester just flies by, and you will find yourself sitting in the seniors’ section during pep rallies. Sooner or later, you’ll be walking down the aisle during the graduation ceremony, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. It’s important to pursue high achievement in academia, but don’t forget about the one and only high school experience you get. Try to find time to spend with your friends or your favorite teachers, seek help when you need to, and don’t pull all nighters – they don’t help. Good luck, and always know you can talk to upperclassmen when you’re in need of encouraging words.

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image & Banners: Crescentia Jung (’19)

Lounge with Leona: Fidel Castro’s Death & Trump’s Reaction

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; Fidel Castro’s death and Trump’s reaction.

On November 25th, 2016, the Cuban politician and revolutionary Fidel Castro passed away. He governed the Republic of Cuba for nearly 50 years as a Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and as President from 1976 to 2008.

In the year of 1959, Castro overthrew the Cuban President Batista, took full control of Cuba, and installed a communist Marxist government. Following the Marxist philosophy, under Castro’s rule, the government took over much of businesses, farms, and industries. Moreover, freedom of speech and of the press was restricted. However, after he fell ill in 2008, Castro resigned as president, and his brother Raúl has been running the country ever since.

In the year of 2014, as Cuba slowly began to disengage from Fidel Castro’s oppressive system, U.S. President Barack Obama loosened the economic embargo between the United States and Cuba, together with Raúl Castro. Such alleviation of a blockage excited the populace of both nations, as this meant not only an increase in travel between the two countries, but also a broadened scope of trade and business. Not to mention the Cubans who had defected to the United States during Fidel Castro’s regime, for now they could fly back to Cuba without encountering hardships.

As the catalyst for Cuban dictatorship was now gone, many believed the system of absolute rule, too, would disintegrate into thin air – everybody but Donald J. Trump. After a mere two days of Castro’s death, Trump had already begun threatening Cubans without even allowing enough time to let the reality of Castro’s death sink in.

It’s as if we have been pulled back to 1962 – that’s almost six decades ago –. It’s as if Obama’s attempts at normalizing the status-quo was for nothing. Trump is looking to potentially put the embargo which once existed back in place, thus nullifying the steps the United States as well as the Republic of Cuba had been taking towards truce.

Perhaps this isn’t surprising, as during his presidency campaign, Trump promised the nation to overturn any probable openings of U.S. relations with Cuba, “unless the Castro regime meets our demands – not my demands, our demands.” He is only restating what he mentioned before getting elected as President.

However, does Trump even know what he’s talking about? Honestly, I doubt that. His position on supporting U.S. hostility only unnerves the entire Republic of Cuba. In the meantime, he is allowing Raúl Castro to gain even more strength, therefore only emphasizing the authoritarian rule which Cuba is under. It is not outdated Cold War policies Cuba needs. It is the continuation of Obama’s efforts towards establishing a positive relationship with Cuba. What is the point in giving the dictator more power? Or in discouraging the reopening of embassies and limiting trade? Now is exactly the time in which the nation of America must influence the Republic of Cuba with American values and ideas of freedom, thus putting an end to Cuban dictatorship.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: http://wtax-am.sagacom.com/

7 Things To Do Over Thanksgiving Break

Be productive, relaxed, and entertained this Thanksgiving break!

Yep, I know what’s going on. You’re in your room, at your desk, trying to study. After all, we’re pretty much drowning in a pool of summative assignments: tests, projects, you name it. It’s like teachers purposefully plan on making a specific week a hell week for students to suffer. But fear not, because Thanksgiving break is coming up soon. November 24th, a Thursday, is a half day, and we don’t have school the following day. A 3.5 day holiday; just what we need. Don’t waste this time off just like you did with your entire summer break. Here’s a list of 7 things you can do during the holiday to make it the best, and most productive one you’ve spent yet.

1-catch-up-with-your-school-work
PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

Ah yes. What everybody intends on doing over break, but ends up cramming Sunday night. Let’s not repeat the same mistake over and over. Start on Thursday and get over the workload so you won’t have to suffer contemplating whether you should watch that TV show you’ve been wanting to, or finishing the AP chemistry lab you’ve been putting off until the last minute. It’ll make life so much easier, and you won’t be the last one staying up among your group of friends.

