The Handshake of the 21st Century

In the past ten years, the number of social media accounts has more than tripled as platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have gained popularity. Users enjoy the ease of communicating with friends worldwide and sharing the highlights of their lives to many. However, as with all inventions, social media has its downfalls. Words such as cyberbullying and catfishing have derived from such networks, and nothing can truly be erased. Every second of your life can easily be broadcasted to the public, but the process of deleting these posts is much more complex and nearly impossible, especially if you are anywhere near the spotlight.

Oklahoma Quarterback Kyler Murray was recently awarded the Heisman trophy, college football’s most prestigious honor. Just hours after receiving his award, tweets in which Murray used homophobic language circulated throughout social media. Although these posts were made when Murray was 14 and 15, the public still continued to scrutinize the athlete, who soon deleted the tweets and apologized via Twitter saying, “I apologize for the tweets that have come to light tonight from when I was 14 and 15. I used a poor choice of word that doesn’t reflect who I am or what I believe. I did not intend to single out any individual or group.”

Instances such as this are becoming more and more common as social media continues to increase in users. Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader’s bigoted tweets from high school surfaced during the MLB all-star game this summer. High School football player Shedrick “Shed” McCall III lost his scholarship to play division I football at Old Dominion due to a viral video in which he used foul language. He then used his mistake to teach other teenagers of the importance of caution on social media.

Apps such as Twitter and Instagram are here to stay, at least for now. Users, especially teenagers, should practice caution when posting, liking, or sharing anything. Everything on their profiles is accessible to future employers and colleges. In a poll conducted in 2017, 90% of employers claimed to check a candidate's’ social media accounts prior to making any hiring decisions. Colleges screen applicants, especially those in line to receive scholarship money. By being aware of the posts filling their accounts, users can decrease their risk of public scrutiny and job or scholarship loss due to behaviors or comments not desired by such organizations.

Social media is an innovative form of communication that many utilize; however, users must be willing to see its consequences and attempt to avoid them. Don’t like anything that you couldn’t show your grandma. Don’t post things that you couldn’t say in an interview. Make sure your account represents the best version of yourself. In the 21st century, it truly is the new first impression.

By: Rachel Beckham

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How to Waste Half Your Population

In America, we are free to indulge in certain freedoms. We have equal opportunity to vote, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the right to an education. Everyone that has a place to live also has plumbing and electricity. Because we are so privy to these rights, it is easy to forget that there are places where these ideals and privileges are nowhere to be found. Take India for example, where only one in four homes have a toilet and barely half of the households have electricity.

            India’s problems are not solely confined to the lack of cleanliness and electricity. In a strictly patriarchal society, it is very unfortunate to be born a woman. A statistic states that families have two sons are ninety percent less likely to want another child, while forty percent of parents will have another child if they have two daughters. However, it is lucky to make it into adulthood as a woman in India. Midwives are often paid to smother female babies for the small price of two dollars and fifty cents. It is also quite common to have an abortion if a woman is expecting a girl instead of a boy. Women are so undervalued, there are thirty-five million more men than women that make up the population. Women are seen as a burden, where men are essentially a 401K retirement fund. A male will become a wage-earing citizen who will provide for his parents, whereas the parents of a female have to come up with a dowry fund. While the dowry system seems old fashioned to us, it is widely practiced in India. The groom may receive cash, cars, or property, not to mention the wedding is paid for by the bride’s parents. The government has made efforts to diminish sex-selective abortions and disband the dowry system to no avail.

An Indian woman still does not get a break as she enters adulthood. Her subordinance is proven at every turn. Her wages are significantly less, she will receive sub-par education and healthcare. A recent survey asked Indian men if wife beating is acceptable under certain circumstances, and fifty-one percent said yes. A surprising fifty-four percent of women surveyed agreed. Women can be beaten for burning a meal or leaving the house without her husband’s permission. A startling 100,000 Indian women are killed yearly due to domestic abuse such as fires known as “bride burnings.”

India was not completely excluded from the television revolution, but the state-run television programs were of poor quantity and quality. Because of this, television was not popular and not everyone watched it. Until 2006 when 150 million Indians received television for the first time, mostly in big cities. While not everyone got TV, those that were fortunate enough to have it, only received it at certain times. The minds of Indian citizens were exposed to the real world for the first time. Economists surveyed women fifteen and older in regards to their way of life, preferences, and familial relationships. The study showed that women with TV exposure were unquestionably less likely to accept wife-beating, less likely to have a son-preference, and more likely to notice an increase in self-esteem. Television programs empowered women by broadcasting shows in which women are independent, smart, and respected individuals that did not rely on men.

