Monday, May 27, 2013

Lowell Life: by Peer Mentor Cherry Ng

What is my world of Lowell like? When homework, project, chores, volunteering, practices, clubs are building up, stress adds onto what you already get from Lowell. I thought I would be able to handle 3 JROTC special unit teams, work, HIM volunteering, a long distance relationship, CSF tutoring, the Lowell Science Research Program, all on top of 8 classes in my Junior year. I was wrong. The worst thing you can do in Lowell is overestimate what you can do. It adds stress onto the tower you have already established. It is actually a better choice to just focus on a few things you can really handle altogether. Imagine you are at a gorgeous Lowell buffet with delicious, unimaginable great food. Be careful of what you want to eat. Despite they all are appealing to you, do not eat so much. Your stomach is only so big to digest all that food at once. If you overwhelm yourself, you will get a stomach ache and become sick. Stress is a more serious matter than you think. This year of my Junior year, I probably have been sick for at least 10 time due to migraines and fevers. I did not get my period for over 5 months, because I was so overwhelmed. (Don't worry, I am not pregnant; I got my period after I KOed some stress.) 

Here are some tips: 
* Stress is unavoidable, but manageable if you know how to control your buffet plate, manage your time well, and plan ahead. Always keep a planner. Even though you think you don't need it, $5 from Book to Book is not a bad deal for a little booklet that will keep you organized for the whole year. Middle school to high school is a big transition, but with a planner to plan ahead and keep yourself from procrastinating is the way to go.
* Your friends are very important in your Lowell career! Make many friends and choose the right ones for yourself. You know when you found the right ones if you click like puzzle pieces. 
*Smiling is a way to look at things positively and be determined. You will not succeed anywhere if you are not focused on the goal you want to strive for.

 Always never give up on anything and make decisions as if you will have no regrets. Life is as hard as diamond, but in order to be a diamond, you have to be harder than life.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Don't be afraid to ask for help!: by Peer Mentor Samantha Wong

Although asking for help may seem intimidating or embarrassing, it's definitely worth it. I know a lot of teachers don't seem approachable, but they are ultimately there to help you; it's their job. A lot of teachers include their free mods/blocks in their syllabi for a reason: they want you to come to them if you need help! 

Personally, I've always been a little intimidated by my teachers, especially in the subjects that I don't feel very confident in. For example, I've never really been a history person, but I'm taking AP World this year. In the beginning, I had a lot of questions about particular assignments and formats that my teacher wanted, but I didn't want to go up and ask him. However, one day, I decided to visit him during a mutual free mod and just ask for help. It turned out that he was really friendly and helpful, and I got the answers I needed. By approaching my teacher, I didn't just get help for an assignment; I also developed a better relationship with him and have become more comfortable with asking questions. Since then, I have probably visited the Social Studies office 10+ times with questions about various assignments and projects. I ended up getting pretty good grades on these assignments, and I'm confident that I wouldn't have done as well if I hadn't clarified my questions with my teacher. 

Even if your teacher is intimidating, you shouldn't give up on trying to ask for help. At the end of the day, it's important to fully comprehend what you're learning in school. It's a lot worse to fall behind than ask for help. There are a lot of great resources and people at Lowell who really DO want to help. Don't be afraid to sign up for a CSF tutor or maybe talk to friends in your classes/upperclassmen for some help. If you don't feel comfortable using Lowell's resources, then look for outside sources! There are tons of tutors out there on the internet, and I doubt any parent would object to you wanting to learn more. 

At the end of the day, asking for help can never be a bad thing. You're at Lowell for a reason and obviously care about your education. Falling behind might be the worse thing that can happen because once you fall behind, it's EXTREMELY hard to catch up (trust me). Even if it means going a little outside of your comfort zone, asking for help benefits you in so many ways: you develop better relationships with your teachers/peers, you understand things better, and you ultimately get better grades! (:

Stepping into the Forest―My First Year at Lowell: by Peer Mentor Catherine Chang

The beginning of my first year at Lowell High School was the start of a new journey. I didn’t know it then, but walking into the school on my first day, feeling both excited and anxious and picturing in my head all I thought could happen, was like taking a step into some magical forest, the ones in fairytales, on a narrow path that would soon diverge into millions of other paths. Except, maybe the path wasn’t really going to be like those ones in fairytales, where the protagonist meets a handsome prince at the end; instead, it was more like stepping into a place that is mysterious, daunting, and enchanting all at the same time. Right now, I’m still on my journey through this forest, but reminiscing back on my journey so far, I’ve learned and experienced many, many aspects of this forest of Lowell.

