by Allison Craun

Hi March Friends,

With so many unknowns, you may be experiencing some type of anxiety. 

There’s no shame in admitting that, and you certainly not alone. I myself have been feeling anxious ever since the start of quarantine. The world is in a panic right now. The grocery shelves are empty, people are fighting over toilet paper, and we are all on a “shelter-in-place”. 

I attend Fresno State University and my school has made the decision to switch to online instruction for the rest of the semester. I prefer a more hands-on learning style, but unfortunately that is no longer possible. This leaves me feeling very anxious, and I have tons of questions that are flooding my brain. Will I pass my classes?  When will this virus go away so I can go to the gym again? Will I be able to eat at a restaurant any time soon? 

Did you know that every thought you have, chemicals are released that affect your brain and body? Negative thoughts create panic, fear, and headaches but it seems almost impossible to think happy thoughts when all I see on my timeline are new coronavirus cases appearing every day. 

I had to take a step back, this past week I’ve been limiting my time spent on social media and I have started to find ways to manage how I have been feeling. 

I found 3 go-to tips to help eliminate my anxiety during a time of unknowns. I hope these tips will help you as well.

  1. Focus on what you can control. Start each day creating a To-Do list of at least 5 tasks. Tasks can range anywhere from brushing your teeth to painting a picture. Physically cross off each task as you complete it, this will help you to stay focused on your day to day activities. You now have significantly more time in your day, so it is important that you don’t get overwhelmed or lost in hours of binge-watching Netflix.
  2. Listen to a new podcast! The podcast doesn’t have to necessarily be educational, but having some background noise on while talking a walk, or making some lunch will help you control your thoughts on something else. (I find that constantly being on social media makes my anxiety about the virus worse since that is all that I’m seeing on my timeline) I enjoy listening to The Office Ladies podcast while going for a walk around the block. This way I still get my Office fix in (yes I am an Office superfan) while getting in some daily movement to get the blood pumping throughout my body. 
  3. Can’t think of what to do? Try having a glass of water. When I was in high school, I found that during the week I was perfectly hydrated but on the weekends I would get headaches and be super tired. I was so used to carrying a water bottle around from class to class, that when I was home all day, I forgot to drink water. Staying hydrated has helped me deal with my anxiety. To the point where anytime I feel anxious I immediately pour myself a glass of water. According to Medical News Today,  “Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.” So stay hydrated, friends. 

I hope these tips help you during this time of social distancing. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments. At March Consulting, we are here for you! 

Oh… and remember to wash your hands!

Best,

Allison Craun 

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“You plan and plan, you do all the right things, and now…well. Here we are.” – Lauren Sandoval, Class of 2020

To the Class of 2020,

Right now you’re mourning. You’re mourning prom. You’re mourning the loss of your activities, your spring season, your last big moment of high school.

No one can say you didn’t earn it. You planned. You did all the right things. You waited patiently and worked diligently for years… YEARS. It was your turn. 

Your time.

Your moment.

And now it’s gone and you’re wondering what’s next.

I didn’t plan for my path to diverge either. I had my life perfectly planned. I even joined yearbook my junior year to make sure that I was a part of those big memories. 

Then in the matter of ten seconds, the time it takes for a car to crash, the fun and reward of homecoming, prom, events, tests, games, performances, competitions… was all laid out in pieces. The remainder of my junior year disappeared, and with it the future I had painstakingly planned.

I had planned. I had done everything right. 

It just wasn’t working.  So I made a huge choice. I decided to graduate. 

I decided to skip my senior year.

Prom. Homecoming. Graduation. 

Twelve years.  Twelve years of school and waiting for that last day. Getting your picture on the graduation page of the paper. Of dancing with your significant other, a crush, or just a friend at prom. Getting dressed up and making memories with your friends. 

I would miss all of that. I did miss all of it.

Instead, I graduated in a quick 30 minute ceremony in July in an auditorium that wasn’t my own, wearing my school colors and being only one of two others that donned Scotsman green. I took pictures on a foreign high school campus. There were no flowers. There was no orchestra playing Pomp and Circumstance 80 times. The auditorium was only half-full.

I shook hands with our superintendent, got my diploma, and went home. 

Anticlimactic, really. 

Life doesn’t go according to plan. Cliche I know, but painstakingly true. 

But you know what? When I stopped being sad for what I’d lost I realized what I did have… wasn’t nothing.

