The Impact of Korean Films

By: Young Kim 

Hollywood has always been the center within the film industry since the beginning of movies. As time progressed, many countries began to develop a movie sector in order to fuel their nation’s entertainment industry. Only in recent years has the world really begun to open their eyes to other international films, especially with the numerous accolades of Parasite, a South Korean film, in the Cannes Film Festival as well as the Academy Awards. Garnering the attention of critics all over the world, Parasite’s win as the Best Picture in the Academy Awards set a new precedent allowing countries to break through the barriers of the exclusive film industry. This win not only brought South Korea their first win in the Oscars but the public attention to the rest of the global film industry usually hidden behind the behemoth of Hollywood. 

South Korea began creating films directly after the liberation from Japan Colonial rule. These films were mostly centered around the independence movement. Nowadays, Korean films have entered almost every genre possible with international hits such as Train to Busan and Oldboy. Both brought in aspects of the Korean culture to a wider global audience bringing in a new aspect to the action and horror genres. 

While other forms of entertainment such as television dramas and music have become widespread in the more recent years, it seems that the proper introduction of Korean films have only begun. With Korean Director Bong Joon Ho stating, “Once you overcome the 1-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” This perfectly summarizes the problem with subjecting oneself to a limited amount of movies just because of a language barrier. In an age where information is shared almost instantaneously, audiences should go out looking for other films sharing different takes of international perspectives. It is often shocking to consider that one may glance over their next favorite movie simply because of the movie not being in English. 

In fact, companies such as A24 and Neon, which are very small compared to their competition such as Sony, Netflix, and Universal, took the opportunity to go with Asian stories instead of the traditional American setting. A24 worked on projects such as The Farewell about a Chinese American family who returns to China to say goodbye to dying grandmother and have recently released a trailer for their new movie titled Minari; a story about Korean immigrants who move to America to chase the American Dream. As entertainment companies begin to open up to the infinite possibilities brought by bringing in perspectives from all aspects of life, a new exciting generation of film seems to be created. The American life becomes much more than the black and white lives established in the beginning of America and adds in the millions of immigrants which make America the diverse nation it is.

Many may consider the Academy’s decision as a way to appear more progressive in front of the media. Despite these comments, many viewers of the movie openly disagree. People respected the work and dedication put into the storytelling of Parasite as a refresher during a time when many movies can only be considered “mediocre” by many. The attention to detail and subtle comedic moments in the dramatic thriller can only be characterized as “different”. All cultures tackle movies in different ways and while some may look weirder than the conventional movies, that does not necessarily equate to bad. 

We are in a new age of discovery. Not a discovery of land or invention but rather the discovery of the multiple perspectives that can be experienced entirely through film.

Top 5 Chefs

By Snehal Shinh

For the foodies that want to expand on their tastes, here are the top 5 chefs. Each comes from unique backgrounds that are passionate in the culinary arts and can be found on social media (such as Instagram) and/or YouTube.

  1. Sanjeev Kapoor

One of the most well known chefs in India is Sanjeev Kapoor. Kapoor is insanely successful with a TV channel known as FoodFood and has hosted a cooking show titled Khanna Khazana for over 17 years. Not to mention the 150 best selling cookbooks he has written and the numerous culinary awards he has won. While many of his recipes are from the Indian culture, he doesn’t limit himself with just Indian cuisine. His website features many recipes from around the world. His recipes range from main courses to desserts, snacks, and drinks. What is amazing about his website is how easy it is to navigate as everything has been categorised (such as his Top 21 Recipes Of The Day or Most Viewed Recipes) and how many of his recipes translated into Hindi. His website is  https://www.sanjeevkapoor.com/ and his YouTube channel can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/sanjeevkapoorkhazana

  1.  Ranveer Brar

Chef Ranveer Brar is a successful Indian celebrity chef who has been on a series of TV shows and has written a book titled: Come Into My Kitchen. Many of his recipes come from all over India, such as Punjab or Mumbai, which allows those that watch or read his recipes to expose and immerse themselves in the cuisine. On his YouTube channel Chef Ranveer makes many Indian dishes that may seem complicated, simple, and fun. Additionally, his website includes many more recipes, even drinks and a recipe of the week, that are simple to make; these can all be found on https://ranveerbrar.com/ and his youtube channel is at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEHCDn_BBnk3uTK1M64ptyw