2-maybe-start-studying-for-finals
PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

This is a continuation from the whole school work thing. Whether we decide to admit it or not, finals are coming up pretty soon. It’s so weird; the year’s already coming to an end. Cramming for an exam is the worst thing you can do, so you should low key start studying during the break. And I don’t mean start making an entire study guide for US History or AP Biology. You’ve probably forgotten a lot of the things you’ve learned at the beginning of the year. Flip through a couple of pages per night so you’re not completely doomed mid December.

3-spa-trip
PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

Treat yourself. A spa trip is a great way to fully recover from the disastrous amount of schoolwork you’ve been enduring. Although it might end up being quite pricey, if not now, when? You deserve a spa trip, no matter how much it costs. So get a friend to join you on a majestic journey to a super relaxing spa. You’ll feel all ready to go back to school on Monday, and less I-want-to-die-please-take-me-home like the rest of the school.

4-sleep-in
PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

You’re probably going to be doing this anyway, but still. Don’t be sleeping in until, what, 3 P.M., because you’re basically wasting your precious time off. You could be doing so many things instead of staying under your warm covers (that does sound great, though). But you don’t have to wake up at 6 A.M. either, because that’s for when you go to school. Recharge during this Thanksgiving break and make sure to get lots of sleep before going back to school.

5-learn-to-bake
PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

Everybody loves baking. Cookies, brownies, muffins…what more can we ask for? Eating those baked goods is one thing, but actually being able to make them is another. Since you have lots of free time over the break, consider learning how to bake. It does nothing except benefit you, and maybe you can use your new super cool baking skills to seduce “the one”.

6-watch-a-movie
PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

There’s lots of must-watch movies out at the theaters right now, and you definitely don’t want to end up torrenting them. There’s just that something about watching movies on the big screen with your popcorn and drink. Laugh at the funny moments, and cry at the sad ones; go reserve a seat at your favorite CGV/Megabox theater!

7-have-a-sleepover-with-your-friends
PC: Crescentia Jung (’19)

A sleepover has been long overdue for all of us. It’s no longer like middle school when we used to ask each other who we “like-liked” or when we thought staying up until midnight was so cool (but ultimately failed). However, this Thanksgiving break is definitely the best time to catch up with your friends and talk about anything; basically life in general. You won’t regret it!

To be honest, I’m already finding myself counting down until the moment school ends on Thursday so I can go straight home and take a nap until the next day. Stay strong, because Thanksgiving holiday is so close; we’re almost there!

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image: Made by Crescentia Jung (’19)

Lounge with Leona: Time for a Change

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; Time for a Change.

Time for a Change.

On the other side of the hemisphere, hundreds of thousands of people are protesting the new president-elect of the United States of America – Donald J. Trump. As he is expected to take office as the 45th President of the nation on January 20th, 2017, perhaps they see this as a count down. A clock, slowly ticking away, for time waits for no one.

Time for a Change.

I assume most of you who are currently reading this article had no say in who to vote for either because you’re too young, you’re not a citizen of America, or both. If you are a part of the minority who actually voted during this election, I have no right to, by any means, judge you by who you support. In fact, that’s not what the world needs right now. This is exactly not the time to play the blame-game, sabotaging those who support a party different from the one you do, or a candidate who you do not.

Rather, this moment which will be recorded in future history textbooks is one in which we must stand with one another, hand in hand. Ever since the first day Trump got elected as president, defeating Clinton, countless hate crimes have taken place.

Immigrants are terrified of deportation.

Muslim women are afraid of wearing certain articles of clothing, because they’re scared of the assault that may follow.

Women face the terror of Planned Parenthood perhaps being defunded.

Time for a Change.

We all say we need change, especially at a time like this. But what is change anyway? Change doesn’t happen by starting fights with those who disagree with you on a political level (or any other level, really). Nor does it happen by shouting profanity at protests. You’re only taking advantage of potential outlets for hate and to vent. And the world can only take so much hate, as it’s already flooded with it as of now.

Do not judge others by their sexual orientation, race, gender, or opinions.

Do not attempt to spew hate.

Do send love.

Do change from within, and be an accepting individual.

Time for a Change.

It doesn’t just go for those who are American. We’re all in this together. We, as humanity, can be the best Change.

#Lovetrumpshate

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image: https://static1.squarespace.com