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Insights & Advice

learning french is hard.


March 26th, 2018 / Thomas Halsey

I’ve been learning Spanish ever since I was a 6th grader at Pocahontas Middle School.  At the beginning of my 10th grade year at Steward, I decided to turn things around by learning a new language. I was considering Italian, Greek  and French. Since my ancestry is 2% French, I made the decision of teaching myself French. Even though I know the basics like “puis je avoir s’il vous plaît” which means “can I please have...”, and other conversational phrases, French is definitely way harder than I thought it would be.  Here’s why.


In my opinion, the toughest part about learning a new language is always the “r” sound. In Spanish, you roll your tongue, in Portuguese you do the “h” sound, and in French, you try your hardest to roll the r’s, which in my case, ends up with me choking on my own saliva.  Pleasant right? I’ve been trying to master the art of r’s for over a week now, and it’s tough as nails. My friend Noreen, who is from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, has been trying to teach me, but it’s still very difficult. I downloaded Duolingo to help me practice French, and it’s actually getting a little better.  Since I’m a beginner, I talk slow, which is normal and perfectly fine. However, on my French tutorials, they talk extremely fast. Even though it is expected that native speakers are much faster and fluent than beginners, it still makes it very hard to understand the listening portions. The last reason why French is a hard language to learn, is the part of their mouth in which they speak. In English, we tend to speak from the front part of our mouths when speaking. In French they speak the sounds of words form from the lower part of their mouths, almost from their throat. That’s one of the biggest transitions that is hard to adjust to by French language students.


Even though French is very difficult to learn, it’s extremely useful. 300 million people around the globe speak the language, including countries like Canada, Haiti, Belgium, Cameroon, Madagascar, and many more. I hope to go to France to study abroad in college, to learn more about the language of love, and also experience life in France!


Something to love.


March 24th, 2018 / Allison Langenburg

It’s impossible that there isn’t a pun to make with this name. That’s been the thought itching the back of my mind since I heard of Kevin Love, about a week ago. I’m impressed with myself for remaining oblivious to the name of Kevin Love, especially since there are two of them. After hearing his name, I decided that he must be a football player, since he sounded vaguely familiar. Neither Kevin Love is a football player. But one of them is an incredibly talented basketball player, a forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He turned twenty-nine last September and had played for the Cavaliers since being traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves, for whom he played from 2009 to 2014. Love is a five-time All-Star team member and was a member of the Cavaliers’ NBA-winning team in 2016, and those are just a few of his accomplishments. Kevin comes from a happy, practicing-Christian home, with an older brother and a younger sister, Collin and Emily. His father, Stan, also played in the NBA. Kevin is 6’10’’, a phenomenal player with a loving, healthy family and a strong faith who, to all in the world, was living an absolute dream. That being said, he was as much surprised as anyone when he experienced a panic attack last November in the middle of a game.


Many readers may have heard of the article that Mr. Love published quite recently, titled: “Everyone is Going Through Something”. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so. In this down-to-earth and expressive piece, Love discusses how his sudden and unexpected panic attack led him to consider his sport, himself, and everyone else with a novel perspective, especially since he began to see a therapist afterward. To Love, this was unheard of in the NBA; no other players seemed to need to discuss their feelings, neither to each other nor to a professional. He describes the doctrine of internalization as part of a “playbook” all males, including himself, are pressured to learn and follow, centered around the famous command: “Be a man.” To Love, this included keeping feelings to oneself. The star forward was embarrassed that he’d experienced a panic attack during a game, and he didn’t want anyone to know. Love states in his article that: “I was running from room to room, like I was looking for something I couldn’t find. Really I was just hoping my heart would stop racing. It was like my body was trying to say to me, You’re about to die. I ended up on the floor in the training room, lying on my back, trying to get enough air to breathe.” Afterwards, Love was concerned. This is not extraordinary; if I experienced anything like this, I’d be concerned, too. But, Love was not concerned about his attack, he was instead concerned that he didn’t want anyone to discover it. He wondered why he was so reluctant to publicize it, and finally concluded that it was just himself adhering to the “playbook.” Dissatisfied with uncomfortable secrecy, he published his experience.


There are several aspects of Mr. Love’s article that inspire and fascinate me. First of all, he is a prominent basketball player. He’s famous, beloved, and, really, quite a star. But now, the first fruits of a Google search of his name alone yield his article about mental health, which relates his inner convictions and struggles. I admire that. I admire that he was willing to be known for his weakness, because admitting weakness is strength. I admire him for reaching out to the world, for being willing to relate to those suffering and to associate himself with the struggling by his testimony. What is stronger than supporting someone else when your own problems and pressures are heavy, too? I admire him for having courage, for being one of the first to accomplish something like this in his field. It’s not courageous to speak when you know you’ll be heard, to stand up in defiance and say “Me too!”. It’s brave to take a risk such as this. It’s brave to know that next time you’re on the court, instead of being invincible, unfeeling, and larger than life, you’ll be the man that discussed his mental health, the one that had a panic attack, and to stand up anyway. It’s easy to be callous, it’s easy to be hard. It’s difficult to make yourself vulnerable. But it’s strong.


The quote in Love’s article that stood out most to me is the root of the title: “Everyone is going through something that we can’t see.” Everyone. Even you, even me, even him, even his fellow players, friends and enemies. Even the ones that look perfect. We shouldn’t gloat over this fact when we feel inadequate, but instead this should serve as a reminder to us that no one is alone. But, “no one” and “everyone” are quite vague words. “Kevin Love”, however, is very specific. I don’t know much in the realm of basketball. But I do know I’m not alone because a 6’10’’ professional male NBA player isn’t perfect either, so I’d like to thank Mr. Love for sharing his valuable story with the world.


I guess his problems are really just something else to Love about him.


There, that’s what I’ve been looking for.


-Allison M. Langenburg

Kevin Love

50 things to do when you're bored!


March 22nd, 2018 / Courtlyn Dranoff

  1. Read a book

  2. Listen to some good music

  3. Go on a walk

  4. Go to the gym

  5. FaceTime a friend

  6. Draw

  7. Meditate

  8. Write a poem

  9. Take a power nap

  10. Color

  11. Start a blog

  12. Write in a journal

  13. Bake some cookies

  14. Start to learn a new language

  15. Do a puzzle

  16. Lean how to play an instrument

  17. Have a dance party

  18. Plan your next trip

  19. Offer advice to a friend in need of it

  20. Go through old photos and memories on your phone

  21. Do yoga

  22. Organize your phone

  23. Do origami

  24. Clean your room

  25. Online shop

  26. Watch your favorite movie

  27. Watch a movie you wanted to see but never got to it

  28. Search for gifts for your friends and family

  29. Call your grandparents

  30. Binge watch that new Netflix series everyone is talking about.

  31. Do some extra credit

  32. Drink water - you're probably dehydrated.

  33. Learn about a new religion

  34. Cook something you’ve never cooked before

  35. Donate items you don’t need to a charity

  36. Try a new coffee shop or cafe

  37. Volunteer

  38. Search for new music

  39. Make a bucket list

  40. Make an ice cream sundae!

  41. Make a list of people who inspire you

  42. Tie Dye

  43. Go on a bike ride

  44. Watch funny youtube videos

  45. Spend time with pets

  46. Create a photo album

  47. See a show

  48. Do your laundry

  49. Build a fort

  50. Read an article about 50 things to do when you’re bored


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