  1. Derek and Chad Sarno 

 For those who are vegetarian or vegan, these plant based brothers have large success in the vegan industry. Derek and Chad Sarno are co-founders of the Wicked Healthy brand and at the same time, they co-wrote a book titled The Wicked Healthy Cookbook. The Sarnos have worked with huge industries such as Whole Foods and have an online cooking school on Rouxbe. These brothers have worked hard to create vegan food enjoyable and easy to make at home. Their website is easy to navigate and includes a huge variety of vegan meals, snacks, and desserts that are easy to make. Not only are many of these recipes and videos catered to a wide audience, they create cooking videos for kids. The Sarno brothers’ website can be reached on https://wickedhealthyfood.com/ and they include their YouTube videos under “Classes” and most recipes.    

  1.  Dennis Prescot

Dennis Prescot is a Canadian chef and cookbook author, who interestingly enough had started as a struggling musician learning to cook through Jamie Oliver cookbooks. Of course this led him to find a passion for cooking and the rest is practically history. As he grew as a chef, he began working with many restaurants 

His skill led to him landing a role in Restaurants on the Edge. Many recipes on Prescot’s website include anecdotes which add a personal touch and allows his audience to feel more connected to him or gain more insight of him as a chef. His website can be reached at https://dennistheprescott.com/ and includes links to his various social media accounts.

  1.   Adam Glick 

Last but not least is Adam Glick, a chef who had dropped out of university after two years to pursue a career in the culinary arts. His dedication to his craft led to him becoming a private chef on many yachts. His work as a private yacht chef was a gateway to television. Glick made an appearance on Cutthroat Kitchen and the show Below Deck. With a growing number of views, Adam Glick easily made it big as a chef. Besides his appearances on TV, Glick made many videos on the side for inspiring chefs, encouraging them to get inspired and and always be learning. His YouTube can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/chefglick and his Instagram is @chefadamglick.  

All 5 of these chefs bring amazing things for everyone to the table. When looking for new things to try or just something interesting to watch at the least, these chefs should definitely be among first picks.

Fun Halloween Baking Recipes

By: Inso Park 

With Halloween coming up, veteran trick or treaters are scrambling to find replacement activities. Many are turning to their kitchens in order to bake up Halloween treats that are sure to replace the need for candy. If individuals are into simple baking, then these recipes are a perfect place to start. The three recipes that are listed below are easy to make and do not even take time away from a night full of horror. These recipes also only require a handful of ingredients, are very cost friendly, and consist of either household staples or can be found at any local grocery store. 

Jack Skellington oreos are perfect for fans of “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. This recipe requires oreos, paper sticks, chocolate, coconut oil, and an icing pen. First, take the desired amount oreos wanted out of their packaging and set them aside. Then place a stick through the middle of the oreo icing to create a handle for the oreos. Next, take any chocolate desired and mix it with a spoonful of coconut oil. After thoroughly mixing the chocolate with the coconut oil, melt it in a bowl and set it aside. Take the oreos on a stick and dip it in the chocolate on both sides. Repeat the dipping process until all oreos are thoroughly coated and place them on a baking sheet. Leave the baking sheet in the fridge to cool and once chilled, proceed decorating them. This recipe is terrific because it does not require that many ingredients and is a quick and fun baking activity!

Monster cookies are super simple to make and only require two ingredients. The simplest version of the recipe, the one that is written here, only requires cookie dough and monster sprinkles. First take the cookie dough and divide it into the desired amount. Keep in mind that while baking, the dough will expand and the cookies will end up being around twice the size of the portioned dough. Then roll the cookie dough into balls and roll one side in the sprinkles. Proceed by placing the dipped dough on a baking tray and placing the tray in the oven at around 350 degrees. Baking the cookies is all up to individual taste depending on how soft or crunchy they want the cookies to be. Softer cookies take less time to cook and harder ones require more time in the oven. 