This article raises questions some would find to be very taxing. Why are countries still living in patriarchal societies where women are undervalued and domestic abuse is accepted? The Indian government needs to gain control of their citizens and join the movement from a male-dominated society and develop a more equal partnership between men and women. Women are more than just baby-making machines and can add to society in ways India has not seen. In truth, India is missing out on the benefits of the opposite sex.

By: Jaid Burkett

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The Big Move

In December of 2016, the end of my first high school semester, I moved from Mascoutah to Woodlawn. At the time, it was a very difficult and emotional change. However, later on I realized it would be the best thing that could happen to me.

            Mascoutah High School is a 5A school. My freshman year, I was in a class of over 300 kids. In Woodlawn, I am in a class of around 40 kids which was probably the weirdest change for me, and at first, a little difficult to comprehend. The schools’ sizes are obviously different as well. My freshman schedule consisted of me constantly traveling up and down stairs and occasionally forgetting where to go, whereas now I walk down one hall that is not very hard to get lost in. Even though we moved halfway through the 2016-2017 school year, my sister and I finished our year out in Mascoutah. Every day we left the house around 6:50 a.m. and headed to school, where there was a wide variety of kids from all over due to Scott Air Force Base being right down the road. With this being the case, it was difficult to make friends. Many kids would come and go because their parents would be relocated to another state or country. Fortunately, for me, all my friends’ parents were either retired from the military or were not military at all. My sister, however, had many military friends move, which was tough for her.

My whole life I had been compared to my sister and became known as “Little Groennert”. We are three years apart so when she was a senior I was a freshman. In some ways it was beneficial for myself, but in other ways it was not. Before you go into high school, you are often told that seniors are terrifying and are rude to freshman. This was not the case in my situation. My sister was friends with everyone so all the seniors looked after me. However, constantly getting called “Hailey” by teachers or being asked “are you Hailey Groennert’s sister?” gets old really fast. Part of me was glad we did not transfer because, yet again, I would have been compared to my sister. Moving to Woodlawn ended that situation. Here, I’m “Payton” rather than “Hailey’s sister”.

Since I moved, I have changed completely. Living in Mascoutah, I was very reserved and shy. I never wanted to go to school or go to any events involving school. It was not my thing, and I wanted nothing to do with it. Now, all I want to do is be at school, go to sporting events, and be around people. I have definitely come out of my shell and I thank my friends for that. Coming from somewhere so big, to somewhere so small has allowed me to make these changes and find my inner-self, which I am very grateful for. The educational experience is something that has greatly changed for me. I have always had good grades, but I do not feel like I was truly motivated to do my very best work until I came to Woodlawn. Because the class was so large, I was not as competitive with my grades or ranking. Maybe this was because there were a lot of people there who were way smarter than me, so I did not think highly of myself. I think being around people who care so much about their education has had a very strong influence on me and my education. I think going to a small school is more beneficial for a student than going to a big school. I have noticed that every Woodlawn teacher knows me, even if I have never had a class with them. I have made some lifelong relationships with some of the teachers and am extremely grateful for them. In Mascoutah, teachers would always forget my name or call me by my sister’s name, which was extremely aggravating. Not only has my education turned for the better, but athletically, Woodlawn volleyball has definitely had one of the largest impacts on my life. Throughout my volleyball career, between school and club ball, I have had a total of thirteen different coaches. Before moving, I never felt like I had a coach who pushed me or truly believed in me, they were too focused on winning rather than improving. I used to hate going to volleyball and often thought about ending my volleyball career because I would get so frustrated. Woodlawn volleyball completely changed my mind. I learned to love the sport again and so many more things. Coach Lamczyk and Coach Gordon have taught me so much and shaped me into the athlete I am today. I am so thankful to have them as my coaches.

I used to think moving would ruin everything, I was scared no one would like me, and I would be miserable no matter where I went; I was so wrong. Moving to Woodlawn has been amazing. I am so thankful for everyone here, especially my wonderful friends. Woodlawn has taught me some life lessons. I have learned that no matter where you go, you’ll always end up making new memories with new people, people who will stay with you for the rest of your life. Through making some unforgettable memories, I have met some amazing people, made outstanding friends, and met my best friend.

By: Payton Groennert