On my journey so far, I have (1) met countless brilliant students and friends, or so-called supporting characters to help me through this forest in my personal Lowell story, (2) received at least one “F” on an essay or test (let’s just say I tripped on the root of a thorn bush), and (3) joined a fantastic club called buildOn, a violet-colored potion in an intricate glass case that has helped me through the daunting forest.

Joining buildOn (or discovering my potion, I like to say), a volunteer club that raises money to build schools in developing countries while educating Lowell students on global issues, is an extremely memorable experience and has made my time at Lowell so much more enjoyable. When the officers of the club first came to my modern world history class and invited my classmates and I to join the club, I never knew their words would have such a large impact on my high school experience. During the week they came, one Tuesday, afterschool, I decided to follow the officers’ encouragement and check the club out. At the first meeting, there were so many people, so many people I didn’t know (all in the same daunting yet enchanting forest). All of them were very friendly, and they were willing to talk to me and inform me on how I could be a part of the club and serve others through work and volunteering in the community. This friendliness made me want to continue as a part of the club, and soon, I was a member of buildOn, attending club meetings every week, learning about various global problems such as water sanitation and human trafficking, and getting to know the officers and leaders of the club and other club members. I participated in service events every weekend and served food to the homeless, worked at the food bank, and helped out at community events at museums; yet, more importantly, I felt awesome doing these events.

Soon, the club was a group of which I felt truly a part. Originally, I had joined without knowing what I was getting myself into, just thinking it would be great for me to help others and perhaps join a club that would look good on my resume, but at the end of the day, sitting in the forest and watching the fireflies, I have realized that joining buildOn and finding that violet potion is something that has shaped my Lowell experience. I am still a part of buildOn today, and I have grown a deeper wish to help others after first joining the club and learning about the problems of the world.

In the midst of receiving my first terrible grades and dealing with the reality that sometimes Lowell students do not get a free period during the “normal” lunch time in their schedule, I found a solace, that potion in the forest of Lowell. Ultimately, I have met so many great people and worked together with them to help those in need, and it’s all an experience for which I am so thankful, and I’m sure to hang onto the experience as I continue my journey through this forest.

So, just some advice as you enter your own forest: (1) Don’t be afraid to try new things and join different clubs! (You’ll find your own place on your journey through the forest, don’t worry too much!) and (2) Wherever you find your potion and whatever your potion is, enjoy it! (Meet new people, try to have fun, your experiences are all worth it!)

Thank you for listening to my own journey in this forest, and good luck on your own journey!

- Catherine (:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Words to Live By: by Peer Mentor Sally Chen

Hello, freshperson! 

Today, I would like to share a very personal top secret story, which is still continuing to this day, from the Sally Chen vaults of memory. It all started back in August when I was terrified of high school, had chronic clammy cringe-worthy hands, and to top it all off, awful nasty stress acne the moment I went to orientation. What a great way to start my freshmen year, right?

For my first few months of high school, I found that I had no classes with any of my middle school friends and rarely got the chance to see them. People always told me that high school started out tough until you found your clique. With a distinct lack of social life and being stupidly stubborn, I became dead set on finding my true calling, my DESTINY. I shuffled through club after club, from Jew Crew to Visual Arts to buildOn and back. I tried out Forensics, Doctor Who Appreciation Society, and Red Crossa whole plethora.

Each activity had its merits, and I’m not saying that they were not bucketloads of fun- because they were! But I never felt like I had found my niche, the place where I was meant to be. And so the search went on.

Towards the end of the semester, student government elections began and I had not really given much thought towards running, but I decided to give it a shot. My slogan was quite literally, “Rally for Sally, I am mildly funny and I’m a good listener and oh god please like me please be my friend.” To my complete and utter surprise, people probably felt some kind of kinship towards my bumbling baby giraffe approach towards life, and I was elected 2015 board president. Once again, true to my nature, I proceeded to awkward things up in record time. I could not for the life of me figure out how to interact normally with any of the other LSA officers, who seemed to have already become BFFs when I wasn’t looking.