Mummy dogs are another simple recipe that only requires a couple of ingredients. These serve as the perfect snack for a Halloween movie night with the family. The ingredients are sausages, cheese, croissant dough, and a dressing of your choice. First set aside the sausage and take the croissant dough and cheese out of their packaging. Take the croissant dough and separate them along the perforated lines. Cut the croissant dough and cheese into horizontal pieces. Place a piece of cheese on the hot dog and take a piece of croissant dough and wrap it all around the sausage. Something to keep in mind is, while wrapping the sausage around, make sure to leave a little bit of room towards the top for the eyes. Bake these in the oven on a baking sheet at 375 degrees for 13-17 minutes, however long they take to become crispy brown. Once the sausages are out of the oven,  place the dressing in the open spaces for mummy eyes!

While Halloween may be indoors this year, this does not inhibit people from having a great night.

Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

By: Amy Morrison

Jack the Ripper and his Autumn of Terror in 1888 is arguably one of the most infamous cold cases in the world. Forensic scientists, police, and regular citizens have been fascinated by the case for generations and while many people claim to have solved the case with modern methodology, the anonymity of Jack the Ripper will continue to enthrall people. With the fame of the case, many individuals have written books and produced movies based on the case and killer, many taking creative liberties to make the story more intriguing or give it a more satisfying ending. One such author is Kerri Maniscalco who used Jack the Ripper’s Autumn of Terror as the basis for her historical fiction novel Stalking Jack the Ripper.

The book is written in first person point of view and narrated by 17 year old Audrey Rose Wadsworth. The story follows Audrey Rose on her journey as a forensic assistant for her uncle, one of the coroners consulted during the Ripper murders and her personal fight against the society that expects her to be nothing more than a wife. As a woman in a scientific field in the 1800s, Audrey Rose is met mostly with skepticism and disagreement when it comes to her chosen field, especially from her father and aunt. Consistently throughout the book, Audrey Rose has to fight against society’s views of women as well as her own family who want her to be a “proper lady”. The reader experiences Audrey Rose’s struggle against society and her journey in finding the balance between femininity and being a scientist.

Through the chaos that Jack the Ripper brings, the story firmly focuses on Audrey Rose. She must face many ethical and moral problems throughout the book and the reader never sees her, nor any of the other characters, as two dimensional. All characters in the book are incredibly fleshed out and suffer with their own inner beasts, with Audrey Rose being no exception. With each murder, Audrey Rose is faced with more and more questions about the identity of Jack the Ripper as well as what she must do and sacrifice in order to catch him. Every step of the way, the way society wants her to act casts doubt on her abilities and on her own mind. Before being able  to catch the killer, Audrey Rose must be able to face her own inner demons.

The author utilizes Audrey Rose, making it a statement about the human morals deciding what is right and wrong. The story is truly about self-actualization and being true to oneself in spite of other people’s view. Every decision Audrey Rose must make holds increasingly more weight and affects the outcome of the case as well as Audrey Rose herself. In Audrey Rose, the reader finds an unbelievably modern and relatable character whom they can look up to as a person who does what they feel called to do while still being undeniably themselves. 

Audrey Rose’s conviction to solve the case also bleeds into the reader’s wants as well. As the questions about the case continue to pile, the reader becomes more and more captivated by what the answer could be and how all loose ends may be tied up. These questions lead the reader by constantly keeping them enthralled and wanting to read more. Maniscalco does an amazing job of tying up major story points in satisfying ways while also keeping the readers invested to a point that they do not even realize that the book is over until they reach the last page. Who is Jack the Ripper? Kerri Maniscalco answers this centuries old question with a whole answer of her own.

Reducing Carbon Footprint

By:Chloe Bruno

A large carbon footprint can spur the rate of climate change. A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere from the combustion of fossil fuels. This is a big deal because climate change affects the glaciers melting causing rising sea levels and strange weather patterns. There’s not much one regular person can do to take away the carbon footprint however an individual can start tracking and reducing their personal carbon footprint.

The strange weather patterns in the United States is the result of climate change. California is experiencing heat waves and the east is experiencing snow storms. During fall it’s strange to have weathers over 100 degrees and weather that’s cold and wet. This also impacts the ocean currents, the temperature of water which forces fishes to swim to cooler climates, and can make the water more acidic. The impacts of this can be really damaging to the environment in many ways. Although mankind cannot reverse this, they can slow it down.