I had memories of my friends tasting ice cream and dreading our next math test and on and on. I still had all of the things that made me me.  I just got a head start on making college freshman memories.

Oh and I know you have to live it to know it, but High School memories are way overrated. 

I want to leave you with this advice:

One of the Stanford short question essays this year was the following: “If you had an extra hour in the day, each day, how would you spend it?”

If you’re like me you’ll answer without hesitation… “sleep.”

This… thing we’re all living through, might be your chance to live out, for a short while at least, your answer to that question.

Take this opportunity to really spend time with your family. Live and laugh. Lean on one another. Use the miracle of Facetime, Zoom, or other online apps to talk to your friends. Play silly games. Confide in one another.

Learn something that you’ve never had time to learn before. Juggle. Latin. Wikipedia.

This is your chance.

When you leave for college and you come back to visit your family, it will be different. It won’t be exactly the same. And while that’s part of growing up and becoming the person you’re bound to become, this is your chance now to create memories. Cherish those moments together.

Will this shape you? Yes. Just as 9/11 and the Great Recession shaped my generation. 

But we’re stronger for it. I’m stronger for it.  And you’ll get through this and you will be stronger as well.

Best,

Kat Clowes, Highland High School Class of 1999 (almost 2000)

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Combatting Senioritis

13 Mar 2020

By Kelsea Ryan Johnson

You have been grinding for four straight years. AP classes, volunteer events, social gatherings, sports tournaments, mountains of homework, and for some of you, maybe even part time jobs. On top of all of this, you’re probably hoping to never have to see another college admissions essay prompt or fill out another FAFSA again in your life. If you are anything like I was in high school, by this point you have probably found yourself with a mean case of the dreaded “senioritis.” 

We at March Consulting have told our students time and time again that “We want you to be able to enjoy your senior year” and “You’ve done all of the hard work, congratulate yourself and relax!”

While this is mostly true, it is important to maintain!

What do I mean by this? To maintain in your senior year means to not allow the standard that you hold for yourself to to slip just because the finish line is so near. Those grades still matter! 

First tip I can offer is this: don’t give up.

Think of all of the hard work that you’ve done just to be in this position! The colleges that you have been accepted to have done so on the principle that you are an outstanding student, who will be an excellent addition to their campus. Prove them right by finishing your senior year strong. Prove it to us, to your parents, and most importantly, prove it to yourself! 

Believe it or not, “senioritis” is not a feeling that is mutually exclusive to seniors in high school! The crippling feeling of wanting to take an elongated break and give up on the projects that take up so much of your time and energy will follow you into adulthood (take it from me). You very may well be reading this as a means to escape from a growing pile of homework assignments and parent expectations! 

It’s been a few years since I’ve been a senior in high school myself, but as previously mentioned, we all need a kick of motivation at times. These are the tips and tricks that I find work best for me! 

1) Avoid procrastination at all costs: I personally like to keep a yearly planner, and fill it out weekly with assignments that need to be completed, obligations and meetings for the coming week, and even social events. This keeps me honest to my schedule and to my goals, allowing me to be productive in a way that is not overwhelming. I always know what is coming down the pipeline the Sunday before the storm. 

2) Taking care of yourself: This includes both mental and physical health. When you begin to feel overwhelmed or just generally unproductive, there is no reason why you can’t gift yourself a break. Some of my favorite ways of restarting include getting physically active for an hour or playing with my dog. Distraction can be good, to an extent! Especially when you go into it with the intention of starting again and feeling refreshed for it! Sleep is also huge! Everyone is different, but I feel like getting 7-8 hours is an absolute necessity for me to avoid being grumpy the next day. Your body needs time to restart, and not nourishing it in the ways it is asking you to is detrimental for your mental and physical health. 

3) Enjoy the now: Surround yourself with people who support your endeavors and  elevate the excitement for your future! Find ways to celebrate the successes of your friends and classmates too! In this period of change, it is important to take stock of all of the joy that life offers you now, and get the most out of these moments. Whether it be Senior Sunrise, eating lunch in the courtyard, or even participating in your last socratic seminar, life changes from here. Know that these are the little experiences that will shape you, and find gratefulness in that! You may not believe me now, but you will totally miss this place. 

4) Stop saying that you have senioritis: Don’t predispose yourself to a made up affliction! Find a new way to say what you’re experiencing! Try instead “I am ready to start a new chapter!” or “I am grateful for what I’ve learned, and I am excited to grow from here”. If you don’t speak it into existence, it doesn’t have any power over you, friends. 