As my freshmen year ended, I found myself frustrated, stressed, and more than a little weepy. I didn’t fit in anywhere! Woe was me! No happily ever after for ogres! Boo hoo! Coal for Christmas! I spent all of summer break wallowing in self-pity and mulling over my life choices. Just before the start of my sophomore year, I came to an odd conclusion as one of my best friends hugged me goodbye before we left for different schools once more. The truth is, there may not be a perfect one true place (OTP for the tumblr users) for you or for me. I certainly haven’t found it yet.

But that does not mean that we do not belong.

Lowell is a big place with huge amounts of resources and a wide variety of people. Don’t stress about finding “the place where you belong,” like some kind of golden promised land. There will always be a place where people appreciate you, where you don’t feel stupid when you state your opinions, and where the people around you laugh at your bad jokes. Your friends, your extracurricular, your favorite class, whatever it may be. 

And trust me, that will be more than enough. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grateful Tennis Experience: by Peer Mentor Kitty Kwan

3 years ago, I chose to try out for tennis. 3 years later, I look back and am so grateful that I took that chance. I honestly did not have much experience. When I first tried out, I wasn't expecting to get on the team. I was doing cross country at the time and was pretty discouraged by the acute knee pain so early into the season, so I decided to give tennis a shot. I am incredibly thankful for the first coach I had at Lowell. Although he only coached the girls team for a season, his enthusiasm, his passion for tennis, and his willingness to give people a chance to improve still serve as motivation for me to get better. Our second coach (and current) coach has also been very important. Although not as outgoing, his presence has been very comforting and his technique and patience is incomparable. Over these last three seasons, I've made so many friends. It really is a good experience to be on a team, and just bond with the people who endure practice everyday with you. This last season, as an upperclassman (finally), it was really sweet to see the new freshmen and treat them like my younger sisters! I've had ups and downs in my game play, felt discouraged and ecstatic at times, and felt real friendship. Although I'm a hardworking person in everything I do, I really feel that tennis is one of those real passions. I'm not a tournament player but I love the feeling of hitting a good shot or hitting a good serve. I'm so grateful for Lowell tennis and highly encourage everyone to take a chance, and not fear failure. Thanks!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

To Motivate Young People to Become Better Citizens: by Peer Mentor Sarah Modolo

JROTC. Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Their goal is to motivate young people to become better citizens. They wear green army uniforms, blinding brass, and shiny patent leather shoes. But they are more than just their fancy attire, or red high-heel boots, or drumsticks. Contrary to popular belief, only a few cadets go on to a military academy, while the rest remain civilians. Either way, students end up with great leadership training from a military perspective. These students apply first aid techniques, read and interpret topographical maps, volunteer in the community, and lead a group of peers to accomplish a mission. Through this program they learn great life skills such as patience, responsibility, perseverance, flexibility and tact. They also perform in parades, attend Academic competitions, and drill competition. Oftentimes, commanders are in charge of teaching class, which could be about brain function, United States History, map reading, or even etiquette. These skills provide a mean to create a well-rounded young adult who can act and think independently to make good decisions and therefore become a good citizen of this country. For more information, please feel free to come down Room 4 and talk with Colonel (he is really nice!) or First Sergeant Credito (also really nice!) or anybody in the program.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Acceptance at Lowell: by Peer Mentor Katie Loughran

I believe that Lowell is a very accepting place for all sorts of students.

Freshmen year, I tried out for cheerleading. Not knowing what to expect, I, along with ten other freshmen, made it onto the JV squad. We were all very excited because we had seen cheerleaders in movies and on TV and we thought it was going to be a lot of fun. I wasn’t very close with many of the girls on the squad, but over the time span of a year, I felt like I could turn to them for anything. They were my cheer sisters.

After that year, we were to try out for varsity. After a few weeks of try outs, they finally emailed out a list, and I had made it. I was so excited to be on varsity and meet all of the other upperclassmen and have them be just like my other cheer sisters. Over time, we bonded during practices and out of practices. We spent so much time together, getting to know each other with carwashes, bake sales, and cheer-a-thons. I truly felt like they were all my sisters. I feel like I have met so many more people from cheer that I maybe would never have met had I not tried out freshmen year.

I feel that cheer helped me make new friends and gain new experiences that I would have never seen for myself.