There are many ways an individual can reduce their carbon footprint. There are many easy ways to do so just in one’s house. People can save energy by turning off things they don’t need like lights, water, the heater, and the air conditioner. Another way to cut down one’s carbon footprint is using one’s car less or even just taking care of the car more. An easy alternative than using a car is to ride a bike, walk to places or even use public transportation. There are also some easy things people can replace to help, for example switch to reusable bags rather than plastic bags and reusable water bottles rather than plastic bottles. 

As these climate changes get worse there are more inventions coming out to help cut down the amount of plastic the human race uses. Although they are more expensive at first, one can use them for much longer. Another way to cut down one’s carbon footprint is to cut down on the things they buy. For example when buying food at the grocery store, buy exactly the things needed or eat all the food before it spoils so one doesn’t produce waste. That also goes with don’t shop fast fashion. Buying clothes that are trendy and cheap can be very damaging overall. Instead try buying recycled clothes or 2nd hand clothes. There are easy ways to remember to help reduce one’s carbon footprint by remembering reduce, reuse and recycle.

Another way to help reduce carbon footprint is to educate others and how their carbon footprint is impacting their lifestyle whether they see it or not. Educating them on the impacts of how to reduce carbon footprint and how to track their carbon footprint. Big industries are starting to adopt this lifestyle by using recyclable materials or even recycled materials. For example, big brand names like Nike and Adidas are making shoes out of recycled products. Some other companies are using more sustainable packaging, for example packing peanuts that dissolve in water or even using paper products that are easier to recycle. 

Taking action on tracking and reducing one’s own carbon footprint can make a big difference for the earth everyone lives on. If action is not taken climate change will change the earth and it will slowly deteriorate. There will be strange occurrences of nature if climate change continues to get worse.  So reducing, reusing and recycling daily things will make a difference if everyone follows along. However, that takes action from our leaders to educate others on how to change their life habits.

Influence of School on Imposter Syndrome

By: Vivian Wang

The celebratory feeling after a successful job interview and landing an internship that is shortly accompanied with feelings of self-doubt can be perfectly encompassed into one phrase: imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome, also known as the imposter phenomenon, refers to a personal mindset and psychological pattern centered on self-doubt and questioning of one’s accomplishments. For instance, imposter syndrome is most commonly seen when an individual believes that all of their success revolves around pure luck rather than their personal strengths and capabilities.

At Valencia High School, many students experience imposter syndrome without fully realizing it. Comments such as “I only got a 95 percent on the quiz, but it was just because I was lucky and guessed” or “I feel like I should have gotten a worse grade on the test” perfectly encompass the meaning of imposter syndrome. Students at Valencia, especially International Baccalaureate students, learn in a competitive environment on a daily basis.

International Baccalaureate students naturally feel a sense of competition when surrounded by students who all equally enjoy academically-rigorous classes and earn equally high marks on tests and homework assignments. Imposter syndrome inherently makes its appearance when students begin comparing test scores and translating one another’s worth into a test score. Time and time again, high-achieving students find themselves backed into a corner, with their mind telling them that their positive results are unmerited.

The effects of imposter syndrome can directly affect one’s mental health, especially when self-doubt overshadows self-confidence and self-worth. One notable instance of imposter syndrome impacting mental health manifests in destroyed, inconsistent sleep schedules of high school students.

Students who seek perfection in their schoolwork spend their after school hours completing homework from the moment that they finish the school day to the moment that they call it a night at times as late as 3 a.m. in the morning. In such a competitive environment like the IB bubble, students inherently equate staying up later to accomplishing more tasks.

The negative feedback loop of constantly seeking perfection in all homework assignments eventually leads to burnout, so it is essential to find a balance between minimalism and perfectionism when considering academics and all homework assignments.