You only have a couple of months to go! Keep running toward your goals, celebrating your successes, and fighting the good fight! 

Until next time,

Kelsea Ryan Johnson 

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The Performing Arts Build Important Skills for Any Occupation

By Don Kruszka

Ah, the visual and performing arts. 

Other than sports, this is probably the most fantasized-about set of professions in the world. Who wouldn’t love to have hundreds of people hanging on your every word, completely caught up in your performance, and eagerly anticipating where you were going to go next? There’s an aura about it—a glamour. The successful artists often make it look easy and effortless. 

It’s mystifying to some. And because of this, the arts are often among the most misunderstood areas of study. They are often the first thing to go when schools make budget cuts. Never mind all the studies that show that strong programs in the arts give students a solid foundation for self-expression and can alleviate specific behavioral issues. Administrators and parents can’t always see the tangible value of art and music and drama classes. How can all that drawing and prancing around on a stage possibly prepare a kid for a “real” job?

The answer is plenty.

A person who follows a passion for any art develops valuable skills that can make them productive and successful in nearly any “real” job out there.

What skills? For starters, artists are self-starters. They have to get themselves going every day to create works that often begin only in their imaginations. They are problem-solvers, working through numerous mistakes and false starts to turn those ideas into reality. They have an acute attention to detail, because it is often the little details that draw the audience’s attention and appreciation for the work. People who study acting, dance, and singing often become great communicators and storytellers who can speak well to large groups. They are confident masters of self-expression who are willing to experiment with trying different ideas and pushing boundaries. They think outside the box.

They also learn to work well within a group. Collaboration is vital in a theater production, as is the ability to take criticism and learn from your mistakes. The best ones learn how to study and research characters and techniques. They also have to budget their time, often juggling several productions and jobs at the same time. It helps to have a bit of stamina to keep up with a schedule like that.

Looking for something more “practical?” Technical theater majors learn how to make mechanical things work. They have to deal with wiring, electronics, hydraulics, and carpentry. I once saw a Ringling Brothers show where an entire scene was performed upside down, 60 feet in the air, with the characters walking (WALKING!!) back and forth along with an inverted platform. That’s no easy feat. Technicians have to be good at what they do because if something they build is unstable, someone gets hurt.

Architects don’t just design pretty buildings. They have to take into account what kind of building materials will make their vision work safely. They also have to make the structure flexible enough to sway in the wind to avoid cracking. Their roofs need to prevent water build-up during rainstorms. In California, their designs must be able to hold up in the event of an earthquake.

Successful artists develop a good business sense and a flair for self-promotion. What business can’t use someone like that on their staff?

These are just some of the skills they pick up, and they all have a place in the “real” job market. Artists can be marketers, spokespeople, teachers, agents, customer service reps. They can also be actors, dancers, designers, musicians, animators, writers, and painters.

The possibilities are endless.

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by Jordan Fulmer

“Before you act, listen. 

Before you react, think.”

-William Arthur Ward

Pros:

  • There’s usually a higher acceptance rate from the pool of Early Action students than there is for regular decision. By putting your application in early, you’re notifying the admissions office that this school is your top choice and therefore, you’re more likely to go there if they offer you an acceptance, improving their yield.
  • With Early Action, you can still apply to other colleges with the Regular Decision deadline; you’re not restricted. You can wait until financial aid offers come in and you can compare and contrast with other colleges before you make a decision. You won’t have to give Early Action colleges a decision until the National Decision Day, which is May 1st.
  • You’ll know earlier than other applicants whether or not you got in, giving you breathing room your senior year and more time to concentrate on keeping your grades up.

Cons:

  • Not all colleges have Early Action.
  • Also, if you’re denied, that’s the end of it and you’re not considered for Regular Decision unless they defer their decision to put you in with the regular decision pool of applicants (which can happen). 
  • You’ll be compared to students in that pool and that pool only (unless you’re deferred). Usually students who are on top of their game and have great scores, GPAs, and activities will apply Early Action.
  • Senioritis can strike at any moment, especially if you have your answer early. You have to maintain the same GPA and academic rigor in order to keep your spot, which can be harder when you already know you’re accepted somewhere. Early Action deadlines arrive quickly your senior year, right around the time that you’re getting used to your classes, the last SAT is rolling around, and homecoming/senior events start in the fall. You’ll need to plan early to get your application ready in time. 
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