Almost everyone experiences imposter syndrome, so the million dollar question is “How can imposter syndrome be overcome?”, especially in this day and age where time moves so quickly and consistently maintaining a busy schedule has become the socially accepted norm. To overcome imposter syndrome, one of the steps that can be taken is to avoid comparing oneself to others, whether it be through test scores or personal accomplishments. Similarly, another approach to addressing imposter syndrome lies in learning how to take constructive criticism. Viewing constructive criticism as opportunities for self-growth allows for room for improvement, all while understanding how to set reasonable and tangible goals in the long run.

As writer Melody J. Wilding from The Muse explains in the piece “5 Different Types of Imposter Syndrome (and 5 Ways to Battle Each One)”, one of the most common forms of imposter syndrome manifests primarily in a superwoman or superman, a type of individual who always strives to excel in all areas and outcompete others. Instances of a superwoman or superman experiencing imposter syndrome include working overtime into late hours or finding freetime as an excuse for not working.

Instead of comparing test scores, transform this exhaustive energy into a positive mindset, whether it be through studying with friends together or reaching out to friends when trying to understand a concept covered in class. Celebrating a friend’s latest internship offer with a trip to eat ice cream instead of becoming jealous over their accomplishments. Recognizing one’s accomplishments and self growth through adversity transcends far beyond comparing oneself to others.

Documentary Review: The Social Dilemma

By: Inso Park 

“The Social Dilemma” is a documentary directed by Jeff Orlowski that was recently released on Netflix. The film focuses on the effects of social media in an increasingly digital world. It highlights the negative aspects of social media and how it is becoming, or already has become, a plague to our society. Orlowski explores how large social media conglomerates have successfully instilled a sense of normalcy regarding online privacy breaches that all result in the creation of an addicting experience, seemingly impossible to escape. 

Throughout “The Social Dilemma”, remorseful executives of large media companies come forward and explain that social media addictions are intentionally nurtured by the leaders of the industry. They all express how human behavior is manipulated in order for  companies to profit off of their users. Specific algorithms aim to produce infinite scrolling and notifications to keep users engaged. Not to mention how personalized pages such as the Instagram explore page, TikTok “For You” page, and etc. are all created by tracking user data. Company knowledge of private information regarding different users turns them into easy targets for advertisers. 

Within the interviews of executives lie some of the most influential developers of social media such as the creator of the like button. Despite their positive intentions, they now fear the effects of their product and where it has led society. The interviewees voice concerns regarding the foundations of our society as well as the effects of social media on users’ mental and physical health. Expert testimonies from previous employees of large companies such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, all tell cautionary tales of social media and how much data users are unconsciously disclosing just from logging onto the platform. They all agree on how nerve wracking it is that managers of these large companies have the capability to practically control the lives of all their users. 

Although the social dilemma may not be a new concept, the documentary dives deeper into the problem by providing a scenario of a typical household in America. In the scenario, a functional suburban family faces the consequences of social media addiction and demonstrates how it affects our communication with others as well. The youngest daughter is obsessed with her online presence and received validation through social media. She learns about filters on pictures and quickly becomes unhappy with her own looks and body. The son learns about politics online and becomes an advocate for radical views. He attends a protest and has a run in with the law because of his political affiliations. The oldest daughter is the one who refuses to buy a smartphone, much less download social media. The family faces silent dinners and demonstrates how even when users are right next to each other the world of social media polarizes and isolates users. 

Despite the fact that the family in the documentary is fictional, too many users can identify with the family dynamics that were displayed. The family in the documentary exemplifies the ideas behind the limitations of social media and the scientific connection between the increase of mental illness and the usage of social media. 

In the grand scheme of things, “The Social Dilemma” serves to warn users against the dangers of social media and all of the biases that are present there. It is important to remember that although social media can be a great source of communication, users need to proceed with caution and be mindful of the invisible effects that social media holds.

Mental Health Representation in Media

By: Snehal Shinh

The issue of mental health is one that is starting to be talked about more. While awareness is great and much needed to stop the stigmatization of mental illnesses, the media tends to generalize and incorrectly portray mental health. More often than not, many mental illnesses are shown in a very negative light. This in turn impacts the way society and even mental health professionals view mental disorders. 

Most information that the average person gets on mental health comes from the media. In fact, a study done by the National Mental Health Association shows that 70 percent get their information off of television, 58 percent from newspapers, 51 percent from TV news, 34 percent from news magazines, and 25 percent from the internet. This study proves how much control the media has over public views of mental health. 

When depicting those with mental illnesses, the media falls back onto many stereotypes. Many times, those with illnesses such as schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder, among others, are portrayed as violent. Despite studies proving that those with mental illnesses aren’t as likely to commit violent crimes, media sources continue to push the stereotype. A study done by the American Psychological Association shows that only 7.4 percent of violent crimes are directly caused by serious mental illnesses. However, a study done in 2006 gages that 60 percent of Americans believe that those with schizophrenia are more likely to act out violently. The news additionally pushes this belief, especially when reporting mass shootings. These stereotypes are also pushed onto fictional characters. An article written by Kirsten Fawcett for U.S. News on the topic quotes Don Diefenbach, chair and professor of mass communications, who has done a study showing that TV characters that are labeled with a mental illness are 10 to 20 times more likely to commit a violent crime than those in real life. 

In addition to the violent stereotype, the media tends to push the notion that those with mental illness look different. This is mainly done through a disheveled appearance or general uncleanliness in many shows or movies, making those with mental illnesses visually separate from those without. Creating this image of mental illnesses hurts those with them because they are ostracized and feel as if they need to present themselves differently to not be seen as threatening. There are a huge number of people suffering from mental illnesses who are able to take care of their physical appearance, but because of this stereotype that means they should be normal, right? 

Mentioned before, the media tends to make huge generalizations when it comes to mental illnesses, and oftentimes looking at the extremities of mental disorders. In depicting mental disorders, the media (especially TV) clumps them into the same categories with the same amount of severity, mainly depression and forms of psychosis, which is proven by Diefenbach’s studies. By using such broad labels, there is no variety in symptoms. When only describing the most severe cases of various mental illnesses, people who have the disorder may feel as if they aren’t valid because it isn’t as severe. Mental disorders are not one size fits all, there are so many different ways that they can affect the average person. Generalizing does not do the complexity of mental health justice in the media. 

Most importantly, the media neglects to acknowledge that recovery is possible. Characters in TV shows and movies do not tend to show that people can recover from these disorders, and in the cases where they do it’s temporary. This justifies a common thought that many with mental illness have which is that they cannot get better, and misinforms those that don’t know that mental illnesses aren’t permanent. Clearly, this belief is false as mental health experts say that with the help of therapy, medicine, and support groups, those experiencing mental illnesses can recover and live a healthy life. On the same subject, the media villianizes mental hospitals, depicting it as a place that does more harm than good. By doing this, many build a false image of a mental hospital and may not go there for help. 

Though the media attempts to work on humanizing people with mental disorders, media outlets have a lot of work to do to help reduce the stigmatization of mental illnesses. The stereotypes surrounding those with mental illnesses ostracizes and villianizes them. While these stigmas cannot be erased overnight, encouraging open communication on the topic and relying more on factual evidence, will break the stigma.

College Board: The Monopoly in Disguise

By: Young Kim

In hopes of standing out to colleges, students have been known to take AP (advanced placement) courses in order to bolster their resume. Students may also take other standardized testing such as the SAT (scholastic assessment test) and the PSAT (Preliminary SAT) as additional supplements. In a society where education is highly valued, these opportunities are considered extremely important to many families. Yet while education is valued as the utmost importance there is a major flaw within the American education system. A system that should be created in order to allow better opportunities for the youth is controlled by one major company: College Board. 

While College Board labels itself as a not-for-profit organization, they can only be described as a monopoly in a very lucrative industry. College Board reported that in 2019, over 2 million students took the SAT while over 1 million students took around 4 million AP tests. While these numbers may show the progression of students wanting to gain a higher education, it is impossible to not account for the millions of dollars of profit gained. Before the 2020-2021 school year, the cost of taking 1 AP course test was $94 (now $95) with the SAT costing $49 and $65 with an essay, which many colleges require in applications. According to Forbes, these prices have allowed College Board to amass over $1 billion in revenue in addition to $100 million in untaxed surplus and another $400 million invested within hedge funds. With these funds, David Coleman, the chief executive of College Board, has a salary of around $2 million a year.  

The College Board has been criticized in the past for making the prices of testing too high, allowing a distinguished advantage for the wealthy. This was evident in last year’s AP testing which was announced to be taken online. In summary, the most important tests of the year were allowed to be tested within the student homes, where there was no supervision and an almost too easy method for cheaters to get away with no work. In addition, test takers with a better internet service had the security of expecting everything to work to its fullest capabilities while those with minimal internet access had to constantly fear not being able to enter their test within the allotted time. Besides the obvious discrepancies with wealth playing a key role in the scores, many students suffered when the College Board servers crashed due to the sheer number of people who attempted to input their test. These students were crushed with not being able to turn in their tests with College Board advising them to retake again in June. While COVID-19 did make drastic changes only a few months before the tests, many were upset with College Board’s solution as well as their lack of communication. With the inherent problems following an online formatted test, families have racked up a $500 million lawsuit against the College Board. 

Students all over the nation are beginning to understand the consequences of giving the future of their college life over to a corporation that puts profits before the wellbeing of the test takers. For solutions, the College Board should either be disbanded into smaller corporations for each aspect of testing or testing should be gotten rid of entirely. With a system clearly favoring those fortunate enough to have a stable testing and learning environment, College Board has failed to uphold its moral duties of a not-for-profit organization. 

Student education should not be made into a lucrative business. It should be either equally accessible to all or taken away as a whole. There is a disconnect between the well thought out intentions of furthering an education and only giving an education to those that can afford it. The dark consequences of the education monopoly is clearly evident, but the question remains: what replaces a system that has been integrated into thousands of highschools all over the nation?

Computer Ergonomics

By: Joshua Song

As more and more people spend more and more time at their own computers, the need for a comfortable experience at one’s devices has become increasingly dire to the situations of many. From uncomfortable chairs to keyboards to desk heights, even the most trivial parts of one’s desk setup can lead to discomfort for the user in one way or another. Since some people now spend the vast majority of their awake time at their computers, the small deficiencies of different desk setups have been more noticeable to their users. Luckily, many of these can be easily fixed through a bit of research.

The most common and easily noticeable part of one’s desk setup is the chair. Now, the user does not need to buy an expensive office or gaming chair to enhance their sitting experience, although that could be a potential solution. A cheaper and simpler solution would be simply to purchase something like a seat cushion, which would help especially during long sessions of sitting down. An even cheaper solution would be to fix one’s posture, although that would certainly require a lot more work and persistence from the perspective of the user, although there would definitely also be greater long-term benefits. An alternative to sitting desks would be standing desks, but to make the transition to standing desks would not only cost a lot of money but would also take a while to get used to.

In the case an individual has a desktop computer with a separate monitor unit, or even just a normal laptop with an external monitor, a useful gadget to have would be an adjustable monitor stand. By positioning the monitor at a more comfortable height, one could reduce a lot of the strain that goes to the neck and spine. Larger monitors would also reduce the need to bend forward to see things on the monitor at a closer distance as the readability of the monitor would significantly increase.

A less common, more difficult, and likely more expensive solution would be to change the peripherals on one’s computer such as the mouse or keyboard. For computer mice, there are many options, ranging from a sculpted mouse, a  vertical mouse, and even a trackball-based mouse. Based on personal needs, one could easily acquire a mouse that fits their personal workflow. Each of these variants have suitable products from around $30 and up. For keyboards, there have been many variations on ergonomic keyboards within the market, and often have layouts and appearance that are fascinating and strange to the average user. Many variants have something called a “split-layout”, where each half of the keyboard is split and angled so that the user can have a more comfortable typing experience. The value of this could vary quite a bit for each consumer, especially considering how many ergonomic and specialized keyboards fetch quite high prices, usually in the $200-300 range. However, if resources allow, this could really be a worthwhile investment, considering how much of the time spent at the computer is spent up by typing.

This is obviously just a simple list of the potential upgrades that one could make, but there are many more, especially when accounting for bodily anatomy differences such as height and hand size, as well as medical conditions, such as RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) and carpal tunnel syndrome. Hopefully, the reader will be able to make upgrades accordingly and to match their needs for the most comfortable computer experience.